Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Easter Bunny And All Things Christmas

Hi all, Mal here from the Candy-Coated Mystery Series by Nancy Coco. Most of you know by now that I'm a dog. For the most part I like being a dog. It has great perks. I get to sniff out dead things and point them out to Allie--she's my human.

We live on Mackinac Island in the great state of Michigan. Being so far north, we sometimes get snow for Easter. As you can see from the picture, sometimes snow is a "What-the-what?" kind of thing for a little dog like me. Still I've seen that Easter Bunny hope through it better than I can, leaving colored eggs and baskets everywhere.

Of course she leaves fudge, too, because Mackinac is the fudge capital of the world. Being a dog, I can't eat chocolate fudge, but there are other flavors I like, for example: peanut butter fudge, maple walnut fudge, pecan blonde fudge, and salted caramel fudge. Of course, salted caramel is my pal Caramella, the cat, Mella for short, anyway it's her favorite because she says it was named after her. She claims she is more famous than I am. I disagree since I've found more dead things than she has so far. But I digress. Easter can also be green, but cold as the snow has melted but the wind off the great lakes is still brisk. That's why I wear a sweater.

So, I suppose you are curious why I have Christmas in the title? Well, our next book is titled, "Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas." That's a bit of an ear worm, don't you think? I bet you sung that title. I like to sing, too. Any who... It comes out in October, this year. But is clearly a Christmas book. I like Christmas. The tree and the sparkling lights and the warm milk and the cookies and we can't forget Santa.

I've heard that some people prefer Easter to Christmas. I can't decide so I'm taking a poll. Which do you prefer? Easter or Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Easter everyone!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

See you in the Thousand Islands!

If you're feeling restless these days, just like me, and yearn to do some exploring, I'd like to suggest taking a virtual tour of the Thousand Islands region. It's a magical area and there are several tours listed on the internet. Here's one I tried out before moving to Alexandria Bay. It's of the beautiful Boldt Castle on Heart Island and if you've never visited, this is the next best thing.

Here's the link:

I really wish we had one of Blye Castle where the seasonal location of our bookstore, Bayside Books is located. It's on Blye Island, and unfortunately, you won't even find it on the map. But I hope you'll visit us with the Castle Bookshop Mysteries, and I'll try to give you a lot of description so you'll feel like you're right there.

Let me know how you enjoyed the Boldt Castle tour! Hope you enjoy.

It's now here -- DEATH ON THE PAGE
book #2 in the Castle Bookshop Mysteries
available in hardcover, e-book and audio! 


And, TROUBLE ON THE BOOKS is now available in trade paperback!

Trouble on the Books is also available in hardcover, e-book, and audio book.


Other Series you might enjoy:


The Dinner Club Mysteries by Linda Wiken are available at your favorite bookseller or online!


Writing as Erika Chase:

Look for A KILLER READ,  (#2 on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Bestseller List and an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Mystery),  READ AND BURIED, COVER STORY, BOOK FAIR AND FOUL, and LAW AND AUTHOR on-line or at your favorite bookstore.

Visit Linda at
at my Facebook author page and
on Twitter  @LWiken 

Monday, April 6, 2020


My name is Samantha Washington and I’ve loved murder mysteries for as long as I can remember. I think my love affair started when I was a kid and my Nana Jo gave me my first Encyclopedia Brown book. From there, I moved on to Nancy Drew and found a kindred spirit in Agatha Christie. Even after all these years, I still remember the moment I got to the “Big Reveal” in The Murder of Roger Akroyd. The ending blew my mind and I was captivated forever.

I even met my husband, Leon, in the mystery section of a bookstore. Leon preferred darker P.I., noir novels. He used to joke that he liked his mysteries the same way he liked his coffee, dark and gritty. While I prefer my mysteries lighter and a lot cozier. Our combined love of the genres (and a shortage of bookstores in North Harbor, Michigan) planted the desire to own a bookstore that specialized in mysteries. We dreamed of carrying every genre and sub-genre of mystery old and new. There’s nothing worse than finishing the fourth book in a series and having to wait to get the next one. Or, looking for a book in a newly discovered older series only to discover your local bookstore doesn’t carry that series anymore. Leon and I would solve that problem by carrying older mysteries as well as newer ones. Bookstores turn their inventory often to make a profit, but we wanted to cater to people and not to the bottom-line.

Owning a bookshop, especially one that only carried mysteries, was a dream. I was a high school English teacher and Leon was a cook. We spent most of our married life living from one paycheck to the next, without a lot of excess capital for luxuries like buying buildings, but Leon’s unexpected death changed everything. Instead of waiting until my ship came in and I hit the lottery before I pursued my dream, I realized that life is short—sometimes, too short. So, I quit my job, sold our house and bought the building we often walked by and wondered, What if? Now, I own my own building and my own mystery bookshop, Market Street Mysteries.

Owning my own mystery bookshop has been a dream come true. Not only do I get access to an endless supply of mysteries, but I get to share my love of mysteries with others. Even though, Leon isn't here to see our dream become a reality, I've been blessed to share my dream with my grandmother, Nana Jo, and my nephews, Zaq and Christopher who often help out. I've even gotten to make new new friends, like my assistant, Dawson Alexander, who makes all of the delicious baked goods for the bookshop.

If you want to read more about me and my mystery bookshop, check out the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series by V. M. Burns. 


Amateur sleuth Samantha Washington's shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .

After some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride. It's a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver's seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions...

Follow V. M. Burns:

Sunday, April 5, 2020

It's All About the Nose!

By Wally the Airedale, cadaver dog in training

All right, I admit it.  I don’t look like much.  I mean I’m not mean looking.  Or intimidating.  But hey, I’m young, and the lady I live with, Jazz Ramsey, she thinks the world of me.  She says that someday, I’m going to be the best Human Remains Detection dog in the universe!

What does that mean?  That’s easy.  One of these days, when I’m trained and I’m ready, and I’m certified, I’ll go out with Jazz and the other volunteers she works with and we’ll help the police and other local authorities search for people they think are dead.

It’s not as easy as it sounds.  There’s plenty of training involved.  Even though a lot of dogs don’t even start their HRD training until they’re 18 months old (they don’t have the attention spans before then), Jazz has already started working with me.

We train on basic obedience commands, and Jazz is teaching me to be an independent thinker, too.  After all, once we’re out in the field, I’ll have to make my own decisions.  I’ll still need to obey Jazz when she gives me a command.  I’m good with that.  But I’m also going to need to take the lead sometimes, to tell her which direction we need to go in, where we need to look.

To do that, she’s helping me learn all about the scent of decomp.

I get it.  I hear “Eeew” a lot when I say that, but think about how important it is.  A cadaver dog like me has to know how to detect the scent of human decomp in the air for when breezes blow dead cells around.  I also have to be able to sniff the ground to detect the scent.  That’s because sometimes, that’s where I’m going to find it.  This kind of stuff is way easier for dogs than it is for you humans.  Our sense of smell is way better than yours!

It’s pretty interesting stuff and Jazz says, being an Airedale, I’m plenty smart and able to learn.  She’s also mentioned (well, a time or two) that Airedales are stubborn.  I don’t know about that.  I do know that I have my own way of doing things sometimes.  But don’t worry, she’ll come around to my way of thinking.  After all, while she’s training me, I’m training her.  And you know what?  I think she’s right.  Pretty soon we’re going to be the best team of handler and cadaver dog in the universe!

Wally and Jazz will next appear in "The Secrets of Bones,"
on store and cyber shelves May 5

Saturday, April 4, 2020


by Yolanda Bella, Tally Holt’s best friend and owner of Bella’s Baskets
from the DEADLY SWEET TOOTH #2 in the Vintage Sweets series by Kaye George

I don’t envy my friend Tally right now. Okay, I am envious of her most of the time. Her parents, for example. They don’t meddle in her life like mine do, especially my father. Always treating me like I’m some delicate little flower that can’t manage on my own. Just because I didn’t go into the real estate business with him like my sister, Violetta, that paragon of daughterly perfection. No, Tally’s parents are usually on the other side of the world, letting her live her own life. And she doesn’t have a sister to be unfavorably compared to.

Right now, though, I wouldn’t want to be her. She’s short-handed at her shop. And those globe-trotting parents? They’re making a rare appearance here, in Fredericksburg, Texas. Tally is holding a reception for them and has to hire some help for it—at the very last minute.

Also, Allen, the guy she was beginning to really like, has taken a job that will keep him out of town most of the time. Poor Tally.

The party is about to begin and Tally’s parents have shown up. But what is wrong with her mother? She looks sick, feverish. I think she might faint. And those servers Tally hired, they keep disappearing. And now what’s happened? One of the guests has fallen to the floor. No, not Tally’s mother. It’s Fran Abraham. She doesn’t look well at all. Someone call an ambulance!

This is very bad. But there IS something good happening—for you!

The publisher, Lyrical Press, is running a Goodreads giveaway of DEADLY SWEET TOOTH, giving away 100 copies of the e-book! 100 winners! Hurry over to sign up:

You can also buy the first book, REVENGE IS SWEET, at

Friday, April 3, 2020

Robbie Jordan Heads West, plus #ARCGiveaway

Robbie Jordan here, from Maddie Day's Country Store Mysteries.

It was kind of hard to believe my high school graduating class was holding its tenth reunion. But when you hit twenty-eight, twenty-nine, that's what happens. 

I live in southern Indiana. I grew up, though, in Santa Barbara, what the local Chamber of Commerce is now calling the American Riviera. Yeah, I know. Silly. Still, it's drop-dead gorgeous and a heck of a lot warmer in February than the Midwest. 

So I went, and my author has written a book about what happened that week. Here's the opening:

Like Dorothy in Oz, I definitely wasn’t in Indiana anymore. At least the Wicked Witch hadn’t shown up. Yet.
The sun had just dipped into the Pacific Ocean, and a mild Santa Barbara breeze shooshed through tall palm trees. Mellow jazz slid out of speakers in a spacious function hall facing the water with glass doors open to a wide patio. The Chumash High School tenth reunion committee had organized every detail. I sipped a glass of pinot noir from a winery located less than an hour’s drive away in the Santa Ynez Mountains behind us, and nervously adjusted my favorite turquoise shoulder bag. So far I hadn’t seen anybody I really wanted to hang out with tonight.
Thing is, I soon learned my mom's death a couple of years earlier might not have been a natural one, after all. And when a friend of hers died under suspicious circumstances while I was out there? I dusted off my South Lick sleuthing skills and went to work.

Maddie says she'll send two of you an advance copy of Nacho Average Murder! 
Readers, what's your favorite Mexican, southwestern, or west coast food?

Maddie Day creates the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Edith Maxwell, this Macavity- and Agatha-nominated author writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction
Maxwell/Day lives north of Boston with her beau, where she cooks, gardens, and wastes time on Facebook. She blogs here and with the other Wicked Authors. You can find her on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and at her web site,

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Looking for the perfect corn dog!

by Angie Turner from DEEP FRIED REVENGE by Lynn Cahoon.

OMG, I love the state fair. I feel like a little girl as we finally arrive at the parking lot. I note our row and the closest section marker up on the light poles. When I was a kid, it was my job to remember section 24, row D. Now, I key it into my phone note app just in case I forget. 

The parking lot is dirt and now crushed grass that had been cut probably a few weeks ago in preparation for the thousands(?) of cars that will be parked here for the next week and two days. I can smell the fryers setting up, getting ready for the crowds and my mouth waters for a freshly made corn dog. Slathered with plain yellow mustard.

The best food ever. 

When I went to California for a few years, I tried to find a corn dog that matched the ones I devour during Fair week. No luck. Either the hot dog was off, or they used frozen corn dogs and re-heated them in the fryer. Just not the same.

Yes, I'm a corn dog purist. 

There are other foods that I must eat while I'm here. Fudge from one of the vendors in the exhibition hall. A hamburger covered in onions fried on a flat top. And for dessert? A baked potato made out of ice cream.

This is the Idaho State Fair after all.

This year, I'll be working during the fair. Felicia signed us up for restaurant wars. Mostly it's a marketing thing. Good for business. And it gets our name out there. I have to say, winning against some of the more established local restaurants wouldn't hurt my feelings any. Being the 'country' farm to fork place is sometimes challenging to get respect out of the culinary community.

I'm not totally looking for respect. I'll be happy if we have a good showing. It's about the bottom line and keeping The County Seat in the green.

But I'd love it if we won.

I've got to get going and figure out the game plan here. First up? Date night with Ian. It's time to let my inner child play a little. I'll work tomorrow. 

What's your favorite memory of a local fair?


DEEP FRIED REVENGE releases April 7th, 2020

Angie Turner is all prepped to face Boise’s culinary best when she enters her restaurant, The County Seat, into a big State Fair challenge. Instead, she gets dunked into a new murder investigation after a killer starts scrapping her competition . . .

The Idaho State Fair is in full swing and chefs are lining up to enter Boise’s Best Restaurant contest, including Angie and her County Seat crew. They might be the hometown favorite, but the competition is steeper than a funhouse floor. And when a top contender is felled following a heated confrontation over a corn dog recipe, winning suddenly becomes a matter of life or death. With a foul foodie on the prowl, it’s up to Angie to dig into the case and put a murderer on ice.

NYT and USA Today bestselling author, Lynn Cahoon, writes the Tourist Trap, Cat Latimer and Farm-to-Fork mystery series. 2020 she'll release the first novella in the Kitchen Witch series. No matter where the mystery is set, readers can expect a fun ride Sign up for her newsletter at