Monthly Archives: April 2015

A Day in the Life of Lucy Binger by Anne Canadeo

The Postman Always Purls TwiceMy name is Lucy Binger and it’s definitely not a typical day. Hollywood is coming to town! More precisely, to The Black Sheep Knitting Shop, owned by my best friend Maggie and about to be used as a set for a big budget movie. The cast and crew, along with long limos and huge equipment trucks, pulled into town last night. So I’m up at the crack of dawn on a frigid New England winter morning, searching for my friends in a crowd of fans and paparazzi that are swarming around the little knitting shop. All of us dying to catch a glimpse of the stars as they emerge from their fancy, block-long trailers.

Finally, I find my pals who have saved a primo perch, thanks to Phoebe, Maggie’s assistant. The poor girl waited outside in a lawn chair all night. What a trooper. The rest of my gang, Suzanne and Dana, are there, too. We usually gather at the shop at least once a week to knit and yes. . .gossip. Between the five of us, we know everything going on in town. We’ve even solved a local murder or two. But that’s another story.

Maggie is the last to arrive. Wondering why she agreed to rent the shop in the first place. But as soon as the stars appear, we’re convinced she’s done the right thing.

Jennifer Todd is our absolute favorite – America’s sweetheart. So elegant and beautiful. A hometown success story, born and raised in nearby Newburyport. She has plenty of old friends in the crowd. And maybe a few former acquaintances who aren’t so pleased to see her back?

Even if lovely Jennifer was not enough to get me up this early, Heath O’Hara certainly is. The quintessential heart-throb, if ever there was one. Is he as gorgeous and charming up close and personal as he seems on screen? Check back with me later. I hope to file a full report. Just don’t tell my boyfriend Matt – who gets super jealous when I swoon over Heath. Isn’t that cute?

Well, it would be, if he didn’t go into a daze every time I mention Trina Hardwick. Yes, she’s in the cast, too. You’d think the guy would have better taste. What can you do. It’s just a movie star crush. Even though Trina’s photo pops up if you Google, “Bad Girl.” She’s all that and more, on screen and off. No wonder Trina is trying to make yet another come back, after yet another stay in rehab. We read about it in a celeb gossip blog at our last meeting. Trina is desperate to return to super star status and they say she’ll do anything to get there.

Talking about desperate, let’s not forget world famous director, Nick Pullman who just happens to be married to Jennifer Todd. After a string of recent flops, he’s banking on this film to make back his losses. Banking with his own cash. And Jennifer’s, people say. Not the best way to improve a shaky marriage, I’d say. But who am I to give movie stars relationship advice?

We’re hanging out in the cold with the rest of the fans, when some assistant asks Maggie if she would “take a meeting” with Jennifer Todd. The actress has questions about her role as the shop owner. Somehow, our smooth talking friend, Suzanne wheedles a deal for all of us to go on the set. Can you believe it? Rubbing shoulders– and knitting bags– with real movie stars.

But before I can even ask for an autograph, a strange accident shuts down production. Everyone is shaken. Someone could have been killed; that’s for sure. Nick Pullman storms in, shouting his head off. We’ve heard that the moody director has anger management issues, but he’s positively frightening. He’s barely shouted, “Clear the set!” and we’re herded out the door.

Before we can feel too badly, Jennifer Todd invites us to her trailer for tea! She wants to talk to Maggie, to get ideas for her role. I’m just sitting back, enjoying the exotic, herbal brew Jennifer’s assistant serves us –which I later learn costs several hundred dollars a cup to prepare, and is made from very rare, Panda Bear poop. (Not kidding. Wish I was. )

Jennifer is so sweet and down to earth. She makes us feel very welcome and explains the plot of the film — a juicy, romantic thriller, tangled with a murder mystery.

Which, as usual, gets me thinking. . .

Yeah, I know it’s just a movie. But the more I hear, the more I wonder if the real drama– and danger– is about to happen off screen. Instead of on.


You can read more about Lucy in The Postman Always Purls Twice, the 7th book in the “Black Sheep Knitting” mystery series, published by Gallery Books. The first book in the series is While My Pretty One Knits.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 7 for the chance to win a copy of The Postman Always Purls Twice. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Three lucky commenters will be randomly selected. 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
Anne Canadeo lives and knits in Northport, New York, with her husband, daughter, and canine office assistant. She is the author of the Black Sheep Knitting mystery series, and writing as Katherine Spencer, she has also authored the popular Cape Light and Angel Island series.

A Conversation With Chris Durand by Barbara Ross

Musseled OutHi. Chris Durand here.

I was born and brought up in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, the prettiest village on the Maine coast. Though most young people leave in search of more opportunity, I never have and I never plan to. Of course, I have to hustle like crazy in the summer to make ends meet, working three jobs–my landscaping business, driving my cab and as a bouncer in the town’s noisiest tourist bar. And I rent out my cabin to a summer family and move onto the Dark Lady, my antique sailboat.

This crazy summer was even more complicated. I fell in love. And I fell hard.

I remember Julia Snowden from Busman’s Harbor High. She was in eighth grade. I was a senior. Our lockers were next to each other. She had braces on her teeth and was skinny in all the wrong places. I was co-captain of the football team. She was so tongue-tied around me she could barely get the words out, but she always asked how I was doing and seemed genuinely interested in the answer. There was something about her, but I had a girlfriend, Julia was too young, and by the next year I had graduated and she was off to boarding school.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into Gus’s restaurant last March and there she was, all grown up. The braces were gone, and now she was skinny in all the right places and filled out in the rest. We started having lunch together twice a week and just like in high school, found we could really talk to one another. Julia was trying to save her family’s clambake business. She was living with her family, working with her family and socializing with her family. There were times when they drove her crazy. I think I was the only person she could talk to about it.

Before we knew it, the season took off and we were working eighteen-hour days, but we did manage to squeeze in some time in together. On top of running the Snowden Family Clambake, Julia solved two murders this summer. She says she simply aided the police with their inquiries, but, in my book, she prevented two innocent people from spending their lives in prison. One of them was me. She’s the smartest, most determined, most honest person I know.

The first time I told her I loved her, she pretended she didn’t hear me. The second time, she took a phone call from a murder suspect right after I said it. It’s ironic after all these years of trying to avoid unwanted entanglements, I’m the one left hanging. What goes around comes around.

I know Julia loves me. But she worries about whether she can make a life in little Busman’s Harbor. She worries about how enmeshed she is with her family, and how that might eventually turn me off. The truth is, I love her relationship with her family, even my former buddy, her pain-in-the-neck brother-in-law. My parents have moved to Florida and my sister’s in southern California. There’s a reason we’re all in opposite corners of the country. I haven’t told Julia about that yet. Her love and her loyalty is part of what attracts me.

There’s another issue, too. My job. Not the landscaping or the cab or the bouncing. The other job–where I go off for days at a time on my sailboat. I can’t tell anyone I’m leaving. I can’t say where I’ve been and I can’t say no. I know she worries I’m doing something dangerous or illegal or both. I’ve proposed a compromise. I quit doing it and we treat it like an old lover, something in the past not to be discussed.

I can tell she wants to get past it. She’s trying and I have to give her credit for that. It’s fall now, and we all have more time. Maybe, if I’m patient enough, she’ll come around, leave the past in the past, and make a life here in Busman’s Harbor with me. Maybe.


You can read more about Chris in Musseled Out, the third book in the “Maine Clambake” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are Clammed Up and Boiled Over.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 6 for the chance to win a copy of Musseled Out. 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
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Boiled Over was published in 2014, and Musseled Out came out in April, 2015.

Barbara blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors. She and her husband own the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where she writes her Maine coast mysteries. Her website is www.maineclambakemysteries.com. You can like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

A Day in the Life of Carleigh Warner by Amy M. Reade

The Ghosts of Peppernell ManorMy day usually starts in one of two ways:
a) I wake up my daughter, Lucy, in which case she’s grumpy and the day is off to a slow start, or
b) Lucy wakes me up, in which case I’m tired but happy and the day is off and running. Just like Lucy.

After I take her to preschool in Charleston, I usually head straight back to the manor where we’re living right now. It’s called Peppernell Manor and I’ve been hired to restore it to the way it might have looked during the days before the Civil War. The house is beautiful, but it’s been neglected and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on it.

I have a detailed plan for the restoration and I work hard on the floors, the ceilings, the walls, and the trim. You name it, I work on it. It can be a dirty, grimy job, but I love what I do and the reward is seeing an old home get a new lease on life.

So my days are planned and predicable, right?

Wrong.

Something’s not right at Peppernell Manor. The family is divided over its future: Cora-Camille, the Peppernell matriarch, has hinted that she plans to change her will to leave the management of the property to the state of South Carolina. Other members of the family think the property should be administered by a for-profit investment group (the family will stand to make more money that way). I try not to get involved, but emotions run high and sometimes I wonder if Cora-Camille is safe in her own home.

I wonder if Lucy and I are safe here, too. There have been some frightening incidents since we arrived, and I don’t know who’s behind them. I don’t want to leave the restoration of Peppernell Manor unfinished, but protecting Lucy is my top priority.

Cora-Camille’s granddaughter, Evie, is one of my best friends. I love Evie dearly, but on top of everything else that’s going on, she wants me to start dating again. I’ve been anti-men since my divorce (my ex-husband left me for a stripper – that still stings), so Evie is a bit more enthusiastic about my love life than I am. But we’ll see. . .

Add to all of that the house manager who talks to ghosts, and you can see why my days don’t always go exactly as planned.

Did I mention it is hurricane season?


You can read more about Carleigh in The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, published by Kensington.

Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger. . .

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 5 for the chance to win a kindle copy of The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor. 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. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Amy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New AmyRYork City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, and two cats. She writes full time and is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands region of New York. She is currently working on her third and fourth novels, set in Hawaii and Cape May, New Jersey, respectively. She loves cooking, reading, and traveling, and is entranced by the beauty and charm of the South.

Amy can be found online at website, her blog, on Twitter or on Facebook