Tuesday, March 19, 2019
By Sassy Cabot from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by Terrie Farley Moran
So I guess everyone knows that before my BFF Bridgy and I moved to Fort Myers Beach and opened the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookstore, we lived in Brooklyn, New York. Much as I love living year round on a gorgeous beach where the temperature goes from warm to hot and back to warm again, I sometimes miss the change of seasons. Especially when I look at the calendar and realize that tomorrow is the first day of Spring. Back in the Brooklyn days, I always had so much fun each Spring looking for signs of grass bursting through the ground and buds popping open on the trees.
And when Spring arrives it brings color and exuberance. I used to write poems and stories in my journal about the renewal of the fields in Prospect Park and the Norway maple tree that stood at the curb in front of our house.
So to celebrate Spring, I am giving away this gorgeous journal to one lucky commenter. To enter please tell us anything at all about journaling or perhaps mention how happy you are to have Spring on your doorstep. Giveaway closes at midnight your time, Thursday, March 21st.
It is always great to talk to you. If you want to follow along in our adventures, you can find us in Well Read, Then Dead, Caught Read-Handed and Read to Death.
Monday, March 18, 2019
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
Why did I ask why this month? Well, that's because I'm always wondering why my friends and family still keep getting themselves into trouble as suspected murderers.
And it's also because I'm starting to believe that may stop happening soon.
Why? Well, I gather that I'll be called on to solve another murder in a couple of months. It'll be memorialized in yet another book by Linda O. Johnston that'll be called For A Good Paws. Or so I understand. And what I've gathered is that my friend and wonderful assistant Dinah Greeley may be in trouble, so of course I have to help.
I'm hopeful I'll finally get to settle down with my two shops after that and just take care of my two shops, Barkery and Biscuits, and at Icing on the Cake.
But we'll see, of course. I've had reason to believe in the past that I'd be able to stop doing such things as solving murders... but that didn't happen. Will it this time? Will I have to solve another one soon? And will it be the last?
I guess only time will tell. Meantime, things are going well in my potential relationship with veterinarian Reed Storme. And of course my adorable dog Biscuit remains at my side to help me through whatever fate tends to send my way.
PICK AND CHEWS, the fourth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, was a May 2018 release. And watch for FOR A GOOD PAWS this May!
Sunday, March 17, 2019
By: Tug Crozat
From: MARDI GRAS MURDER
Series: Cajun Country Mysteries
Author: Ellen Byron
Hey y’all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Tug Crozat here, proprietor of Crozat Plantation Bed and Breakfast on Louisiana’s famed River Road. Here in my hometown of Pelican, Mardi Gras is probably the biggest holiday we got goin’. Our store shelves tend to look a lot more like this…
But we never miss a chance to decorate for the holidays, so you best believe there’s green streamers and four-leaf clovers all over town and when you open the door to any of our fine eating establishments, you’ll be greeted by the sound of fine Irish music. After all, green is one of our Mardi Gras colors – purple for justice, gold for power, and green for faith.
And let’s not forget the color of our local mascot, seen here trying to snack on author Ellen Byron.
Anyway, y’all, have a tres bon St. Patty’s Day!
Readers, do you have any fun plans to celebrate the holiday today?
Submitted by Ellen Byron
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Duffy Brown Cycle Path Mysteries.
“Hold on a minute, stop right there. Forget the you part about the bodies. Okay, the first one was mine I’ll give you that, but the last one and now this one is definitely a we body.”
Evie Bloomfield here from the Cycle Path mystery series. I’ve come to Mackinac Island from Chicago. Some of my friends say that one place is just like another but they are so wrong. So I gave them instructions. This is how you know you are on Mackinac Island and you are so not in Chicago.
... if you have ever gotten frostbitten and sunburned in the same week. (though truth be told this could be Chicago too)
... if you can identify an Ohio accent.
…if you don’t need car insurance
…if a fender bender is a two-bike crash
... if you learned to pilot a boat before the training wheels were off your bike.
... if you point at the palm of your right hand when telling people where you live
... if "Down South" means Toledo.
... if a Big Mac is something you can drive across.
... if you have as many Canadian coins in your pockets as American ones.
... if the trees in your backyard have spigots.
... if you know that a place called "Kalamazoo" really exists.
... if you bake with "soda" and drink "pop".
... if you know what a pastie is.
... if you know how to play Euchre.
... if fudge and bicycles remind you of home sweet home.
... if you can name all 5 of the Great Lakes, and point to their locations around your left and right hands.
... if you know that Pontiac and Cadillac are cities.
... if you can actually pronounce Ypsilanti.
... if you own only three spices - salt, pepper and ketchup.
... if you design your Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit.
... if you think everyone from the city has an accent.
... if you think sexy lingerie is tube socks and a flannel nightie.
... if your snow blower gets stuck on the roof.
…if you save your Christmas tree to help mark the path across a frozen lake for the snow mobiles
... if summer takes place the second week of July
... if you find -20F a little chilly.
... if the kids drive to school in a snow mobile.
... if you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by.
... you know the day the horses get off the ferry and return to the island
... if you have worn shorts and a coat at the same time.
... if you often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day.
... if you see people wearing camouflage at social events (including weddings.)
... if down South to you means Ohio.
... if you go out to a fish fry every Friday.
…if the whole town is 500 people strong
... if you know what a Yooper is.
... if you know that UP is a place, not a direction.
... if you know it’s possible to live in a thumb.
What is the best part of living on Mackinac Island? I’ll give away two Tandem Demise key fobs from the answers. Email DuffyBrown@DuffyBrown.com to be added to my newsletter.
What is the best part of living on Mackinac Island? I’ll give away two Tandem Demise key fobs from the answers. Email DuffyBrown@DuffyBrown.com to be added to my newsletter.
Friday, March 15, 2019
You haven’t heard from me in quite a while, I know, but you certainly know me from the Zodiac Mysteries. I manage The Mystic Eye occult bookshop in San Francisco owned by my good friend Gale Hymson. I’m not involved in every crime that our friend, astrologer Julia Bonatti, solves, but I am proud to say, you can find me in every book of the series. Julia does great on her own but just in case she needs help, we have her back, believe me.
Right now, things are very calm and I’m so relieved that life has returned to a normal pace -- at least until the next client of Julia’s drags her into solving another murder.
That’s why I thought this would be a perfect time to plan a lovely dinner for my two best friends. I’d like to serve homemade lasagna with crispy Italian bread and red wine. How does that sound? Yummy? I agree, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
First, it’s important to make homemade sauce. You can even do this with canned goods. A couple of large cans of Italian crushed tomatoes and a couple of small cans of Italian brand tomato paste. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic, a chopped onion and lots of basil and oregano. If you’d like meat in your sauce, break up a pound of ground beef or even ground turkey.
Julia’s grandmother has a great trick. She makes braciole in her sauce. She pounds a flank steak flat, then mixes breadcrumbs, a hard cheese, like Parmesan, with olive oil, a little wine and parsley. She covers the steak with the mixture, rolls it up and ties it with string, and then drops it into the simmering sauce. The trick is to cook the sauce long and slow, at least four hours. Crockpots are great for this!
Then I cook the pasta in boiling water, slice up carrots and zucchini, chop an onion, layer on spinach between the layers of pasta and make sure there’s plenty of cheese in each layer. I like mozzarella best. Oh, make sure you sprinkle lots of basil (fresh if you have it) and oregano on each layer. Then I bake the whole tray for about an hour and voila, it’s ready. I know the girls will really like it!
Hopefully things will stay calm at The Mystic Eyes for a while. Well . . . at least until the next book comes out and Julia’s busy with another mystery to solve.
Oh, before I forget, our author, Connie di Marco, is giving away two copies of the large print edition of Tail of the Dragon. Isn't that a beautiful cover? If you like to read in large print, or know someone who does, just send Connie an email at email@example.com. Sorry, there are only two books to give away, so first come, first served.
And if you’d like to visit our author, you can find her at her website, at FB or Twitter @askzodia. Happy reading and happy cooking!
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Have you visited us in Lavender, Texas yet? Here’s where our story began – from Black Cat Crossing:
I laced my fingers, cracked my knuckles, and stared at the few words on my laptop screen. Behind me, the hum of early morning conversation in Hot Stuff Coffee House went on as usual. Back when I was a kid visiting my Aunt Rowena, the shop was called Der Kaffee Haus, in keeping with the German heritage here in Lavender, heart of the Texas Hill Country. Then a transplant from San Antonio bought the place and changed the name to Hot Stuff. He traded the old oom-pah-pah background music for seventies disco tunes. I’d choose listening to Donna Summer over any polka band in history, but I had to wonder why he didn't go with a country music theme. After all, this was Texas.
Boot Scootin' Coffee, perhaps.
Or, if he had his heart set on Hot Stuff, he could stream songs by today's up-and-coming hunky performers. More good-looking guys than I can keep up with, but dang it, thinking about country singers wasn't supposed to be on my agenda this morning.
I yanked off one of the ponytail holders I wear on my wrist like extra bracelets and gathered my mop of hair at the nape of my neck. After fastening the hair with the pink elastic band, I tried to concentrate on my story. In the real world, I listened to the peaceful clinking of spoons against heavy crockery mugs and the Bee Gees crooning "How Deep Is Your Love," but on the pages of my novel in progress all hell had broken loose. Scarlett Olson and her toddler Melody were on the run from a killer, having barely escaped plunging into an icy river in Calgary which would have meant their sudden death.
I sat back and nibbled my lower lip. Would this plot line fly? Should Scarlett have had more sense than to leave the safety of their hideout? She'd seen the weather forecast for torrential rain on TV that morning. She knew the killer was nearby. Would the reader rag on my character for not calling the authorities, even though she couldn't risk turning on her cell phone for fear the villain would track her signal?
I blew out a breath and stared at the poster of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever on the wall near me. I supposed he was considered "hot stuff" back in the day – around the time I'd been born. I rubbed my neck, feeling Scarlett's predicament in every tendon, but did it come across on the page? For the millionth time I wondered if I'd ever finish this book or if I was destined to the status of wanna-be mystery author forever. I lifted my cup and took a whiff of the heavenly vanilla-and-almond-scented coffee – a house blend called Lavender's Sunrise.
Try to relax, Sabrina. For God's sake, focus.
Before I could get back into the story, the shop's bell tinkled and the door thwacked open into the table behind it. I turned and saw Thomas Cortez marching straight for me. He wore a wide-brimmed straw hat, jeans over work boots, and a short-sleeved plaid shirt. I'd seen him – the handyman for Aunt Rowe's rental cottages and her most loyal friend – tackling an overgrown hedge when I'd left this morning. His grim expression told me he wasn't here for a great cup of coffee.
My heart leapt to my throat and I stood, fearing the worst. "Is Aunt Rowe okay?"
"She's fine, Miss Sabrina." Thomas pulled out a chair and plunked himself down.
"Thank goodness." I eased back into my seat.
Thomas took his hat off and placed it on the chair across from me. "Your aunt's having a good day so far. Glenda got her settled on the patio chaise so she can enjoy some sun before the day gets too hot. The physical therapist should be there shortly."
My aunt, Rowena Flowers, took a nasty fall in early spring and was recovering from a concussion and a broken leg. Which was my impetus for finally quitting my Houston paralegal job and accepting her offer to come live with her for a while. In addition to keeping my aunt company I was helping Thomas and Glenda the housekeeper manage the cottages during Aunt Rowe's recuperation.
Thomas lifted his arm to check his watch, and I spotted a bloody cut on his forearm. Looked to me like he might need stitches.
"What happened to you?" I pulled a fresh napkin from the dispenser and handed it to him.
He accepted the napkin and dabbed at the wound. "El Gato Diablo is what. Gosh-darned cat crossed my path, next thing my toe caught on the curb, and I fell flat out. Arm caught the edge of one of them fancy metal planters in front of the wine shop. Better'n smacking my head, I guess."
"A devil cat?" My forehead creased. "What are you talking about?"
"The black cat," he said. "Big fella. Been around these parts since I was a kid."
Since he was a kid?
"You're what?" I said. "Thirty-something?"
The coffee shop's owner, Max Dieter, came up with a mug for Thomas in one hand and a steaming coffee pot in the other. The big man had a fringe of strawberry blonde hair surrounding a bald crown and always offered a jolly smile. Without asking what Thomas wanted, he filled the fresh mug with a flourish.
"Heard you talking about the bad luck cat," he said. "Legend around town. I thought we'd seen the last of him when Wes Krane loaded him up and carted him off to Nolan County."
I'd met the crotchety Mr. Krane, owner of the local hardware store, and wasn't surprised that he'd drive across the state just because a cat annoyed him.
Thomas lifted his arm to show Max his injury. "The cat's here in Lavender. Did this to me."
Max shook his head. "The animal better steer clear of my place. I remodeled to bring in more business. Don't need bad luck scaring people away."
I stifled a giggle. If you asked me, Max’s baby-blue leisure-suit-like pants and polyester print shirt were enough to drive customers away.
"Y'all be serious," I said. "Cats don't bring bad luck. And there's no black cat that's like thirty years old."
Thomas said, "Remember, cats have nine lives."
"Uh-huh." I rolled my eyes. "You took a fall this morning, that's all. It was an accident."
"You'll run into that cat one of these days," Max said. "Most folks do sooner or later. You've been warned."
"Right." Thomas nodded. "El Gato Diablo."
Kay Finch is the National Best-Selling author of the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries by Penguin Random House. 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. Bad Luck Cat Mystery #4 – The Black Cat Steps On a Crack – is scheduled for a June release. Visit her at www.kayfinch.com.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Convict to Victim. . . .From the eyes of Greaser Gadie,
MOTORHOMES, MAPS, & MURDER
Here’s the situation. I had to get out of that prison. It was breaking my soul and the only person I knew to turn to was Brother Lester Hager, the preacher at the Normal Baptist Church in Normal, Kentucky.
I’m telling you, my soul was crushed. When Brother Lester and them church women came to talk to the prisoners, me included, I wasn’t sure about all that. After all, them bible beaters where spoutin’ off stories of redemption and love.
Then I got thinkin’. I’m redempted and I deserve love. When that pretty young thing got off that bus behind Brother Lester, I knew that she was the love I deserved. Her name was as pretty as her light brown hair and her crystal blue eyes. Julip Kaye Knox. She was smart too. She’s a map maker. There’s a fancy name for that. . . but anyways.
When she put her hand in the air to talk to some of the prisoners, I knew I had to be in her group. She came trotting into the communal area and my heart beat as fast as a turbo charged engine.
Week after week, I studied exactly what Julip had left for homework because I wanted her to notice me. The best day of my life was when the prison guard came in and told me I had a visitor. You couldn’t imagine my surprise when Julip was standing right there. Alone. And on a different day than then the normal group visit.
It was then that I came up with my brilliant plan to escape from prison. I just had to be with her outside of the bars. By the look on her face, I knew she was on board, and the most important part of my ticket out.
I wooed her for a few weeks and talked sad mouth to her about my conditions making it her idea for me to escape, which got her excited. She was the one who told me the secret about Preacher Lester Hager was keeping, but it was my idea on how to come up with the blackmail scheme.
The next time the bible beaters came to the prison, instead of getting into Julip’s group, I decided to go to Preacher Lester. During a moment of silence prayer, I whispered in his ear what I knew and if he brought me a few thousand dollars, an extra set of clothes, and a clear escape, then I’d keep my mouth shut.
It was a great idea until my ego got in the way. I’d escaped just like me and Lester planned, and it was on my way to Julip’s cabin in the woods, when lo and behold there was the Battle of Wildcat Reenactment taking place in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Park. This crazy lady in an exercise outfit and fanny pack, Queenie something or other was her name, gave me a civil war uniform and a bayonet, of all things, throwing me in the reenactment. Clearly, she thought I was someone else.
I figured I’d just pretend and play along while I made my way to the beginning of the trail using the maps Julip had made for me. After all, I didn’t want anyone to recognize me, Greaser Gadie, the escaped prisoner that all the law was looking for. But it was then that I noticed one of the jurors that help convict me and put me behind bars.
I recalled the last thing I said to him right before they hauled me off the prison, “I’m remembering your face because I’m going to come after you one day.” Now, at the time, those might’ve been just words. But when I saw his face, my blood boiled, and I knew I had to make good on my promise.
I made it look like part of the reenactment and that I stabbed a soldier from the other side. My luck would have it, there was another feller there that was on the jury and I had to make good on my promise one more time. . .
Until. . .someone recognized me. Down I went, to my demise. There were three dead, including me. But who killed me?
For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mysteries with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. Be sure to check out Tonya’s website for upcoming events and news and to sign up for her newsletter! Tonyakappes.com
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