Thursday, May 28, 2015

Strawberry Pie Heaven

By Annie Chamovitz
The Cumberland Creek Mystery Series
Book 4.5: Scrappily Ever After (e-novella)
By Mollie Cox Bryan

In the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, one of the many things spring means is strawberries. Strawberries are everywhere—in the grocery stores, of course, but also the farmer’s markets, and pick-your-own farms.  Or, you can grow your own. Strawberries don’t need much space to grow. In fact, you can grow them in a hanging basket. Looking around at my backyard crop, I kinda wish I had done that.  They do seem to take over. But I have to say: YUM! There’s nothing better than a fresh picked, sun-ripened strawberry straight from your garden.
After just plucking them from the garden and plopping them into my mouth, I think the next best way to enjoy strawberries is in pie. I’ve tried a lot of recipes. Some take more time than others—and unfortunately, between being the mother of two active boys and all of the writing I do for my freelancing, I have to be selective as to how much time I can spend baking pies. (And I do have a history of burning them! I tend to get distracted!) I found this pie easy to make and oh so delicious. Like a piece of strawberry heaven.  Enjoy!

Use only fresh berries for this pie. Frozen ones would make the pie too runny. For variety, you can use any kind of fresh berry; just make sure the berry and the flavor of gelatin complement one another.

 Makes two 9-inch pies

 Prebaked crusts
2 cups water
 2 cups sugar
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry gelatin
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
Whipped topping or Sweetened Whipped Cream for topping

 Combine the water, sugar, gelatin, and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. The mixture should feel thick and thinly coat a spoon, and a line drawn on the spoon will stay clear. Cool until lukewarm.

Place the strawberries in the crust pointed end up, starting in the middle and working out to the edge. Pour half of the gelatin mixture over the strawberries in each pie shell.

Chill for several hours or overnight, until the filling is set. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped topping.

Check out Mollie Cox Bryan online:

Twitter: @MollieCoxBryan

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jewel Bay Presents --- the First Annual Food Lovers' Film Festival

By Erin Murphy, from the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

BUTTER OFF DEAD, coming in July from Berkley Prime Crime, available for pre-order now

I can’t believe I let Christine talk me into working on yet another festival. Like Jewel Bay needs another festival. We’ve got the Jewel Bay Summer Art and Food Festival, created thirty-five years ago by my mother and old Ned Redaway—though he wasn’t so old back then. Thousands of people stroll through the Village over a long weekend, checking out the food, art, and craft vendors who set up their tents in the middle of the street. They visit the shops and restaurants, too, and leave oodles of money behind.

The Jazz Festival and workshop is always a lively week. And there’s Whitewater, when the kayakers takes advantage of the Class III and IV rapids on the Jewel River. I admit, there was a time when the crowd left a few too many beer cans in the bushes and the organizers had to get serious about cleaning up their act, but they succeeded, and the festival is now solidly established.

Our newest event is the Festa di Pasta, to kick off summer. My creation, and I was ready to call it a one-off after—well, I’ll spare you the gory details, but when a group of Village merchants asked me to spearhead a second Festa, I did agree. Sunshine, wine, and great food in a great town—what’s not to love?

And we’ve got the the annual Fourth of July Parade, the Cherry Festival, the Taste of Jewel Bay, the Sidewalk Chalk party, and at the holidays, Decorating Day and the Christmas Parade and Art Walk.
So why did we need a Food Lovers’ Film Festival in mid February? To bring a little color and light to a village mired in the deep midwinter. Let other towns break the monotony of February with hearts and flowers. But a town that calls itself the Food Lovers’ Village and boasts first-class summer stock plus a vibrant community theater? Food and film, a natural combination.

What could possibly go wrong?

BUTTER OFF DEAD, coming July 7, 2015, from Berkley Prime Crime. Find all the details to pre-order here. 

Leslie Budewitz is the national best-selling author of the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries and the Food Lovers Village Mysteries, set in northwest Montana. She is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for DEATH AL DENTE—and nonfiction—the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction for BOOKS, CROOKS & COUNSELORS: HOW TO WRITE ACCURATELY ABOUT CRIMINAL LAW & COURTROOM PROCEDURE.

For more tales of life in the wilds of northwest Montana, and bonus recipes, visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter, or join her on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Welcome to Cranberry Cove

by Monica Albertson
from Peg Cochran's Cranberry Cove Series

I can’t wait to welcome you to Cranberry Cove.  It’s a charming town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.  Beach Hollow Road runs along the coast and it’s where all the shops are like Gumdrops, Book ‘Em, Bart’s Butcher Shop, Danielle’s Boutique, Twilight and others. 

We have our share of fun characters here, too.  Gumdrops is run by the identical twin sisters Gerda and Hennie VanVelsen.  When you see them it’s like seeing double!

Twilight is owned by a fascinating lady named Tempest Storm.  She’s into all things Wiccan, reads tarot cards and scandalizes people by holding yoga classes on the village green.

Greg Harper owns Book ‘Em and shares my passion for mysteries—especially the grande dames of the Golden Age like Christie, Sayers and Marsh.  We’ve become good friends and things are slowly taking a romantic turn.

Yes, we have everything in Cranberry Cove…including murder!

Coming in August:  Berried Secrets.  Available for pre-order now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Our History with Murder

by Martha Terwilliger, from Sheila Connolly's Museum Mysteries

I’ve been on the board of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society for years, just like my father before me and his father before him. I guess we've always kind of treated the place as our own private library, although I don’t interfere with the staff, who take very good care of the collections. I loves to share those amazing collections of books and documents and photos and a whole lot more with the public.

I had a hand in getting Nell Pratt appointed as president of the place a while back, and I have to say it was one of the best things I’ve done for the Society. You see, most of the board, and most of the members, tend to be kind of stodgy, to put it kindly (I don’t count myself among the stodgy ones!). Nell isn’t stuffy at all: she’s smart and hardworking, and she has some good ideas.

But she also seems to attract murders. Not her fault, but it keeps happening.

Recently some poor guy got hit by a car outside the Society building. Sad, but I thought it had nothing to do with us. I was wrong. Turns out he’d been working on the renovations to our building (which were paid for by someone Nell helped with another murder), so there was a connection. I really hoped it was just an unfortunate hit-and-run, but nope, it was a lot more complicated than that, and everything pointed right back to the Society.

And to me. That’s right. Turns out my family had something to do with the man’s death. I didn’t want to believe it myself, but I figure I can’t rewrite history just because I don’t like some parts of it. The Terwilliger family has been part of Philadelphia for a very long time, so I suppose there had to be some blots on the family honor in there somewhere. I guess I should feel happy that we finally learned what really happened in a murder that took place more than a century ago.

That’s the Society’s mission: to preserve and interpret history. Even when it includes murder.

Privy to the Dead (Museum Mystery #6) will be released on June 2nd!

You can find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It Takes All Kinds

by Ellie Greyson-Meyers, from THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES, by Virginia Lowell.

Do forgive me if I’m a bit flustered at the moment. My yoga instructor has relocated to Baltimore in search of more work, and I seem to have mislaid my inner peace and tranquility. So distressing. I hope to return to my normal centered self once my new Arts and Crafts School opens… if it opens.

You see, we have encountered complications… of the murderous kind. But you will hear of that soon enough. Livie and Maddie are dealing with the situation as best they can. Right now I have a dilemma of my own. I am finding dear Lenora quite difficult to handle. You may have met Lenora Bouchenbein, our resident starlet, who has returned to her hometown after a long career in Hollywood. It’s difficult to avoid running into her. Chatterley Heights is a small town, and tiny Lenora is larger than life. Or so she believes. And that is my problem. I’m afraid Lenora has made some public comments recently about her plans for my arts and crafts school.

Excuse me a moment. I feel a need for some deep breathing… There, now I feel calmer. You see, my dream is to open a school where one can learn—or teach—all manner of arts and crafts, from stage acting to embroidery to martial arts to baking. Not all at once, of course. Instructors must appear, as well as eager students.

Lenora, on the other hand, assumes there is only one art worth teaching, and that is Acting. She is quite certain she can teach any and all forms of acting. And she is under the impression that she has the power to decide what will be taught in my school. Mind you, I’m not demeaning Lenora’s experience. During a long career, she starred in several classic horror films, which I have watched and thoroughly enjoyed. I certainly plan to involve Lenora in any theater classes offered by my school. But that is all.

Unfortunately, Lenora tends to cross the line. I’m not convinced she even sees the line. She has been contacting people from her Hollywood past and negotiating without my knowledge or consent. Yesterday she instructed the workers to knock down some walls and begin building a stage, right where I intend to create several classrooms and a tai chi room with special flooring.

Help! What shall I do? How do I reason with a woman who pays no attention to a word I say?

Watch for Dead Men Don’t Eat Cookies, due to be released on July 7!


Visit Virginia at:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friends of the Blue Plum Library Giveaway!

Hi, I’m Thea Green, librarian at the Blue Plum Public Library (and character in the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries). I’m here to entice you with a book giveaway. Kath Rutledge usually blogs on the 23rd of the month, but she let me have her space today so I can tell you about the annual Friends of the Library book sale.

“Sale?” you ask. “What happened to the giveaway? Is this some kind of bait and switch?”

No, it is not. We’ll get to the free books in a minute, but first let me tell you about the Friends. You probably have a Friends organization at your public library, too. Are you aware of how much they do? In Blue Plum the Friends provide funds for special programs like summer reading. Last year they were able to give each child who participated in summer reading a book bag and a new book. You should have seen the smiles on the kids’ faces. That kind of thing is just golden. The Friends also gave us money for our Summer Saturday Concerts on the lawn. We had a blue grass quartet, a dulcimer trio, and a couple of guys who make their own didgeridoos. What a hoot! Don’t know what a didgeridoo is? Click here and you can take a listen.

So, what about the free books? Well, I did a little early shopping at the Friends sale (prerogative of being the librarian), and I bought four textile-related books, two published by Interweave and two published by Leisure Arts. 


I’ll give the books away to four people who leave comments telling me which book they’d like and what their public library means to them. 

The books are:
Respect the Spindle: Spin Infinite Yarns with One Amazing Tool by Abby Franquemont
Get Spun: The Step-by-Step Guide to Spinning Art Yarns by Symeon North
Learn to Crochet; a quick-start guide to success 
Learn to Knit: a quick-start guide to success


Four really nice books, four lucky people.

 Good luck, and why don’t you consider joining the Friends of the Library? 

Molly MacRae's award-winning, national-bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries are available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio wherever books are sold.

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

Musseled Out- Book Giveaway!

By: Julia Snowden
From: Musseled Out
Author: Barbara Ross
Series: The Maine Clambake Mysteries

It’s a week before Columbus Day, the last gasp of the tourist season in coastal Maine, when the Snowden Family Clambake will shut down for the season.

My name is Julia Snowden. I returned to Busman’s Harbor, Maine last spring to save my family’s business, which was close to bankruptcy. I took a leave of absence from my job in venture capital and sublet my Manhattan apartment. Through a lot of hard work, we saved the business. Now it’s time for me to go back to my real life in New York, but complications have ensued.

I am in love.

So do I stay or do I go? And if I stay, where will I live? How will I pay rent and put food on the table in the off-season?

To make matters more complicated, David Thwing, owner of a chain of upscale seafood restaurants, has been in town looking for a property for his business, which will compete directly with the Snowden Family Clambake. We just got on our feet, but our financial situation is still precarious. A competitor like Thwing could kill us.

And though I’m in love with Chris Durand like I have never been before in my life, there are still problems—like the question of why he disappeared on his sailboat, the Dark Lady, several times over the summer. He never tells anyone when he’s leaving or where he’s been. Just poof, gone. He swears he won’t do whatever it is anymore, and we’ve tried to put it in the past like an old lover, but I’m not sure I can live with that solution.

So, a change of season and a lot of decisions. I just hope I make the right ones.

Barbara is giving away a copy of Musseled Out to one person who leaves comment.
Good luck! And be sure to leave your email address so Barbara can contact you if you're the winner!

On bookshelves now!