Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jewel Bay Law Log -- @LeslieBudewitz

The Jewel Bay Law Log, from the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

Jewel Bay Observer, July

An employee of the sheriff’s office accidentally called 911.

A hound dog named Elvis was taken to the animal shelter.

A woman called the sheriff’s office to report a call from the Publishers’ Clearinghouse demanding $500 to collect her million-dollar prize. She was advised that the call was most likely a scam.

Three mules and a goat were seen walking down the Eastshore Highway.

A man told authorities he had failed to appear for court because he was attacked by a grizzly bear who hit him “like a Volkswagen of stinky fur” and mauled him. He did not seek treatment for his injuries, and Fish and Wildlife officials received no report of the attack.

Pondera police received several reports that bumper stickers from the previous election were being covered over by bumper stickers reading “Visualize Whirled Peas.”

A caller on West Ridge Road Way complained that his father had been giving out his phone number to missionaries.

A man allegedly poured what appeared to be yogurt on a caller's vehicle. The caller told Pondera police Falls Police that he believed it was the same man who he had reported regarding a road rage incident the week before. He believed that the man was "possibly on drugs or something."

A deer was reportedly seen near a high school running track with some type of metal wrapped around its neck. The deer did not appear to be in distress and was simply making a fashion statement.

What’s new in your neck of the woods?

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 2017):  

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.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shhhh, Don't Tell & #Giveaway

 Barnes & Noble   Amazon 
By Shelby McDonald
from Peg Cochran’s Farmer’s Daughter Series

You wouldn’t believe how fast news spreads around our small town of Lovett! We don’t need twitter or Facebook or even a daily newspaper to get the word out—the minute something happens, any number of people are on it.

Take Doreen at the police station.  She works as a secretary but you can imagine she picks up plenty of news just by keeping her ears open. 

Then there’s Mrs. Willoughby at St. Andrews.  Of course she’s the first to hear about weddings and baptisms, but I’m convinced she keeps her ear to Reverend Mather’s closed door when he has someone come in to be counseled.  How else would she have been the first to know that the Dalton’s marriage was on the rocks?

Our own Bert is pretty swift with the gossip, too.  She’s known just about everybody in town forever and seems to meet at least a dozen people every time she ventures out of the house.  And somehow she always gets them to spill the beans to her. Of course she does have the kind of face that invites confidences if you know what I mean.

How about where you live? Does news travel fast? Are there certain people who always seem to be in the know?

Leave a comment below and be entered to win a copy of Sowed to Death!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Year and More

by Sean Murphy, Skibbereen garda, from Sheila Connolly's County Cork Mysteries

It's been more than a year now since Maura Donovan arrived in Leap and took over Sullivan's Pub. Excuse my sayin' so, but she was pretty much a lost lamb at the time--she'd arrived expecting little, but found herself with a pub, a house, and a batch of friends. She looked ready to turn and run a year ago, but she's still here.

I was pretty much clueless meself, what with being a new garda--that's policeman, for those of you not reared in Ireland. I grew up near Skibbereen and me family's still scattered about, so I was glad to come back to the station here after me trainin'. Out station's not large, but our Detective is a smart and fair man, and he'll give any young garda a chance.

That bein' said, seems like Maura brought a crime wave with her, not that it was her plan. But it seems she has a knack for solving crimes. I'm not faultin' the gardaí, but I have to say that she's brought a new way of lookin' at things to us that's been helpful. Yeh could call it a partnership if yeh like, though we'd be happy to do without the crime. But the world's changin', whether we like it or not.

Rumor has it that we'll be gettin' a new garda soon, from a city station. Wonder how he's goin' to take to life in a town like Skibbereen? And here's hopin' the city crime doesn't follow him here!

Pub owner Maura Donovan hasn’t seen her mother for over twenty years, so when she suddenly shows up in Maura’s pub, Maura’s not sure what to expect. Her mother has made a new life for herself back home since walking out on Maura years before, and now has taken up a position working with the new owners of the Crann Mor hotel just outside Skibbereen. Until her new boss is found dead in the gardens, dumped down the hillside behind the hotel.

Now, trying to rebuild the relationship they’ve lost, Maura must investigate the murder in order to clear her mother’s name. It’s not so easy though, as long-time residents of County Cork, including the families of her employee Mick, and the family of the deceased hotel owner, have bottled deep dark family secrets not meant to be uncorked. And someone will kill to keep them that way.
Coming January 2018

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!!