Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Looking to the Future

by Elizabeth "Biz" Adams
from Peg Cochran's Murder, She Reported Series

New York City, where I live, is buzzing with excitement.  The 1939 World's Fair has just opened!  It's a peek into all things future--nylon stockings for women, air conditioning, which will be heavenly in NYC in the summer, talking robots, the city of tomorrow.

Ralph--that's Ralph Kaminsky, veteran reporter for the Daily Trumpet, and I are heading out there on the subway this afternoon.  Supposedly there's been a robbery and the editor wants the story.

I hope to get a glimpse of some of the attractions although my friend Irene Nowack and I plan to go back on the weekend and do it up right.

Looking back now, I have to shake my head.  I had no idea we'd be on the scene when a body was found--in the pool at Billy Rose's Aquacade no less! It was great timing and wonderful luck for us.  We scooped every paper in town.

**The editor wants us to stay on top of the story.  I wonder if we will solve the murder before the police?

Would you like to have a peek into the future?

**Find out more in Murder, She Encountered due out in December 2019! or catch up with Biz and Kaminsky in Murder, She Uncovered.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Digging up History in Philadelphia

By: James Morrison
Title: Digging Up History
Series: The Museum Mysteries
Release date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Beyond the Page

You may recognize me—James Morrison, from the Philadelphia FBI office. Nell Pratt and I have been a couple for a while now—I’m not exactly sure when we figured that part out—and most recently we bought a house together, which I assume implies that we both expect this relationship to last. I do, anyway.

Living with Nell is full of surprises. Her day job is running the Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiquities, but for reasons that still mystify me she spends much of her spare time solving crimes, both old and new. I’ve been known to provide assistance, or at least moral and legal support in her efforts, but she does all the work, with some help from her friend Martha Terwilliger. I have to say that Nell’s a very independent woman, so she doesn’t come whining to me to help her. Since many of the crimes she’s stumbled over (I use that term deliberately, because it’s not as though she goes looking for them) involve aspects of Philadelphia-area history, she’s better equipped to investigate them than I am, so my principal job is to serve as a sounding board for her ideas, and occasionally to protect her (to be fair, she’s protected me as often as I’ve protected her).

The most recent investigation that we undertook was unexpected and very surprising, and it involved Philadelphia history, the police department, the city’s medical examiner, a property developer, an administrator from another local museum, a summer intern at the Society, and of course Martha Terwilliger. As you might guess, I was something of a fifth wheel, but I was happy to help. And I have to add, she may win the prize for finding the greatest number of bodies in Philadelphia.

Life is not dull when you live with Nell Pratt.

Monday, June 24, 2019

A Bit of Pressure and a #Giveaway!

Character:      Savannah Webb
Title:              Down in Flames
Series:           Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries
Author:          Cheryl Hollon

Hi there. My name is Savannah Webb. I own the stained glass shop on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida. It's located in the Grand Central District right next door to the Queen's Head Pub, a local favorite. It also happens to be owned by my fiance, Edward Morris.

He's pressuring me to set a date for the wedding. I'm finding that difficult. I shouldn't be having any trouble. I love him to bits and pieces. I have no close relations to object and I adore his family. Oh, even better, he's British, so there's that delicious accent as well as heavenly good looks.

I've known him for about seven or eight months now and we've been living together in my late father's Craftsman cottage. There have been some adjustments, of course, but we've been unbelievably happy.

However, there's one subject I haven't talked about with him. Oh, it's not about having children, we both agree on at least two maybe even three. Nope it's about changing my name. Yes, I know it's not a difficult question, but as yet I don't fully know how Edward will react to my preference to keep my maiden name.

My justification is pretty straightforward and simple. I own Webb's Glass Shop and I would like to honor the memory of my parents by keeping their name.

There are alternative solutions, of course. I could agree to hyphenation, but that gets complicated. You know, on application forms, passports, utility bills, and especially children's names. Although his parents are very traditional, I think they would be gracious no matter what we decide.

How and when should I ask him?


There's a #BOOKGIVEAWAY! Leave a comment and your email address in the form of yourname(AT)server(DOT)com to foil the SPAM bots. Do this by midnight on May 26 for the chance to win a signed Advanced Review Copy of Down in Flames. This giveaway is limited to U.S. and Canadian residents. Winner will be notified within 48 hours.

Down in Flames will release on June 25, 2019 and is available for you to order at AmazonNookKobo, and in your favorite bookstores. It is published by Kensington Books If your budget is tight, please ask your library to order it.

About Down in Flames:

A fatal hit-and-run in front of Savannah Webb's glass shop proves to be no accident. . .

A highlight of Savannah's new glass bead workshop is a technique called flame-working, which requires the careful wielding of acetylene torches. Understandably, safety is a top priority. But as Savannah is ensuring her students' safety inside, a hit-and-run driver strikes down a pedestrian outside her shop.

The victim is Nicole Borawski, the bartender/manager at the Queen's Head Pub, owned by Savannah's boyfriend Edward. It quickly becomes clear that this was no random act of vehicular manslaughter. Now the glass shop owner is all fired up to get a bead on the driver--before someone else meets a dead end . . . 

About 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 writing with a passion for creating glass art. Cheryl and her husband, George, live in downtown St. Petersburg visiting museums, walking the parks, and sampling the adult beverages.

Visit Cheryl and her books at her WebsiteFacebookInstagram or Twitter

Sunday, June 23, 2019


by Janet Marsh, from the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, by Molly MacRae

Hi, Janet Marsh, here. I’m the retired American librarian who, along with my daughter and a couple of friends,  bought a bookshop on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. We’ve been here about six months, now, and despite a few hiccups I’d say moving here was the right decision. By hiccups I mean finding a few dead bodies. That's not something we could have foreseen, but I think we’ve proved ourselves quite capable of dealing with the new and unusual situations.

Now there’s something else I’m out to prove. I bought a bicycle and I’m going to prove that I can get in shape and ride in the next Haggis Half-Hundred. It's a fun ride, not a race, cycling fifty miles through the Highlands and celebrating with a plate of haggis at the end. I know. I hear you. Can haggis really be considered a celebration, or is it more of a hiccup? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

I’ve started out small, taking short rides and only tackling a few hills. This morning I got a bit carried away and made it all the way to an old bridge outside of town - barely made it to the bridge. By the time I reached it, I didn’t think I’d stay standing if I got off the bike. My legs felt like a quivering blancmange. But the bridge looked just wide enough for a car to pass me safely, so I stopped at the crown of the span, close to the lichen-covered wall, and leaned myself and my bike against it. The top of the wall was a perfect height to rest my elbow on, and I was glad for the strength of the rough, cool granite.

I pondered “bridge” and “strength” as my breath caught up with me. Age had nothing and everything to do with the strength of that bridge. Built by whose hands, I wondered, and how long ago? Made of stones, the bones of the earth. Not like the abandoned bridge I’d walked across with a group of birders back in Illinois. I hadn’t enjoyed that experience. I don’t like heights with poorly guarded edges. Remembering the creaking and groaning of the arthritic planks as we’d skirted holes in the deck of that bridge, I shuddered. It wasn't the smartest thing I’d ever done. That poor stretch of wood and iron was barely more than a century old and already left to rust and rot.

I patted the side of this bridge, like patting the flank of a trusty steed. Your strength has been, it is, and it will continue to be. It was also the only thing keeping me from toppling into the burn below. I chanced a look over the side to see where I would go if I did topple. Headfirst onto rocks the size of Shetland ponies and Highland cattle. 

I shuddered again and made myself focus instead on the gurgling water, letting my eyes follow the burn wending its whisky-colored way beyond the rocks and between banks of frost-killed thistles. There were more rocks farther along. But rocks on their own aren’t threatening. Except—what was that?

On the nearside of the burn, near the largest nonthreatening rock—what was that in the thistles? A bike wheel? And beyond the wheel, half in the burn—plastic? A bag? Cloth. A sleeve, an arm. Not moving.

Another hiccup. 

Look for Thistles and Thieves, book 3 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, in January 2020!

Molly MacRae writes 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. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Celebrating the Summer Solstice in Style... by Cathy Ace

Celebrating the Summer Solstice in Style

by Dowager Duchess Althea Twyst
 (aided and abetted by Cathy Ace)

Hello there, how lovely of you to come to visit me again. Do take a seat. Yes, the morning room here at the Dower House on the Chellingworth Estate is lovely in the summer sunlight, thank you. Of course, I always have a bit of a problem thinking about today – 22nd June – as the first full day of summer. It just doesn’t feel like “midsummer” here in Wales; the really warm weather…if we get any at all…hasn’t usually arrived yet. August is when we tend to get that. And with all this grass, and these trees it can be sweltering here.

Photo taken by the author, in Wales
The Orangery thrives because of it, of course...and it's oddly somewhat cooler inside there in the heat of summer. 

I also seek respite from the heat within my own walled garden - so good at creating shade, when it's needed.
Photo taken by the author, in Wales

No, I don’t care for the heat. Not now. I’ve just turned eighty, so I suppose it must be age-related, because I used to very much enjoy the heat. Especially in Egypt. But that’s a desert, and it’s true what they about dry heat – it really is less exhausting than humidity. Egypt? Oh yes, I visited several times with Chelly – the seventeenth Duke of Chellingworth – Henry’s late-father. I called him Chelly. I don’t think I can tell you what he called me!

What was I saying? Oh yes, Egypt. Chelly took me there many times; we went once especially to see the midsummer's day sun rise over Queen Hatshepsut’s obelisk at the Karnak temple in Luxor. I will never forget it. We rose very early – it was still totally dark, because we wanted to be inside the temple as the sun came up. That took some doing, I can tell you, because the chaps who live inside the grounds, and act as both overnight guards and as guides who unofficially take you around the place – which sometimes feels more as though you’re being stalked than guided – well, they don’t like to open the gates until the sun is up…so Chelly had sent a driver ahead of us with some cash to negotiate early access. 
First light of the summer solstice (photo taken by the author)

I must say, it was worth it. We were alone, except for a few excited, if somewhat puzzled, live-in guards, who couldn’t seem to grasp why on earth we wanted to be there to see the sun come up. But oh, when it did, it was a magnificent sight. The stone of the obelisk is such a magical color, and I could imagine how the pillar must have looked when its tip was covered with beaten gold, as the Queen had designed it to be when it was built almost three thousand five hundred years ago .

The obelisk at Karnak (photo taken by the author)
The gold’s gone nowadays, of course, but the entire temple complex is still breathtaking, especially the obelisk built by a woman who rose to become a fully recognized pharaoh – almost fourteen hundred years before Cleopatra. Quite a gal, I bet! 

But that’s enough about my best-ever summer solstice; you must tell me about yours. Really? Sitting beneath an oak tree reading a good mystery? Sounds delightful, I must say. 

By the way – would you like some tea? I’ll call for some presently.  Then we could visit the small folly at the rear of Chellingworth Hall – it differs from our three other follies in that it’s Egyptian in design, and I’ll bring the photo album Chelly and I made up after our trips. I’ve got some lovely photos of us at temples along the Nile. Mint tea, today, I think - they drink it there, in Egypt, you know. Not the same as a strong, proper cuppa, but refreshing, in that heat. 

How do they make it? Well, we did ask, but they were rather guarded about their own methods, so I had cook come up with a recipe for us when we got home. I realize it’s a terribly simplified version, but the flavor allows me to recall our wonderful times in Egypt. Let’s have some now!

Make a pot of strong, black tea – allow it to steep well

Crush several fresh mint leaves in a glass beaker/elegant mug

Cover with the hot tea

Add two teaspoons of sugar, and stir

Allow the crushed mint leaves to fall to the bottom of the glass, and drink – carefully, because it might still be very hot.


You can find out more about the women who run the WISE Enquiries Agency, and the woman who created them, by clicking here.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Merry Muffin Series Relaunch! #bookgiveaway

COVER Launch for Muffin But Trouble!
By: Merry Grace Wynter
Series: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Title: Muffin But Trouble
Publishing Date: July 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Beyond the Page
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

Hello! I'm so happy to see you! I've been busy for a while... I haven't seen most of you for... oh, a couple of years, at least!

And a lot has happened. When last we talked, (Muffin To Fear - July 2017) you knew I got married, and came home to a weird mix of ghost hunters in my honest-to-goodness American castle I inherited from my great uncle Melvyn Wynter a few years ago. And you knew that Virgil and I planned to move out of the castle to a home of our own on the property, a wonderful Craftsman style bungalow that we saved from destruction in Autumn Vale and moved to the back of my property, near the Fairy Tale Forest.

Well... it's wonderful. And I still get to see Pish every day, as he lives in the castle - alone most of the time; gosh, I wish he had someone! - because I still bake my muffins in the commercial kitchen in the castle.

But we have big plans... HUGE plans! And I'm ready to reveal them. Soon. Very soon.

There are a few snags, and of course real life gets in the way... there is this local problem of some missing girls - Virgil and Dewayne are working with Sheriff Urquhart on it - and a kind of religious cult that isn't really a religion at all, and it's terribly upsetting. I hope... I truly hope there is nothing wrong there, and I hope they are found safely.

However, focusing on the positive... I'm curious... what do you do when you have big plans that you're ready to reveal to friends, family and the world? Do you gather everyone together and make a big announcement? Have a party, and reveal it then? Or quietly tell a select few first, let the word leak out, then announce it to the wider world?

What's your method for announcing something BIG?

About Muffin But Trouble:

In the new Merry Muffin Mystery from the author of Muffin to Fear, baker Merry Wynter must confront a spiritual guru who may be up to something far from heavenly . . .

With plans for a new performing arts center at Wynter Castle taking up all her time, baker Merry Wynter has been all but unaware of the fringe group compound near her small town—until a street preacher accosts her with taunts of doom and damnation. When she learns close friends may have fallen prey to the lure of the group Merry, worried for their wellbeing, begins digging into the Light and the Way Ministry and its charismatic leader. She fears they may have ties to the recent death of a young woman and the disappearance of many others.

With her rebellious teen sidekick Lizzie Proctor, Merry steps in to investigate the eerily submissive community and its misguided members, concerned that their friends are being led terribly astray by a sect that has little to do with real faith, and everything to do with mind control. When another young woman vanishes and Merry realizes their friends are in danger, she will stop at nothing to uncover the group’s sinister secrets before the murderous ministry can strike again . . .

Includes tasty baking recipes!

Check out the series on Facebook! Merry Muffin Mysteries



Re-launching the Merry Muffin Mysteries series is a great deal of fun, but it has been a couple of years since Muffin To Fear came out in July 2017, so, to encourage people to read the first five in the series... I'm giving away books!!

I will choose THREE winners to receive a Merry Muffin Mystery (YOUR choice of the first FIVE in the series, EBOOK or PAPERBACK!) delivered direct to you, plus a stash of bookmarks to keep your place.

To Enter:

Comment here by Midnight, Sunday, June 23rd. *NOTE... comments made after Midnight, June 21st will go into a queue and be approved by a moderator.

Open to all residents of Canada and the US!

Winners will be selected by random draw.

Good Luck, everyone, and look for more draws and fun as publication day approaches!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

April Showers Bring May & June--showers?

By Lilly Jayne
from the Garden Squad mysteries by Julia Henry

Happy almost first day of summer!
I live for this time of year, when I can get back out in my gardens and reacquaint myself with my wonderful plants, trees, shrubs and bushes. Getting everything back into shape after our long New England winters is a task, and good weather is required to make it all work.
This year, the weather is not cooperating.
Now, I am grateful for rain. I have rain barrels around the yard, and remember well the years when we had droughts. Rain is preferred, but between the rain and the wind my garden looks unkempt. The weeds are popping up at an alarming rate. My poor peonies barely bloomed before a heavy rain storm beat them up, leaving pink tears in the garden.
Nevertheless, I persist. Today I tried to spread some compost during a downpout. It didn't go terribly well, but it had to be done. There's rain in the forecast for the rest of the week, so my green boot and slicker are going to get quite the workout, since the pile of mulch needs to be spread.
What's the hurry? I've been talked into having a garden party this weekend, and my reputation is on the line. Let's hope the rain takes a break for the party!
Do you garden in the rain?
Julia Henry writes the Garden Squad series. Pruning the Dead was released in January, and Tilling the Truth will be released in August.