Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beach Memories

By Cora Chevalier
No Charm Intended
Cora Crafts Mysteries
By Mollie Cox Bryan

Jane, Ruby and I have been invited to the Big Island Craft Retreat this summer and to say we are excited would be an understatement. We adore the beach. Who doesn't?
But I'm sad to say I've not been very many times. As a native Pittsburgher, I was a child of muddy creeks and riverbeds. My family did not vacation at the shore like so many of my friends. Same with Jane.
Even since I've been an adult, I've rarely had the time to indulge. I remember once when I was a teenager, we visted South Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I loved walking along the rushing ocean with my feet in the sea foam. And collecting sea shells was a magical experience. Even as an adult, I still think that it's the coolest thing. Of course, now I think of all the crafts I might make with them. I love sea shell frames, and mirrors and all things mermaid. And I have a lovely box made of sea shells from the time we visited Myrtle Beach.
I hold these memories dear, for they are so fleeting. My grandparents are both gone. They are who raised me, you see. I'm not certain, but I might hear them whisper to me in the surf at Big Island Craft Retreat. I find that such a comfort.
What about you? Do you have beach memories? Have you ever made beachy crafts?

One of you lucky responders will get a copy of "No Charm Intended" and "Death Among the Doilies."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How I Love a Parade! #bookgiveaway

By Francesca “Fresca” Conti Murphy Schmidt, from the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

The Killer Characters' Cozy Up to Summer book giveaway continues! Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of any Food Lovers' Village Mystery--reader's choice! 

I love a good parade.

But the best parades of all are small-town parades, and Jewel Bay’s is quite possibly the best.

My favorite part is the little dancers and gymnasts. It can’t be easy, dancing to a beat on a boombox one of the parents is carrying, or doing handstands and pirouettes on the hot asphalt while wearing a tutu with your hair up – the heat can undo them -- but they are so cute. One year the organizers goofed and let the Back Country Horsemen ride in front of them. I was so mad I could have screamed.

The classic cars and trucks are always popular. Seems like every Camaro owner in the county wants to show off, but it’s the really old rigs I enjoy – the 1950 turquoise Ford Thunderbird, the pink Chevy, the Model A, the 1924 Rolls Royce. Even some of the old farm trucks clean up good!

For several years, a darling boy dressed as Super Man and rode through town – it’s only three blocks – strapped to the front of his grandparents’ golf cart, fists clenched, arms in the air. I bet his arms were tired by the time the parade reached the park, where they serve all the kids ice cream. People were a little sad to see him grow up and grow out of the part.

Some business sponsor floats—the nursery always decorates a truck like a garden. I enjoy seeing some of the residents of the senior home riding and waving. And the kids love collecting the candy.

There are bagpipers, clowns, and mountain men, and occasionally llamas. The Playhouse kids, all young actors, climb up in a big old farm truck and sing show tunes.

I’m not crazy about election years and all the campaigners. Yes, it’s a great opportunity to see and be seen, and we are celebrating our independence, and free and fair elections are a huge part of our American heritage. But those little tiny paper flags are a bear to sweep up afterwards.

The volunteer fire department trots out its old tanker—the water tank looks like a Russian samovar.

And bringing up the rear is the Caldwell’s big antique fire truck, loaded with Lodge guests. Schedule your family reunion at Jewel Bay’s dude ranch, and you might end up riding in the parade! Keith Caldwell loves pulling the cord to ring the old horn, but what everyone waits for is the water hose, cooling us off!

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday!

What Fourth of July celebrations do you have on tap? 

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of any Food Lovers' Village Mystery--reader's choice! (US and Canadian addresses only; winner will be chosen Thursday, June 29.) 

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

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 past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an 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.

(Parade photos from the Bigfork Chamber of Commerce.)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Love, Sweet Love & #GIVEAWAY

By Shelby McDonald
From Peg Cochran’s Farmer’s Daughter Series

            “Hellooo,” Bert’s voice rang out from the front door.

            “In here,” I yelled back from the kitchen where I was stirring some milk in a

pot on the stove waiting for curds to form.

            Bert is an old family friend—old in both senses but don’t tell Bert I said that.  She’s as thin as a whip and has more energy than someone half her age.
            “What’s that you’re cooking,” Bert said, peering into the pot bubbling on the stove.
            “I’m making some fresh ricotta.  I promised to bring a lasagna to the church potluck tonight.”
            Bert put her purse down on a kitchen chair.  She was wearing a pair of jeans with an elastic waist and a sweatshirt that said Grandchildren are God’s gift.  
            “So, how’s your love life,” she said.
            I snorted.  “You know perfectly well how my love life is.”
            Bert faced me with her hands on her hips.  “You’re going to have to make a decision one of these days you know.  It would be good for Billy to have a father figure around.”
            I sighed.  Bert viewed herself as some sort of geriatric Cupid.  My neighbor Jake, who Bert has termed hot, has made it pretty clear he’d be happy to take me out for a meal, and Bert is viewing that as just this side of a marriage proposal.  Matt, who owns the Lovett General Store, also seems to enjoy talking to me when I go in, and Bert thinks that’s a sure sign of his enormous interest in me.
            And then there’s Frank.
            Frank is my late husband’s brother and looks so much like Bill that it confuses me.  I can’t tell whether I might be in love with him or whether I am just confusing him with Bill.
            In any case, I’m in no hurry to make any decisions regarding my love life.    I’m very happy with my life here on Love Blossom Farm, and I’m managing just fine.
            How about you?  How is your love life?


 The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.  

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Everybody Loves A Fair

by Monica Whitman, from Sheila Connolly's A Late Frost (Orchard Mystery #11), coming November 2017

Hi! I’m Monica Whitman, and I just moved to Granford with my husband Douglas. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Douglas is retired now, and we’d always wanted to live in New England and had somehow missed it until now. But we’ve got a nice old farmhouse—not that we’re farmers or anything—and I’m having a wonderful time getting to know all the nice people of Granford! You know, it kind of keeps you young, starting over in a new place. But everybody’s been very kind to me—to both of us, really.

That’s why I wanted to give something back to the town. Oh, all right, it was also a great way to introduce myself to a lot of people all at once. Anyway, I suggested that the town host a WinterFare. I guess I have to explain. There’s still a lot of farming going on in Granford, and they have a lovely Harvest Festival, or so I’m told, but then there’s that kind of dull period after the harvest and before all the pruning and planting and whatever starts up. That’s usually in January and February. 

So I went to the town council, or more precisely, Seth Chapin, who’s a great guy, and said, why not have an indoor festival then, to get people out of their houses? I know enough about farming to know that there isn’t much in the way of fresh vegetables and fruits at that time of year, but some apples keep well over the winter, or so Seth told me, and they make a nice colorful theme. And of course there are all those crafts, like knitting and crocheting and art, and people can show those off and maybe sell some. And that nice young couple with the restaurant on the green could provide the food.

The council liked my idea, especially after I said I’d do all the planning, which I was happy to do. As I hoped, I got to meet lots of people, and it wasn’t hard to put things together. I’ve planned events like this in other places, so I knew what needed to be done. And it all came together so well! It was a great success, and I hope the town will do it again next year.

But maybe I’ll let someone else manage it the next time. It really was a lot of work, and I’ll admit I’m tired now. But happy.

June is bustin’ out all over, and we at Killer Characters are celebrating with a month-long giveaway (so that all of us can be part of it). I’m kind of between books, although you’ll meet Monica in A Late Frost in November. But right now I’m trying to clear out some of my office and bookshelves and the floor, and . . . You get the idea. So I’d like to offer one lucky winner one book from each of my series (Orchard Mysteries, Museum Mysteries and County Cork Mysteries). If you need to fill in your collection here’s your chance! First book, last book, or anything between! You don’t even have to pick a favorite series! Just leave a comment by June 28th (and include your email address) and I’ll pick one winner for the three books of your choice. Good Luck!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Inside the Actor's Studio questions and there's a #BookGiveaway

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. One of my friends has been featured in the local neighborhood newspaper. The interview was great fun and they thought it would be interesting for me to answer the questions as well.

Here goes...

1. What is your favorite word? Joy

2. What is your least favorite word? No

3. What turns you on? World class art of any kind. The written word, live performances, sculpture and most of all, exquisite blown glass.

4. What turns you off? Arrogance, impatience and/or inattention. We're all here for such a short time.

5. What sound or noise do you love? An a cappella choir in perfect harmony

6. What sound or noise do you hate? Broken glass

7. What is your favorite curse word? On rare occasions, I've been know to curse like a sailor -- that's all I'll say.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A portrait artist

9. What profession would you not like to do? I would be the world's worst accountant.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Hello, Savannah! Come on in.


Etched in Tears releases on November 28, 2017 and is available for pre-order everywhere. Meanwhile, 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 . . .


There's a #BOOKGIVEAWAY to Celebrate Summer here at Killer Characters! Leave a comment and your email address in the form of name(AT)server(DOT)com to avoid the SPAM bots. Do this by midnight on June 25 for the chance to win a signed copy of your choice of Pane and Suffering, Shards of Murder, or Cracked to Death. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.

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.

Visit Cheryl and her books at her WebsiteFacebook or Twitter

Friday, June 23, 2017

Scottish Summer Giveaway!

by Janet Marsh from the Highland Bookshop Mysteries

Greetings, on a beautiful summer day, from Inversgail, my adopted hometown on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. That sounds like pure bliss, doesn’t it? It is.
Inversgail is a gem with a natural harbor, white sand beaches, and water warmed by the Gulf Stream. Hills rise behind the charming houses and shops creating a picturesque backdrop perfect for photographers and hillwalkers.

Even the rain is charming in Inversgail, which is good because it rains fairly often. I heard something recently that might explain all the rain—if you see a
cat washing its ears, then rain is on the way. If that’s true, then the cats of Inversgail must have the cleanest ears in creation.

Do you know how many Scots words there are for describing rain? Here are a few: Black weet, blatter, blaw bye, and dreep. Dribble, drouk, onding, and peuch. Plype, saft, scudder, and smirr. There are more, too, and I’ve heard some of them, but not all. I’m going to start keeping track, though. It’ll be a life list like birders keep. You could almost put them to music and dance a jig.

Someone asked me, the other day, if I could go anywhere at all on holiday, where would it be? Quite honestly, even though we’ve been here a few months now, the “on holiday” feeling hasn’t worn off. I’m sure it will, though, and maybe sooner than I’d like if what I’ve heard about Daphne Wood is true. She’s the author coming to Inversgail for a three-month author-in-residence program. Her reputation for being eccentric has a few people worried. Hmmm. But Daphne doesn’t arrive until the end of August, and we have the whole summer ahead of us, so let’s celebrate with a giveaway!

For a chance to win a signed copy of Plaid and Plagiarism, Highland Bookshop Mystery #1, leave a comment below, telling me where you’d like to go on holiday. Be sure to include your email address. I’ll choose one comment, at random, to win, at 10:00 a.m. on 6/25.

Watch for Scones and Scoundrels, Highland Bookshop Mystery #2, coming in January 2018 (available for pre-order now).

A body outside a pub, a visiting author determined to find the killer, and a murderously good batch of scones . . . 

Molly MacRae
is the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries and the Highland Bookshop 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, June 22, 2017


Hello folks – Cait Morgan here. If you know me at all, you know I travel, a lot. And it seems that whenever I do, I end up tripping over a corpse and having to work my way through a puzzling, closed circle mystery…you know, the good old-fashioned type with lots of suspects, red herrings and a chance for me to bring everyone together at the end of my investigations to reveal the culprit.

“Have you been missing those delightful mystery-travelogue works from Lyn Hamilton? Say hello to Cathy Ace and her intrepid sleuth, Cait Morgan, a Welsh-Canadian professor with a predilection for investigating crime...the series is a winner...terrific light mystery with a wonderful setting and Ace is, well, an ace when it comes to plot and description.”  
Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail about The Corpse with the Ruby Lips

Well, this month it’s time to decide where you’d like to go in the world….but put away that passport, forget the lines at the airport, and kick back with a Cait Morgan Mystery that will whisk you away to…well, where would you like to go?

Choose from Nice, on the Cote d’Azur in the South of France (The Corpse with the Silver Tongue), or maybe the glorious vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada (The Corpse with the Golden Nose)? Or how about Mexico – the Pacific coast, near Puerto Vallarta (The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb) or maybe a quick jaunt to Vegas (The Corpse with the Platinum Hair)? Maybe you’d like to venture to a Welsh clifftop castle (The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes) or how about a luxury cruise around the Hawai’ian Islands (The Corpse with the Diamond Hand)? Of course, you could head to Europe…Amsterdam maybe (The Corpse with the Garnet Face) or Budapest (The Corpse with the Ruby Lips). 

Just leave a comment below, (by midnight, Eastern, on Saturday 24th June 2017)  with your email address, and tell me which Cait Morgan Mystery you’d prefer to be sent, and your name will go into the “hat” for a random selection of one lucky winner (who can live in the USA, Canada or the UK). 

Armchair travel with a puzzling mystery thrown in for good measure? The best way to enjoy the world for a crime fiction fan!

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries (#8 The Corpse with the Ruby Lips was released on November 1st) and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (#3, The Case of the Curious Cook, was released in hardcover in the UK on November 30th and in the USA & Canada on March 1st).  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers: