Saturday, July 23, 2016

Do I Really Wanna Iguana?

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

I’m thinking about adopting a pet. Technically, I already have one - Argyle. He’s the handsome and very sweet cat who retired from whatever fray he was involved in and moved into my fiber and fabric shop, the Weaver’s Cat. He’s kind of a miracle, because he’s the only cat who’s ever liked me. I’ve always wanted a cat to twine around my ankles or to sit on my lap and purr. But they’ve usually taken one look at me, sneered, and stalked off. Or they bit me if I tried to pet them. That all changed when Argyle arrived. He and Geneva moved into the shop at the same time.

And you see, that’s the problem. Argyle and Geneva both live at the shop (Geneva not so much living as haunting and occasionally moaning) and they keep each other company. That really makes Argyle her cat more than mine. And she has so little to call her own that I can’t take him away from her just so that I can have a cat on my lap when I go home at night.

So the other day I let slip the idea of adopting a pet to Geneva. Oh boy. To say she was excited, on my behalf, is an understatement. Here’s how it went.

Geneva (swooping a full circle around my head with each question): A little furbaby? What kind? Boy or girl? How old?
Me: Um . . .
Geneva: How big? How many? When? What will you name it?
Me: Um . . .
Geneva: You should let me name it. Or name them. What fun! (She stopped swooping at that point and hovered in front of me.) You have very few answers. I don’t think you’ve put much thought into this idea.
Me: I’ve put some thought into it.
Geneva: Not enough. But don’t worry. I will put plenty of thought into it and come up with an excellent list of suggestions.

Which she kindly did. And I promised to give her suggestions serious thought, although I’m not so sure about some of them.

loyal dog

talking parrot

old cat



noble iguana

adorable kitten

mice in a bread loaf

Um . . . hmm. What do you think? What’s the best pet for someone who lives alone? Leave your answer in a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries (your choice). Remember to include your email in this format: yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com so the spambots can't pick it up. Contest will end at midnight EST on Tuesday, July 26th.

Molly MacRae is the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, most recently Knot the Usual Suspects, and the Highland Bookshop Mysteries (the first book in that series, Plaid and Plagiarism, comes out in December 2016 and is available for pre-order now).

Visit Molly on Facebook and Pinterest, connect with her on Twitter @mysteryMacRae, or find her the first Monday of each month at Amy Alessio’s Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dead man talking....

Hello there, my name is….well, at the moment it’s Jonas de Smet though it hasn’t always been that. However, by the time you read this I’ll be dead, so my name won’t matter much at all.

I’ve lived here in Amsterdam for decades, though I was born in a different country, under a different light. I came here for the light. For the art. To be close to the works of a man whose talent had touched my very soul – Vincent Van Gogh. I dare say you’re familiar with some of his paintings; pretty much everyone in the world is, so why would you be any different? Sunflowers, Irises, Starry Nights…they are images so familiar to so many, yet the man remains a mystery. Like me.

This isn’t the only important letter I have sat down to write recently. I’ve given my mortality some considerable thought, as every elderly person must do, I suppose, and I’ve made some significant decisions. One of those decisions was to put matters in hand to ask my nephew, Bud Anderson – who’s a retired homicide detective with a particularly interesting new wife – to come to my home after my death and uncover my story. My true story. My full story. 

I’ve never met Bud, not his wife Cait Morgan, but I believe they will do as I ask, and undertake the journey I have planned for them. I understand they have much in common with each other, not the least of which is that they cannot turn their backs on a mystery that needs to be solved, nor an injustice that needs to be righted. So, yes, I believe they will travel from Canada and have an enlightening time here, in the Netherlands. I hope they enjoy art, interesting architecture, and good food and drink – because that is what they will find here, in abundance. They’ll also meet some of my oldest friends. I wonder what will be said about me, and by whom. I wish I could somehow be present to see how it all unfolds.

I cannot say more – to do so would reveal too much. And I have always been a man who has taken great care to not do that. 

You can undertake the journey of discovery through the art-world of Amsterdam with Cait Morgan and Bud Anderson in THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE. Cathy is giving away a signed copy to any reader in the US, UK or Canada. Please comment below and include your email in this format: yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com so the spambots can't pick it up. Contest will end at midnight EST on Monday, July 25th. 

Cathy Ace writes the Cait Morgan Mysteries. Book #7 THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE was published in paperback and e-format in April and book #8 THE CORPSE WITH THE RUBY LIPS will be published in October. She also writes the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries: book #2 THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER was published in hardback and e-format in February. Find out more about Cathy and her work, and sign up for her newsletter at   

Thursday, July 21, 2016

May you live in interesting times...

By: Doc English
Title: Much Ado About Muffin
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016 
Available now for pre-order!
Series: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

Y'know, ever since Merry took off outta Autumn Vale (Author's note: see Much Ado About Muffin for an explanation!) I been seeing a lot of changes goin' on in Autumn Vale. And not for the good, I gotta say.

Used to be I would dress up in weird hats and walk around town just outta boredom. But I ain't been bored ever since Merry Wynter came to town. God, my old pal Melvyn Wynter woulda loved his great niece. She's a real pistol. She don't even know how she shook this town wide awake. We were like Rip Van Winkle, slumbering in a western New York heat wave, an' she came along and shook us outta our torpor.

But she's been gone a while now, left us in the lurch; she said she's coming back, but I don't know when. And things are goin' sour again.

It ain't just her muffins I miss, though those are pretty good too. I miss the way she'd get involved and straighten things out.

There's dark things going on, and people being sucked into crap they shouldn't. How it'll end, I can't even figure. That's the crappy thing about bein' as old as I am; folks are real nice and sweet to you and all, but they don't listen to a derned thing you say. Not really listen. Merry listens when I talk... really listens. Dang it, I miss that girl, and so do Pish and Shilo. Crap goin' on there too.

Did I say that already? Mebbe, but it bears repeatin'. I miss Merry! She better get back here soon.

Do you ever see cruddy things coming, and yet you know there's not a goldarn thing you can do about it? Ain't that the craps?



Cozy Up To Summer giveaway.

I will choose one commenter to win a prize package including this (pictured) beautiful teacup and saucer, and this VERY cool skull teaspoon, as well as a copy of  Much Ado About Muffin, pre-ordered from the Book Depository just for you!

So, include your name and a valid email - (yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com, if you like, to foil the spambots) - by Midnight, July 22nd.

US and Canadian entries welcome!


For more information, visit me at:
Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page:

About Much Ado About Muffin

In this fresh mystery from the national bestselling author of Death of an English Muffin, baker Merry Wynter comes to the aid of an innocent woman accused of murder.
When muffin baker Merry Wynter sees an innocent woman accused of murder, it’s dough or die...

Opera singer Roma Toscano may have a crippling case of stage fright, but she certainly is stirring up drama in Autumn Vale, New York, as she prepares for an upcoming performance at Merry’s Wynter Castle. With her flamboyant style and flirtatious personality, Roma attracts fans as well as critics, including the town’s postmistress—and Merry’s bitter foe—Minnie Urquhart.

But Roma and Minnie’s heated rivalry goes cold after Merry discovers Minnie dead at the post office. While every clue seems to be another ingredient in the investigation of Roma, Merry thinks the case is half-baked, and she’s eager to get her mitts on the real killer...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Late Again!

by Ruth Clagan from Just Killing Time and Clock and Dagger, from the Clock Shop Mystery series by Julianne Holmes

I was late, again. A terrible habit for anyone. But for a clock maker? Well, I wish I could say there was no excuse, but that’s not strictly true. There are dozens of excuses, all in my shop, waiting to be either fixed or wound. Clocks helped me lose track of, well, time. Since I not only worked with clocks, I lived with them, time was something that surrounded me, not something I was good at keeping.

The Cog & Sprocket has only been my shop for a short while. I inherited it from my grandfather, Thomas Clagan. I got the horology gene from him, and spending summers in Orchard with he and my grandmother helped it bloom. He didn’t want me to call him Grandpa in the shop, so I called him G.T., Grandpa Thom. We’d had a rift before he died, so I’m working hard to make it up to him now, by taking good care of the shop, his widow Caroline, and the shop cat Bezel.

All of which made being late all the worse. Pat Reed was waiting for me to wind the clocks in the shop. It was our Saturday ritual. Coffee from the Sleeping Latte, the shop his daughter Moira ran. Baked goods from his wife Nancy waiting for us once we were done. Coffee getting cold? Sweet buns waiting?  I needed to get a grip.

I ran down the stairs, excuses at the ready. The shop was empty, and I heard keys rattling at the door. I threw the door open, hoping to surprise Pat. Instead, I was surprised by my handsome neighbor, Ben Clover.

“We’re waiting for you, Ruth,” he said. At least I think that’s what he said. With his dreamy blue eyes, sandy hair that fell down over his brow just so, perfectly fit jeans it was tough to focus on words. Especially before I had coffee.


“We’re having a business owners meeting over at the barbershop, remember? We need to talk about your idea for the loyalty cards—”

“Right,  right. Let me grab my coat.”

“It’s only next door. Take mine.”

Swoon. I threw his coat over my shoulders, grabbed my notebook, and ran out the door. Not only was I late, I almost missed a meeting for a project that was my idea.

“By the way,” Ben said while he waited for me to lock up. “Guess what happens when you’re late?”

“What?” I asked.

“You get to chair the committee. Come on, there’s a room full of people who are waiting to hear what you need them to do.” Ben smiled, and rubbed his hands over his arms. I followed him off the porch, and down the side alley between our shops.

I really needed to start being on time.
Are you always late? Do you get everywhere early? Are you a just-in-timer? Let me know in the comments!

As part of the Cozy Up To Summer with a Killer Character Giveaway, I am offering a commenter (include your name and email in the comment) a copy of Just Killing Time, the first in the series. The second book, Clock and Dagger, comes out August 2. Check back on August 20th, and I'll offer a copy of that as well.

Julianne Holmes is thrilled to be joining the Killer Characters blog the 20th of every month. She also blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors, and on Live to Write/Write to Live. Join on her Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Moms to the Rescue

By Sage Cabot from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by TerrieFarley Moran

It is truly fabulous to be here in Fort Myers Beach with my daughter Sweet Petunia. Well actually her name is Sassy Cabot but since I am in my earth phase, I tend to call her any lovely flower that comes to mind. My name? Oh didn’t I mention? My baptismal name is Barbara but I tend to change my name as the various phases of nature capture and recapture my fancy. Until very recently I was in my moon phase and found Luna to be a bright, welcoming name. Then, as spring erupted and the world turned green, nature pulled me to move into an earth phase. I decided I would become Sage. Sounds like a wise woman’s name, don’t you think?

And right now I need to be wise. When Sassy’s best friend and business partner Bridgy Mayfield discovered a dead body in a van in the parking lot of their fabulous Read ’Em and Eat CafĂ© and Bookstore, all eyes turned to Bridgy as a prime witness or possibly even a suspect. What’s a girl to do? Bridgy did the right thing and called her mother immediately. Then her mother, Emelia, called me. In the blink of an eye we were packed and in a cab from Brooklyn to JFK Airport and on our way to the Gulf coast of Florida. Our daughters needed us and we were there. Of course, I didn’t think about the fact that Emelia’s sister Ophelia lives in Fort Myers Beach and let’s just say, they are a little sandpapery when they are together for too long a time. And then I was astonished that Miguel, who is probably the most creative chef I know, seemed to think I was interfering in his kitchen. All I recommended was growing a few fresh herbs.

You can read all about our visit in the latest Read ’Em and Eat adventure, Read to Death.

The wonderful news is that we are in the first week of Killer Characters month long book giveaway, so, TA DA, our author is delighted to offer a copy of Read to Death as our special prize. Contest is open internationally. Please comment below and include your email in this format: yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com so the spambots can't pick it up. Contest will end at midnight EST on Friday, July 22nd.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A New Start--I Hope!

by Janelle Blaystone, photographer and employee at Barkery and Biscuits, and Icing on the Cake, featured in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, readers.  My name is Janelle Blaystone.  I'm a new resident of Knobcone Heights, California--and my story both getting and staying here is a bit overwhelming, even to me.

You see, I came to town partly on a whim--an educated whim, I thought.  My beloved dog Goliath, whom I call Go, was missing, dognapped from a dog park in Los Angeles.  Other dogs had gone missing from that park as well as additional area dog parks, and the only thing I could see that connected them was the presence of a woman named Ada Arnist. 

Ada's family is fairly prominent and has a house in Knobcone Heights.  One day, I simply headed there, on the off chance I'd see Ada in that town and find a way to ask if she knew where Go was.

Well, right away I hit it off with a guy named Neal Kennersly.  Neal works in the Knobcone Heights Resort and lives with his sister Carrie, who owns two side-by-side bakeries, Icing on the Cake, for human treats, and Barkery and Biscuits, where she sells the special healthy treats she developed in her other career as a veterinary technician.

I explained that I was a professional photographer who had come to town to grieve over my loss of Go.  And then one day Neal called and said that he had a surprise for me.  He took me to Mountaintop Rescue--and there was Go!   He had been found wandering in the area and was taken in by that wonderful animal shelter.  I actually got my dear dog back, and I was elated.

But I also ran into Ada, and made it clear I thought I knew how Go had gotten here.  And when Ada was later found murdered--well, you can guess who the prime suspect was.

Fortunately, Carrie had recently solved another murder.  Plus, the dear woman had been the one to spot Go at the shelter and believe she was introducing me to a dog similar to my lost one to help me get over my sadness.  Long story short: she not only hired me to work in her bakeries so I'd have a job while I had to stay in town during the police investigation, but she also dug into what happened to Ada to try to clear me.

My attraction to Neal has continued to grow.  And if Carrie succeeds in getting the truth out there and clearing my name, I may just remain in Knobcone Heights.  Meantime, I also do some professional photography whenever I get a chance--including trying to help promote my new friend Carrie's two bakeries.

TO CATCH A TREAT, the second Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, was a May 2016 release from Midnight Ink. 

Leave a comment here to be eligible to win a copy of TO CATCH A TREAT.  Be sure to include your email address in case you're the winner!  U.S. residents only, please.  Winner to be chosen on July 19.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Return To Childhood

By Chloe Ellefson

The Chloe Ellefson Mysteries

by Kathleen Ernst

Did you have a favorite book as a child?  I had a handful:  The Little House series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Much-loved books on display at the Masters Hotel in Burr Oak, Iowa.
My older sister Kari loved them too. We dreamed of one day visiting each of the historic sites devoted to the famous author.

The Banks of Plum Creek near Walnut Grove, Minnesota.  The sign marks the original Ingalls dugout site.
Well, we finally made it! We're making the loop. It is extremely cool to walk the ground where Laura once walked.

The Surveyors' House, De Smet, South Dakota.
We have run into a few problems. At the very first homesite, somebody died. Not a pleasant way to start such a journey.

Replica of the House in the Big Woods, Pepin, Wisconsin.
And, I'm pretty sure that somebody knows I'm traveling with a quilt Laura once owned. As you can imagine, it's worth a whole lot of money.

Reproduction quilt by Linda Halpin.
And, something's up with Kari, but she won't tell me what's bothering her.

And, Roelke McKenna, my guy, wants to buy his family farm and share it with me. I'm not at all sure we're ready to live together, much less sink every penny into a neglected farm.

You can see how it all turns out in Death on the Prairie. But please don't let my misadventures stop you from getting out to see the sites yourself, if you can! I guarantee a happy return to childhood.

Giveaway! Leave a comment below by midnight, July 19, for a chance to win a copy of Death on the Prairie.  Please include your email (such as reader<at> so you can be notified.

Author Kathleen Ernst had a great time revisiting her favorite childhood books--and their settings--as she worked on Death on the Prairie, the 6th Chloe Ellefson mystery. To learn more about the series, visit Kathleen's website.