Monday, July 24, 2017

Inside the Actor's Studio questions and there's a #BookGiveaway

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

Hi there, I’m Edward Morris, British owner of Queen's Head Pub on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida. It's right next door to Webb's Glass Shop. My girlfriend, Savannah Webb, submitted my name as the next business owner to be featured in our local neighborhood newspaper. The interview was fun, but at the same time a little terrifying. I've only been in the U.S.A for a little over a year, so I'm honored to have been chosen.

Here goes...

1. What is your favorite word? Love

2. What is your least favorite word? No

3. What turns you on? Excellent food, reading and art of any sort.

4. What turns you off? Bullies, injustice and soggy chips.

5. What sound or noise do you love? A kitten's first mewling.

6. What sound or noise do you hate? Dishes breaking on the Pub floor.

7. What is your favorite curse word? Bloody Hell.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? An accountant. I love numbers.

9. What profession would you not like to do? An electrician.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Hello, Edward! So nice to see you.


Etched in Tears releases on November 28, 2017 and is available for pre-order everywhere. Meanwhile, 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 to Celebrate Summer here at Killer Characters! 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 July 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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Not your Scottish Grannie’s Scones

By Mel Gresham from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries

Hi, Mel Gresham, here, from Blue Plum, Tennessee, doing a favor for Kath Rutledge who’s doing a favor for her friend Janet in Scotland. Talk about a roundabout favor. Kath knew Janet back in Illinois. Kath moved here to Blue Plum to run The Weaver’s Cat. Janet moved to Inversgail, Scotland, to run a bookshop and a tearoom. Janet heard from Kath that I have a recipe for killer scones. I’ve lived in Blue Plum all my life and I own and run Mel’s on Main, the best café in town. Calling them “killer scones” might be dangerous considering the number of mysterious deaths we’ve had in Blue Plum. From what Kath tells me, her friend Janet is having the same issue in Scotland. Hmm. Makes you wonder what it is about these small towns.

Chili Cheese scones are great, though, and I love the idea that they’re going to a sweet little town in the Highlands, even if I’m too busy in the café to make the trip myself.

Chili Cheese Scones from Mel's on Main

The recipe is one of those you can play around with. Add more or less seasoning according to your taste and tolerance for zing and zip. Vary the kind of cheese you use. In the summer we offer the scones with salads. When the weather turns cold, they’re great with soup. Hey, as long as I’m sharing the recipe with Janet in Scotland, I might as well share it with you, too. Fair warning, though. These aren’t your Scottish grannie’s scones. These babies have bite.

Roasted Beet Salad from Mel's on Main
Chili Cheese Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbs baking powder
1 to 2 tsps hot red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ cup butter
1 tsp salt if butter is unsalted
¼ pound cheddar cheese, shredded
2 large eggs
½ cup milk

1.    Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter in using a pastry blender. Stir in shredded cheese.
2.    In a separate bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add to flour mixture and mix with a fork just until combined.
3.    Knead dough on a floured board about six times. Divide dough in half. Pat each half a ¾-inch round. Set rounds well apart on an oiled baking pan. Cut each round, not quite through, into six wedges.
4.    Bake in 400º oven until golden brown – 15 to 18 minutes. Serve hot or warm, breaking along scores.

So there’s the roundabout favor Kath asked for - scones to Scotland. Now I think I’ll ask Kath if she’ll ask Janet to share one of her recipes with me. If she does, I’ll share it with you, too. Here’s hoping!

A body outside a pub, a visiting author determined to find the killer, and a murderously good batch of scones . . . Watch for Scones and Scoundrels, Highland Bookshop Mystery #2, coming in January 2018 (available for pre-order now). And watch for Crewel and Unusual, the next Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery, coming in January 2019.

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


Saturday, July 22, 2017

In praise of . . . seaweed, and day-trips!

Hiya, Carol Hill here. I’m one of the four female private investigators who operate the WISE Enquiries Agency. You might not have heard of us because we run our business out of a lovely converted barn on the Chellingworth Estate in Powys, Wales, so . . . not exactly at the center of the universe. Mind you, we get our fair share of intriguing cases to work on, even though we all live in rural splendor in Anwen-by-Wye, a lovely little Welsh village close to the river Wye.
I love my home in Anwen-by-Wye, Wales
You know the type of place I mean, I’m sure – all sorts of different homes clustered around the village green . . . some of them are thatched cottages built in the 1500s, some – like the house I live in – are the product of the Georgian period. My house used to be the doctor’s home in the village. Of course, the days when every village had its own doctor are long gone now, but that’s a different story.

Swansea Pier, in an area called Mumbles
Anyway, as I say, I live in Anwen, but, now that it’s summer, my husband David and I like to take the odd day-trip. It seems to take forever to gather together all the bits and pieces I need to be able to look after Albert for a day away from home; he’s four months old now, so I still carry him about in his sling, but, otherwise, there’s a lot of nappies, toys, blankets and so forth to be hauled around too. David does that bit.

The view from the pier - Swansea Bay
Recently we went to the coast – Swansea and Mumbles, to start with. I grew up in a rural area in West Wales called Carmarthen, and when I was little my mam and dad would take me to Swansea, to enjoy the pier there, which is quite something. They’ve recently done it up a bit, so David and I thought we’d go and take a look. I love piers. There’s something so frail, yet so bravely beautiful about them, striking out into the sea the way they do. They use the one in Mumbles to launch the local lifeboat, so the Royal National Lifeboat Institute has a little shop right at the end of the pier, where there are some lovely restored benches to sit on, to enjoy the view. 

Detail of one of the restored Victorian benches on the pier

We had breakfast in a little restaurant just at the head of the pier. David tried the one served with laverbread. I didn’t tell him what it's made from . . . until after he’d tried it. That’s because it’s seaweed, boiled and boiled for hours to make it “palatable”. His face as he ate it was a picture, and then – when I told him all about it – I think I was lucky he didn’t throw up there and then. David’s English you see, so growing up eating all sorts of things you can get for free from the sea wasn’t “his thing”. 

 Here, in South Wales, we love our laverbread, though I can understand why it hasn’t caught on much outside the region. It’s an ancient delicacy – first mentioned by Gerald of Wales back in the 12th century – then popular with the men who worked the mines in the 1700s. It’s cheap (not so much these days, because the weed used is a bit more rare, and, of course, producing it is labor-intensive, and very smelly!) and it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals. 

I grew up speaking Welsh, not English; we call it “lawr”, whereas it’s “laverbread” in English . . .which I think might have started as  a bit of a joke on the people who didn’t speak Welsh, because it makes it sound quite harmless.  Which it is. When you’re used to it! 
Cockles and laverbread at Swansea Market
When we had tea later that same day, at the Bay Bistro in Rhossili, they had some other seaweed-based products on sale there. We gave them a good look, but David says if they come in our front door, he’s going out the back! I don’t mind a bit of seaweed myself. I grew up having laverbread as a treat on a Saturday, if Mam had been to Swansea market on a Friday, where they sell a lot of it. Fried cockles and laverbread, with bacon, and bread and butter – that was a meal that would keep me going all day. But now? Well, I think of it as a health food, almost. But it’s got a pretty strong flavor, so I’ll wait until I’m not feeding Albert any longer, then I can have some for myself.   

Meanwhile, I might start to use it as a sort of condiment, and not mention it to David. I know I can order the items I saw in Rhossili online, so maybe I’ll sneak them into the house that way. I’ll think about it, and see how devilish I feel next week.  

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (#4, The Case of the Unsuitable Suitor will be released in hardcover in the UK in September 2017 and in the USA & Canada on January 1st 2018).  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:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Spooky Happenings in Autumn Vale #bookgiveaway

By: Merry Wynter
From: Muffin to Fear
Pub. Date: July 25th, 2017
Series: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

I can't believe how much my life has changed since the fateful day I pulled up stakes in New York City and moved to western New York State to have a look at and try to sell my grand old American castle. I had no idea what wonderful weirdness was about to enter my life. But I've been relating my adventures one by one, including that most exciting adventure of all, falling in love with one hunky once-sheriff-now-private-eye Virgil Grace.

But my lovely friend Pish Lincoln has ratcheted up the weirdness to Level 13 by inviting to Wynter Castle the cast and crew of an infamous reality show, Haunt Hunt. He had, he tells me now, some odd experiences in the castle while I was in Spain, and called a friend who referred him to the Haunt Hunt producer, who put him in touch with one of the investigators. He didn't intend to invite them to Wynter Castle, but... there it is. It happened.

Arriving home from a 'vacation' (Ahem... more about that another time!) with Virgil in New York City I was astonished to find, parked in my drive, a full television crew and the paranormal investigators of Haunt Hunt. A few hours in I knew we had trouble. They are like the worst dysfunctional family you've ever met; argumentative, manipulative, intrusive.... all the worst 'ives', as a matter of fact. If fish and company stink after three days, TV crews and psychics have a best before date of yesterday.

That doesn't even make any sense but I'm tired and they film at night and I want my castle back!

We'll be lucky if we all survive the three days or so they say the shoot will take. Oops... hope I didn't jinx it, but I'm fed up with the lot of them, especially the so-called psychic Dirk something or other, who is some piece of work, and who clearly has ambitions beyond their funky little paranormal investigation show.

So... have you ever had unwelcome guests? What did you do to make the experience better... for you, not them?


About Muffin to Fear:
In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle…

   While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry's home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it's a miracle they get a show produced at all.

   It all goes from bad to worse when the show's psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry's property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.


For more information and to sign up for Victoria's newsletter visit Victoria Hamilton Mysteries, or find her on Facebook or Twitter!



Comment here to enter to win this package including a signed copy of Muffin to Fear, a 'Cozy Up to a Great Mystery' mug and pen, coolest-in-the-world skull teaspoon, as well as a bookmark and fridge magnet. A few simple rules:

1 - Canadian and US entries welcome.

2 - Along with your comment, leave a first name and your email address; yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com

3 - Enter by Midnight, July 23rd... don't worry if you comment after July 21st and your comment doesn't show up immediately; it goes into a queue awaiting moderation and I'll go in and approve it at some point. The winner will be chosen by a draw

                                                                Good luck, everyone!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Berry Happiness

By Nancy Reed, helper in her daughter Moira's Sleeping Latte Cafe in the Clock Shop Mysteries by Julianne Holmes

Maybe it's age. I used to be able to juggle a million things at once. Sure, maybe I dropped a ball or two. But the balls never hit the floor. These days I'm not as nimble. Joining the town council was one ball too many, and I've had to step back from helping Moira as much at the Sleeping Latte. Fortunately, Moira was able to bring Frankie into the business--but don't let me get ahead of myself. That's a story for another day. (Read all about it in Chime and Punishment, due out August 1.)
One thing about this time of year--it's berry season. Blueberries are my favorite fruit, and I can't get enough of them. Believe it or not, my husband Pat finds picking them relaxing, so our house is in constant supply. I freeze a few, but I enjoy making and baking. That's how I relax. I'm not in the Sleeping Latte as much these days, but I'm baking up a storm, Blueberry pies, scones, grunt, buckle, and crisp. But you know what gets the best response? The Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins.
Jordan Marsh was a department store here in New England. Back in the day, their cafeteria (they were cafeterias back then, not cafes) served these amazing blueberry muffins. They also had an Enchanted Village around the holidays in the store, and amazing decorated windows. Jordan Marsh is out of business now, but the Enchanted Village lives on at Jordan's Furniture, and the muffin recipe got released. Once in a while I add some lemon zest, or maybe some orange. But for the most part, I let them stand on their own. Why mess with perfection?
Do you love blueberry season as much as I do? What's your favorite recipe?

Julianne Holmes is thrilled that Chime and Punishment will be released on August 1. Chime and Punishment is the 3rd in the Clock Shop Mystery series.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Read to Death is BIG!!! And a Giveaway!

By Sassy Cabot from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by TerrieFarley Moran

Here on Fort Myers beach, there is much excitement in the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore. In our last adventure, chronicled in the book Read to Death, Bridgy went from witness to suspect in thirty seconds flat when a local van driver is murdered in our parking lot. We’d just returned from an outing with the Cool Reads/Warm Climate Book Club made up of local residents and snowbirds. We visited the Edison and Ford Winter estates where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford spent their winters a hundred years ago. Everyone had a fabulous time---right up until the murder.
 I am mega excited to let you know that today, July 19th, is the release day for the LARGE PRINT EDITION of Read to Death. When my father visits me in Fort Myers Beach, we always go to the library. He heads right for the large print section and he is not alone.

To celebrate this momentous event, our author, who has just returned from Ireland and Northern Ireland, is holding a wee giveaway of this lovely refrigerator magnet depicting two of the famous Georgian Doors of Dublin.

To enter for a chance to win please comment below and tell us anything at all about large print books. You love to read them, you hate to, your mom reads them, you have never seen one—we want to know. Please include your email in this format: yourname (at) your server(dot) com—so the spambots can’t pick it up.
Comments close at midnight on Friday, July 21st.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hey, It's Joe!

by Joe Nash, of the Cuppa-Joe's family restaurant in Knobcone Heights, California, and a friend of Carrie Kennersly, whose adventures are memorialized in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, everyone.  I know that my young buddy Carrie Kennersly has been blogging here sometimes, and so have some of her other friends from Knobcone Heights and even her dog Biscuit.  Me?  This is my first time here.

My wife Irma and I own Cuppa-Joe's.  Our restaurant's name makes sense 'cause we sell some good coffee there--and, hey, I'm Joe.  Carrie calls both Irma and me the Joes sometimes.  She's a really nice person, and we sometimes treat her as our daughter.  Plus, she seems to enjoy us, too, and treats us as her parents.  Of course we also have a real daughter, Gina, who works at our place.   We also have a son.  He's a lawyer.  Love 'em all.

We admire Carrie for how busy she is.  Not only is she a veterinary technician, but she also owns Barkery & Biscuits, where she bakes and sells dog treats she developed for her veterinary clinic, as well as Icing on the Cake, the barkery's  adjoining bakery.

And if we didn't already love her, we certainly would now because she introduced us to Sweetie, our adorable little dog who looks a bit like Biscuit--gold in color, looks like a poodle-terrier mix.  Sweetie was living at Mountaintop Rescue when Carrie found her.  Carrie let us know about Sweetie, and of course the sweet dog is now a member of our family.

Of course we worry about Carrie.  She always seems to be involved in murder investigations.  I guess she's pretty good about figuring them out, but I'm concerned about her staying safe.

Anyway, her most recent adventure was memorialized in Bad to the Bone, which came out in May of this year.  Yes, Irma and I are mentioned, too--and so's Sweetie. 

Hey, this has been fun.  Maybe I'll ask Carrie if I can blog here again sometime.

BAD TO THE BONE, the third Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, was a May 2017 release.  And yes, there are more to come.