Saturday, May 25, 2019

Did You Know History Could be Exciting?


By: Dylan Robertson
From: Digging Up History
Series: Museum Mysteries
Author: Sheila Connolly

I had kind of mixed feelings when I applied for a summer internship at the Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiquities. Oh, it had a good reputation, and everyone told me that their collections were great, but did I really want to be cooped up in a musty library in Philadelphia all summer? Still, I figured it would look good on my application when I was trying to find a job after I finished my degree in library science.

I never guessed it would be so exciting! Okay, how could I have known? Nell Pratt (the President of the place), her friend Marty Terwilliger and I spent a week or two discovering things that most people in the museum and library community didn’t have a clue about, even though Philadelphia has been studied for centuries. Even Marty was surprised, although she knew a couple of things that she had never shared with anyone, but which came to light during our “investigation.” Yes, I did mean to say investigation, because there were bodies involved—lots of them—and they didn’t all die peacefully.

There was history and mystery and murder all tangled up together, and I loved  figuring things out. And I learned a lot—about archaeology, and genealogy, and what Philadelphia was like two hundred plus years ago. And I also learned how library and museum collections could teach everyone a lot about people and places—not just scholars and college professors. The details about how people lived in seventeen-whatever are hiding right below the surface of the modern city, and all you have to do is dig a little, and then history comes alive to you.

I’ll admit it—I’m hooked. And I’ll never look at this city in the same way again.



 Still no cover yet, but soon! At least the book has a title at last, and a pub date in June. Or July. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 24, 2019

A New Class and an ARC #GIVEAWAY!

Character:      Savannah Webb
Title:              Down in Flames
Series:           Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries
Author:          Cheryl Hollon
Website:         www.cherylhollon.com


My name is Savannah Webb. I own the stained glass shop on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida. I'm getting a bit nervous about the upcoming class I've scheduled. It's a new glass art form for me called lamp-working or sometimes called bead-making.

I've put a lot of thought into keeping my students safe during this class. After all, we'll be working with a powerful torch and molten glass right in front of ouor faces. At least the season is working with me. Fall is a great relief to most full-time Floridians. The oppressive afternoon heat has diminished and it gets below 80 degrees at night. Wonderful to have the windows open for sea breezes again.

I've contracted for significant modifications in order to set up the individual student workstations. There are gas lines to be run, exhaust vents to install, glass rod inventory to purchase and display, protective glasses, and all the tools needed to create glass beads and medallions. Quite an investment.

Six students have already registered for the inaugural class. I think I'm almost ready, but excitement is part of the instruction process. Wish me luck.

Have you started a new project?




###

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 pre-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

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Rainy Day Puzzle


by Kath Rutledge
from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries by Molly MacRae


Here’s something that never occurred to me about ghosts (mostly because I didn’t believe in them until I met one) – they’re people, too. They just happen to be dead. They have feelings and opinions, and they get bored like anyone else. That’s true of Geneva, anyway. She’s the ghost who haunts the Weaver’s Cat, my fiber and fabric shop, in Blue Plum, Tennessee. 

The other evening, another in a long string of rainy evenings, she suggested we do a jigsaw puzzle to while away the time. By “we” she meant me, because although she has feelings and opinions, etc., as a ghost she’s unable to move or manipulate objects. That means she also gets frustrated.

“This will be fun,” she said. “I’ll tell you which pieces to pick up and where to put them.” 

I wasn’t sure how much fun that would actually be, but a friend had recently given me a wonderful puzzle with a picture of the kind of bookstore everyone dreams of finding – a shop complete with resident cats. The Weaver’s Cat has a resident cat, too. A ginger tom named Argyle. 

“Argyle would like to watch us do the puzzle,” Geneva said. 

“Do you think he’ll leave the pieces alone?” I asked.

“I cannot imagine why he wouldn’t.” 

“Hmm.” 

I do like jigsaw puzzles, though, so I agreed to give it a try. She told me how she wanted the pieces sorted. Then she had me start putting the edge pieces together – she’d point to the ones she thought would fit and I’d try them. She got a little testy when she thought I’d lost a couple of edge pieces – or hidden them. 

“I didn’t. They’ll turn up. You’ll see.”

Then I annoyed her by reaching for a piece she hadn’t asked me to get. 

“Hey!” she said. “Who’s doing this puzzle? You or me?” 

“What happened to we?” 

“I wanted it to be mostly me.”

“Don’t you think we work pretty well as a team? Working a puzzle is kind of like solving a mystery, and we work pretty well together on those, don’t we?”

“Hmm. Try this blue piece over here,” she said, “and then let’s see if we can put together some of the book covers.” 




We didn’t finish the puzzle that evening, but we made a good start. She was right, it was fun, and I was right, too. We make a good team. 


How do you entertain yourself (or your children or grandchildren) on a rainy summer afternoon?



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. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A (retired) policeman's lot is not a happy one...

                                                                                      by Betty Glover, 
wife of retired Detective Inspector Evan Glover
from The Wrong Boy, by Cathy Ace

Since Evan retired I've often thought about that Gilbert & Sullivan song from The Pirates of Penzance  "A Policeman's Lot is not a Happy One". Too bad they didn't write about the wife of a retired policeman's lot not being a happy one, because that's a bit closer to the truth, I think. I'm a psychotherapist, so I'm not unaware of the problems faced by people who find retirement a challenge; the end of a career can sometimes force a person to examine how much of their identity was really provided by their job. Something Evan is working on at the moment.

I think my professional training is helping me at home more than usual at the moment. I'm still working, you see - we agreed that would be a good idea so there wasn't a total disruption to our lives. But, still, it's taking a bit of a toll on poor Evan. I know he's not missing the unpredictable hours, nor the politics at West Glamorgan's police HQ. But he's certainly missing being hot on the trail of some sort of criminal or other. Though he's hiding it well. Which, for a psychotherapist, is a bit of a worry. Coping mechanisms are important, but not when they go too far.


To be fair to him, Evan hasn't lolled about on the sofa since he retired. He's tidied up his collection of books about the history of Swansea and all of South Wales - that's always been his "secret passion", local history. And he's also started to teach himself to cook. Nothing fancy, but he's getting quite good at soups and stews. And chili - that's become something of his signature dish. Luckily for me I love chili, especially with chips. Nice big, fat, home-fried chips - not quite the same as getting them at the chip shop, wrapped in newspaper, but lovely nonetheless. He's also pretty good at making them - he part-fries them, then cooks them fully when I get home from work so they're as fresh as can be. Not something I've ever had the time to do.



I have to admit I'm rather enjoying the fact that he finds doing the shopping and cooking, as well as some of the housework, to be a novelty. I don't know when that will change, so I'll make the most of it while it lasts. So, maybe, a retired policeman's wife's lot is not such an unhappy one after all - and I'm on hand to make sure a retired policeman's lot is pleasant too.


Find out how a case in which Evan Glover was involved at the very end of his career comes back to haunt both him and his wife, Betty, in THE WRONG BOY - now an amazon #1 bestseller and IPPY Award winner.



Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Birthdays! How to celebrate? #bookgiveaway


By: Jaymie Leighton Müller
From: Breaking the Mould
Series: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

How do you do birthdays? In some families birthdays are huge weeklong celebrations, and in others, they are hardly noticed. I guess in our family, the Leightons, we hit kind of a middle ground. Mom would have a little family party for my older sister, Becca, and I when we were young. But in recent years we've just had cards, and a gift mailed from Boca Raton (where they live, now) and a phone call. Becca and I always talk on our birthdays, and sometimes we'll go out to dinner with friends. Nice. Laid back. Simple.

But then I married into the Müller family. Wow, do they do things different. Bigger. MUCH bigger. However... in a German family do NOT expect any mention (to you) of your birthday beforehand. It is verboten (LOL! I'm trying to learn a little German) and considered bad luck. My mother-in-law is a superb baker, so for your birthday, you can look forward to an extraordinary cake... whatever kind you like. I chose, for my last birthday, a German Chocolate Cake, of course. And it was delicious.

Having a child has also changed how I view birthdays. Of course Jakob and I go out of our way for Jocie, and make her birthday something special - with her best friends - and a visit somewhere special. We visited a friend's horse farm for her last birthday, and Jocie and her friends all got a turn riding, as well as a cool buggy ride (Emma Spangler bought an antique carriage and has fixed it up) around the property, then a tea party at the Queensville Inn for all the girls, with Jocie as hostess.

So... what do you do for birthdays? Any special family traditions? Or do you keep it low key?



Birthday Bash Giveaway!

It's my birthday on the 26th, and I LOVE giving stuff away!! I'll be doing giveaways all week long, starting today. So... how do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Big deal, or not so much?

Give me a first name and email address, and you will be entered to win your choice of a paperback copy of Leave It to Cleaver, No Grater Danger OR Breaking the Mould, plus bookmarks!

Answer by Midnight, May 22nd... but note that if you comment after midnight on the 21st your comment will go into a moderators queue and be approved the next day.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Oh, That Green!

by Lilly Jayne
from the Garden Squad Mysteries by Julia Henry

Spring in New England is a short season. Winter drags on and on. Depending on where you live, the snow doesn't melt until late April. Sometimes even May.
April showers are indeed that. There's a gray tinge that lasts for a long time while this part of the country wakes up and remember it's spring.
And then, finally, it happens. Usually after a long stretch of rain the sun finally shines and the green pops.
You know that green. The "everything is possible" green. The green that takes your breath away, and makes you smile. The green that convinces you it may be time, may be time (let's not get ahead of ourselves), to put your winter coat in the cedar chest.
The green that reminds you that you have hay fever, but even that is a joyful discovery.
That green makes me feel alive again. That green also tells me it's time to get out into the garden.

*************
Julia Henry writes the Garden Squad mysteries. Visit her at JHAuthors.com, and follow her on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter) under @JHAuthors. JHAuthors stands for one woman, three names, many books.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Giveaway! Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

by Renee Saperstein, Veterinary Physician, Flaming Bingo, AHMM May/June 2019

One of the first times I visited my mother at her new retirement home in Sunshine Palms on the west coast of Florida we spent a few days lounging on the gorgeous sands of the Gulf of Mexico in a sweet little town called Fort Myers Beach. Each morning we had breakfast in the cutest little cafe/bookstore, called, appropriately enough, The Read 'Em and Eat. The owners, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield, were such terrific ladies that by the time mom and I left, we were all friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.


Well, when Sassy heard about the adventure I had on my most recent visit to Sunshine Palms for mom's birthday, she thought it was just the kind of story her author would love to write. The next thing I knew "Flamingo Bingo" was the cover story of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and there was my name in print for all the world to see.


For a chance to win a copy of this great magazine filled with terrific mystery stories, please comment any thought at all you may have about the game of bingo. Please include your email in this format: your name (at) your server (dot) com—so the spambots can’t pick it up.

Comments close at midnight, your time, on Tuesday May 21st.