Tag Archives: Kensington

A day in the life of Sarah Winston by Sherry Harris

Can I have a do over? Sarah Winston here and I’ve had some bad days. Haven’t we all? But the last few days added together make one of the worst weeks of my life. Things started well enough on a lovely early May day in Ellington, Massachusetts. I was throwing my first big yard sale of the spring and had gone all out. Balloons for the kiddos, coffee and donuts, tunes playing. It was so much fun. Until one of my clients, a veteran, was murdered and his wife was seriously injured—during the yard sale!

Could the day get any worse? Oh yes. Then my brother Luke turned up at my door. That may sound like a good thing. But wait. I hadn’t seen Luke in almost twenty years and only talked to him twice during that time. And he didn’t show up for a wonderful family reunion. No. He wanted me to hide him. I’m still not sure from whom, but it didn’t sound good. His exact words were, “I’m asking—no, begging—you not to tell anyone I’m in town.” Especially not my ex, the chief of police of Ellington. Most people wouldn’t have a problem not mentioning something to their ex, but CJ and I have a complicated relationship.

So of course CJ picks that moment to knock on my door, which presented me with a huge dilemma. Hide Luke or lie by omission to CJ. Luke gave me his “help me, sis” look—the same one from when we were kids—the one I could never say no to. So I hid him in the attic space off my one-bedroom apartment.

But that wasn’t a long-term solution. It was barely a short-term one. So I began stashing Luke in various places around my apartment building for a couple of days, like he was an illicit drug I was hiding—only a lot bigger and harder to hide. Then he vanished! All I have left is his notebook with a list of veterans in it. Veterans? My murdered yard-sale client was a veteran. Could Luke’s disappearance and the murder be connected? Knowing my life, you can bet they are. And I’ve now realized that to find Luke, I’ll have to figure out who killed my client.


You can read more about Sarah in A Good Day to Buy, the fourth book in the “Sarah Winston Garage Sale” mystery series.

HER BROTHER IS NO BARGAIN
When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town—especially her ex, the chief of police—the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.

BUT IS HE A KILLER?
All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex . . .

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About the author
Sherry Harris is the author of the Agatha Award nominated Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the series. The fourth book in the series, A Good Day To Buy, releases on April 25.

Visit Sherry at Sherryharrisauthor.com and on the Wicked Cozy Authors blog.

All comments are welcomed.

A Good Day to Buy is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Good Day to Buy. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends April 27, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Cora Chevalier by Mollie Cox Byran

I can’t believe our second craft retreat is almost upon us. We almost turned a profit during our first retreat and here’s hoping this one will do even better. I want to do our investors well! Plus I want to continue to go down this path. I believe we are making a real difference to some women. It’s an amazing feeling.

Not only are we making a difference, but we are having a good time and making new friends and making crafts. Who would have even though I could make a broom? But now that I’ve made a small hearth broom, as instructed by our last guest teacher, I use it all the time. Each time I hold it in my hand, I think of him, our first retreat, and the satisfaction that comes with making a beautiful and useful object.

Our guest at the next retreat is Marianne Wolfe, a Cherokee basket maker of national stature. Her baskets are extraordinary and Marianne was a pleasure to deal with. I just spoke with her to confirm her arrival. Next on my list is contacting the suppliers of some of the materials we’ll be using—the ones not found in nature. The upcoming retreat is wild crafting themed. We plan to hike and choose things from nature to craft with—rocks, plants, grasses, and clay. What better way to show off this beautiful state and all of it’s bounty than to get out and hike the hills and forests? We needed to get special permission to take a few things from our parks. We signed an agreement saying we’d have the rangers check over everything we take.

I also need to write a blog post today about the retreat. I’m hoping to get a few more people to sign up. I think this retreat promises to go a bit smoother than the last one. We’ve been ironing out the wrinkles, so to speak and are learning as we go along. After the last retreat, we decide it was best not to have any male teachers. They tend to change the “energy” at retreats, if ya know what I mean. Also, we’ve been very good about checking into the backgrounds of our guest teachers—we’ve even Cashel O’Malley run official background checks on the, I think we are set to go.

I’m confident thing will go better. I think we’ve thought of every possible scenario. No matter what happens, we’ll be prepared. I hope.


You can read more about Cora in No Charm Intended, the second book in the “Cora Crafts” mystery series.

Settling into her new life and career in small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, Cora Chevalier is preparing to host a “wildcrafting” retreat at her Victorian home. But a specter hangs over the venture when beloved local nanny Gracie Wyke goes missing. Amidst leading their guests in nature hikes, rock painting and making clay charms, Cora and her business partner, Jane, team up with Gracie’s boyfriend, Paul, to launch their own investigation into her disappearance when the local police prove unhelpful.

Cora and her crafters take Paul in, believing he is in danger and not the suspect police have made him out to be. However as they uncover new clues and a body turns up at a local abandoned amusement park, Cora and Jane begin to question their decision. With more questions than answers arising, is Cora crafty enough to untangle a knot that could put an innocent in jail—and permanently destroy her reputation?

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About the author
Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozies with an edge and romances with a slow, sweet burn. Her first book, Scrapbook of Secrets, was nominated for an Agatha award. Several of the books in her Cumberland Creek series have been honored with Library of Virginia People’s Choice nominations. No Charm Intended is the second book in her second mystery series. Her second romance novella has just come out as well—Every Fiber Of You. Her romances and mysteries feature crafters of all sorts. She spends her days working as a fact checker and researcher, her early mornings writing, and the rest of the time she’s a full-time mom and wife. She longs for the day to have the time to craft as much as her characters do.

All comments are welcomed.

No Charm Intended is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

My Musing ~ No Charm Intended by Mollie Cox Bryan

No Charm Intended by Mollie Cox Bryan is the second book in the “Cora Crafts” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, April 28, 2017

Settling into her new life and career in small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, Cora Chevalier is preparing to host a “wildcrafting” retreat at her Victorian home. But a specter hangs over the venture when beloved local nanny Gracie Wyke goes missing. Amidst leading their guests in nature hikes, rock painting and making clay charms, Cora and her business partner, Jane, team up with Gracie’s boyfriend, Paul, to launch their own investigation into her disappearance when the local police prove unhelpful.

Cora and her crafters take Paul in, believing he is in danger and not the suspect police have made him out to be. However as they uncover new clues and a body turns up at a local abandoned amusement park, Cora and Jane begin to question their decision. With more questions than answers arising, is Cora crafty enough to untangle a knot that could put an innocent in jail—and permanently destroy her reputation?

Once again, Mollie has written a wonderful story where the narrative immediately placed me in the middle of all the action. The tone and writing style was very comfortable making it an entertaining read. This evenly paced drama was well written and I enjoyed how the multi-plot mystery was presented with each character playing a pivotal role in how this was going to end. The author knows how to tease a reader with positioning some of the cast as likely suspects and throwing in clues to keep me intrigued in all that was happening. I also like how the author used the retreat guests as additional sleuths in the book…that was fun. This was a delightfully charming read and I look forward to the next adventures with Cora, Jane and their friends.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher.

My Musing ~ Every Body on Deck by G.A. McKevett

Every Body on Deck by G.A. McKevett is the 22nd book in the “Savannah Reid” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, April 25, 2017

Plus-sized P.I. Savannah Reid has no problem mixing business with pleasure—especially if that means a free trip while on the job. But when a gruesome murder rocks the boat, Savannah may finally be in over her head. . .

Nothing satisfies Savannah’s soul like nabbing bad guys—except maybe indulging in a juicy novel. So when famed mystery writer Natasha Van Cleef invites the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency on an Alaskan cruise in exchange for some personal protection, Savannah is instantly onboard with the idea. The voyage goes smoothly—at least, until Natasha and her husband flee the ship without explanation and get killed in a suspiciously explosive crash . . .

Awash in regret, Savannah and the MM crew won’t return home to San Carmelita until they expose whoever caused the fatal “accident.” But Savannah and her team have their work cut out for them when they discover that Natasha’s life was far more dramatic than any of her bestsellers. Not only was her marriage and literary career splattered with bad blood, but the author also had a crazed fan tracking her every move. With suspects and clues flooding in by the boatful, it’s all hands on deck as Savannah rushes to seize the murderer before she lands herself in hot water next . . .

I love this series. G.A. continually delivers an engaging and entertaining drama that I devour from the moment I turn the first page. True to form, Savannah is on a hunt for the murderer of her favorite author and Alaska won’t know what hit them until the killer is apprehended.

The comfortable tone and writing style made it easy to follow the drama unfolding as each chapter took me deeper into the story with earned insights and the added bonus of comedic verbiage. The suspect list was small, but what the author did was create a plethora of scenarios that kept me wanting to know what happened next and boy was I rewarded with each turn of the page, especially that twist that enhanced the telling of this tale. The visually appealing narrative put me in the middle of all the action with the team and I enjoyed watching it all played out as each character’s role was pivotal in the outcome of this brilliantly executed whodunit. This is by far, the best and my favorite story in this most endearing series and I look forward to more adventures with Savannah, Dirk and the gang.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Not the Usual Suspects organized by Cindy Brown

We are Not the Usual Suspects, a group of Pacific Northwest mystery writers who have banded together to contemplate life, mystery and of course, murder. Though not all of our mysteries are set in the Northwest, we all agree that living here inspires our writing.

I’m Cindy Brown, author of the Ivy Meadows series, madcap mysteries set in the off, off, OFF Broadway world of theater. I grew up in Washington State, spent 20+ years in Arizona, then moved back to the northwest. Though my books are mostly set in Arizona, my writing is definitely influenced by living here. Three big reasons:

Rain. I LOVE the rain. I love the way it makes me want to stay inside and write and read while it drums on the roof. I feel like it’s watering my soul.

The Reading and Writing Culture. People here read. On the bus, in the parks, even while walking down the sidewalk. You’re as likely to have a conversation about the latest bestseller as you are to talk about a hit TV show.

The Sensuality of the Seasons. I knew that I missed the seasons when I lived in AZ, but I’d forgotten the smell of violets, the slow circling fall of a leaf from the tree, and how wonderful homemade chicken soup tastes on a cold winter day. I definitely think that experiencing this present sense of place makes me a better writer.

I’m Kate Dyer-Seeley and I write the Pacific Northwest Mysteries featuring a very bumbling young journalist who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme magazine, when in reality her idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.

I’ve lived in the NW for my entire life and love getting to give readers a glimpse into this corner of the world. Here are three of my favorite things that sum up the Northwest and why it’s prime for mystery writing.

Beer—Portland, Oregon is known as the microbrew capital of the world. Quite literally you can walk a block in any direction and run into a pub. The best way to puzzle through putting a plot together is over a cold pint on one of the city’s many outdoor patios on a sunny, spring day.

Wild West—There’s an element of the Wild West that permeates life here. I think it’s naturally in our DNA, leftover from brave settlers who ventured to this unknown territory, and maybe because there’s an abundance of opportunity to connect with nature and get outside. From Portland you can drive a few hours and end up on the Oregon Coast, in the Cascade Mountains, Columbia River Gorge, or even the high dessert. People embrace individuality and adventure, which makes for great material.

Weather—Portland’s ever-changing weather always finds a way into my writing, but the rain and gloomy skies during the winter rarely stop people from getting outside. You grab a raincoat, pull on some boots and hit the trail. Just don’t bring an umbrella!

I’m Kelly Garrett, author of the upcoming YA mystery The Last To Die, which features an anti-hero protagonist that lives by her own honor code. My short story “Sage Advice” is Poisoned Pen Press’ anthology Bound By Mystery, which came out in March 2017, and it features a twenty-something-year-old hipster obsessed with coffee and extremely good at fixing problems.

As a native Oregonian, I love showcasing the state in my writing. As someone who grew up in rural areas of the state, it’s natural that my protagonists tend to be slightly sarcastic women (or teenage girls) with a strong sense of self-reliance.

Rain is one of my favorite things. It makes coffee taste better. The continual pattering of rain on the roof is a lullaby at night. Added bonus: when your Subaru is covered in mud from a few jaunts into the backcountry, the rain does an excellent job softening up the dirt stuck to your car, making it easier to clean.

One thing I love about the book scene in Oregon is that you can find amazing independent bookstores all over the state. I grew up behind a rare-and-used bookstore that I visited often as a teenager. Small towns from Baker City to Lincoln City, from Ashland to Astoria, all have bookstores with curated selections.

I’m Angela M. Sanders. Take a wilderness rich with indigenous people; add a few decades of intrepid pioneers in covered wagons; sprinkle with a century of loggers, fishermen, and hopeful immigrants; and toss in some graying hippies and tattooed hipsters. Stir well. Add a pinch of tech engineers and footwear designers imported from around the globe, and you get the people who make up Northwest Oregon. Two of my series take place here: one featuring a vintage clothing store owner in Portland; and one centering around a kite shop on the Oregon coast (written under my pen name, Clover Tate). I love Northwest Oregon for this mix of old school and high tech. I adore our famous independent streak and our optimism. I salute our focus on individuality. Neither series would be the same in a different setting.


About the authors
Not the Usual Suspects is a group of rain-soaked, caffeine-fueled, slightly quirky mystery writers from the Pacific Northwest who are inspired by its setting and/or sensibility. They include Cindy Brown, Kate Dyer-Seeley, Kelly Garrett, and Angela M. Sanders. They hang out together on Facebook at Not The Usual Suspects.

Giveaway: 4 books! The winner will receive e-copies (Nook or Kindle) of Oliver Twisted (Cindy Brown), First Degree Mudder (Kate Dyer-Seeley), Bound by Mystery (Kelly Garrett), and Blown Away (Angela M. Sanders/Clover Tate). Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends April 21, 2017. Good luck everyone!