Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Sleepless Tale of Two Kitties

By Lizzie Turner 
from the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries 
by Erika Chase 

After a couple of nights of interrupted sleep, I’ve come to the unscientific conclusion that restless cats do make for a rest-less night of tossing and turning. First one cat gets up and does that Siamese yowl while walking downstairs. Once she’s back and settled, I’m talking Brie here, it’s Edam’s turn to leap out of bed and race down the stairs.  Fingers crossed he hasn’t heard a mouse!

After that, it’s like the door outside game. I want in, you want out, I want in, etc. If you are living with cats, then you know both these scenarios because you’re the one who suffers. 

Of course, there’s the bedtime possibility that Brie wants to sleep curled up in the crook of your arm and Edam leaps onto the bed and heads straight for the chest, close enough to lick your chin every now and then. When he tires of that, he snuggles on the legs. That’s one pinned down human struggling to get to sleep.

I know, a saner and smarter person would close the bedroom door, making sure they’re on the opposite side of it. But I have to admit, I look at the bedtime rituals as part of the benefits of having cats. Sleep is highly over-rated, after all.

Of course, the dear furry felines catch up on their missed hours of sleep during the day. When was the last time I had the luxury of a nap? Huh! Doesn’t happen.

Sigh…what’s a cat lover to do?

BOOK FAIR AND FOUL, the 4th in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries 
is now available!

 Also available are COVER STORY, READ AND BURIED and, A KILLER READ,  (#2 on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Bestseller List and an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Mystery)   
  Look for book #5, LAW AND AUTHOR Sept. 1, 2015

Visit Erika at www.erikachase.com 
Love to hear from you on my Facebook author page and
onTwitter  @erika_chase. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Who Likes Change? @LucyBurdette #giveaway

By Hayley Snow from Lucy Burdette's Key West Food Critic mystery series


You know that old Chinese saying, Change = Opportunity? Ppfftt! I've never found change to be easy and rewarding. Maybe it started when I was ten and my dad moved out. In that one moment, my life went from Leave It to Beaver to The Parent Trap, only without the twin. And my mother fell apart a little too, so those days were hard. We did come out of that period stronger than ever, but I'm not going to lie--it was stressful at the time.

I have found ways to deal with change a little better--cake for one thing! Nothing in the world cheers me up more quickly than baking. As I'm beating the butter and sugar and vanilla and eggs and sifting in the flour, I feel like I'm one in a long line of women who've figured out that a fragrant cake shared with someone you love lessens any pain.

The other thing? Friends. I'm lucky that way. I haven't been in Key West that long, but I've got the best friends ever. Connie, who was my roommate in college, lives on a houseboat right up the dock. And Miss Gloria, my boatmate, what can I say? Picture a grandmother and an elf all mixed up together and you've got Miss G. 

photo by Carol Tedesco
I don't like watching her get trained to be a tour guide in the Key West cemetery though. That makes me worry that the biggest change of all is coming: Someone's going to die. My tarot-card reading friend Lorenzo feels it too. He's scared like I've never seen him...

One more change--my writer tells me I won't be a regular here on the blog anymore. I'll miss you characters so much! Keep in touch, okay? And I hope I'll be back to visit. Uh-oh, I feel a cake coming on....

How do you deal with change? Leave a comment and your email and you'll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of FATAL RESERVATIONS!

Fatal Reservations, sixth in the Key West series, will be in bookstores tomorrow--July 7!  You can order it wherever books are sold.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy Fourth!

By Maxie Pierce from Kylie Logan’s Chili Cook-Off Mysteries

It’s Fourth of July weekend, and nothing says Americana to me as much as chili.

I know, I know . . . I know what you’re going to say.  You’re going to tell me you heard that chili originated in Mexico.  Or maybe you read somewhere that the original dish–hot peppers stewed with meat–was first made in southeast Asia where many of the world’s hottest peppers are grown.  You can believe whatever you want.  In my book, there’s nothing more American than a big bowl of steaming chili.

In fact, there’s a legend that says that back in the day, cowboys used to scatter pepper seeds along the trails they traveled because they knew that when they came back that way, pepper plants would be growing and they could harvest them and cook up a batch of chili.

If you need any more proof of just how much chili is part of the American cultural scene, you only need to look to San Antonio, Texas, where the Chili Queens sold their pots of spicy goodness at plazas all over the city.

Who were the Queens?  Most were local ladies who spent their days at home cooking.  Each had her own special recipe and each of them took pots of their chili to the city’s plazas in the evening.  Imagine the delicious aromas that wafted in the air!

Once the Chili Queens arrived each evening, so did the crowds.  The plazas filled with musicians, actors, and patrons eager to visit with neighbors and eat chili.

Some historians claim that the Chili Queen tradition started in the 1860s, but there are others who say there were Queens in San Antonio as early as the century before.  What they all agree on is that the Queens and their chili were the center of San Antonio social life up until the early 1940s when some zealous (and obviously wrong-minded) politicians closed them down for sanitary reasons.

So this year, forget the burgers and hot dogs!  Cook up a pot of chili and celebrate the Fourth the way it’s meant to be celebrated . . . with all the spice and dazzle that is America!

Revenge of the Chili Queens goes on sale August 4.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I HATE Firecrackers

by Quincy, Fat Cat
from THE FAT CAT series by Janet Cantrell

(See below for a GIVEAWAY--Quincy would like one of you to have a free copy!)

No, I don’t shiver and cringe like the cowardly dogs I’ve seen at the vet’s place. You might not think that fireworks affect me at all. But they do!

They bother me a lot. Who could like them? They’re louder than the motorcycles that roar up and down 14th Avenue SE, Dinkytown, in the summer time, and those are bad enough.

No, I resist the urge to hide under the desk in the office where I spend many of my days, although it is one of my favorite places. When the keyboard on top of the desk is unavailable, I like to curl up there. I save treasures underneath the part with the drawers where I’m sure they’re safe.

But when those fireworks start, they do take a toll on me. I lose my appetite. That’s something that rarely happens, so you’d think the humans would notice that I’m in distress. But they don’t. They think I’m perfectly fine with all that racket. Makes me want to scratch things.

I’ll be glad when they stop. They’ve always stopped eventually, in the past. They will this time, too. Won’t they? Won’t they?

Please leave a comment below WITH your email address if you'd like to win a FREE COPY of Fat Cat Spreads Out. Quincy also wants you to have some Fat Cat sticky notes!)

FAT CAT SPREADS OUT is the second mystery in the Fat Cat series. Please
check Janet’s webpage for links.

A booth at the Bunyan County Harvest Fair seems like the perfect opportunity for Charity “Chase” Oliver and Anna Larson to promote their Bar None bakery business. Unfortunately, plus-sized pussycat Quincy has plans for their delicious dessert bars other than selling them to customers. After tearing through their inventory, Quincy goes roaming the fairgrounds in search of more delights.

But what he finds is murder. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Time's at a Premium

Cam Flaherty here, and am I ever busy. The life of a solo organic farmer in a Massachusetts summer doesn't leave much leisure time, so forgive me if I make this short.

The growing season is pretty short, too. Thank goodness for my high tunnel. It gave me a head start of one of everybody's favorite crops, tomatoes. I planted the seedlings into the ground in the spring. Now that the weather has turned hot, I roll up the sides and let 'er ripen! With any luck I'll have some juicy heirloom tomatoes ready before the other growers at the Farmers' Market.

A long row of  basil is looking good, too, and can't you just taste that Insalata Caprese? You know, stacks of tomato slices, local mozzarella, and basil, all drizzled with your best olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I just hope I don't run into any bodies this summer. Getting mixed up in that murder last winter at my great-uncle's assisted living residence was enough excitement for a lifetime. Did I want to get stuck outside in a blizzard? I sure didn't.

Read all about it in Farmed and Dangerous! You'll meet Marilyn Muller, Great-Uncle Albert's new girlfriend, as well as Ruffles, the attack rooster someone dropped off at my farm without checking if I actually wanted a rooster.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Proud Dad

by Roy Renard from The Final Reveille
A father could never be proud of his child than I am of my girl Kelsey. She is the director of Barton Farm, a living history museum in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley. She took the job on three years ago and has done so many improvements to the grounds and events. The Civil War Reenactment happening this summer is the biggest event of them all. There are over four hundred reenactors on the grounds at this very moment.

As a student of the stage, I will of course play my part in the reenactment.

You should come! It is a fitting event for the celebration of the Fourth of July. The Revolutionary War might have earned our country independence from the British, but the Civil War, as horrible and bloody as it was, unified us and gave us not just an individual state’s identity like we'd always had but a national identity. Not to mention it ended the horror of slavery in this county. Kelsey doesn’t want anyone to forget what happened 150 years ago, and that’s why she brought the reenactment to the Farm. She's done an outstanding job.

Lately though, Kelsey has been under a little of pressure. The Farm is in financial trouble. It may even close if Kelsey can’t find a way to save it. Maxwell Cherry, the nephew of the Farm’s benefactress Cynthia, even threatened to close the Farm when his aunt is no longer able to manage her Foundation.

As if turns out for good or for bad, Maxwell won’t be taking over the Farm… because he’s dead. Kelsey found his body in the Farm’s brick pit. He was stung in the foot by a bee. Can you imagine?

Now, Kelsey has to find the killer to save the Farm and herself from being arrested. As her father, I will do whatever I can to help!


The Final Reveille
Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest

Amanda is still hosing the Maid of Murder Giveback through 9/1/15. All proceeds will for to The Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio. Learn more here!

writing as Isabella Alan

Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries Now Available

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hot New Releases for Killer Characters - July 2015

Firecracker-Hot New Releases for July 2015

Food Lovers' Village Mystery # 3

Leslie Budewitz
Butter Off Dead
Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries
Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0425259566

As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker.

In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, popping with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.

 To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin must find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. And as the anniversary of Erin’s father’s death in a still-unsolved hit-and-run approaches, her own beau isn’t so keen on her leading role.  

But the closer Erin gets to shining a spotlight on the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program.

Renaissance Faire Mystery #8

Fatal Fairies
Joyce and Jim Lavene
Renaissance Faire Mysteries
Amazon Publishing
ISBN: 9781514760925

When a fairy named Apple Blossom is found dead in a fountain, Ren Faire lover Jessie Morton makes a wish she lives to regret—that her husband, Chase Manhattan, is no longer the Renaissance Faire Village Bailiff so he doesn’t have to look for the fairy’s killer and ruin their plans to go away for their first wedding anniversary. 

Trapped in a timeless ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ experience, Jessie is transported to a different Village to face the consequences of her wish where Chase isn’t the law keeper, and he’s not married to her.

Jessie’s fairy godmother who granted the wish tells her that she must find a way to make Chase fall in love with her again, and they must discover who killed Apple Blossom, if she ever wants to go back to the life she knew.

Victoria Hamilton
Death of an English Muffin
ISBN-10: 0425258858
Merry Muffin Mysteries #3
Berkley Prime Crime

From the national bestselling author of Muffin but Murder, baker Merry Wynter returns with a fresh tray of muffins and a case that has authorities stumped.

They say one’s home is one’s castle, but when it comes to Wynter Castle, Merry would like it to belong to someone else. But until a buyer bites, she could use some extra dough, so she decides to take in renters. The idea pans out, and Merry’s able to find a handful of tenants eager to live in a real castle. The only problem is most of them are crumby, tea-swilling old biddies.

The Legion of Horrible Ladies, as Merry calls them, is led by the terribly nasty—and fabulously wealthy—Cleta Sanson. The abrasive Englishwoman keeps everyone whipped into a frenzy—until she meets an embarrassing end behind a locked door. Evidence reveals that Cleta was murdered, yet no one is privy to how the deed was done. Merry knows she must quickly find the killer before another of her guests gets greased…

Key west Food Critic Mystery #6

Lucy Burdette
Fatal Reservations
Key West Food Critic Mysteries 
ISBN: 978045147482

“This strong series continues a unique blend of island mayhem and sparkling characters surrounding a layered mystery.” ~ Booklist

Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery # 6

Virginia Lowell
Dead Men Don’t Eat Cookies
Cookie Cutter Shop Mysteries
Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0-425-26071-5

Olivia's mom, Ellie, is always cooking up new schemes, but her latest idea has Livie and Maddie especially excited. Ellie's converting an old boarding house into an arts and crafts school—one that, of course, houses a kitchen for those interested in baking. But right as renovations start, the workers discover a pile of bones buried within the boarding house's walls, evidence of a long-forgotten crime.