Sunday, February 18, 2018

Brotherly Love Once More

by Neal Kennersly, brother of Carrie Kennersly, whose adventures are memorialized in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Yes, I'm back.  I've been able to stay quiet here for a few months, at least, but my sister Carrie wanted me to speak up this month so here I am.

Things around our town of Knobcone Heights have been quiet for a while.  As always, I appreciate my sister's generosity, since she still lets me live in her house almost rent-free.  I'm still working at the front desk of the Knobcone Heights Resort, where I help check people into the hotel.  And whenever I can, I take people out on hikes.  That remains one of my biggest enjoyments in life--that, and spending time with Janelle Blaystone, one of Carrie's shop assistants and a great photographer.  And, yes, she's been a murder suspect. 

So what else is going on with me?  Actually, not much.  And I'm pretty happy when things are quiet around here.

And yet, I've heard rumblings about some issues involving the veterinary clinic where Carrie works part time... and the possibility of another murder occurring around here.  I hope not, since I'm always worried about my sister in those situations.  She's nosy.  And she always wants to help friends who are wrongfully accused--assuming that it is wrongful, as it was with Janelle.  And Carrie herself, of course.

Well, we'll see.  Meanwhile, I'll hang out with my sis and her great little dog Biscuit--my "Bug"--and hope that no one else is endangered around here.

Hope, yes.  Feel certain of it?  Definitely not!

PICK AND CHEWS, the fourth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, will be a May 2018 release.  And yes, there are more to come.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Gardening...and Murder?

By Dellyn Burke, Historic Gardens Coordinator at Old World Wisconsin

From the Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series

by Kathleen Ernst

Are you dreaming of spring? Here in Wisconsin, it's still distant. If you're a gardener like me, though, you've probably started planning.

For me, planning gardens is more than a pleasant winter pastime. I'm responsible for all of the gardens at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum with over fifty restored buildings. The exhibits include ten working farms and a number of village homes and business. That's a whole lot of gardens.

Fossebrekke Cabin, Old World Wisconsin.
When the museum closes for the winter, I'm still busy saving seeds, reviewing growing notes, and planning for the fruits, vegetables, and flowers that will be planted in spring. I rely upon seed saved from heirloom varieties grown on the site. In fact, historic sites like mine play a key role in preserving what genetic diversity we have left---but that's another story.

Some of the heirloom varieties of produce grown at the historic site.
Gardening is my job. It's also my comfort and solace. My parents died not too long ago. Recently, my sister Bonnie died too. Officer Roelke McKenna, who found her body, believes her death was suspicious.

That's hard to even think about. I'll leave the investigation to him---and to my friend Chloe Ellefson, collections curator, who has a definite knack for puzzling through complicated situations and getting at the truth.

After all, something as fundamental and healing as gardening couldn't have anything to do with my sister's death...could it?

Are you combing through the seed catalogs yet? Is there a vegetable or flower you can't live without?

* * *
Kathleen Ernst is the author of thirty-six books, including the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries, mysteries for young readers, historical fiction, and two nonfiction books.  Before becoming a full time writer she worked as a curator at Old World Wisconsin.

To learn more about the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series---including the latest, Mining For Justice, see Kathleen's website.

Kathleen is celebrating the series with an eight-month-long retrospective, and it's The Heirloom Murders month! Stop by her blog to learn more about the book, and watch her Facebook Author Page for a Giveaway.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

It’s a new year!

In the Chinese calendar, that is.  Tomorrow, February 16, 2018, marks the beginning of the spring festival.   The first new moon after January 21st.  
This is a very special one.  It’s a solar eclipse at 27 degrees Aquarius.  Some of my astrology clients get nervous when they learn an eclipse is coming.  They'll call and say, "Julia, check my chart, please!"  I tell them not to worry.  They won't be affected unless they have planets in that very same position.  But if they do, then this would be an important eclipse for them!
But besides the astrology, it’s a good time to clean your house, pay off debts, buy new clothes, burn incense and sweep away any bad fortune that’s been lingering around.  It’s time to start fresh. 

This is the Year of the Dog.  If you were born in a year of the dog, you are loyal, faithful and true.  You are a great friend to others and always willing to help those in need. 
And by the way, did you know there is no “Year of the Cat?”  You see, in ancient times, the emperor ordered all animals to become part of the calendar, first come, first served, because there were only twelve spots.  The cat liked to sleep late, and his friend the rat promised to wake him up early.  When morning came, the rat was so excited, he forgot and the cat was the last to arrive, too late to find a spot on the calendar.  The cat never forgave the rat.  That’s why they’re still enemies and there is no year of the cat.  
I’m excited because this year I’ve been invited to my friend Wei’s house for a special dinner with her family.  And of course, I never miss the parade.  That’s where I’ll be on the night of the 24th, just nine days away!  It starts at Market and Second Streets and winds toward Union Square and up Powell.  I’ll be waiting at Post and Kearny and follow it all the way to Columbus and the Mystic Eye.  I’ll watch the lion dances, hear the bells and drums and firecrackers and enjoy all the fantastic colors and costumes.  I can’t wait!  

You can read more about my adventures in the Zodiac Mysteries and this summer, Tail of the Dragon, Book #3, will be out!  
And you can visit my author at, at Facebook and Twitter @askzodia.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


FROM: Sabrina Tate

OF:       The Bad Luck Cat Mysteries
BY:       Kay Finch

These days women don’t typically need or want any white knight to ride in and rescue them from dangerous situations. But sometimes – assuming the right white knight is involved – a little rescue can be a good thing. Like the evening I decided to do a little solo investigating at the Wild Pony Saloon here in Lavender. Seemed like a perfectly fine idea, until one of the pool players decided he wanted to get a little bit too close.  Let’s just say I was happy that the local game warden, Luke Griffin, came along when he did. Here’s how it went down in Black Cat Crossing.
“I felt an arm snake around my waist and turned to see Mr. Belt Buckle had come back.

“Hiya, sweetheart.” He brought his face close to mine. “Whaddya say we leave Chester in his misery and have us a little dance. I wiped the table with those bozos.” He glanced over his shoulder at the cleared pool table and the other players clustered at one end.

The band was playing a slow song now, and there was no way I was getting any closer to this guy than I already was.

“You’re Ernie Baxter’s twin brother,” I said, realizing why he looked familiar.

“Guilty,” he said. “I’m Eddie, and you must be Sabrina, the not-so-teenage witch I heard about from Mom. She told me I’d be runnin’ into you sometime soon, and here you are.” He gave me another appraising glance.

I twisted out of his grasp, uncomfortable with him and the eerie suggestion that Twila Baxter knew I’d show up at The Wild Pony before I had any intention of doing so. “I came to speak with Chester.”

“Best wait till he dries out.” Eddie took my arm and started toward the dance floor. “He gets delirious when he’s drunk. We have plenty of time to get to know each other better.”

I tried dodging him, but Eddie moved closer and soon his arm was around my waist again, fingers twisted around one of my belt loops. I grabbed those fingers and said, “Let me go.”

“Aw, sweetheart,” he said, “I’m cool. Give me a chance.”

 I writhed and twisted as I tried to disconnect myself from him, but he stuck like glue.

 “Why don’t you show me some of your witchy moves,” he said. “Bet you got some—”

Before he finished the thought, Eddie’s knees buckled and his legs were swept out from under him. Someone ripped his hand away from my waistline and took my arm. Then I was hurtled along through the crowd and found myself outside, where light rain was falling.

“C’mon,” the man next to me said. “Let’s take cover.”

I was grateful he’d separated me from Eddie Baxter, but did I want to go anywhere with this guy?

I turned to him and saw in the glare of the lights along the porch that Luke Griffin held my arm.

He pointed across the street to what looked like an abandoned service station with a roof over what used to be the pumping area.

We ran across the street together.”

That was only the beginning of my relationship with Luke Griffin, and I’m happy to say we’re now, as my Aunt Rowe says, “an item.” I don’t mind one bit calling Luke my white knight, especially today – on Valentine’s Day.  Luke sent me the most lovely bouquet of yellow roses, and he has a special dinner planned for tonight.  And before I close, I must make mention of my other Knight – the black one – Hitchcock, my cat, who has saved me from a few hot spots himself.
You can read more about me and my special guys in Black Cat Crossing, The Black Cat Knocks on Wood, and The Black Cat Sees His Shadow.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like someone had rescued you from something or someone? 

GIVEAWAY - Leave a comment to be entered in today's book giveaway. The winner may choose any one of the three Bad Luck Cat Mysteries pictured below.  Winner to be chosen this Saturday. 

 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. Visit her at

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Citizens of Whispering Falls, COVER REVEAL, and Giveaway!

Character Interview With Hunky Oscar Park, Sheriff of Whispering Falls

1 - We all want to be different, so what is the one thing you wish your creator had done differently with you? I wish she’d put more love scenes in there with me and June! Or even had more scenes with me using my wizard wand instead of everything focusing on June and her gift of potion making.

2 - If you could have added something to the story, and your creator would have let you, what would that have been?

3 - What do you love best about yourself? What do you like least? I love that I’m a cop and she made me super cute. The girl readers seem to love that and call me their book boyfriend! The least thing I like is how June seems to get in sticky situations without me there to help her out. I don’t like my girl in danger.

4 - What part of the book was the hardest for you and your creator to work through? The fact that June is in situations where she is eye-to-eye with a murderer. Since I’m the sheriff, I have to keep some things a secret and that’s hard for me to do.

5 – What do you want to accomplish in the next book? Now that June and I are married, I tell her a lot of the evidence and crime scene information I collect from the recent murder in Whispering Falls. It's been great because June has this amazing intuition and we talk out what might've happened and I get leads from her that I'd otherwise never gotten before. I'd like to accomplish more in the way of deepening my relationship outside of romance with June.

Interview with June:

June, how did you first meet Tonya?

There was a vacancy in her head, so I just sort of moved on in. She told me that she didn’t like witches. . .

Want to dish about her?

I concoct my best homeopathic cures in the middle of the night, my cauldron seems to work best during those hours, and Tonya is always awake with this little notebook in her hand. She never sleeps! I bet if she would give up one of her three pots of coffee she drinks a day, she might get a little shut eye. I left a message with the Sand Man to drop Tonya visit.

Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?

Never! I’m just a small town Kentucky girl.

Yay! Kentucky! I wonder if Whispering Falls is close to Louisville. Tell us about your favorite scene in the book, June.

Tonya continues to write about my life, so in the third novel, A Charming Wish, she started with my story when I found out that I had a genie bottle in my shop. . .with a genie living in it!

Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?

Yes! Tonya always wants to write my story her way or the way she thinks I should live my life, but I keep telling her NO! It’s my life, and I can live it how I want to. Sometimes she does have some good ideas with new potions.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
I love spending time with my fairy-god cat, Mr. Prince Charming and my boyfriend, Oscar Park. Hanging out with my friends that live in Whispering Falls is a lot of fun too.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?

I absolutely adore them! Each of them have a special magical talent that is disguised by their store front. I love how they interact with their clients. Shandra owns A Cleansing Spirit Spa. Her clients think they are getting a manicure, but Shandra is really reading their palm. All of Whispering Falls is like that!

What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?

What did you learn from it? I lost both of my parents at a young age. It has been a hard long road learning all the ropes of life without their guidance. I’ve learned to trust my intuition. It hasn’t failed me yet!

Tell us about your best friends.

Mr. Prince Charming is my fairy-god cat who showed up on my door step with a turtle charm hanging on his collar on my tenth birthday. I’ve always wanted a charm bracelet! I knew we were going to be fast friends. He has never left my side and I’m twenty-five.
Madame Torres is my snarky crystal ball. Even though she is a pain in the rear sometimes and we argue, she always has my best interest at heart.

How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
There are a lot of changes that only Tonya and I know about. I’m not sure if those changes are good or bad. I guess we will have to wait and see.

What aspect of your author’s writing style do you like best?

I love how she adds humor to my life of chaos. I don’t think my life is funny, but she writes it in a way that makes readers laugh out loud.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?

I adore Mandy Moore. I think she would make a great me!

Describe the town where you live.

MAGICAL! Whispering Falls is settled in the foothills of Kentucky, surrounded by beautiful mountainous limestone and Kentucky bluegrass. The town is filled with quaint shops. Each shop has a gorgeous ornamental gate that leads you into magical store with special powers. When a tourist comes to our small town, they can’t wait to come back.

Describe an average day in your life.

I have to have my coffee first thing in the morning. Then Mr. Prince Charming and I go to my shop, A Charming Cure, and start working on new homeopathic cures. When a client comes in, I rely on my intuition to what is the root of their ailment, and then I make them the perfect cure. After work, I tend to spend some alone time with my boyfriend.

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?

She is on the 11th novel now and will be up for preorder soon! Don't you love the cover??

What are you and Oscar doing for Valentine's Day?
We are going to Locust Grove and going out to supper. Just a fun romantic night.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR Valentine's Day? LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED TO WIN A $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD! Winner will be picked on Friday!

For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. HarperCollins and Witness Impulse is thrilled to be publishing this insanely talented and wildly successful author in her hilarious and spooky Ghostly Southern series. Be sure to join Tonya’s newsletter and receive a free ebook download!

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Never Too Old For Love

by Myrtle Crumb, from Between A Clutch and A Hard Place, by Gayle Trent

After my Crandall died, I never thought I'd even think about giving my heart away again. Sure, I joked about dating, but I was pretty happy with my life the way it was.

Now, I've met this handsome sheriff, and whoo, boy! He sure does make my heart flutter. I'm helping him with the investigation of a missing woman...a woman we both--or at least I--believe has been murdered. He doesn't much want my help, but there's nobody who can uncover a clue like I can. I'm like one of those television detective women.

You see, I went to this upscale consignment store that my neighbor Tansie was bragging about, and I bought a clutch. It's a nice, satiny little black bag. Very classy. But--are you ready for this?--the thing had a note inside it that said, "If anything happens to me, look to Jim. He did it." It was signed Flora Adams. Well, I couldn't stand not knowing whether something had happened to Flora Adams. I mean, I bought her purse, for goodness' sakes! And it had that ominous note in she was just begging me to help her.

I called my granddaughter Sunny, and she looked Flora up on the Internet. Sure enough, Flora was missing. Now this handsome sheriff and I are on the trail of the killer. I've even volunteered to go undercover. Guess who I have a date with tonight? You guessed it--Jim Adams. Do you think I should put a note in my purse, just in case?

Happy Valentine's Day! To celebrate, the book above--Between A Clutch and A Hard Place--and The Perfect Woman are ***free*** today, February 12, and tomorrow, February 13. Clutch will also still be ***free*** on Valentine's Day, February 14. Links are below:

When Myrtle Crumb buys a purse at a consignment shop, she's surprised to find a note inside. The note says, "If anything happens to me, look to Jim. He did it." It's signed Flora Adams. It isn't long before Myrtle meets Jim Adams and learns he's a widower. Did the man she's dating murder his wife? Myrtle had better find out in a hurry!

A group of ad executives comes up with the advertising scheme they hope will save their company - the ”perfect woman.” In their endeavor to find this woman, they discretely interview a handful of women, promising the women a share of the ultimate Perfect Woman's profits for their silence about ever being interviewed should they be turned down. Each woman interviewed has her own reasons for accepting the offer, and many think the offer is a godsend. But the godsend turns into a nightmare when a murderer begins to stalk the women, killing them one by one.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I 💗 my Dog

by Mel Langston

This week is Valentine’s Day and I’m fortunate enough to celebrate with my special Valentine. Don’t be fooled by her bored expression, my bulldog, Missy, is equally excited to spend the evening with me.

If you’re lucky enough to share your life with a pet, you already know there’s no better way to spend a day that’s all about love than with the one who loves you unconditionally.
Missy makes the perfect date. There’s no stress of finding the perfect outfit. She doesn’t care how I dress for our evening. If prefer to wear my favorite yoga pants and t-shirt, and forgo shaving my legs, she’s agreeable. Heck, she doesn’t even care if I shower.

She’s not going to throw money away on overpriced flowers that barely last the week. When I have a
second helping of dessert (notice I said “when” not if), she won’t comment or give me a are-you-sure-you-want-to-do-that look. I’ll have a couple glasses of wine; she’ll have a bowl of doggie beer, and neither of us will judge the other if a burp or two escapes.

And best of all, she always lets me pick the movie. Initially, I was leaning toward Lady and the Tramp, but I do enjoy some action-adventure with my romance. Maybe we’ll watch Romance the Stone or The Princess Bride instead. Heck, maybe we’ll get really crazy and watch all three!

Whatever we do, I know we’ll have the paw-fect Valentine’s celebration because I'm spending it with my favorite pooch. What about you? Do you have any plans for Wednesday?

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets--Sparkle (Mary Lee's cat) and Abbey (Anita's dog). If you want to make sure you're up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for Sparkle Abbey's Newsletter.