Monday, November 27, 2017

The Spirit of the Season -- #bookgiveaway @LeslieBudewitz

Celebrating the Spirit of the Season
by Erin Murphy, from the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries by Leslie Budewitz

Our Seasons' Readings giveaway continues! Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD, the 3d Food Lovers' Village Mystery!

Jewel Bay calls itself “Montana’s Christmas Village,” and here at the Merc, Tracy, Lou Mary, and I are working hard to live up to that nickname. When I was a kid, the village—what you would call downtown in any other small town—was pretty quiet. My grand-dad sold plenty of peppermint candy canes and old-fashioned strings of lights here at Murphy’s Mercantile, and he even recruited a tree farmer to sell cut trees out back. But unless your Christmas shopping list ran to chainsaws or bottles of gin—perennial favorites, I admit—Jewel Bay didn’t hold a lot of holiday appeal.

But while I was gone, town went and changed. And I must say, I love it! Sally at Puddle Jumpers has the cutest children’s holiday dresses and toys in the window. The boutique owner bought up a stash of sewing mannequins, and she’s got them dressed in red and green turtlenecks with tartan scarves and shawls, and cedar boughs for skirts. At Dragonfly Dry Goods, Kathy Jensen starched white and ecru crocheted doilies and hung them in the big windows—my kind of snowflakes!

And between the Dragonfly and the Jewel Inn, in the little turn-around where the gas pumps were in the 1930s when Kathy’s building housed a service station, is a giant blue spruce a homeowner donated after the power company told her it had to go.

On Decorating Day, we’ll all come out and string lights and garland on the eaves, and tie evergreen saplings to every pillar and post, trimmed with bright red bows. We’ll drink hot cocoa, then the merchants will finish dolling up our shop windows. That evening, every shop, gallery, and restaurant will stay open late. It’s not about the shopping—though I won’t stop you from pulling out your credit card and buying jams and jellies and Cowboy Roast and Luci the Splash Artist’s soaps for everyone on your list.

It’s about community. About seeing old friends, enjoying a treat while you chat and taken in the sights, and celebrating life in our little village.

That’s the true spirit of the season. Come on down and join the fun, then stay to help light that tree.

Because no one does Christmas better than Jewel Bay, Montana’s Christmas Village.

What do love most about holiday celebrations where you live? Or where you wish you lived? Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD, the 3d Food Lovers' Village Mystery! Include your email address. US and Canadian mailing addresses only. Mr. Kitten will choose the winner on Thursday, November 30. 


From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends. 

57 comments:

  1. I especially love this series because we visit Flathead Lake as often as possible. It's the most beautiful spot on Earth! bobwiesmann (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Swan Lake's pretty sweet, too! Glad to give you a chance to visit, on the page!

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  2. "Cowboy roast"?
    Sounds like a delightful celebration.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  3. I love driving around and looking at Christmas lights.
    daisyjolene09@gmail.com

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    1. Best lighting sight ever? A stuffed ostrich on a screened porch, strung with white lights!

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  4. The setting sounds ideal. I would love to visit a small, charming town which is special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. The luminarias are beautiful each Christmas. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  6. I wish our towns christmas were more like the books christmas . It sounds like so much fun in the book. sieberttracy@gmail.com

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  7. I love the lighting of the tree and the decorations on the street lights.
    debprice60@gmail.com

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  8. I wish I could LIVE in this town! Or one like it. That's the best part about the cozies that I love --- they have towns that all come together and make merry. Love that! lynneandco@comcast.net

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  9. Many things about the holidays are feelings like people being a bit more cheerful even though harried, and the cozy feeling of decorated homes and the etheral qualities if the lighting on buildings like churches or just lit candles in every windows of some homes, or even a single candle in the dark. I love the aromas of Christmas cookies baking and the scent of the spices and citrus in mulled beverages. I live the twinkle if the lights on a tree and the reflections if those lights. And best if all I live to see the excitement and anticipation in my three grandchildren's eyes knowing Christmas Day is nearing. Their energy goes to me enough to keep my spirits buoyed more than anything else. Happy holidays to you all.
    Cynthia B
    ceblain. (AT) tmlponline (DOT) net

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  10. Please excuse all my typos. Eye surgery didn't correct close up vision nor chubby fingers on a tiny keypad on my phone.

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  11. Aw, I just love the story from Erin about Christmas preparations in Jewel Bay! I have a near-crippling anxiety disorder, so my favorite traditions are the ones in my own home. Watching White Christmas while decorating the tree, making Christmas cards, baking cookies, listening to Christmas music and just relaxing and reading to the glow of a candle while the world outside is so cold. I would love to have a copy of Butter Off Dead. It's the one cozy my husband has also read, so it would be so cool to have that one in particular. My email address is booknerdcat@gmail.com

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    1. Cat, authors are so grateful to hear that our books help our readers through difficult times. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  12. I love going out in our up-north location and finding our very own Christmas tree to cut down.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. Isn't that fun? For years, we cut our tree on our own land, doing a little thinning and pruning in the process. Now we're working on the trees in the power company right of way up the road -- better to cut one for ourselves than let them get so big they need to be take out!

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  13. I love all the lights and decorations that are put up. It gets quite festive! mbradeen@yahoo.com

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  14. I love this description of the Christmas decorations in Jewel Bay and I wish I could be there. Thanks for this giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. I love that so many people here decorate the outside of their houses. legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

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  16. This will be our first Christmas in Florida and it will seem a bit strange. We are going to put lights on our palm tree in our front yard. Our regular tree will be in the lanai overlooking the pool. We might even go to the beach depending on the weather. pgenest57(at)dot)com Thank you for the giveaway.

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    1. Love the regional adaptations people develop!

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  17. Love the series - thanks for the chance to win a signed copy!

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

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  18. I usually visit family in Michigan during have holidays and they decorate the the downtown shopping area and parks with lights and decorations and it's really pretty. It's a nice place to walk and get in the Christmas spirit.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. I love that Jewel Bay has an official Decorating Day. My town is lacking that.
    turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. I've been away from the computer today, visiting my elderly mother, and am just now catching up on your replies. You all have the holiday spirit, for sure! Thanks for sharing in the fun.

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  21. Sounds awesome! Thanks for the chance. Maceoindo(at)yahoo(do)com

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  22. I love Christmastime in Western NY. There are lots of small villages and walking through them is like stepping back in time. Even the bigger cities get involved with neighborhoods getting decked out. It's generally nice and cold, but there may or may not be snow. I do look forward to having a white Christmas, but not sure if it'll happen. My little hamlet got new decorations, instead of bells we have lit snowflakes gracing the power lines.

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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  23. What do love most about holiday celebrations where I live would have to be the community itself. We are a small town but it's a tourist town. Whether you are from here or just visiting, everyone makes you feel welcome and like one of the family. We have been coming here on vacations for years. We were fortunate enough to find just the right piece of property, find an awesome builder and finally moved into or new home this year. Now we can be on vacation every day and call it our home town. Love it here and am already enjoying all the holiday activities like Christmas Carols in the caverns last weekend and the big parade coming up this Saturday.

    Thank you so much for the chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. It really is about the community, isn't it? Thanks for being part of the KC community!

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  24. The holidays in Arizona are very different than Wisconsin celebrations and traditions. The weather here is warm, which saves on the multiple layers of outdoor clothing required of midwestern winters. Holiday lights here are amazing all over the city. One neighborhood outshines all others. Winterhaven celebrates with elaborate lighting displays. Crowds of gawkers walk through in the evenings or ride on a trolley. One or two nights during the season cars are allowed to drive through, but it’s slow going. Free. Suggested donation is canned goods for the food bank. A Tucson holiday tradition.

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  25. So many geographic variations -- I love reading about them! And it really is all about community, isn't it?

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  26. We have Christmas in Newport the month of December. Tree lightings, mansions decorated lighted boat parades just to name a few. Hope you can come sometime.

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    1. That sounds delightful -- all those big houses along the harbor, and the boats! Seattle does a Christmas boat parade, too. What fun!

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  27. I loved taking my boys to see the living nativity.mommatoodle (at) msn dot com

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  28. I enjoy learning about the different ways people celebrate. cheers at MarjimManor dot com

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  29. The only real Holiday Celebrations here are the Parade of Lights in Downtown Lowell (beautiful night parade) & Santa's arrival at our fire station... we've been attending for the last 26 years!
    Happy Holidays~
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  30. I love to drive with my family and look at Christmas lights in my small town.
    clarksrfun at gmail dot come

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  31. My city has a small community that hosts Christmas lights, we call it "Winterfest". I believe last year was the last for this festival as it became too costly for the residence, blocking off the streets, getting Police support. I'll miss it. Enjoyed your article.

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  32. The yearly lighting of the Christmas lights on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri will always be a favorite memory. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Annual celebrations are so special, aren't they? They really signal the seasons and bring communities together. And, create memories!

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  33. I love driving with my friends all over the D/FW area looking at the neighborhood lights. schmokercarol@yahoo.com

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  34. Mary Lynette MillerNovember 28, 2017 at 1:59 PM

    There is a small town just a few miles south of us. They do a great job of decorating. One man starts in early October with his outside decorations. He has a local radio station and plays Christmas music all night with the lights flashing off and on to the music. nettiem(at)toledotel(dot)com

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  35. We will attend the Christmas in the Park holiday light display and stop on the way home for donuts and coffee.

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  36. So enjoy reading cozies, probably because I started my love of reading with Nancy Drew. My favorite things about Christmas, besides family is the music and watching Halmark movies. There is just so much to enjoy about Christmas. jluebke(at)frontier(dot)com

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    1. We're all Nancy Drew at heart, aren't we?

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  37. I live in a small town that has great Holiday fetes. One of the best is our Toy for Tots but does so much more Warm coats for babies to teenagers, 3 gifts from Santa. Food Baskets and a personal visit to lonely seniors,there is special food drive for families to get through the 3weeks school is closed. We also have a Christmas tree lighting with wagon rides and the fire trucks come and let the kids climb on them. Popcorn and hot chocolate with a photo booth. I'm seeing houses already decorating too.. They start planning this 2 days after Christmas it's big undertaking ruthenixon@sbcglobal.net Ruth Nixon

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    1. Oh, dear Ruth, thank you for reminding us of the importance of charity in this season of giving. It truly is what brings our communities together, isn't it? xoxo Leslie

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  38. This little town decorates and has a beautiful historical district that goes all out. We have a Parade and tree lighting and great hot chocolate...thank you for a chance to win your book...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  39. I wish we had holiday strolls, tree lightings, and some of the other events I read about small town in books. There really isn't a community feeling where I live. Although having ice skating rinks is nice,

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  40. Looking at christmaslights and decor - parkeremma2003 at yahoo dot com

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  41. There isn't much happening here this year. One of the churches & a couple of the schools are getting together for a 'pageant' That's it. Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

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  42. Looking at Christmas lights. Always have enjoyed that! Thanks for the chance to win!
    jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  43. Often we have a warm Christmas which means we can all go to the park in town by the river. No matter the weather, the best part of the season is being with family...what a blessing!
    LibraryLady80 (at) gmail (don) com Thanks for the chance! Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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  44. Butter off dead..i have not read this one!!! I live in a small town in Texas..we have Fantasy of Lights Parade, our town tree lighting and a big ta-do in our park! I love living in small towns..but there are times i would love to, if not live, then have an extended visit across the pond..but alas, the grass is Not always greener on the other side, just seems at times to be..nani_geplcs@yahoo.com

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  45. Congratulations to our winner, Kay Garrett! And thanks to all of you for sharing a bit of your local holiday celebrations with the rest of us. No matter what you celebrate this season, may it be merry and bright!

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