Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Rather Unusual Visit

by Elizabeth Corey, from Sheila Connolly's Orchard Mysteries


My newly-married daughter Meg has arrived for a visit with her husband Seth. I’ve waited a long time (not that I pressured her or anything) for Meg to find the right partner, and she chose well.

I only wish the circumstances of their visit could be better. Meg’s father Philip and I attended their lovely small wedding in Granford, which was marred only by a minor fender-bender in the parking lot of the hotel where we were staying. After we’d sorted that out, we left for our home in New Jersey. Then Meg and Seth told us they’d finally gotten around to planning a honeymoon, one which would take them to Monticello in Virginia, and of course I invited them to stop and visit us in New Jersey on either leg of their trip.



They were planning to spend a night or two with us on their way back to Massachusetts (both of them have professions which provide free time during the winter season, so they could be flexible in their planning), but then things got a bit complicated. You see, when we arrived home we discovered the body of our long-term handyman in our back yard.

I told Meg that she might prefer not to visit at such a difficult time, but she insisted. You might know that she and Seth have somehow become entangled in solving more than one crime in Granford (surprising how much crime there seems to be in such a small town!), and naturally Meg wanted to help. Seth was a darling to agree to accompany her, and I’ll confess I was grateful for their support (and Philip was too, although he sometimes finds it difficult to express his gratitude).

The solution to the crime proved to be a surprise to all of us, but Meg’s clear-eyed observations were important to resolving matters. She even managed to win over the local police chief, something Philip had been attempting to do for quite some time.

It was a bit of a rocky start for their marriage, but I have every faith that they will weather whatever storms life throws at them—together.

And a giveaway! It seems only right that the marriage and the honeymoon should go together (even if Meg and Seth were a bit slow to figure that out), so I'm offering a copy of A Gala Event AND of Seeds of Deception to one lucky winner who leaves a comment by Tuesday evening.



Seeds of Deception (Orchard Mystery #10) will be released on October 4th. Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as other bookstores.

www.sheilaconnolly.com






Saturday, September 24, 2016

SHINE in the Sunshine City and a #giveaway

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

Hi there, I’m Savannah Webb, owner of Webb’s Glass Shop on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s September. That means I’m ready for summer to be over but not quite ready for Pun’kin Spice beer or Coffee. Although the temperatures still climb into the 90’s, there’s a subtle change in the mornings. If you’ve lived here for a few years, you know to look for a freshening of the breeze and a lowering of the oppressive humidity. Fall is not yet around the corner – more like down the street a few blocks – and we’re looking forward to its arrival.

At Webb’s Glass Shop, September is the start of the slow ramp up to our busiest season. Students are back and taking classes. Retirees are back from and taking classes. The Canadians are down and taking classes. You get the trend, right? From now through December, we’ll enjoy the influx of lots of students.

The premier event of September is the SHINE festival – Made up of local artists and community members, SHINE is an art project, intended to illuminate the power of art in public spaces by revitalizing areas, inspiring dialogue and uniting our community--while cultivating new standards of artistic excellence and reflecting St. Petersburg's creative and vibrant spirit. It lasts for a mere ten days, but the effects of the fresh new murals revitalizes our section of Central Avenue and gives the district a yes, you guessed it, a SHINE. Here’s a picture of the my favorite mural in this year’s competition by @arlin_graff who unleashes this cheetah on the 600 block of Central Avenue.




New this year is a colorful geometric mural by Alex Pardee at Martin Luther King Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue North. See, it really is the intersection. They finished it minutes before it began to rain. You can't help but smile when you see its beauty and color.





Well, I’ve got to get back to the shop. We have more ideas for new classes: recycling wine bottles, sand etching on clear glass, mosaic creations and I have an idea to start teaching flame work glass beading. Sign up for a class! Your local business will love you.

#####

There’s a giveaway! Add a comment with your e-mail in the form: name at network dot com (so that the spam bots won’t catch you) and you’re entered for a chance to win a recycled beer bottle and a signed copy of CRACKED TO DEATH (Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery, Book #3). This giveaway is open to US residents only. Your comment must be dated no later than midnight September 26. Thank you for your support to this blog and to cozy mysteries.

#####

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 and her books at her Website, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Searching or Running?

by Janet Marsh from the Highland Bookshop Mysteries by Molly MacRae

New news:  Yon Bonnie Books is open for business. Well, it has been since shortly after WWI, but Christine, Tallie, Summer, and I are the new owners, so the business is new to us.

Newer news:  Cakes and Tales, our adjoining tearoom should be open in two more weeks. And in a few more months Bedtime Stories, our B&B upstairs, will open.

In the news:  Una Graham came to interview Summer and me for the Inversgail Guardian. The interview went something like this, and it might give you an idea why Una is known as Ug.

Ug:  First, my readers will want to know why, of all the book joints in all the towns in all the world, did you walk into this one and buy it? My Bogie is far from brilliant, but I’m sure you catch my drift.

Me:  Why—

Ug:  Why don’t you start with your division of labor. People love the DIY angle to small businesses, in case they fancy a go at one for themselves.

Me:  Christine Robertson and Summer Jacobs will be in charge of the tearoom, and my daughter, Tallie, and I will be in charge of the book­shop. That’s Tallie Marsh, short for Natalie. To be practical, though, we’re all cross-training.

Ug:  Right. Nicknames are common enough, but does your daughter dislike her given name?

Me:  No. Not at all.

Ug:  Are you sure? I only ask because if there’s tension in the news story—between partners, for instance—all the better. Books, tea, cakes, and pillows for strangers’ heads are all well and good, but I’m looking for that jagged shard of tension for an article that really grips our readers’ imaginations.

Me (turning to Summer):  Do we have tension?

Summer:  I haven’t noticed any.

Ug:  A shame. Moving on, you mentioned practicality. Is there any actual, practical bookshop or tearoom experience among you?

Me (proud of being able to string these words together without spitting them, although that might have created a nice bit of tension):  Thirty-five years in public libraries, purchasing books for a popular collection, and proactively connecting those books with patrons. And Tallie spent six weeks at a bookselling course in Wigtown—a program you might have heard of, in the town called “Scot­land’s National Book Town.”

Ug (unimpressed):  Tearoom experience?

Summer:  Two years in a steamy relationship with a master baker who taught me everything he knew, if you know what I mean, and then one day, between the yeast and the icing, we lost the magic, and I ran away to the Scottish Highlands to lose myself in tea and scones and ultimately find myself.

Ug (who’d stopped taking notes at the word “steamy”):  Cheeky. I like that. And if your Christine is anything like her mother in a kitchen, between the two of you Cakes and Tales should do very nicely. Now, let’s put the unsavory bits to bed, so to speak, and get back to my original Bogie question— why this bookshop in this town? I feel certain our readers will want to know if this is a trend, alarming or otherwise, toward foreign owner­ship of our homegrown businesses, a snapping up of our heritage, if you will. Although you, Steamy Summer Nights, raised another issue when you mentioned running away. Whether it’s true or not, I’ve read that a great many of the American students who come to study at our universities are either looking for something or running away from something, not necessarily successfully. I wonder which you’re doing— searching? Or running?

The interview ended there. Una got a text and left shortly afterward. Her question, of course, lingered. Am I, or are we, searching or running? What do you think— are searching and running the only options? What if we've already found what we're looking for? 

********

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



Thursday, September 22, 2016

I'm off to Budapest....WOOT! by Cait Morgan (helped by Cathy Ace)



I’m so excited…I’m off to Budapest next month! 

Do you watch all those wonderful Masterpiece Mystery shows on PBS? Yes, me too, I’m glued to them. Before they begin the show itself they have those advertisements for river cruises where people meander along the Danube with the fabulous architecture of Budapest all around them…well, I’m not going on one of those cruises (no such luck!), but I am being sent by my university to teach in Budapest for a month, so I get to see it all – in person. Yes, I know I’m a lucky duck! They even have a little apartment sorted out for me to live in while I'm there. Of course, that means no room service, but it's nice to have a place to call one's own when you're in a city for such a long time.





The Vigado Concert Hall, Budapest
Budapest is such a strange and fascinating place: there’s been human habitation in the area since the Bronze Age, and its story in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has romance, horror, and hardship enough for any opera-lover to be satisfied. That said, and while I might be what some people would refer to as a “fat lady”, I won’t be doing any singing while I’m there, though I do hope to catch some performances of works by Liszt and Bartok during my visit. It's a wonderfully musical place, and there are several excellent concert venues.


Glorious Goulash!
And the food? Oh dear – I might be in trouble! I’m already on a diet so I can enjoy myself by indulging in glistening bowls of goulash, sizzling sausages, and all sorts of schnitzels and strudels! They like their beer there, I understand, so I’m planning on trying a few of those, too. I’ll still be in Budapest when they celebrate St. Martin’s Day on November 11th, and I hear it’s traditional to enjoy roast goose that day…and did I mention that the area is well known for foie gras? Oh dear – my downfall, I’m afraid.  Ah well, I can diet again when I get back, I suppose. 


Bud and I are 100% sure we won’t get mixed up in anything to do with murder on this trip. How could we? We don’t know anyone there, and Bud’s so good at helping me keep my feet on the ground that I won’t have any opportunities to wander off the straight and narrow.


The Danube, and Pest

Find out what happens when Cait Morgan has to take her trip alone, without Bud’s company or steadying influence, by reading THE CORPSE WITH THE RUBY LIPS (the 8th Cait Morgan Mystery), which will be published by TouchWood Editions in Canada on October 18th and in the USA on November 1st. It’s available for pre-order NOW!

You can find out more about Cathy Ace, and Cait Morgan, at Cathy’s website: http://cathyace.com/  or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ace-Author-318388861616661/ or Twitter: @AceCathy

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Autumn & Life


By: Merry Wynter
From: Much Ado About Muffin
Series: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

I missed summer. Not literally... I didn't sleep through it, like a modern day Ripa Van Winkle. I mean I was in Spain and so missed my first summer at Wynter Castle, near Autumn Vale, NY. It's a long story, part of which you already know, but I can't regret spending so long in Spain with my late husband's family when I came back knowing so much more about myself and what I want from life.

Have you ever noticed that like great paintings, sometimes things are not best seen from close up; they require distance and perspective. My life is like that. It took two or three months away to see how much I've become a part of Autumn Vale, especially all the Valers I've come to know and love, like Doc, Gogi, Hannah, Lizzie and the rest.

And Virgil. Before I left I felt that my feelings for him were tangled, like a knotted skein of wool. I was bound up in my memories of my late husband, and how I had thought he was the only man I'd ever love. But now... if I ever get a quiet time with no murders happening close by (!!) maybe I'll tell the world how I feel about Sheriff Virgil Grace.

It's like my rose window in my castle; up close it would just be shards of colored glass in some incomprehensible pattern, but from a distance... what beauty! Have you ever had that, a life problem that required a little time and distance to sort out?

~::~


Enjoy the Merry Muffin Mysteries by Victoria Hamilton, starting with Bran New Death (Berkley Prime Crime - September 2013) and including recipes in each book!

Much Ado About Muffin, Book #4, was released August 2nd, 2016

Muffin To Fear, Book #5, will be released in the summer of 2017.

Merry Muffin Mysteries on the web: Merry Muffin Mysteries

Merry Muffin Mysteries on Facebook.

Victoria Hamilton on Twitter:
@MysteryVictoria

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Almost Time to Peep Some Leaves

By Ruth Clagan of the Clock Shop Mysteries by Julianne Holmes

Leaf peeping is a great New England tradition, and Orchard, MA (where my shop the Cog & Sprocket is located) is a prime spot for this fall activity. Problem is, unlike a football game or dinner date, it's hard to schedule the perfect weekend for it. Generally, folks plan on mid-October. But depending on the weather, the amount of rain in the summer, whether or not there's been high winds or a hurricane, the time can vary by as much as a week or two. Some folks remember years where there was barely a color on the trees, but we don't tend to bring that up. It makes folks who count on the tourists weep.

Leaf peeping, for those of you who don't benefit from Mother Nature's fall show, is the time of year when the leaves turn color and paint the landscape in yellows, oranges, reds, and rust colors. It's just before the leaves all fall off the tree and need to be raked into large piles that need to be disposed of. If you don't rake the leaves the grass underneath turns this sickly yellow color and your lawn gets patchy. Or so I've been told by Pat Reed. I've avoided having a lawn ever since I moved out to the Berkshires. Come to think of it, I've never had to take care of a lawn. Probably for the best. I have enough to take care of in the shop.

Orchard does well in the summer, but our real tourist season is the fall. Folks drive along back roads, looking at leaves, buying pumpkins, picking apples, and enjoying the snap of cold mixed with brilliant blue skies. Often they wander into Orchard. If they get out of the car, they aren't sorry they made the stop. Coffee and pie at the Sleeping Latte. Local foods (like pumpkin butter) at the Corner Market. Books at Been There, Read That (if Beckett ever gets his shop open!). Clocks and watches galore at the Cog & Sprocket. They can even get a haircut at Ben's.

Yup, Orchard is a great place to peep some leaves. Eat some good food. Meet nice folks. Probably best around the second week of October. Or maybe the third. Unless they come early this year. . .

Monday, September 19, 2016

Of Ice Machines and a Giveaway!

By Sassy Cabot from the Read ’Em and Eat mysteries by TerrieFarley Moran


Hello everyone, it is good to see you again. Well you may not remember what today is, after all, who would? (Cady Stanton would of course—he loves arcane facts) Today, September 19th , is the anniversary of the day that the Continental Congress passed the first budget of the soon-to-be United States. This morning when Cady started babbling about the Continental Congressional budgets, I tuned him out instantly because it reminded me of the time Bridgy and I were battling over buying a new ice machine. (You may have followed the shopping and negotiating if you hung out with us in Caught Read-Handed.)

As the keeper of the purse for the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookshop, I assured Bridgy, who, as you know, is my business partner, that I did understand we would be in massive trouble if the ice machine died completely. Fort Myers Beach is in South Florida and it does get mega hot. But I kept hoping we could stretch the life cycle of our clunky, unreliable ice machine into the next fiscal year. Bridgy was totally focused on being forced to serve tepid sweet tea, soft drinks and lemonade to our customers if the current machine went completely on the fritz.

Fortunately Miguel, the café’s primo chef, sat us down with big bowls of ice cream and we ultimately came to a settlement. By settlement, I mean Bridgy won and we purchased a brand spanking new ice machine.

If you haven’t yet followed along with the ice machine adventure, or tried to figure out who murdered a not-so-nice volunteer at the local library, here is your chance. We are giving away a copy of  Caught Read-Handed to one lucky commenter below. Just mention your favorite drink that tastes better with ice. 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, September 21st.




And here is a note from our author: FYI: On Amazon Read to Death is reduced to $6.47, and Well Read, Then Dead is reduced to $7.43. No reduction on Caught Read-Handed but I have never figured out how pricing is done so I am not surprised.