Cozy Prizes Friday: Southern Charm

Time for that great detective team Mayson and Dickson!  We have an excerpt from Jocie McKade’s latest in the Mayson-Dickson series as well as a highly informative guest post about the history of the Mason Dixon Line. I always thought it had to do with cornbread getting sweeter the further south you go? There is a giveaway for this one and someone who visits this site will win an ebook copy of Southern Charm. Keep an eye out for the prize guy!

The REAL Mason – Dixon Line

A Guest Post by Jocie McKade

When people hear Mason – Dixon and they immediately think of it as a line between the Northern states and the Southern states.  While that has become an accepted fact, it is not historically true.

Way back in 1632 when land grants were being given to the American colonies by Britain, that line moved a bit here and there. Of course, it wasn’t yet known as the Mason-Dixon line. When things got testy between the colonies of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, were charged with surveying the area and ending the catfight between those states.

There was a political dispute (political disputes go WAY back) and Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore in an agreement with the heirs of William Penn, said he renounced his claim to land in Delaware. A short time later, he said he didn’t say that. (Sound familiar?)

This lead to a little-known war – Cresap’s War erupted between settlers in the contested areas, complete with property disputes, law enforcement issues, and I’m sure, who paid taxes to what colony. The militia was called in. Things got so bad King George II had to get involved and order a cease-fire to end the bloodshed, because who wants to be in Delaware when you could be living in Maryland. This was when Mason-Dixon were enlisted to survey the line. They surveyed the entire area between 1763 and 1767. There was a lot of area to be surveyed.

However, it wasn’t until 1779 that Pennsylvania and Virginia finally agreed to the line. “To extend Mason’s and Dixon’s line, due west, five degrees of longitude, to be computed from the river Delaware, for the southern boundary of Pennsylvania, and that a meridian, drawn from the western extremity thereof to the northern limit of the said state, be the western boundary of Pennsylvania forever.” And we thought legalese was a new thing!

During the Civil War, the line approximated the separation of slave states and free states, which lead to its popular usage as the most recognizable term for North versus South.

Which leads me to segway into my mystery series, Mayson-Dickson, and the latest book SOUTHERN CHARM.

Mayson & Dickson are back, and they’ve uncovered a dead body. Well, as usual, the dead body found them.

The annual Neptune Festival is in full swing in Virginia Beach, and so is the Sand Art Contest. This year, the beautiful art is covering up a very dead body. Leave it to Emme and Jackie to uncover it. Finding the killer, however, will lead them to places they never imagined, and to a completely unexpected killer.
And, their mysterious past is catching up to them, complicating their lives even more.

Mayson-Dickson – Northern logic, Southern charm, and murder!

About the Book

Southern Charm (Mayson-Dickson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series

In their latest adventure, in SOUTHERN CHARM, Emme and Jackie are enjoying, well Emme is enjoying a stroll along the Virginia Beach boardwalk when they attend the Neptune Festival and a sand art exhibit. Jackie tags along reluctantly, then a series of events, sends Emme sprawling into a sand sculpture. But it’s no ordinary sand sculpture; it’s hiding a dead body with lots of secrets.

Complicating their lives are cryptic GPS coordinates that lead them to their parent’s mysterious safe house, where they encounter protective drones. I’ll let you find out what happens next.

Mayson & Dickson, when they crossed the line, it was murder.

Read an Excerpt



“You’re heading south.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Emme smiled keeping the window half-way down.
“No. I am not going any farther into Dixieland. Bang-a-u-eey, now.” Jackie snapped her fingers, getting a grunt from her sister. “I mean it. I cannot take more ain’t and y’alls.”
“Look, North Carolina is right down the road,” sliding her sunglasses down her nose she gave Jackie a sarcastic smile. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to take a chance on Sydney, Meechum, Zack, or those Eights tracing us. Across state lines might make it harder. You want to know what’s on the flash drives, don’t you?”
“Fine, but we do this quick. No reason to linger, no suh.” Glaring at the half rolled down window and the hot breeze it brought inside the car, she turned two AC vents toward her face. “If I have to go deeper into Bubba-land, you have to roll up that window.”
Emme sighed and relented. Then she began guiding the car with her knee against the steering wheel while putting her hair in a ponytail. It was like riding with a stunt driver in the circus; only there weren’t any safety nets.
Two hours later they were sitting in the restaurant at a stock car race track. What had she done to piss off the universe? Jackie’s mind wandered to Boston, to brick streets, ice cream with Jimmies, walking in the cold air along the harbor, five-star restaurants. Now, she sat in a town whose name wasn’t even pronounced the way it was spelled on their welcome sign. A good old boy announcer was calling a car race, and there was a plate of ribs, biscuits, and something called ‘sopping sauce’ in front of her. One lone ceiling fan was turning slowly in the ceiling doing nothing more than moving the hot air around.
“Why do you look like there is a dead possum on your plate?” Wow, Emme had a way with words.
“I’m afraid it might be.” Jackie took a sip of cold tea…..dear gawd, her taste buds did the hula, her eyes began to water, and the syrupy stuff went down her throat in a slow crawl unleashing a coughing spasm.
“Are you alright?” Emme smacked her hard across the back, making the thick liquid stick in her throat. “Take a breath.”
“C…aaaannnn’t……..stuck……” the coughing continued.
“Here,” a handsome man, maybe, she couldn’t really tell through her watering eyes, handed her a can of soda. “Drink you some Coke; it’ll cut through anything.”
Jackie wasn’t a fan of Coke, but if it washed that crap down her throat, she’d guzzle it. Whatever was in that can wasn’t Coke, but it did cut the sugar clog, although it did nothing for her dancing taste buds.
“That’s,” she coughed, “not Coca-Cola.” Oh gawd, she sounded like a wounded parrot.
“It’s RC Cola.” He laughed. “Do you feel better?”
Jackie nodded, wishing for all the world she had water with lemon.
“I’m Rex, Rex Hollopeter. I drive number seventeen.” He nodded out the window toward the dust storm they called a race track.

Purchase Links


Smashwords – multiple formats

Southern Charm E-book Giveaway

0m 0s

Here's your chance at an e-book copy of Southern Charm!

This contest is no longer accepting entries.

About the Author

Jocie McKade has worked at several jobs before landing her perfect one as a librarian. With a soft spot for U.S. Veterans, she chaired the Veteran’s Oral History Project and her work with the program lead to her speaking before the Project committee and the U.S. Library of Congress. She has won several awards for her non-fiction writing on a multitude of subjects.

Her fiction writing has received the Author / Ambassador at Library Journal Self-e Authors,
Winner Queen of the West Reader Favorite Award, Amazon Bestseller – Historical,
Double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories, and her novel Baer Truth received 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews.

Writing mostly romantic comedy and humorous cozy fiction, Jocie can humor in most everything. She lives in the Midwest on Dust Bunny Farm with her family and Diesel the Wonder Dog. When not writing, she grows ArnoldSwartzaWeeds in her garden and camps whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Author Links


Author Facebook Page

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Pinterest Page


Memories of Malice

I attended my first Malice Domestic this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland!  I loved getting to meet Nicole Leiren, Jim Cangany, Sandra Bretting, Colleen Shogun, Jenna Harte, Maggie Touissant, Dane McCaslin, along with my agent Dawn Dowdle and so many others. I had two favorite things: Doing my first panel with Sandra Bretting and getting to listen to Rhys Bowen interview Louise Penney.  All those mystery writers in one hotel, and yet no one tripped over a body, not even at the bar.

All of these panels and interviews will be on in the future so if you want to listen to my panel or one of the many others, you can!  Here I am with Sandra Bretting, also from Houston!

Gone Malicing!

I know “Malicing” is not a word, but the good news is I will be at Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend!  There will be over 190 authors including some heavy hitters like Louise Penny, Catriona McPherson, and Nancy Pickard. I am so excited to get to meet face to face some of the authors and bloggers I’ve had on my blog.  See you next week!

Book Blast Tuesday: The Marmalade Murders

Now that we’ve all survived the predicted end of the world on Monday, let’s get cozy and talk about The Marmalade Murders. Penny Brannigan is on the case again and her kind author, Elizabeth J. Duncan has offered a giveaway just for the readers of this blog. Pssst-Your odds of winning have greatly increased. Keep an eye out for the Prize Guy. 

About the Book

The Marmalade Murders: A Penny Brannigan Mystery
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series

The latest book in an award-winning mystery series, celebrated for its small-town charm and picturesque Welsh setting and starring amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan.

The competition is friendly and just a little fierce at the annual Llanelen agricultural show as town and country folk gather for the outdoor judging of farm animals and indoor judging of cakes, pies, pastries, chutneys, jams and jellies, along with vegetables, fruit and flowers. But this year, there’s a new show category: murder.

Local artist, Spa owner, and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan agrees to help with the intake of the domestic arts entries and to judge the children’s pet competition on show day. When the president of the Welsh Women’s Guild isn’t on hand to see her granddaughter and pet pug win a prize, the family becomes concerned. When a carrot cake entered in the competition goes missing, something is clearly amiss.

A black Labrador Retriever belonging to the agricultural show’s president discovers the body of the missing woman under the baked goods table. A newcomer to town, a transgender woman, is suspected, but amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan believes her to be innocent. She sets out to find the real killer, but when a second body is discovered days later, the case is thrown into confusion, and Penny knows it’s up to her to figure out what happened—and why.

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play BookBub

About the Author

Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada’s best light mystery and lives in Toronto.

The Marmalade Murders Print Copy

0m 0s
Giveaway! Enter for your chance at 1 Print Copy of The Marmalade Murders. Sorry-US only.

This contest is no longer accepting entries.


Author Links



Cozy Prizes Friday: Murder at the Mushroom Festival

Time for Spring festivals and this week let’s get into fungi at Murder at the Mushroom Festival. The author, Janet Finsilver was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing process and how she loves to write about dogs with special abilities.  My dogs Martin and Max have special talents. All I have to do is open the refrigerator and they appear like magic from anywhere in the house!

Be sure to look for the prize guy! Today he gives you the chance to enter her giveaway for a digital copy of Murder at the Mushroom Festival.

About the Book

Murder at the Mushroom Festival (A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series

There’s a corpse among the chanterelles!

Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager Kelly Jackson is hosting a cooking class during the Week of the Mushroom festival to attract guests, not drama. But soon after she finishes foraging for an edible mushroom species on sacred Native American land, a local newspaper reporter gets shot dead at the same site. With suspicions spreading like fungi in the quaint Northern Californian community over the culprit’s identity, Kelly and a savvy gang of sleuthing seniors known as the “Silver Sentinels” must uncover the truth about the secluded property before a tricky killer prepares another lethal surprise . . .

A Visit With the Author


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

I have a series of books that I call safe whodunits. This means there is no graphic violence and the main characters will return in each one. In the mystery world they are called cozy mysteries. My books all have dogs with special abilities.

Where did the ideas come from? Traditional mystery writers like Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle influenced me. Murder She Wrote was a favorite show I watched. This is where the type of books I write came from.

As for the dogs, years ago I read about a standard poodle trained to detect cancer. That’s where the original idea came from for the dogs with special abilities in my books. I was fascinated and started collecting information about the different ways dogs contribute to our lives. Each of my mysteries highlights a certain skill. Murder at Redwood Cove has a basset hound trained to detect cancer. In Murder at the Mansion two beagles are bedbug and termite finders. Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table has dogs trained in hearing-assistance for people who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as one trained to help people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My most recent book, Murder at the Mushroom Festival, has a diabetic alert dog that also finds mushrooms! These aren’t dog books, but the dogs all have a function in the stories.

What scene do you hope your readers enjoy the most?

There are many scenes I hope the readers enjoy. I’ve put an excerpt from Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table below.

Mary gave me directions, and I headed out to discover my future. Auntie’s table was off by itself a ways away from the crowd. Summer and a pale man sat across from a woman in black, voluminous clothes, a cloth scarf on her head. She was staring into a small cup, and I could see her lips move.

Suddenly Summer stood up, and even at a distance I could here her loud “No!” She turned to the man now standing next to her and grabbed his arm. She pulled him away from the table, and they headed in my direction.

The man put his arm around her shoulders as they walked by me. “Mom, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s coffee grounds and Auntie’s active imagination.”

I saw tears in Summer’s eyes.

“You don’t know.” She shook her head from side to side and looked stunned.

“Mom, I have no dark secrets from the past that will be revealed,” he said, his voice beginning to trail off as they moved away. “And no one is going to die.”


Here are some hints for other favorite scenes. In Murder at Redwood Cove, Fred uses his hound abilities to find a missing person. An unusual room is discovered in Murder at the Mansion. An unexpected ride happens at a botanical garden in Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table. My protagonist has to do some quick thinking to save herself in Murder at the Mushroom Festival.

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

Right now I’m focusing on my Kelly Jackson series. I have a contract for a fifth and sixth book. The tentative title for book five is Murder at the Marina. It goes to the publisher in June. The next “project” after that will be figuring out what happens in book six!

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

Growing up I enjoyed reading books that had dogs or horses in them. I think it would be fun to do a young adult series involving animals.

Where can readers leave reviews of your book?

The usual places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016. Book 3, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE was released on March 14, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Links

Facebook –

Twitter –

Pinterest –

Web –


Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google+ BookBub


Book Blast Tuesday: Chicken Culprit

Cockadoodle Dooooo! Rise and shine cozy mystery lovers because today we are featuring a mystery about chickens and high time we did!  Haven’t you always wanted to have your own little farm in your backyard? Who needs acreage? My friend Susan started like this and ended up on an a full-fledged farm complete with chickens, cows and really cute baby goats (four of which she delivered on her daughter’s wedding day!) Now that’s the country life.

I’ve reviewed Chicken Culprit and be sure to scroll down and find the Prize Guy for your chance at a signed copy of the book, a simple book bag, a $25 Amazon gift certificate, and some other goodies (tbd) for one winner. I will also allow the winner to provide a character for my next book (first and last name, description, etc.) They won’t get to pick if that character is the killer, victim, or innocent bystander. And they will receive a mention in the next book’s acknowledgment page.   SWEET!

About the Book

Chicken Culprit: Backyard Farming Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado

Finally healing after her heart-breaking divorce, Anne Freemont is ready to put the painful past behind her.

Discovering an old Victorian for sale in the small mountain town of Carolan Springs may be just what she needs. The beauty of Colorado beckons, so Anne heads west to start her new life.

Yet, before Anne’scompletely settled in, her neighbor is found dead in his compost pile. What’s worse is that Anne’s quirky young neighbor, Kandi Jenkins, could be the killer. When Kandi begs for her help, Anne feels she has no choice but to help the young woman.

However, she finds herself quickly at odds with the local sheriff. And while she uncovers more of the community’s secrets, she’s also exploring her awakening feelings for Sam Powers, the town’s deputy coroner.

Once Anne starts looking at who could be the real killer, the suspect list keeps getting longer and longer. It seems that Carolan Springs is a place of many secrets. But who would want to murder Ralph and who’s willing to kill again to keep their secret?

My Review: 4 Stars

Anne has moved to a small town in Colorado where she is backyard farming featuring a life of chickens, freshly baked bread, and gardening. I liked the main character’s way of looking at things and the cozy town Viki Walton creates. Interesting ending!

About the Author

Vikki Walton is a suburban homesteader aka the Havensteader. She has chickens, gardens, and bees and is a certified permaculture designer. She’s also the author of nonfiction books. She loves to travel, is a global house and pet sitter and when not out in the garden or hiking in beautiful Colorado, is plotting her next mystery.

Author Links:




Purchase Link


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cozy Prizes Friday: Farewell, My Cuckoo

Happy Friday the 13th! Today we have kooky book for you, or should I say a Cuckoo book. I love a British mystery, so let’s go visit the quirky village of Smeaton-under-Lyme and start getting ready for a wedding in Farewell, My Cuckoo.  Wedding planning can drive anyone cuckoo, right?


About the Book

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Alibi (April 10, 2018)
Print Length: Approximately 300 pages

Julia Lanchester must defend her love nest from an invasive species: her boyfriend’s sister. And then there’s the little matter of murder . . .

“The cuckoo comes in April and sings its song in May. In June it changes tune and July it flies away.”

Wedding bells are ringing in the small British village of Smeaton-under-Lyme. Julia Lanchester’s second-in-command at the local tourist center is finally getting married, and the lovebirds are giving Julia and her live-in boyfriend, Michael Sedgwick, ideas about their own future. But before anyone can say “Will you,” Michael’s flighty older sister, Pammy, crashes the party, fresh off a breakup and lugging all her worldly possessions around with her in a tangle of plastic bags.

Before long, Julia’s cozy cottage starts feeling more like Pammy’s bachelorette pad. To keep herself from going cuckoo, Julia throws herself into her pet projects at work—until death disrupts her plans. First a body is found on the estate. Then the police discover that Pammy was the last one to see the man alive. And soon Julia gets the feeling that if she ever wants her home—or her boyfriend—back, she’ll have to get to the bottom of this mystery, even if it means breaking a few eggs.


About the Author

Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village. Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and the American Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland, and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs.

Marty Wingate’s captivating mysteries can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order:



Author Links






Amazon author page:

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

There isn’t a giveaway for this one, but never fear! Look at the column on the right. 😉

Book Blast Tuesday: The Killing at Kaldaire House

All I”m saying is you’d better pay for your dang hat if you are in Kate Parker’s latest cozy historical mystery. I love the cover and the whole idea of a milliner part burglar.   The Killing at Kaldaire House is in the spotlight today and be sure to look for the prize guy below for your chance at a print copy of the book.

About the Book

The Killing at Kaldaire House

(The Milliner Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery

A dying man. The painting within her reach. What’s a thief to do?

Talented London milliner Emily Gates creates amazing hats for Society ladies, but to collect from those who don’t pay her bill, she burglarizes their homes. She needs every penny to send her deaf brother to school. Late one night, she sneaks in to find Lord Kaldaire badly injured in his study. Unwilling to abandon him, she calls for help.

When Kaldaire dies without revealing who attacked him, his widow agrees to keep Emily’s secrets ― if Emily will help find her husband’s killer. A bigger danger is a Scotland Yard inspector who threatens to arrest Emily — unless she spies on her father’s family of swindlers and conmen. Worst of all are the attacks from an unknown assailant. What will Emily face first, jail or death?

This cozy mystery is set in the era of My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins, of early automobiles and aeroplanes, and of King Edward VII and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you enjoyed the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, you’ll like Emily Gates and the collection of aristocrats and thieves in her world as they step into the 20th century.

About the Author


Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.


Author Links:





Purchase Links – Amazon Kindle Amazon Paperback B&N Kobo BookBub

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast Friday: The Advice Column Murders

Don’t you just love advice columns?  Of course, if you live in a small town like Charley Carpenter, you don’t have to go too far to get unsolicited advice! I reviewed The Advice Column Murders and really loved the many layers of the mystery!


About the Book

The Advice Column Murders: The Oakwood Mystery Series

In a small town like Oakwood, Ohio, everyone knows everyone else’s business—except for Charley Carpenter’s standoffish new neighbors, who tend to keep to themselves. But behind closed doors, Paxton Sharpe’s habit of screaming bloody murder at all hours of the day keeps Charley awake all night. Coupled with the stress of the increasingly delayed expansion of her shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, the insomnia is driving Charley crazy. Her only distraction? The local paper’s irreverent new advice column, “Ask Jackie.”

Jackie’s biting commentary usually leaves Charley and her employees rolling on the floor, but her latest column is no laughing matter. An oddly phrased query hinting at a child in peril immediately puts Charley on high alert. After arriving home to a bloodcurdling scream next door, she follows the noise into the basement and makes a grisly discovery: the body of Judith Sharpe’s adult daughter.

With Detective Marcus Trenault off in Chicago, Charley decides to take matters into her own hands. Convinced that the murder is connected to the desperate plea for help in “Ask Jackie,” she embarks on a twisted investigation that has her keeping up with the Sharpes—before a killer strikes again.

My Review:  4 Stars

Charley Carpenter is on the case again as she finds herself solving a mystery right in the neighborhood. When a young woman asks her to help out with a crime, Charley is drawn into a mystery. When the same young woman is found dead, Charley starts collecting the clues including the fact that this woman was once pregnant. There were many layers to this mystery and I enjoyed piecing together the suspects to figure out who done it. I was surprised by who the murder actually was! Well done.

About the Author

About The Author

Leslie Nagel is a writer and teacher of writing at a local community college. Her debut novel, “The Book Club Murders”, is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. Leslie lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son, and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.


Author Links

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter –

Instagram –

Purchase Links

Amazon B&NKoboGoogle Play