Tuesday, November 20, 2018


by Lilly Jayne of the Garden Squad Mystery series by Julia Henry

I may be getting into the Christmas spirit. Last year was the first holiday without my husband Alan. I was barely functioning back then. But this year, thanks to the tender care of my best friend Tamara and her wonderful husband Warwick, I'm feeling more myself. Having Alan's grad assistant move into the house was his idea, and his final kindness to me. Delia Greenway helps me run the old place, and keeps me on my toes.

My house calls for holiday decorations. Since I live in the historic district of Goosebush it calls for a bit of attention, but in a classic way. Delia takes care of the front of the house, and for the last couple of years, that was as far as decorating went. That wasn't always the case. When my father was alive, the house was a Christmas wonderland, with different decorations in every room, and a winter playland in the back yard, complete with a train set that went around the different bushes and plants. What folks didn't know is that he kept the lights up all winter long, to help illuminate the long New England winter nights.

I'm not up to a holiday open house this year. Maybe next. But I will decorate. Delia and I have been working on making different wreaths from different plant pruning efforts. I have become a fan of rosemary wreaths. What a wonderful scent! Delia has been working wonders with other plants, and we're adding evergreens to fill in spaces.

So yes, thanks to my friends I'm feeling better. Who knows, maybe next spring I'll have a garden party. That could be fun.
Pruning the Dead, the first in the Garden Squad series, debuts on January 29. The book starts during the garden party Lilly mentions here. Here's a description of the book:

Post-retirement aches and pains can’t prevent sixty-five-year-old Lilly Jayne from keeping the most manicured garden in Goosebush, Massachusetts. But as a murder mystery blooms in the sleepy New England town, can a green thumb weed out a killer?

With hundreds flocking to her inaugural garden party, meticulous Lilly Jayne hasn’t left a single petal out of place. But the picture-perfect gathering turns unruly upon the arrival of Merilee Frank, Lily’s ex-husband’s catty third wife. Merilee lives for trouble, so no one is surprised after she drinks too much, shoves a guest into the koi pond, and gets escorted off the property. The real surprise comes days later—when Merilee is found dead in a pile of mulch . . .

Lilly wishes she could stick to pruning roses and forget about Merilee’s murder—until her best friend and ex become suspects in an overgrown homicide case. Now, aided by the Garden Squad, an unlikely group of amateur crime solvers with a knack for planting, Lilly knows she has limited time to identify the true culprit and restore order to Goosebush. Because if the murderer’s plot isn’t nipped in the bud, another victim could be pushing up daisies!

The book is available for pre-order. Today I have an ARC to give away to someone who comments on the blog! I love writing this series, and so look forward to all of you getting to know Lilly and the rest of the Garden Squad.

The winner will be chosen on Friday, November 23. Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Season's Greetings! Season's Readings Giveaway!

By Sassy Cabot from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by Terrie Farley Moran

Welcome to the Season’s Readings Happy Holiday Giveaway!!! On behalf of Bridgy, Aunt Ophie, and all the folks here at the Read ’Em and Eat cafĂ© and bookstore in gorgeous Fort Myers Beach, along with Carmela, Ava and the rest of the gang from the Scrapbooking Mysteries that our author co-writes with the marvelous Laura Childs,  I’d like to offer you an opportunity to win ONE of these four books: WELL READ, THEN DEAD, CAUGHT READ-HANDED or READ TO DEATH from the Read ’Em and Eat series; or the brand spanking new GLITTER BOMB from the Scrapbooking series.

For a chance to win the book of your choice, please comment below and tell us which book you would like to win. Don’t forget to include your email addy in this format: name(AT)server(DOT) com to avoid the spam bots. Giveaway closes at midnight, Wednesday, November 21st.

No matter which holiday you celebrate this season, we all hope your days are filled with joy and love.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Holiday Season

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

Hi, everyone!  It's hard to believe how quickly this year has gone.  It's the holiday season already!  We've already celebrated Halloween, and Thanksgiving is later this week.

I've been getting plenty of business already in my two bake shops, Barkery and Biscuits, and Icing on the Cake, and feel sure I'll get even more just before Thanksgiving since people like to have sweets for their own dinners--and will also give healthy treats to their dogs in celebration. 

What am I doing for Thanksgiving?  I'll be cooking a turkey dinner, and those dining with me will include my brother Neal and his girlfriend--and my assistant--Janelle Blaystone.  Also, Dr. Reed Storme, the veterinarian with whom I have a really fun relationship, with join us.  And our dogs, of course--my Biscuit, a toy poodle-terrier mix, Reed's Belgian Malinois Hugo, and Janelle's Labrador retriever Go.    And yes, I'll have sweets from Icing there for dessert, as well as treats from the Barkery for the dogs.

And of course I'll be hoping that nothing nasty happens in our town of Knobcone Heights during the holiday season.  I seem to be getting involved with helping to find the bad guys in quite a few situations that often involve murders, and I really don't want that to happen again, especially now.

Anyway, guess what.  I'm already so jazzed about the holiday season that, as part of the Killer Characters Seasons Readings, I'm going to give away a copy of PICK AND CHEWS--the most recent book that describes how I helped to solve yet another one of those murders in Knobcone Heights--to one person who comments on this blog post.  The person who writes my stories, Linda O. Johnston, says she will have her own dogs pick the winner on Thanksgiving Day, and that the winner needs to live in the U.S.  She requests that people include their email addresses in their comments.

So--good luck to all of you.  And Happy Thanksgiving!

PICK AND CHEWS, the fourth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, was a May 2018 release.  And watch for FOR A GOOD PAWS next May!


Saturday, November 17, 2018


By: Maggie Crozat
From: Mardi Gras Murder
Series: Cajun Country Mysteries, #4
Author: Ellen Byron

Hi there, y’all, I’m Tug Crozat. You’re probably more familiar with my daughter, Maggie, but I thought I’d drop by and fill you in on what all’s going on these days at Crozat Plantation B&B.

Mardi Gras is a huge deal in Louisiana. In addition to a parade, a pageant, parties, and Courir de Mardi Gras - Mardi Gras Runs - we have a gumbo contest that we guy have pretty much taken over. A lot of men in our village love to cook, and the only thing we like cooking better than jambalaya is gumbo. I always make mine a big old cast iron pot that’s so important to me I store it in our family safe between competitions. It’s been handed down to Crozat men from one generation to another. Nobody knows how old it is, but boy, do I love that baby. 
Maggie, who’s an only child, jokes that while some of her friends had to compete with a sibling for attention, she had to compete with a black pot. (That’s what we call them – black pots.)

I always spend the week before Mardi Gras fixing up batches of my gumbo, making sure I have the right ingredients handy, doing a little fine tuning of the recipe, which I also keep in the safe. Crozat men have won the Pelican Mardi Gras gumbo contest more times than I can count. I got my eye on the prize again for this year.

I can’t imagine anything going wrong. Can you?

Readers, have you ever entered a cooking contest or wanted to? True confession: I always dreamed of entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off!

Comment to be entered in my Season's Readings contest for an autographed trade paperback copy of A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING. (Kindle edition for Canada and other countries.) Perfect for the holidays! Contest runs from 11/17 through midnight, 11/20. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, 11/21.

Friday, November 16, 2018

You shouldn’t be here...

Hi, Evie Bloomfield here and welcome to  the Cozy Chicks Great Thanksgiving Giveaway. 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Tandem Demise!!

Well, it’s back to Mackinac Island and life with no cars and only horses, bikes and foot-power to get around. Fall is in full swing with the leaves changing colors, a chill in the air and gardens ablaze with mums of every hue. 

            I love this island that is part of Michigan and located where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron. Life on Mackinac moves a bit slower with cell phone service not all that reliable and internet not all that important. Why look at a screen when you can a take bike ride to the Grand Hotel for high tea or visit Fort Mackinac for a musket drill or firing a cannon.


      The only way to get to Mackinac is by ferry. Taxis here are horse drawn affairs moving at about five miles an hour and riding bikes is a breeze with no horns honking or traffic to maneuver around. This is an island for getting away, for relaxing, for enjoying life with friends and family. It’s life the way it used to be. 

            After solving two murders, I thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until I found out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot.   

As if that isn’t enough, last night Fiona, my BFF and local newspaper editor, and I found a dead guy clutching a champagne bottle on the pier. Surely the dead guy and Nate are connected but how? Not only did the dead guy have the champagne but he had a picture of someone in his wallet. Could it be the killer? Someone who stole the loot from Chicago? Could it be Nate Sutter?
            Right now I’m on my way to break into the Mackinac Island police station to find that picture. I’m not great at breaking and entering but I’ve picked a lock or two in my time. 
Wish me luck and let me know if you’ve ever tried to break into someplace you shouldn’t have been. 

I’ll give away a copy of Tandem Demise from the answers.

Smugglers on the hunt, a police chief on the run, lost loot and a dead wedding planner have the Mackinac Island regulars riding in circles 

 Hugs, Evie



Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nikolai Vorshevsky here . . .

You haf not heard from me for a vhile.  I’ve been too too busy with my TV show and all my clients.  But I vas thrilled to be invited to the big Halloween bash last month at The Mystic Eye!  Gale vas vorried I’d do sometink terrible, I think.  I don’t know vhy.  I am very careful with my talents and always try to do good vit my hypnosis and everyting.
I vas keeping a secret from Gale that night.  I vanted to surprise her and I tink I did!  Big time!  I surprise everyone at the party.  See . . . dere vas this darling little woman and I knew she needed help.  I could tell.  She vas very nervous.  So I took her back.  
Dat’s right.  I took her back to another life.  It vas thrilling.  She remembered vhat she did and vhen she came back, she vas fine.  She vas crying and everyting but much much better than before. 
Everyone dere dat night vas very moved.  But I tink Gale vas sort of mad at me.  She said I put a big damper on her party.  I don’t tink so though. 
Vhat do you tink?  Did I do dat?  I hope not because I love the Mystic Eye and Gale and Julia and Zora and everyone who goes dere.  It’s a vonderful place!
I vill ask our author, Connie di Marco, vhat she tinks.  Did I do the right ting?
And speaking of her, I am looking for her -- on her website, at Facebook and even Twitter @AskZodia, but I can't find her! 

So I been asking around and guess vat I found out?  She's not here!  She's in Iceland, at Iceland Noir, in da cold, to talk about Icelandic elves and ghosts and tings like dat!  I vish I could be dere!  So, If you don't hear from her today, dat's vhy. But, no vorries, because today, November 15th, is the first day of Season's Readings giveaways at Killer Characters! 
So just leave a comment and my author will get back to you as soon as she can from da land of glaciers, volcanoes, elves and Huldufolk (for dose of you who don't know, dey are the "hidden people" of Iceland.  Brrrrr . . .  I vish it vas still Halloween!