Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cookies and Scream - Cozy Days of Summer Giveaway

by Maddie Briggs, co-owner of The Gingerbread House

Lately some folks around here have been suggesting I might be obsessively fascinated by murder. I find that notion so irritating I’m beginning to obsess about it. Chatterley Heights may be a small town, but it is close to DC and Baltimore, so there ought to be more interesting topics to discuss. Besides, Livie gets every bit as involved in local mysteries as I do. (That’s Olivia Greyson—she and I run The Gingerbread House.)

What really irks me is when someone accuses me of pining for someone to get murdered! I do not pine. I do adore creating decorated cutout cookies and have been known to stay up most of the night happily baking. Baking makes me happy, but murder definitely does not, no matter what a certain small-town newspaper/blogger might say. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Binnie Sloan.)

Binnie is right about one thing, though—I do adore a mystery. Murder isn’t right. It makes me sad, even if the murdered person wasn’t the most admirable of human beings. But mystery… ah, the thrill of it!

This newest mystery, for instance… It’s all about antique cookie cutters. How could I not be over-the-top thrilled by that?! Yes, a person was murdered, and both Livie and I are determined to see the culprit brought to justice. Wouldn’t you feel the same way?

At the same time, I’m so excited because this mystery is an opportunity to learn all sorts of interesting things about antique cutters, like how to tell early German cutters from American ones. And did you know that some antique cutters are signed or initialed by their creators? That makes them more valuable, of course. To learn more, I borrowed a huge stack of my Aunt Sadie’s Cookie Cutter Collector’s Club newsletters, which are full of wonderful photos and interesting tidbits about antique and vintage cutters. Figuring out the origin of an antique cookie cutter (or if it’s a fake), now that’s mystery! And it doesn’t have to include a murder… although sometimes it does.

Why do you like mysteries?

KILLER CHARACTERS COZY DAYS OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY

Every day in June and July the Killer Characters are giving away books for your stack of summer reading! Leave a comment by midnight for a chance to win a copy of COOKIES AND SCREAM, the newest book in Virginia Lowell’s Cookie Cutter Shop Series.

Because COOKIES AND SCREAM just hit the shelves on July 1, Virginia is celebrating by giving away a second copy of Olivia and Maddie’s newest sleuthing adventure. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Remember to check KillerCharacters.com again soon to see if you are listed as a winner of a giveaway copy of COOKIES AND SCREAM. If you are a winner, contact Virginia at www.virginialowell.com and let her know where to send your free copy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Calling All Dear Abbys - Advice Needed!





by Kath Rutledge from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries

(Read on for a chance to win in the Killer Characters Cozy Days of Summer giveaway!) 


If you’ve met my friend Geneva, then you know that she’s . . . unusual. To say the least. Because she’s a ghost.  Beyond that fact, I don’t know much about her. She claims she doesn’t remember much about her life and she gets upset if I press her to try. From her reaction to the deaths of a young couple earlier this year, there was clearly something traumatic in her own background that she’s blocking out. Her memory, otherwise, especially for dialogue and plot lines from fifty-year-old television shows, is unbeatable. But I’m always looking for historical details she knew firsthand that might help pinpoint when she lived. Here’s a conversation I had with her recently about the reenactment J. Scott Prescott is planning for next weekend.

“So, have you ever heard of this feud Mr. Prescott was talking about?” I asked. “He’s calling it the ‘The Blue Plum Piglet War.’ It happened sometime in the 1820s or 1830s during a boundary dispute that escalated when one guy let his pigs get into another guy’s crops.”

“What was he growing?” Geneva asked.

“Something tasty to pigs. I don’t know. Potatoes?”

“Potatoes, pigs, and pandemonium,” she said with relish.

“Do you remember it?” I asked.

“I’m not that old.”

“Well, no, I didn’t think you were, but people have always told stories about it. My grandmother told them to me. Maybe your grandmother told them to you. Maybe she was there. Anyway, you might be interested in watching the reenactment next weekend.”

“I’m more interested in your reenactment. You do the same thing every time.”

“And what are we talking about now?”

“The way you rebuff every gentleman caller who shows the least bit of interest in you. Mr. J. Snot Big Shot. He was full of himself, but I saw the way he took your hand.”

“That is absolute baloney.”

“It’s not. He’s sweet on you and you spurned his advance.” Her voice throbbed with pathos for J. Scott.

“I spurned his attempt to put good old boys with guns in our upstairs window and his advance on the building. He’s a slick salesman. He doesn’t give a flying fig about me.”

“No one would with that attitude.”

“My attitude is fine.”

“For a nun.”

My outer thirty-nine-year-old was willing to pick up a dust rag and move away from that jab. But that went against everything my inner seven-year-old stands for. “Joe,” I snapped. “For your information, I don’t rebuff Joe. We’re having dinner tomorrow night at Mel’s.”

“We are?”

“Not you. Joe and I.”

“And there you go.” She threw her wispy hands in the air. “Rebuffing again. But never mind. Loneliness is my lot in death. I’ll never understand your need to exclude a lost soul from the warmth and gaiety of a simple dinner out. But I’ll survive.”

Sigh. I think I could use a few tips for getting along with a melodramatic, histrionic, finicky, persnickety creature, don't you? (And doesn’t it seem like I just described a cat or a teenager?) If you have any suggestions for me, leave them in a comment. I’ll be so grateful!

Leave your advice or a comment by midnight 7/23/14 for a chance to win an audiobook of a Haunted Yarn Shop  Mystery – your choice of LAST WOOL AND TESTAMENT, DYEING WISHES, or SPINNING IN HER GRAVE. Be sure to leave your email address in the comment to be notified in case you are the winner.


Kath Rutledge’s latest adventure is the national bestselling SPINNING IN HER GRAVE, third book in the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, which are available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio wherever books are sold.  Watch for Kath in PLAGUED BY QUILT, coming in November 2014, and available now for pre-order.

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



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Meddler or Matchmaker


By: Celadon Greene
Book: Maple Mayhem
Author: Jessie Crockett
Series: The Sugar Grove Mysteries

My sister Dani thinks I'm a meddler. Maybe she's even right. But I can't just stand by and do nothing while she lets one good opportunity after anything for a marriage proposal slip through her fingers. I'm determined not to let another year go by without seeing her settled into marital bliss.

She may not like it now but I'm certain she'll grow to appreciate all I'm trying to do for her. After all, I take my role as older sister very seriously. If I didn't would I arrange for her to go winter camping with a handsome game warden? Would I send her off to one of Sugar Grove's most popular social events, Meat Bingo, with not one but two potential suitors? No, I would not. It's not like I run around town playing match-maker for anyone else.

Instead of thanking me, Dani just looks for reasons to get out of the dates I book for her. She complains that she isn't interested in settling down yet and that her life is her own business. Imagine that!

Readers, have you ever had your help and best efforts misunderstood? Leave a comment along with your email address by midnight tonight be eligible to win a copy of Dani's adventures in either Drizzled with Death or Maple Mayhem. One lucky reader will be picked even more randomly than I choose potential partners for Dani!

Jessie loves to connect with readers on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Of Tempests, Teapots and Tangled Emotions

Characters: Sophie Taylor and Merry Wynter
Books: Tempest in a Teapot and Muffin but Murder
Series: Teapot Collector Mysteries (as Amanda Cooper) and Merry Muffin Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Publication Dates: Tempest in a Teapot - June 3rd / Muffin But Murder - July 1st 

Hey, Merry Wynter here. I've been thinking about this a lot lately; sometimes you make friends in the most unexpected ways! Isn't that true?

Here's what made me think of that today; for a very special wedding at Wynter Castle, one of my gifts to the bride is going to be her wedding favors. Weddings can get expensive, and they don't want to spend a lot. The venue is my castle in upstate New York, so that's free, but there are always more expenses than you think there are going to be. I remember my wedding ten years ago... but that's another story, one that ended in tragedy, as some of you know.

Anyway... I was talking to my friend Gogi Grace, and when I asked her what she thought I should do for wedding favors she mentioned unique heart shaped teacups, with tea that was blended specially for the bride and groom. She and some girlfriends had gone on a day trip to a town called Gracious Grove, not too far from here near the Finger Lakes, and came away with the tearoom's own blend of tea, done up in cute packages with the tearoom's name - Auntie Rose's Victorian Tea House - on the packaging.

Maybe I could have the same thing done with the bride and groom's names and date of the wedding on it. What a great idea! Anyway, I got the phone number and made a call to the tearoom to find out who their tea source was, and had an interesting conversation with a young woman working there who is also 'Auntie Rose's' granddaughter, Sophie Taylor. After we talked about her tearoom, the tea, and a lot of other things, we discovered that we had both recently been too close to a murder and had to do a little investigating on our own.

We had other things in common, too. We've both most recently lived in New York. And we both have a man in our lives that we just can't figure out. In her case it is an old flame, a teenage love who she hurt many years ago. Now she can't figure out how he feels about her. She's afraid to dig too deep in case he wants nothing more to do with her beyond friendship, tho' her feelings have reawakened.

I explained about the handsome Sheriff Virgil Grace, and my own confusion over whether I was ready for a new love when I still feel like I'm in love with my late husband, Miguel.

"So what are you going to do, Merry?" Sophie asked. "How do you handle it when you're just not sure?"

I wished I had a solid answer for her. "I guess I'm going to go forward with caution. At least in your case you know he once felt deeply for you. With Virgil I just don't know how he feels."

"It's worse, in a way, for me," Sophie said. "We had something special and I hurt him. He might be so far over me there's nothing left."
Thanks to Karen Owen for the lovely photo!

"Aren't we a couple of sad sisters," I said, with a laugh. "I think you should just talk to him, acknowledge what you did, explain how young and confused you were, and ask if there's any hope."

"Easy for you to say! I think you should confront Virgil, tell him you know there is something between you, and ask him out for coffee."

"Or tea?" I asked. We both laughed. "And then there is the whole murder investigation thing," I added. "He thinks I'm a bit interfering."

"Sounds like you and I are cut from the same cloth, as my Nana would say," Sophie said. "Let's talk again in a  few months and find out what we've done about our love lives. That's barring any more trouble like murders happening."

"That's not likely to happen again," I said. "Autumn Vale is a small town! Yet another murder would just be too big a coincidence."

"Gracious Grove is smallish, too. You're right. It's not going to happen again, so we can get on with business and our love lives."

And that's where we left it. She's going to try to figure out how Jason Murphy feels about her after a dozen years apart, and I've promised I'm going to tackle Virgil Grace... perhaps quite literally. He makes my cheeks get warm and my heart beat faster. I'm nervous, though. I'm not used to making the first move. Any ladies out there who made the first move on the man they loved? How'd it turn out? And gentlemen... did a lady ever tell you outright how she felt? Did you like it?

I'm just not sure how to go about it, and would appreciate any suggestions you may have.

~::~

Calling all cozy mystery readers!!

It is the Cozy Days of Summer Killer Characters giveaway!! And I have a SUPER prize package for you! 

Comment before midnight to enter to win a super package that includes Tempest in a Teapot, Muffin But Murder, AND Bran New Death, book 1 of the Merry Muffin Mysteries! You'll get one Cozy Up to a Good Mystery book tote, a pen, and a handcrafted bookmark in every package, a little bonus!!

Please Note: for the purpose of today's drawing ONLY, entries can come from both the US and Canada!


~::~

Check out Victoria Hamilton - aka Amanda Cooper - online!

Victoria Hamilton Mysteries: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton
Blog: http://vintagekitchenmysteries.blogspot.com
Twitter: @MysteryVictoria

To learn about new releases and contests, sign up for Victoria's newsletter using the subscription form on her website! Just scroll down to the bottom and look on the right hand side to sign up!





Meddler or Matchmaker?


By: Celadon Greene
Book: Maple Mayhem
Author: Jessie Crockett
Series: The Sugar Grove Mysteries

My sister Dani thinks I'm a meddler. Maybe she's even right. But I can't just stand by and do nothing while she lets one good opportunity after anything for a marriage proposal slip through her fingers. I'm determined not to let another year go by without seeing her settled into marital bliss.

She may not like it now but I'm certain she'll grow to appreciate all I'm trying to do for her. After all, I take my role as older sister very seriously. If I didn't would I arrange for her to go winter camping with a handsome game warden? Would I send her off to one of Sugar Grove's most popular social events, Meat Bingo, with not one but two potential suitors? No, I would not. It's not like I run around town playing match-maker for anyone else.

Instead of thanking me, Dani just looks for reasons to get out of the dates I book for her. She complains that she isn't interested in settling down yet and that her life is her own business. Imagine that!

Readers, have you ever had your help and best efforts misunderstood? Leave a comment along with your email address by midnight tonight be eligible to win a copy of Dani's adventures in either Drizzled with Death or Maple Mayhem. One lucky reader will be picked even more randomly than I choose potential partners for Dani!

Jessie loves to connect with readers on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Beginnings





Holly Miller blogs

for the Paws & Claws Mysteries

by Krista Davis



You know that saying life happens? Life happened to me in ways I never expected. I lost my job, then I thought my grandmother was dying but it turned out one of her employees had been murdered. I was adopted by a Jack Russell Terrier and a calico kitten, and I broke up with my boyfriend. Talk about major life changes!

Breaking up with Ben was probably a good thing. His texted proposal was
juvenile and just plain awful! I'm not particularly prissy and don't fancy myself a princess or anything, but a text? Really? No kiss? No daisy? No clever surprise? I think it was the subsequent pity proposal that woke me up. As I explained to Ben, I appreciated his kindness but I don't want to marry someone who feels sorry for me. I want to marry someone who loves me, warts and all. Happily, I don't have any warts of the frog kind . . . just the baggage we all have. You can read all about it in MURDER, SHE BARKED.

So here I am in Wagtail, just in time for their huge Howloween celebration. I drove in a few hours ago. My entire life, except for Trixie, my dog, and Twinkletoes, my kitten, is in a box or a suitcase, all jammed into my apartment on the third floor of the Sugar Maple Inn on Wagtail Mountain. In case you haven't heard (I didn't know until a month ago!), Wagtail is the premier destination for people who want to vacation with their cats and dogs. The inn even has a special cat wing with trees on the screened porches!

My grandmother, whom I call Oma, German for grandma, invited me to become her partner. She'd like to take some time off, which she proved by running off somewhere and leaving me to help check in the Apparition Apprehenders, a ghost hunting team!

I don't believe in ghosts but I don't think I'll tell them that. Not yet, anyway. I'll let them have their fun. How about you? Do you believe in ghosts?




Be the first to know what's coming next!

THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER won't be here until December, but you could win a copy of MURDER, SHE BARKED or THE DIVA WRAPS IT UP! Your choice. One lucky person who leaves a comment here before midnight will win a signed copy. Good luck and be sure to leave an email address in your comment so Krista can contact you!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shenanigans in the Shadows....

HERE WE GO AGAIN ANTHOLOGY
Shenanigans in the Shadows (A Fortune Teller Short Story)

Sunny Meadows Speaks....

Okay, so it's been a while since I've been on here. Everything is going well in my world. My parents have left town, my best friend is getting married, and the crazy crime spree that seemed to settle over the small, upstate, New York town of Divinity has finally settled down.

At least I thought everything was settling down. But then my boyfriend Detective Mitch Stone finally moved in to my ancient Victorian house. He's not exactly happy about co-habitating with my cat Morty, and apparently the feeling is mutual.

I am the maid of honor. I am trying my very best to do a good job for Jo, but my "boys" are making life impossible. When Jo's fiance, Cole West, trusts Mitch to watch his grandmother's wedding rings, the shenanigans occur in full force and the rings go missing. All I know is that if we don't solve this mystery soon, there might not be a wedding. And if there isn't a wedding, there just might not be an "us" any more.

Stay tuned...Perish in the Palm comes out in October. IF we find the rings in time that is ;)

To find out more about Kari and all of her books, go to http://www.karileetownsend.com

Kari is giving away a copy of a mystery of your choice. Check back tomorrow to find out the winner!