Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Seattle Spice Shop staff dish on their names #bookgiveaway

The Seattle Spice Shop staff dish on their names
from the Spice Shop Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

To celebrate the upcoming release of KILLING THYME, the third in the series, on October 4, I'm giving away a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, second in the series. Leave a comment below to enter!

Cayenne: I was named for Tabasco. No one believes that, but it’s true. My grandparents moved from New Iberia, Louisiana to Seattle in the early 1940s, so my Pops CHECK could work at Boeing during the War. Everybody missed the smell of spice in the air, so when I came along, everybody teased about calling me Cayenne. They were all kind of shocked, or so I hear, when my parents took them seriously. But I like it. And I’ve never met another one.

Matt: I’m the oldest of four boys, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Sandra: I changed my last name, Piniella, when I married Mr. Wrong, and the first thing I did after kicking him out was to change it back. I knew Mr. Right was right for me when he said he would never expect me to give up my identity.

Kristen: My mother adored the Kristin Lavransdatter novels by Sigrid Unsed, published in the 1920s, but popular with hippie chicks in the early 1970s. My dad, who hadn’t read them, misspelled it on my birth certificate.

Pepper: Everyone assumes I was named for the shop, but I’ve only owned it a year and a half. My grandfather Reece nicknamed me Pepper after his favorite ball player, Pepper Martin of the St. Louis Cardinals, who apparently had a fiery temper. I don’t, but according to my granddad, I was a little fireplug as a toddler. Only my closest relatives, Kristen, and my ex-husband Tag know my real name. If you want to find out, read KILLING THYME!

How did you get your name? 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, second in the series! The winner will be chosen on Monday, August 29.

And if you'd like a dozen bookmarks to share with your bookclub or mystery-loving pals, or more to share at a library, drop me a line with your mailing address at leslie at lesliebudewitz dot com!

From the cover of KILLING THYME. coming October 4 and available for pre-order: 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun.

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth.

But when Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher. 

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I Think He Likes Me & #GIVEAWAY

by Amelia McDonald 
from Peg Cochran's Farmer's Daughter Series

Hi, my name is Amelia McDonald.  I’m almost thirteen and I live on Love Blossom Farm here in Lovett.   Of course my mother treats me as if I’m still a baby—I’m not even allowed to date although most of my friends are.  My mother has clearly forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager since she’s practically a dinosaur herself.

Fortunately my grandparents gave me a phone for Christmas or I would be totally cut off from the rest of the world.  Can you imagine talking to your friends on the kitchen phone?  Pleeeease!  Besides, no one calls anymore, they text. 

I like this boy Ned, and I think he kinda likes me.  We’re both in choir at church and one day he held the door open for me.  I guess he’s what my mother would call a gentleman.  But anyway, I’m pretty sure that means he likes me.  He gave me the cutest smile—he has a dimple in his right check that makes me go weak in the knees.

I don’t know what I’ll do if he asks me out and my mother won’t let me go.  He’ll think I’m some kind of major dork.  I’ve seen Katelyn making eyes at him—I’m sure she’d laugh herself silly if I had to say no.

I think I’m old enough to date—what do you think?

Coming September 6! Pre-order your copy now!

If you'd like to read the first chapter of No Farm, No Foul, visit my web site!

AND I'm giving away one copy of No Farm, No Foul to one lucky person who leaves a comment here! (US only please.)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

We Survived the Honeymoon

by Seth Chapin
from Sheila Connolly's Orchard Mysteries

Meg and I finally managed to get married in early December. It was the kind of wedding we both wanted: it was small, and we held it at Gran’s, the local restaurant that Meg helped found, run by two people who have become our friends, with our relatives and local friends around us. Meg’s mentor Christopher officiated (under a special license), the weather cooperated, and a good time was had by all. At least, nobody complained, and the food was great.

And then we woke up a few days later and realized we hadn’t even thought about a honeymoon. The time leading up to the wedding was crazy busy for both of us—Meg wrapping up the last of her apple harvest, me trying like mad to finish up my constructions projects before the snow started. And we got all that done, and a bit more, before the wedding.

But once we came up for air, we realized that there would never be a better time for a honeymoon, because there was nothing that had to be done in either of our jobs for a few months. So we sat down and started making a list of places we wanted to go, that were easy to get to and wouldn’t break the bank, and we decided to drive to Monticello, because of Thomas Jefferson’s love for his orchard and the amazing building he designed—something for each of us.

Okay, it's not December in this picture! But
it is Jefferson's orchard.
We made the first half of the trip with no problems, and with a few interesting stops along the way. We enjoyed the tour of Monticello, and paid homage to Jefferson, who’s buried on the property.

That night Meg got a phone call from her parents in New Jersey. If you’re guessing that meant trouble you’d be right: when the Coreys got back home after the wedding, they found a body in their back yard, and it turned out to be someone they knew: their handyman, who’d been keeping an eye on the house while they were away.

And then things got a lot more complicated.

The good news is, Meg and I are still married. If you can spend a week with the parents of your beloved spouse and solve a murder at the same time, you’ve got a pretty solid marriage. But it’s great to be back in Granford!

The “honeymoon” book, Seeds of Deception, will be released in October. I’ll be happy to hold a drawing for a copy whenever it appears, but if you can’t wait that long, you’re welcome to choose a copy of A Gala Event (that’s the “wedding” book) or any of the earlier books in the series. A lot has happened between Meg and Seth since Meg arrived in Granford!

If you'd like to preorder Seeds of Deception, you can find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer Demand a Good Craft Beer

Character:       Savannah Webb, 
Series:            Webb's Glass Shop Mysteries
Author:           Cheryl Hollon

It’s the dog days of summer here in St. Petersburg. That means that you’re so tired of the heat that you want to scream, but its too hot. After living in cool and rainy Seattle for quite a while, I needed to find a local brewery for enjoying craft beer. It needed to make my favorite type of beers and also be a place to celebrate special occasions. It was also important to provide a comfortable environment for discussing the mysteries that my friends and I agree to investigate.

So, off I went to choose a local brewery by basically visiting every craft beer establishment in downtown St. Petersburg along Central Avenue. There are a lot of them. Most were a bit clinical – set up for serious beer tasting with no food and the most basic of furnishings. One was in the right location, but the indoor space was cramped and seating was limited to high table tops which my office manager Amanda finds uncomfortable. Some were not family friendly which teenager Jacob and his service dog Suzy would find uncomfortable.

Another brewery didn’t have any beers that I liked – I know – hard to believe, but true. It was also very noisy so I couldn't envision holding a discussion of the murder investigation if I need to yell to be heard.

A highly recommended pub was near the right place, but it was too small and any conversation that me and the posse might have would be overheard and possibly interrupted by a nearby patron.

So, just like finding your keys, the last place I looked was perfect. It's named 3 Daughters Brewing and I found a beer that I adore. The draft beer is called Beach Blonde Ale – delicious. They have a tasting room in the front and invite food trucks for snacks and meals. They always have two or three new beers to try. The bartenders are experts in beer types and can guide you to a delicious pint with just one or two samples.

The most important aspect of 3 Daughters Brewing is that when you walk in, they make you feel like a regular.


You can read more about Savannah in Cracked to Death, the third book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries, published by Kensington Books. Available at your favorite book vendor.

About Cracked to Death:

When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer . . .

It's the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb's Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat--a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane . . .

Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah's interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin's lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through uncharted territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin's death . . .

Meet the author:

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks. 

You can visit Cheryl at her Website, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Staff Picks at Yon Bonnie Books (with free bookmark!)

by Janet Marsh
from the Highland Bookshop Mysteries
by Molly MacRae

I love everything about books. The look, the feel, the smell (tell me you’ve never picked up a book and inhaled the wonderful smell of possibility in its pages). And the stories. Because that’s what books are all about, isn’t it? Stories. That includes nonfiction, too. Books draw us under their covers and into their pages with stories, and we crawl out of those books again as better people. Well, I do get carried away, but I expect a lot of you feel the same way, or you wouldn’t be visiting Yon Bonnie Books. But while you’re here, let me introduce you to some new friends, that is, some of our favorite books.

An old favorite - now available in a delightful Scots edition!

Wonderful tour of the country and wonderful food.

We met this archaeologist author in Edinburgh - charming!

Because we love his face.

And because I am a granny - how can I resist? 

There, what do you think? Have you found something you can’t go home without? I hope so. And I hope you’ll come back soon and often. Oh, and click here for a free printable Yon Bonnie Bookmark. Help yourself!

Plaid and Plagiarism, book 1 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, comes out December 6, 2016, and is available for pre-order now wherever books are sold.

Molly MacRae is also the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries.  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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Something’s Up….by Bunty, Calico Cat Extraordinaire (…helped by Cathy Ace)

Meet BUNTY, from The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries written by Cathy Ace
I’ve had the same Human for a good while now. I don’t know how long a Human would imagine it to be, but, for me, it’s been my whole life so far. At first there was just one Human. My favorite Human. Carol. She smells good, and has a delightfully warm lap, where I’ve enjoyed nestling since I was a small child. Very early on she began to play with my tail, and I like to play back…flicking it so she giggles, then rubs the top of my head. As time has passed I have made sure she understands that I prefer certain foods, and warm spots about the place…and magazines to lie on. I like the ones that fold good and flat when they are open on the floor. The ones with a big bump in the middle have to be kneaded into submission.

After a while another Human joined us, David, and he’s okay, I suppose. Not too good at cuddling me to start with, but I showed him who was in charge and he submitted to my will pretty quickly. I liked my home. I could smell the world beyond the windows when they were opened and I could hear traffic roaring past. Lots of big red vehicles the Humans called buses. They said we lived in London and that it was too dangerous for me to leave our home. Fine by me.

Then there was the Journey. They put me into a sort of box thing and we sat together in another, bigger box, for what seemed like an age. I didn’t care for the sensation – I couldn’t find a still spot to sleep in, so I cried for a long time just so they would know I wasn’t happy. Then they let me out.

Now we’re in a different place. The countryside, they say, but I still can't go out. It smells very different. Sort of fresh. We live in a much bigger home with lots of stairs that I had to learn how to deal with. We never had those before. I have to go a long way to get from the table where the Humans eat to the comfy pace where the Humans sleep. But the great thing is there’s a big metal box in the place where all the food is stored and served that’s always – and I mean ALWAYS – warm. That’s my favorite place now.It's called an Aga, they say. I like it!

The magazines changed when we got here; they seemed to get shinier and fatter, and they kept moving them around. And recently there have been a lot more of them. I’m not complaining, but my special senses tell me something’s up. Carol’s lap is getting smaller – it seems there’s a big thing that’s meaning I have less and less space there these days. I can’t imagine what it is, or what it means. But their talking makes me believe it will go away soon. There’s one room now where I’m not allowed to go any longer. I don’t mind because it has a funny smell and it’s changed color. It’s full of things that look smaller than in the rest of the house.

Ah well, I’ll just rest myself on these magazines for now beside the Aga, and wait for food, petting and compliments. I’m their baby, they say, so I know I’ll always get their full attention.

Meet Carol, David and Bunty  - and the other women who run the WISE Enquiries Agency - and learn about their move from London to an office in a barn set on the grounds of a stately home in Wales, and the fascinating cases they tackle there. THE CASE OF THE DOTTY DOWAGER and THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER are available as e-books, and the paperback of THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER can be pre-ordered now. Find out more about Cathy and the WISE Women at:  Or connect with Cathy on Facebook at: or on Twitter: @AceCathy

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Advice From Doc - Giveaway Alert!

By: Doc English
From: Much Ado About Muffin
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Series: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries
FB Page: Merry Muffin Mysteries

Hey there... don't just skim to the end ta see what's being given away! I got something to say, and you'll want to hear it.

Ha! You think I'm gonna say something boring, right? 'Cause I'm old? Well, listen up!

I just told Merry Wynter she was a human catalyst. You know what a catalyst is, right? I looked it up in the dictionary to be sure I got the definition right - it's been a long long time since I been in school. A catalyst is defined as "a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change." But right below that is another definition. The dictionary says, "a person or thing that precipitates an event."

Well, since Merry got to Autumn Vale a year ago or so, she's been precipitatin' all kind of events! Yeah, some crap happened that wasn't good, but in those cases things were gonna go south anyway. Just ask poor old Rusty Turner who was hidin' out in the woods scared o' Russian mobsters that weren't never gonna come and get him how he feels about Merry. Bah-hah-ha! He'll tell ya. You'll hafta read a book called Bran New Death (Merry Muffin Mysteries Book 1) to find out about that one.

Anyways, I read on the Internet (Yeah, I'm old, but I can still think, and Gogi Grace gave me a tutorial on using the internet; I like it 'cause she showed me how to make the print real big 'cause my eyesight's crap) about human catalysts, and it was fascinatin'!

Read this: Human Catalyst 

I had been thinking a lot about my town, Autumn Vale, and what was wrong with it, but then Merry Wynter came long. She asks questions, digs deep, really tries to figure things out. Things ain't perfect now, but it's gettin' better. Yeah, it is, despite the murders lately. Those ain't Merry's fault.

Anyway, do you know anyone like that? Someone who changes things just by bein' themselves? If you do, I'd say, if they got a good heart, work with them, 'cause in truth, we humans are so stuck in our ways and we want things to stay the same, but they ain't gonna. So, work with the human catalysts in your life to make things better, to move forward, or a catalyst will come along to try an' make things worse. I'll bet you can all think of a human catalyst tryin' to make things worse.

So... we all gotta move forward. As they say, lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way! Gotta go... I'm readin' a real good book right now, and don't wanna lose my place.


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...


Comment to enter to win...

One copy each of Death of an English Muffin and Much Ado About Muffin, as well as a bookmark and cool skull tea steeper and teaspoon!

1 - Enter by Midnight, August 23rd.
2 - US and Canadian addresses welcome!
3 - Please leave a first name and email address; put the email address like this - yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com - to fool the spambots!

**Don't worry if your comment doesn't show up immediately... after Midnight of the 21st the comments await moderation, and I promise I'll approve them all before drawing a winner! Victoria