Sunday, September 23, 2018

Counting Up from 1 to 6 – Dyeing Wishes #Bookgiveaway

by Kath Rutledge
from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries by Molly MacRae

Ardis Buchanan, here, welcoming you back to Blue Plum, Tennessee! Kath and I and the rest of TGIF (Thank Goodness it’s Fiber) are celebrating this month – and for the next three – because our new book will be out January 1st. Each month we’ll tell you about a book in the series and we’ll give away a copy. This month it’s my turn and I’ll tell you about book 2 in the series, Dyeing Wishes.

I managed the Weaver’s Cat, on Main Street in Blue Plum, for my old friend Ivy for years. I was devastated when she died last month, and I worried about what her granddaughter Kath would decide to do with yarn shop. But Kath has a good head on her shoulders – and a good right hook, it turns out – and I realized I shouldn’t have expected anything less of Ivy’s granddaughter.

Ivy started a fiber and needle arts group called Thank Goodness it’s Fiber (TGIF) and it’s still going strong. The group is always up for something new, so a bunch of us went out to Debbie Keith’s Cloud Hollow Farm to learn about “hand-painting” wool roving with dye. Debbie raises sheep at Cloud Hollow, and she spins and dyes and knits and embroiders, and is generally fabulous. She also loses things, like the key to the dye kitchen’s door. Which she did that morning.

Not to worry. A neighbor across the river keeps Debbie’s spare key and she said she’d drop it by on her way to town. In the meantime, we took a walk down the lane to see some of Debbie’s newborn lambs. The sheep were more interested in something under a tree across the field, though, and Kath and Debbie climbed over the fence and crossed the field to see . . . .

What they found was too, too awful—two bodies, and one of them was someone we all knew. Murder-suicide, the deputies said. Kath and I didn’t know what to think, but Debbie did. She didn’t believe it for a second. In fact, she seems to know more than she’s letting on. But we know Debbie, don’t we? And we trust her? Of course we do. So Kath and I are calling a meeting of TGIF. We might be knitters and needlework nuts, but we unraveled the last mystery ahead of the deputies, and we’ll do our darnedest to do it again.
Counting up from 1 to 6 – 5 months of giveaways celebrating the release of Crewel and Unusual, book 6 in the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, on January 1, 2019. Leave a comment and your email address by midnight September 25th for a chance to win a copy of Dyeing Wishes. Do you already own a copy? That’s okay! Win another and give it to a friend. 

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.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

In praise of cozy autumn evenings…by Carol Hill of the WISE Enquiries Agency

It’s almost the end of September and, living in a draughty house that’s over 300 years old as I do, it’s wonderful to light a fire on a chilly evening. When they built our house, here in the heart of the little Welsh village of Anwen-by-Wye, coal would have been easily accessible and incredibly cheap, so each room has its own fireplace. Even the tiny rooms on the top floor, originally intended for the servants, have their own functional cast iron fireplaces, though I’m pleased to say we have a rather magnificent carved marble one in our sitting room. 

Nowadays we use low-emission anthracite in the hearth, because the use of ordinary coal, and even logs, isn’t terribly good for the atmosphere. We also only ever light the fire in our main room; radiators – supplied with hot water by our ever-warm Aga stove in the kitchen – were added to the house in the 1930’s, so we don’t really need to light a fire at all, but I love the way a living fire makes a room feel…and I don’t just mean in terms of the warmth.

The magic of firelight

I grew up on a small farm in the west of south Wales, and when I look back on my life there I realize we didn’t have much, but we did have a lovely coal fire glowing through the autumn and winter months. It was by the light of the fire that I would look at the pictures in my books, and imagine myself living in Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh and Christopher Robin, or in Nutwood with Rupert Bear and his friends, or even with the Brown family, sharing a room with Paddington Bear. It’s funny to I realize so many of my early, imaginary friends were bears! I suppose Bunty, my loving calico cat has taken their place in many ways.

Nowadays it’s wonderful to know that baby Albert is fast asleep in his room, my husband David is tapping away writing code in his spare-room office, and I can indulge myself with a tooth-coating mug of hot chocolate and a good book as I watch the firelight flicker. I’ve found a super series of mysteries about a Welsh-Canadian professor of criminal psychology who travels the world solving cases like the ones I used to enjoy that were written by Agatha Christie – Cait Morgan is her name and she’s a bit like me in some ways…well, she’s Welsh, a bit bossy, and her waistline tells everyone she enjoys her food! 

I suppose some might think it’s a bit odd that I read mysteries, given that I am myself a private enquiry agent, but I enjoy the thrill of working out whodunnit even in my spare time. The good thing about being the tech-maven for the WISE Enquiries Agency is I can do what I do here at home most of the time, and don’t have to go off to work on cases (usually) nor attend meetings at the office in the lovely converted barn our company uses, out in the grounds of Chellingworth Hall. Thank heavens for modern technology…and early-autumn fires! 

The paperback version of the fourth WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery - THE CASE OF THE UNSUITABLE SUITOR - is now available to's to be released on November 1st 2018! Click here for link!

You can find out more about Carol Hill, her colleagues at the WISE Enquiries Agency, and Cathy Ace's other characters at Cathy's website: 


Friday, September 21, 2018

Last Full Day of Summer #giveaway

No Grater Danger
By: Jocie Műller, 9 years old.
From: No Grater Danger
Series: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

Today is the last full day of summer. I looked it up to be sure, so it's true. That means it's an equinox; day and night are equal.

We - my dad (Jakob) and mama (Jaymie) and I - had a really busy summer. We went to Canada to visit my new great grandma (Mama's grandma - Mama and Dad just got married last May) and we went to Boca Raton in Florida to visit my new grandparents, and we went to Delaware - it's called The First State because it was the first state to rattify the consitution constitution. We went there because I have to see a doctor every summer. He's a specailist specialist in my kind of condition, which is called Achondroplasia Dwarfism (I checked the spelling; it's right). That means I'm a Little Person, or LP. It's generic genetic, they said.

Anyway... its the end of summer, and Mama asked me to write an essay on my favorite book I read this summer. We both had a reading list, and I beat her finishing mine.

The Mad Wolf's Daughter
So, my favorite book I read this summer was The Mad Wolf's Daughter, by Diane Magras. It was really exciting. It's about a girl in Scotland (my Aunt Becca and Uncle Kevin have gone on their honeymoon and are going to Scotland!) way back who's whose family is captured. She goes on a quest to rescue them, but finds out all kinds of things about her family while she is on her quest, and ends up wondering if she should rescue them. I won't tell you what she decides, in case you want to read it

I liked it because it had a girl in it who did things, and I like to do things. I'd like to have adventures like Drest (that's her name) has. Mama says I'm too young for those kind of adventures, like a quest to rescue people, but she made some other things this summer feel like adventures, like snooping around the hospital where I had to go for tests, and exploring the beach in Boca Raton. Boca Raton has a butterfly garden and a sea turtle sanctuary, too. We went with Gramma and Grampa to look at the butterflies. I like butterflies. My favorite was the Peacock Butterfly. It was so pretty! Gramma bought me a butterfly coloring book for my birthday, and I really love it.

Gramma said something wierd weird... she said that Mama has enough adventures for everyone, but I don't know what she meant, and Mama told her to hush. Dad looked worried and Grampa laughed. Adults are weird. (Got the spelling right that time!!)

Peacock Butterfly
So.... that was my favorite book this summer, The Mad Wolf's Daughter.

 Mama says I should ask you all... what was your favorite book to read this summer? Any book at all, she says, any gener genre (I think that means kind of book, like mystery or romance or adventure) at all.

(PS - I'm sorry for all the cross outs; Mama said I had to check for mistakes, and I made a few. But I think 'weird' is a really hard word to spell because it doesn't follow the rules. It should be 'I before E except after c', right?)



Answer Jocie's question - What was your favorite book that you read this summer? - leave your first name, email address (email (at) yourserver (dot) com) and be entered to win an ebook copy of either Leave It to Cleaver OR No Grater Danger!!

Enter by Midnight, September 22nd.

*Note.... comments left after midnight, September 21st will go into a moderation queue and be approved on the 22nd or 23rd.

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.