Friday, August 17, 2018

A Crying Child

by Chloe Ellefson, Curator

of the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries

by Kathleen Ernst

As an outdoor museum curator, I spend a lot of time thinking about people long gone.  I'm on special assignment this week, learning about Cornish mining families that settled in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in the 1830s.  

On my first day in Mineral Point, I decided to explore a hill that was riddled with mine shafts dug by those early miners. Walking where the miners walked, I thought as I followed a narrow path. It was sobering. Those Cornish men had tunneled into the bowels of the earth—lonely and scary work, to my mind. Was it truly in their genes, or did each young man have to make peace with years spent laboring inside the dark earth?

While I was pondering that, a faint, unfamiliar bird call drifted down the slope. I froze, straining to hear it again. I am pretty good at identifying birds by sound alone, but this call was new. didn't really sound like a bird. It sounded like a crying child.

The fine hairs on the back of my neck quivered. You see, sometimes I perceive echoes of the past.  Most often I sense strong emotions that linger in old buildings. But sometimes I catch hints in other ways. And there was something about that sound that made me wonder if I was hearing a child who needed help...well over a century ago.

* * *

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, see Kathleen's website.

Kathleen is celebrating the series with an eight-month-long retrospective, and it's Mining For Justice  month! Watch her Facebook Author Page for a Giveaway.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Wedding Bliss or Not so much

Evie Bloomfield here from Tandem Demise, the third book (out next month by Duffy Brown) one theCycle Path Mysteries
I’m from Chicago and landed on Mackinac Island trying to get a promotion by helping my boss’s dad...who broke his his bike shop. That he got accused of murder on my watch did not help my chances for that promotion.
Now I own part of the bike shop here on the island, Rudy’s Rides, and since I got here there’s been murders, a lot of them considering this is only an eight-mile island located where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan.
This latest murder is a wedding planner. Some wedding planners deserve an early demise but it does seem a bit extreme. And the thing is, there’s another murder here too, a dockworker.

     “Do you think he’s dead or just dead drunk?” I asked Fiona, BFF and editor of the Town Crier, Mackinac Island’s one and only newspaper. With no one else at the freight dock to ask, I took Fiona’s hand and together we scurried up the pier through the hazy florescents lighting our way. Our footfalls pounded the wood planks, my heart pounded my chest and I was sure Fiona was in no better shape. 
     “You check for a pulse,” Fiona panted as we hunkered down between two recycle crates ready for barge pickup the next day. “I’ll check the wine bottle clutched in his hand. Maybe there’s a few swigs left. Don’t know about you but I sure could do with a little Dutch courage.”
     “It’s a bottle of Champagne, Dom Perignon 2009.” 
     “Good year?”
     “Dom Perignon doesn’t have a bad year.”

How can the murder of a dockworker and a wedding planner be connected? The only reason I think they are is that the worker had a bottle of Champagne clutched in his cold dead hands.
And the worse part of all this is that Nate Sutter, island chief of police and local hunk, is accused of the murders? It all stems back to his undercover days in Detroit when he was suspected of running off with ten million bucks.
If you could see the way the man dresses you know he does not have ten mil! But the things is, I like the guy, bad clothes and all.
So now I’ve got to find the real killer and get Nate Sutter off the hook so maybe, just maybe, we can get together. Considering I was left at the altar I’m a bit relationship shy but hopefully with Sutter that will all change.
See you next month for a kickoff of Tandem Demise and some giveaways. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

If you’re reading this . . .

Then I, Jack Harding, am no longer on planet Earth.  I’m gone, dead as a doornail.  See, I figured someone might want to do me in.  Maybe a lot of someones.  That’s why I left a list of suspects for my lawyer. 
I told him if I die from anything other than natural causes . . . wait, let me amend that.  Even if it appears I died from natural causes, be suspicious.  Insist on an autopsy.   Make sure of that, because I really doubt I’d be pushing up daisies anytime soon in the natural scheme of things.
So, I left a list to be opened upon my death.  A list of my enemies, numbered from 1 to 20.  Actually, there’s more.  But if anyone does do away with me, it’ll likely be one of those twenty people. 
Let me explain -- numbers one through five are my law partners.  What, you say?  Why would any of them want to kill me?  Ha!  Because I’ve shown them up to be idiots, I’ve stolen clients away from them, or I’ve made sure they were kicked out of the firm at the very least, or better yet, disbarred.  
There’s my sister too.  She hates my guts.  Too bad, I say.  She should have known better than to expect anything from me.  Then of course there’s my ex-wife.  Just about killed me to pay her off, but I’ll make sure she never enjoys my demise.  Have to remember to change the beneficiary on my life insurance too. 
And maybe about thirteen or so others that probably think they’ve been wronged by me.  Frankly, I don’t care.  I don’t believe what all the ministers and priests say, there is no payback on the other side.  So why should I be worried?
But now if I am actually dead, then I want to know who my killer was!  Was it someone I overlooked?  Someone I never thought had it in for me?  Do you know who it is?  Life . . . and death . . . are just full of surprises, aren’t they? 
You can read all about me in the newly released Tail of the Dragon and you can visit my author, Connie di Marco, at her website, at Facebook and Twitter @askzodia.  And don't forget to leave a comment to enter the very last day of our incredible Killer Characters' summer giveaway!!!



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

SUMMER…AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY and #bookgiveaway

FROM:  Hitchcock the Cat
OF:       The Bad Luck Cat Mysteries 
BY:       Kay Finch

The day I hitched a ride with a tourist headed for the Texas Hill Country was the luckiest day of my life. Granted, I’m a cat, and cats have a different perspective on things than you humans – but if you haven’t ever visited, you should. In the old David Letterman tradition (I’ve seen reruns), I’ll tell you my ten favorite things about my life in the Texas Hill Country:

1.     Hitching rides with unsuspecting drivers

2.     Sitting on the keyboard when Sabrina’s writing

3.     Naps

4.     Bird watching

5.     Watching people tubing down the river

6.     Naps

7.     Crunchy tuna treats

8.     Playing with Luke Griffin’s dog Angie

9.     Naps

10.Helping Sabrina solve mysteries

To see just how a cat can help to solve a mystery, read one of the bad luck cat mysteries. You’ll find I’m a quite curious and very lucky feline.

***AUGUST 14 GIVEAWAY***  Comment below on this post – tell me about your favorite “summer and the livin’ is easy” activity.  I’ll pick a random winner on August 15 at noon – for your choice from the Bad Luck Cat series. Thanks for visiting - and hope you're having a great summer.
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 where she is working on Bad Luck Cat Mystery #4 – The Black Cat Steps On a Crack. Visit her at

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Smells of Fall & Giveaway

Do you smell that?

 As I sit here with my warm cup of coffee, staring out the window of The Bean Hive, my coffee shop, oranges, yellows, reds, and greens have painted the trees along the shore of Honey Springs lake have created an amazing painting no artist can duplicate.

The warm smell of cinnamon, sugar, hazelnut, and a hint of vanilla extract makes my heart soar.
This means the Bean Hive Coffee Shop is in full swing with our special fall coffee blends and the amazing Pumpkin Spiced cookies I only bake and sale this time of the year.

                                             (recipe below for the Pumpkin Spiced Cookie)

Pumpkin Cookies
The Bean Hive calls these Santa Kiss Cookies
Submitted by reader Stormi.
2 Eggs
3 cups Sugar
1 and 1/4 stick butter
1 16 oz can of Pumpkin
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 and 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
6 cups of flour.

Cream together eggs, sugar, stick butter, then add can of pumpkin, chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix it all together. Shift together the cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, cream of tartar and flour. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Add raisins here. The stiring might take some muscles. :) Makes a large batch of cookies. Bake at 425 for 12-14 minutes.

The wonderful smells are just the beginning of the fall season in Honey Springs. The cookies have ten more minutes until they are baked to perfection. I took the opportunity to step out on the boardwalk to look around.

The fall crisp air filled my lungs, my eyes looked around and my body came alive with the hints of the upcoming Halloween Regatta. The last big event for the Honey Springs Lake Marina that takes place along the lake shore in front of the Cocoon Hotel.

It's not just any Halloween party. It's THE party of the year. There's a boat parade where all the boats are decorated, there's a pumpkin carving contest on the beach, apple bobbing fun, and hayrides win a horse drawn wagons to the Hill's Orchard.

Jean Hill has really outdone herself this year. Her pumpkin patch has grown bigger and better pumpkins. The corn maze is one to tackle.

The best thing about the Halloween Regatta is the tourists that come year after year to start off their holiday season.

And that's what gets Pepper excited. He loves all the extra attention he gets along with some of the special treats I make just for our fur loving babies! I wonder what costume I can put on him this year?

Preorder today!

Maybe the killer drank decaffeinated.

Corn maze, apple bobbing, and pumpkin carvings are a few of the things tourists, who are visiting Honey Springs Halloween Extravaganza, are expecting to see. But when a dead body is discovered on the banks of the Honey Springs Lake and a masked murderer running away from the scene, there's a realization this wasn't part of the holiday fun!

Roxy doesn't know what's going. There's been a murder and people are ordering decaffeinated coffee? She's got to get to the bottom before the town gets too sleepy and falls into recession right before the winter months hit the cozy town.

If you like quaint, cozy, small towns with a tasty murder, you're going to love the KILLER COFFEE MYSTERIES! Each book can be read as a stand alone! Start your adventure now and buy them today!

Book Five in the very popular A Killer Coffee Mystery Series by USA Today Bestselling Author Tonya Kappes.

Have you ever dressed up your fur baby for Halloween?

Leave a comment to win a special key chain with one of the KILLER COFFEE MYSTERY book covers and a print copy of COLD BLOODED BREW, book 4 in the KILLER COFFEE MYSTERY SERIES!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Looking Ahead To Labor Day

by Amy Flowers of Honey-Baked Homicide by Gayle Leeson

I know, I know...I don't want summer to end yet either! Although, I do enjoy fall. But, for now, let's plan our Labor Day celebration. Here at the Down South Cafe, we can get you a box of fried chicken ready if you put your order in early enough. And Jackie and I always have some pies, cakes, and banana pudding on hand.

But, if you really want to bring something unique to that family get-together, why don't you take along some fried pickles? I use a recipe from the Food Network called Almost-Famous Fried Pickles. Be sure to click the Food Network link for full information (including a photo and preparation video), but I'm posting the recipe below:

Almost-Famous Fried Pickles

For the sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon drained horseradish
2 teaspoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
For the pickles:
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
2 cups sliced dill pickles, drained


Make the sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, horseradish, ketchup and Cajun seasoning in a bowl; set aside.

Fry the pickles: Heat 1 inch peanut oil in a pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water in a large bowl until smooth. Spread the pickles on paper towels and pat dry.

Add half of the pickles to the batter and toss to coat. Remove from the batter using a slotted spoon, letting the excess drip off, and add to the oil one at a time. Fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Return the oil to 375 degrees F and repeat with the remaining pickles and batter. Serve immediately with the prepared sauce.

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

What's your favorite Labor Day treat? Comment below for a chance to win today's giveaway!


Gayle Leeson is giving away a copy of HONEY-BAKED HOMICIDE as well as a copy of her new women's fiction novella HIGHTAIL IT TO KINSEY FALLS. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below with your email address so Gayle can contact you if you're our winner. Entries will be accepted until noon on Monday, August 13, 2018. Good luck!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Paws with a Cause

by Mel Langston from Sparkle Abbey's Pampered Pets Mystery series

Hey, everyone! Melinda Langston here, checking in to share all the exciting happenings here in Laguna Beach. With the tourist season winding down, the kids preparing to return to school, and only 136 days until Christmas (yikes!), we locals are preparing for the upcoming Mobster Film Festival. The festival is a fundraiser for Angels with Paws, a fabulous local non-profit organization for seizure response dogs.

As an animal lover and supporter of other local animal shelters, I was asked to head up the scholarship fundraising. Raising money for seizure sufferers to afford their own response dog, trained to retrieve needed items, turn off lights, or even carry needed medication. . . .how could I say no?

Of course, it’s never that easy, is it? A local businessman, who had promised a sizable donation for the event, is found dead before handing off his check. And even though I'm not a suspect, someone I care about is. You can read all about it my crazy adventure next month in The Dogfatherbook 10 in the Pampered Pets Mystery series

If you’d like to learn more about seizure response dogs or how you can support the cause, check out Paws with a Cause.

One last item, as part of the Killer Characters summer giveaway, Sparkle Abbey is offering your book choice from the Pampered Pets Mystery series. To enter, please tell the authors which book you’d like if you win, along with your name and email address in the comment section below. Comments close at midnight your time on Sunday, August 12th.

Who knew the world of designer purses could be such a dog-eat-dog business?

When a local, designer handbags store owner is found dead, the police first believe it’s an unfortunate accident. But the evidence doesn’t lie. Before you can say "wiseguy," Bow Wow Boutique owner, Melinda Langston’s, former fiancĂ© and undercover FBI agent, Grey Donovan, is the prime suspect.
Now the two are working side-by-side to prove Grey's innocence— nothing personal, just business. Or is it? Suspects are piling up, family secrets are exposed, and no one is who they appear to be, including Mel’s newest employee. Time’s running out. Mel better sniff out the killer before she and Grey end up sleeping with the fishes.available 9/21/18