Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Spots Are Killing Me

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

I used to be a cop, so I've seen my share of blood. Read blood. When I hung up my shield and decided to become the general manager of the Cliffside Theater Company I thought my blood days were over for the most part.

Then Dimitri decided to do Macbeth.

Now, around the theater you can't say the name of the play. Apparently just saying the name of the show in the theater is a curse, and most actors have stories to back up the curse. Dramatic, drawn out stories that get more dire with each telling.

As a rule, I speak my mind. I don't not say words. I have been trying not to say "Macbeth" so folks don't send me outside, make me turn around three times, and then knock to be let back in. That has happened several times. It gets old really quickly.

As if the curse business wasn't bad enough, Macbeth has a lot of blood in it. A lot. Did you know that a lot of prop masters have their own secret recipes for fake blood? I didn't know that. Nor did I know that our beloved prop master had an extra special recipe that was mostly dish detergent, so it washed out easily. She's a great prop master, and is also seeing the wardrobe supervisor, so that may have played a part in her special blood recipe.

As I said, Macbeth has a lot of blood. So, we were running low. We had a particularly industrious yet dim (not a good combination) intern who took it upon himself to brew up some more blood. It looked great, but it didn't wash out easily. In some cases, it didn't wash out at all. He left out the detergent and added more paint. All of the whites are now pink, which really doesn't work with the concept of the show.

So, I've learned a lot about stage blood. Lady Macbeth's "Out, out damned spot" is my new motto.

J.A. Hennrikus writes the Theater Cop series. Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mystery series. Julia Henry writes the upcoming Garden Squad series.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Of Hurricanes and Water Algae

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

I am not really sure how September arrived so quickly. Bridgy and I had a really difficult summer. There was a combination of Blue Algae and Red Tide that caused no end of trouble in the rivers, estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico. It definitely killed the summer tourist trade here on Fort Myers Beach. A lot of folks are barely surviving. Luckily we are managing to keep the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookstore open and to pay our wonderful chef Miguel. He is such a great guy, he offered to take a pay cut during the hard times. Fortunately we didn’t have to do that and now the water seems to be cleaning itself. Hopefully the winter tourist season will help make things right.

Major thanks to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. They come every Wednesday and distribute food to help out those whose jobs were disrupted by the lack of tourists. The library stays opened extra hours so that it can serve as a “cooling center” so folks can save a little money on their air conditioning bills. The community certaily pulled together to deal with the crisis.

Last year Hurricane Irma, this year dirty water. Tough times. Speaking of hurricanes, we are all praying for our neighbors to the north who were slammed by Hurricane Florence. Our local veterinarian, Cynthia Mays, has been working diligently in our local animal shelters. They have received dogs, cats, and other pets from the areas affected by Florence. It is so important that the animals are taken care of until they can go home again.

It is always great to talk to you. If you want to follow along in our adventures you can find us in Well Read, Then DeadCaught Read-Handed and Read to Death.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My Other Career

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

Of course you all know that I own two bake shops, Barkery and Biscuits, and Icing on the Cake.  I'm always so happy that both are successful.  I sell lots of healthy dog treats in the Barkery and human treats in Icing that are hopefully delicious.  Another thing I love about them is that I've been able to hold quite a few adoption events in the Barkery, and that's resulted in lots of wonderful needy pets finding new forever homes.

I don't talk quite as much about my other career as a part-time veterinary technician.  That used to be my only career till I acquired the shops, and I loved it.  Still do.  I sometimes wish I could still spend more time at the Knobcone Veterinary Clinic helping animals and their health.

Oh, and I of course also adore some of the people there.  Dr. Arvus Kline--Arvie--has been my friend and mentor for quite a while.  And then there's Dr. Reed Storme ... who's become even more than a friend.

You may also know that I've gotten into the bad--or good--habit of solving murders that have happened around Knobcone Heights.  That's because either I or one of my friends gets accused, so of course I have to figure out who really did it.  In the most recent of those, Pick and Chews, Reed's the one who the cops consider the most likely suspect, so he withdrew his objection to my getting involved in such things, just this once, so I could help.

Anyway, I think that soon I'm going to ask my great bakery assistants, Dinah, Janelle, Frida and Vicky, to take care of things at the shops so I can go back to being a full-time vet tech, for one day at least.  I'll check my sweet pup Biscuit into the day care facility at the back of the clinic for the whole day, and just interact with people and their wonderful pets, helping our vets including Arvie and Reed save lives and do healthful stuff to help in pets' ongoing lives.

It'll be fun, and a wonderful break of sorts from being in charge.  But knowing me, one day doing nothing but vet teching will be enough... for now.

PICK AND CHEWS, the fourth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, is a May 2018 release.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lethal In Old Lace deal

In Savannah there two things that get folks talking...weddings and funerals especially if bodies go missing and wedding plans get hijacked by everyone with an opinion 

“If we lathered that coffin in Crisco and shoved like the dickens it’s still not going to fit in that trunk,” Mercedes said to me, the four of us staring at the end of the casket sticking out of the trunk of the Beemer. 
     Auntie Kiki had moved the car next to the delivery door at the House of Eternal Slumber so the Beemer was in the shadows and we wouldn’t have to roll the thing clear across the parking lot. “So what should we do now and we better think fast,” Mercedes said in a panicky voice. 
 I snagged the brown tarp  draped over a mound of mulch. “We wrap the end in this and we use BW’s leash to hold it in place. I’ll tie my yellow scarf at the end so what we’re hauling looks legal. The last thing we need is the cops stopping us.”

     “And I’ll park the Beemer in the garage and I can tell Putter that the car manual says BMWs need to rest every twenty-thousand miles. He’s a mighty fine cardio guy but not exactly a car expert.”
     “You read a manual?” I shook my head in disbelief.
     “Honey, if I add in that there’s pot roast for dinner the man will believe anything.”           
     Mercedes held the tarp in place while I wrapped the leash. KiKi added the scarf, a smile braking across her lips as we took a step back. “Looks good to me. You know, I think this is going to work just fine and dandy.”
     “What’s going to work fine and dandy?” Police Detective Aldeen Ross wanted to know as she drew up beside Mercedes. KiKi grabbed my hand, I grabbed hers and the only thing that kept us from fainting dead away was Aldeen’s electric green nightshirt with I see guilty people on the front in day-glow pink. Neither of us wanted to miss that or the police car slippers strolling red and blue when she walked. 

Hi, Reagan Summerside here. Have you ever stole/borrowed/hidden something? Okay maybe not a coffin but something? Leave  an answer for a chance to win an audio copy of Lethal In Old Lace. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hello, I’m Gloria, Gloria Bonatti

And if you don’t know already, I’m Julia’s grandmother.  I’m very proud of my granddaughter.  She’s quite well-known in the city now and she has a wonderful astrology practice.  But to be honest, I worry about her a lot.   
Why, you ask?  Well!  Let me tell you!  First of all, she doesn’t eat enough.  She refuses to cook and stuffs her mouth with whatever odd snack is laying around her apartment.  And there’s not a lot of those, believe me.  Like today, I’m baking a vegetable lasagna with homemade sauce.  It is a lot of bother for just one person, but I’ll give a few servings to Kuan, my good friend and downstairs neighbor, and then I’ll pack up most of it in little containers for Julia.  I know she loves it, even though she’ll freeze all of these and won’t thaw them out until she’s desperate.  But that’s okay.  At least I’ll know she has some decent food in the house. 
I make my sauce in the crock pot now.  It’s easier that way.  I used to cook it on the stove for at least four hours, very slowly, but even though I’m retired, I don’t want to spend that much time cooped up in the kitchen, so I do it the easy way.  One big can of crushed Italian tomatoes, two small cans of tomato paste, add a few cups of water, one large onion chopped, a couple of cloves of garlic crushed, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and lots and lots of oregano and basil.  And a little salt and pepper too.  I sometimes add meatballs, but my favorite thing to do is roll up a skirt steak stuffed with breadcrumbs and cheese, tie it up with string and drop it in the pot to cook for hours.  Delicious!  
Where was I?  Oh yes, her astrology practice.  Not that that’s harmful at all, but her clients!  You can’t imagine the problems they bring her and next thing I know she’s up to her eyeballs in trouble, trying to help them and trying to solve crimes.  I’ve asked her if she thought perhaps she should have joined the police force.  You know what she said?  She laughed, and said ‘Never!  I could never be a cop.  I hate following the rules.’ 

On top of that, she lives alone.  Of course I worry.  You may not know this, but her fiancé was killed a few years back.  That was a terrible time, but she’s recovered and she’s put her life together.  She shown great strength and that’s another reason I’m very proud of her.  But I really would like her to meet someone new.  It’s been long enough.  It’s time she really came back to life.  That’s what I wish for her – happiness and a secure life.  But I guess that’s what all mothers and grandmothers want, isn’t it?  What do you think?  Do you think I worry too much?  

You can read about her latest adventure in Tail of the Dragon, just out last month!  And you can learn more about our author, Connie di Marco, at her website, at Facebook and Twitter @AskZodia (that's the name of Julia's astrological advice column in the Chronicle).  Don't miss that either!

Friday, September 14, 2018


FROM:   Glenda Kessler
OF:         The Bad Luck Cat Mysteries
BY:         Kay Finch

People commonly talk about spring cleaning – I sometimes wonder if they don’t ever clean their place in summer, fall, or winter. Here at Around-the-World Cottages, I think it’s more important to give everything a good fall cleaning.  
The kiddos are back to school, and the guests who stay with us now are more likely older, not-quite-so-messy folks.  I keep up with all the cleaning around here, along with the stocking of supplies, laundry, watching out for Hitchcock the cat, giving advice when needed, and cooking for my boss Rowe Flowers, who’s also a dear friend.  
The cottages are named after cities that Rowe took trips to – the Venice cottage, Barcelona cottage, Paris cottage – you get the drift. They’re a nice manageable size to keep up with, even if that means having to dust hundreds of knick-knacks and souvenirs that she brought back from those trips.  
I think it’s about time Rowe take another trip – she hasn’t gone anywhere ever since her niece Sabrina came to live in the Hill Country. Of course, with Sabrina getting herself involved in a murder investigation every so often, I’d be kind of afraid to leave, too, if I were Rowe.  Besides, our fall weather can be absolutely gorgeous. You wouldn’t find me living anywhere else – even if we don’t get the brilliant colored leaves that folks get up north.
You can read all about the escapades here at Around-the-World Cottages in the Bad Luck Cat mysteries.

Kay Finch is the National Best-Selling author of the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries by Berkley Prime Crime.  Though her character, Sabrina Tate, has left the paralegal profession behind to move to the Texas Hill Country, Kay still works as a paralegal at a Houston, Texas law firm. She resides in a Houston suburb with her husband and pets where she is working on Bad Luck Cat Mystery #4 – The Black Cat Steps On a Crack. Visit her at

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Neewollah Festival. . .that time of the year + Giveaway!


Welcome back to the Bean Hive Coffeehouse. I'm delighted you're here. I'm Roxanne Bloom, but you can call me Roxy. All my friends call me Roxy. That's my adopted fur baby, Pepper.

He's been such good company to me, but everyone is driving me nuts about when me and Patrick are going to get married.

There never seems to be a good time to plan. I own the coffeehouse and he's the president of Cane Construction. I've got my hands full with the Neewollah Festival. It's a fun three day festival that takes place along the boardwalk and the beach on Lake Honey Springs in front of the Cocoon Inn. 
My new salted caramel coffee blend is going to be the rave of the festival along with my hand pies that are made to perfection with the help of local ingredients like seasonal fruit I purchase from the Hill's Orchard and the fresh honey from the Bee Farm located on the island across from the boardwalk.

Speaking of the Bee Farm, Patrick informed me that the bees are in trouble. They are dying out, putting the Bee Farm in danger of closing. He didn't tell me about big land developer gossip going around the coffehouse and Honey Springs.
Apparently, this land developer wants to build one of those fancy gold course resorts on the island. I'd also heard Camey Montgomery, the owner of the Cocoon Inn~Honey Springs only hotel, is beside herself and trying to do everything in her power to stop the developers. . .everything shy of killing someone. 

Anyways, it was nice chatting with you. I've got to head on over to see Babette at All About The Details. She's got my bride and groom costume Patrick and I are going to wear to the costume party on the beach for the festival. Or is there something else behind those costumes? 

I can't tell you what's up my sleeve, but I'll definitely keep you posted over coffee. I've got to get my special SOUTHERN COMFORT CASSEROLE in the oven. Scroll down to grab the recipe. It's perfect for fall nights.   

Before you go, tell me about a festival you love to go to in the comments and win the fun prize pictured below of all four books already published in the KILLER COFFEE MYSTERY SERIES. Be sure to leave your email address in the comment so I can give you a ring-ding if you win! Good luck~
Roxy Bloom 

Preorder your copy of DECAFFEINATED SCANDAL, Book 5 in the bestselling KILLER COFFEE MYSTERY SERIES. Plus there are a ton of southern recipes.

I'd love for you to follow me on Facebook where I spend my days with readers. We have a lot of fun with weekly giveaways! Come on and connect with me by clicking here >>>>

Southern Comfort Casserole


1 lb ground beef or choice of meat
1 box elbow macaroni (I use gluten free because Eddy is gluten free)
2 Tablespoons tomato sauce
28 ounce can diced tomato
1 can of chili peppers if desired
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil

1.     Preheat the oven to 350.
2.     Spray Pam in a casserole dish. Dish depends on how much you make. This recipe is for a standard casserole dish.
3.     Bring two cups of water to a boil and make elbow noodles.
4.     While the noodles are boiling, add the olive oil to a skillet and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat for about three minutes.
5.     Add the ground beef to the skillet with the onion and garlic mix.
6.      Once the beef has browned, add in all the cans and simmer until the mixture thickens up.
7.     Drain the macaroni once it’s soft and dump it into the casserole dish.
8.     Once the beef mixture thickens up, add it to the casserole dish and mix in with the macaroni.
9.     Add the cheese on top and put in the oven for about 15 minutes or cheese melts.