Friday, July 1, 2016

New Cozy Releases for July

It's summer time! Beaches and pools, decks and barbecues. And new books to read!

Linda Wiken
Toasting Up Trouble
Dinner Club Mysteries, #1
Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN: 978-0-425-278215

This first in a new culinary series is by Linda Wiken, the alter ego of National Bestselling author Erika Chase.

Event planner J.J. Tanner has a full plate but that’s the way she likes it. First, it’s her turn to choose the recipe for the next meeting of the Culinary Capers dinner Club, a gathering of foodie friends who experiment with entrees for their creative and gastronomical pleasure. Second, she’s organizing an Italian princess party for the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a high-tech millionaire.

But one thing she didn’t plan on was that the hot shot caterer for the event would end up murdered the night of the party. Or that she’d end up being a prime suspect after having a heated argument with him. Now it’s up to J.J. – with help from her fellow dinner club members and a handsome if mysterious private eye – to turn the tables on the real killer.

Cheryl Hollon
Cracked to Death
Webb's Glass Shop Mysteries Book #3
ISBN:  978-1-61773-764-0

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 unchartered territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin's death . . . 

Terrie Farley Moran
Read to Death
Read ’Em and Eat  # 3
Berkley Prime Crime

The national bestselling author of Well Read, Then Dead and Caught Read-Handed revisits Fort Myers Beach, Florida, where the proprietors of a local bookstore café occasionally take a stab at solving murder...

At their seaside Read ‘Em and Eat bookstore café, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield offer fresh scones, great books, and excellent detective work…

With their book club season wrapping up with The Florida Life of Thomas Edison, Sassy and Bridgy decide to take their group on a day trip to the beautiful Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Hiring driver Oscar Frieland, who’s known for his colorful stories  and love of the café’s Robert Frost fruit tartlets, the bibliophiles set off for a day of sunshine and history.

After a lovely excursion, the club returns to the café for lunch and a book discussion, but the group falls silent after Oscar is found dead in his van. The sheriff’s deputies have some questions of their own for the group, and if the ladies don’t find some answers soon, the next book they read might be from a prison library.

Delicious recipes included.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

It’s a Cat’s Life

By Charles, Library Cat, from the Lighthouse Library Mysteries by Eva Gates

I can’t complain. I do have things pretty good here in the library. Oh, yes, I get cross sometimes when they won’t let me out to chase after those birds, and what fun is there to be had now that all the mice in the neighbourhood  know not to come into the lighthouse. But otherwise, I can’t complain.  

Don't I look nice in this picture? Love the scarf!

I was mighty worried when Sarah, my young servant girl, found out that her family was moving to Germany (where on Earth that is!) and I couldn’t come with them.  Good heavens! I’ve heard about cats being abandoned on the streets or shoved out of a car into a field. Places with no kibble, no bowls always full of fresh tasty water, and no one to clean out the litter box. Shudder.

Thankfully Sarah’s mom thought I’d enjoy living at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, and they took me in. Not only that, but I was given the official position of Library Cat.  Most important , you know.

Things here got even better when Lucy Richardson arrived to work here. Her first, and most important, job was as my new servant. So far she’s doing an adequate job. I suggested that my dishes and.. ahem.. litter box be taken upstairs to her apartment, not kept in the staff restroom which is really rather demeaning. I mean do you eat in the bathroom?

I didn’t think so.

Once that was settled, and I’d realized that her lovely day bed is far more comfortable than that sleeping mat they bought at the pet store for me, we were fine.

Now, I only have to convince Lucy that I know what’s best for her and all will be perfect. She seems not to be getting my hints about unsuitable people for her to be friends with.

Does this picture make me look fat? 
Two nice men are currently paying court to her. I like them both, but one is so obviously so much more suited to her than the other.  She seems to be blind, not only to his charms but to my increasingly obvious hints.

It might be time for me to resort to desperate measures.

Charles, Official Library Cat and Matchmaker

My first modelling job. I thought it turned out okay
Reading Up A Storm, the third Lighthouse Library mystery by Eva Gates was released on April 5th.
Eva is also Vicki Delany, author of the Year Round Christmas series from Berkley Prime Crime and the Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press. To find out what’s happening with all of Vicki and Eva’s books, you can follow them on Facebook at Vicki Delany and Eva Gates, or write to and sign up for their quarterly newsletter.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

One last fling with Audrey Bloom—with a giveaway!

As a florist, I have to admit, I’m not always that keen on the tradition of flinging a bouquet--especially one I might have spent hours designing--into the air with such gleeful abandon. I guess it was a compromise that went back to the middle ages, when wedding guests actually tried to rip off bits of the bride’s clothing for luck. Yeah, given the choice, I’d be more willing to part with my flowers than my dress.

But I always wince a little, especially when a full bouquet goes flying into the air. For one thing, I worry about liability. Some are heavy and can have sharp elements. I always recommend a smaller bouquet, just for tossing. I chose to break apart my hand-tied bouquet and gave out all the flowers to the young girls present. Even a little violet for baby Vi. It was so sweet and I have great pictures.
But the flowers for my own wedding? Well, I did have a bouquet in mind, back in the day. But it hardly seemed right to use it, especially since there was a change in groom from when I thought Brad and I had a future together. But many of the elements stayed the same.

Public domain, Wikipedia Commons
White roses for innocence. These took on new meaning. The last few years I’ve learned a thing or two about innocence and about guilt, and about the sometimes thin divide that separates them. I’ve come to realize villains generally aren’t hunchbacks with handlebar mustaches, with pronounced evil laughs as they tie victims to railroad tracks. They’re real people, who, for whatever reason, make very bad decisions. Innocence is something that has to be carefully maintained, so that the evil of this world doesn’t color us and make us jaded, cynical, or bitter. Yes, I kept the white roses.

I did replace the original lavender roses, which represented love at first sight. Instead, I chose multi-
Gerhard Knuhl, Wikipedia Commons
colored zinnias, which speak of remembering absent friends. As Kermit the Frog (channeling Dickens) said, “Life is made up of meeting and partings. That is the way of it.” I was happy to see so many friends, if only for a little while, make it to the ceremony. Even my mother and father seemed to get along for a few hours.

I also kept the Queen Anne’s lace, since it reminded me so much of my beloved Grandma Mae. And the ivy, which symbolizes friendship and fidelity. 

I did want something to symbolize the groom, who stepped into my life and quickly became my cohort, my sidekick, my friend, and the love of my life. I agonized over the choice for weeks, and then surprised myself by picking stephanotis, that almost clichéd symbol of marital bliss. But you know what? I couldn’t have been happier with my choice, either of flowers or of groom.

I’d love to tell you more, about the wedding and about our new life together. Oh, the adventures we could have had! But time has come for one of those partings…

Author’s note: The Bridal Bouquet Shop series from Berkley has ended, and while Audrey and her friends might pop up from time to time here on Killer Characters, starting next month, I’d like to begin to introduce you to some new friends from my upcoming series, The Vintage Toyshop Mysteries, which debuts in October from Crooked Lane. Meetings and partings. Or in this case, partings and meetings. Yes, that is the way of it.

Audrey Bloom’s Last Fling Giveaway: For a chance to win one of these three books (BLOOM AND DOOM, FOR WHOM THE BLUEBELL TOLLS, and FLORAL DEPRAVITY), tell me your favorite flower and which book you’d like to receive if you win, if you have a preference. Entries will be accepted, on this post only, until midnight of July 5th, after which winners will be chosen randomly from the comments and notified.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Scrapbooking the Fourth of July--and so much More!

By: Annie Chamovitz

From: The Cumberland Creek Mystery Series
Author: Mollie Cox Bryan
            Book 5 Title: Scrapbook of the Dead

I can't believe it's almost Fourth of July I have such sweet memories of celebrations of independence day from when I was a girl it was a big deal our extended family we get together we would go and see the fireworks at night and sometimes we would go sit by the river to watch the fireworks and it was always so beautiful to see the reflection of the fireworks in the water. I miss the fireworks and the picnics of my youth.
Sometimes I try to capture them recapture them for my own kids but my boys seem to have very little interest in fireworks, strangely enough, unless they are setting them off themselves. They also love sparkler and other sort of things that make noises and shoot fire. They like that stuff, but they don't really care for the fireworks.  
The holiday doesn't seem to be that big of a deal in Cumberland Creek. A neighboring community offers a parade and has fireworks every year. But my boys and husband are not interested in attending. I’ve gone with a few of my scrapbooking friends a few times—Vera, Shelia, DeeAnn and Paige.

Speaking of scrapbooking, I try to commemorate the holiday –in my own way—by snapping a picture of them in front of the American flag every year. I started to do this when my boys were just babies so I have pictures of them for ten years in front of the flag my oldest son is now 13. I didn't start to do this until my second son came along so I have a really cool record of the way my boys have grown from year-to-year with the American flag behind them. I started to this before I even became a scrapbooker. But looking back, I think maybe I always was a scrapbooker –in-the-making and didn't realize it. These snapshots of time are the same kind of things that my scrapbooking “sisters” do all the time. We capture the memories of our families and we tried to think of clever new ways of doing it. Many times the projects that hold the most meaning are just very simple things like taking pictures every year in front of the same object to measure how far your children (and you) have come

Check out Mollie Cox Bryan online:
Twitter: @MollieCoxBryan


Next month: Meet Cora Chevalier from the upcoming "Cora Crafts Mystery" Series, which starts in August.

Exciting Summertime News From Killer Characters! #haveacozysummer

It's summertime, and the readin' is easy...

Super easy when you win books!! Coming July 15th to August 14th, we're having a Cozy Days of Summer month of giveaways! A book (at least!!) every single day!

So stay cool and keep reading!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Help Wanted -- Inquire Within -- Seattle Spice

Help Wanted

By Pepper Reece, from the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

Help Wanted. Retail experience and a love of cooking preferred. Spice knowledge not needed—will train. Must be outgoing and flexible. Full-time position.

Benefits: Great hourly wage and benefits package, plus discounts on all merchandise—spices and herbs, teas, cookbooks and foodie lit, including foodie fiction, and spice-related items such as shakers, grinders, infusers, and more.

Join the team at Seattle Spice Shop, a 40+ year-old institution in the heart of the Pike Place Market, Seattle’s stomach and soul. You’ll get on-the-job training in all aspects of spice and herb selection, blending, and pairing, and work with both retail and commercial customers eager to put the finest Northwest offerings on their tables. Working in the Pike Place Market, the oldest continuous-running public market in the country, you’ll be surrounded by fresh produce from the finest farms and orchards in the region, along with the very best in cheeses, breads, fish, meat, poultry, and specialty products, along with tastes of the cuisines from every corner of the world. You’ll find yourself among an amazing array of arts and crafts, serenaded by a rotating cast of musicians and other entertainers, and meet people from every walk of life.

The first mixed-use commercial and residential project listed on the National Historic Register, the Pike Place Market is also home to more than two hundred owner-operated shops and services, one hundred restaurants, and three hundred and fifty residents, all on nine acres. Open 364 days a year.

The best candidates will boast a ready smile and a spirit of adventure, because in the Market, anything can happen -- and does.

Readers, what’s the best job you ever had? The worst? 

And join me tonight, June 27 at 8 pm Eastern, 7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific for a live chat at Nite Owl Reviews!

Audio books of ASSAULT & PEPPER and GUILTY AS CINNAMON are out now! The large print edition of GUILTY AS CINNAMON will be available in August. And coming in October: KILLING THYME, Book Three. 

Leslie Budewitz is the national best-selling author of the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries and the Food Lovers Village Mysteries, set in northwest Montana. She is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for DEATH AL DENTE—and nonfiction—the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction for BOOKS, CROOKS & COUNSELORS: HOW TO WRITE ACCURATELY ABOUT CRIMINAL LAW & COURTROOM PROCEDURE.

For more tales of life in the wilds of northwest Montana, and bonus recipes, visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter, or join the fun on Facebook.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Guilty Pleasures

by Monica Albertson
from Peg Cochran's Cranberry Cove series

            I pulled my car up to the curb in front of the drugstore in downtown Cranberry Cove.  Baskets overflowing with pink flowers hung from the old-fashioned gaslights and every store had a planter out front filled with blooms in pastel hues.
            I got out of the car and locked it.  The scent of bacon frying drifted down the street from the open door of the Cranberry Cove Diner and I realized that I hadn’t had any breakfast yet.  I’d been in too much of a hurry to get into town, run my errands and then get back to Sassamanash Farm to bake more muffins, scones and coffee cakes for the farm store.
            I paused at the threshold to the drugstore to let my eyes adjust to the dimmer interior light. 
            A familiar figure was standing in front of the news rack at the front of the store, thumbing through a magazine.
            “Hello,” I said, tapping her on the shoulder.
            “Oh,” Hennie VanVelsen said, turning around.
            Hennie is one of a pair of elderly identical twins who run the local candy shop, Gumdrops.
            “What’s that you’re reading?”
            A slow flush crept from Hennnie’s neck to her forehead.  She held out the magazine.
            “Tinsel Town?  Isn’t that gossip about all the stars?”  I had trouble hiding my surprise.
            “It is.  And I’m afraid it’s one of Gerda’s and my guilty pleasures.”  Hennie closed the magazine and put it back on the rack.  She gestured toward the cover.  “Although Gerda and I don’t know who half the people are anymore.  Not like in the old days when you had the likes of Clark Gable, Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck.”
            I laughed.  “That’s certainly true.”
            Hennie gave a little sigh.  “I’m embarrassed that you’ve discovered our little secret.”
            “Don’t worry,” I said.  “Everyone needs their guilty pleasures.”
            I said good-bye to Hennie and thought about our discussion.  I really needed some guilty pleasures of my own.  How about you?  What are your guilty pleasures?

Catch up with Monica and the rest of Cranberry Cove in Berried Secrets and Berry the Hatchet.