Sunday, December 31, 2017

Do You Color?

Florrie Fox blogs for
The NEW Pen & Ink Mysteries
by Krista Davis

I'm new to Killer Characters, so I'm a little nervous. You see, I'm actually a private and quiet kind of person. My own mother has called me retiring! Unlike my younger sister, I'm not into sports, nightclubs, or hot trends. Frankly, I'd rather curl up at home with my cat, Peaches, and draw or read a mystery.

By day, I manage the Color Me Read bookstore in Washington, DC. By night, I draw adult coloring books! I'm always doodling new ideas. The bookstore is in the Georgetown section of Washington, which is very cool. It dates way back, so the buildings are gorgeous. Unfortunately, it's a very popular place to live, so I'm constantly on the hunt for an apartment. I'd love to be able to walk to work instead of driving an hour on the Interstate in bumper to bumper traffic. So far, though, everything in my price range has been dark, gloomy, and too depressing.

You might have heard of my boss, Professor John Maxwell. He's quite an adventurer and well known for his exotic travels. His family has been a fixture in Georgetown for generations. He's the most fascinating person I know. He's always pursuing some theory or mystery. He has an office on the third floor of the bookstore where he and his friends can often be found among amazing artifacts that he collected around the world. They peruse maps and have the most interesting discussions. 

The cover of the book about me can be colored! And the items around the center oval are the clues that I doodled. More about that next time. Do you like to color adult coloring books?
The covers of COLOR ME MURDER can be colored! It's now available for pre-order. Be on the lookout for upcoming giveaways.

COLOR ME MURDER (new series coming in February)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Play’s the Thing

By Jayne Wilson from the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series by Vicki Delany

Stars in my eyes. That’s what I’ve had ever since I was a little girl. I so much wanted to be an actor – fame! Fortune! Adulation! – but that never quite worked out.  My mom had tried her luck with the floodlights and greasepaint,  even appearing on Broadway – Broadway! – in a production of Macbeth in her youth. But it hadn’t worked out, and she came home to West London Massachusetts to marry my dad and have my brother and then me.  Acting’s a tough life, she told me, none tougher, and her lack of support for my career choice, even her active opposition, turned me away from the craft.

So I became a baker instead. And that’s been a good choice - I’m not complaining. I love owning Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room,  and being in partnership with Gemma and Arthur Doyle from the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium.  Life has not been dull with Gemma around, I can say that.

But still, sometimes…

This year I’m going to volunteer with the West London Theater Festival.  I’m excited about that. It’s going to be a great festival. The showpiece is The Hound of the Baskervilles, with none other than the legendary star of stage and screen Sir Nigel Bellingham in the role of Holmes.  Gemma thinks the play will be good for business in the store and the tea room. 

Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room has been asked to cater a fund-raising afternoon tea next Saturday. It’s going to be so much fun. I can’t wait!  I just hope nothing goes wrong. Things sometimes do, when Gemma is around.

Find out in anything does go wrong in The Cat of the Baskervilles, coming Feb 13 from Crooked Lane Books.  Body on Baker Street, the second in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, is now available and will be released in paperback on January 9.

Follow Vicki on Facebook at for contests, giveaways, and book news and visit  


Friday, December 29, 2017

A visit from Lori Briggs--and a cover reveal!

Character: Lori Briggs
Series: Vintage Toyshop Mysteries
Author: Barbara Early

Lori Briggs here, taking time from my duties as the First Lady—of East Aurora, NY, anyway—to say a little about Liz McCall. And Ken Young, our chief of police.

See, Liz would be surprised to hear me say this, but I was really rooting for their fledgling relationship to work. After all, a good police department is very important, even to a sleepy village like ours, and it wouldn’t have hurt to see the chief plant a few roots by marrying a local.

(Yes, I may have been known to flirt with the chief, but that was nothing serious. After all, I am a married woman. Honestly, it was mostly just fun to watch him blush.)

When Ken and Liz seemed to hit it off, I was truly happy for both of them. Until…

Well, if you’re unaware of recent events (in Murder on the Toy Town Express) I’m not one to gossip. I will admit that I’m with most of the rest of the town to say that Marya coming back into Ken’s life was an unwelcome surprised. For Liz. And I think for Ken, too. Not quite sure what he sees in that Barbie wannabe, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

I suspect there’s more to her than you can see on the outside. Like one of those Russian matryoshka dolls. You crack that chick open, and I expect you’ll see a few different layers—each one more rotten than the last—and ones I’m going to bet she doesn’t want anyone to know about!

And I might just make it my New Year’s resolution to get to the bottom of it!

Look for DEATH OF A RUSSIAN DOLL, coming October 2018.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

For the Love of Handmade

By Cora Chevalier
Macrame Murder
Cora Crafts Mysteries
By Mollie Cox Bryan

The Holidays are a busy time for most people. So when someone takes the time to make you a gift, the gesture is extremely thoughtful.  But then again, it always is, isn't it?
The style of the day is minimal. "Get rid of your things" seems to be the thing to do. I'm all for purging the things that don't matter to you. But I hate the idea of simply throwing stuff away to fill up landfills. Which is  why I feel that repurposing is so important. Look at your things and ask yourself what else you can do with them.
I know a woman who made a shower curtain from handkerchiefs. I have a friend who made me a delightful apron out of old shirts. and one of my favorite jewelers makes lovely pieces from old silverware.
I have some great old quilts handed down through my family. Sometimes, when one of the quilts is wrapped around me,  I imagine the hands that stitched it and I feel a sense of comfort that goes beyond the warmth of the quilt.
I also have some old cross stitch frames. Pieces that were made for me and given to me by my aunt. These are my treasures and I won't ever get rid of them. Some less sentimental people might call it hoarding of a sort, but I just think of of as a thread to my past and to the people who loved me. For they gave something to me that they made with their own hands. Which is also giving me the gift of their time.
Is it just me? Am I the only person like this? Do you have cherished handmade items you won't throw away?

Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and romances with slow, sweet burn. She’s just published the third book in her new Cora Crafts Mystery Series: Macrame Murder. The first book in the series, Death Among the Doilies,  was selected as "Fresh Fiction Not to Miss" and was a  finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. The second book, No Charm Intended, was named a “Summer 2017 Top 10 Beach Read” by Woman's World. She also wrote the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries. Several of the books the series were short-listed for the Virginia Library People's Choice Award. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Va., where she works as a researcher and fact checker and writes in the early morning hours. Visit her and sign up for her newsletter at Or follow her on Twitter @molliecoxbryan, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

by Helen Jenkins from Sheila Connolly's County Cork Mysteries

Welcome to the Crann Mor Hotel. I’m Helen Jenkins, and I’m part of the new management company that’s bought it and hopes to make this place a must-see venue in the Skibbereen area of West Cork. This is my first trip to Ireland, so I’m eager to learn about the place and its people.

And I’m a liar. Not about the place—polishing up the hotel is part of my job. Not about visiting Ireland, because I haven’t until now. But I have my own, very personal reasons for being here now.

Crann Mor Hotel

When I was in my teens, living in Boston, I married a wonderful Irish man, Tom Donovan. We had very little money, so we lived with his mother Nora for a while, in a cramped apartment. And we had a baby, and she was wonderful too.

Then Tom died, in a stupid accident while he was at his construction job, and I was left with an Irish mother-in-law who was working full-time just to pay the rent, and a squalling baby I didn’t know what to do with, and I was pretty much a kid myself. So one day I just walked out, leaving the baby behind with Nora.

I know, it was a terrible thing to do, and I can’t make any excuses for myself. I never looked back, never contacted Nora, never sent money. I pretended that part of my life never existed, and I worked hard to make a new life for myself—an education, a good job, a husband, and two kids—who don’t even know about my former life. But I couldn't live with my secret any longer, so now I’m in Ireland to try to fix things, if that’s even possible.

You see, I’m Maura Donovan’s mother. She never knew me, and she doesn’t know I’m here now, and I’m not even sure how to introduce myself. And I’m scared she’ll be angry and just tell me to get lost—again. She has every right to do that, and I deserve it. Seems like Maura’s landed on her feet, with a home of her own and a business of her owna pub, of all things!to run, and friends. She doesn’t need me messing up her life now.

But I’m still hoping for more.

If you want to see how Helen and Maura work things out (along with explaining an inconvenient death at the hotel), you’ll have to read Many a Twist (the sixth County Cork Mystery, coming out on January 9th!).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Wedding Plans

By Monica Albertson of 
Peg Cochran's Cranberry Cove Series

It’s snowing outside and Greg and I are curled up on the couch.  Did I tell you what my Christmas present was?  If you could see me, you’d see how much I’m smiling.  Let me show you.  See?  The ring finger of my left hand?  Isn’t it beautiful?  It was Greg’s grandmother’s and he wanted me to have it as an engagement ring.

We’re cuddled here talking about our wedding.

“How do you feel about late September or early October?” Greg said, getting up to peer out the window.

“That would be lovely.  The weather is usually gorgeous with the leaves beginning to turn color and the cranberry vines bursting with berries.”

“Since Lauren and Jeff plan to be married at the farm, I wondered how you’d feel about the Cranberry Cove Yacht Club?  Your stepmother said she can get us an ‘in’ to use their function room. The view out over Lake Michigan is spectacular.”

“That sounds perfect.  We can have the wedding early afternoon and do a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception.”

“I like that idea.”  Greg sat back down and began nibbling on my ear.  “And maybe our wedding night at the Cranberry Cove Inn.  The Presidential Suite, of course.”

“I could go for that.”  I giggled and snuggled closer to Greg.

His kisses trailed down my neck.  “Let’s just hope we don’t encounter any dead bodies,” he said.

I laughed.  “I think I’ve come across my share of dead bodies already.”

Will there be a dead body?   

Monica and Greg request the pleasure of your company at the Cranberry Cove Yacht Club for their wedding reception this spring in book #4.

 Meanwhile, enjoy the latest adventures of Lucille and Flo!

The USA Today bestselling author of Unholy Matrimony is back with a new Lucille Mystery! This time Lucille must track down the killer of a diet guru who had a lot more to lose than just a few extra pounds.

With her best friend Flo’s wedding approaching, Lucille is desperate to trim down and joins Weigh to Lose, a weight-loss program led by a clipboard-wielding harridan who’s as unattractively thin as she is shrill. When the bossy woman turns up dead with her throat slashed and a tasty-looking cannoli stuffed in her mouth, Lucille figures she got her just desserts.

But when the local police come up empty-handed, Lucille sinks her teeth into the mystery and narrows the list of suspects to a husband with a wandering eye, a sexy young Swedish au pair, and a gambler deep in debt to the wrong people. Until one of the suspects becomes the victim of another gruesome murder.

Afraid she’s bitten off more than she can chew and worried that she might be next on the killer’s list, Lucille puts her own neck on the line with a wild plan to trap the culprit and tip the scales of justice.

“If you want a very funny murder mystery, then this book is for you. I’ve never laughed so hard while reading before.” —Goodreads, on Unholy Matrimony, Book 2 in the USA Today bestselling Lucille Mystery Series

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Decorating Traditions and a #bookgiveaway!

Character:      Savannah Webb
Series:           Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries
Author:          Cheryl Hollon

Hi, Savannah here. I'm feeling sad and grateful. This will be the first holiday season without my dad. But, truthfully, it feels a bit like years past since I put up all the decorations. The year after my Mom died, he let me figure out what traditions I wanted to continue and what traditions I wanted to start. He was wise that way.

My favorite part is putting up the Christmas tree. It's always a real tree, but only about five feet tall so that I wouldn't get overwhelmed. I put on the lights first, then the ribbon garlands and finally start hanging the ornaments. In one time-worn box are the fragile ornaments that my mom made during the first Christmas of their marriage. They didn't have much money, so she made a dozen out of egg-cartons, poster paint, glitter, glue, and scraps of lace and rick-rack that she gleaned from the bottom of her sewing box. The white one has in the picture has cutout openings filled with colored tissue paper to resemble stained glass panels. It's the first ornament I put on the tree and it gets the front and center position. 

The last holiday installation task is to display my mom's collection of snow babies. Mom loved them and she would get one every Christmas from Dad to add to her collection. They rest on a pair of crocheted place mats that my Grandmother made.

What are your unique decorating rituals?

There's a #BOOKGIVEAWAY! Leave a comment and your email address in the form of name(AT)server(DOT)com to avoid the SPAM bots. Do this by midnight on December 24 for the chance to win your choice of a signed copy of any book in the Webb's Glass Shop Mystery Series, Pane and Suffering, Shards of Murder, Cracked to Death, or Etched in Tears. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.


Etched in Tears released on November 28, 2017 and is available on AmazonNookKobo, and in all your favorite bookstores. It is published by Kensington Books You can also ask your library to order it for you.

About Etched in Tears

When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it's up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer's cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah's first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis's return home has her reflecting on the past--a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father's records sheds new light on Dennis's history, but it seems his present life wasn't so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it's up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

Meet 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 her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

Visit Cheryl and her books at her WebsiteFacebook or Twitter

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy Christmas from Scotland

From the wee, sleekit beastie,

And the sheep in its shed,

From the sweet-dreaming moggy,
all snug in his bed,

To your house from mine,
with its windows of blue,

And also from Angus,
the braw Highland cu,

May your new year be filled
with peace, joy, and light.

Happy Christmas to all,
and to all a blessed night.

Scones and Scoundrels, book 2 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, comes out January 2, 2018, and is available for pre-order now wherever books are sold.

Molly MacRae is also the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries.  Visit Molly on Facebook and Pinterest, connect with her on Twitter @mysteryMacRae, or find her the first Monday of each month at Amy Alessio’s Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts

Friday, December 22, 2017

Season’s Greetings from the WISE women

Hello there – wherever you are! We’re all here today…Carol, Annie, Christine and me, Mavis. Althea is being brought over to our office from the Dower House by Ian in the Gilbern so we can all have our morning cuppa together. Since it’s our last day in the office before we take some time off for Christmas and the New Year we’re also going to break out the sherry. 

It’s been rather quiet here this past couple of weeks, but we all needed a bit of a breather, so that’s good. But now it’s time for a wee celebration. The year’s seen us have some great achievements, and we hope for more in the year to come.

Ach, here’s Althea now. We’ll all be up at Chellingworth Hall for a festive luncheon on Christmas Day, and we’ll no doubt raise a glass at that time to those we’ve met through the year, and those sadly no longer with us. We wish you all the very best! Cheers, folks!

Want to know how the WISE women first met? Check out Cathy Ace's newest anthology of twelve stories, which allow you to be on the spot when the four women get together, and when Cait Morgan meets Bud Anderson!  Click here to find out about MURDER KEEPS NO CALENDAR

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries.  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! #bookgiveaway

By: Jaymie Leighton Muller & Merry Grace Wynter
From: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries & Merry Muffin Mysteries
Books: Leave It to Cleaver & Muffin to Fear
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

Hello, all! Life changes so fast, sometimes... I didn't know at the beginning of the year that I'd have a family by the end of it. My holiday wish for you all for now and 2018 is as much happiness as you can find, in whatever form it comes. For me it is my new family, my original family, and my great friends, who keep me sane and feeling loved.

Life certainly does change, as Jaymie said. My holiday wish for you all, for this holiday season and the new year is, if you don't have a large family, (or any family at all, for whatever reason) that you find people to love, and that they become your family. That's what happened to me. Years ago I lost my first husband, but I had Pish and Shilo to buoy me, and I was so fortunate that they followed me to Autumn Vale, where I found Virgil and a whole host of wonderful people, like Doc, Hannah, Gogi, Binny, Jack, Emerald and dear Lizzie. My cup runneth over with love.


Happy Holidays, everyone!

Talk to me! I'm going to give away 3 (three!) EBOOK copies of Leave It to Cleaver... you can have me send it to your email, OR... you can gift it to someone else, as long as you know their email address. I can even arrange for the person to get it Christmas Day as a gift!

Rules are simple:

1 -Tell me either your wish for everyone this holiday season OR what you're doing New Year's Eve.

2 - Comment to enter by Midnight December 21st.

3 - Give me your email address (yourname (at) yourserver (dot) com) and your first name, and watch your inbox!


A Note from Victoria...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! The last year has brought changes for many of us cozy authors. I am happy to say I have signed with Beyond the Page to write three more Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, and I'm considering continuing the Merry Muffin Mysteries as well, time permitting. But... I have taken on a scary but WONDERFUL new challenge; I've signed a three book contract with Midnight Ink to write a historical mystery series. A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder will be a series of Regency-set mysteries featuring a gentlewoman named Miss Emmeline St. Germaine. I do hope you all enjoy her adventures!

Watch for more on my Facebook page and my website, where you can sign up for my newsletter, which will keep you informed! I think I will have more news in the new year!

Happy 2018, Everyone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Christmas E-mail and a Giveaway

by Sully Sullivan of the Theater Cop Mysteries by J.A. Hennrikus

Sully here! Today I'm offering my post as a professional courtesy to Tom Flynn, with the Maine State Police, sent me this email, and I thought you'd all find it interesting.

Sergeant Thomas Flynn from the Maine Clambake Mysteries by Barbara Ross

Today we’re giving away two signed copies of Stowed Away, Maine Clambake Mystery #6 (releasing December 26) to lucky commenters below.

December 20, 2017

TO: Tom Flynn, plus 30 bccs
FROM: Tom Flynn

Dear Family—

Please excuse the group e-mail. Unfortunately, once again I won’t make it home to Providence for Christmas. My lieutenant has a wife and two kids, so he’s taking the holiday, which leaves me here to deal with whatever comes up.

First of all, Merry Christmas. I wish I could be there for the celebration. My nephews, Kyle and Lyndon, must be getting so big.

On the work side, I’ve had a busy year with the Maine State Police. The Major Crimes Unit investigates all homicides throughout the state, except in Bangor and Portland. This year out of 25 total homicides (so far), 10 have been in the Central Division where I work. Most are tragic domestic situations, easy to solve, but hard to deal with emotionally.

But we also had a couple of doozeys this year, including the murder of a billionaire on an enormous yacht in Busman’s Harbor. Since the victim was a recluse who never left boat, there were a limited number of suspects—the crew and a few people he’d allowed on board for a dinner party.

Unfortunately, my girlfriend, a brilliant chef, was a member of the crew, so I had to be excused from any formal role in the investigation. As you might guess, I was keenly interested in the outcome and managed to stay involved on an informal basis. The case took some shocking twists and turns, but we did push through to an unexpected resolution.

About the girlfriend… I had hopes this would be the holiday season I could tell you all that your long-time bachelor son, brother, nephew, cousin was finally settling down. I didn’t work out that way and I remain, as ever, unattached. So I continue to keep my head down and focus on work. And to visit the gym everyday. I call it my second home.

At this time of year, I get nostalgic about the big Christmases we had at Grammie and Grampa’s when I was a boy--the women in the kitchen preparing the delicious meal, the men watching the game and all us cousins running wild all around the house. I hope you have as good a Christmas this year at Mom and Dad’s. I wish I could be with you, but you all know why I left the Providence PD, and I think we all agree, it was for the best.

Raise a glass to me at the feast if you think of it.



About Stowed Away

It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .

When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .

Stowed Away will be released on December 26, 2017. You can pre-order the book in paperback, ebook, or audiobook at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books A Million, Hudson Booksellers, Kobo, Apple, Google, and other fine retailers, including your local, independent bookstore. Read more about Stowed Away

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Happy Holiday Giveaway!

By Sassy Cabot from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by TerrieFarley Moran

Welcome to the Killer Characters Season’s Readings Happy Holiday Giveaway!!! On behalf of Bridgy, Miguel, Ophie and all the folks at the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore here in warm and wonderful Fort Myers Beach along with our best buddies Carmela, Ava, Babcock and the fun and fabulous residents of New Orleans who you can read all about in the Scrapbooking Mysteries that our author co-writes with the marvelous Laura Childs,  I’d like to offer you an opportunity to win one of these five books: Well Read, Then Dead, Caught Read-Handed or Read to Death from the Read ’Em and Eat series; or you may prefer Parchment and Old Lace or Crepe Factor from the Scrapbooking series.

For a chance to win the book of your choice, please comment below and tell us which book you would like to win. Don’t forget to include your email addy in this format: name(AT)server(DOT) com to avoid the spam bots. Giveaway closes at midnight, Friday, December 22nd.

Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, every one of us (and our authors too) hope it is a joyous one.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Holidays and a Giveaway

by Carrie Kennersly, veterinary technician and owner of an adjoining barkery and bakery, whose adventures are memorialized in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, everyone.  It's me yet again.  I wanted to take my last opportunity of the year to wish all of you a happy holiday season from me, from my wonderful dog Biscuit, from all my employees at my bakeries Barkery and Biscuits and Icing on the Cake, from Dr. Reed Storme--the veterinarian with whom I seem to be developing a nice relationship, from--

Well, heck, Happy Holidays from everyone in Knobcone Heights, California!  I don't know of anyone around here who wouldn't agree.

And guess what.  To celebrate this season, I've been told that Linda O. Johnston, the person who writes the books describing the various murders I've managed to solve around here, will be giving away a copy of my most recent adventure: Bad to the Bone.  All you have to do to enter is to leave a brief comment here that tells about how you'll be spending this holiday season, most particularly with your dog(s).  Also, leave your email address.  Linda says she'll have one of her dogs pick the winner randomly on December 20 from those who enter.

Good luck, and again Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Norwegian Cookies - and Giveaway!

By Chloe Ellefson, Museum Curator

From the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries

by Kathleen Ernst

Almost everyone has favorite food traditions that emerge around the holidays. Even people who don't spend much time thinking about heritage often treasure Grandma's cookie recipes.

My parents pride themselves on being among the dwindling group of Wisconsinites who can claim "pure" Norwegian heritage. Some of my earliest Christmas memories involve food. My mom really goes nuts for the holidays! Here are some of her favorite Norwegian Christmas cookies.

Goro, from the oldest recipe, are made in special griddles that produce pretty designs.

Sandbakkeler (sand tarts) require lots of little molds. The finished cookies are often filled with jam.

Rosettes are formed on irons and deep-fried.

Fattigman, known as "poor man's cookies," are cut into diamonds, slit and twisted, and fried.

Krumkaker are made on a special irons and formed into cones.

Sirupsnipper (syrup diamonds) also require special cutting. They are a bit like gingerbread, but sweeter and crunchier.

When I was a kid, I often wished that my mom baked some of the cookies my friends brought to school. Cookies with colored frosting. Cookies with chocolate or other gooey and wonderful things.

My attitude has changed, though. These Norwegian cookies are delicious, and they pay homage to my ancestors.

They're also putzy to prepare.  I realize now that my mom fussed over these cookies as a way of showing love for her family and friends.

If you have the good fortune to receive a tin of Norwegian cookies, know that they were made with affection and care.  Happy holidays!

* * *
Giveaway! Name your favorite holiday cookie or treat in a comment below, and you'll be eligible to win the Chloe Ellefson mystery of your choice. Please leave email (such as sue.smith <at> so I can contact the winner. Giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, December 19.

To learn more about the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series---including the newest, Mining For Justice, see Kathleen's website or follow her on her Facebook Author Page.