A Day in the Life with Lee Barrett by Carol J. Perry

Tails You LoseIt was Christmas night and it was snowing. Not unusual for Salem, Massachusetts, but for me it was special. I’d spent the past ten Christmases in Florida, with lighted boat parades, lawn flamingos wearing Santa hats, and decorated palm trees, so it’s no wonder that sitting close to the window watching big flakes swirling in bright halos around streetlamps, and tree lights casting colorful dots onto wind-sculpted drifts was a real treat for me.

I’m Lee Barrett, thirty-one, red-haired, Salem born. I was orphaned early, married once and widowed young. Since I’d returned to Salem I’d been sharing the fine old family home on Winter Street with my aunt, Isobel Russell who’d raised me after my parents died.

So there I was, along with our big yellow cat O’Ryan, snoozing at my feet, enjoying the Christmas card scenery, complete with the muffled sound of church bells ringing in the distance, and expecting the arrival any minute of the special man in my life, police detective Pete Mondello. I was warm, my tummy full of holiday goodies, my dear Aunt Ibby nearby and looking forward to an interesting new job due to start on New Year’s day.

I’d been invited to teach a course in Television Performance and Production at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts. I’d worked in television, one way or another, ever since college. I’d been a weather girl, a host on a home shopping show and even a phone-in psychic. (That psychic gig, on Salem’s cable channel WICH-TV hadn’t worked out well. I’d been hired to replace the previous late show host, a practicing witch named Ariel Constellation. Unfortunately, I was the one who’d found Ariel’s dead body floating in Salem Harbor, but that’s another story.) Anyway, the “Tabby” as everyone called it, was housed in the old Trumbull’s Department Store building which had been closed since the 1960s and I was full of excited anticipation about teaching there.

So what could go wrong with this idyllic picture?

Pete arrived as expected, but almost immediately got a call from police headquarters. Something bad was going on at the Tabby. Aunt Ibby, O’Ryan and I wound up on a wild and slippery ride through the storm—with me driving—to the old store. Let me tell you, a closed up department store can be one creepy place. Ever see a stack of old mannequins piled up like body parts? How about lights flickering on an off and a piano playing in the middle of the night? A ghost woman in white floating past the top floor windows? And worst of all, the Tabby’s handy man, Bill Sullivan, going down the stairs to the store’s basement and never coming back up. Bill was gone. He’d simply disappeared.

It was a Christmas night to remember, and not in a good way!


You can read more about Lee in Tails, You Lose, the second book in the “Witch City” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Caught Dead Handed.

WATCH the trailer for “Tails, You Lose.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on April 8 for the chance to win a copy of Tails, You Lose. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Carol was born in Salem, Massachusetts, known worldwide as the Witch City. It’s no coincidence then, that all of the action in Tails, You Lose, the second in Carol’s Witch City Mystery series, takes place in her famous home town.

Carol and her husband Dan live in Florida with a black lab and a cat. She is the author of several young adult novels and also writes articles for magazines and newspapers. When she lived in Massachusetts Carol worked for many years as the advertising manager for a large, old Main Street department store. That experience provided the background for Lee Barrett’s adventures in Tails, You Lose.

For more information, visit Carol’s website

Dixie Hemingway’s Not So Typical Day by John Clement

The Cat Sitters WhiskersI got a message from Dru asking if I’d be interested in sharing a “Day in the life. . .” story with her readers. Of course I was thrilled, but I almost turned her down. In all honesty, I didn’t want to disappoint her, and I’m sure she only asked because, like most people, she just assumes my life is one big fun-filled, action-packed adventure, and that every morning I wake up in a world filled to the brim with danger and mystery and intrigue. Of course, I can’t really blame her. If you’ve read any of the “Cat Sitter” mysteries based on my life, you probably think the exact same thing. But it’s not true.

Here’s the deal: I’m a cat sitter. End of story.

Well, even that’s not true. In reality I’m a whatever-sitter, because I’ll happily take care of whatever you’ve got: cats, dogs, hamsters, chickens, parrots, fish, ferrets, iguanas — all God’s creatures, great and small. Except snakes. That’s true too.

If you’ve got a pet snake that needs looking after, I’ll try to keep my voice at a normal tone while I politely refer you elsewhere. It’s not that I hate snakes. Not much. There’s just something about dropping little squirming mice into a snake’s open mouth that gives me the creeps. Plus, I’m not so sure it was God that came up with the idea of snakes in the first place.

Anyway, in the books, I live on Siesta Key, a tiny island that sits just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida, about midway down the Gulf coast. That’s true. And most of my clients live here too, although in reality I’ll take any client within an hour’s radius, so that’s basically true too. But here’s the thing: Siesta Key is a sleepy little beach community. To read the books, you’d think it’s the crime capital of the world the way I’m always running into thieves and murderers and crime scenes.

Yes, I’ve probably discovered more murder victims than the average Josephine.

Is it nine now? Ten?

I’ve lost count, but in my defense I should point out that it’s true I’m a sheriff’s deputy. . . or at least I was, until the sheriff’s department decided I was too unstable to carry a loaded gun in public, but that’s a whole other story. And yes, I realize all these murders and crimes I’ve uncovered have taken place after I handed in my badge, but I can explain every one of them. And never mind that yes, it does seem to happen with almost frightening regularity. . .

Um. . . I have a confession to make.

Right now, I’m sitting in the backseat of my car, writing this in the notebook where I keep all my client information. I’m parked in Caroline’s driveway. She’s away on vacation, so I’m taking care of her cat, Pansy — a mackerel tabby with beautiful emerald eyes and tawny bands of pale straw running through her coat, like the color of dried grass on a beach dune. I’ve just called 911, and I’m trying not to worry about her while I wait for the police to arrive. Luckily, Pansy’s very shy, so I’m sure she’s hiding somewhere until she feels it’s safe.

When I unlocked Caroline’s front door and went into the kitchen to get Pansy’s food, I found a man lying face up on the cold marble floor in front of the refrigerator. His eyes were frozen in astonishment, and his skin had turned a pale, almost translucent white. Clutched in his left hand was a broken necklace, and scattered on the floor all around him were black pearls, each roughly the size of a green pea.

Okay.

So maybe Dru knows what she’s doing.


You can read more about Dixie in The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers, the 10th book in the “Dixie Hemingway” mystery series, published by St. Martin’s Press. The first book in the series is Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on April 7 for the chance to win a copy of The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
John Clement is the author of the Dixie Hemingway Mystery Series created by his mother, Blaize Clement (1932-2011), and published by St. Martin’s / Minotaur. The latest two books, The Cat Sitter’s Cradle and The Cat Sitter’s Nine Lives, received unanimous praise from fans and critics alike, and The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers hits the shelves this March, 2015. John divides his time between Siesta Key, Florida, where the series takes place, and New York City, where he’s currently working on the 11th mystery while his pup snores at his feet under the desk.

You can join the mailing list at www.dixiehemingway.com or follow on Twitter.

Author Showcase ~ Killer Gourmet by G.A. McKevett

Killer Gourmet

Plus-sized P.I. Savannah Reid and her pals at the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency know a thing or two about fine dining. But when murder shows up on the menu, it’s time to go back to the kitchen. . .

When the Moonlight Magnolia gang learns their friends Ryan Stone and John Gibson are planning to open a chic new restaurant, they eagerly offer their input on everything from what dishes to serve to how many calories they should contain. But all Ryan and John can think about is how excited they are to have hired the temperamental but talented chef Baldwin Norwood. Too bad the only thing being sliced and diced in the kitchen is the chef himself. . .

As Savannah turns her attention from munchies to murder, she quickly realizes the cantankerous chef left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, and any number of people could have whipped up a recipe for revenge. Could the jilted sous chef he stabbed in the back have done the same to him? Perhaps the loyal girlfriend he took for granted was finally fed up. Or maybe the business partner whose career he ruined had an appetite for blood. Savannah has her work cut out for her, and just when she thinks there couldn’t be any more suspects, she uncovers a plot more precarious than a perfect soufflé. . .


Release: March 2015
Series: Savannah Reid #20
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Kensington

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on April 2 for the chance to win a copy of KILLER GOURMET. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder

Meet the author
Since publication of her first novel in 1986, Sonja Massie has authored over fifty published works, including the highly popular and critically acclaimed SAVANNAH REID MYSTERIES under the pseudonym G.A. McKevett.

Sonja’s novels range from Irish historicals to contemporary thrillers. Her earthy humor and fast-paced plots delight her fans, while critics applaud her offbeat characterizations and incisive observations on human nature.

Sonja has taught numerous courses at university and adult continuing education facilities including: general fiction, historical research, and mystery writing. She was managing editor at “Single Living” magazine and has functioned as a manuscript doctor and storyline editor for major publishers. Earlier in her career, she was a prolific ghostwriter, authoring both fictional and non-fictional books for celebrities and professionals.

Visit G. A. on her Website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: No. 65

Weekly Roundup* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

March 30-April 5, 2015 on dru’s book musings
Mar 30: Author Showcase with G.A. McKevett
Mar 31: Dixie Hemingway from “The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers” by John Clement
Apr 1: Lee Barrett from “Tails, You Lose” by Carol J. Perry
Apr 2: Julie Ellis from “Threads of Deceit” by Mae Fox & Jan Fields
Apr 3: Marcy Singer from “Wicked Stitch” by Amanda Lee
Apr 4: Meg Reed from “Slayed on the Slopes” by Kate Dyer-Seeley
Apr 5: Author Showcase with Charlaine Harris

Week of March 23-29, 2015
Willow McQuade from “Garden of Death” by Chrystle Fiedler
Ernie Jourdain and Felipe Vargas from “Murder Ties the Knot” by Christy Fifield
Savannah Ivey from “The Gallery Cat Caper” by Patricia Fry
Quinn Matthews from “Hex, Death & Rock ‘N’ Roll” by E. F. Watkins
Stan Connor from “The Icing on the Corpse” by Liz Mugavero
Max Shaw from “Hard to Stop” by Wendy Byrne
Ella Mae LeFaye from “Lemon Pies and Little White Lies” by Ellery Adams

Recent contest winners
“Side Trip to Kathmandu” by Marie Moore – K. Bylsma
“Swan Dive” by Kendel Lynn – B. Marley
“Asylum” by Jeannette de Beauvoir – A. Reade
“Chicken Soup & Homicide” by Janel Gradowski – K. Dunn
“Grimm’s Furry Tail” by Kathi Daley – B. English
“Marked Masters” by Ritter Ames – C. Blain

Reading Round-Up
——♦ March 2015: 17 books
Year-to-date: 56 books


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A Day in the Life of Ella Mae LeFaye by Ellery Adams

Lemon Pies and Little White LiesOwner of The Charmed Pie Shoppe, Havenwood, Georgia

Friends, today is going to be a day like no other!

Do you remember the scene in Charlotte’s Web when everyone went to the fair? Remember the excitement? The descriptions of the scents? The sights? And most of all, the food?

That’s what I have to look forward to today. Havenwood is hosting an event called History in the Baking and for several days, we’re celebrating all things pie. Today, is the Pies of All States Bake-Off and I have the privilege of tasting over 50 delectable pies from across our great nation.

As I move from booth to booth, I’ve been learning facts about each state and the crops that influenced their first pies. Here are some examples:

  • Oregon produces more hazelnuts than any other state, so their baker made a heavenly chocolate hazelnut pie.
  • A baker from Illinois created a ginger-crumble pumpkin pie. He also showed me on how the colonists used to prepare pumpkins. She cut off the top of the pumpkin, took out all the seeds, and then filled the inside with honey, milk, and several spices. She then baked the pumpkin in hot ashes and gave me a sample. Yum!
  • A woman from Kentucky, who wore an enormous hat covered with racehorses and roses, made a pie with roasted walnuts, bourbon, and chocolate. The crust was flaky as a Southern biscuit. And I’d love to tell you the name, but I can’t because it copyrighted and the owners have sued people for printing it in the past. All I can tell you is that it’s based on the 1950s recipe from the Melrose Inn.
  • I was shocked when the bakers from Georgia presented me with a peanut butter pie instead of peach pie. I was even more shocked to learn that my home state isn’t the main producer of peaches (pssst – it’s South Carolina!)

Now, it’s mid-afternoon and I’ve tasted incredible apple pies from New York, key lime and lemon pies from Florida, sweet potato pies from North Carolina, blueberry pies from Maine, and a mud pie from Mississippi. I can’t eat another bite! The question is: who will I pick as a winner?


You can read more about Ella Mae and her pie tasting contest in Lemon Pies And Little White Lies, the fourth book in the “Charmed Pie Shoppe” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first three books in the series are Pies and Prejudice, Peach Pies and Alibis, and Pecan Pies and Homicides.

About Lemon Pies And Little White Lies

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Books by the Bay series and the Book Retreat mysteries–Includes pie recipes!

After Pecan Pies and Homicides comes another tangy slice of life—and death—in a charmed, and charming, small town. . .

Ella Mae LeFaye’s Charmed Pie Shoppe has become a phenomenon beyond her wildest dreams, providing the enchanted town of Havenwood, Georgia, with spellbinding desserts and magical pies. Her personal life is also heating up as she takes on the responsibilities of leadership within her magical community. In fact, the only thing weighing her down is the fact that handsome Hugh Dylan won’t return her calls. . .

Still, when Havenwood is rocked by a series of mysterious deaths, Ella Mae must put romantic longings aside—especially when she realizes that the mystical symbols left at each crime scene are dangerously personal. Now she will have to whip up all her supernatural skills to uncover a killer out to settle an ancient score—before the murderer devastates everything Ella Mae is determined to protect. . .

GIVEAWAY
Since you’ll have to read Lemon Pies And Little White Lies to find out, why don’t I offer you a prize? Tell me your all-time favorite pie and you’ll be automatically prizeentered to win a book-shaped plate, cup and saucer, because you need to have your pie and your favorite hot beverage in style. Contest ends by 12 p.m. eastern on April 3. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia. For more information, kindly visit www.elleryadamsmysteries.com

My Musing ~ Catnapped by Patricia Fry

CatnappedCatnapped by Patricia Fry is the first book in the “Klepto Cat” mystery series. Publisher: Matilija Press, November 2013

When Savannah Jordan agrees to help her aunt while she recovers from a broken foot, she doesn’t expect to walk into a mystery, become part of a not-quite-legal surveillance team, be kidnapped by a deranged stranger and meet a steaming hot veterinarian. Beloved neighborhood cats are missing—the community can only guess at their fate—and Aunt Margaret’s life is being threatened. Is it because she has a clue to the missing cats or is it something more sinister?

This was a great introduction to Savannah and her friends with an engaging premise that was fun to read. I enjoyed the style and the ease at which this light mystery flowed from scene to scene, keeping me in suspense as the drama played out. There were some moments there that had me quickly turning the pages to see that all ended well and it did. I also enjoyed the blossoming relationships between several of the characters. This was an entertaining read and I’m glad I discovered this series.

My Musing ~ Mansion of Meows by Patricia Fry

Mansion of MeowsMansion of Meows by Patricia Fry is the 9th book in the “Klepto Cat” mystery series. Publisher: Matilija Press, February 2015

Rags’s documentary is scheduled to debut. The showing will take place at the investor’s San Francisco mansion, where the Ivey family and film crew will stay. Of course, the mansion holds secrets and Rags is instrumental in letting the cats out of the bag.

Savannah and Aunt Margaret share another daring adventure and, of course, find themselves in deeper than they expected.

This is a new-to-me series and I loved it. I love the comfortable tone and the flow of this light-hearted mystery. The author did a great job in keeping the suspense alive throughout this tale. from beginning to end. The characters are delightful, especially Savannah, her aunt Maggie and Savannah’s cat, Rags, who mysteriously finds himself involved in a dark deep secret that once uncovered becomes a riveting read that was hard to put down. This was a good read and I look forward to more fun with the Iveys and their friends.