Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Birthdays! How to celebrate? #bookgiveaway

By: Jaymie Leighton Müller
From: Breaking the Mould
Series: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

How do you do birthdays? In some families birthdays are huge weeklong celebrations, and in others, they are hardly noticed. I guess in our family, the Leightons, we hit kind of a middle ground. Mom would have a little family party for my older sister, Becca, and I when we were young. But in recent years we've just had cards, and a gift mailed from Boca Raton (where they live, now) and a phone call. Becca and I always talk on our birthdays, and sometimes we'll go out to dinner with friends. Nice. Laid back. Simple.

But then I married into the Müller family. Wow, do they do things different. Bigger. MUCH bigger. However... in a German family do NOT expect any mention (to you) of your birthday beforehand. It is verboten (LOL! I'm trying to learn a little German) and considered bad luck. My mother-in-law is a superb baker, so for your birthday, you can look forward to an extraordinary cake... whatever kind you like. I chose, for my last birthday, a German Chocolate Cake, of course. And it was delicious.

Having a child has also changed how I view birthdays. Of course Jakob and I go out of our way for Jocie, and make her birthday something special - with her best friends - and a visit somewhere special. We visited a friend's horse farm for her last birthday, and Jocie and her friends all got a turn riding, as well as a cool buggy ride (Emma Spangler bought an antique carriage and has fixed it up) around the property, then a tea party at the Queensville Inn for all the girls, with Jocie as hostess.

So... what do you do for birthdays? Any special family traditions? Or do you keep it low key?

Birthday Bash Giveaway!

It's my birthday on the 26th, and I LOVE giving stuff away!! I'll be doing giveaways all week long, starting today. So... how do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Big deal, or not so much?

Give me a first name and email address, and you will be entered to win your choice of a paperback copy of Leave It to Cleaver, No Grater Danger OR Breaking the Mould, plus bookmarks!

Answer by Midnight, May 22nd... but note that if you comment after midnight on the 21st your comment will go into a moderators queue and be approved the next day.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Oh, That Green!

by Lilly Jayne
from the Garden Squad Mysteries by Julia Henry

Spring in New England is a short season. Winter drags on and on. Depending on where you live, the snow doesn't melt until late April. Sometimes even May.
April showers are indeed that. There's a gray tinge that lasts for a long time while this part of the country wakes up and remember it's spring.
And then, finally, it happens. Usually after a long stretch of rain the sun finally shines and the green pops.
You know that green. The "everything is possible" green. The green that takes your breath away, and makes you smile. The green that convinces you it may be time, may be time (let's not get ahead of ourselves), to put your winter coat in the cedar chest.
The green that reminds you that you have hay fever, but even that is a joyful discovery.
That green makes me feel alive again. That green also tells me it's time to get out into the garden.

Julia Henry writes the Garden Squad mysteries. Visit her at JHAuthors.com, and follow her on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter) under @JHAuthors. JHAuthors stands for one woman, three names, many books.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Giveaway! Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

by Renee Saperstein, Veterinary Physician, Flaming Bingo, AHMM May/June 2019

One of the first times I visited my mother at her new retirement home in Sunshine Palms on the west coast of Florida we spent a few days lounging on the gorgeous sands of the Gulf of Mexico in a sweet little town called Fort Myers Beach. Each morning we had breakfast in the cutest little cafe/bookstore, called, appropriately enough, The Read 'Em and Eat. The owners, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield, were such terrific ladies that by the time mom and I left, we were all friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Well, when Sassy heard about the adventure I had on my most recent visit to Sunshine Palms for mom's birthday, she thought it was just the kind of story her author would love to write. The next thing I knew "Flamingo Bingo" was the cover story of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and there was my name in print for all the world to see.

For a chance to win a copy of this great magazine filled with terrific mystery stories, please comment any thought at all you may have about the game of bingo. Please include your email in this format: your name (at) your server (dot) com—so the spambots can’t pick it up.

Comments close at midnight, your time, on Tuesday May 21st.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

I'm Glad... and I'm Sorry

by Dr. Reed Storme, veterinarian at the Knobcone Heights Veterinary Clinic, featured in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, everyone.  This is Dr. Reed Storme.  As I've said before, I don't blog here very often... but here I am.

That's because Carrie Kennersly is involved in investigating yet another murder.   I'd been encouraging her to back off from her amateur investigations no matter who the main suspect was in the latest Knobcone Heights murder.  That's because I was worried about her and her safety.

But last year I backed off from telling her not to get involved because I was that major suspect.  That situation was memorialized in Pick and Chews.  And...well, yes, she helped to get me off because I wasn't a killer.

So now, this year, she's involved yet again, and I don't think she even knew the person who became the main suspect in the murder of Henry Shulzer.  Henry had been married to our town's first female mayor years ago, and Mike Holpurn was convicted of murdering poor Mayor Flora Shulzer.  But Mike was paroled early from prison, and when Henry was found murdered after that, Carrie got involved again.  The likely murderer had to be Holpurn, but Carrie wasn't convinced. 

And so, yes, she conducted yet another murder investigation.  I'm glad, because she seems to enjoy it.  And I'm sorry because she put herself in danger once again.

At least we saw each other a lot, spent time together along with our dogs Hugo and Biscuit... and increased the intensity of our relationship.

That latest book describing what Carrie was up to is called For A Good Paws.  And I have to admit I like the way it turned out...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Au revoir, Antique Shop

BY: Grand-mère Charlotte Crozat.
FROM: The Cajun Country Mysteries
AUTHOR: Ellen Byron

Hello and bonjour from Crozat Plantation Bed and Breakfast. I’m Magnolia Crozat’s beloved grand-mère, Charlotte Crozat. I’ll be honest, I’m in a bit of a funk today because I recently learned that my favorite shop in the French Quarter, Lucullus Antiques, has closed up shop on Chartres Street. They’re relocating to another part of town and changing their focus, which has always been on culinary antiques. I always looked forward to seeing the magnificent displays in their windows. Here are a few photos I took with my smart phone. (Yes, I’m in my early eighties and have a smart phone. I’m also a wiz on the computer, if I do say so myself.

I’ve heard from those who know these things that Millennials simply aren’t interested in the finer accoutrements of life like crystal, silver, and good china. Even here in Louisiana, where we’re so proud of our history and traditions. I do understand that times change. It’s hard to imagine my own granddaughter setting the kind of grand table that was once de rigeur for a certain class of household. Still, I do so hope that the beautiful treasures at Lucullus found happy homes.

What do you think, readers? Do you think epicurean elegance is a thing of the past? Is there one item you’d like to see live on forever? (For me, that would be crystal stemware. Oh, that beautiful sound when two champagne glasses clink together.)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Family...nothing quite like it.

Hi, Everyone, Reagan Summerside here talking about families and there are no families on this here planet closer than Southern families and that includes the Summersides. We’re all different for sure...

Mamma and KiKi were sisters. At birth the muses tangoed over auntie’s crib turning her into Savannah’s dance diva and they wrapped mamma in a blanket with little elephants resulting in this campaign and me getting the name Reagan.

but we’re there for each other when it counts like now when Mamma’s running for office! 

“People are going to hate me if I do this,” I said to Auntie KiKi. “They’re going to cuss a blue streak and call me names and tell me to mind my own blankety-blank business and then slam the phone in my ear.” 

     “Oh for crying in a bucket, Reagan.” KiKi shoved a computer printout at me. “Time to put on your iron-clad bloomers and dial the numbers on this here sheet. It’s your very own mamma everyone in this room is trying to get elected to city council. 

The last thing on earth I want to do is make campaign calls but I will because it’s for Mamma. I keep reminding myself this is the woman who single-handedly raised me after Daddy went boar hunting with the good old boys proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that guns and Johnny Walker Red are indeed a mighty poor mix.

Mamma and Auntie KiKi have always been there for me not rubbing it in when I divorced Hollis Beaumont the Third when they both told me from the get-go he was a horse’s patoot. 

Usually I let them have their way because they are my elders and the fact that they don’t listen to me any more than I listen to them but on occasion I put my foot down and get my way.

I studied Mamma and Auntie KiKi and Bruce Willis, a huge wave a thankfulness that we were still here in this kitchen sucking air pouring over me. “We need a group hug,” I blurted.
       “Honey,” KiKi said in her best auntie voice. “This isn’t California, we’re Republicans. We’re more a kiss on the forehead you’ll be fine as a fiddlekind of family then we just move on with life.”
I folded my arms across my too tight green warm-up suit and held my ground. 

And then there’s my wedding...

         …you’re walking me down the aisle, BW is the ring bearer, Mamma is officiating and we’re having pot roast and mac and cheese for dinner. You got to admit that’s better than rubber chicken. And of course the best part is I’m marrying the best guy ever.

Okay, so you know my family and now I want to know about yours. When was the last time you did something for them when you reeeeeally didn’t want to? Dog sit? Kid sit? Throw a party for obnoxious Uncle Harry? Let me know for a chance of a tote give away. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hi everyone ~ Gloria Bonatti here ~

I have some exciting news! I’ve been hired to create costumes for a theater production of an Agatha Christie play.  Isn’t that a tickle?  I never thought I’d ever do anything like that.  I mean, I’m retired now of course but I was a seamstress for many years and for a long time I had my very own dress shop in North Beach in San Francisco. 
As the years went by, I really thought I needed to work less.  I loved what I did but I wanted to relax and enjoy life more and even travel.  And of course, spend as much time as possible with my granddaughter Julia.  She works very hard too, managing her own business as an astrologer, and she’s number one on my list.  I drop everything when she calls and can spend a little time with me.  
But this job came out of the blue and I’m still not quite sure how it came about. 
 I’ve been having lots of fun creating all the costumes for this production of Appointment with Death.  And I just love that period – the 1930’s, so I’ve been spending a lot of time shopping for jewelry and cloche hats and whatnot for the actresses.  My budget is very generous so I don’t even have to worry about how much I spend. 

Are you familiar with that play?  If so, that’s very good.  But this version of Appointment with Death is a little different.  It actually follows the book that Dame Agatha wrote.  You see, Hercule Poirot solves the crime in the book, but he was written out of the original stage version.  I have no idea why but our director is doing a marvellous job of playing the iconic Belgian sleuth. 

Of course, the title tells you a lot – Appointment with Death.  That’s the story where the murder happens right in front of the characters, and no one realizes the victim is actually dead.  It’s very exciting.  I only hope there are no murders at our little theater! 

You can read all about this in the novella to be released this fall – Enter a Wizard, Stage Left.   You’ll learn lots about how the Zodiac Mysteries came to be.  And this month, my author, Connie di Marco, is giving away the first book in the series – The Madness of Mercury.  All you have to do is leave a comment.  She'll use random.org to choose a winner.  You see, the Zodiac Mysteries has a new publisher who will be designing fresh covers for all the books.  I expect they’ll be fantastic!  I can’t wait.
You can learn more about the Zodiac Mysteries at my author’s website, on Facebook and Twitter @askzodia.  Hope you can stop by!