Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day After Thanksgiving

By: Annie Chamovitz

From: The Cumberland Creek Mystery Series
Author: Mollie Cox Bryan
Book 4 Title: A Crafty Christmas 

So this is the first time the boys and Mike and I actually have had a Thanksgiving meal alone together. Usually we are traveling to his folks or my folks. But this year, we were surprised by a huge snowfall on Thanksgiving morning. What a lovely way to start the day, with the quiet beauty of a snowfall. It was one of those snows where it came down in big beautiful flakes and if you sat and watch it long enough, it could mesmerize you.  Until your kids scramble out of bed, that is, and want to play in  the snow—which is exactly what my noisy, healthy messy boys did. 
But this snow, as beautiful and fun as it was, came at exactly the wrong time. The roads we had to travel were complete covered and what road crew wanted to be out on Thanksgiving morning? So we decided to stay home and have an impromptu dinner with just the four of us.  It wasn’t as grand as what we are used to but, we managed. And sitting together at the family table and giving thanks—that what it’s all about. 

But now, it’s the day after, and all I can say is, “I am still full.”
Now it all about Christmas and Hanukkah. If you need some idea for crafty Christmas presents, some I know has a great Pinterest board with a lot of ideas. Click here to see what I mean.  I've been helping out with a Hanukkah scrapbooking board--check it out. 

 ***Enter Mollie's contest: review A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS on Amazon, B & N, or Goodreads and enter to win a chance to have a Cumberland Creek character named after you--goes until the end of December.
Check out Mollie Cox Bryan online:
Twitter: @MollieCoxBryan

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Oh, the thanks you can thank!

By Erin Murphy, from the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, Pepper Reece of the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, and their author, Leslie Budewitz

In our house, as no doubt in many of yours, we think of Thanksgiving as a day of gratitude, a time to not just count our blessings but say them out loud. And so, three things from each of us:

ERIN: What am I grateful for? Being back in Montana with my family and friends. That the shop is doing so well, truly becoming the heart of the community, as it was when the first Murphy sold the first potato in Jewel Bay. And well, I’m thankful for the persistence of a certain guy!

PEPPER: First, where would I be without my friends? Second, who’d have ever imagined that my purpose in life would turn out to be bay leaves? So I’m thankful for the opportunities to turn crisis—make that crises—into crazy joy! And third, I’m grateful to be part of the amazing, maddening, marvelous, magical world that is Seattle’s Pike Place Market!

LESLIE: Me? I’m grateful to have found the thing I love to do: write. My family and friends—especially my hunny, Mr. Right, my mother Alice, and my BFF Lita—have supported me every step of the way. And from the bottom of that deep dish chocolate pecan pie, I thank each of YOU, for helping make my dream of writing and sharing my stories a reality.

Readers, care to share your short list? 

(My apologies to Dr. Seuss for slaughtering one of his best lines!)

Assault & Pepper, first in the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz, will debut in March 2015 from Berkley Prime Crime. Leslie  is the national best-selling author of Death al Dente, first in the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries set in northwest Montana, and winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, followed by Crime Rib (July 2014).

Also a lawyer, Leslie won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books), making her the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction.

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving!

by Pia Fitzgerald
from Peg Cochran's Gourmet De-Lite series

Hi, Pia Fitzgerald here.  You know my sister Gigi from the Gourmet De-Lite series.  If you haven’t read Iced to Death yet, then we haven’t met. 

I’m just back from England where I was living in an artist’s commune—a real grow-your-own-vegetables-and-bake-your-own-bread type of place.  It’s great being back in the States where I can get my favorite junk food—toaster pastries, marshmallows, pizza and peanut butter. 

Gigi does not approve of my diet, and I appreciate her trying to keep me healthy, but she doesn’t understand.  I’ve been eating nothing but roasted root vegetables and watery soup for a year now.  You can understand, right? 

I’m trying to get back on my feet again then I’m headed to California. I’ve had enough of the damp and the cold.

I’m excited that I’ll be at Gigi’s for Thanksgiving though.  She is a fantastic cook, and I’m looking forward to turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and sweet potatoes topped with…you guessed it…marshmallows!   

Iced to Death is available here.  Come chat with me on Facebook or visit my web site.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What I See

by Eleanor Walker, from Sheila Connolly's Seeing the Dead

Hullo. My name is Eleanor Walker, but my mom and dad and most people call me Ellie. I’m seven years old, but I’ll be eight soon. I’m in second grade.

Most kids my age think I’m kind of weird. I’m smarter than they are, but my mom tells me that it’s not nice to tell people that. But there’s something else, too, that my mom doesn’t know about yet: I see things that other people don’t see. People, mostly. I don’t talk about that much either, because kids would really laugh at me then.

As long as I can remember I’ve seen those people. I figured out pretty fast that most other people don’t, but I don’t know why they can’t. I don’t do anything special, but sometimes they’re just there. They can be anywhere—near my house, in town, or in this cemetery not far from where I live. I can walk there, but I don’t tell my mom. She’d just worry. But I’ve known the way for a long time.

There’s this other lady who works for my mom. Her name is Abby, and she has a friend called Ned, who knows my mom too. I’m pretty sure she sees what I see, sometimes. She’s nice, and she listens to me. She doesn’t have children of her own, not yet, but she doesn’t treat me like I’m just a dumb kid. I’d like to talk to her more.

Maybe she can help me explain this thing to my mom. I mean, I don’t know how to do it, but I’m pretty sure it’s kind of important. Or maybe I mean, Mom might think it’s important, but not in a good way. I don’t think I’m crazy, but I don’t really know what crazy feels like. It just feels like normal to me. But I don’t like to keep secrets from my mom and dad. Mom says I have to be honest with them, no matter what, and I want to be. But it’s not easy when I see things they don’t see. 

Seeing the Dead is the second in the series that began with Relatively Dead last year. It is available in most e-formats.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Thanksgiving Conundrum

By Olivia Greyson, purveyor of all things cookie and pursuer of killers. 
Visit Maddie and me in Cookies and Scream, our latest sleuthing adventure.

In case we haven’t met before, I’m Olivia Greyson, though everyone calls me Livie. I live in a little town named Chatterley Heights, where the local bank and I own a sweet Queen Anne house. I share the top floor with my little rescue Yorkshire terrier, Spunky, who has earned his name many times over.

My beloved store, The Gingerbread House, occupies the ground floor. We specialize in anything remotely cookie, especially cookie cutters, both antique and brand new. Maddie Briggs, my best friend and business partner, is the baking genius, and Spunky holds court from his antique chair near the front window. 

Today is Monday, so The Gingerbread House is closed, which means Maddie is baking  in the store kitchen, singing off key along with her ear buds.

I love Mondays. They give Maddie and me a chance to take a breath… or pursue a killer.

Not that Chatterley Heights is Maryland’s murder vortex, but, well, we’ve had our share of untimely demises. Maddie and I seem to find ourselves involved one way or another. It isn’t our fault. Really, if someone parks a body on the Gingerbread House front porch, what are we supposed to do? Luckily, the town sheriff, Del Jenkins, is my “special friend,” as my mother so quaintly puts it, so I have his private number on speed dial.

But mostly we create decorated cookies and sell cookie cutters, both antique and brand new. Thanksgiving is coming up in a few days, and I can smell the spice cutout cookies Maddie is baking in the Gingerbread House kitchen. I’ll go downstairs to join her soon. We’ll spend the afternoon happily decorating those little critters in hitherto unimagined color combinations.

Life is good. And yet…

No, I’m not worrying about the years passing away, and I’m certainly not pining to get married and start a family. I was married once. It did not work out well. I’ve lived in the big city. I prefer little Chatterley Heights, where I’m surrounded by quirky characters, as well as loved ones. I have work I adore. And I have to admit that the occasional murder investigation provides plenty of excitement.

Between you and me, I want my life to stay the way it is right now. I want time to stand still. Forever.

Jason, my younger brother, says this means I’m turning into an old (his word, not mine) fuddy-duddy. But aren’t I simply saying I’m thankful? In a round-about, fuddy-duddy sort of way?


Visit Virginia at

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Cat Pin-up Edition

Hi, Kath Rutledge, here, from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries. Have I ever told you about the cats of Blue Plum, Tennessee? They’re as beautiful as our mountains and as cozy and comfortable as Blue Plum itself. I love seeing every one of them on my walks around town. So forgive me, but this is a cat-loaded post - a celebration of feline pulchritude - because, for the very first time, I know a cat who doesn’t want to spit, hiss, or swipe at me. Argyle, the cat who streaked into my life out of a raging storm, loves me. That doesn’t mean that all the other cats in town suddenly love me, too, but they do let me snap their pictures. And because I’m thankful for Argyle and the purrs he bestows, what better way is there to celebrate than with a photo tour of the cats of Blue Plum? 

It isn’t a beauty contest, but can you pick out a favorite?


Evangeline Lavender's Taffy

The firehouse cats - they keep the volunteers company

Deputy Darla Dye's two buddies, Louis and Bartholomew (photo by Courtney McCampbell)

The mayor's cat dreaming of dance moves (photo by Elda Stone)

Pretty Maggie - she was Granny's cat, now she lives with Joe
Rachel Meeks' cat Cordelia (photo by Elda Stone)

kittens at the Holston Homeplace Living History Farm

Librarian Thea Green's cat named Puppy (photo by the REAL Thea Green)

Argyle keeping to his napping schedule

The award-winning, national-bestselling, Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries are available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio wherever books are sold.

Visit Molly MacRae on Facebook and Pinterest, or find her the first Monday of each month at Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Set to Jet

By: Gwen Fifield
Book: Live Free or Die
Author: Jessie Crockett
Series: The Granite State Mysteries

I've always wanted to travel but between my kids, my job at the post office and my work on the volunteer fire department, I never seem to have enough time to get to the grocer, let alone around the globe. Maybe that's why I was so delighted to hear that my exploits in tiny Winslow Falls, NH are going to be shared in Germany as well as here at home in New Hampshire. 

That's right, as of November 25, the goings on here in the village will be translated into German. I couldn't be happier about it. I love sauerkraut, bratwurst and Grimm's' Fairy Tales. You can imagine my delight that they've even put someone who looks like me on the front cover of the book. Not that I'd be caught dead heading for a fire with my legs unprotected. And it goes without saying that if I was stomping around in the snow I wouldn't be doing it in a pair of expensive heels I borrowed from my sister. I wouldn't attempt to cross the dining room floor in those things, let alone a frozen field.

Still, I am feeling flattered and over the moon. If enough people in Germany enjoy reading about the troubles we've had with arson and theft maybe I'll finally find the time to make trip over there. But I'll be sure to pack something sensible to wear.

Readers, do you like to travel? Do you speak German? Where would you go if you had the time for an international vacation?