Saturday, April 20, 2019

It's Showtime!

By Sully Sullivan, from the Theater Cop Series by J.A. Hennrikus

I was a cop for a long time. A long time. Then I went to work in theater, which I thought was going to be a cushy job after years on the job. Yeesh, I was wrong.

You know the adage, the show must go on? Before I started working at the Cliffside Theater Company, I thought that was just a saying. Little did I know, for theater folks, that's the truth. Actor sick? Send someone on with a script. Costumes not ready? Put them in street clothes. Theater lights not working? Keep the house lights on. These folks are hard core.

I've only seen one thing that almost stopped them. That was the year of the failed Easter egg hunt.

Now, it wasn't Easter. It was July. But we had an intern who found a basket of Easter eggs, and decided it would be fun to hide them around the theater. Our summer theater was, is, outdoors, so she took the two dozen eggs and hid them all around the theater, on stage, in the audience, and in the dressing rooms.

The problem was that the eggs had been left over from Easter, and the basket was moved to storage without emptying it. And they were hardboiled.

Did I mention it was July? And the theater was outdoors.

Did you know that there are vermin who love, and I mean love, rotten eggs? Or at least cracking them open and throwing the inside around?

Do you know how badly rotten eggs smell?

Yes, the failed Easter egg hunt almost closed us down. Happily, the high school was air conditioned and available, so we moved for a night. And the show went on.

Those theater people, they're tough. But they were almost undone by Easter eggs.
Sully Sullivan appears in the Theater Cop series, by J.A. Hennrikus. The most recent book in the series, With A Kiss I Die, was released earlier this month.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Celebrations Fort Myers Beach Style

Things are never quiet on Fort Myers Beach. We are always celebrating something, be it the annual Shrimp Festival, Pirate Fest, the Christmas Boat Parade or the American Sandsculpting Championship. 

My BFF Bridgy and I, as owners of a local business, the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookstore, love to participate in the planning of these super terrific events, but I have to tell you that the actual events themselves are exhausting for us but in a very good way.

While we usually are a breakfast and lunch kind of place, during festivals we open the Read ’Em and Eat earlier than usual and we keep it open far into the evening, serving our lunch menu for light dinners such as Old Man and the Sea Chowder or Green Eggs and Ham. And we always have tasty snacks. Miss Marple Orange Iced Scones come to mind. Customers keep us hopping and that is how we like it. So if you are in town for a special even, stop on by, I am sure you can find some thing on the Read ’Em and Eat menu that will satisfy.

So, which type of beach celebration has the most appeal for you?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Arf--er, Uh-Oh

by Biscuit, Carrie Kennersly's dog in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, it's Biscuit again.  I've barked here before.  I'm a dog, and I supposedly belong to Carrie Kennersly, the human who's the subject of the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, but as I say often, in my opinion she belongs to me. 

I've just barked an uh-oh.  I'm seeing some issues in the town of Knobcone Heights where Carrie and I live--and my person is apparently getting involved in solving another murder.

Our life together is mostly fun.  I spend a lot of time in one of Carrie's two shops, Barkery and Biscuits, since that's the one where she bakes and sells lots of treats that I love to eat.  She calls them healthy dog treats that she created at her other job, as a veterinary technician at the Knobcone Veterinary Clinic.  Her other bakery, Icing on the Cake, is next door, but there she sells some stuff that she says could hurt me, like chocolate, so I listen to her--mostly--and stay out of there. 

Carrie takes me for nice, long walks.  We meet other dogs and people, including humans Carrie considers very important in her life--and I mostly like them, too.  In fact, my life tends to be pretty good.  I seldom have to beg for treats, after all.

Anyway, it's nearly the month that humans call May, and Carrie has told me that yes, she's solving another murder and, yes again, it'll be talked about in a new book, For a Good Paws, that people can read then.

FOR A GOOD PAWS, the fifth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, will be a May 2018 release from Midnight Ink. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April in Louisiana means Jazz Fest!

BY: Gaynell Bourgeois
FROM: Mardi Gras Murder
SERIES: Cajun Country Mysteries
AUTHOR: Ellen Byron

Hey, y'all! Gaynell Bourgeois here. I'm one of Maggie Crozat's best friends. I have a band called Gaynell and the Gator Girls. April and May are my favorite months of the year here because the last weekend of April and first of May are when the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place. This year's the fiftieth anniversary, and you know who's gonna be there? THE ROLLING STONES!!! That's right. The. STONES!!! Wait, what?? They cancelled??? Mick had heart surgery? Nooo!!

Oh, well. Even without Mick and Keith and the gang, it's the most fun festival ever. There are a ton of stages and tents featuring just about every kind of music you can think of. Jazz, Dixieland, R&B, Zydeco, Cajun, Pop, Gospel.
You name it, they sing it! There are so many crafts from the region, and the food... My, oh my, where to begin? Catfish po'boys, jambalaya, muffalettas, Crawfish Monica. I have no idea what's in the giant cup my author's holding, but I'm guessing she felt it the next day!

My dream is to play at Jazz Fest. I want to play it so much that my author wrote it into the storyline for Cajun Country Mystery #5, FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL. Will my dream come true? I guess you'll have to wait until when the book launches in September to find out!

Readers, have you ever been to Jazz Fest? If not, is there a festival you just love?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Food, Funerals and a giveaway,

I live in a house that’s been in my husband’s family since before Sherman parked his unwelcome hide in Savannah. I teach dancing so the young people of Savannah don’t look like idiots at their cotillion and so that the not so young can show off at their 50thanniversary party.  

The problem is, here in Savannah, and as much as I hate to say it,  we’ve been getting more than our share of funerals lately.  
Now I understand that we all got to go sometime and some sooner than others but being dead is no excuse for bad manners and that’s why I’m here to be setting things to rights.
First of all and most important you must always be keeping your  “death-ready” pantry up to speed so as soon as you get the call that Miss So-and-so is toes at that there slumber house you need be rushing right over to the family with stuffed eggs, chicken salad, caramel cake and some pecan tassies. And everyone knows Pimiento cheese spread is the very paste that holds the South together through think and thin.
Remember that casseroles that contain cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta cheese are considered second tier presentations, but a can of cream of asparagus soup added elevates the dish to a higher status. And of course banana pudding is the Cadillac of southern desserts, so don’t be forgetting that.

And always remember it’s right important to refer to the deceased as successful, no matter how far from the actual truth that might be. The written description needs to include enough truth that the dead person is somewhat recognizable, but include enough flattery to please the grieving family and friends.

And of course you must encourage those relatives to attend who do the most carrying on. Someone discreetly weeping into a hankie just doesn't have the same appeal as multiple women screaming and throwing themselves onto the casket as it is being lowered into the ground. What good is a send-off unless it’s a mighty big one.

And as for the service…for heaven’s sake keep in mind that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heavenis only appropriate for one of those Yankee funerals. In this part of the world Amazing Gracewill do fine, thank you very much especially if there’s a martini two following right soon.

You all take care now, ya’ hear. Be sure to keep that death pantry stocked just in case and do let me know what’s your favorite dish to be sharing  with your family and friends in these most unfortunate times. 

I’ll give away three totes from the answers.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sage here ~

Hey, it’s supposed to be spring!  At least that’s what the calendar says, but Snowflake was just hit with the worst blizzard of the winter.  What happened?  The roads and streets are impassible and I need to shop and get supplies for the menu today. This is a nightmare for a chef! 

Well . . . I guess I’m just going to have to come up with whatever I can do today because I know as soon as people leave their houses, they’ll be walking to the By the Spoonful Soup Shop to get warm and eat soup!

Let’s see . . . what do I have on hand?  Well, onions, plenty of those, and butter and cheese.  I could make French onion soup, that’s pretty simple.  But I probably need another choice.  Not everyone loves onions.  Besides, without fresh bread, it’s just not as good.

I’ve searched the refrigerator and the freezer, but nothing’s really inspired me.  I found sausages.  There’s a ton of green beans that are still fresh and I do have lots of red potatoes.  What do you think?  Will that work?  I think it will, in a nice vegetable broth with some of those onions.  Oh, and we have lots of carrots too. 

Here’s my recipe, pared down for a normal household:

2 tbls. of butter
1 medium onion (peeled and sliced)
3 sausages (pork or turkey)
4 cups of vegetable broth
4 carrots (peeled and chopped)
6 red potatoes cubed (not peeled)
1 ½ cups of chopped green beans
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the pot and add the onion.  Sauté until the onion is soft and slightly brown.  Squeeze the meat out of the sausage casings and add to the pot, stirring until the meat is cooked.  Add the broth and carrots and simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the red potatoes and cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes.  Finally add the green beans and simmer for a few more minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Not a fancy soup, but a hearty one and a good choice for those spring blizzards in Vermont!

Happy eating, everyone!  Let's keep our fingers crossed.  Hopefully spring will arrive soon.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


From:  Max Dieter
Of:  The Bad Luck Cat Mysteries
By:  Kay Finch

Spring has sprung in the Texas Hill Country. By the time the Easter bunny comes hop-hop-hopping along, the tourists will be out in full force.  Which means business at my Hot Stuff Coffee Shop will be hopping, too. 

It doesn’t take newbies here at Hot Stuff long to realize I have a 70’s music theme going on.  The juke box plays day and night.  With fab songs like Night Fever, Don’t Leave Me This Way, and Boogie Oogie Oogie, there’s a lot of toe tapping in the place.  
I’d like to give the customers a little extra kick, though, and not only from a caffeine jolt.  How about a weekly Disco Night? People can come in and do some real dancing – just like John Travolta did back in the day.  Sure, I’ll have to push the tables back to make enough room, but doesn’t this sound like a blast? 

I’ll bet I can talk Rowe Flowers into dancing, and she might convince the sheriff to join her.  They can bring Sabrina and Luke, and I’ll bet Sabrina’s cat Hitchcock would love to watch the fun. (Unless he’s still miffed that I didn’t name my shop Black Cat Coffee, which I have to admit has a certain ring to it.)

 I need to put together a special play list for this event.  What’s your favorite?

Kay Finch is the National Best-Selling author of the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries by Penguin Random House.  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. Coming soon - Bad Luck Cat Mystery #4 – The Black Cat Steps On a Crack – is scheduled for a June 11th release. Visit Kay at