Friday, February 22, 2019

When ancient history isn't so ancient @AceCathy

BOOK: The Wrong Boy 
AUTHOR: Cathy Ace
CHARACTER: Betty Glover, psychotherapist   

Kristopher Zgorski, at BOLO Books says: "With two successful series and a few collections of novellas, some may view Cathy Ace’s decision to release a stand-alone psychological suspense novel as a strange – and potentially risky – move, but not too many pages into The Wrong Boy skeptics will realize this is a novel she was destined to write. While it does skew a bit darker than her more traditional – bordering on cozy – offerings, there is nothing gratuitous in The Wrong Boy that should off-put Cathy Ace’s existing fans."



As a psychotherapist, I spend my professional life delving into other people's secrets - the lives they sometimes don't even acknowledge to themselves that they live. But my husband and I have always agreed we don't take our work home with us; he's a Detective Inspector in the West Glamorgan Police Service, so we both have good reason to leave our work-day at the front door when we finally have the chance of some private time together.

That's all going to change very soon - he retires at the end of the week, and will have to find a new way to fill his days. I'm going to keep working, though I'm able to pick and choose my days and hours, so I can be flexible about the amount of time we get together from now on. It's  - hopefully - going to mean a smoother transition into his retirement for both of us. 

He's on his way home now. Sounded a bit down on the phone. He's been stuck out at a village in Gower all day overseeing the discovery of some mysterious remains there. And it's been raining, hard, so he'll probably be soaked to the skin, poor dab. Still, he won't have to do this sort of thing any more, not after Friday. Which is good...I think.



The village where they found...whatever it is...is a lovely place. Rhosddraig sits on the cliffs overlooking the spectacular beach below, and it's a place Evan and I - that's my husband, DI Evan Glover - have gone many a time for a good, long walk, followed by a drink at the pub there, The Dragon's Head. Nice place. Run by three generations of the same family - the Jones women. 

Evan is interested in local history, and I think he'll be happy to have more time to spend with his head buried in his books when he finishes work...he's especially keen on the Neolithic sites in the area around Rhosddraig. 

I must admit I don't feel quite the same way about them that he does - though touching stones erected by human hands over five thousand years ago does make me feel connected to those ancient people in a strange way. It makes you think, doesn't it, about what it was that motivated them to somehow (no one knows exactly how) move massive rocks, weighing tons, to a certain location, then to somehow (again, no one knows how) lift one to sit upon four others, like a sort of table. And all to honor...well, again, no one is quite certain. 



But I dare say Evan won't have been yomping around ancient monuments today - this day's been all about ensuring that a possible crime scene is treated as it should be. No, those ancient stones - however mysterious they might be - are just standing in the landscape here in South Wales, offering a good draw for the tourists..that's all, these days. Surely.

###

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon's Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he's just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .

 
Settle down with a twisty tale about secrets and lies...NOW!





 

 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Two Women, Talking... & GIANT winter #bookgiveaway!





By: Merry Wynter & 
Jaymie Leighton Muller
From: Merry Muffin Mysteries & Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: 
Victoria Hamilton Mysteries



Jaymie's Vintage Eats

February 2019


Hello all, Jaymie here! 

Welcome to my food blog once again! I have a guest cook today, someone I 'met' by phone a year or two ago. Meet Merry Grace Wynter, who owns a fabulous castle in western New York state, near Batavia! She is also a muffin baker extraordinaire, and is going to share a recipe and some of her muffin tips today. Take it away Merry!

Merry Grace Wynter: 

Thanks, Jaymie!

For those who don't know... I inherited (from a great uncle I never knew!) an amazing castle in western New York state. It was a complete surprise to me when I was told, and at first I just intended to stay for a while, fix it up and sell it! But... Wynter Castle has wormed its way into my heart, and even more so the folks of nearby Autumn Vale. I couldn't imagine leaving now.

Anyway, freshly moved a couple of years ago, I was looking for a way to make some money and connect with the locals. The local baker, Binny, simply refuses (!!) to bake anything so plebeian as muffins, bars or cookies, so, using my grandmother's recipes, I started a business out of the castle kitchen, Merry's Muffins. I have a few clients now - the retirement/nursing home, the local cafe, a coffee shop in nearby Ridley Ridge - and it keeps me busy.

Even though I am now moving on to a new stage at the castle - Pish (my friend) and I have big plans afoot! - I still keep up with the muffin business. Here is a great muffin recipe that my Nana used to make all the time; she always had some of this batter on hand in the fridge and could bake fresh muffins in the time it took friends to come up a few floors in our New York apartment building!

With my Muffin-a-Day recipe, you'll always have the batter on hand.


Jaymie: Thanks so much, Merry! I'll have to try these... it would be so great to have the batter in the fridge ready to go. 

So, folks... Merry would like to know... what is YOUR go-to muffin? I'm partial to any muffin that tastes like dessert... Carrot Cake Muffins, Chocolate Walnut Muffins, you name it... if it's dessert-y, I'll love it, with a fresh cup of tea or coffee, please!

~::~

GIANT Giveaway!

I will be choosing FIVE winners from the comments, and each winner can choose one EBOOK version of ANY of these books!

RULES... read and follow to be entered!

1 - include your email address in some format (eg: yourname at yourserver dot com) AND your first name!
2 - Answer the question... what's YOUR favorite muffin!!
3 - Tell me which of these books you would like to win an ebook version of!
4 - Enter by Midnight, February 22nd... entries posted after midnight the 21st will go into a queue for approval; I will approve ALL before choosing winners! 

Good luck, all... now look at these titles and choose the one you'd like to win!!!

*Special note... there will be a NEW Merry Muffin Mystery in late spring - Muffin But Trouble - and a NEW Vintage Kitchen Mystery in fall, Cast Iron Alibi!

Vintage Kitchen Mystery Titles
Merry Muffin Mystery Titles

A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder



And even choose my latest, a riveting historical mystery, A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Winter Gardening and a GIVEAWAY

by Lilly Jayne of Pruning the Dead
The Garden Squad series by Julia Henry

I love gardening. These dark, cold Massachusetts winter days stretch endlessly as I dream of getting back into my garden, turning over the soil, giving my plants some springtime TLC as they come back.

In the winter I'm spoiled to have  wonderful greenhouse, but even then, February is cold. So I've taken to forcing bulbs, creating a pop of nature's colors against the bleak midwinter sky. Hyacinths are a particular favorite.

My friend Delia and I have taken to scouring antique shops for Victorian jars that were dedicated to the purpose. That adds another element to this winter hobby.

Yes, forcing bulbs can get me through the winter until I can get outdoors. Some folks suggest that I go south for the winter, but leave Goosebush? Never. There's too much going on in my little town, not all of it good.

***********
Pruning the Dead is the first in the new Garden Squad mystery series by Julia Henry! To celebrate the release, I'm going to give two commenters randomly chosen a copy of Pruning. Leave your email in the comment, and let me know what your favorite flower is this time of year. I'll choose the winner on February 23! 
JHAuthors.com @JHAuthors on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Giveaway! How was your Valentine's Day?

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



So, did everyone have fun on Valentine’s Day? We had a party in the Read ’Em and Eat complete with heart shaped cupcakes and cranberry-lemonade juice. Members from all the book clubs were there and a battle broke out when Bridgy asked which novel the folks thought was the most romantic. Jocelyn Kendall announced there was no story every written more romantic than Romeo and Juliet, which prompted Augusta Maddox to shout, “Are you serious? How do you compare that spoiled baby Romeo to a real man like Mr. Darcy? For my money it is Pride and Prejudice all the way.” The tug of war began in earnest when the other adults jumped into the fray. But the teen club saved the day when its members stood united in favor of The Fault in Our Stars, out numbering the squabbling adults. Then we played party games and gave out prizes. And aren’t you glad we saved a prize for you?



For a chance to win this Read to Death Valentine tote please comment below. You might want to mention a romantic book or talk about Valentine's Day in general. Don't forget to leave your email addy using this format: NAME (AT) SERVER (DOT) COM to avoid the spambots. Winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway closes at midnight your time on February 21st.

It is always great to hang out with you for a while. If you want to follow along in our adventures you can find us in Well Read, Then DeadCaught Read-Handed and Read to Death.



Monday, February 18, 2019

Me?



by Dinah Greeley, Carrie Kennersly's full-time assistant at her two shops in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, I'm Dinah Greeley.  Carrie Kennersly acquired my services when she bought the Icing on the Cake Bakery and turned half into Barkery and Biscuits, where she--we--sell some pretty fabulous healthy dog treats that Carrie, a veterinary assistant, created.  I'd already been employed at Icing and was thrilled to stay on.   I love baking, so I spend plenty of time in the kitchen, and I also enjoy selling our wonderful products in both the Barkery and Icing.

But working for Carrie isn't all I do.  I love to write, so I'm always doing research.  That's usually a good thing.  But not at the moment.

I'm hoping to write a fantastic, best-selling novel someday, you see.  And it's kind of fun following Carrie around since she seems to be solving a lot of murders lately.  So it's really no surprised that I started to look into some interesting things going on in our town of Knobcone Heights--like, the former mayor's murderer somehow got paroled from jail early, and both he, and the former mayor's husband, returned to our town at the same time.

Of course I started asking questions... and, well, they seem to have gotten me into trouble.  So much trouble that, when that husband is found murdered, I'm considered a possible suspect.  Me???  I research things, but I don't kill people.

Fortunately Carrie, as usual, sets out to find the truth.  I'm jealous, but I understand that the story will be told soon in a new book about Carrie that I didn't write called For A Good Paws.  And will I be exonerated?

I certainly hope so!

FOR A GOOD PAWS, the fifth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, will be a May 2019 release from Midnight Ink. 
 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

MORE MARDI GRAS MADNESS: WAIT 'TIL YOU READ THIS!


By: Gaynell Bourgeois
From: MARDI GRAS MURDER
Series: Cajun Country Mystery #4

Hey, y’all, it’s Gaynell Bourgeois, Maggie Crozat’s friend! I’m super excited because it’s almost Mardi Gras and I get to be a capitaine at the Pelican Courir de Mardi Gras.

Okay, that’s a whole lotta words you probably don’t understand. Here in Cajun Country, we don’t celebrate Mardi Gras with big, fancy balls like they do in New Orleans. Instead we have a Mardi Gras Run. People dress in wild, handmade costumes and masks, and go from house to house trying to make the homeowners give us the ingredients for a communal gumbo.



Photos courtesy of Jan Gilbert

They walk, ride horses, ride flatbed trucks. The Mardi Gras – yup, here in Cajun Country, Mardi Gras is also a proper noun – beg, sing, and play pranks to try and get chickens and veggies and all the good stuff that goes into a gumbo. There’s a lot of drinking and carousing, and somebody’s got to keep these Mardi Gras in line. This year, that’s me, the capitaine! At least for the woman’s Courir. The Courirs used to be all men, but we gals didn’t take to that, so we started our own run. But we all meet up and become one giant group when it’s time for that yummy vat of gumbo.




Masks, booze, and partying – not much that can go wrong there, huh? Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Wait… what happened to Maggie? And why is that horse with two people on it galloping so fast – in the opposite direction from the Courir?


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hello from Amy



by Amy Flowers from The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson

I did it! Today I marched into Lou Lou Holman's office and handed that bully my resignation. And I told her I'm opening my own cafe. You can probably imagine how well that went over.

Let me back up a little. I've been working at Lou's Joint for over a year now. My cousin Jackie has been working for Lou Lou even longer than that. (In case you're wondering, Lou Lou was named after her dad, Lou, who originally built the cafe.) Anyway, Lou Lou doesn't pay her waitresses minimum wage--which is common--but she makes us give her half our tips--which is certainly not common and not right. Plus, the woman will bawl us out over the least little thing.

I've been begging for a shift in the kitchen for ages, but Lou Lou simply won't hear of it. The only people who are allowed cook at Lou's Joint are Lou Lou and her son Pete. Does it matter to her that I've been to culinary school and have some really good ideas for making the cafe more profitable? No, it does not. To her, I'm "getting above my raising."

My sweet nana died last year, and she left me some money. I'm using that money to open my own cafe. I was hoping that Lou Lou would sell her cafe to me so I wouldn't have to build. Remodeling would be so much faster than building my own cafe--which I'm calling the Down South Cafe--from the ground up. But I can do it. Roger--a childhood friend who's a contractor--has already promised to help me. And I have other friends, in addition to my mom and Aunt Bess, who I can count on.

I’m really excited about opening my own café. I learned the basics about cooking at my nana’s right arm. I was always right by her side while she was making breakfast and dinner—and holiday meals were the best. We’d start—or, she’d start, but when I got older I was allowed to help—and prepare the pies and cakes a day in advance. One of my favorite pies she made was her oatmeal pie. I still love to make it because it always reminds me of her. I want to add a display case to my café so I can offer patrons baked goods to take home with them.

And while I want to continue to serve the foods that the café patrons expect and are accustomed to, I also want to give them some more exciting choices as well. Winter Garden residents like the tried-and- true and will be reluctant to pay for something they might not like, so I’ll have to allow patrons to sample new dishes before I add them to the menu. I feel that most of the patrons will love corn fritters made with cheddar cheese, but they might be reluctant to try fried plantain chips. Of course, they could surprise me.

This is going to be fun! Right? What's the biggest adventure you've ever set out on? Did you regret it? Or was it the best decision you ever made?