Cozy Prizes Friday: All Done With It

Not only is it Cozy Prizes Friday but Maggie Toussaint, the author of All Done With it has brought along Mama Lacey, who is Baxley Powell’s (Dreamwalker) mother. Talk about a difficult parenting challenge. Do you let them wander around other worlds or make them do their homework first?  

Be sure to scroll down to find the Prize Guy to enter Maggie’s Giveaway!

Find Your Bliss

By Mama Lacey, mother of Baxley Powell Mayes, psychic sleuth in Maggie Toussaint’s All Done With It

Hi Everyone,

I’m Mama Lacey, er, Lacey Nesbit, mother of Dreamwalker, Baxley Powell Mayes. It always amazes me that people want to know more about me because this series is clearly about my very talented daughter.

My mantra for living is “find your bliss,” because all of us should know ourselves and be able to attain the centeredness that brings love, peace, contentment, and joy. In other words, bliss is my respite and my purpose.

From our first meeting as teens, Tab Nesbit had a way about him that drew me. Luckily, he felt the same way, and ever since we’ve been two halves of a whole.

Life in a Dreamwalker family isn’t easy. Besides the extrasensory challenges, we’ve endured the scorn of locals for our nurturing lifestyle and our back-to-nature ways. We aren’t modern and don’t crave the latest and greatest of anything. What we have always suffices.

Turns out, life isn’t easy for anyone. Folks from all walks of life seek our wooded sanctuary and hospitality. We listen without judgment, feed them from our organic garden, and nourish their souls. Tab does most of that, but my special broth helps.

People ask, “What’s in that broth?” When I share the list of common ingredients, they think I’m keeping a secret ingredient off the list. The truth is that it isn’t so much about what’s in the pot, but my intentions as I stir it. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Along the way, I realized my intentions strengthen crystals in an intangible way. Baxley thinks I’m psychic but no way. I see what real psychics do. I just fiddle around in my kitchen and let my mind go where it will.

One more thing about me, and I hope you don’t think I’m bragging, is that sometimes I know what the immediate future. Sounds flaky but it’s true. When I first realized this was happening, it seemed like a coincidence. But I learned to focus in an unfocused way, and now I can fine tune the sense of what’s coming. Somehow, the weather maps on TV accentuate that sense of knowing. Once I discovered that beneficial effect, we’ve kept our TV permanently tuned to the weather station.

Enough about me. As you can see, I’m in no way extraordinary. That honor goes to Tab and my daughter, Baxley. Turns out that my granddaughter Larissa is like me. So now that Tab and I both have backup, we might travel a bit.

My bliss defines me, and some say it radiates from me. The sheer joy of living puts a spring in my step and fills my heart with love. More importantly, the legacy Tab and I built of inclusion, healing, and brotherly love are continuing with the next generation. It’s what every parent wants.

What are you waiting for? Find your bliss!

I’ll take a cup of that broth, Mama. But I guess you knew I was going to ask that.

Thanks for stopping by!

About All Done With It

All Done With It by Maggie Toussaint

All Done With It (A Dreamwalker Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery

A Jane Doe jogger homicide near the swamp mystifies Dreamwalker Baxley Powell. The petite woman carried no ID, and no one recognizes her. Worse, a shadow passes from the body to a deputy, rendering him unconscious. The deputy and the corpse are dispatched to the hospital and morgue, respectively.

With summer heat and pending childbirth on her mind, Baxley’s dreamwalks into the spirit world fail to yield leads, frustrating Baxley and her deputy husband, Native American Sam Mayes. Days later, Jane Doe’s description matches a missing Mississippi woman. Turns out, her new husband is missing too. Jane’s sketchy brother-in-law and her aunt arrive, full of secrets. At Jane’s campsite, the team encounters a terrifying anomaly, nullifying Baxley’s senses. With such danger present, they must protect their unborn child. No more dreamwalks will occur until Baxley gives birth.

When her friend Bubba Paxton vanishes, Baxley sights him in a mirror, trapped between worlds with other souls.

Meanwhile, the shadow invades other hosts, demanding to see Baxley. Mayes and Baxley ignore the shadow as they rescue Bubba, untangle the Jane Doe case, and handle missing persons reports.
To free the trapped people, Baxley must outwit a powerful foe. Can she stop this super villain before he steals her soul?

In this 7th Dreamwalker Mystery, female sleuth and psychic crime consultant Baxley Powell works a homicide case that leads straight to an evil force in the spirit world. The stakes? Her soul, her unborn child, and humanity’s freedom.

Purchase Links – Barnes and NobleKobo

About Maggie Toussaint

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with twenty-plus fiction novels published. A three-time finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won three Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows.

Author Links

Website – https://maggietoussaint.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MaggieToussaintAuthor

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/MaggieToussaint

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/MaggieToussaint

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maggie-toussaint

Your friendly Prize Guy here bringing you the giveaway for the All Done With It book tour!

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After you read All Done With It, why not try Die a Yellow Ribbon- Teresa's latest Pecan Bayou Mystery

Book Review: The First to Lie

We’ve all been home for a while, so let’s mess with your head. Can you tell when someone is lying to you? The liar may touch their hair or lips, keep everything vague, and repeat your questions back to you. Even with all those “tells” it can be difficult to spot a liar.

The First to Lie focuses on the vulnerability of women who have had difficulty conceiving a child. If you desperately wanted a baby and couldn’t have one, what would you be willing to put up with from a doctor or clinic? What would you risk?

The operative word in the title is “Lie”. The reader often wonders who is lying and who isn’t. Then the lying compounds. Here’s more information about The First to Lie.

The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan

About the Book

We all have our reasons for being who we are―but what if being someone else could get you what you want?
After a devastating betrayal, a young woman sets off on an obsessive path to justice, no matter what dark family secrets are revealed. What she doesn’t know―she isn’t the only one plotting revenge.
An affluent daughter of privilege. A glamorous manipulative wannabe. A determined reporter, in too deep. A grieving widow who has to choose her new reality. Who will be the first to lie? And when the stakes are life and death, do a few lies really matter?
Bestselling and award-winning author and investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan delivers another twisty, thrilling cat and mouse novel of suspense that will have you guessing, and second-guessing, and then gasping with surprise.

My Review

This is a psychological thriller where everyone is lying. If the cat could talk, she would lie. It explores the world of big pharma and how business profits can be seen as more important than the human beings who are taking the drugs. There are several points of view going on in the beginning, all with interesting stories that needed keeping up with to understand the plot. This book is full of twists and turns that will keep you reading.

I acquired this book through Net Galley and have left an honest review.

The cast of characters from from Pecan Bayou is back as they follow the clues to find the Golden Pecan.

Book Review: The Last Mrs. Summers

I can remember many years ago roaming around my college library and coming up with a copy of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I’ll admit, I was wasting away trying to read George Eliot, and finding this gothic mystery was so much fun. Good stuff.

When I chose to review Rhys Bowen’s latest installment of the Royal Spyness Series I was excited she wrote it in the likeness of Rebecca. If you like mystery in an old English house next to the cliffs (really scary, exceptionally sharp cliffs) I think you’re going to love The Last Mrs. Summers.

The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen, New York Times Best Selling Author.

An Excerpt from The Last Mrs. Summers

Lady Georgiana Rannoch is just back from her honeymoon with dashing Darcy O’Mara when a friend in need pulls her into a twisted Gothic tale of betrayal, deception and, most definitely, murder. . . .

Lady Georgiana:

I am a bit at loose ends at the moment. My cook, Queenie, is making my new role as mistress of Eynsleigh something akin to constant torture as Darcy is off on another one of his top secret jaunts. And Grandad is busy helping wayward youths avoid lives of crime. So when my dearest friend, Belinda, inherits an old cottage in Cornwall and begs me to go with her to inspect the property, I jump at the chance.

After a heart-stopping journey in Belinda’s beast of a motorcar, we arrive at the creaky old cottage called White Sails and quickly realize that it is completely uninhabitable. Just when I’m starting to wonder if I would have been better off trying to get Queenie to cook a roast that hasn’t been burnt beyond all recognition, we meet Rose Summers, a woman Belinda knew as a child when she spent time in Cornwall. Rose invites us to stay at Trewoma Hall, the lovely estate now owned by her husband, Tony…

Our increasingly awkward visit soon turns deadly when a member of the household is found murdered and all clues point to Belinda as the prime suspect. I soon learn that some long buried secrets have come back to haunt those in residence at Trewoma Hall and I’ll need to sift through the ruins of their past so Belinda doesn’t lose her chance at freedom in the present. . . .

My Review

In this edition of the Royal Spyness series, Georgie, who is back from her honeymoon, finds herself bored as her husband returns to work. After being nearly run down by Brutus, a car driven by her best friend Belinda, they go to Cornwall to check out a small house her friend has inherited. Belinda was a part of a group of friends in this town that included children of the manor houses as well as children of the domestic workers.

If you liked Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, you will find there are some similarities which the author acknowledges at the beginning of the book. Look for brooding housekeepers and a second wife who can’t even come close to filling the role of the first wife. I really liked this mystery, even if Darcy, Georgie’s husband wasn’t a big part of it. Nothing like being stuck in a giant, creepy house with your best friend and a murder mystery to solve.

I was given an advanced reader copy of this book and have left an honest review.

The cast of loveable characters from Pecan Bayou is back as they follow the clues to find the Golden Pecan in Die a Yellow Ribbon.

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder

It’s a Cozy Prizes Friday! Let’s get together at the country house this weekend? What do you say? That’s what’s happening in the Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder. I love this series because Diane Freeman beautifully blends the best of regency and the best of cozy!  There’s a giveaway below so be sure and look for the prize guy. I am delighted to Diane visiting us today with a guest post from Diane telling us all about her newest mystery.

Some Words From Diane:

Many thanks to Teresa Trent for having me on her blog today to celebrate the release of A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder. This is the third book in the Countess of Harleigh mystery series. The historical mysteries feature Frances Wynn, former American heiress and widow to the Earl of Harleigh. Frances has more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife, but sadly little money and no salable skills—well, there’s one. She knows all the ins and outs of aristocratic society and it turns out other American heiresses are willing to pay for Frances’ sponsorship. Who knew introducing young ladies to society would involve a murder or two?

Of course, this was all done with the utmost discretion. A woman of Frances’ standing couldn’t involve herself in anything that smacked of trade or business. That was far too middle-class. But could she help it if the families of these young ladies gifted her with a lovely check or expensive bauble?

The murder part was a little more difficult to navigate. In Frances’ time, investigating crime is a man’s world. No one would take her seriously if she simply began canvassing the neighborhood. She had to insinuate herself into the investigation and use a completely different set of skills and associates than the police did. Servants knew everything about their employers and were an excellent source of information. What they didn’t know, Frances and her circle of gossiping friends would find out. Few people said no to a countess.

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder takes place outside the London social whirl. Instead we travel to Hampshire for a country house party—a staple of Victorian social life.

I couldn’t resist the lure of a Victorian country house party and only wish I could attend one myself. Instead, I created one for my characters to enjoy. It’s October, so, of course, the gentlemen are shooting, but there’s no shortage of amusements for the ladies either—riding, a visit to the village, rambling across the extensive grounds, or challenging the maze. There are picnic luncheons and archery competitions, mysterious accidents, and murder! But of course, you knew that. What’s a country house party without a murder?

About A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder

A Lady's Guide to MIschief and Murder


A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle BooksIndieBound

In Dianne Freeman’s charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister’s wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance.

London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host—or hide—any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily’s imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton’s family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits—shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens.

But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it’s not simply the arrival of Frances’s socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these “accidents” are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily’s fiancé, Leo. Frances’s mother is unimpressed by Lily’s groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George—a man who loves her for much more than her dowry—she heartily approves of Lily’s choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas.

As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll. . . .

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle BooksIndieBound

About Dianne Freeman

Diane Freeman

Dianne Freeman is the acclaimed author of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. She is an Agatha Award and Lefty Award finalist, as well as a nominee for the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award from Mystery Writers of America. She spent thirty years working in corporate accounting and finance and now writes full-time. Born and raised in Michigan, she and her husband now split their time between Michigan and Arizona. Visit her at difreeman.com.

Author Links

Website – www.difreeman.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DianneFreemanAuthor/

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17347322.Dianne_Freeman

Your Prize Guy bringing you the giveaway for A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder Blog Tour
Cozy Prizes Friday Giveaway

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I’ll be at the Cozy Ink Conference This Saturday

Cozy Ink Conference on August 1, 2020

I’ll be one of the featured speakers at the Cozy Ink Conference discussing how to create colorful characters. No, this is not an in-person event, but an interview I did with Cozy Ink a few months ago. Leah has combined several of these interviews to create a FREE conference. Whether you’re a writer or someone who loves to read cozies and hear from cozy authors, I think this is something you will enjoy. Writing is a job you do mostly alone, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wonderful community of writers out there who are a wealth of information.

Here is the schedule:

The conference will feature pre-recorded podcasts pertaining to writing, publishing, etc. All events are free to attend, but donations are welcome.

REGISTER NOW!

And don’t forget, stay cozy!

My Christmas mystery is on sale until July 31 so get your copy now! I love Christmas in July and in this pandemic, I find myself switching to that Hallmark Channel to listen to the music and watch the little towns gather without masks!

Oh Holy Fright on Sale for 99 Cents

Book Review – The Book of Lost Names

There is a lot of fiction out there right now set in the time period of World War II, so standing out can be difficult. The Book of Lost Names is a sweet, brave story in a terrible time. Scroll down to read my book review.

About the Book

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

You can find The Book of Lost Names at your favorite retailer on Kristen’s site. (The online stores are at the bottom of that page.)

My Review

This true story starts in Paris in 1942 and Eva Traube and her parents must escape before being sent off to an internment camp for being Jewish. Eva creates false documents to escape to a small mountain town where she becomes a valuable resource forging documents for adults and children. In the process, she meets Remy, another forger and they work side by side in the library of a church changing the names of children to get them to the Swiss border.

Eva doesn’t want the children to forget who they were even though some of them are so young, they’ll never know. To do this, they devise a system to hide the names in an existing book. The storytelling was wonderful and full of suspense. The relationship between Eva and her mother seemed unfair until you thought about what her mother was going through. There is a terrific love story in this one and even though it is about such a tragic time in history, the author gives you a sense of hope. Well done!

Book Review – What You Wish For

Ever wish that person you were infatuated with years ago, came back into your life? That’s what happens in What You Wish For when a librarian in Galveston finds herself face to face with a man she had a crush on in a former job. What You Wish For is a sweet, funny romance and I particularly liked it because I used to be a teacher and I love the setting of Galveston, a place I visit often. Scroll down to read my book review of What You Wish For.

Book Review of What You Wish For

About the Book

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

You can find What You Wish For at Katherine’s Website along with her other books!

My Review

You know the old saying “Be careful what you wish for.”, well this humorous book illustrates just how bad it can get. When Sam, a librarian on Galveston Island thinks of unrequited love Duncan, she still pines for him. She is surprised to learn he will become the new principal at her school. He was always a crazy fun-loving teacher that she had an incredible crush on when she worked with him in California. When Duncan shows up he is nothing like he used to be and she grows to wish that he had never come to Galveston. I really enjoyed the camaraderie between the teachers and the vulnerable, romantic characters that the author created in Sam and Duncan. It was entertaining from beginning to end. This is a light, funny, inspirational tale of what happens when you get what you think you want.

Want another book review? Check out The Green Dress.

Audiobook Review – The Giver of Stars

If you love a good audiobook, then this is something you should check out. I’ve included my audiobook review of The Giver of Stars at the bottom of this blog post. The book is beautifully narrated by Julia Whelan. It involves a group of women on packhorses to deliver much-needed reading material to people in the hills of Kentucky.

Audiobook Review of The Giver of Stars

About The Giver of Stars

From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England.  But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. 

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond. 

My Audiobook Review

The Giver of Stars is a well-told story that takes place in the mountains of Kentucky in the late 1930s. The WPA has instituted pack-horse libraries in order to share books to people living high up in the Kentucky mountains. A group of women from different backgrounds ride into the mountains and distribute books to homes on a weekly basis.

The story features the moonshiner’s daughter who doesn’t care what other people think of her. Then there is a British bride who finds herself in an unloving family. Her father-in-law runs the local mine in a brutal manner. The story also features an accomplished librarian, but because of her color is not allowed to ride out and deliver books. There are so many delightful stories within the overall story and the audiobook was beautifully performed by Julia Whelan. The Giver of Stars will greatly affect your sleep if you put it on before bed. Trust me, I know.

Side Note:

There is a plagiarism controversy over The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I haven’t read the latter but plan to in the future. I really enjoyed The Giver of Stars and need more information.

Read my Audiobook Review of The Dutch House

Seeing Doggone Double

Between Saharan dust and social distancing, we will be spending our Fourth inside. How about you? If you are looking for a Fourth of July mystery, Doggone Dead takes you to Pecan Bayou on that special weekend with fireworks, exploding port-a-potties, a beauty pageant and a cowboy ghost! The stuff of great literature.

Find out about my Fourth of July mystery!

But wait, there’s more! I recently found out Kensington Publishing has a book of the same name coming out! I enjoyed meeting Dane McCaslin at a writer’s conference a couple of years back. (Remember meeting in large groups and not worrying about the guy coughing upfront?) When I noticed she had a book with the same title, I thought this would be a great way to celebrate both of them, and how great minds think alike.

First thing you need to know…

Doggone Dead by Dane McCaslin comes out on August 25th, 2020.

Book Description

Retired high school teacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet valet business with her BFF, and a whole new leash on life. But a killer is about to come sniffing around . . .
 
Gwen Franklin is looking forward to spending her retirement drinking her favorite coffee and reading mystery novels. Those peaceful plans are brought to heel by her best friend, Nora. Sporting stiletto heels, leggings, and a “more is better” makeup routine, fifty-something Nora Goldstein has a penchant for marrying—and divorcing—rich men. Now that Gwen’s got free time, Nora figures they should start a dog-walking and pet-sitting service together.
 
But it’s far from a walk in the park when the corpse of Linda Fletcher is found in Nora’s kitchen. Linda was Nora’s nemesis, and the large knife protruding from her chest points to murder. With no doubt that her bestie’s being framed, Gwen puts her sleuthing skills—acquired from reading every Agatha Christie mystery—to the test as she digs through suspects, including four disgruntled ex-husbands, ten greedy ex-stepchildren, not to mention all her exes’ exes. But with death threats and another body surfacing, can Gwen curb a killer before her own (dog) days come to an end?

You just never know what’s going to happen when you walk the dog–in a cozy mystery!

Here is the link to preorder Dane MacCaslin’s Doggone Dead

Dane McCaslin resides in the state of Arizona with her very patient husband. She has been writing all of her life: poetry, short stories, journals, letters (yes, those old-fashioned epistles that require pen and paper), and now she brings her talents to the cozy mystery genre.

In addition to being an author, Dane McCaslin is a retired high school teacher. Being an educator is still an important part of her life, and passing on her passion for reading and writing is one of her great joys.

If you want to know more about Dane you can visit her website here.

Book Review: The Green Dress

If you love watching the true crime on the ID channel then The Green Dress, part of the True Colors Series, might interest you. This is a historical mystery based on a true crime in the 1880s. Why are so many people from the same household dying mysterious deaths?

Book Description:

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History
True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through a unique stories of historical romantic suspense. Collect them all and be inspired by the hope that always finds its way even in the darkest of times.
 
When Harriet Peters came to Boston in 1882, the Robinson family took her in like one of their own, and Harriet became closer to Lizzie Robinson than her own siblings. Now, four years later, Lizzie is deathly sick, failing quickly just like several others in her family have done over the past few years. How can so many in one family die from the same mysterious illness? Harriet doesn’t have answers, but she is determined to help the family, bringing in a new-to-the-neighborhood doctor, Michael Wheaton.
           As Harriet and Michael close in on the answer, putting their own lives at risk, can the cause be found before anyone else dies?

My Review

The Green Dress by Liz Tolsma is a true crime that takes place in the 1880s that has been fictionalized. A beautiful hatmaker Harriet Peters offers to help the Robinson family as member after member dies of a mysterious ailment. She confides in Doctor Micheal Wheaton who has secrets of his own and together they try to find the answer to the deaths. Harriet’s loyalty to the family frustrated me sometimes but because they saved her from a life on the streets, this was her way of paying them back. This is part of the True Colors Series that looks at different true crimes with a Christian focus. The pace really gets going at the end and you won’t be able to put it down. Also, keep an eye on the green dress. Great!

I obtained this book through Net Galley and have left an honest review.

Die a Yellow Ribbon Free Today Only

You have until midnight tonight and then the free download of Die a Yellow Ribbon is over. This has been a fun week and I want to thank all of you who took the opportunity to download my book as well as the bloggers and readers who let me know they can’t wait to go on an amazing race to find the clues to the Golden Pecan.

HERE IS THE DOWNLOAD LINK

If you loved the mystery

and followed the clues,

writers succeed

when they get those reviews!

Here are my tour stops today!

June 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 19 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

Only Two Days Left for a Free Copy of Die a Yellow Ribbon

What inspired me to write Die a Yellow Ribbon? Reading the book, The Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I talk more about it over at Ashcroft, eh today. My family can tell you I drove them all crazy after reading this guide to organization. I organized every closet and drawer in the house which meant no one could find anything.

Notice the sock drawer on the cover? I think this is the first time I told a cover artist to include something like that!

If you haven’t downloaded the book for free yet,

HERE’S THE DOWNLOAD LINK.

We’ve hit over a thousand downloads in the last few days! Tell a friend! Tell your mother-in-law. Stop people on the streets–maintaining social distance.

Here are the stops on the blog tour today!

June 18 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 18 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST

Die a Yellow Ribbon Still Free and Still on Tour!

Today one of the characters from Die a Yellow Ribbon, Bunny Donaldson, Pecan Bayou’s only Eco-Warrior is doing a guest post over at Thoughts in Progress. When you go visit, be sure to hide those plastic bags and water bottles if you don’t intend to recycle them.

When I wrote the character of Bunny, I clearly saw the actress Sissy Spacek in my mind. The braid, the sunhat, the look of a woman who takes care of herself naturally, with a little crazy on the side.

Here are my tour stops today and if you haven’t picked up your free download yet, here is the link.

FREE DOWNLOAD OF DIE A YELLOW RIBBON.

Today’s Tour Stops

June 17 – Thoughts in Progress – A Visit with Bunny Donaldson, Eco-Warrior

June 17 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Die a Yellow Ribbon Free and Rising Fast on Amazon

Die a Yellow Ribbon is in the top twenty free cozy mysteries on Amazon! Thank you for all the downloads! If you haven’t downloaded it yet,

HERE’S THE DOWNLOAD LINK.

First, I want to say I was overwhelmed by the many notes of thanks from readers yesterday. Wow. I saved them all, and thank you for taking the time to write to me.

On with the tour! I hope you brought a lunch because we have 4 stops today!

June 16 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

June 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

June 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

Free Cozy Mystery June 15-19

Die a Yellow Ribbon is FREE on Kindle from June 15-19 so click here and get your free download from Amazon!

But wait, there’s more! I’m on tour this week at some of my favorite blogs. There are interviews, character interviews, and guest posts! Today I’m being spotlighted at I’m All About Books and Christy’s Cozy Corners and interviewed at The Pulp and Mystery Shelf.

                               Stop by and leave me a comment!

 

Die a Yellow Ribbon (Pecan Bayou Mystery)

Betsy Fitzpatrick, a local helpful hints columnist, feels she has found her own personal guru after reading a book on organizing. Her beloved town of Pecan Bayou is competing in the Annual Golden Pecan Treasure Hunt in the suffocating heat of a Texas summer. The prize is a cruise out of Galveston, and Betsy’s husband Leo is looking forward to a little alone time with his wife, if they can only win it.

After a curious accident and an unsolved murder, Betsy finds it takes more than a precision sock drawer to spark her joy. No matter how neat and organized it might be, murder is always messy.

Die a Yellow Ribbon features the cast of loveable characters from Pecan Bayou including Ruby Green from The Best Little Hairhouse in Texas, Mrs. Thatcher the dispatcher, and Lester Jibbets the port-a-potty king. Come along and follow the clues to find the Golden Pecan.

Recipes and helpful hints included!

Purchase Link – Amazon – THE BOOK WILL BE FREE DURING THE TOUR!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

June 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 15 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT

June 16 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

June 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

June 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 – Thoughts in Progress – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 17 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 18 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

June 18 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST

June 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 19 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

June 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Book Review: A Study in Murder

So, you dump your fiancé. What’s the worst that could happen? Lady Amy Lovell could answer that one for you! Today we have a historical mystery that centers around a mystery book club. I really enjoyed it, so scroll down and read my review!

A mystery author is charged with murder–and the plot thickens faster than anyone can turn the pages–in USA Today bestselling author Callie Hutton’s new series debut, perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Ellery Adams.

Bath, England, 1890. Mystery author Lady Amy Lovell receives an anonymous letter containing shocking news: her fiancé, Mr. Ronald St. Vincent, has been dabbling in something illegal, which causes her to promptly break their engagement.

Two evenings later, as Lady Amy awaits a visit from Lord William Wethington, fellow member of the Bath Mystery Book Club, her former fiancé makes an unexpected and most unwelcome appearance at her house. She promptly sends him to the library to cool his heels but later discovers the room seemingly empty–until she stumbles upon a dead Mr. St. Vincent with a knife in his chest.

Lord Wethington arrives to find Lady Amy screaming and sends for the police, but the Bobbies immediately assume that she is the killer. Desperate to clear her name, Lady Amy and Lord Wethington launch their own investigation–and stir up a hornet’s nest of suspects, from the gardener who served time in prison for murder to a vengeful woman who was spurned by St. Vincent before he proposed to Lady Amy.

Can they close the book on the case before the real killer gets away with murder?

My Review

Lady Amy, who is secretly a successful mystery writer loves to attend her weekly book group and talk about the latest mysteries with her friend Lord William. Amy has been set up in an engagement with Mr. Ronald St. Vincent but after she ends the engagement they find him dead in her library. She then has to use her mystery-writing skills to find St. Vincent’s murderer before the police decide it was her. I enjoyed this Victorian mystery and the team of Lady Amy and Lord William. The plot moved along and the characters were interesting and propelled the story forward. Lady Amy had plenty of obstacles as she attempted to be a moving force in a society that does not yet value women’s involvement in such matters. This is a fun historical mystery with a nice touch of romance. I obtained this book from Net Galley and have left an honest review.

Book Review: The Wedding Dress

Here we are in June and there is nothing like a great story about a wedding, more specifically a wedding dress. Not just any wedding dress, but a couture creation made in 1929, all sewn and beaded by hand. This dress was so special that the bride traveled from San Francisco to Paris to have it made. I can’t imagine putting that much time, expense, and effort into acquiring a dress, but I’ve never lived in a mansion on Knob Hill in San Francisco. Scroll down to read more about Danielle Steel’s, The Wedding Dress and my review!

Description:

From the glamorous San Francisco social scene of the 1920s, through war and the social changes of the ’60s, to the rise of Silicon Valley today, this extraordinary novel takes us on a family odyssey that is both heartbreaking and inspiring, as each generation faces the challenges of their day.
 
The Parisian design houses in 1928, the crash of 1929, the losses of war, the drug culture of the 1960s—history holds many surprises, and lives are changed forever. For richer or for poorer, in cramped apartments and grand mansions, the treasured wedding dress made in Paris in 1928 follows each generation into their new lives, and represents different hopes for each of them, as they marry very different men.
 
From inherited fortunes at the outset to self-made men and women, the wedding dress remains a cherished constant for the women who wear it in each generation and forge a destiny of their own. It is a symbol of their remaining traditions and the bond of family they share in an ever-changing world.

My Review:

This was the story of a couture wedding dress that was created before the big crash of 1929 and continues being used by generations of women in the same family. Something Danielle Steele is good at is writing romances and she created not one but three love stories. Each of the women endures trials and tribulations finding true love as the decades go by from the stock market crash of ’29 to the age of computer whizzes and house-flippers. This is a good one. I highly recommend it.

Book Review: Murder She Wrote: The Murder of Twelve

You know I love my Jessica and she’s back with a wedding party stuck in a blizzard. Brrrr and just as it’s starting to heat up in South Texas. Seth and Mort Metzger are back but Jessica spends most of her time solving this one with Seamus the ex-constable from Ireland. This one definitely has the “And Then There Were None” vibe to it.

Description

   Still staying at the Hill House hotel while her beloved home is being rebuilt, Jessica Fletcher finds herself sharing the space for a weekend with a dozen members of a wedding party who have gathered there for a rehearsal dinner. The families of the bride and groom can’t stand each other but have agreed to put aside years of long-simmering tension to celebrate the nuptials.

     Unfortunately, weather forecasters underestimated the severity of a storm that turns into a historic blizzard that dumps nearly five feet of snow on Cabot Cove, leaving everyone stranded.

     But the hotel guests have bigger things to worry about than bad weather conditions and potential cold feet, because a murderer has shown up uninvited–one who has vowed to take them down one by one….

My Review

Jessica Fletcher is still living in a hotel while she is having her house remodeled. She stumbles into a wedding party in the middle of a blizzard that has both Seth and Mort unable to get to her. This story has a classic feel to it, with members of a wedding party being killed off one by one in a deadly storm. There were plenty of red herrings in this mystery, and I’m still not sure whether I liked who the murderer was. Notable mentions: Seamus the Irish ex-constable and the numbers on the clock. Murder of Twelve is a great mystery to settle in with, especially in the middle of a snowstorm.

Click Here to Find The Murder of Twelve at Your Favorite Online Retailer

I obtained this title through Net Galley and have left an honest review.

Audiobook Review: The Dutch House

The Dutch House is still on the New York Times Best Seller list, and after listening to the audiobook, I can see why. Have you ever had a house that had a personality of its own? The house I presently live in was formerly owned by a NASA engineer, and there are some unusual DIY methods as well as a lovely cookbook holder built into a cabinet. Sometimes I look at my house and think of the scene in Apollo 13 where they had to make an air filter out of a sock. Yeah. The Dutch House is a historic home filled with incredible details left by the first family. You would think most people would love to live in this house, but you’d be wrong.

Tom Hanks narrates the Dutch House and he was perfect for the part. Of course, there were a couple of times when I kept thinking–There’s no crying in baseball–but wow, what a performance.

The Dutch House Audio Book Cover
Where to find this audiobook

Description:

“‘Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?’ I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.”

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

My Review- 5 Stars

 Something about this audiobook had me from the first sentence. This is a story of a family whose life is changed when the father chooses to move them into a historic home called the Dutch House. It is beautifully narrated by Tom Hanks, who has the right voice for Danny and narration style that seamlessly takes us through years with these characters. The story illustrates how knowing one’s family but not really understanding them can lead to pain and mistrust. I  highly recommend The Dutch House.

Book Review: Mousse and Murder

Creative people have been known to be explosive and that includes chefs at diners. Think about that last argument you had which now seems harmless. It didn’t happen that way in Elizabeth Logan’s new mystery Mousse and Murder.

Description

When Chef Charlotte “Charlie” Cooke was offered the chance to leave San Francisco and return home to Elkview, Alaska, and take over her mother’s diner, she didn’t even consider saying no. For the past year, she’s built a comfortable existence, spending her days making sure the restaurant runs smoothly and that her cat, Eggs Benedict, is appropriately pampered. But soon life at the diner starts feeling a little one-note.

Determined to bring fresh life and flavors to the Bear Claw Diner, Charlie starts planning changes to the menu, which has grown stale over the years. But her plans are fried when her head chef, Oliver turns up dead after a bitter and public fight over Charlie’s ideas—leaving Charlie as the prime suspect. 

With her career, freedom, and life all on thin ice, Charlie must find out who the real killer is, before it’s too late.

Click Here to see all the purchasing options for Mousse and Murder

My Review

In Elkview Alaska, Charlie Cooke has taken over the BearClaw Cafe. She argues with her chef, and then he turns up dead. Mousse and Murder is a first in this series, and I enjoyed the Alaska characters and the limitations of the landscape. There are some red herrings and plot twists, and if you are familiar with the world of cozies, having one set in Alaska is interesting. I enjoyed the interaction with the cat and the fact local law enforcement deputizes her to help out in the investigation. This bodes well for upcoming books!

Noticing the new look? Yes, we’re all doing DIY projects in quarantine, and this is my little home within my home. I’ve retitled the blog, Books to the Ceiling, so I can tell you about more books, but don’t worry, there will be plenty of updates on my books.

Cozy Mystery Review: Pumpkin Spice Peril

Ever had a friend start acting crazy for no reason? But there is a reason, isn’t there? That’s what happens in Pumpkin Spice Peril and the book I’m reviewing today.

Must.Have.Cupcakes….

Description:

Life is all sugar and spice for the Fairy Tale Cupcake bakers–Melanie Cooper is engaged to the delectable Joe DeLaura, Angie Harper and her husband Tate are savoring married life, and the bakery is bustling with happy customers. Until one of their most valued cupcake connoisseurs ends up dead.

Local glass artist and cupcake lover Rene Fischer-Klein has always suffered from a wide variety of health issues. In an effort to cheer her up, her doting husband, Peter, brings her a four-pack of her favorite cupcakes every week. But when the police discover that Rene has been poisoned, there’s no sugarcoating the fact that the last things she ate were the bakery’s signature pumpkin spice cupcakes! With their lives and bakery at stake, it’s up to Mel and Angie to find out who poisoned their artist friend and why, before their future is frosted for good.

Visits Jenn’s website to find your favorite online retailer to purchase Pumpkin Spice Peril.

My Review:

Mel, the owner of Fairy Tale Cupcakes, is all ready to deliver cupcakes to her friend Rene’s glass art show when she finds her friend angry, crazy, and insanely jealous. Something isn’t right with her old friend, but Mel never gets the chance to find out. As Mel navigates the investigation with her fiancee Joe, she finds herself at the top of the police’s suspect list because of a crazy encounter with the victim. Mel is surrounded by friends and family including her Uncle Stan on the police force. This is the twelfth book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series and the author takes some time to catch up new readers to make it easy to read. Favorite Line: Life is beautiful but so very fragile.

I obtained this book through Net Galley and have left an honest review.

Let’s Talk Cozies on Cozy Ink Podcast

Today I’m being interviewed over at Cozy Ink Podcast by author Leah Bailey. If you want to know about my writing process or learn more about the creation of Pecan Bayou or Piney Woods you might want to listen in over at Cozy Ink. Do you listen to podcasts? They’re a great way to catch up on things that interest you. I’m addicted to the true-crime podcasts like Nightline and 2020, of course, but they have them for everything from politics to bird watching.

GO TO COZY INK PODCAST INTERVIEW OF TERESA TRENT

A Dash of Murder Audiobook on Audible!

A Dash of Murder the audiobook can now be found on Amazon.com through Audible. If you acquire audiobooks through Audible, here’s your chance to pick it up!

Buy this Audiobook on Audible

This is my first mystery and the first time I explored the world of paranormal ghost hunts. If you haven’t read the Pecan Bayou Series this is an excellent introduction to my little town in Texas as you listen to the talented voice actor, Reagan Boggs.

Buy this Audiobook on Audible

A Saturday Surprise: Seas the Day-A New Series from Maggie Toussaint #Giveaway

Seas the Day (A Seafood Capers Mystery)
by Maggie Toussaint

 

Maggie Toussaint has a new series out and it’s all about seafood! Yum! And Murder! Yikes! Check out Seas the Day and don’t forget to scroll down and enter her giveaway. 

About Seas the Day

Caterer River Holloway cooks like a dream and is known on Shell Island as a “finder” of things. Which is why a desperate mother begs River to track down her grown son, Chili Bolz, who’s vanished.

Deputy Lance Hamlyn can’t find the missing man, so he teams up with River. The missing person case boils over into something frightening when Chili’s mother falls victim to a brutal assault. Worse, her dying words incriminate River’s friends in both kidnapping and, now, murder. River soon finds herself caught in an unsavory recipe for disaster.

Despite catering events and the return of her absentee boyfriend, River finds the number of suspects growing longer than her food shopping list. Along the way she befriends a black cat who becomes her crime-solving partner. River must locate Chili and discover who killed his mother before her own goose is quite literally cooked.

Maggie Toussaint serves up a fun and captivating read in Seas the Day, the first in her Seafood Capers series.

                                Purchase Seas the Day — Amazon

About the Author

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with twenty fiction novels published. A three-time finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won three Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at https://maggietoussaint.com/

Author Links

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Booklover’s Bench | Amazon Author Central | Website | Bookbub

 

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Staging Wars

 

If you are like me, you’ve been staring at those walls while social distancing and thinking. How can I make this place look better? Well, Grace Topping brings us the second book in her Laura Bishop Mystery Series: Staging Wars! Not only do you have a great mystery to solve, but she gives you tips on interior design. Read below to find out more and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a print copy of Staging Wars!

 

About Staging Wars


Staging Wars (A Laura Bishop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (April 28, 2020)

Laura Bishop’s new home staging business is growing in popularity, though not with her nemesis. Laura has long suspected established interior designer Monica Heller of sabotaging her fledgling company—and having an affair with her late husband.

When the ultra-chic Monica is caught at the scene of a murder, Laura is plenty happy to imagine her languishing in a prison cell with bedsheets far from her normal 600-thread Egyptian cotton. But her delight is short-lived.

When Laura’s friends land on the police’s radar, Laura must overcome her dislike of Monica to help solve the crime. Not an easy task since Laura and Monica have been at war since the second grade.

Find Staging Wars at these online retailers – Amazon   B&N   Kobo

My Review: 4 Stars

Staging Wars is about the sometimes beautiful, sometimes treacherous world of home staging and interior design. Our amateur sleuth, Laura Bishop, is trying to solve a mystery and clear the name of a competing designer. I liked that the reader is thrown directly into a murder mystery in the first chapter. It was fun to watch the interactions between Laura and Detective Alex Spangler. I’m sure there will be more to come on that romantic plotline. The author has put tips on staging a home at the beginning of each chapter. Laura has a great cast of supporting characters, and I would highly recommend this book by Grace Topping. Staging Wars is the second book in the Laura Bishop series but can stand alone.

About Grace Topping

Grace Topping is a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. She’s using her experience helping friends stage their homes for sale as inspiration for her Laura Bishop mystery series. The series is about a woman starting a new career midlife as a home stager. The first book in the series, Staging is Murder, is a 2019 Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. Grace is the former vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.

Author Links

Website – https://www.gracetopping.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/gtoppingauthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GraceToppingAuthor

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomgracetopping

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/staging-wars-by-grace-topping

 

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Audiobook Sale!

Even if you’ve read the first book in the Pecan Bayou Series, you haven’t experienced it until you’ve heard it read by Nashville musician Reagan Boggs. Her smokey tones and grasp of character bring out the suspense and humor of life in Pecan Bayou, Texas.

Click Here to Buy This Book on CHIRP

Click Here to Buy This Book on Itunes

Description:

When Betsy’s Aunt Maggie wants to drag her along on a ghost hunting excursion at the local abandoned tuberculosis hospital she isn’t sure if she quite believes in ghosts. When she comes upon a fresh spirit in the form of a body, she starts to rethink about what really is haunting the hospital.

Betsy must solve the murder in spite of her father, who is a lieutenant on the Pecan Bayou Police Force, town citizens worried about the effect of the occult on their children, and handsome stranger from Dallas. How do you get blood out of a silk blouse? Betsy Livingston can tell you in her newspaper column, “The Happy Hinter”. When she’s not writing, or taking care of her young son, she’s busy solving mysteries in the tiny Texas town of Pecan Bayou.

5 Stars I loved this book. A quick and quirky read. Had me guessing right up till the end. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to have a good time.

5 Stars– I have loved Teresa Trent since reading the Happy Homicides Series. Great to read her first full-length novel. I loved it

This book is not yet available on Audible.

Chirp is an audiobook distributor with great sales on audiobooks. You can download the app from your phone and catch the daily deals.

Book Review: A Stroke of Malice

One thing about maintaining social distance is that you can get as close as you want with all of the wonderful characters the world of fiction offers. Today I’m reviewing a Regency mystery that takes place in 1832. Wouldn’t it be fun to go to a party, and everyone gets an assigned role and a costume to wear? Better yet, what if everyone drew a mystery character or an author to portray? I would, of course, be Jessica from Murder She Wrote or possibly Dr. Ogden from Murdoch Mysteries. Who would you want to be?

Here’s some more information about my latest read, A Stroke of Malice.

Description:

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are looking forward to celebrating with new friends at an exciting yearly soiree, but they soon learn that murder never takes a holiday in the latest riveting installment in this national bestselling series.

January 1832. After enjoying a delightful few weeks with her family, expectant mother Kiera and Sebastian Gage have been invited to the Duchess of Bowmontʼs Twelfth Night party in Traquair, Scotland. Though she normally avoids such fashionable, rambunctious events, Kiera is ready to join in the festive merrymaking. But upon their arrival at the opulent estate, it becomes obvious that all is not merry in their hostess’s home. The family appears to be under a great strain, and someone seems determined to cause mayhem among the guests with a series of forged notes.

Matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the partygoers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castleʼs crypt. The corpse is thought to be the duchessʼs son-in-law who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage soon realize that a ruthless murderer walks among them—and may well be a member of the duchessʼs own family. And when the investigation takes a treacherous turn, Kiera discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day.

My Review: 4 Stars

It is 1832, and Lady Kiera Darby, who is a portrait painter and six months pregnant, attends a Twelfth Night Party with her husband, Sebastian Gage. All of the attendees dress up in costume after being assigned roles while drinking and carousing. Keira and Gage have a reputation for solving crimes along with their maid and valet, which comes in handy when they discover a party in the Doom, which is the crypt of the castle. There are many characters and many layers to the mystery. This is mostly because being married in this aristocratic society didn’t mean you had to be loyal to that person. I enjoyed the mystery, found it easy to pick up on the clues and the unraveling of the motives. If you like Regency romance and mystery, you might enjoy this one.

I hope you are staying safe and healthy. ~Teresa

A Visit with Dominic the Paranormal Investigator

Today, I am excited to present Dominic Fazio, the front desk clerk at The Tunie Hotel and paranormal investigator extraordinaire. He is a character from Die Die Blackbird, the third book in the Piney Woods Cozy Mystery Series. Leave your ghost story in the comments in Dominic will give his professional opinion!

Take it away, Dominic!

Yo! Dominic Fazio here, the front desk clerk at the historic Tunie Hotel in Piney Woods, Texas. Nora Alexander, a part-owner of the hotel, let me talk to you today to make up for all of the liberties I took during the latest installment of the Piney Woods Mystery Series, Die Die Blackbird. So, if you got a problem with me talking to you and not that redhead, Nora…forget about it. Did I mention I was full-blooded Italian?

Believe it or not, I came to the Tunie Hotel for one reason, and that wasn’t to hand out room keys and wish people a nice day. I am a paranormal enthusiast. I’ve done some ghost hunting in my day, and when I found out Jack and Daisy Foley, hosts of the online sensation, Paranormal Party, were coming to Piney Woods to talk to the ghost of Sam Houston, batta bing, batta boom, baby. I was only too happy to add my level of expertise.

You see, our boy Sam had a girlfriend named Winifred at the Red Ruth Inn back in the day. They called it an inn, but it was really a brothel. I know, I know you won’t find this story in the history books, but we got the inside track, you know what I mean? Jack and Daisy figure he might have told her about some missing loot from the battle of Santa Anna. So not only is there the paranormal side to all of this, there’s a load of dough just begging to be found. We located the site of the brothel, and would you believe it? They tore it down, and now there’s a parking lot on top of it.

Don’t you worry about that. Ol’ Dominic has a few tricks up his sleeve. Wouldn’t it be great if the basement of the brothel still existed? The air would be thick with spirits from the other side.

Nora can tell you I took a few unscheduled days off and maybe took up meeting rooms at the hotel that were meant for the quilting ladies, but seriously? Quilts or a chance to visit with someone on the other side. Is it even a question?

So, yeah, I hope to show you more in the pages of Die Die Blackbird. I’ve written a little poem to “encourage” you.

You wanna buy it?

Click below- cause the book ain’t slow

It’s full of ghosts

Murder, quilts, and dough

Thanks for reading this,

Dominic Fazio

Front Desk Clerk

Paranormal Adventurer

Dominic Graphic Credit: Play Rainbow Kids

And Now for the Winners…

Congratulations to Karen who won a free e-copy of Die Die Blackbird and to Sharon who won a $20 Amazon gift card!

Karen and Sharon? The Rhyming Winners! (Next week- Bill and Phil, Jane and Elaine, Tamika and Lamika.)

I hope you are doing well, staying safe and reading lots of books. As a special treat, tomorrow we will have a visit from Dominic Fazio, the front desk clerk at The Tunie Hotel and paranormal enthusiast. He has quite a good time in Die Die Blackbird attempting to contact the ghost of Sam Houston and he can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Leave your ghost stories in the comments tomorrow and Dominic will give you his professional opinion. (Not as a front desk clerk, but a ghost hunter!)

Die Die Blackbird Blog Tour Starts Monday

So, I’ve had this blog tour scheduled for about a month. What I didn’t expect was for so many people to be at home during this time. My son with Down syndrome has had pneumonia many times so he is in the high-risk group for the virus and we’re not taking any chances. Needless to say, we’re at home and he is bored. One of his favorite things to do is go through automatic car washes so I’ll probably go through the car wash several times in the next week!

I’ll be sending out my newsletter with my tour information and if you are not on my mailing list you can subscribe here. I hope you’ll be careful and stay safe, and if I don’t get right back on your comments I’m probably sitting in my car watching the rainbow-colored soap drip down my windows. ~Teresa

About Die Die Blackbird


Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (January 14, 2020)
Paperback: 210 pages

Nora Alexander is finding her job exciting as she welcomes paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley to the Tunie Hotel. They are trying to contact the ghost of Sam Houston not only for their internet production but because it is reported there is a stash of Santa Anna’s gold hidden somewhere. They are operating on the theory that Sam Houston visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods and locate Red Ruth Inn where a parking lot now stands. Not only do these two stir the spirit world, but they also bother some of the town’s most established citizens including the town’s quilting group who doesn’t appreciate their overtaking of the hotel with ghost hunting equipment.

When a townsperson is murdered with suspected ties to the local gang, The Alamo Runners, Nora finds herself wanting to protect his wife and daughter all the while getting cryptic messages from beyond. Jack and Daisy aren’t the only ones with a connection to the other side.

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

March 17 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

March 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews –  REVIEW

March 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 19 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

March 20 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 20 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

Book Review: Death with a Dark Red Rose

You have to know nothing good will come of a giant corporation named Plastisource in a little town, but that’s not all that’s going on in this cozy mystery. This week I’m reviewing one from the Writer’s Apprentice Series by Julia Buckley.

Book Description:

Lena is starting to feel like having it all may actually be possible! She and suspense novelist Camilla Graham are busily plotting their next novel and she’s got a brand-new diamond ring on her finger thanks to her fiancé, Sam West. The only blot on her Blue Lake life is a strange new corporation that has come to town called Plastisource. They seem to be intent on gobbling up prime real estate and changing the landscape of Lena’s lovely adopted home.

Visit Julia’s website to see the entire series and purchase Death with a Dark Red Rose.

My Review

This was the first mystery I’ve read in this series. Newly engaged Lena London works for novelist Camilla Graham. When a friend goes missing, they meet her slightly different brother who tells them of a friend that has disappeared. It sounds complicated, but it was very easy to read and I really liked the character of Carl and how he was brought into the story. Lena and company set out to find out about the missing man and the mystery goes from there. I enjoyed the story, the supportive ways the characters acted toward one another and the pacing. I look forward to reading other books in this series.

Get Ready for the Die Die Blackbird Tour!

Don’t you love the quilt on the cover? Now, you may ask yourself why are there blackbirds? Because Sam Houston’s Native American name was blackbird. Intrigued? Here’s a little more about the book.

Nora Alexander is finding her job exciting as she welcomes paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley to the Tunie Hotel. They are trying to contact the ghost of Sam Houston not only for their internet production but because it is reported there is a stash of Santa Anna’s gold hidden somewhere. They are operating on the theory that Sam Houston visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods and locate Red Ruth Inn where a parking lot now stands. Not only do these two stir the spirit world, but they also bother some of the town’s most established citizens including the town’s quilting group who doesn’t appreciate their overtaking of the hotel with ghost hunting equipment.

When a townsperson is murdered with suspected ties to the local gang, The Alamo Runners, Nora finds herself wanting to protect his wife and daughter all the while getting cryptic messages from beyond. Jack and Daisy aren’t the only ones with a connection to the other side.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THIS BOOK

My Book Tour Hosts! Spotlight means they are featuring the book that day. There are also reviews, interviews, and some characters sharing their two bits.

Hope to see you there and don’t forget to enter the giveaway while you visit their sites!

March 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

March 17 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

March 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 17 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 18 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews –  REVIEW

March 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 19 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

March 20 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 20 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

A Valentine and A Book Review: Field Guide to Homicide

Happy Valentine’s Day! I grew up in Loveland, Colorado, so you can bet Valentine’s Day was a pretty big deal. Hot air balloons, a Miss Valentine, and even a signature Valentine card each year that people all over the country ordered and sent through our post office to their loved ones. When I wrote my novella, A Heart for Murder, I was channeling all that pink and red goodness from growing up in Loveland.

If you are not a member of my mailing list yet and would like a free copy of the novella A Heart for Murder, then click here to sign up for your free book!

Onto my Friday cozy mystery review! I read and really like A Field Guide to Homicide, mostly because it was about writers. Sometimes I feel like being a writer is akin to being the mother of a special needs child. Very few people understand what problems and joys you face in your journey. Author Lynn Cahoon writes her series with writers trying to get agents and working through drafts, editing, plotting. If you aren’t a writer, you get a pretty accurate picture of the job.

Here is my Review:

This is the first book I’ve read in this series and greatly enjoyed the atmosphere created by Cahoon at the writer’s retreat. If you are a writer or just love to read, you like these people. They bounce around the mechanics of writing along with agents and the business side of the job. The writers find the body of a man thought dead years ago and mystery begins there. This cozy mystery not only gives you a puzzle to solve but a chance to spend some time with interesting people.

More about this book:

Cat’s sweetheart, Seth, is going all out on an outing into the local mountains—for the benefit of the writing group Cat’s hosting at her Colorado B&B. But when they try to identify some plant and animal life, they find death instead. The body belongs to a man with a gold claim a few miles away. Instead of striking it rich, he’s been struck down.
 
To his surprise, Seth recognizes the victim from his military days—and up to now believed he’d already died during his last tour of duty. Now Cat has to solve this mystery before the killer takes a hike . . .

Where to get a Field Guide to Homicide

Book Review: A View to a Kilt

Time to head to snowy Maine to the wee town of Moosetookalook. I say “wee” because the mystery centers around the Scottish Emporium where you can find kilts in all colors and sizes. This is the 13th book in the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mystery Series and full of cute little dogs, mysteries from the past and evil corporate conglomerate. Perfect for a snowy afternoon.

A series of blizzards have kept tourists away from Moosetookalook, Maine, and shoppers out of Liss MacCrimmon’s Scottish Emporium. But as warmer weather brings promises of tartan sales and new faces, melting snow reveals cold-blooded murder . . .

Liss has suddenly found herself in charge of the March Madness Mud Season Sale, a town-wide celebration created to boost the local economy during the slushy weeks of early spring. With businesses ailing after a rough winter, the pressure is on to make this year’s effort the can’t-miss-event of the season. But before Liss can get her hands dirty, her husband makes a horrifying discovery. There’s a dead man on their property, and he didn’t die of natural causes . . .

Visit Kaitlyn Dunnet’s Website to order from your favorite online retailer.

My Review

It’s a snowy time in Moosetookalook where Liss and Dan are dogsitting two Scotties, Dandy and Doni. Liss runs a specialty gift store and Dan is on the way to his carpentry shop when they discover a dead body in the garden. Liss immediately recognizes something familiar about the dead man, but can’t figure out what. It seems he is someone from her father’s past who has come back to town for a reason. This is the thirteenth book in this series, but my first time enjoying these characters and the little town of Moosetookalook, Maine. I would recommend this if you are a cozy mystery fan.

Pecan Bayou Mystery Series

Book Review: Death Comes to the Nursery

Click on the book cover to go to Catherine’s website to order from your favorite retailer.

This week we are traveling back in time Regency England where Lady Lucy has found she is expecting her second child. What to do? Hire a nursery attendant–who is drop-dead gorgeous.

Here is my review-

Death Comes to the Nursery is a part of the Kurland St. Mary Mystery Series. Lady Lucy and Sir Robert hire an attractive young girl to become a nursery attendant for their 18-month-old son. The problem with employing such a beautiful woman is that men begin to flock to her to the point of fighting for her attention. Because this is a mystery, nothing is as it seems, and Lady Lucy and Sir Robert follow the clues and end up investigating the seedier side of the theater scene in London. This is a light enjoyable mystery with a touch of cozy!

I obtained this book through Net Galley and have left an honest review.

Other Exciting News!

Die Die Blackbird is out in ebook and print form! Click here to go to the book page. I will be having a book tour for this third book in the Piney Woods Series in March, so stay tuned for tour stops and PRIZES!

News on My Latest Mystery and a Book Review

Believe it or not, I don’t always read cozy mysteries. I love historical mysteries and women’s fiction. I found this one on Net Galley and just loved it! I put myself on the waiting list for another of her books, The White City.

My Review: Edyth Foster is your average twenty-five year old in the year 1887 who loves fencing and her fencing instructor Bane. She is about to come into her fortune when she is involuntarily committed to an institution. I really enjoyed this story! The romance, pacing, and history were all well done. I would highly recommend it, but set aside some time. You won’t be able to put it down.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO GRACE’S SITE AND ORDER THIS BOOK FROM YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER

Die Die Blackbird is now out in paperback at Amazon which means the ebook is due any day. I loved writing this and taking another trip into the paranormal, or at least the world of the paranormal investigator. Do you believe a ghost can haunt an old hotel? I stayed a night in the hotel The Shining was based on and I would have to say…YES.

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Coming Soon! Die Die Blackbird

I am happy to announce that Die Die Blackbird, the third book in the Piney Woods Series is coming out during the month of January!

The Tunie Hotel in Piney Woods Texas has a few guests that checked in decades ago, and paranormal investigators are here to contact famous Texan Sam Houston.  Who knows what they’ll find when they really start digging?

I had so much fun writing the next adventure for Nora Alexander and of course, couldn’t stop humming the song Bye Bye Blackbird while I wrote it. It is always so fun to delve into the world of the paranormal and decide that gobblygook like blahblahmmmmmugauga means “It is I, the ghost of Sam Houston.” 😉

Stay tuned for purchase details!

Oh Holy Fright-An Excerpt- The Port-a-Potty King is there for Aunt Maggie

As we get closer to Christmas, I wanted to share some of my Christmas mystery, Oh Holy Fright. I love creating characters for my little town, and one of my favorites is Lester Jibbets, the port-a-potty king. I couldn’t think of a funnier thing to make into a business empire than portable toilets, so Lester was born.

In this scene, which is the opening of the book, Aunt Maggie is angry because Joe, the choir director, gave her solo in the Christmas Eve production to another woman who can’t sing. She suspects something fishy is going on and vows never to sing another note.

Excerpt- Oh Holy Fright

 “What would possess Joe Nelson to give the Christmas solo to a woman who sings like a washing machine full of rocks?” Aunt Maggie’s voice echoed in the community center gym, the location hosting many of the neighborhood churches for the Christmas Eve service. Her attitude was in direct contrast to Rudolph’s blinking nose on her fire engine red Christmas sweatshirt.

“Ooh. You better watch out,” Danny whispered in my ear. “When Mama says words like that, it’s best to look busy.” I had just picked up Danny from the Christmas party for people with disabilities held at his adult care center. Today he seemed especially happy for some reason. And from the way he kept giggling, I could tell Danny had a secret he was bursting to tell me.

“Joe!” Aunt Maggie called out.

The choir director, who was busily engaged in a conversation with Enid Sanford—solo-stealer and owner of the voice that sounded like a washing machine full of rocks—didn’t respond.

“Joe!” she bellowed.

When he failed to respond a second time, she stomped back, turned him around by the shoulders, and plopped her slender black music folder into his hands.

“Take it. I can’t sing in a choir where my voice isn’t heard.”

I had to admit, Maggie was one of the better singers in the holiday choir. Some of the other vocalists possessed lesser talent. One time when I was watching Joe’s friend Howard Gunther at the soundboard, I noticed he was turning down certain microphones. It was wonderful these people volunteered, but some of the singers could be described as cats screeching in the night. Enid Sanford was one of those people; when she hit the high C, it could make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Leaving an astonished Joe, Maggie returned to us. “Well, that’s it. You’re hearing it right here and now. I am quitting the Pecan Bayou Singers. They can jingle their bells with somebody else.”

Lester Jibbets, a tall wiry man with protruding cheekbones and the owner of the most successful port-a-potty business in Central Texas, walked over waving a bony hand. “I totally agree, Maggie. What happened here is nothing short of criminal. It will ruin the Christmas Eve performance, uh huh.” He nodded his head to reinforce his point.

“Thanks, Lester,” Maggie said, about to continue her tirade, but Lester just kept talking.

“Yes, sir, I knew right away I needed to come over and help a beautiful lady in trouble, I did.” More nods.

“Thank you, Lester,” Maggie repeated, but this time she waited. Lester Jibbets was not an easy man to shut up once he got started. I guess the portable bathroom business is pretty lonely, even if you’re at the top of your game.

Click Here to Get Your Copy of Oh Holy Fright

Murder, She Encountered-Historical Mystery Review

Let’s head to the World’s Fair in 1939 where Biz Adams, girl reporter is hot on the case. Peg Cochran does a great job helping us all escape to another time, although there do seem to be some people getting killed!

My Review:

Biz Adams, also known as Elizabeth, is working as a photographic journalist along with veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky as they cover the World’s Fair in 1939. Nylon stockings are just coming into use, and a young woman is found dead with one around her neck. I enjoyed the many characters that worked at various booths in the World’s Fair. It set us up with plenty of suspects. There was also a sweet story between Biz and Kaminsky, her work partner, and then a romance with a detective who was not from her social set. Thoroughly enjoyable historical mystery.

A gutsy Manhattan socialite encounters murder and corruption at the World’s Fair in this captivating historical cozy mystery for readers of Victoria Thompson, Susan Elia MacNeal, and Rhys Bowen.

New York City, 1939. A rising star at the Daily Trumpet, Elizabeth “Biz” Adams has been sent to the World’s Fair—billed as the “World of Tomorrow,” a look toward a brighter future even as the drumbeats of war grow louder—to cover a robbery. What she stumbles upon instead is a dead woman, dumped into the Aquacade’s pool with a nylon stocking wrapped around her neck.

Elizabeth snaps a photo as the police arrest Joey Dorman, a gentle young hot dog vendor who made no secret of his obsession with the murder victim. Even though she’s thrilled that her photo makes the front page, the fear and confusion evident on Joey’s face are haunting. So Elizabeth vows to prove his innocence—or his guilt—with her partner at the Daily Trumpet, Ralph Kaminsky. Meanwhile, her romance with Detective Sal Marino is heating up, and Elizabeth is more determined than ever to follow her heart.

But when Kaminsky’s efforts to expose the real killer land him in the hospital, Elizabeth is forced to continue the investigation on her own. And as she tries to narrow down the long list of suspects, she discovers a dark secret running through the Fair—a secret some would kill to protect.

Look for all of Peg Cochran’s delightful mysteries featuring Elizabeth Adams, which can be read together or separately:
MURDER, SHE REPORTED
MURDER, SHE UNCOVERED
MURDER, SHE ENCOUNTERED

Cozy Prizes Friday: Bookmarked for Murder

Let’s get on the bus with Nana Jo and the residents of Shady Acres and go do some gambling! V.M. Burns is back with another great Mystery Bookshop Mystery! Don’t forget to scroll down and enter Valerie’s giveaway and to read my review!

 

About Bookmarked for Murder

Bookmarked for Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series

Amateur sleuth Samantha Washington’s shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .

After some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride, it’s a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead in his seat after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver’s seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions . . .

 

My Review:

Bookmarked for Murder is the second book I’ve read in the Mystery Bookshop Series, and it was like visiting family. I love Nana Jo and the crowd from Shady Acres. I loved Irma with her hooker heels and way of finding a man to flirt with and another resident who seems to be knitting all the time. The main character, Samantha, is not only escorting the group to go gambling, but she also runs a mystery book store and is busily writing a regency mystery novel. During the bus trip, a gentleman who was writing about the death of Robert Kennedy is found dead. Sam, along with her detective boyfriend, set us on a journey to find his killer. There were several times I laughed out loud while reading this book.

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:

Website: http://www.vmburns.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/

Twitter: @vmburns

Purchase Links – AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBoundBooks-A-MillionHudson BooksellersKobo
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Cozy Prizes Friday: Favorite Recipes From Cozy Writers

As we all begin to think about delicious holiday dishes right around the corner, this week’s visiting cozy is a cookbook! Not only that they sent along a couple of recipes! One for Fido and one for you!

Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes

What happens when 128 cozy mystery writers get together to do a cookbook? You get more than 220 recipes that are as varied and interesting as an amateur sleuth’s day job.

Regional recipes come from every part of the United States and England — a couple find their way from Australia and Italy, too — and from diverse times. There are recipes from people looking to keep gluten out of their lives, eat vegetarian, or make a treat or two for their furry four-legged friends. And yes, there are recipes that appeal to the sweet tooth, lots of them, in fact.
There’s no mystery about what happens when cozy writers get together. They bring the wit, inventiveness, and adventure found in their books right along with their recipes.
The recipes are introduced by their authors and linked to the writer bios in the back of the book.
You can look up your favorite cozy writer and see which recipes are their favorites; they’ll tell you what the recipe means to them. Or you can enjoy a dish and then link to the recipe’s author’s biography and books.
Either way you enjoy the cookbook, you’re sure to find great new recipes to make and terrific new cozy authors to read.

What would a cozy mystery be without pets? And what would Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes be with something for those pets? Fortunately Sparkle Abbey and Laurie Cass (Bookmobile Cat Mysteries) shared some of their favorites for the book. Here’s a dog treat.

My Review:

This is a giant cookbook! With 128 cozy writers contributing there are plenty of recipes to whip up. What I liked about this recipe collection was that you get a little insight into each cozy writer’s fictional world. Great recipes like Artery-Clogging Clam Chowder and even treats for your pets. This is a big effort and a great addition to any recipe collection.

Caro’s Good Dog Treats

From the Pampered Pets mystery series by Sparkle Abbey

Carolina Lamont, animal lover and former Texas beauty queen, moved to California after a very nasty and public divorce. With eleven-thousand dogs – more dogs than kids – Laguna Beach seemed like the perfect spot to open a pet therapy business. And it had been, up until she had to catch a killer by the tail. Whether dealing with misbehaving canines or murder suspects, Caro always keeps a few of her homemade dog treats on hand. Here’s Caro’s recipe:

First, preheat your oven to 350° F.

In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients with just enough water to make it the consistency of cookie dough.

1/2 cup of creamy unsalted peanut butter

1 cup oat flour

1 cup brown rice flour (Caro uses organic)

1 egg

1 tablespoon of honey

1/2 cup finely grated carrot (Dogbert , Caro’s dog, loves carrots)

Optional: You can also add cooked bacon, a bit of grated cheese, or other ingredients for flavor, but don’t add too much or it will mess with the consistency of the dough, and cause your treats to fall apart.

Once you’ve got your treat dough all stirred up, put it between pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to about ¼ inch thickness. Then cut the dough with a cookie cutter. You can use whatever shape strikes your fancy. Caro often uses dog bone shapes of different sizes. Next, put them on a regular cookie sheet and bake them between fifteen and twenty minutes or until they’re golden retriever brown.

Let them cool and then put them in an airtight container. You can store your Caro’s Good Dog treats for about a week (or you can freeze them for later use) but keep an eye on them. There are no preservatives, so watch out for spoilage.

This makes a couple of dozen treats so there’s plenty to go around. Please share them with your dog.

Laurie Cass contributed a recipe cozy cats will love.

Catnip Burgers

From the Bookmobile Cat Mysteries by Laurie Cass

Although Minnie’s favorite recipe is a take-out menu, she does occasionally make a foray into the kitchen to cook up treats for Eddie. Catnip burgers are his favorite, not that he would ever say so to Minnie…

4 oz. sausage or ground beef

3 tablespoons oatmeal

2 tablespoons catnip, finely chopped

1 egg

Knead ingredients together thoroughly and shape into 4 flat patties.

Broil on high heat until the outside is crisp, 8-12 minutes. Turn often to make sure they crisp up evenly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cut cooled patties into cat bite-sized pieces and serve.

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Cozy Prizes Friday: The Body on the Train

How about a weekend trip to London by train in 1929! This week we’re going historical with a little intrigue and an overabundance of rhubarb. That’s right. Rhubarb. I’ve included the book description and my review of this British mystery and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this blog and enter my giveaway. You could use that $20 gift card from Amazon!

Book Description:

Frances Brody’s eleventh Kate Shackleton mystery is sure to delight readers of Rhys Bowen and Jacqueline Winspear.

Two murders. A one-way ticket to trouble.

And it’s up to Kate to derail the killer.

London, 1929. In the darkness before dawn, a railway porter, unloading a special train from Yorkshire, discovers a man’s body, shot and placed in a sack. There are no means of identification to be found and as Scotland Yard hits a dead end, they call on the inimitable Kate Shackleton, a local sleuth, confident her local knowledge and investigative skills will produce results. But it’s no easy task.

Suspicion of political intrigue and fears of unrest in the Yorkshire coalfields, impose secrecy on her already difficult task. The murder of a shopkeeper, around the same time, seems too much of a coincidence. The convicted felon was found with blood on his hands, but it’s too tidy and Kate becomes convinced the police have the wrong man.

By then it’s too late. Kate finds herself in a den of vipers. The real killer is still at large, and having tinkered with Kate’s car, nearly causes her to crash. Not only that, but Scotland Yard has turned their back on her. As Kate edges toward the shocking truth, she’s going to need all the strength and resourcefulness she can muster to uncover this sinister web of deceit.

My Review

This is the first book I’ve read in this series. It is 1929 and a body has been found on the rhubarb train. There are so many factors that figure into the mystery including a  children’s home, a mine, the Ryder Cup, rhubarb farmers and an interesting cast of detective helpers. I enjoyed the pace of the story. I was never quite sure just who to trust. Nicely done!

Giveaway!!!!

Autumn 2019 Cozy Giveaway

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Autumn Cozy Giveaway Logo A cup of hot chocolate, a good cozy mystery, and a warm fire. Enter for your chance at some cozy cash- a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.


Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece

As a creative person, I thought of getting a little trailer and going from book show to book show. In Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece, Rose Pressey shows how it can be done!

Where would you go if you had a little pink trailer and were pursuing your dream career?

Be sure to scroll down and read my review and there are only a few days left on my giveaway! ENTER NOW

Book Description: Artist Celeste Cabot welcomes the chance to show her paintings at a craft fair in her hometown of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where she and her Chihuahua, Van Gogh, can park her vintage Shasta trailer and sell her creations, too.
 
Unfortunately, her sales take a hit when a customer returns a painting, claiming it’s haunted. When a fellow vendor discovers images hidden in Celeste’s artwork—and a ghost pays her a late-night visit—she’s shocked to realize she has psychic abilities. After the grumpy manager of the craft fair is found with a knife in his neck, Celeste’s brushes with the paranormal may help fill in the picture—and make sure the wrong person doesn’t get framed . . .

My Review:

I really enjoyed this quirky little cozy mystery about an artist who travels around in a trailer exhibiting her art at craft fairs. She is at her first craft fair in a cute little pink trailer that her family has helped her fix up and so the reader gets to meet her parents and brothers and aunts and it is a delightful escape . As she meets other exhibitors while living near them in their trailers a murder occurs and there are so many suspects and reasons why they could have committed homicide. She had me guessing to the end and I especially liked the paranormal element that comes through in her paintings . This is a fun mystery and easy to read. 

Enter My Giveaway

Autumn 2019 Cozy Giveaway

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Autumn Cozy Giveaway Logo A cup of hot chocolate, a good cozy mystery, and a warm fire. Enter for your chance at some cozy cash- a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

Cozy Prizes Friday: A Cup of Holiday Fear

Halloween is officially over so let’s talk Christmas. I feel like Hallmark where it seems to be Christmas all year long. We are starting out the season with a new Bakeshop Mystery from Ellie Alexander. Its Christmas time in Oregon and Torte Bakery is running at top efficiency thanks to the leadership of Jules Capshaw and her mother. The entire town is putting on an incredible Christmas celebration. When Jules treats her staff to a Dicken’s themed dinner at the Winchester Hotel, they discover everything is not so perfect in this land of holiday enchantment. Get ready for plenty of Christmas description to get in the mood for the holiday season. My favorite character was definitely Lance, the theater owner.

Here is the book description:

Ashland, Oregon, looks as pretty as a postcard this holiday season. The halls are decked, stockings hung, and eyes are all aglow—mostly thanks to the buttered rum. Jules Capshaw and her staff at Torte are busier than ever. . . still, even the town’s most in-demand bakers need to take a break. So Jules invites everyone to celebrate at the local Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast, a six-course extravaganza with Yorkshire Pudding, Christmas goose, and all the trimmings. But as the weather outside becomes frightful, things inside turn less delightful when one of the guests ends up as dead as Scrooge’s doornail. Now it’s up to Jules and her helpers to make a list of suspects—and check it twice—to try to find out who’s naughty, who’s nice, and who’s guilty of murder…

Pick up this book on Amazon

Have You Entered My Giveaway Yet?

Autumn 2019 Cozy Giveaway

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Autumn Cozy Giveaway Logo A cup of hot chocolate, a good cozy mystery, and a warm fire. Enter for your chance at some cozy cash- a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

My Review:

What better way to prepare for the holidays than in a busy bakeshop? I enjoyed the magical pre-Christmas atmosphere the author created as well as a murder mystery puzzle to solve. The plot moved along at a good rate but at times was slowed by the act of cooking, but there were mouthwatering recipes that were added to the book. I did have an idea who the murderer was early on, but the placement of clues and red herrings was excellent. I would highly recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a Christmas cozy.

Cozy Mystery’s Happy Hinter: Refrigerator Selfie

After writing eight Pecan Bayou mysteries that feature Betsy Livingston Fitzpatrick, AKA The Happy Hinter, I am happy to bring to you some of Betsy’s fictional columns from The Pecan Bayou Gazette. Her life-hacking columns are very popular in a little town like Pecan Bayou. She not only tells you how to do things like stop a leak, but she also makes mention of some of the goings-on in town.

Want more Pecan Bayou? Go to my book page here.

Autumn 2019 Cozy Giveaway

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Autumn Cozy Giveaway Logo A cup of hot chocolate, a good cozy mystery, and a warm fire. Enter for your chance at some cozy cash- a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

Cozy Prizes Friday: A Dash of Murder- A Halloween Ghost Hunting Book!

Happy October! I have been busy finalizing the start of the audio book process for my very first novel, A Dash of Murder.  It won’t be available until next year, but if you haven’t read this book yet, you can find it for 99 Cents in ebook form.

This is the beginning of Betsy, Leo, Zach, Aunt Maggie, Danny and Judd. Betsy is surviving as a single parent after her husband walked out on her seven years earlier. This is where she gets her start as a helpful hints writer and the book where she runs headlong into that handsome meteorologist, Leo Fitzpatrick.

READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OF A DASH OF MURDER HERE

Description:

A Mystery for Ghost Hunters!
When Betsy’s Aunt Maggie wants to drag her along on a ghost hunting excursion at the local abandoned tuberculosis hospital she isn’t sure if she quite believes in ghosts. When she comes upon a fresh spirit in the form of a body, she starts to rethink about what really is haunting the hospital.

I also have a list of discussion questions to be used with book clubs.  If your club does use the book-I would love to hear about it!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

Autumn 2019 Cozy Giveaway

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Autumn Cozy Giveaway Logo A cup of hot chocolate, a good cozy mystery, and a warm fire. Enter for your chance at some cozy cash- a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

Cozy Prizes Friday: Fatal Cajun Festival

I love Fall! Time for festivals and in the case of the Fatal Cajun Festival plenty of Cajun food and pralines. Scroll down to read my review of Fatal Cajun Festival and be sure to scroll down and enter my giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card.

Book Description:

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Ellen Byron cranks it up to eleven in the fifth fast and funny Cajun Country mystery.

Louisiana B&B owner Maggie Crozat kicks up her heels at a country music festival–but she’ll have one foot in the grave if she can’t bring the killer of a diva’s hanger-on to heel.

Grab your tickets for Cajun Country Live!, the pickers’ and crooners’ answer to the legendary New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Maggie Crozat, proprietor of the Crozat Plantation B&B, plans to be in the cheering section when her friend Gaynell Bourgeois takes the stage with her band, Gaynell and the Gator Girls.

The festival’s headliner, native daughter Tammy Barker, rocketed to stardom on a TV singing competition. She has the voice of an angel…and the personality of a devilish diva. But Maggie learns that this tiny terror carries a grudge against Gaynell. She’s already sabotaged the Gator Girls’ JazzFest audition. When a member of Tammy’s entourage is murdered at the festival, Tammy makes sure Gaynell is number one on the suspect list.

Gaynell has plenty of company on that list–including every one of Tammy’s musicians. Posing as a groupie, Maggie infiltrates Tammy’s band and will have to hit all the right notes to clear her friend’s name.

Find out more at Ellen Byron’s Website!

My Review

4 Stars

Time to visit the big jazz festival in Ellen Byron’s latest installment of her Cajun Country Mystery Series. Not only are there delicious pralines but the winner of a television singing show and her entourage will be appearing. She’s a hometown girl who is feeling her stardom. This mystery is a delightful escape to all things Cajun with sexy cops, tipsy grandmothers and an interesting homicide investigation. I received this book through Net Galley and have left an honest review.

Cozy Prizes Friday: Buried in the Stacks

Two things I love–libraries and stories about hauntings! We’ve got a winner with this one. Evelyn the ghost has some new information coming out about her death in Buried in the Stacks and we have a character interview with the investigative librarian, Carrie Singleton.

Don’t forget to scroll down for the giveaway!


Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery
Crooked Lane Books (September 10, 2019)
Librarian Carrie Singleton is building a haven, but one of her neighbors is misbehavin’. Can resident spirit Evelyn help Carrie catch the culprit who made her a ghost?

In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.

As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her–and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library’s resident ghost, six years earlier.

And then Dorothy is murdered–run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece’s killer, but that’s no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleagues. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case, but are the library cards stacked against them?

You can find Buried in the Stacks at these retailers

AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

...And now a few words from our favorite fictional librarian…Carrie Singleton

Please tell us about your latest adventure.

I helped solve the murder of a fellow librarian and exposed a group that was planning to use a day center for the homeless as a front for their greedy exploits.

Do you have any friends/sidekicks helping you out?

Evelyn Havers, who haunts the library where I work, sometimes helps me, though she also holds back information when her relatives are involved. My best friend Angela, who also works in the library, is often a sounding board for my ideas. So is my boyfriend, Dylan.

Do you have any special skills to fight crime?

I’m persistent and don’t hesitate to ask questions—which occasionally gets me into trouble. As a librarian, my research techniques are quite good, and I’ve recently joined a local group to suss out some suspects .

Are you a full-time detective or do you do something else?

I am the head of programs and events of the Clover Ridge Library in Clover Ridge, CT.

What are you most frightened of in this story?

I am frightened when a car follows me home one night from a meeting that some of the suspects attended.

If I were to choose an actor or actress to play your part in a movie, who would that be? Do you see any other characters in your story as actors or actresses that our readers might know?

I think Natalie Portman would do a great job playing me in a movie.

Do you have other mysteries you would like to tell us about? Is this the first book in the series, or have you cracked a few other cases?

BURIED IN THE STACKS is the third book in the Haunted Library mystery series. In DEATH OVERDUE, the first book in the series, I solve a cold case after a retired homicide detective dies while giving a program about a woman who was murdered fifteen years earlier. In READ AND GONE, my father, a professional thief visits me for the first time in years and is soon accused of murdering the local jeweler. I clear my father and find the real murderer.

Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?

My life is filled with work and people I love; taking care of Smoky Joe, the library cat, and spending time with Dylan. Whenever a mystery or a murder crops up in the beautiful village of Clover Ridge, CT, I find myself smack in the middle of the investigation.

Let’s give your author a chance to speak. Anything you would like to add?

I think Carrie has said it all. She’s doing a terrific job as Clover Ridge Library’s head of programs and events and she’s become quite an accomplished investigator.

 

 

 

About Allison Brook

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links

Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com

My Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/

 

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Happy Cozy Mystery Day!

It’s National Cozy Mystery Day today and to kick it off I am posting my Fall 2019 Giveaway! Enter to win a $20 gift card from Amazon so you can snuggle up with a few new cozies!

Autumn 2019 Cozy Giveaway

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Autumn Cozy Giveaway Logo A cup of hot chocolate, a good cozy mystery, and a warm fire. Enter for your chance at some cozy cash- a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

Book Review: The Long Call

I am reviewing a new Ann Cleeves mystery this week. If you are a fan of Vera or British mystery, in general, you will enjoy The Long Call. I especially related to it because it centered around a day center for people with disabilities. I don’t know if Ann has friends or relatives who attend a day habilitation center but she did a beautiful job with it.

As a parent, I identified with the parents in the story who went through stages of fear and an almost manic desire to protect their children. The adults with Down syndrome were well written and then on top of all that, it was an excellent mystery with some really interesting detectives.

Here is my review: 5 Stars

The Long Call was centered around The Woodyard, a combined arts center for the community and day center for learning disabled adults. Being a parent with an adult Down syndrome son, I have to say that the author was incredibly accurate in her portrayal of learning disabled adults who attend the day center and of the parents who loved and looked after them and sometimes feared for their safety. The readers get to know the lives of the detectives as well as the families who work and participate at The Woodyard. The mystery was excellent on many levels with a variety of characters that kept me guessing until the end. I would highly recommend this novel.

A new giveaway is coming… Come back on September 15–NATIONAL COZY MYSTERY DAY!!


			

Cozy Prizes Friday: Mulberry Mischief

Woo hoo hoo! Time for a Fall cozy full of mulberry and evil spirits! Love it and love this cover! So get your pumpkin spice on and check out Mulberry Mischief! Don’t forget to scroll down and enter Sharon’s giveaway!

Congratulations to CAROLYN, the winner of my 2019 Summer Giveaway. Watch your inbox!

About the Book

Mulberry Mischief (A Berry Basket Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series

Autumn has arrived on the shores of Lake Michigan, but Marlee Jacob, proprietor of The Berry Basket, is feeling a chill for other reasons …

With the Harvest Health Fair in full swing, Marlee makes sure to stock up on elderberry products for cold and flu season. But this year there’s also a run on mulberry when an eccentric customer wants to use the dried berries to ward off evil forces. True, it’s almost Halloween, but something else seems to be spooking Leticia the Lake Lady, Oriole Point’s oddest resident. She believes someone plans to kill her—and the ghost. Only mulberries can protect them. Marlee doesn’t take her fears seriously until a man named Felix Bonaventure arrives in the village, asking questions about a mysterious woman.

The next day, Marlee finds Bonaventure dead on Leticia’s property—shot through the heart with an arrow made of mulberry wood. And Leticia has disappeared. Marlee soon learns the Lake Lady has a deadly past that is connected to the famous Sable family who are in town for the health fair. A bunch of clues start to come together—and figuring out what’s going on puts Marlee in a real jam …

Includes Berry Recipes!

Available at these online retailers – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

About Sharon Farrow

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award-winning author Sharon Pisacreta. A freelance writer since her twenties, she has been published in mystery, fantasy, and romance. Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series for Kensington. The series debuted in 2016 and is set along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline where she now lives. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.

Author Links –

WEB PAGE http://sharonfarrowauthor.com/

FACEBOOK @SharonFarrowAuthor

TWITTER @SharonFarrowBB

BOOKBUB @SharonFarrow

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Silent Night, Deadly Night

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Getting together for the holidays with old friends can be fun…and stressful especially if there is a murder involved. Yes! It’s a Christmas mystery! I love these yuletide stories! It’s kind of like the Hallmark Channel went a little dark.    We have a special visitor today, a character from Silent Night, Deadly Night who is beginning to regret getting together with her old college friends. Don’t forget to scroll down and enter Vicki’s giveaway!

About the Book


Silent Night, Deadly Night
4th in Series
Berkley (August 27, 2019)

Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series.

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother’s college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry’s shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts.

The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father’s role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.

You can find Silent Night, Deadly Night at these online retailers:  AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

About the Author

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year Round Christmas mysteries and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series.

You can find Vicki Here!

Websitewww.vickidelany.com

Facebookwww.facebook.com/evagatesauthor;

Twitter: @vickidelany and@evagatesauthor

Instagram: vickidelany

A Visit with Aline from Silent Night, Deadly Night

It’s Thanksgiving in America’s Christmas Town

By Aline Steiner Wilkinson from the Year Round Christmas Mysteries by Vicki Delany

I’m beginning to regret inviting my five friends from college for a reunion at my home in Rudolph New York

They are not, to put it mildly, getting on very well.

Plus it’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I know how important Thanksgiving is to my eldest daughter, Merry.

Merry owns a charming little gift and holiday decor shop called Mrs. Claus’s Treasures on Jingle Bell Lane in Rudolph. Christmas, for Merry, is all about work. The lead-up to the holiday season, the busy holiday shopping hours themselves, and then the equally busy post-Christmas sale season. She sees Thanksgiving as her final chance to take a deep breath and relax before plunging into the frenzy of the season. So I try to do the full, traditional thanksgiving meal. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and Brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce. Two types of pie for dessert. Of course, I don’t do ANY of that cooking by myself. Noel, my husband, does most of it, and I shop at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe for the desserts, bread rolls, and condiments. I never quite got into the domestication thing, not with my career as a soloist at the Metropolitan Opera and on stages around the world.

Back to the matter at hand. My college reunion.

We haven’t all been together since we graduated (or left in some cases) college more than forty years ago. I’ve visited Constance in California, Ruth in Rochester, had lunch with Barbara and Genevieve in New York City when I’ve been performing there. I haven’t seen Karla in all those years, but she’s the one who works hard to keep us all in touch. Karla’s the glue, so to speak, that holds our group together with news of babies and grandchildren, moves, marriages and divorces, career changes.

All those years ago, we were all planning a career in the performing arts. Only Genevieve and I stuck with it. Genevieve had a role in a few low-budget movies, achieved some small and fleeting success in a soap opera in the 1990s. I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue the career I loved before retiring the height of my career and settling down in Rudolph, New York, to teach voice.

Now, they’re here. All of them. Visiting me in Rudolph while Noel’s away on his annual fishing trip to Florida. The timing isn’t good – the weekend before Thanksgiving, but that was the only time our schedules matched. Somehow, without quite knowing what I was doing, I invited them here.

The whole miserable bunch. I guess I’d forgotten that they never really got on. Personality clashes, petty jealousies, income disparities. And a lot of resentment that appears to not only have not been forgotten over the years but to grow, ready to be unleased the moment they set eyes on each other.

Tonight we’re having pot luck. Everyone is making their speciality. Hoping my guests won’t bicker too much with strangers in our midst, I invited (more like ordered) Merry and Vicky Casey to come to dinner.

Sigh. Oh, well, only a weekend to get through. And then they’ll be gone their separate ways, Noel will be home, and we can have the traditional big Thanksgiving dinner Merry loves so much.

First, this blasted pot luck to get through.

Find out if the pot luck dinner is a success in SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT the fourth Year Round Christmas mystery by Vicki Delany, coming August 27 from Berkley.

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Review of The Pawful Truth

This week it’s time to go back to school with Charlie Harris in his latest Cat in the Stacks mystery. He’s auditing a medieval history class, (oo-wee, so fun) which leads him to the unraveling of a murder mystery. I’ll admit I took classes in things like roller skating-a p.e. credit, I promise.

Don’t forget to scroll down and enter my summer giveaway!

Book Description

 In addition to his library duties and his role as doting grandad, Charlie has enrolled in an early medieval history course offered by young, charismatic professor Carey Warriner. Charlie feels a bit out of place- his fellow classmates are half his age- except for Dixie Bell Compton, another ‘mature’ student. When Charlie hears an angry exchange between her and their professor, his interest piqued. He’s even more intrigued when she shows up at his office asking for a study partner. Charlie turns her down and is saddened to learn just a few days later that Dixie has been killed.

 Charlie wonders if Professor Warriner had anything to do with Dixie’s death. Warriner is married to a fellow professor who happens to be a successful author. There are rumors on campus that their marriage was on the rocks. Was Dixie’s death the result of a lovers’ triangle gone bad? Charlie soon discovers that the professor’s wife may have some secrets of her own and his suspect list is only getting longer. 

As he and Diesel step further into the tangled web of relationships, someone else is viciously killed. Whose jealousy finally erupted into murderous rage? Was it a crime of passion or is there another more sinister motive? Charlie races to unravel this mystery: and to draw out the culprit, he may just have to put his own life on the line…

Purchase This Book on Amazon

My Review

Librarian Charlie Harris is looking forward to auditing a class in medieval history but can’t help noticing a mature flirtatious female student who seems to be stalking the professor. From this point, we are immersed into the world and love lives of university professors along with a wonderful cast of characters who are regulars in the Cat in the Stacks series. I really liked the cozy setting of Charlie’s house and Diesel the Maine Coon cat who is as much of a character as Charlie. The mystery moves along well and had me guessing.

I obtained this book from Net Galley and have given an honest review.

Summer Reading Giveaway 2019

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Review of Love and Death Among the Cheetahs

This week I’m reviewing Rhys Bowen’s latest installment in the Royal Spyness series. If you enjoyed Georgina and Darcy’s love story and wedding, now we get to go on the honeymoon. Not just any honeymoon, mind you, but the Happy Valley of Kenya. This cozy mystery just came out!

Don’t forget to enter my summer giveaway listed below! You need that gift card and your own copy of Buzzkill.

About the Book

Book Description:

Georgie and Darcy are finally on their honeymoon in Kenya’s Happy Valley, but murder crashes the party in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

I was so excited when Darcy announced out of the blue that we were flying to Kenya for our extended honeymoon. Now that we are here, I suspect he has actually been sent to fulfill another secret mission. I am trying very hard not to pick a fight about it, because after all, we are in paradise! Darcy finally confides that there have been robberies in London and Paris. It seems the thief was a member of the aristocracy and may have fled to Kenya. Since we are staying in the Happy Valley—the center of upper-class English life—we are well positioned to hunt for clues and ferret out possible suspects.

Now that I am a sophisticated married woman, I am doing my best to sound like one. But crikey! These aristocrats are a thoroughly loathsome sort enjoying a completely decadent lifestyle filled with wild parties and rampant infidelity. And one of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, has the nerve to make a play for me. While I am on my honeymoon! Of course, I put an end to that right off. 

When he is found bloodied and lifeless along a lonely stretch of road, it appears he fell victim to a lion. But it seems that the Happy Valley community wants to close the case a bit too quickly. Darcy and I soon discover that there is much more than a simple robbery and an animal attack to contend with here in Kenya. Nearly everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead and some will go to great lengths to silence anyone who asks too many questions. The hunt is on! I just hope I can survive my honeymoon long enough to catch a killer. . . .

Purchase this book on Amazon

My Review

 Georgina and Darcy are back and are on their honeymoon moon to of all places Kenya. This historical mystery showcases life in the Happy Valley of Kenya during the twenties and thirties. Georgina and her husband handsome British spy are off on a trip where they will encounter elephants Tigers lions and murderers. It was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with this couple now married and Bowen did not disappoint with this British mystery. Not only were they solving a murder but she was also rubbing elbows with Prince David and mrs Simpson which gave it that historical excitement. I do wish the murder would have occurred earlier in the book but very enjoyable.

Summer Reading Giveaway 2019

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Knot on Her Life

Today we have a new quilting mystery from Mary Marks. Pick up a copy and “piece” together the clues! (Quilting Humor) Be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway for your chance at a print copy.

About the Book

Knot on Her Life (A Quilting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery

While quilter Martha Rose awaits the birth of her granddaughter, a neighborhood girl appears at her door with a mystery that can’t be pinned down . .

Martha’s eager to finish the baby quilt she’s making for her new granddaughter, but she scraps those plans when a young girl rings her doorbell begging for help. Poppy Halaby, the foster child of Martha’s neighbor, is an orphan whose parents were murdered by a killer who was never caught. When Poppy’s doting foster mom falls suspiciously ill, Martha is determined to keep the child safe. But she’ll have to unravel more about Poppy’s parents to stitch a broken family back together again—and prevent another crime cut from the same cloth . . .

You can find Knot on Her Life at these online retailers:

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My Review: 4 Stars

Martha Rose is happily preparing for a grandchild which sets the stage for the entrance of Poppy, a little girl who saw her parents murdered.  The child’s parents were different religions and Marks does a wonderful job of showing us each world. This was a heartwarming cozy that can be read as a standalone or as a part of the series. I loved the character of Crusher, the gentle giant, and want to belong to that quilt group!

About Mary Marks

About the Author

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.

Readers can visit her at www.marymarksmysteries.com and https://www.facebook.com/mmarks2013

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Cozy Prizes Friday: No More Time

Would you help your ex if he or she was accused of murder? That’s what Dodie O’Dell decides to do in Suzanne Trauth’s latest mystery, No More Time. There was something you liked about this person once, right? Of course, then you got to know them.  Be sure to scroll down and enter Suzanne’s giveaway and she was kind enough to share some of her thoughts about writing her series.

 

About The Book


No More Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY

Restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has found her niche in the cozy New Jersey town of Etonville, creating menus that make a delicious double-act with the community theater’s productions. Now she’s ready for a vacation at the Jersey Shore town she called home before a hurricane hit. Sun, salty air, and seagulls make for a nostalgic escape from regular life—until a contingent from Etonville arrives to compete in a Jersey Shore theater festival.

Roped into helping her former boss cater the event, Dodie also gets a visit from her old flame, Jackson, who’s hoping to revive his charter boat business and is looking for a place to crash. Before Dodie can tell him that ship has sailed, Jackson’s partner is found murdered on his boat. Dodie knows her ex is a mooch, but she’s sure he’s no killer. But as she follows a trail of evidence that leads into her own past, Dodie stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy theory that could bring the festival to a shocking finale…

Excerpt from No More Time

By noon we were both hot and famished. I suggested a break from the sun at the tiki bar and we gathered our beach gear and trudged through the sand to the Polynesian music. We were halfway through our bucket of steamed clams when an elderly twosome at a table next to ours gasped in shock. We couldn’t help noticing.

“Is everything okay?” I asked gently.

The woman’s head bobbled and her wide-brimmed sunhat swung from side to side. She picked up the newspaper she’d been reading, the Candle Beach Courier, a local rag, and shoved the front page at us. “He was such a nice boy. We knew his parents years ago.”
I smiled sympathetically and scanned the sheet. Then I gasped.

“Dodie, what’s the matter?” Lola said.
“Were you acquainted with him too?” the woman asked.

I nodded numbly. Was I ever. The headline read LOCAL MAN DEAD. Underneath was a photo of the victim: It was Vinnie C. I rotated the paper so Lola could see the front page. “It’s him,” I said hoarsely.

Lola blinked. “Vincent Carcherelli,” she read.

I scanned the story. Apparently his body had been washed up on the beach sometime overnight and was discovered by a jogger early today in time to make the mid-morning edition. The police were calling it a drowning and speculating that he’d fallen off his boat, The Bounty, which had drifted half a mile off the shoreline. No foul play suspected at the moment but the investigation was ongoing.

I offered to return the newspaper but the couple refused to accept it, saying the story was too upsetting. They picked up their bill and left.

“Wow. What a coincidence. We were talking about how Jackson saw him yesterday …” Lola stopped. A light bulb went on. “The police will want to speak with Jackson. He might have been one of the last people to see Vinnie alive.”

It was Lola’s last word that brought me up short: alive. Jackson had been steamed during that meeting on the boardwalk. Did he know anything about Vinnie’s last hours? If Bill were here he’d tell me to mind my own business, let Jackson alone, let the police determine the actual cause of death. Bill was right, of course. But something about the whole event didn’t sit right with me. Why did Jackson lie about what happened when he met Vinnie?

Purchase No More Time at these online retailers!

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A Visit With Suzanne Trauth

Suzanne Trauth, Harvard Studio, Montclair, NJ. 06/27/2014 Photo by Steve Hockstein/HarvardStudio.com

     I’ve had fun since I first began the Dodie O’Dell mystery series with Show Time (followed by Time Out, Running Out of Time, Just in Time, and No More Time debuting in July) writing about Etonville, New Jersey’s community theater: the Etonville Little Theatre. Known as  the ELT. I have been able to draw on my long career in the theater as a teacher, director, writer and producer to create the on-and-offstage dramas that constantly plague the members of the ELT.

     In fact, with every novel in the series, I began by choosing a play to be performed and then found ways to tie the casting, rehearsal, and performances to the murder investigation. And, of course, to Dodie’s theme food ideas! As anyone who has experienced community theater knows, there are plenty of opportunities for turmoil and conflict among the members of the organization. Much of which generates the comic elements of the Dodie O’Dell mystery series.  

     The characters associated with the ELT are a quirky bunch: Lola, Dodie’s BFF and ELT diva; prickly director Walter; loyal sidekick and cliché-mangling Penny; character-actor-and-perpetually-grouchy Abby; full-of-himself Romeo; and police-dispatcher-wannabe-star Edna. They are a fun ensemble that keep Dodie on her toes and the town ever-ready for opening night. From Walter’s pre-show warm-ups—circle of light, blindfold trust exercises, and floating balloons—to Penny’s antics keeping the cast in line through technical and dress rehearsals, the Etonville Little Theatre is usually a hotbed of chaos.

     Which is why, in No More Time, Dodie is happy to have a break from the daily hubbub of her Etonville BFFs, friends, and neighbors for a couple of peaceful weeks vacationing down the Jersey Shore with Bill, her current love interest and Etonville police chief. At least that was the plan…

     First, her parents appear on the scene from Florida to visit old friends in Candle Beach where Dodie grew up. And to catch up with their daughter and Bill. Then her ex-boyfriend materializes on the porch of the Candle Beach bungalow she and Bill have rented needing a place to crash. Finally, Dodie discovers the ELT is coming to town having been offered a spot in the New Jersey Community Theater Festival. Yikes! There goes Dodie’s scheme to escape the Etonville havoc for sun and sand and salt air…

     At this point I was able to indulge my theatrical background and create a slate of plays for the theater festival finalists—seven entries that would vie for the first place award among New Jersey’s fictional community theaters. I decided to get some help. I had run a Facebook contest with Just in Time—readers submitted ideas for entrees and appetizers that I included on the Windjammer’s menu. I received such interesting suggestions that it was great fun creating scenes and dialogue around the winning dinner specials.

     So…for No More Time, I asked folks to send in their favorite play titles. I had a number of great submissions to choose from, giving me options for crafting a list of titles that included musicals, classics, and comedies. Thanks readers! I ended up with seven plays from seven fictional community theaters: The Sound of Music, Cinderella, King Lear, Death of a Salesman, Noises Off, Harvey, and Mousetrap. All of these choices provided wonderful opportunities for theatrical bedlam—costume snags, rehearsal glitches, and cast malfunctions. When the actors in Harvey come down with food poisoning at a company picnic, the Etonville Little Theatre takes their place with Arsenic and Old Lace. Despite murder and mayhem, it turns out to be a terrific festival with first, second, and third place winners announced on Labor Day weekend. And the winners were…oh, wait…you’ll need to read No More Time to find out.

     See you down the Shore!

Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

Author Links

Webpage: www.suzannetrauth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuzanneTrauth/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzanneMTrauth

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6187623.Suzanne_M_Trauth

 

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Guest Post from Suzanne Trouth

Cozy Prizes Friday: Left Fur Dead

We will be having a Harvey moment this week. Left Fur Dead features a rabbit who finds bodies. I like it! We have a a little about the book, and the author, J.M. Griffin and don’t forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway for a chance at a print copy of this furry cozy mystery!

About the Book


Left Fur Dead (A Jules & Bun Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (June 25, 2019)

On Fur Bridge Farm, Jules cares for rescued rabbits. But when a killer strikes, she’ll need a rabbit to rescue her . . .

Juliette “Jules” Bridge prides herself on the tender rehabilitation she provides for injured or abused rabbits on her New Hampshire rescue farm, but she has a very special relationship with one bunny in particular. Bun is a black-and-white rabbit who happens to have the ability to communicate through mental telepathy. Once she got over the shock, Jules found her furry friend had a lot to say.

One frigid March morning on their walk together, Bun spots a body. The police identify the frozen stiff as Arthur Freeman, aka Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty knew each other on the children’s party circuit, where he’d perform magic tricks and she had an educational rabbit petting pen. With Bun egging her on, Jules decides it’s time they hop to it and put their heads together to discover who silenced the mime. But their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole of more suspects and lies, while a killer sets a trap for them . . .

You can find Left Fur Dead at these online retailers

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play IndieBound

About the Author

J. M. Griffin is the bestselling cozy mystery author of sixteen novels, including the Vinnie Esposito series. She lives in rural Rhode Island with her husband and two very mysterious cats. Visit her at jm-griffin.com.

Author Links

WebsiteFacebookBlog

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If you haven’t already, you can also enter my summer giveaway. That’s right. Two giveaways to enter!

Summer Reading Giveaway 2019

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Book Review and Giveaway: A Face in the Crowd

Imagine this. You are at the end of a long frustrating day at work and worrying about money. Then, all of a sudden, you find an envelope full of money in your bag. What would you do with it? You really need that money. This is the premise of Kerry Wilkinson’s mystery A Face in the Crowd.

More about the book below. Leave a comment below and tell me what you would do with an unexpected windfall of cash.

If you haven’t entered my summer giveaway yet, scroll down and put your name in for a chance at a $20 gift card and a copy of my wedding mystery, Buzzkill!

Lucy gets the same bus every day. Today, her journey home will change her life.

Lucy can barely afford her weekly ticket for the grimy number 24, tries to avoid eye contact, and, if she’s really lucky, she gets a seat and reads a chapter of her book. But it’s a Friday – and the bus is always crammed at the end of the week. She keeps her elbows close and clings to a pole at every juddering stop. All she wants to do is get home to her dog, Billy, the only comfort she has right now. 

When she gets off, something feels different.

An envelope stuffed with thousands of pounds is in her bag.

Is it the answer to her prayers, or the beginning of a nightmare?

Because, in the end, everything has a price.

My Review:

A woman who works in a grocery store with no one in the world but a sweet little dog is struggling to pay back a substantial debt. She finds herself the recipient of an envelope full of money that shows up in her bag after riding on a crowded bus. Who does it belong to? Should she return it? Can she spend it and cover some of her debts? Kerry Wilkinson gives us a nicely woven mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. The author takes us down some paths that seem logical, but nothing is what it seems. A Face in the Crowd will have you looking over your shoulder!

I obtained this book through Net Galley and have left an honest review.

Summer Reading Giveaway 2019

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Book Review: A Plain Vanilla Murder

Susan Wittig Albert is back with another mystery taking place in the world of plants. I learned a lot about that little brown bottle of vanilla I have in my kitchen cabinet and treacherous the acquisition of spices can be! This is the 27th book in the China Bayles Series. If you love learning about plants and their uses, I would also recommend her Book of Days.

Be sure to enter my summer giveaway below for your chance at a $20 gift card and a digital copy of my wedding mystery–Buzzkill.

China Bayles and Ruby Wilcox are offering their popular “Not Just Plain Vanilla” workshop when, across town on the campus of Central Texas State University, a botany professor (an expert on the vanilla orchid) is found dead in his greenhouse—an apparent suicide. Summoned to the scene, police chief Sheila Dawson (now in her last few months of pregnancy) wonders whether there’s something more to his death and opens an investigation into the many rivalries that have splintered CTSU’s plant sciences faculty.

But the dead professor is also the ex-husband of China’s friend Maggie, owner of the local garden center and manager of an orchid-sitting business. When suicide becomes murder, suspicion falls on Maggie. But China learns that there are many more suspects in this complex, vanilla-flavored affair. Does this story begin with a passionate desire for an exotic flower and its costly, delectable fruit? Does it start in a corrosive desire for revenge? Or is the professor’s death the result of a bizarre black-market orchid-smuggling scheme gone awry?

Once again, prize-winning author, herbalist, and amateur naturalist Susan Wittig Albert draws on history, legend, science, and the culinary arts to craft a botanical mystery that will entertain and enlighten mystery fans, gardeners, and nature lovers alike.

Special features: an author’s note on the history and uses of both natural and synthetic vanilla, and recipes and crafting instructions for “wonderful things to do with the ice cream orchid.”

My Review: Was it really suicide? China Bayles is back investigating a college professor’s death surrounded by the rich scent of vanilla. Like many of Albert’s books, you get a rich education on plant history. In A Plain Vanilla Murder, the story centers around the university community showing you professional jealousy between the professors and some curious ways to make extra cash. It was pretty cut-throat for a bunch of mild-mannered academic types! I enjoyed A Plain Vanilla Murder and would recommend it, especially if you love gardening or academic mysteries.

I obtained this book through NetGalley and have left an honest review.

Summer Reading Giveaway 2019

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Whiskers in the Dark

We have some cozy royalty visiting us today! Rita Mae Brown is bringing us her 28th book in her Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series. Time to add some crime-solving cats and dogs and a ghost beagle to your summer reading list.  This looks like a good one! 

Don’t forget to enter Rita’s giveaway for your chance at a print copy of Whiskers in the Dark. 

About the Book

Whiskers in the Dark: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
28th in Series

Death stalks the Blue Ridge Mountains as a centuries-old mystery resurfaces and murder mars the lead-up to an annual beagle competition, in a thrilling new tale from Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown.

A massive nor’easter has hit northern Virginia, where Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen joins groundskeeping efforts at the National Beagle Club at Aldie as the date for its springtime Hounds for Heroes veterans’ benefit approaches. Harry’s fellow volunteers, including her oldest friend, Susan Tucker, comprise a spirited group of hunting enthusiasts, some former service members themselves. But things take a sinister turn when, after a routine tree cleanup along the Club’s hunting trails, retired foreign services officer Jason Holzknect is found dead, throat slit from ear to ear. Soon enough, another murder in their midst jolts the preparations, convincing Harry that the killer is familiar with the Club—and must be close by, masked in plain sight.

The intrigue extends to the grounds of Harry’s beloved local church, where the identity of an eighteenth-century skeleton wearing precious pearls remains a mystery. The anonymous woman’s neck had been snapped, and marks on the grave where her body was secreted indicate that someone recently tried to remove it, leading Harry to question how well she really knows those around her.

As always, Harry’s crime-solving cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Tee Tucker the Corgi share her determination to sniff out the foes among friends, even those long buried. Harry will need her four-legged companions’ help more than ever: a ghostly beagle only they can see may hold the key to the culprit.

You can find Whiskers in the Dark at these online retailers 

AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

About the Author

 

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries; the Sister Jane series; the Runnymede novels, including Six of One and Cakewalk; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; Rubyfruit Jungle; and In Her Day; as well as many other books. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia, and is a Master of Foxhounds and the huntsman.

Sneaky Pie Brown, a tiger cat born somewhere in Albemarle County, Virginia, was discovered by Rita Mae Brown at her local SPCA. They have collaborated on numerous Mrs. Murphy mysteries—in addition to Sneaky Pie’s Cookbook for Mystery Lovers and Sneaky Pie for President.

 
Author Links
 
 
 
 

Cozying Up for Wedding Season

I can’t let May come to an end without saying thank you to V.M. Burns for including my book Buzzkill in her article “The Irrepressible Allure of the Wedding Cozy” on Crime Reads.

I loved writing the book and based some of the cozy craziness on my own wedding now almost thirty years ago. Are you invited to a wedding this summer or possibly planning one? It’s summer, there’s love in the air and you have the hall booked. What could possibly go wrong?

In Buzzkill, Betsy gets overwhelmed with the process until she enlists a wily wedding planner, Mr. Andre, to help her escape a white wedding catastrophe. It doesn’t help that she has endangered Pecan Bayou with a bad recipe for homemade calamine lotion.

Did you have a crazy wedding? Do you have a favorite wedding cozy mystery? Let me know in the comments!

And if you would like to check out the excellent books of V.M. Burns, Malice nominee, visit her at VMBURNS.COM.

Book Review: Murder She Wrote-Murder in Red

With the passing of Donald Bain, I worried there would be no more Murder She Wrote books. I am slowly making my way through the series but didn’t want them to come to an end. Well, Jessica has a new co-writer and this mystery brings us back to our beloved Cabot Cove.

My Review:

Jessica is back this time with a mystery in her own home town of Cabot Cove, Maine. John Land is Jessica Fletcher’s new co-author, and we are once again entertained with more adventures of the great crime-solving retired English teacher. This time her old friend George Sutherland shows up in Cabot Cove for a drug trial at a local private hospital. Jessica is of upset George is ill especially after the loss she suffered with her husband years ago. When her friend Mimi dies after seeking treatment to delay aging at the same private hospital, Jessica is on the case working with series regular, Mort the sheriff. I wish there had been more of one of my favorite characters, Seth Hazlitt, which meant there was a lack of Cabot Cove characters saying, “Ayah”. Murder in Red is standard JB Fletcher and a fun mystery to fill an afternoon.

Cozy Prizes Friday: Staging is Murder



Just to show you how on top of my blog schedule I am, I had lunch with this lovely lady at Malice Domestic and didn’t realize she was scheduled for an interview today! Senior cozy author moment. Don’t forget to scroll down and enter for a chance at a free copy of Staging is Murder!

Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th-century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, replacing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties.

To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure.

Worse still, the meddling of a horoscope-guided friend, a determined grandmother, and the local funeral director could get them all killed before Laura props the first pillow.

My Interview with Grace

  • How did you come with an idea for your book? 

There were two things I had to come up with for my book. One was the hook for my character, and the other one was the “what if” question.

In a cozy, the main character usually has a hook, which I learned is a profession or interest (baker, florist, garage sale expert, etc.) that becomes a major part of the story. I was advised that since I would be spending a lot of time writing about this hook that I should pick one that I like or know something about—or be willing to do a lot of research. After looking at all of the areas of my life, work, interests, hobbies, etc., I came to realize the one thing that I enjoyed was home staging. I had spent way too many hours watching HGTV home staging shows, and when I discovered that I had a knack for it, I helped friends stage their homes. So I decided that would be my hook, and that’s how STAGING IS MURDER came about.

The “What if” question is the basis for a story. For example, what if a young boy receives a scholarship to a school of wizardry? The basis of the Harry Potter books. What if a little girl and her home are blown away by a tornado? The basis for the “Wizard of Oz.” In my case, I wrote my mystery around the question: What if a fax went to the wrong number? What could be in that fax that might cause someone to commit murder?

  • What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

When I started writing fiction, the one thing that surprised me was how humor kept creeping into my writing—either from situations I put my characters in or from the snarky remarks my main character, Laura Bishop, made. A scene that I hope readers enjoy, and I hope find a bit humorous, is the one where Laura and her BFF Nita go to a campground at night to investigate whether some men living there in a rickety camper could be the ones who committed the murder. First they had to cross a field to get there, which they discovered had been used to graze cows. You can imagine the stuff they ran (or stepped) into. Later Nita also drags Laura to the same campground searching for some members of Hell’s Angels who might have been involved with the murder. Laura frequently ends up playing Ethel to Nita’s Lucy.

  • What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

I’m busy working on the second book in the Laura Bishop series (tentatively titled STAGING WARS). This one involves members of a local arts group. Laura gets to see Monica, her high school nemesis, behind bars and having to sleep on a cot without her usual silk sheets. Monica definitely needs Laura’s help. But would you be willing to help clear someone of murder when you suspect that person had an affair with your late husband?

I recently completed a short story about a woman who discovers her husband of twenty-five years plans to leave her for a very young woman who lives next door and what she plans to do about it. He may regret that he strayed.

  • If you could write any other genre what would that be?

I spent a career writing step-by-step procedural guidelines and computer user guides. Quite boring, which is why I turned to murder mysteries. But if I had to write in another area, I would probably draw on that experience and turn to writing nonfiction self-help books or articles. During my career, I helped guide a lot of people in writing their resumes and applying for work. I’m definitely not an expert in that area, but I know enough to help someone who doesn’t have a clue where to start.

  • Is there a giveaway or promotion with this book?

I will be happy to send one commenter a copy of the ARC for STAGING IS MURDER.

  • Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

I hope readers will enjoy STAGING IS MURDER, and if they are willing to leave a comment or review, I would greatly appreciate it. They can leave it at one of the following:

Amazon 

Goodreads

Grace’s Website: https://www.gracetopping.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/GraceToppingAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gtoppingauthor

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44098504-staging-is-murder?from_search=true

Back Cover Copy

Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th-century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, removing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties. 

To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure.

Worse still, the meddling of a horoscope-guided friend, a determined grandmother, and the local funeral director could get them all killed before Laura props the first pillow.

Bio

More About the Author

Grace Topping is a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. She’s using her experience helping friends stage their homes as inspiration for her Laura Bishop mystery series. The first book in the series, Staging is Murder, is about a woman starting a new career midlife as a home stager. Grace is the current vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.

Author Links

Website – https://www.gracetopping.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/gtoppingauthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GraceToppingAuthor

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomgracetopping

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N Kobo

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Malice Books Gift Card Winner!

Congratulations to Carolyn D. who is the winner of my Amazon gift card!

I am back from Malice Domestic in Maryland where I hung out with a bunch of amazing authors and fans! My panel was “Putting the Fun in Murder” and here I am with Jenna Hart and Catriona McPherson. Catriona is Scottish and is asking why in America potluck means you invite guests to dinner and expect them to bring the food???

As you can tell, we laughed quite a bit during this panel. And thank you to Dru of Dru’s Book Musings for posting this picture ❤

Without further ado, here are the winners of this years Agatha Awards

Best Contemporary Novel-
Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)

Best Historical Novel

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)

Best First Novel- A Tie!

A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
Curses Boiled Again by Shari Randall (St. Martin’s)

Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder on Trinity Place

Okay, this one isn’t an Agatha Nominee…yet… but it is the latest by Victoria Thompson, nominated for Murder on Union Square this year. I didn’t get all of the Agatha Nominees read but really enjoyed the ones I did.

Don’t forget! Time is running out for my Amazon gift card giveaway. I’m at Malice Domestic in Maryland this weekend getting to see some favorite authors!

Here is my review:

This was a true historical murder mystery with gangsters, swill milk, and an ending that will keep you guessing. Murder on Trinity Place takes place around a dairy that endorses pure milk over a more common method of feeding the cows swill. Almost every character had a secret making it hard to figure just who the murderer was. There were also some sweeter moments that rounded out the book nicely. I loved the plot twists and deductive reasoning of the principal characters. Highly recommend it!

I received this book from NetGalley and have left an honest review.

Agatha Nominees Gift Card For Mystery Spending

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Trust Me Review

Today I’m reviewing another Agatha Award nominee–Hank Phillipi Ryan with Trust Me. Of all the books I’ve read on this list, this one was the most unique. If you haven’t entered my giveaway yet, scroll down add your name and email.

Malice Domestic, the mystery readers conference in Bethesda, Maryland is only a week or so away, and I’m getting so excited to meet other authors and readers. The panel I will be appearing in this year is “Putting the Fun in Murder” with Patricia Ruoccopa, Jenna Hart, V.M. Burns, Catriona McPherson, and Jeff Cohen.

My Review- 5 Stars

The first thing you need to know about Trust Me is that it may not be what you expect. Yes, it is a mystery, but instead of a dark and stormy night with the sleuth sorting out characters and motives, you have a troubled journalist sorting out the highly confusing and deceptive mind of a woman who was accused of killing her own child. It was so different that I loved it. The assumptions you make will change and then change again. This is a psychologically centered mystery that will mess with your head!

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Bad Pick Mystery Tour and an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Let’s talk about goat yoga. (Never thought I’d be saying that!) Not really sure if this means the goats are doing the yoga or people are acting like goats doing yoga? Well, some of the characters in Bad Pick think it’s downright evil.  This is the third book in the Brie Hooker Mystery Series. Don’t forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway for an Amazon gift card!

Synopsis:

Bad Pick by Linda Lovely

Vegan Brie Hooker lives and works with her feisty Aunt Eva at Udderly Kidding Dairy, a hop, skip, and jump away from South Carolina’s Clemson University. Brie’s fun farm outreach attempt backfires when religious extremists decide goat yoga is a form of devil worship. Believing one of the zealots might be persuaded to see reason, Brie’s free-wheeling friend Mollye convinces her they should call on the young woman. Big mistake.

Picketers at Udderly’s gates soon become the least of Brie’s troubles. Not only is she accused of murder, she worries the death might actually be her fault. Danger mounts when an old family friend’s visit ensnares Brie in a high-stakes feud between a U.S. Supreme Court nominee and the woman determined to expose his secrets. In her personal life, Brie’s still torn between the town’s two most eligible bachelors. While she’s edging toward a decision, she must first survive a cunning killer adept at crafting murders that look like tragic accidents. Will Brie be another “accident” victim? Pay a visit to Udderly Kidding Dairy and find out!

Praise for Bad Pick

“There’s such a lot to enjoy in Linda Lovely’s third Brie Hooker mystery Bad Pick. Of course, I came for the goat yoga and the religious extremists (I’m only human), but I stayed for the love triangle, the female friendships, the family members rubbing along so realistically, the sidelights on vegan cooking and the rich depiction of small-town life. And what kept me flicking the pages fast enough to cause a draft? The twisty, knotty, killer plot underneath all that charm. Bad Pick is a good un!”—Catriona McPherson, Multi-Award-Winning Author of the Last Ditch Mysteries.

“Wow! In Bad Pick, Lovely wrote an amazing novel only to see one part of the plot come to life in headlines all over the country. A fringe religious cult, a Supreme Court nominee, and goat yoga combine together in a tale that fans of mysteries won’t want to miss. –Sherry Harris, Agatha Award Nominee and Author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries.

“The Brie Hooker mysteries from author Linda Lovely continue to entertain, this time with extremists who really don’t like the farm’s new goat yoga offering. You’ll find yourself muttering, “What the feta?” as you follow the action around not one but two murders from the edge of your seat. Fix yourself a chevre sandwich and sit down to enjoy a delightful – and suspense-filled – read.”—Edith Maxwell, Author of the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Henery Press
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Number of Pages: 270
ISBN: 9781635114744
Series: Brie Hooker Mystery Series
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

ONE

“How many people did you con into trying this goat yoga?” Aunt Eva asked as she slapped two strips of cold bacon in a skillet.

“No conning needed,” I answered. “Everyone’s looking forward to the class.”

“You sure goat yoga’s a good idea?”

I laughed. “I’m sure. People love it. Admittedly, a sense of humor’s required, but it’s caught on all across the country. Why don’t you join the fun? Class starts at three. We don’t have many Sunday customers this time of year. We’ll probably have the farm to ourselves by then. You up for some downward-facing dog?”

“No.” Eva harrumphed. “Don’t go insulting our noble dogs. Bad enough you’ll expose our baby goats to human pretzels. It’s bound to confuse the poor kids. Won’t know which human end is supposed to be up. They’ll think all us two-legged beings are bonkers. So who’s coming?”

“Jayla, our yoga instructor, wanted to limit the trial class to four students so it’s just Mollye, Fara, Mimi, and me.”

I pulled out a bag of frozen blueberries I’d picked at the Happy Berry Farm last summer. While Udderly Kidding Dairy, my home for the past seven months, boasted dozens of blueberry bushes, our four-hundred goats called first dibs on the fruit.

“Oh, and Paint’s shooting video to promote the class,” I added.

Aunt Eva chuckled as she flipped her sizzling bacon strips. “Not a hardship for Paint, videoing young ladies in nothing but skivvies and tutus.”

I glanced heavenward. “We don’t wear tutus. Our workout clothes show less skin than you do on the Fourth of July.”

Eva cocked an eyebrow. “Could be you’re helping Paint select babes for the weeks he’s not your designated beau.”

I opened the cupboard and grabbed a microwave packet of steel-cut oatmeal. “Paint sees a variety of ladies when we’re not dating, and he knows everyone in this class. No behind-the-camera scouting required.”

“Maybe, but as far as I know, he hasn’t seen any of them with their ankles up around their ears.”

“And he won’t today.”

“If you say so, but I swear my old bones creak just looking at some of those yoga contortions.”

Eva cracked two eggs in the hot bacon grease, while I used our microwave—a new kitchen addition—to thaw my frozen berries and heat the oats. My usual February morning fare. At Udderly, we didn’t chow down until the morning chores were done. That meant I was starved and in dire need of a caffeine injection.

Eva glanced over. “So how’s that boyfriend-for-a-week plan working? Who’s ahead in the Brie Hooker heart throb race? Any close calls on the clothing discard clause?”

I smiled. “Paint and Andy try to outdo each other in dreaming up ways to initiate a striptease. Despite their enterprising efforts, the nude- default clause remains unchallenged.”

Last November, I’d agreed to this bizarre boyfriend pact with Andy Green, our veterinarian, and David “Paint” Paynter, an entrepreneurial moonshiner. Though strongly attracted to both thirty-four-year-old hunks, I’d sworn I’d date neither. Didn’t want to lose them as friends or come between them. They’d been best buds for thirty years, practically since they left diapers.

The boys came up with an alternative. I’d date Paint one week, Andy the next, until either I selected a fulltime beau, one of them opted out, or a ridiculous nudity clause kicked in. If I disrobed on any date, the magician who assisted in making my clothes disappear would win by default. Both men swore the arrangement would not affect their friendship.

Me? I felt like I’d been locked in a chastity belt. Foreplay’s a lot less fun when there’s no after.

“You know it can’t last, don’t you?” Aunt Eva asked, giving voice to my own misgivings.

“Yep, I do. But like today’s sunny warmth—way too early for mid- February—I’ll enjoy it while I can.”

TWO

Jayla Johnson, our tall, willowy teacher waved as she walked toward me. Had to admit Paint would get an eyeful watching her stretch every which way. He was male, and Jayla was a stunner. As a shorty—I’m five four—I’d always envied long-legged ladies like Jayla. Somehow those extra inches made them look cool and sophisticated.

Luckily, Jayla wasn’t in the running to join Paint’s off-week harem. She was happily married to one of Clemson University’s football coaches and had a darling three-year-old son.

“Do we have a plan B?” Jayla glanced up at the Carolina blue sky. “It’s really warm for February, but the ground’s too muddy to put our mats down in a pasture. After five minutes, we’d look like we’d been mud wrestling.”

“Agreed. It’d be a shame to get that outfit muddy.” Jayla looked like an Oreo cookie, her ebony skin a sharp contrast to her snowy outfit. “I did warn you baby goats aren’t potty-trained, didn’t I? Accidents can happen.” “Not to worry.” Jayla smiled. “My laundry room has one whole shelf devoted to stain removers for husband-son accidents. So where are we setting up?”

“The horse barn. Plenty of room and it will be easier to keep Curly, Moe, and Larry contained.”

“Who?”

“Curly, Moe, and Larry are the baby goats—five-day-old triplets. We named the kids after The Three Stooges. Full of energetic hijinks. They’re also super cuddly.”

We turned as Mollye Camp’s psychedelic van crunched down the gravel drive. Her van’s midnight blue paint job served as a backdrop for a galaxy of glittering stars, a super-sized harvest moon, and a broom-riding witch. Moll, my best friend since childhood, was a gifted potter who sold her creations along with an eclectic hodgepodge of homeopathic remedies, herbs, and astrological doodads in her Starry Skies shop.

Moll jangled as she hopped down from her ride. She adored jewelry and had more piercings than a rapper. A vibrant purple streak adorned her white-blonde hair. She chose a new neon hue every month.

Mollye hustled over. “Who we waiting for?”

“Mimi and Fara,” I answered. “We’re keeping the group small for the test run. Paint’s shooting video.”

Mollye checked the amount of cleavage revealed by her scoop-necked purple top and inspected the seams of her orange leggings as they meandered south of her shorts. “Glad I didn’t wear anything too revealing. Don’t want folks thinking I’d participate in some racy video.”

Mimi and Fara’s arrival cut short Jayla’s and my eye rolls. Racy might not be Mollye’s middle name, but outrageous could be. I loved Mollye and her adventurous spirit though it sometimes landed me in hot water. Okay, in one case, freezing water.

With rolled mats tucked under their arms, the class newcomers looked like an odd couple. Mimi, who’d emigrated from Vietnam at age two, stood four feet nine on tiptoe, while Fara, a busty blonde with long braids, topped out at five ten. Mimi was a pharmacist; Fara grew up in her family’s funeral parlor and was now the town’s youngest funeral director.

Hard for this class to be more diverse. Paint would enjoy himself. “Hey, Fara, you boxing anyone up today?” Mollye joked.

“Maybe you after class,” the funeral director quipped. “You want the deluxe mahogany coffin or a pine box? I’m thinking you and Brie have used up eight of your nine lives. Better not exert yourselves today.”

Jayla clapped her hands. “Now children. Snarky is not the proper frame of mind for yoga. Think serenity. We want to clear our minds, be one with nature.”

I chuckled at the good-natured kidding. “Follow me to our classroom. We have the horse barn to ourselves. The smell alone will remind you we’re one with nature. I evicted Rita and Hank. They’re grazing in the pasture. Figured Lilly’s mule and Eva’s horse were more inclined to nicker than meditate.”

“Where are the goats in this goat yoga?” Fara asked.

“Eva will bring Curly, Moe, and Larry in after we start. We need to leave the barn door open for the light. Jim, our Border collie, will keep the little goat Houdinis from escaping.”

The triplets’ antics drove Jim nuts. Yesterday Moe pranced on top of a picnic table for five minutes taunting the poor herd dog. Jim ran circles around the table, barking in protest, unable to figure out how to nudge Moe back to her pen. After we placed our mats, Jayla led us through a series of simple warm-up stretches and breathing exercises. I’d been an avid runner and swimmer for years, but yoga was a new pursuit. I was pleasantly surprised to find its emphasis on breathing and mindfulness and its practiced movements helped me shed stress and fall asleep faster.

Believe me, falling asleep quickly is a prized skill for anyone required to rise before the sun. At Udderly, one of my jobs appeared to be waking the roosters.

Jayla announced the cat pose. I knelt on my mat and set my arms to provide four-point support. Then I arched my back like cats do when threatened. I lowered my head, giving my neck muscles a pleasant stretch.

“Looking good, ladies.” With my head down I heard the man’s voice before I saw him.

“Don’t mind me,” the newcomer continued. “I’m gonna wander around and take photos.”

The sexy baritone belonged to Paint. It should be outlawed.

“Have fun, kids—human and goat.” Eva laughed as she let the baby goats loose in the barn. Moe immediately darted under my arched back, executed a one-eighty, and raced back again as if she were playing a game of London Bridge.

My concentration faltered as Curly discovered she had easy access to one of my earlobes and began to nibble with her lips. It tickled.

Fara broke out laughing as Larry scrambled up her arched back and danced a little jig on his newly discovered perch.

“I’ve got a miniature geisha doing a four-footed massage.” Fara giggled. “Actually feels kind of good, though very strange.”

“No talking,” Jayla admonished. “Concentrate on your breathing, your muscles. Be one with nature.”

Paint hooted. “Nature’s winning.”

Paint obviously felt he was exempt from Jayla’s no-talking reprimand. The instructor began laughing, too. Moe had curled her body around Jayla’s legs as she attempted to hold the Big Toe pose.

We were all bent in half, butts in the air, when a loud voice brayed, “Oh dear God, save us. They are bowing to the devil, mocking the Lord Jesus by thrusting their bottoms at heaven above.”

THREE

What the feta?

I snapped around to see who was calling us devil worshippers. Was this a joke?

Flipping out of downward dog, I body slammed the mat. A second after hitting the plastic, a furry comedian bounced against my side. Curly shook her head as she attempted an impressive four-legged hop. She’d taken my tumble to the ground as an invitation to play. The little goat butted my side again.

“Lord Jesus, help us keep these devil worshippers from claiming more souls!” the stranger bellowed.

I was flabbergasted. No other word for it. Then my shock morphed into anger. Who did this woman think she was, calling us devil worshippers? Who invited her to our private workout? How did she even find out about it?

The plump leader held a super-sized wooden cross before her as if she were fending off a clutch of vampires. I figured her for mid-fifties. Gray streaks wound through her mousy brown hair. Light glinting off oversized spectacles lent her the look of an alien with round yellow bug eyes.

Two cross-carrying acolytes hovered about a foot behind her.

Were these people serious? I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. My heartbeat raced. Angry? You betcha.

I almost yelled one of my old-time favorite curses. Years back, I cleaned up my salty language for dear old Mom. As a vegan, processed- meat-and-cheese exclamations had become my exclamatory substitutes. But Cruddy corndogs! didn’t quite express my outrage.

Mollye, closest to the barn door, marched toward the scowling leader. “Susan, what in blazes do you think you’re doing?” she growled. “I got a restraining order to keep you and your looney-tune zealots off my property. Now you’re following me?”

“I didn’t know you’d be here,” the intruder raged, “though I’m not surprised. Goat yoga! What blasphemy. At church this morning, one of our faithful told me you were planning this abomination. I prayed on it, and decided we had to stop the spread of this evil in Ardon County.”

She waved her cross at us. “In the name of the Father and the Son we demand—”

“You need to leave,” Paint spoke through gritted teeth. “The only evil here is you.”

Susan closed her eyes and rocked back and forth on her heels. “You are Satan’s handmaidens duping people into believing Baphomet goat worship is fun.”

Susan’s diatribe was accompanied by a murmur of “Amen, Sister, Amen” from her backups. The sidekicks still wore church-go-to-meeting dresses, nylons, and heels. They kept sneaking peeks at the ground. Worried their high heels might sink in goat doo-doo during their barnyard sortie?

One of the acolytes looked to be Susan’s age; the other much younger, about my age.

“Knights Templar worshipped Baphomet as a deity.” Susan’s tone changed. Her words flowed in a singsong chant. “These monsters with their snake eyes are his descendants.”

“Are you nuts?” Jayla broke in. “How can you think these adorable babies are evil?”

Susan’s rant hadn’t cowed my friends.

The harpy wasn’t deterred. “Open your eyes. The Satanic goat is a source of evil.” Her yellow bug eyes flashed at each of us in turn. “You worship the Devil. We won’t allow your sickness to infect the pious people of Ardon County.”

Aunt Eva appeared in the barn door carrying two pails of goat milk. “You’re trespassing and you’re scaring the baby goats.”

My aunt’s face flamed red.

“We’ll leave,” Susan said. “But this isn’t over. We will fight to the death for the soul of Ardon County. Goat yoga will not corrupt our world.”

Curly made a break for it. The tiny kid ran pell-mell toward the barn door, which happened to be a few feet beyond where the intruding trio stood. Susan screeched. Did she really believe the Devil inhabited the itty- bitty creature?

The woman raised her leg to kick Curly.

Eva flung both buckets of goat milk, drenching Susan. The white liquid plastered her beehive hairdo to her scalp and her puffy blouse to her chest.

Oh my, was she really wearing a flaming red teddy under her prim white cotton?

A laugh bubbled up. I laughed so hard I doubled over.

Susan shrieked like a storm-warning siren and ran. Though only a few drops of goat’s milk spattered her companions, they caterwauled like they’d been doused with acid as they scurried after their leader.

The entire Udderly Kidding Dairy crew exploded in laughter.

Eva halted her hee-haws long enough to imitate a cackling witch. “You’ve been baptized with the milk of Baaa-Phooey. Your souls belong to us!”

Susan spun when she reached a shiny Chevy van. “You’ll pay for this!” she yelled. “Laugh all you want. You’ll see Hell sooner than you thought.”

I quit laughing as abruptly as I’d started. It was Susan’s tone not her words that gave me the heebie-jeebies. We’d embarrassed the woman. Humiliated her. Perhaps she’d started this protest as some form of ecclesiastical theater, art for show, a way to rally the troops.

Now it was personal. Susan had been scorned.

***

Excerpt from Bad Pick by Linda Lovely. Copyright © 2019 by Linda Lovely. Reproduced with permission from Linda Lovely. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Linda Lovely

Hundreds of mystery writers have met Linda Lovely at check-in for the annual Writers’ Police Academy, which she helps organize. Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail. Her new Brie Hooker Mystery series offers good-natured salutes to both her vegan family doctor and her cheese-addicted kin. Bad Pick is her eighth published mystery novel. She served as president of her local Sisters in Crime chapter for five years and belongs to International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
lindalovely.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Lovely. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 1, 2019 and runs through June 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Looking at Kingdom of the Blind

Today we continue with our Agatha Award nominees with Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mystery Kingdom of the Blind. You might want to put on some warm socks and sweater for this one because we’re headed to Canada and winter itself becomes a character. Can you imagine being named an executor of a will for a woman you have never met? That is exactly what happens to Gamache while he is waiting to be cleared in an investigation. There are several plots to sink your teeth into and some interesting characters. Find out more about the book below and read my review and don’t forget to put your name in for the giveaway for your chance at an Amazon gift card to buy some of these amazing Agatha nominated mysteries.

My Review:

Imagine being named the executor of somebody’s will that you have never met. That is what happens to Inspector Gamache in Kingdom of the Blind. Once again Louise Penny has given us a wonderful mystery and characters who are interesting and lovable. The construction of the mystery was well done and there were plenty of suspects to choose from. I was never exactly sure who to trust. This one was hard to put down.

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Designs on Murder

With the advent of the new Project Runway,  I think it’s only fitting to have a cozy mystery centered around the world of fashion, don’t you? This book has some cozy and historical elements to it when you add a ghost from the 1930s. Fun! Gayle Leeson (aka TRENT!) was kind enough to answer a few questions about her newest cozy mystery, Designs on Murder

About the Book

Designs On Murder: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series

What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn’t really…alive?

Amanda Tucker is excited about opening her fashion design studio in Shops On Main, a charming old building in historic Abingdon, Virginia. She didn’t realize a ghost came with the property! But soon Maxine “Max” Englebright, a young woman who died in 1930, isn’t the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark Tinsley, a web designer with a know-it-all attitude who also rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office.

Amanda is afraid that one of her new “friends” and fellow small business owners is his killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark’s murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate–the ghostly fashionista can’t end up the killer’s next victim!

You can pick up a copy of Designs on Murder at Amazon.

A Visit With Gayle 

How did you come with an idea for your book?

I believe it was a combination of things. I’d been watching the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries tv show on Netflix, and Phryne inspired my ghost Max. And I’ve always been drawn to that particular building in Abingdon, and since there are so many old buildings believed to have resident ghosts in town, that it was only natural for my heroine to set up shop there and discover Max.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

I think the scene where Amanda meets Jason, the photographer, is cute. I think that scene really emphasizes the differences between Amanda and Max.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

The next book in this series and the next book in the Down South Café series will be out later this year.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

Psychological thriller.

Is there a giveaway or promotion with this book?

Yes. There’s an overall prize through the blog tour.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Bookbub

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent. As Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series, and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing until the Gayle Leeson name. She has a series of women’s fiction novellas set in a shopping mall that has been converted to include micro-apartments (the Kinsey Falls series) and has just begun this new cozy series, the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series. Another Down South Cafe novel is slated for release in August with book two in the Ghostly Fashionista series scheduled for October.

Author Links

Newsletter sign-up form: https://forms.aweber.com/form/14/1780369214.htm

Website: www.gayleleeson.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GayleTrent @GayleTrent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GayleLeeson/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Gayle-Leeson/e/B01NBSTBDU/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/gayle-leeson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/426208.Gayle_Trent

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Cozy Prizes Friday: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder Review-Agatha Award Nominee

I’m reviewing another Agatha nominee today, this time in the first novel category. If you enjoy light historical cozies, you might want to check this one out. I’ve given my review below, and if you haven’t already, be sure to enter my giveaway for some cozy cash on those Agatha’s.

My Review:

What a wonderful combination of regency romance and cozy mystery! Our amateur sleuth, Frances,  is a recently widowed woman who after escaping the grip of her husband’s greedy family, goes to London to sponsor her sister in the London season. London’s upper crust is being plagued by burglaries and she puts her sleuthing skills to work to catch the robber. Her efforts are hampered when the police suspect her of killing her husband. I enjoyed the unfolding of the mystery, the handsome neighbor, the supporting characters and the historical setting.

Purchase A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder on Amazon

Add to Your Reading List on Goodreads

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World Down Syndrome Day!

Today we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, and I take a minute to be thankful for my own son, Andrew. He is 26 now, and it’s been one heck of a journey. A journey I would take again in a minute.

I include a character with Down syndrome in the Pecan Bayou Series because every world, real or not, needs to have a source of pure love.

To all my Down syndrome friends and their families, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Photo obtained from GHFEDS

Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder Between the Pages

Today we have a little mystery and a little romance from writer Linda Hope Lee with her cozy mystery Murder Between the Pages.  Linda, a former school librarian has written over two dozen books! Find out more about Linda below, and don’t forget to enter her giveaway for $25 Amazon gift card.

About the Book

Murder Between the Pages (The Nina Foster Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Crimson Rose) (December 19, 2018)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1509223673
ISBN-13: 978-1509223671
Digital Print Length: 190 pages
ASIN: B07JKZT5TM

It’s a sad day for librarian Nina Foster when she discovers her good friend, bookstore owner Wildeen Bergman, dead on her office floor. Worse yet, another friend, romance writer Zelma Duke, becomes the police’s prime suspect. Nina knows Wildeen had something on Zelma. Was it enough to warrant murder? Handsome Stephen Kraslow, owner of the local newspaper, joins forces with Nina to find out the truth. The quest takes them on a dangerous journey of twists and turns before they reach the final outcome.

A Visit with Linda 

How did you come with an idea for your book?

Good question, considering that most of the time I don’t know where the ideas come from! But I’ll do my best here. Murder Between the Pages is the first book in my new cozy mystery series. I have published 26 books in other subgenres: contemporary, mystery, and romantic suspense. The heroines of those stories have various occupations: interior designer, museum curator, art gallery owner, actress, singer. I’ve never been any of these in real life. In real life, I was a librarian. So, with the cozy, I thought, why not write about a librarian and really put yourself into the role? And, it’s been fun. Nina and I are different in one respect, though: I was a school librarian and she is a public library librarian.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

Another tough question. For the mystery plot, the scene would be the one in which Nina finally puts all the clues together and figures out whodunit. For the romantic subplot, the scene would be where she and Stephen first realize they care for each other.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

See question 1 for other books written. Future projects include more in the Nina Foster Mystery Series.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

Historical.

Is there a giveaway or promotion with this book?

Enter my giveaway below for your chance at $25 gift card.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Amazon, Net Galley, Goodreads

About the Author

Linda Hope Lee had written contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and mysteries. Other pursuits include watercolor painting, photography, collecting children’s books and anything to do with wire-haired fox terriers. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest.

Author Links

Website http://www.lindahopelee.com

Twitter: @lindahopelee

Facebook: facebook.com/lindahopelee

Goodreads: goodreads.com/lindahopelee

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder Once Removed

 We have a Texas girl on the blog today! Ever look up your family history and find a few skeletons in the closet? That’s what happens in Murder Once Removed and the murder to be solved was back before Bluebell Ice Cream was even around (Texans will know what this is❤). This sounds like a fascinating mystery, so read the description below. If you are checking out this year’s Agatha Nominees, you should know this book won BEST FIRST NOVEL at Malice Domestic in 2017.  The giveaway for a free print copy is at the bottom of the post!

About the Book

Murder Once Removed (An Ancestor Detective Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series

S.C. Perkins’ Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.

Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.

About the Author

S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.

Author Links

o www.scperkins.com

o www.twitter.com/scperkinswriter

o www.instagram.com/scperkinswriter

o www.facebook.com/scperkinswriter

o www.pinterest.com/scperkinswriter

o www.goodreads.com/scperkinswriter

Purchase links

IndieBound Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million

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The Mystery Writer Puzzle Is Up- Featuring Agatha Award Nominees

This month’s puzzle features the writers who have been nominated for Agatha Awards in three categories. Best Contemporary Mystery, Best Historical Mystery, and Best First Mystery Novel. Don’t worry if you haven’t read them all, like all good mysteries, there are a couple of ways you can figure out the answers.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $20 gift card to be awarded after Malice Domestic in May.

Click here to download and print this puzzle.

Click here to download the answers.

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Review of Turning the Tide-Agatha Award Nominee



Let’s get historical with Edith Maxwell’s latest Quaker midwife mystery, Turning the Tide. She is nominated in the historical mystery category of the Agatha Awards and in this book she takes us to the women’s suffragette movement in 1907. So, put on your yellow suffragette banner and let’s solve a mystery!

Scroll down to read my review and enter my Agatha Nominees Giveaway!

Book Description:

A suffragist is murdered in Rose Carroll’s Massachusetts town

Excitement runs high during presidential election week in 1888. The Woman Suffrage Association plans a demonstration and movement leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton comes to town to rally the troops, one of whom is Quaker midwife Rose Carroll. But the next morning, Rose finds the dead body of the group’s local organizer.

Rose can’t help wanting to know who committed the murder, and she quickly discovers several people who have motives. The victim had planned to leave her controlling husband, and a promotion had cost her male colleague his job. She’d also recently spurned a fellow suffragist’s affections. After Rose’s own life is threatened, identifying the killer takes on a personal sense of urgency.

My Review

I have read a couple of other books in this series and have always loved Edith Maxwell’s main character, Rose. She is a devout Quaker and balances her faith with working in a world full of women in labor, detectives, and murder. The plot centers around the women’s movement with appearances by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and John Greenleaf Whittier. Rose Carroll finds a suffragette brutally murdered in a town where the idea of women getting the vote is not always popular. Great historical mystery!

Agatha Nominees Gift Card For Mystery Spending

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My next book from the list of Agatha Nominees is A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Diane Freeman.

Cozy Prizes Friday: Check Out the Agatha Award Nominees!

Last month, Mystery Writers of America announced the nominees for the Agatha Awards! I thought it might be fun to read and review a few of these books and to offer a $20 Amazon gift card giveaway to help finance you buying all these books!  
Here is a list of writers and the fiction that will be voted on at Malice Domestic in May.

Don’t forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway! This is book money, people! 
Best Contemporary Novel
Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Beyond the Truth by Bruce Robert Coffin (Witness Impulse)
Cry Wolf by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)

Best Historical Novel
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
The Gold Pawn by LA Chandlar (Kensington)
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
Turning the Tide by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

Best First Novel
A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
Little Comfort by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell (Level Best Books)
Curses Boiled Again by Shari Randall (St. Martin’s)

 

Agatha Nominees Gift Card For Mystery Spending

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Stay Tuned: My first book up on this list is Edith Maxwell’s, Turning the Tide.

 

 

Get a FREE copy of A Heart for Murder when you sign up for my mailing list!

A Heart for Murder was part of the Happy Homicides Anthology, Crimes of the Heart , but here’s a way you can pick this Pecan Bayou Valentine novella for free! If you are not already on my mailing list, join us for more information on my books and visiting cozy mystery authors and their giveaways!

Sign up for my newsletter and get Pecan Bayou Novella, A Heart for Murder, for free! Get news on more free books on Kindle, Giveaways, coupons, and new releases!

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I know I haven’t been posting as much lately, but that’s a good thing. You know how you get obsessed with a story you love? It’s the same way when you write a book. I can’t tear myself away from it! No spoilers.

Cozy Prizes Friday: The Novel Art of Murder


Don’t you love strolling through a bookstore? The smell of the books, the invitation to new worlds and excitement on every shelf? Let’s take a run over to Samantha Washington’s bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan where the senior crowd from Shady Acres has their heads together to solve another mystery.  Read my review below the description and don’t forget to put your name in for the giveaway!

About the Book


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow

Purchase Links – AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound: – Books-A-MillionHudson Booksellers

My Review

5 Stars

I liked The Novel Art of Murder. V.M. Burns has taken the traditional, contemporary cozy mystery and added a twist. There is a second, British historical cozy beautifully woven into the storytelling. I found this mystery full of funny characters and many plot twists and surprises. I loved Nana Jo and the ladies and gentlemen of Shady Acres. It had to be the funniest killer takedown I have seen! I highly recommend this one.

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:

Website: http://www.vmburns.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/

Twitter: @vmburns

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Cozy Prizes Friday: Not a Creature Was Stirring

Okay, first you have a cozy mystery sleuth named Merry Winters and a dog named Ebenezer. Hmmm, sensing a trend here. I’ll make a true confession–I love reading Christmas mysteries when it isn’t Christmas.  I think I actually like them more probably because I have time to enjoy them!  Check out Christina Freeburn’s new Merry and Bright Handcrafted series with her first entry, Not a Creature was Stirring.   Don’t forget to enter her giveaway and there is a second chance to enter below the Rafflecopter box. 

About the Book

Not a Creature Was Stirring (Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Henery Press (January 22, 2019)

Empty nester Merry Winters loves three things: Christmas, crafting and her family. To regain purpose and joy, Merry hits the road to a Christmas vendor event with her furry sidekick Ebenezer in her new mobile crafting sleigh, aka an RV.

But it soon turns into the nightmare before Christmas when Merry unwraps her Scrooge of an ex-husband’s body in one of the RV’s compartments. Add to that his missing winning lottery ticket believed to be stashed somewhere in the RV, leading the homicide detective and Merry’s stepdaughter to believe Merry is the one whodunit.

With visions of prison dancing in her head, will Merry be able to solve this Christmas calamity before she’s locked away?

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

About the Author

Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she’s been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime solving.

Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, church secretary, and golf shop pro. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid and allergic to felines.

Author Links

Webpage: www.christinafreeburn.com

Blog: www.theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaFreeburnCraftyandCrimeAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristinaFreeb1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChristinaFreeburn

Not a Creature Was Stirring Additional Giveaway!

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You can enter the giveaway again through my blog! Just leave your name and email below.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

A Sneeze to Die For/ Piney Woods #2 is Now Available!

I am happy to announce that Nora, Tuck and all the folks in Piney Woods, Texas have a brand new adventure!

Nora Alexander has sunk her inheritance into the Tunie Hotel, in Piney Woods, Texas. Now there is a chance that her first major booking, a national cat lovers’ conference called Meow Meet-Up, will help her bottom line.

Pushy reporter Alan Shaw shows up the day before the event, making trouble for Nora and the conference. 

When Shaw is later found dead in the bottom of the hotel’s faulty elevator shaft, Nora depends upon boyfriend and police officer, Tuck Watson, to investigate and save the Tunie Hotel’s reputation. Nora also has to deal with a surprise health inspection and a conference organizer bent on getting steep discounts for conference attendees. 

Things spin further out of Nora’s control when she discovers she has a cat dander allergy setting off unpredictable sneezing episodes at inopportune times. The featured feline guest, grand champion show cat, Catpurnicas, escapes and disappears, leading to a town-wide search. Surrounded by members of the Meow Meet-Up convention, Nora must sort through a list of suspects that include a beloved cozy mystery writer. A Sneeze to Die for is the second book in the Piney Woods Cozy Mystery Series, which began with Murder of a Good Man. 

Click Here to Purchase This Book on Amazon!

Cozy Prizes Friday: A Literal Mess

 

 

This one is a special shout out to all the literary agents out there, (including mine) from J.C. Kenney.  Be sure to check out my review of A Literal Mess and then enter the giveaway for a chance at a $25 Amazon gift card. 

About the Book

A-LITERAL-MESS

A Literal Mess (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (January 8, 2019)
Print Length: 196 pages
ASIN: B07C6T6X41

 

The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

                                               Purchase Links!

                              AmazonApple Google Kobo Nook

My Review: 5 Stars

J.C. Kenney gives us a new cozy mystery series with little Allie Cobb, the kickboxing crusader, and literary agent. Allie was a relatable character and I was pleased with how the story came full circle. I read a lot of mysteries but  I wasn’t sure “whodunnit” until the very end. Good work! I look forward to other works by J.C. Kenney.

 

How did you come with an idea for your book?

It’s kind of a funny story. My agent posted an article in our agency chat group about a person going missing near a river. I wasn’t writing mysteries at the time, but commented in an offhand way that the article sounded like a great story nugget for a cozy mystery. Well, my agent responded by challenging me to write the story. After thinking about it for a couple of days, I decided to go for it. That offhand comment led to A Literal Mess. It’s been nice having something good come out of spouting off without thinking!

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

I hope they really like Allie’s final showdown with the murderer. I think it’s a testament to her quick thinking and fearlessness. Allie doesn’t sit back and wait for things to come to her. She takes the initiative. I hope readers see that, and appreciate it.

What other things have you written or what projects might we see in the future?

A Literal Mess is the first book in the Allie Cobb Mysteries series. Book two, A Genuine Fix, will be out this July. The third book in the series, A Mysterious Mix Up, will be out in 2020.

If you could write any other genre what would that be?

I’ve been a fan of science fiction all my life, so writing in that genre could be fun. I actually have a space opera I work on when time permits. Someday, I’ll finish it. I hope! 

Is there a giveaway or promotion with this book?

I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

Goodreads and Amazon. I truly appreciate the time readers spend with my stories and if they are inclined to leave a review, those are the two places that would help the most. Thanks in advance!

Please share the link for readers to add your book on Goodreads!

Here you go: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39901823-a-literal-mess

About the Author

J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.

Author Links

Website – https://www.jckenney.com;

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JCKenney1;

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JCKenney1;

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/JCKenney;

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/j.c.kenney/

 

 

Book Blast Tuesday: Academic Curveball

Welcome to our first book spotlight in 2019! Here it is January and time to slog back to school, but wait there is something strange afoot on campus. Academic Curveball is the first book in this cozy mystery series and is full of grade tampering and mysterious death. So grab your backpack and your overpriced coffee and let’s go to school! 

Don’t forget to enter for your chance at a print copy of the book 🙂 

About the Book


Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. But who is behind the murder?

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

Purchase Links

Amazon