Saturday, December 15, 2018

Hi, it’s me. Julia . . . Julia Bonatti


Merry Christmas everyone!  Happy holidays!  Joyeux Noel and Buon Natale . . .   I just love this time of year . . . it calls up lots of childhood memories . . . Christmas trees and presents and making cookies with my grandmother.  And especially eating all the traditional dishes she cooks for the holidays.  Oh, and trips to the mountains to see the snow!  I love San Francisco and the fog, but this time of year, I do sometimes wish it would snow.
The midwinter solstice is a time to reflect, a time to explore memories and be close to loved ones on the darkest day of the year.  I pay attention to the solstices because I’m an astrologer and I know how important these times are. 

My grandmother Gloria raised me after my parents died and I’m so lucky to have her.  I couldn’t have wished for a better childhood in spite of what happened to my family.  Of course it’s a bittersweet time as well because I still miss my fiancĂ© Michael who died a few years ago. 
 
This year, more than anything, I want the season to be peaceful and filled with good food, fun shopping and spending time with the people I love most in the world.  Fortunately my clients are pretty quiet this time of year.  They’re probably feeling exactly as I do when the holidays roll around. 

 
 
Last Christmas was a very difficult time for me.  You’ll know all about it if you’ve read The Madness of Mercury.  I’m sure you’ll understand why I want nothing more than a crackling fireplace, a glass of wine, a wonderful meal and new slippers. 
Oh, and I definitely want to spend more time with my cat Wizard.  He loves to play with the ornaments on the tree! 

You can read what happened to me last Christmas in The Madness of Mercury.  You’ll understand then why I’m staying very close to home this year! 

And you can read all about the Zodiac Mysteries at my author’s website, at Facebook and Twitter @Ask Zodia. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

The 12 Days of Hitchcock's Catmas - #giveaway

From:  Hitchcock
Of:  The Bad Luck Cat Mysteries
By:  Kay Finch

My MRREOW can't be considered singing by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn't mean I dislike music.  I enjoy the hoppin' seventies music they play at Hot Stuff Coffee Shop.  But tis the season, and except for when I'm concentrating on helping Sabrina solve a murder case, holiday tunes are dancing through my head - especially the Twelve Days of Christmas. It's not maids a-milking or pipers piping in my head, though. My version goes like this:

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, Sabrina gave to me:
A perfect spot beneath her Christmas tree.

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, Sabrina gave to me:
Two strands of lights,
And a perfect spot beneath her Christmas tree.

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, Sabrina gave to me:
Three scratching posts,
Two strands of lights,
And a perfect spot beneath her Christmas tree.

NOW, I know many of y'all are impatient and can't be bothered to read every verse - what with the gifts to be wrapped, and the cookies to be baked - so I'll cut to the chase . You can sing the last chorus all the way through in your head the way I do:

ON THE TWELVTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, Sabrina gave to me:
Twelve shiny ornaments,
11 clues to follow,
10 bows to chew on,
9 red herrings,
8 yummy treats,
7 cardboard boxes,
6 murder suspects,
5 CATNIP MICE,
4 cozy mysteries,
3 scratching posts,
2 strands of lights,
AND A PERFECT SPOT BENEATH HER CHRISTMAS TREE!!!


THE LAST DAY OF OUR
SEASON'S READINGS GIVEAWAY -
Winner's choice of Black Cat Crossing, The Black Cat Knocks on Wood, or The Black Cat Sees His Shadow (in paperback or audio CD).  Tell me in the comments section about your ideas for stocking stuffers - I need tips!  I'll pick a winner on Tuesday, December 18th, at noon. 

Happy Holidays!

Kay Finch is the National Best-Selling author of the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries by Berkley Prime Crime.  Though her character, Sabrina Tate, has left the paralegal profession behind to move to the Texas Hill Country, Kay still works as a paralegal at a Houston, Texas law firm. She resides in a Houston suburb with her husband and pets where she is working on Bad Luck Cat Mystery #4 – The Black Cat Steps On a Crack. Visit her at www.kayfinch.com.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Meet Sophia Cummings of the Southern Baker Mystery Series


CONGRATULATIONS TO GINGER HERUSKA!!!


If you were to ask Bitsy, that’d be my mama, why I became a pastry chef, she’d say that it was to make her life all doom and gloom. I’m not going to lie, it was a little satisfying seeing her cringe on the inside when I strategically told her ten years ago in front of her friend at the Rumford Country Club, RCC for short, that I wasn’t going to college and heading to pastry school.
Seriously, you would too if your mama had you call her by her nickname, Bitsy, instead of calling her mom, mama, or mother. Yes. Bitsy is as southern as you can get.
Now do you blame me for getting out of our small southern town of Rumford, Kentucky right out of high school?
Becoming a pastry chef was really a dream of mine. I’d spent the better part of the past ten years going to school and moving up in my industry. Can you imagine my joy and excitement when I hired as the head pastry chef at The Manhattan, the fanciest restaurant in New York City.
It was all mine. All my creations. Then. . .he walked in as the head chef. I can’t even bring myself to say his name because I swore that after dating him for years and then moving in together and then finding him doing more than cooking food in the kitchen of The Manhattan with the hostess, I’d never let his name cross my lips.
This was how Bitsy got back into my life. She might be a hard pill to swallow, but she’s a southern mama and no matter what, she’s loyal to me to the end. With my tail tucked and a couple of weeks off work to get my head on straight, I found myself right back in Rumford where I’d tried to escape ten years ago and in my old bedroom.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, Bitsy definitely dragged me all over Rumford to all her clubs for the first few days.
“Put on some lipstick and put on some more,” she says before we walk out the door. I had to keep up the appearance even though my heart was broken, and I didn’t have an ounce of creative baking in me.
That is until Charlotte, my high school best friend who was getting married over the weekend, cake baker had quit, and she asked me to do her wedding cake. What an honor! I was all over it.
The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by and Charlotte was the number one suspect.
Charlotte can be bit of a southern pill, but she’s not a murderer. I sure hope I can help her figure out who is framing her so her wedding can go off without a hitch and before I head back to my life in New York.
Besides, I can’t wait to get out of Rumford, like I was ten years ago, because Bitsy keeps telling everyone that I’m staying. . .forever!

SIX  MONTHS LATER....

If there were a plate of crow in front of me, I'd have to say I'd be eating a big heaping lot of it.

Here's a little update. My friend, Charlotte, yep, she got hitched. Chef Emile's murderer has been brought to justice. That's big news, but NOT the biggest.

The biggest new is that I decided to stay in Rumford, buy the old Ford's Bakery and open up FOR GOODNESS CAKES BAKERY.

I know. I know what I said and that's where the crow comes in.

I'm super busy. I bought a house and my mama's cat, has now become my cat.

Rumford is going crazy with all the buzz about the Rumford Library addition. I'm very excited to be catering the big charity event being held at the Grape Valley Winery. It's the biggest event I've done so far and I'm in desperate need for the pay check. After all, I've got bills to pay.

Seriously, look at this amazing winery in the holler of Kentucky with the amazing Kentucky Bluegrass. It's the limestone rich soil that makes all the grapes perfect for the winery. And if the rumor swirling around here about Ray Peel, Rumford's most eligible bachelor, not making good on his big donation because he's selling the land the winery is on. . .has put a little damper on this event.

I better go and hurry on over to the winery office so I can get paid and things go from bad to worse.

BATTER OFF DEAD IS WOMEN'S WORLD MAGAZINE BOOK CLUB PICK OF THE WEEK!
Pick up your copy of Women's World!!!

Did you know that Maymee Bell is the pen name of USA Today Bestselling Author Tonya Kappes?

Today I'm giving away a Camper and Criminals swag pack filled with goodies from me and other authors!



How do you enter?
Leave a comment about what you're doing for Christmas and I'll pick a winner tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Yule Be Glad You Entered

by Katie Bonner of YULE BE DEAD, by Lorraine Bartlett and Gayle Leeson

It's such a busy time of year, but I love baking. It helps me relax, it makes my apartment smell heavenly, and I have treats to share with my friends.

I'm sharing my chocolate chip cookie recipe with you so you can put smiles on lots of faces over the holiday season.

Merry Christmas!

Katie Bonner's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, Gas Mark 5). Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl. Cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixer bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased, foil-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for a couple of minutes, and then move to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Seasons Readings Giveaway:

Two winners will each receive a signed copy of YULE BE DEAD. To enter today's giveaway, please comment your favorite cookie. Please don't forget to add your email address so winners may be notified. Winners will be chosen/announced on Saturday, December 15. Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a blessed holiday season!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Rethinking Christmas Gifts - #giveaway

By Melinda Langston, of the Pampered Pets Mysteries, by Sparkle Abbey

Hello everyone! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas from Orange County!

It’s that time of year when find myself getting caught up on finding the perfect gift for my friends and family. I’ll be honest, they don’t really need anything. So what should be an enjoyable experience of picking out a fun and personable present winds up an exhausting and stressful experience.

This year, I decided to do something totally different. Instead of purchasing gifts for my friends and family, I’m going to spread Christmas cheer by making a donation in their name to their charity of choice. I was worried they might think I was taking the easy way out. When I shared my idea, everyone was excited, and immediately texted me information about their favorite charity. 



The joy of giving has returned! I think we even started a new holiday tradition. 
What about you? If someone was to make a donation in your name this holiday season, what organization is near and dear to your heart?

Leave a comment, along with your email address, and your name goes into the Season's Reading drawing for a signed copy of your choice of Pampered Pet Mysteries book! A winner will be randomly drawn Thursday, December 13th at midnight.


Sparkle Abbey can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, their favorite social media sites. Also, if you want to make sure you get updates, sign up for their newsletter via the SparkleAbbey.com website.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Happy holidays from Seattle!

By Kate Davidson of Tracy Weber's Downward Dog Mystery series.

Hi all, and happy holidays from rainy Seattle!  Michael, Bella, Mouse, and I all hope you have a wonderful season.  I know not all of you celebrate Christmas, but I also have to add a heart-felt Merry Christmas from me.

Christmas in Seattle doesn’t usually contain any of that white stuff sung about in Bing Crosby’s Christmas carols, but the lights hung on the houses more than make up for it.  Every December brings back my fondest childhood memories.  Dad’s horribly wrapped presents, our always-dry-needled Christmas tree, Aunt Rita’s sickeningly sweet fruitcake. 

That may not sound like much to the rest of you, but I will always treasure those special times with my family.  Things are different now.  Bella would shred the wrapping on presents, and Mouse would surely topple a tree.  Instead of carols, I’m now serenaded by Michael’s off-key show tunes. 

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier. 

Which is why I’m sharing my holiday cheer with all of you.  As a special Christmas treat, all of my author friend Tracy’s books are on sale on Amazon. Details are below.  The books are in order of publication.  Just click on the link to go to the Amazon’s sale page.  Remember, books make great Christmas gifts!

If Amazon is out of stock on a book you want, e-mail Tracy@TracyWeber.net.  She’ll match the price if she has it on hand, and she’ll autograph it to boot!

  • Murder Strikes a Pose:  $0.99 on Kindle, $7.99 in paperback.  Half price on Audible for Audible members!
  • A Killer Retreat: $1.99 on Kindle, $7.99 in paperback.  Half price on Audible for Audible members!
  • Karma’s a Killer: $2.51 on Kindle, $8.00 in paperback.  Half price on Audible for Audible members!
  • A Fatal Twist: $2.99 on Kindle, $10.19 in paperback. Should be half price in paperback soon!
  • Pre-Meditated Murder: $2.51 on Kindle, $8.00 in paperback. 
Oh—and one more present!  Comment below about your favorite holiday tradition and you’ll be entered to win a copy of of my next adventure, Murder Likes It Hot, when it's available in January.  Enjoy, and Bella says Merry Woofmas!!

My next mystery, Murder Likes it Hot, will be out on January 8, 2019! Go on, buy yourself a copy.  You know you want to.

Tracy Weber’s author page
Kate's author buddy, Tracy Weber, on Facebook



Sunday, December 9, 2018

Falling in Fallingbrook

by Fire Chief Scott Ritsorf of the Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, Fire Department, from the Deputy Donut Mysteries by Ginger Bolton

The 911 dispatcher told us that an elderly woman had fallen off her chair and had "knocked down some candles." They were also sending Emergency Medical Services.

Sirens blaring and strobes flashing, my crew and I jumped into our bright red trucks. I drove one, fast.

The house was small, one-story. No smoke or flames were visible, and I couldn't hear any smoke alarms. The front door was standing open, which is fine if you're waiting for an ambulance, but not a good idea when there's a fire.

A thirty-ish man was standing in the doorway. "Quick," he said. "My grandmother fell."

I asked, "Is there a fire?"

"No, but I don't think she can get up."

We followed him into a living room, tidy except for a knocked-over Christmas tree, a white-haired woman lying next to a kitchen chair that was also on its side, and three red fat pillar candles that must have tumbled away from the forth one, still on the mantel. All four candles were lit, their little electrical lights flickering like flames. I radioed that it was safe for the EMTs to enter and then asked the woman what had happened.

"I needed to reach the top of the tree and I didn't want to go all the way to the basement for a ladder, so I put one of my kitchen chairs on my armchair and climbed up onto the armchair, and then onto the kitchen chair, but it started tipping, so I grabbed the tree to catch my balance, and everything sort of toppled over." She waved at the EMTs running into the room. "Just help me sit up. I'm fine."

And, to everyone's amazement except hers, she was.

At this season of the year, we get calls for fires, but even more for falls. I know there's lots that you have do do to make certain that everything's ready, but please take time to do it all safely. Thank you, and happy holidays to everyone!





GIVEAWAY! In the comments below, tell us about any of your Christmas near-misses. A random draw will choose the winner of a copy of SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS.


Connect with Ginger Bolton:

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