Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Here's to Chili . . . And the Chili Queens!

By Maxie Pierce from Kylie Logan’s “Revenge of the Chili Queens”

There’s nothing like a new adventure to get my blood pumping, and I’m thrilled to announce that “Revenge of the Chili Queens,” the third installment in Kylie’s Chili Cook-Off mystery series, is now on store shelves.

What a relief to finally be able to tell the story and let the world know what really went on in San Antonio when the traveling Chili Showdown helped commemorate the history of the town’s Chili Queens!

The Chili Queens, see, were the women who cooked their pots of spicy deliciousness in their homes, then took them to the town’s plazas every evening where friend and neighbors and entertainers gathered to eat and socialize.

What a scene it must have been!  Just imagine the fragrances of spices and peppers that wafted through the air!

Of course, when I was at Alamo Plaza helping raise money for charity, there was more to worry about than just chili.  Like the guitarist who was found dead over near the Porta-Potees.  And Nick Falcone, the Showdown security chief who just happens to be hotter than any chili pepper I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Nick turned into the prime suspect in the case, and though I know he’d never admit it, he needed me to help him clear his name.

Help him, I did, but not without running into drag queens, beauty queens, society queens and descents of the real Chili Queens.  I’ll tell you what, there were more suspects on Alamo Plaza than San Antonio has chili peppers!

Does the truth come out?  Is Justice done?

Do I love chili?

Join me in San Antonio and we’ll help immortalize the Chili Queens of old.  I’ve even included their original recipe in the book.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

There’s Something about that Woman

by Detective Niles Olson, Minneapolis Homicide Division
from the FAT CAT series by Janet Cantrell

See below for a giveaway!

Niles Olson, homicide detective here. I’ve just finished dictating my reports for the day. I love my job, all but the paperwork—and one other part of the job. I don’t like unsolved cases. I’m wrapping up my day, ready to go home, but there’s one person I can’t get off my mind. Chase Oliver, the Bar None co-owner. The one with that crazy cat.

I know it should be suspicious that she manages to get herself into the middle of some very bad situations. But I’ll never believe she has a bad bone in her lovely body. I almost feel guilty that I called her in for a cognitive interview. She’s so susceptible that I had her half hypnotized. What a sharp mind she has. When I asked her to close her mind and recall every detail from the scene of the crime, she came through like a champ.

All the time she was remembering things and I was droning on as softly as I could, I was just waiting for her to open those almost-blue, almost-gray eyes. She doesn’t know it, but I could gaze into those eyes all day and all night.

But I’m a professional. I can’t get attracted to someone who might, very remotely, be involved in murders.

FAT CAT SPREADS OUT is the second mystery in the Fat Cat series. Please
check Janet’s webpage for links.

A booth at the Bunyan County Harvest Fair seems like the perfect opportunity for Charity “Chase” Oliver and Anna Larson to promote their Bar None bakery business. Unfortunately, plus-sized pussycat Quincy has plans for their delicious dessert bars other than selling them to customers. After tearing through their inventory, Quincy goes roaming the fairgrounds in search of more delights.

But what he finds is murder. 

I MUST celebrate the new cover for the third book FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE! I'm giving away 3 copies of FAT CAT SPREADS OUT, with Fat Cat sticky notes. Please comment below (include your email or message it to me) before Saturday, the 8th, when I'll pick a winner. Thanks for coming by!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Flipping Pancakes, Burgers, and Murder

Hey, Robbie Jordan here, in South Lick, Indiana. I've been flipping banana whole-wheat pancakes, baking cheesy biscuits, and frying up bacon and sausage all morning. My teenaged helper Danna and I usually get a break before the lunch rush starts up end of the morning. Then we flip beef, turkey, and veggie burgers until mid afternoon, with barely a chance to sit down.

Don't get me wrong, I'm living my dream. Not only do I own a country store breakfast-and-lunch
joint in scenic hilly southern Indiana, the store is also filled with vintage cookware. I even have a classic Hoosier cabinet filled with gadget of all kinds. (Hoosier cabinet seen in Missouri by Sherry Harris; photo used with permission.

But hey, running a restaurant is hard work. And when I get accused of murdering the aide to the mayor? Yikes. Nothing like that ever happened in Santa Barbara where I grew up. 

I've been living in the midwest for four years now, though, and it kind of grows on you. Especially after my mom died suddenly last winter - well, I'll just say I'm blessed both with the love of my aunt Adele, the former mayor of South Lick, and with my mom training me in carpentry. When I bought the run-down country store, it saved me a ton of money being able to do all the renovation work myself. 

I know Mom is watching me from somewhere, smiling down on her daughter. Now if the local police could only figure out who really killed Stella.

The first book in the Country Store Mysteries series, Flipped for Murder, will release in late October and is written under the name Maddie Day. Maddie (aka Edith Maxwell), wants me to tell you the book is available for preorder now!

Readers: What's your favorite breakfast out? The piece of antique cookware you're dying to acquire?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Barton Farm Rice Pudding

by Laura Fellow from The Final Reveille

Most of the year, I'm a high school history teacher, but during the summer, I dress up in long skirts and shirtwaists as a historical interpreter at Barton Farm. In this getup, I pretend to be living in 1863 and spout off mostly accurate Ohio and America Civil War history. My best friend, Kelsey Cambridge, is the director of Barton Farm, and she always tells me not to share bad historical facts. My philosophy is different. If I can make a student or visitor think by feeding them questionable facts, that’s when really learning can occur. The ability to question something lead to true critical thinking. Unfortunately, Kelsey doesn’t see it that way and thinks the Farm will be sued some day for my misrepresentation of history. She worries too much.

Another aspect of my job at Barton Farm is to cook meals in a hearth, so that tourists can taste test the delicacies of years gone by. To be honest, it's hot and steamy work. There are no air conditioning in any of the historical buildings on Barton Farm where I cook. The recipes are usually labor intensive and need my constant attention, which means many long hours over the fire. However, when I see a child taste of my recipes and smile, it is all worth it because now that child has a taste for history. As a history teacher and historical interpreter, I can’t think of anything better.

Of all the recipes that I make at Barton Farm, my rice pudding is the very best. You will find the recipe below. Enjoy!

Recipe for Barton Farm Rice Pudding
1/2 cup rice
1/3 cup of sugar
1 quart of milk
4 tbsp. butter, diced
dash of salt
1/2 cup raisins

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and allow it to sit for half hour, so that rice can soak up the milk. Bake mixture in baking dish at 275 degrees F for 2-3 hours. Stir twice during the first hour at 20 minute mark and 40 minute mark. 

Serves four. Serve hot or cold.


The Final Reveille
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Amanda is still hosting the Maid of Murder Giveback through 9/1/15. All proceeds will for to The Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio. Learn more here!

writing as Isabella Alan

Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries Now Available

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 2015 New Releases

Cranberry Cove Mysteries #1

Peg Cochran
Berried Secrets
Cranberry Cove Mysteries
Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 13: 978-0425274507

When Monica Albertson comes to Cranberry Cove—a charming town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan—to help her half-brother Jeff on his cranberry farm, the last thing she expects to harvest is a dead body.

It seems that Sam Culbert, who ran the farm while Jeff was deployed overseas, had some juicy secrets that soon prove fatal, and Jeff is ripe for the picking as a prime suspect. Forming an uneasy alliance with her high-maintenance stepmother, Monica has her hands full trying to save the farm while searching for a killer. Culbert made plenty of enemies in the quaint small town…but which one was desperate enough to kill?

Pumpkin Patch Mysteries #1

Joyce and Jim Lavene
Give ‘Em Pumpkin to Talk About
Pumpkin Patch Mysteries
Amazon Publishing
ISBN: 978-1515190134
First in a New Series

Richmond attorney Sarah Tucker returns to sell her family’s abandoned farm in Misty River, Virginia despite unanswered questions about her grandparents’ disappearance sixteen years earlier. Sarah was only twelve when she went to visit and found her grandparents had vanished. No amount of searching has brought answers.

Now Sarah is faced with other issues when a man is killed who claimed to have information about what happened to her grandparents. She learns of a Confederate chest of gold that is said to be buried on the property, and treasure hunters who are willing to do anything to get their hands on it.

Were her grandparents murdered for the gold? Sarah can’t sell the land and go back to her life until she has answers. But the cost of the answers may be her life.

Includes farm-fresh recipes!

Chili Cook-Off Mysteries #3

Kylie Logan
Revenge of the Chili Queens
Chili Cook-Off Mysteries
Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 9780425262443

Everyone in San Antonio remembers the Alamo, but how many remember the Chili Queens?  One hundred years ago, these spicy senoras sold their chili in plazas all over the city.  Now as part of the Chili Showdown, Maxie Pierce is dressing up as a Chili Queen to raise money for charity.  But someone's not feeling too charitable toward a local troubadour who is murdered at the fundraiser.  When Nick Falcone, head of Showdown security, becomes the prime suspect, it's up to Maxie to turn up the heat on the killer.

Material Witness Mysteries # 2

Diane Vallere
Crushed Velvet
Material Witness Mysteries
Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 9780425270585

With opening day of Material Girl approaching, Poly is stocking up on lush fabrics, colorful notions, and best of all, a proprietary weave of velvet. But upon delivery, it’s not quite the blend she expected, being ninety-percent silk and ten-percent corpse. 

Crushed under a dozen bolts of fabric is Phil Girard. His wife, Genevieve, local tea shop owner and close friend of Poly, is the prime suspect. Granted, Phil may not have been the perfect husband, but surely Genevieve had no reason to kill him! There’s just the small matter of Genevieve’s own incriminating confession: I’m afraid I killed my husband. 

Now, as Material Girl’s grand opening looms, Poly is torn between a friendship pulling apart at the seams—and finding a smooth killer with a velvet touch…

Friday, July 31, 2015

Victoria’s Dish: The Latest from the Casa Lido

By Victoria Rienzi from A Dish Best Served Cold, Book 3 in the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, by Rosie Genova

Though the pen name on my mysteries is “Vick Reed,” when I’m in New Jersey with my family, I’m plain old Victoria Rienzi. For a couple of months now, I’ve been back in Oceanside Park along the Jersey shore, the town where I grew up. I have a history here, with my family, of course, but also with my ex-boyfriend, Tim Trouvare, who’s the sous chef at my family’s restaurant. I’ve also been involved with a couple of real-life mysteries since I’ve been back—murder seems to follow me wherever I go.

But right now I have other things on my—if you’ll pardon the expression—plate. Our restaurant, the Casa Lido, is celebrating its anniversary this summer, so we’ve got a big shindig planned out in the garden behind the restaurant. We’ll be serving some of our famous dishes, as well as my father Frank’s famous homemade wine. We’re hoping things will go smoothly, but there are a couple of small hitches.

For one thing, there’s a hurricane in the forecast. My grandmother, who brooks no opposition, won’t hear of moving the party inside. But as the wind whips up and the sky gets darker, I wonder how long we’ll be safe outside. And there’s another troublesome complication in the form of Pietro Petrocelli, also known around town as “Stinky Pete.” Pete’s just a little too fond of the grape, and he has a bad habit of showing up at the restaurant uninvited. We’re under strict orders not to give him any wine, but he always manages to find a bottle or two. Is he sneaking into our wine cellar? Or is there someone else interested in getting Pete drunk for reasons of their own?

Because Pete claims to know things—about people around town, about their professional and personal lives, and about an old murder case that reaches back to 1940s Atlantic City. A cold case that holds a lot of fascination for me, even though I’ve promised my family to keep my nose out of it.
So I hope you’ll wish us luck for our Casa Lido anniversary party. I can’t imagine that anything will go wrong this time—if you don’t count an impending hurricane and a nosy homeless guy who collects information on the wrong people. . . 

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. Her series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her appreciation for good food and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a 2013 Best Pick by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award.  Her current release is Book 3 in the series, A Dish Best Served Cold. Rosie still lives in her home state with her husband and the youngest of her three Jersey boys.

You can learn more about Victoria (and her creator, Rosie Genova) at her website and on Facebook.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mother Knows Best

By Suzanne Wyatt Richardson from Booked for Trouble by Eva Gates

I am not normally a schemer. Strictly between you and me, just us girls, I’ve never had to be. If I saw something I wanted in this life, I grabbed it with both hands. Like all those years ago, when I first set eyes on Lucy’s father, back when I was still in high school. All I wanted was to get the heck out of the Outer Banks. He was handsome, rich, and head over heels in love with me. Easy pickings.

It won’t be so easy this time. My only daughter, Lucy, had some foolish idea of breaking off her engagement to the eminently suitable Richard Eric Lewiston III, to whom it has always been intended that she marry, and run away to the Outer Banks to work in a tiny little public library.  Yes, it’s a delightfully charming library, tucked away in a historic lighthouse , but really!

Lucy says she doesn’t love Ricky (as everyone calls him). What does she know about love? Ricky will be an excellent husband. He is, after all, the son of my husband’s law partner and doing very well at the firm. Of course there was that incident with the totally unsuitable Cooper girl (boys will be boys, you know). And then the time when he had too much to drink at the country club dance, and…

Never mind.

Here I am, back in my home town of Nags Head, determined to get Lucy to see reason and return to Boston where she belongs.  I am well aware there will be some resistance, so I am gathering allies, assessing the opposition, and scouting out the terrain, so to speak.  

That Louise Jane clearly will be happy to see Lucy heading out of town.  I’ll pretend I’m interested in her ridiculous ghost stories. Theodore, the single-minded book collector, can be put to good use, even though he won’t be aware of it.  I can see that Diane Uppiton, member of the library board, has something up her sleeve. I am sure I can manipulate her to my advantage.

Then there’s Bertie James, Lucy’s boss. She won’t be an easy woman to go against, and she seems to have taken to Lucy.

But, above all, I anticipate that my largest obstacle will be the two potential suitors Lucy seems to have found herself with. Connor, the mayor, who she knew when they were teenagers (And why didn’t I know about that!) and Butch the police officer. I don’t trust those big, handsome, macho types.  They make dreadful husbands, cops, too involved in the job. And the spouse of a politician! 

Heaven forbid.

I’m only doing what’s best for my daughter.  She’ll thank me. One day.

Suzanne Wyatt Richardson plots and schemes in Boston, and on the road as she drives toward a surprise visit to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The first book in the Lighthouse Library series, By Book or By Crook is now available, and Booked for Trouble will be released on September 1.  Meet Eva at and

Suzanne arrives at the Lighthouse Library in Booked for Trouble, due to be released on September 1st.  I’d love to give an ARC of the book to one lucky reader. Please leave a comment to be entered for the draw including your email address so I can contact the winner.

US and Canadian entries accepted. Contest closes August 3rd.