Monthly Archives: November 2015

Another Day in the Life with Laurel McKay by Cindy Sample

Dying For A DonutMy name is Laurel McKay, and I am an addict. A donut addict. Or, as I prefer to say, a donut aficionado. There is nothing I like better than biting into a melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon apple donut. Or a vanilla frosted apple donut. Or a. . .well, you get the idea.

Luckily, I live near Apple Hill, located in the Gold Country of Northern California, and home to over fifty apple farms. Even better yet, my seventeen-year-old daughter, Jenna, just got a seasonal weekend job in the bakery of Apple Tree Farm, which is owned by Axel Thorson.

Their donuts truly are to die for.

Jenna confided that Axel’s teenage son had been hitting on her. After dropping her off at work the next morning, I decided to have a chat with Axel about the situation. When I finally located him in his warehouse, it was obvious we wouldn’t be having that conversation today. Or any day. Not after someone frosted Axel from head to toe with a blanket of powdered sugar.

Who wanted to sweeten him up?

Despite my gruesome discovery, there was no reason for me to become involved in this homicide investigation. For a change. I had enough on my plate besides donuts. The bank where I work in the marketing department was debating whether to eliminate my position and outsource the work to an overeager marketing company.

Which meant I could be tweeting about my own unemployment within days.

Then the police arrest the heartthrob grandson of Nina Perez, the Apple Tree bakery manager. My daughter, a budding criminologist, decides to help him, which lands her in jail. My octogenarian grandmother, a good friend of Nina’s, is now threatening to open her own detective agency and chase down the culprit herself.

What’s a soccer mom with a sweet tooth to do but go undercover?

One would think that detecting among donuts would be a piece of cake, but this could be my most dangerous investigation yet.

You can read more about Laurel in Dying For A Donut, the fifth book in the “Laurel McKay” mystery series, published by Cindy Sample. The first books in the series is Dying for a Date.

About Dying For A Donut

To Laurel McKay, there’s nothing better than spending an autumn afternoon in the Apple Hill area, munching on caramel apples and cinnamon donuts. It’s a good thing daughter Jenna’s landed a seasonal job at Apple Tree Farm and Bakery. Then Laurel stumbles over the bakery owner’s corpse coated in powdered sugar. Axel Thorson was a well-respected member of the community. Who might benefit from his death? When the police arrest the heartthrob grandson of the bakery manager, Jenna decides to help him by solving the case herself, a move that lands her in jail. With Laurel’s detective honey in another state, and her octogenarian grandmother threatening to chase down the culprit, what’s a soccer mom with a sweet tooth to do but go undercover. Detecting among donuts should be a piece of cake, but not if Laurel discovers first-hand that sugar can kill you. Dessert Recipes Included

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 7 for your chance to win a print copy of DYING FOR A DONUT. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Cindy Sample is a former corporate CEO who decided plotting murder was more entertaining than plodding through paperwork. Her national bestselling humorous mystery series, described as Erma Bombeck meets Agatha Christie, features single soccer mom, Laurel McKay. The series, set in El Dorado country, includes Dying for a Date, Dying for a Dance, Dying for a Daiquiri, Dying for a Dude and Dying for a Donut. Cindy is a three-time nominee for the LEFTY Award for Best Humorous Mystery. Cindy describes her new release, Dying for a Donut, which is set in Apple Hill, as a lip-smacking mystery. It was definitely the most fun (and most deadly) to research!

Check out Cindy at, on Facebook and at @cindysample1.

My Musing ~ Dying for a Donut by Cindy Sample

Dying For A DonutDying for a Donut by Cindy Sample is the fifth book in the “Laurel McKay” mystery series. October 2015

To Laurel McKay, there’s nothing better than spending an autumn afternoon in the Apple Hill area, munching on caramel apples and cinnamon donuts. It’s a good thing daughter Jenna’s landed a seasonal job at Apple Tree Farm and Bakery.

Then Laurel stumbles over the bakery owner’s body, coated in powdered sugar. Axel Thorson was a well-respected member of the community. Who would want to sweeten him up?

When the police arrest the heartthrob grandson of the bakery manager, Jenna decides to help him by solving the case herself, a move that lands her in jail. With Laurel’s detective honey in another state, and her octogenarian grandmother threatening to chase down the culprit, what’s a soccer mom with a sweet tooth to do but go undercover.

Detecting among donuts should be a piece of cake, but not if Laurel discovers first-hand that sugar can kill you.

What a fun read this book is from beginning to end. Laurel is a hoot especially when she is dealing with family members, and in particular her lovable grandmother. I love how this light and humorous tale flows from scene to scene keeping me engaged in all facets of this mystery, from Jenna going to jail, to Gran deciding on a name for their detective agency and to Laurel’s dogged pursuit that a killer is still roaming the neighborhood. The author did a great job in putting the killer in plain sight, because I didn’t see it until that one pivotal clue and it was fun to watch how it all played out when the killer was revealed. A great read and I love the ending and I can’t wait for the next book in this delightfully entertaining series.

A Day in the Life of Jakob Müller by Victoria Hamilton

White Colander CrimeMy name is Jakob Müller. I’m a farmer, so you’d think this time of year I’d just be finishing up my busiest season, but actually, since I farm trees—Christmas trees to be exact—I’m now in my busiest season. I also run a store called The Junk Stops Here, and I have a large German family with a father who has some health issues and a mom who’s getting older. And I have a little girl—my precious daughter, Jocelyn—who has the busy schedule of most eight year olds, with school, and seasonal pageants coming up, as well as fitting in the tumbling group she belongs to and the singing lessons she begged to take.

One evening a couple of weeks ago, as I was doing the dinner dishes, the most beautiful girl, Jaymie Leighton, banged on my door in a panic. She was in trouble, and I was able to help. I fell instantly into like, and I think it’s rapidly advancing into love.

But I have an eight year old daughter, so I have to be careful who I bring into her life. She loved Jaymie immediately; they bonded over Jocie’s photo album. So now I need to fit one more thing into my busy days. . . time with Jaymie. Time to see if what we feel can become something more. I have a sneaking suspicion my and Jocie’s lives have changed forever. . . for the better.

Anyway… my day: it starts early. I’m up at five thirty or so doing the books for the tree business and store. Then I get Jocie up by six thirty: breakfast, dishes, washing up, teeth clean, dressed neatly and school. I go to the store most days, but I do have a business partner and a couple of employees, so it’s not all on me. This time of year I have to get back to the farm by lunch and choose trees to cut for those who just want to pick up a ready cut tree. I also tag trees with information on variety and height, maintain the growing area—we put down mulch on the paths between the trees to make it neat—and coming soon I’ll be working most afternoons and evenings selling trees to cut-it-yourself folks.

But still. . . I hope I can make time to see Jaymie, and I hope she can make time to see me! She’s as busy as I am, working a half dozen jobs, volunteering at the heritage society’s new historic house, family and friends. And murder; somehow, some way, there always seems to be a murder to investigate! And Jaymie, so smart, capable and independent, always comes through.

Frohe Weihnachten from a Christmas tree farmer to you!


You can read more about Jakob in White Colander Crime, the fifth book in the “Vintage Kitchen” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is A Deadly Grind.

About White Colander Crime

In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of No Mallets Intended, the Heritage Society is re-creating a perfect Victorian Christmas—until good tidings go bad. . .

Queensville has great expectations for their Dickens Days festival. A tourist-trade boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies. At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter.

Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries—and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie’s beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering the entire Fretter family had its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie’s not convinced by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she’s going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas—especially with the real killer ready to kill again.


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No Mallets IntendedGiveaway! Open to Canadian and US addresses: Victoria is giving away a copy of Vintage Kitchen Mysteries Book #4, NO MALLETS INTENDED and Book #5, WHITE COLANDER CRIME. Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 4 for your chance to win. Good luck everyone!

About the author
Victoria Hamilton is the author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the Victoria Hbestselling 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!

For more information about the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Victoria’s other mystery series, check her out online:

Victoria Hamilton Mysteries at
Victoria Hamilton on Facebook
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries on Facebook
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries on
Twitter: @MysteryVictoria


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

This week on dru’s book musings (11/30 – 12/06)
November 30: Laurel McKay from “Laurel McKay” series by Cindy Sample
December 1: Elle Pressley from “Paws & Pose” series by Shannon Esposito
December 2: Maxine O’Hara from “Brewing Trouble” series by Joyce Tremel
December 3: Lenny the Chihuahua from “Taste of Texas” series by Rebecca Adler
December 4: Mystery Characters from “Cozy Holiday Escapes” edited by Ritter Ames
December 5: Red Solaris from “Red Solaris” series by Bourne Morris
December 6: Becki Green from “Fashionation with Mystery” series by Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre

Last week on dru’s book musings
– Emma Quinn from “Tree of Life and Death” by Gin Jones
– Josie Blair from “Yarned and Dangerous” by Sadie Hartwell
– Holly Miller from “Murder Most Howl” by Krista Davis
– Sid Thackery from “The Skeleton Haunts a House” by Leigh Perry
– Darla Pettistone from “Plot Boiler” by Ali Brandon
– Summer Smythe/Dorothy Westin from “Cardiac Arrest” by Lisa Q. Mathews
– Jakob Muller from “White Colander Crime” by Victoria Hamilton

Congratulations to these contest winners –
“Stabbing in the Senate” by Colleen J. Shogan – Connie R.
“Bun for Your Life” by Karoline Barrett – Becky W.
“Sweetheart Deal” by Linda Joffe Hull – Doward W.
$10 Amazon e-gift card from Anne Marie Stoddard – Linda H.
“Killer Transaction” by Catherine Bruns – Christine T.
“Trimmed With Murder” by Sally Goldenbaum – Candy K.

Dying For A Donut Faux Pas To Brew Or Not To Brew Here Today Gone Tamale Cozy Holiday Escapes The Rise of the Red Queen A Killer Necklace


A Day In The Lives of Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin by Lisa Q. Mathews

Cardiac.ArrestThe following exchange between Summer Smythe, 26 (age unconfirmed) and Dorothy Westin, 78, takes place between 10 and 10:30 am. Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community, Milano, FL.

S: Morning, Dorothy, sorry I’m late. But hey, I brought us free coffee from the Guest Appreciation table in the lobby. They have an espresso machine now. I got you half-caff, so it’s not as bad for you.

D: Thank you, dear. Did you also pick up some of those little containers of cream, by any chance?

S: Yep. So what is it you wanted to talk about? Do we have another case?

D: Well, no. Jennifer Margolis, our Resident Services director here at Hibiscus Pointe, would like to interview the two of us for the What’s Your Pointe? newsletter.

S: You mean that one everyone chucks in the garbage? I guess that’s okay. As long as it doesn’t go anywhere else, I mean. I don’t really want people outside the complex to know I’m living here in a—no offense, Dorothy—senior community. It’s just a temporary deal, anyway.

D: Oh, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. And Jennifer sent us the questions ahead of time. I have them right here. Seems as if she’s looking for something of a Day-in-the-Life piece—our daily routine here at the complex.

S: We don’t exactly have routines, do we? Especially not with all these murders to solve. Seriously, who knew a ritzy town like Milano could have so many people getting bumped off? Like that slimy Dr. A, on my first day working for him. Good thing you were there for a check up—otherwise we might never have met, right? Except at the pool, maybe. But that would have been totally different than teaming up together on a murder case.

D: I don’t think Jennifer wants us to highlight any aspects of our detective work. She did make a note here about avoiding certain. . .less than pleasant subjects. The newsletter goes out to prospective residents as well as all of us. I believe she’s looking to emphasize the benefits of an active senior lifestyle at Hibiscus Pointe.

S: Uh huh. Like chair yoga and Casino Nights and fancy five o’clock dinners? I don’t do any of those.

D: True. I can’t say I’m overly fond of them, either. You have your volunteer job as our Aquatics Director, though.

S: That’s just to keep the Residents Committee from kicking me out, since I’m under 55. Dumbest rule ever. If my grandma was still alive, I’m sure she’d be fine with me borrowing her condo. My dad inherited it and he doesn’t care, as long as I fork over rent to him. And anyway, I’m going to get a real job and my own place soon—unless we’re too busy solving murders. I still don’t get why Jennifer needs me for this interview, if we can’t even talk about those.

D: Perhaps she wants to lend this article a bit of your youthful energy and enthusiasm.

S: But you have tons of energy and enthusiasm yourself, Dorothy. We do all kinds of fun stuff, even when we’re working a case. Shopping downtown, lunches on the bay, fashion shows, the beach, boat cruises, cocktail parties. Remember when we went to question that fancy wedding planner and we pretended you were my grandma and I was having a million dollar wedding? And then we had to go see that horrible play at the Milano Playhouse, so we could tail a suspect there. . .and Gladys Rumway got jealous and tried to do her own investigating and totally screwed things up? And your friend Ernie got so worried after you almost…

D: I think we’re getting a little off track. But maybe it wouldn’t hurt to add in just a few tidbits about our last case. We’ll be sure to mention the outstanding work of the Milano PD—particularly that handsome young Detective Donovan—so it won’t seem as if we’re tooting our own horns.

S: Can we leave Detective Donovan out of it? I’d rather not mention him. He actually thought I might have murdered that sleazy-lizard doctor, and then he started snooping around about a bunch of stuff that happened to me back up North, before I got here. I don’t care how cute he is or how great he is at his job. It’s none of his business.

D: Is there something you’re not telling me, dear?

S: Nooo. . .It was something stupid. And it was ages ago. Like, six months.

D: Well, I’m always willing to lend an ear, if you change your mind. Now back to this interview business. . .You’re right, sleuthing for clues certainly does make life more exciting around here. Perhaps we could write a different piece about our detective work—say, for Dru’s Book Musings. The readers there enjoy hearing about mysteries.

S: Okay. We can leave out some parts about me, though, right?

D: Of course, dear. Don’t worry, this will be fun.

You are cordially invited to join Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin on the case in Cardiac Arrest, the first book in Lisa Q. Mathews’s debut mystery series “The Ladies Smythe & Westin”, from Carina Press/Harlequin.

About Cardiac Arrest

Twenty-something party girl Summer Smythe is starting over in the unlikeliest of places: Hibiscus Pointe, a kitschy retirement community in upscale Milano, Florida. Her new gig? Working for Dr. A, Milano’s much-loved cardiologist. But being in over her head is the least of Summer’s worries when her new boss drops dead. . .right in front of her.

Long-time resident Dorothy Westin prefers to keep to herself. But when the young blonde already causing ripples throughout Hibiscus Pointe becomes a person of interest in Dr. A’s murder, Dorothy springs into action. Not only because the real killer is still on the loose, but because there’s simply no way her clueless-but-kind new friend could have poisoned someone.

Dorothy and Summer soon discover that despite his chosen specialty, Dr. A had quite a reputation for breaking hearts. And if the Ladies Smythe & Westin don’t identify the guilty party fast, Summer will end up in handcuffs. . .and Dorothy in a body bag.

Book #2 in “The Ladies Smythe & Westin” series, Permanently Booked, will be published in April 2016.

Praise from CLEO COYLE, New York Times bestselling author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Cardiac Arrest is sweet, sassy, and smart. Senior sleuth Dorothy Westin and impetuous young Summer Smythe make an endearing team in this sparkling debut. Lisa Q. Mathews is a terrific new voice in cozy mysteries.”

MugSpoonGIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Tuesday, December 4 for your chance to win a digital edition of Cardiac Arrest and a mug and spoon set. (open to everyone) Good luck everyone!

Meet the Author
Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before becoming the author of her own cozy mysteries. She also wrote for kids’ series such as Mary-Kate and Ashley and The Lizzie McGuire Mysteries and she was Creative Director at Random House Children’s Books. Mom to three grown kids, Lisa lives in New Hampshire with her husband, her own mom, and a crazy Golden Retriever named Willie. Like her odd-couple co-sleuths in The Ladies Smythe & Westin series from Carina Press, she loves swimming, rich desserts, romantic comedies, and above all a good mystery. Please visit Lisa at and join her on Twitter, group blog Chicks on the Case, Facebook, and Goodreads.