Day in the Life of Librarian Hannah Moore by Victoria Hamilton

Death of an English MuffinWhat most people see when we first meet is that I’m a young woman and I’m in a wheelchair. People who know me well see all of me, the girl who loves tea and book, who likes to laugh, who has good days and bad. But sometimes folks only see the wheelchair. They talk to my mother or anyone else rather than me. It takes all the fortitude I can summon to not scream, “I am whole! I am intact! I am perfectly fine here inside an imperfect body.”

I’m just a woman like any other, I want to tell folks. I’ve been in love, and I’ve experienced heartbreak. I’m glad to be alive. Sometimes I have a bad day. However, I get by with a little help from my friends, as the Beatles said.

Anyway, my task here is to tell you about my average day.

Every day is different, but it always starts the same way, with my mother helping me get up and get ready and my father carrying me to my wheelchair. . . even though I could make it on my own. I sometimes think I’d like to live in my own apartment, and I have raised the topic, but my parents get so sad, and say, “Whatever you wish, Hannah,” which I know means, “Please don’t leave us yet.”

Then I have breakfast and get on with my day. Three days a week (and sometimes more) that means opening the library. Oh, the thrill of that word, library. Doesn’t it just whisper to you of magic and wonder and something beyond what we all can see and feel and hear? If you said yes, just now, that means you’re a book person and you can’t be bad. If you said no, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad person, however. . . oh, I’m just joking!

I love working in my library, helping people find the exact right book to take away their loneliness, or their worry, or just to help them fill their time. But other days I take books with me and go. My two favorite places are the local school, where I take picture books for the little ones and YA books for the middlegraders, and Golden Acres, Gogi Grace’s senior residence. I love taking picture books of old photos to help folks remember their youth, but other books too, on art, and history, and anything that tickles my fancy. I’ve met some fascinating people there. I’m secretly hoping to write a history of Autumn Vale, but don’t tell anyone!

Usually after that it’s home with Mom and Dad, but lately I do other things, and even go to parties and luncheons out at Wynter Castle, thanks to Merry Wynter, one of my new friends. And I do research for her when she’s ‘on a case’, investigating one of the murders that seem to be happening a little too often around here. I’m secretly thrilled when something I discover helps her crack the case!

I’m blessed with many friends, from those of my childhood like Zeke and Gordy, to my new Wynter Castle friends, Pish and Shilo and especially dear Merry.

And that’s my day. Please say you’ll drop by the library for tea and one of Merry’s muffins?

~::~


You can read more about Hannah in Death of an English Muffin, the third book in the “Merry Muffin” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first two books in the series are Bran New Death and Muffin But Murder.

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About Death of an English Muffin
They say one’s home is one’s castle, but when it comes to Wynter Castle, Merry would like it to belong to someone else. But until a buyer bites, she could use some extra dough, so she decides to take in renters. The idea pans out, and Merry’s able to find a handful of tenants eager to live in a real castle. The only problem is most of them are crumby, tea-swilling old biddies.

The Legion of Horrible Ladies, as Merry calls them, is led by the terribly nasty—and fabulously wealthy—Cleta Sanson. The abrasive Englishwoman keeps everyone whipped into a frenzy—until she meets an embarrassing end behind a locked door. Evidence reveals that Cleta was murdered, yet no one is privy to how the deed was done. Merry knows she must quickly find the killer before another of her guests gets greased. . .

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 4 for the chance to win a print copy of Death of an English Muffin. 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.

About the author
Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen DonnaSMysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything. . . except writing!

Connect with Victoria on her website, Facebook, Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page, Pinterest, and Twitter

A Day in the Life of Arthur Wordington-Smythe by J.A. Lang

Chef Maurice and the Wrath of GrapesArthur Wordington-Smythe sat at his desk and stared at the one thing that all writers fear the most—a blank white screen.

In his case, the feeling of horror was compounded by a rapidly looming deadline, accompanied by threats from his England Observer editor that she might not sign off his latest dining receipts should this restaurant review be delayed.

At times like this, a writer has two choices: to knuckle down, or take to drinking. Or possibly both at the same time.

But the problem he was currently facing was not the writing of the review itself. The restaurant in question, the newly opened Fat Canard in North Gloucestershire, was a jewel of a concept—a restaurant purporting to serve only duck-based dishes—and a wondrous train crash of a reality.

As such, it was perfect fodder for his weekly column, where his readers would be delighted in the knowledge that someone in this world, perhaps after too many late night coffee binges, had decided upon a menu featuring such culinary marvels as: duck liver pâté served on crumbly duck-shaped ‘qwackers’; pulled duck burgers with duck-fat chips; a duckweed salad garnished with the house-cured duck pancetta; and a rather good chocolate sponge cake made with duck eggs and decorated with little sugar feathers.

No, it wasn’t that the Fat Canard review was refusing to waddle its way from Arthur’s brain onto the page. The problem was the other story, the one that had sat there for the last few weeks, itching at his mind. A story that had happened right here on his home turf, the little Cotswold village of Beakley, only a few weeks previously.

A real cracker (or quawker?) it was too. It featured all the hallmarks of a tip-top piece of fiction: a country house, a dastardly murder, a valuable collection of fine old wines, and—though this part rather offended Arthur’s literary sensibilities—a large kipper sandwich.

This last item had been the brainchild of Chef Maurice, Arthur’s best friend and owner of Le Cochon Rouge, who had recently taken to the solving of crime like a duck to, well, aerial yoga.

That was to say, enthusiastically, but leaving quite a few ruffled feathers in his wake.

But, thought Arthur, rolling up his sleeves, now was not the time to worry about the finer details. The kipper sandwich could be worked around. All he needed to start were the bare bones of the plot.

Slowly, pecking at his keyboard, he typed the following: The Case of the Locked Wine Cellar. By A. Wordington-Smythe.

All he needed now was a suitable main character. But that was easy enough. He typed on:

Archibald Branston-Pickleton, England’s foremost restaurant critic, sat staring at a plate of pan-fried wild duck breast. His fork hovered in his hand. Because tonight, it was not mallard, but murder, that was currently on his mind. . .


You can read more about Arthur in Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes, the second book in the Chef Maurice” culinary mystery series, published by Purple Panda Press. The first book in the series is Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 3 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book version of Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes–winner’s choice. The print giveaway is open to U.S. and U.K residents only. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. 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.

About the author
J.A. Lang is a British mystery author. She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob. To keep up to date with new releases, please hop over to www.jalang.net to sign up for the reader newsletter.

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: No. 82

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

This week was the RWA “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. I was lucky to attend the two-hour event with the proceeds from book sales going to literacy organizations. This year’s beneficiaries are ProLiteracy Worldwide, Literacy Partners, and Literacy Assistance Center.

IMG_1576My main goal was to meet Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb and I had a game plan that as soon as I walked into the room, I was headed to her line and yes, there were 30 people in front of me already. I had a good time talking with other NR/JD fans and then the fangirl moment came when she signed my book and I took a picture with her. I then ran into other authors, chatted with them, bought some books and then it was over.

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July 27 – August 2, 2015 on dru’s book musings
July 27: Arthur Wordington-Smythe from “Chef Maurice” series by J.A. Lang
July 28: Hannah Moore from “Merry Muffin” series by Victoria Hamilton
July 29: Caprice De Luca from “Caprice De Luca” series by Karen Rose Smith
July 30: Georgia Kelly from “Stained-Glass” series by Jennifer McAndrews
July 31: Eloise Alcott from “Book Retreat” series by Ellery Adams
August 1: Dulcie Schwartz from “Dulcie Schwartz” series by Clea Simon
August 2: Bea Goode from ” Bea Goode” series by Peg Kay

July 20 – July 26, 2015, last week on dru’s book musings
– Trudy Genova from “Manhattan” series by M.K. Graff
– Davis Way Cole from “Davis Way” series by Gretchen Archer
– Nan Vining from “Nan Vining” series by Dianne Emley
– Olivia Greyson from “Cookie Cutter Shop” series by Virginia Lowell
– Carol Childs from “Carol Childs” series by Nancy Cole Silverman
– Gia Di Mitri from “Danger Cove” series by Traci Andrighetti
– Colleen Caruso from “Jersey Girl” series by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa

Congratulations to these contest winners –
“Macaroni and Freeze” by Christine Wenger – Annette D. G.
“Macaroni and Freeze” by Christine Wenger – Cynthia B.
“Royal Assassin” by Kate Parker – Kari C.
“Butter Off Dead” by Leslie Budewitz – Alicia F.
“Rainy Day Women” by Kay Kendall – Peggy H.
“Rainy Day Women” by Kay Kendall – Elaine N.
“Magic and Macaroons” by Bailey Cates – Barbara H.


Another Ordinary Day With Colleen Caruso by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa

Hide Nor HailMy name is Colleen Caruso and I swear, I just wanted my hair straightened on that early, humid September morning when I went to the best hairdresser in Tranquil Harbor, New Jersey. I’m a stringer for the local newspaper, the Town Crier, and except for a few freelance assignments I had been procrastinating about, getting straight hair would have been the highlight of my day. My sister Kate was treating me and I wasn’t going to pass that up. We went to Dizzie’s Salon before the shop was open for business. Dizzie had promised she’d work on me personally, so there was no chance a less experienced stylist would ruin my abundant locks. Imagine our surprise when we walked in and found Dizzie submerged in a shampoo sink filled to the top with water. I hauled Dizzie Oliver out and got her down on the floor. I even tried mouth-to-mouth, though I’m not sure I did it right. For all I knew, I could have been blowing up her water-filled lungs like they were a couple of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloons.

My feeble attempts at resuscitation were no help at all. Dizzie Oliver was dead. What else would she be? This is an ordinary day in my life after all, and I seem to attract dead bodies like honey attracts flies. To prove my point, I spotted a body in a field from an airplane while covering flying lessons for an advertorial a week later. The following day my charming daughter started a pool up at the high school to see how many more stiffs I could uncover before the end of the year!

I have a regular crime column and my boss, Ken Rhodes, is eager to publish the details of these deaths from my perspective and to somehow connect them. As a matter of fact, he’s kind of eager about a few other things, too. As a newly divorced mother of two, I don’t know what to do about that. Actually, I know exactly what to do, but I have this domineering mom with a very rigid concept of how a good mommy should and shouldn’t behave. The woman is such a killjoy!

My best friend, Bevin Thompson, is my most trusted advisor. She’s so much fun and, sincerely, how many of your friends would go with you to a deserted airport in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm just to look for clues? Oh, and regardless of what you may have heard, the police were nothing but nice concerning our presence there. Of course, they weren’t quite as understanding a few nights later when they nabbed me for breaking into Dizzie Oliver’s house. But, really, I had to check something out and it was the only way I could get the information I needed. Boy, was Dizzie’s poor, widowed husband furious! With that kind of temper, it makes me wonder about poor Dizzie . . .


You can read more about Colleen in Hide Nor Hair, the second book in the “Jersey Girl” mystery series, published by Cup of Tea books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing. The first book in the series is New Math Is Murder.

About Hide nor Hair
Newspaper reporter Colleen Caruso just wants her unruly curls tamed into smooth, sleek locks. Instead, she finds her stylist dead, facedown in a shampoo sink. Faster than you can say Aqua Net, Colleen starts investigating. The case gets even hairier when the owner of a local fitness studio seems to have jumped from a plane … without a parachute.

Meanwhile, her suave editor, Ken Rhodes, steps in to help. And he may be looking for more than just a good story from Colleen.

Add in a missing bracelet, some suspicious husbands, and a little breaking and entering—and this Jersey girl is heading for a real blowout!

Can Colleen tie up these split ends? Or does she have an appointment with disaster?

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 31 for the chance to win a print copy of Hide Nor Hair. 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.

About the author
Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa lives in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and draws on her experience as a freelance correspondent to create oddball characters and unusual scenarios. In addition to hundreds of published articles, her short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Sisters in Crime Central Jersey. Hide nor Hair is the second book in her Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series. The first book in the series, New Math is Murder, was released in January, 2014. She is busy working on the third in the series, Food for Thought. Visit Jo-Ann’s blog at joannlamonreccoppa.com

A Day in the Life of Gia Di Mitri by Traci Andrighetti

Deadly Dye And A Soy ChaiYo, readers! My name is Gia Di Mitri, and I’m originally from Atlantic City, New Jersey, a.k.a. America’s Playground. But a few months ago I headed west to Danger Cove, Washington, to do makeup and nails at my step cousin Cassidi Conti’s hair salon, The Clip and Sip. And let me tell you, a playground Danger Cove ain’t. It kind of reminds me of Cabot Cove—you know, from Murder, She Wrote? Because it’s a quiet seaside town complete with its own famous mystery writer, Elizabeth Ashby, and because murders just keep friggin’ happening here. Even in my own family.

You see, last year Cassidi’s Uncle Vincent Conti (who’s my step uncle) died under what the Danger Cove Police Department describes as “mysterious circumstances.” But, if you ask me, the only thing mysterious about Vinnie’s death is the identity of the criminal who wrapped a fishnet stocking around his neck—and tied it good and tight. Dear old Uncle Vinnie was what we Italians call a donnaiolo, or a womanizer, so Cassidi thinks one of his gumads (girlfriends) did it. But he had longstanding connections in the Atlantic City casino scene and a stash of cash, so organized crime isn’t out of the question.

The thing is, Cassidi and I didn’t really know our Uncle Vinnie. So imagine her surprise when he left her his entire estate, which included an old Victorian mansion that he’d converted into a combined house and hair salon and—best of all—a totally sick black Ferrari. At the time, Cassidi was having some problems back home in Texas, so she packed her bags and got the hell out of Dodge, i.e., Fredericksburg. Her plan was to start a new life in Danger Cove. No problem, right?

Wrong. It turns out that Cassidi’s painted lady, as Victorian homes are called, has a bad rep with the local townsfolk, and it isn’t because of the paint job. Apparently, Vinnie was doing more than his clients’ ‘dos, and before he bought the building it had a hundred-year history as a brothel, not to mention some rather choice artwork. In 1955, a mob of God-fearing (read: prostitute-loathing) women actually tried to burn the place down, and trust me when I say that there are still plenty of people who’d like to see the old girl gone.

Anyway, a few of Vinnie’s regulars continue to come in to The Clip and Sip. One of them was Margaret Appleby, an eighty-year-old Miss Marple lookalike who always drank soy chai tea. I used the past tense because we lost Margaret after our stylist, Lucy O’Connell, put a blue rinse in her hair, and she turned as blue as a bowl of Boo Berry cereal. At first, I thought that Margaret had died because she was old, but the medical examiner said it was murder.

So, now Cassidi and I are trying to prove Lucy’s innocence (which I have my doubts about), save the business, and find out just what, exactly, is going on in our house and in this town. I mean, we know that two murders in one building might be more than a coincidence, so we’re all on edge. But, like I always say, green tea vodka does wonders to calm the nerves. Cassidi has been doing some asking around, and Amy Spannagel, our (lunatic) local librarian, is helping with the research. What we want to know is this: Why did Margaret Appleby turn blue? Was it the blue dye, or something else? And who would want her dead? Last but not least, was her death connected to Vinnie Conti’s?

If you know anything about either of these crimes, please contact the Danger Cove PD. You can also get in touch with Cassidi or me. You can find our contact information on the Danger Cove website. And if you can muster up the courage, stop by The Clip and Sip and have a drink on the salon. While you’re there, I’ll give you a free makeup consultation. FYI: Being from Jersey, I do a serious smoky eye.


You can read more about Gia in Deadly Dye And A Soy Chai, the fifth book in the “Danger Cove” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. The first book in the series is Secret of the Painted Lady by Christina Burke.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 31 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book copy of Deadly Dye And A Soy Chai–winner’s choice. Two lucky commenters will be randomly selected. The print giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winners 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.

About the author
Traci Andrighetti is the national bestselling author of the Franki Amato mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries. In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is.

If she’s not busy working on Amaretto Amber or A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur, the forthcoming novels in her two series, then she’s probably still celebrating the news that Limoncello Yellow, the debut novel in her Franki Amato mysteries, is a finalist for the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

To keep in touch with Traci, be sure to sign up for her newsletter at her website or on her Facebook page.

My Musing ~ A Dead Red Miracle by RP Dahlke

A Dead Red MiracleA Dead Red Miracle by RP Dahlke is the fifth book in the “Dead Red” mystery series. Publisher: Dead Bear Publishing, July 2015

Thinking to jump start their careers as private investigators in Wishbone, Arizona, cousins Lalla and Pearlie Bains buy into it with a local P.I.

But their nifty plan starts circling the drain when his unscrupulous business practices end in his untimely death and they discover that he’s been siphoning clients from their partnership.

With only a week before the state puts pulls the business license Lalla and Pearlie will have to corral a wall-climbing Apache ninja, pacify their former boss’s greedy ex-wives and nail a killer. Sure Lalla and Pearlie are in a really tight spot, but all they need is a miracle or two.

When we last visited Lalla, she gotten married and was now living in Arizona. Three years later, her and Pearlie’s dreams of owning their own private investigation business is in jeopardy when their partner is murdered and the only way to save their dream is to find his killer, not realizing more death will follow and what a great job the author did in the telling of this fast-paced and action-filled drama. I like how this was presented with an eclectic cast of characters and a mystery that kept me intrigued, especially when all the pieces came together as the author peppered the scenes with red herrings and some twists and turns to keep me glued to the pages as the puzzling case comes to an end. This was a great read and I enjoyed my time spent with Lalla, Pearlie, Caleb and their friends.

Blog Tour with Carol Childs by Nancy Cole Silverman

Beyond A DoubtI grew up in LA. It’s my town, a town of second chances where people reinvent themselves and start over. Like me. I recently changed careers. Last year I was given the chance to go from my job as a sales executive to that of a reporter at the radio station where I work. It’s my dream job, but like all jobs, it comes with challenges. My challenge is my boss Tyler Hunt, a five-foot-four boy wonder who refers to me the World’s Oldest Cub Reporter and has his doubts about my abilities.

This morning, Tyler called me at five a.m. Police helicopters were reporting a body dump up on Mulholland, and he needed me up there ASAP. Recently there’s been a string of missing girls. Most of them drawn to the glitz and glamor of the city. I know because I’ve been reporting on them, Hollywood wannabes who come to find their future on the big screen and disappear. But today’s missing girl report was different. This one was coming with a body.

My job was to make sense of a brutal murder. I needed to report on the findings of fact. Was this morning’s discovery related to that of the other missing girls? She was young and attractive and dressed like she had been out clubbing. Could she have been like the others? Drawn to the excitement of LA’s night life and met up with the wrong person? Would the other missing girls also show up as body dumps? Was there a serial murderer, targeting young woman, working the club scene?

The police didn’t think so. In a city of thirteen million people young actress-types come and go. Not many end up in body bags. But I wasn’t so sure. Then Tyler assigned me to another story. Another missing blonde, he said. This one on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Someone has stolen Marilyn Monroe’s star.

My day has gone from a grisly murder to that of misdemeanor and I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee. This is my world. I’m Carol Childs, thirty-nine, a single working mom, and today things are about to turn ugly, fast.


You can read more about Carol in Beyond A Doubt, the second book in the “Carol Childs” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Shadow of Doubt.

This is the 4th stop on the Beyond A Doubt Great Escapes Tour. Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for the chance to win one of five print copies of Beyond A Doubt. More stops on the tour can be found here.

About the author
Silverman believes her twenty-five years in radio help her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001 NancySshe retired from news and copywriting to write fiction fulltime. Much of what she writes she admits is pulled from behind the headlines of actual events that were reported on from some Los Angeles busiest radio newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes some of which have won awards &/or been picked up for publication. Currently she has three audio books with MindWings Audio. Her first novel, The Centaur’s Promise, was published by Eloquent Press in 2010. Visit Nancy at www.nancycolesilverman.com