Sunday, May 28, 2017

How to Host a Crafty Party

By: Cora Chevalier
From: Cora Crafts Mysteries
Author: Mollie Cox Bryan
           Book 2 Title: No Charm Intended

You might be surprised to know I get a lot of email from people who want to make connections with other crafty folks. Okay, so you can do that online pretty easily—there’s so many crafting communities on the web. But sometimes, you just want to get together in person, right? I think one of the best ways to do so is to have a craft party. Recently, I went to a rock-drawing/painting party and it was so much fun. Plus, there were so many connections made. I’ve a feeling some of those women will be getting together for years to come.
So in an effort to help create in-person crafting communities, I came up with a list of tips for a crafty party.
1.     Keep it simple. I preach this at my retreats, with my teachers, and when I guest teach. Nobody is going to learn to knit, crochet, or make lace in an hour or two, while they are trying to socialize and probably eat and drink. The party is about having fun, making connections, and getting crafty. Not about gnashing our teeth over that new crochet stitch.

  •       A theme is helpful. Scrapbooking, painting, sea-crafts are all kind of themes for a crafty party. None of them are difficult to have fun with, maybe to master—but that’s another story. The rock drawing party I went to offered rocks and sharpies in the middle of a table.
  •          If you have a nice big table, sit around it, and craft. You never know what you’ll learn. (Not just crafting techniques, I’m betting.)
  •          Offer finger food and drinks. As I always say, snacking is imperative to crafting, in any case, but especially during a party.
  •           Invite friends, and people you want to know, along with a couple of people well known in the crafting community who can offer expertise without a hard sell. This is a party—not a sales venue. But then again…having some very cool products by local crafters and artists available, just in case,  is always a good idea.

Here’s some video shots of some of the women at the rock-paint/drawing party we had. It was so much fun! Enjoy!

Ann explaining her rock stories and art. 

Mary Katharine showing off Stitch Amour's new handmade bags for knitters

Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries and a bestselling Kindle-World romance novella THE BEEKEEPER'S BRIDE, A ST. HELENA VINEYARD KINDLE WORLD NOVELLA. She just released a new series: "Cora Crafts Mysteries." The first book is DEATH AMONG THE DOILIES. She's also penned a historical fiction: MEMORY OF LIGHT: AN AFTERMATH OF GETTYSBURG.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Let the Music Play! #bookgiveaway

By Erin Murphy, from the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

To celebrate the upcoming release of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the fourth Food Lovers' Village Mystery, Erin and Leslie are giving away TWO signed copies of TREBLE! Leave a comment below to enter.

Erin's Memorial Day Weekend To-Do List

– hire new employee – part-time or full? MUST LOVE FOOD! Retail experience – oh, how I wish

– set up courtyard for opening night concert

– call Helena Handbasket Company

– make more Lakeside Picnic baskets (“Just Add Water”)

– food for Tanner’s visit!!!

– update Merc inventory

– keep an eye on the Pinksys’ place, aka the Big House, while they’re away

– find out what Rebecca and the Blakes are up to

– decide about A

– keep my nose out of other people’s business

– why does Ned dislike Dave Barber??

– talk to Zayda about –

– dance to the music

– persuade Kim to return to the sheriff’s department

– go riding every Wednesday afternoon (stash sugar cubes in car for Ribbons)

– figure out who killed Gerry Martin

What’s on your list as summer approaches? 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 2017)! TWO winners! (U.S. and Canadian addresses only; winner will be chosen Monday, May 29)

From the cover: 

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Q & A with Monica Albertson

From Peg Cochran’s Cranberry Cove Series

Favorite food

Anything with cranberries, of course!  Okay, cranberries aside, I’d have to go with lobster.  I had it once on a long weekend trip to Maine and it was love at first bite.  Sadly, it’s too expensive to buy here in the Midwest.

Favorite author

I was afraid you’d ask me that!  How can I pick just one?  Greg (he owns Book ‘Em in town) and I love discussing books and read a wide range of authors.  Certainly Agatha Christie would be up at the top.  I love the way she weaves her clues into the story and I love the characters.  It’s also fun to take a trip back in time.

Favorite hobby

There isn’t much time for hobbies when you work on a cranberry farm.  Of course I love to bake, but that’s part of my job.  And I love reading and make sure I have at least half an hour each night to curl up with a good book.  I am in a book club that Greg runs at Book ‘Em, which I really look forward to.  And someday I’d love to learn to knit even if I am all thumbs!

Pet Peeve

People who are late.  I can’t help it—my parents trained me to always be on time and there’s nothing worse than standing on a street corner or sitting at a table in a restaurant waiting for someone to show up.

Favorite thing about Cranberry Cove

The people!  I love the people here.  They’ve been so welcoming to me.  And they’re far more diverse than you’d expect in a small town.

Plans for the future

I plan on staying here at Sassamanash Farm.  I’d like to do some traveling, but this place has gotten under my skin and has become home.  Also, I think there are some big plans for me in Cranberry Cove book number four, but the author refuses to tell me what they are.


To celebrate the release of Dead and Berried, I'm giving away one copy to a reader who leaves a comment!  Tell us what one of your favorites is!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Max Says Hi

Hi, I’m Max, and I’m a Golden Retriever. 
That’s a kind of dog, people tell me. I think I’m just me. My person is Seth Chapin, and we live in Granford, Massachusetts. I don’t like to say “I belong to” anyone, even though Seth is a great guy, because I’m my own dog, not a possession.

Seth adopted me a couple of years ago, when my former people moved and left me behind. Now that I think about it, that was probably the best for everyone—I sure got lucky with Seth. Back then Seth was going out with a nice lady named Meg, who lived near Seth, so we’d take walks toward her house. She has a cat named Lolly. Lolly’s pretty cool for a cat—mostly she sleeps on top of the refrigerator, where it’s warm, and she doesn’t bother me.

But what was really great was that Meg has two goats who live in a pen outside her house. I’d never had the chance to meet any goats before. I kind of like them, even though they mostly ignore me. But I don’t chase them or bark at them, so we get along fine.

Then there was the time when somebody in Granford got a herd of alpacas, and they kept escaping, and one or two turned up on Meg’s property. That was really fun. They were pretty nice and didn’t make any trouble. I love their curly hair! I’d like to see them again.

Meg had a person named Bree working with her to take care of her apple trees. Bree wasn’t really a dog person (or a cat person either), but she took care of me when Meg and Seth were away, or couldn’t get home in time to feed me. Now Bree is somewhere else, but nobody’s said whether she’s coming back. Instead there’s this new guy named Larry, but he doesn’t pay much attention to me. But he hasn’t been around long, so we’re still getting to know each other.

Meg and Seth got married in the winter. Meg grows apples and Seth fixes old buildings so they didn’t have time to do it in warmer weather, but that worked out fine. They’re good people, and they make each other happy, and that makes me happy. (Lolly hasn’t said anything about the wedding yet, but that’s pretty typical. After all, she’s a cat.) And since their properties are side by side, I get plenty of room to run now!

Wonder if Seth and Meg will be adding any new animals? I’d love to have a buddy to play with, but I'm not sure what kind would be best. You have any ideas?

Max even got his own cover a while back!

The next Orchard Mystery, A Late Frost, will come out in November. Of course Max will be there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A visit to the Palladium for Opera and a #Giveaway!

Character:      Savannah Webb
Series:           Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries
Author:          Cheryl Hollon

Hi there, I’m Savannah Webb, owner of Webb’s Glass Shop on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida. I'm planning to visit the Mainsail Art Festival on Sunday afternoon. This long-running event marks the end of our glorious winter season and the beginning of the hot days of summer. 

I'm arranging tickets to go to the opera with my assistant, Amanda Blake. She's new to opera, so I'm starting out with our local company, The St. Petersburg Opera. The performance is: Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffman). It plays at The Palladium, 253 5th Avenue N., St. Petersburg on Friday, June 2, 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 4, 2 pm, and Tuesday, June 6, 7:30 pm. Check out their website at  

Hoffmann, the poet-hero of The Tales of Hoffmann, has four love affairs that haunt him in Offenbach's grand and final opera. The opera fantastique begins with Hoffmann waiting in a tavern for his current passion, an opera diva appropriately nammed Stella. To pass time time Hoffmann tells the other students stories about three of his previous loves, each of which ends in disaster. For example, Olympia turns out to be a mechanical doll! Each of his loves get wonderful music to sing before breaking Hoffmann's heart. It will be sung in French with English surtitles!

I can't wait to introduce Amanda to the joys of live opera from our local company.


You can read more about Savannah in Cracked to Death, the third book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries, published by Kensington Books. Available at your favorite book vendor.

About Cracked to Death:

When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer . . .

It's the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb's Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat--a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane . . .

Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah's interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin's lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through uncharted territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin's death . . .


There's a #BOOKGIVEAWAY! Leave a comment and your email address in the form of name(AT)server(DOT)com to avoid the SPAM bots. Do this by midnight on May 25 for the chance to win a signed copy of your choice of Pane and Suffering, Shards of Murder, or Cracked to Death. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.

Meet the author:

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

Visit Cheryl and her books at her WebsiteFacebook or Twitter

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

An Idea Worth Having is an Idea Worth Stealing

from Janet Marsh of the Highland Bookshop Mysteries by Molly MacRae

I’m stealing an idea from a friend back in Illinois. Neither of us lives there anymore. She moved to Blue Plum, Tennessee, and I’m in Inversgail, Scotland. Come to think of it, you might know her. Kath Rutledge? She runs a fiber and fabric shop called the Weaver’s Cat. She posted a crazy story here, last month, about a ghost. Kath is a lot of fun.

Anyway, back to stealing from her. A few years ago, she posted pictures of some of her favorite cats in Blue Plum. At the time, it was a little hard for me to read. I’d just come through a divorce, something I’d never expected, and then our cat passed over the rainbow bridge. Life happens, doesn’t it? And happens, and happens, and “for everything there is a season,” and . . .  well. Things change.

I’m living in Scotland, now, running a bookshop, tearoom, and B&B with my daughter and two good friends. Things are going well. We’re settling in (after a bit of a rocky start involving a body in my garden shed), and now my thoughts are turning to cats. I miss having a cat. So, thanks to Kath and her idea of Blue Plum cat pin-ups, here are some of the cats I see around the harbor in Inversgail.

I’m not exactly shopping. These pictures aren’t a cat-a-log (sorry). But I think maybe it’s time, and when I see you again, maybe I’ll have pictures of a new member of my household. Of course, that makes the next big question, what will I name a new cat? Any thoughts?

Molly MacRae is the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries and the Highland Bookshop Mysteries. Visit Molly on Facebook and Pinterest, connect with her on Twitter @mysteryMacRae, or find her the first Monday of each month at Amy Alessio’s Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cait Morgan - on being nominated for an award!

Cait Morgan here – and I’m about to boast! I’m up for an award. It seems the good folks at The Bony Blithe Awards feel the tale I told about the time Bud and I went off to Amsterdam to try to fulfill his late Uncle Jonas’s dying wishes is entertaining enough to be shortlisted for Best Canadian Light Mystery of the year. Now I think that takes the biscuit!

All I did was share my story about my husband Bud finding out he had an uncle he’d never heard about, after the man had died. Of course, Bud couldn’t resist taking up the man’s gauntlet of fulfilling his wish to be “understood”, as he put it. Apparently, he’d run away from his family in Sweden right after World War II, abandoning his little sister – Bud’s mother, Ebba – to a life wherein she grew to hate him more and more…in absentia. She was convinced he’d been a bad boy, and had probably grown up to be a bad man. But Bud wasn’t so sure, so off we went to Amsterdam to find out.

And what a LOT we found out! We even met a group of amateur artists who called themselves The Group of Seven. No, not the real Canadian Group of Seven artists, but another group entirely. Of course, discovering why they all clung together as they did over the decades was a part of the mystery we unearthed. But if I tell you about that here, I’ll spoil the story for you…and you wouldn’t want me to do that now, would you? 

If any of this sounds interesting, you might also like to read about my other adventures. It seems that whenever I leave my home I trip over a corpse...luckily, solving puzzling mysteries is something I relish. Maybe you do too...

THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE (Cait Morgan Mystery #7) is one of five shortlisted works for the 2017 Bony Blithe Award. Cathy Ace won the award in 2015 for THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR (Cait Morgan Mystery #4). In a recent review in The Globe and Mail, Margaret Cannon wrote: “Have you been missing those delightful mystery-travelogue works from Lyn Hamilton? Say hello to Cathy Ace and her intrepid sleuth, Cait Morgan, a Welsh-Canadian professor with a predilection for investigating crime...Ace is, well, an ace when it comes to plot and description.” Cathy has also been shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story for 2017. 

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries (#8 The Corpse with the Ruby Lips was released on November 1st) and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (#3, The Case of the Curious Cook, was released in hardcover in the UK on November 30th and in the USA & Canada on March 1st).  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: