Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Meet Edna Sweet, at her Sweet Olde Tea Shoppe (and enter for a GIVEAWAY!)

Hello there, my name’s Edna. Edna Sweet. Nice to meet you. If you’ve got stuck in traffic just outside Oxford – maybe on your way to see its famous spires and colleges – you might have seen the signposts to the village where I have my tea shop, or maybe not. It’s a small place, and we’re all rather glad we don’t get the tourists some of our neighbors do. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t good trade for me here. Indeed, since I opened my tea room a month or so back, it’s all gone a lot better than I could have dared hope. 

I think my toasted teacakes have a lot to do with my success; I use a family recipe and make them from scratch, every day. And I never use one of those nasty toaster things - no, I pop them under the grill at the top of the stove so they only toast on the cut surface where they’ll be buttered, leaving the underside nice and soft. Oh heck, have I given away a secret now? Ah well, you can try it at home if you like -  you’ll find it makes a big difference.

I’ve dreamed of owning a genteel tea shop in a quaint village since I was about ten years old when I was living in anything-but-quaint North London…and now I’ve finally made it happen. I spent weeks clearing out the place I bought; I’m surprised the previous owner hadn’t killed someone, the kitchen was in such a dreadful mess. But now everything’s just right: blue and white gingham tablecloths, dark wood tables and chairs, and a lovely big Welsh dresser bedecked with classic Willow Pattern china. Perfect. At least, that’s what I thought…until I overheard a conversation the other day that set me back on my heels. I’m wondering if I was mistaken…why on earth would anyone be talking about poison in my tea room?

You can meet Edna Sweet – and a host of other characters – in Cathy Ace’s brand new anthology MURDER KEEPS NO CALENDAR, which is available for pre-order at now! GREAT NEWS…If you’re a fan of Cathy’s Cait Morgan Mysteries you can find out how Cait Morgan and Bud Anderson first met, and for those of you who enjoy spending time with the women in Cathy’s other series, The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, you can be there when the four women decide to set up in business together! 

The anthology contains eight novellas and four short stories – one for each month of the year – two of which have already been produced for BBC Radio 4. The book is available for pre-order on Kindle NOW, and print copies can reach you before Christmas...what a super gift idea - right? Enter today to win a print copy - Cathy will contact the winner on Thursday afternoon.

Click here for the print book
Click here for the Kindle book 

Leave a comment below by midday, Eastern, on Thursday 23rd November (with your name and an email address) and your name might be plucked from the proverbial hat to win a print copy of the book. Good luck! Open to anyone, anywhere in the world!

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries.  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Have a Cozy Christmas!

By: Jaymie Leighton Muller
Title: Leave It to Cleaver
Series: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
My website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries
Facebook: Author Victoria Hamilton
Twitter: @MysteryVictoria

This is new, this feeling; I'm shopping for Christmas for a little girl - Jocie, my step daughter - and it's all so new to me, joyful and yet terrifying. I'm not quite sure I know how to handle it. My older sister, Becca, never had children so I didn't even have nieces and nephews to practice on.

So... do I spoil her rotten like I want to? Everything she sees and likes
on television, my instinct is to run out and buy it. I don't want to see a sad face on Christmas day, and I well remember the Christmas I didn't get the Lil Miss Makeup doll I wanted. I don't remember what I did get, but now I can see why my mother wouldn't have gotten me that doll. Talk about the wrong message for a five year old... makeup on a toddler doll??

But Jocie wants a Finger Baby Monkey that's twenty dollars. Twenty dollars for a glorified finger puppet! But she reeeeally wants it! It's hard to resist that adorable face and pleading eyes; Jakob is leaving it up to me this year. He tells me she'll be just fine if she doesn't get it, and I want to believe him. I could be sneaky and farm that gift out to my mom and dad, who are completely in love with Jocie and would be happy to buy it for her, but then I run the risk of my folks getting her the gift she loves the best this Christmas.

I recently came across a gift giving philosophy for children that I really like. It's a rhyme, and goes like this: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read." I love that idea, and Jakob is on board.

So, World Wide Web folk... what do you think? Give kids exactly what they want, or try to choose what you believe is best for them? I'll admit I'm confused.


Season's Readings Giveaway!

How about some gifts for YOU for Christmas?? You can sip your Christmas cocoa (or coffee, or tea) from this Have A Cozy Christmas! mug and use the cool skull teaspoon to stir it up! All while you're reading Leave It to Cleaver! ((Click on the pic to see the prizes up close!!))

So... Tell Jaymie your thoughts on a gift for Jocie in your comment.

Leave your first name and an email address ((yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com))

Comment by Midnight November 23rd (don't worry if you comment after Midnight on the 21st and your comment doesn't show up right away; it goes to moderation, and I'll okay it the next day!)

Open to US and Canadian entries!

Happy Holidays, all, and enjoy our Season's Readings Month of Giveaways!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

T'is the Season for a Giveaway

by Sully Sullivan from the Theater Cop series by J.A. Hennrikus

When you are a theater company who does A Christmas Carol every year, you start thinking about Christmas in August--meeting with designers, getting the marketing plan in place, starting to build the show. By October you've already had a first rehearsal. And depending on when you are opening, Thanksgiving is a bit of a blur. For the Cliffside Theater Company this year, Thanksgiving is tech week. Not the most festive of times.

Tech week is when lights are focused, wardrobe changes are rehearsed, press interviews are done on set,  and if you're lucky you get a full run of the show done before the first audience comes in. Since Thanksgiving is early this year, our final dress rehearsal is actually scheduled for Thanksgiving night. I know, I know. How is that possible? Well, if things were going well, we could have had the final dress on Wednesday and taken the day off. But things aren't going well. At all. (Read A Christmas Peril for more details on that!) So we have to have Thanksgiving dinner at the theater.

We're doing a pot luck for the feast, and the signups are interesting to say the least. Connie, our intrepid stage manager, has ordered a cooked ham and turkey and several pies to be delivered. Someone else is bringing roasted vegetables. The Beef and Ale is providing potatoes and green bean casserole. We have some Chinese food being delivered. Tofu is the prime ingredient in a couple of side dishes. Our rolls are going to be gluten free--don't ask.

I'm even going to make my bourbon sweet potato casserole. I've already started to roast the potatoes, and will caramelize the brown sugar, butter, and bourbon on Wednesday night to let them all marinate together before I bake them on Thursday. Yum!

Dinner is planned for two o'clock, in the lobby of the theater. The entire company will sit together, and share a meal. Maybe that will be the secret ingredient to make this our best A Christmas Carol ever.

Let's hope so--t'is the season!
I'm thrilled to kick off Killer Characters' Seasons Readings with a giveaway! Every day for the next month we will be giving away books. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on the blog, with your email address.

I am happy to give one randomly chosen winner a copy of A Christmas Peril.

I will choose a reader Friday at noon east coast time, and will contact them for their address.

We are so grateful to our readers, and happy to celebrate with them for the next month!
Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Friends Let Friends Talk to Their Cats! Giveaway!

By Colbie Summers Owner of Meowio Batali Gourmet Cat Food

From the Gourmet Cat Mystery Series by Kathy Krevat


I’m Colbie Summers, owner of Meowio Batali Gourmet Cat Food, and owned by my cat, Trouble.

Trouble gets a lot of the credit for my business. Of course, I do all the planning, shopping, cooking, marketing, and so much more for Meowio. But Trouble inspired the whole thing.

I found her abandoned as a tiny kitten. She had so many digestive problems that I ended up cooking for her, and then for my friends whose cats had similar issues. When people I didn’t know kept offering to buy it, my business was born.  I try lots of new recipes, and Trouble is an excellent taste-tester. I learned early on that if Trouble doesn’t like it, the product won’t sell.

Trouble goes along with me to Farmers’ Markets, wearing a tiny chef hat and sitting on a cat-sized love seat. She adores the attention from her fans, and lets me know when she’s ready to go home.

I’m not saying that she talks to me, but she does have a way of getting her message across. I find myself translating quite well. And of course, I talk to her. (She just gave me a look that so obviously says All. The. Time.)

Growing Meowio into a side business, while balancing my full time job and the needs of my twelve-year old son, Elliott, hasn’t always been easy. But as a single mom who dropped out of college, I was doing pretty well when my father came down with pneumonia and his friend convinced me to come home and help him out. So I packed up Elliott and Trouble and moved back to Sunnyside, California.

I’d been a city girl for quite a while, but small town life has its charms, especially Joss Delaney, my dad’s organic farmer neighbor. His baby chicks have enthralled Elliott while other parts of Joss have my attention.

Somehow, I was convinced to join the Sunnyside Power Moms, a group of small business owners who joined together for networking and support. And somehow, I became friends with a bunch of soccer moms.

But small towns also have secrets. And sometimes those secrets lead to murder.

Do you talk to your pets? Do they talk back? Answer the question in the comments section below for a chance to win a Kindle copy of THE TROUBLE WITH MURDER! Please include your email in this format: name (at) server (dot) com to avoid spam bots. Giveaway ends November 20 at midnight your time.

Pre-order your copy of THE TROUBLE WITH MURDER, out on DECEMBER 12 by Lyrical Underground/Kensington Books.

Kathy Krevat is the author of the GOURMET CAT MYSTERY series and the nationally bestselling CHOCOLATE COVERED MYSTERY series under the name Kathy Aarons.

She lives in San Diego with her husband of twenty-five years, close to the beach, their two grown daughters and Philz coffee. Kathy’s an avid supporter of youth arts education and serves as president of the San Diego chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Follow Kathy on Facebook, Twitter, or at

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thanksgiving and Dog Treats

by Carrie Kennersly, veterinary technician and owner of an adjoining barkery and bakery, whose adventures are memorialized in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, everyone.  Short post here since I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving, which is coming way too soon.  But I have developed some more healthy dog treats which residents of Knobcone Heights, California, can buy at my Barkery and Biscuits shop, as well as people treats, available at Icing on the Cake.

So far, this has been a nice, calm season.  I hope it stays that way, although I’ve an inkling that I haven’t solved my last mystery.  In fact, as I mentioned last month, there are hints that I may encounter another murder in 2018.

But for now, I’m giving thanks that the most stress I have at the moment is making sure I have enough products to sell in my shops, while still spending time at the local veterinary clinic to help the vets there care for animals in need.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, from my dog Biscuit and me!  And next month... well, I've heard that whoever posts here might be giving away a Christmas treat, so be sure to come here and visit.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Favorite Holiday - And Giveaway!

By Chloe Ellefson, Historic Sites Curator

From the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries

by Kathleen Ernst

Thanksgiving is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday.

I often focus on the bad stuff. You've heard me complain about problems with my megalomaniac boss, Ralph Petty. He's director at the historic site where I work, and does his best to make my job a lot less fun than it should be.

I've had family challenges. My mom and I don't always see eye-to-eye. My attempt to improve relations by visiting Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum last Christmas was only moderately successful. And my sister Kari kept a big secret from me a year or so back, when we were touring all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites.

Most recently I've had to deal with the discovery of human remains in a friend's cellar, a hypercritical colleague, and the threat to close a beloved historic site, Pendarvis, in Mineral Point, WI. Sadly, that wasn't even the first body I've stumbled over.

But Thanksgiving reminds me to focus on all the wonderful things going on. I do love my job as collections curator at Old World Wisconsin. I've got great friends. And things are going pretty darn well with my guy, Police Officer Roelke McKenna. We're very different people, and we've had some rough patches along the way, so that's huge.

This Thanksgiving Roelke and I are inviting our family and friends to his old farmhouse for a big, festive meal. It will be the first time we've had a chance to host a holiday. I can hardly wait.

I wish you all the most peaceful of holidays, and hope you have as many blessings to count as I do.

* * *
Giveaway! Share what you're thankful for this season in a comment below, and you'll be eligible to win the Chloe Ellefson mystery of your choice. Please leave email (such as sue.smith <at> so I can contact the winner. Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, November 19.

To learn more about the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series, see Kathleen's website or follow her on her Facebook Author Page.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mackinac What?

Evie Bloomfield here and I’ve come to Mackinac Island from Chicago. Some of my friends say that one place is just like another but they are so wrong. So I gave them instructions. This is how you know you are on Mackinac Island and you are so not in Chicago.
... if you have ever gotten frostbitten and sunburned in the same week. (though truth be told this could be Chicago too)
... if you can identify an Ohio accent.
…if you don’t need car insurance
…if a fender bender is a two-bike crash
... if you learned to pilot a boat before the training wheels were off your bike.
... if you point at the palm of your right hand when telling people where you live
... if "Down South" means Toledo.
... if a Big Mac is something you can drive across.
... if you have no problem spelling Mackinac Island.
... if you have as many Canadian coins in your pockets as American ones.
... if the trees in your backyard have spigots.
... if you know that a place called "Kalamazoo" really exists.
... if you bake with "soda" and drink "pop".
... if you know what a pastie is.
... if you know how to play Euchre.
... if fudge and bicycles remind you of  home sweet home.
... if you can name all 5 of the Great Lakes, and point to their locations around your left and right hands.
... if you know that Pontiac and Cadillac are cities.
... if you can actually pronounce Ypsilanti.
... if you own only three spices - salt, pepper and ketchup.... if you keep track of the miles you put on your snow blower.
... if you think everyone from the city has an accent.
... if you think sexy lingerie is tube socks and a flannel nightie.
... if your snow blower gets stuck on the roof.
…if you save your Christmas tree to help mark the path across a frozen lake for the snow mobiles
... if summer takes place the second week of July
... if you find -20F a little chilly.
... if the kids drive to school in a snow mobile.
... if you know the 4 seasons: Winter, Still Winter, Almost Winter, and Yesterday was summer.
... if you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by.

... you know the day the horses get off the ferry and return to the island
... if you have worn shorts and a coat at the same time.
... if down South to you means Ohio.
... if you go out to a fish fry every Friday.
…if the whole town is 500 people strong
... if you know what a Yooper is.
... if you know that UP is a place, not a direction.

Come visit me on Mackinac Island! We’ll have a blast!
Hugs, Evie
Cycle Path Mysteries