Saturday, August 31, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Allen B. Boyer

Top 5 places to visit in a Cozy Town by Bess Bullock, from the Bess Bullock Retirement Home Series

Hello everyone!  Living in a retirement home may not sound all that exciting, but I’ve found a few places close to where I live that have sparked my instincts and led me to some interesting mysteries.

Rockwell Gardens:  Since I love gardening, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the most beautiful garden in the state, Rockwell Gardens.  While I enjoyed strolling around the acres of lush green grounds, not to mention lingering around beautiful flowers, I did found something that took my mind off of flowers and fragrances.  Standing next to a splendid rose bush I spotted a woman with a pair of scissors, ready to snip a rose from a lovely rose bush.  Why would someone want to spoil such natural beauty?  It was a complicated matter that I quickly looked into.  While the rest of my fellow residents enjoyed their day, at Rockwell Gardens I learned about the secret behind one woman’s desire to steal such a beautiful rose.

The Sinkhole Saloon:  While it sounds like a bar, it really is a lovely little restaurant that my husband, Chet, takes me to every Friday for lunch.  It’s located along a road known to have had two sinkholes over the years.  If you decide to go to the Sinkhole Saloon, I’d recommend dining inside, rather than sitting out on their deck.  When Chet and I sit outside in the spring and summer, my eyes keep drifting towards the street in anticipation of yet another sinkhole appearing.

Honey’s General Store:  In a world of fancy computerized stores and clerks with impersonal service, I thank the stars for Honey’s General Store.  The second you step into the store a warm smile can easily be found, along with fresh baked goods and free coffee to drink.  There are always friendly folks to chat with at Honey’s General Store, but soon I began to notice that some folks were always there and they’re smiles weren’t always sincere.  This observation led to an interesting investigation into how appearances can be misleading.
 
Grantham College:  A private college about ten minutes from the Honey Hills Center, Grantham College is a lovely old college to visit.  It features red brick buildings, some of their walls covered with ivy, with tall oak trees dotting the full green campus.  It is also known for its prestigious culinary program.  I recall a young chef who came to our retirement home from Grantham.  His skills were far better than any chef that ever came to our retirement home. Why would such a skilled chef choose to work in a retirement home?  I thought about that for many days before deciding to seek out the answer to that question.
   
The Honey Hills Center’s 4th Of July Picnic:  Once a year the spacious grounds of the Honey Hills Center plays host to a lovely evening every 4th of July.  A local orchestra comes and performs.  Free ice cream is served.  The community turns out to sit and enjoy the performance along with us residents.  However, when I first moved into the Honey Hills Center, I got involved in what appeared to be a young woman trying to smother a resident with a pillow.  Of course, it was quite upsetting to see.  I was able to identify the young woman during our July 4th concert.  With music in the air, and stars above, I confronted the woman and missed the final song and the free ice cream.  While I didn’t mind missing the music, I was upset about the ice cream.
 
Life in a senior center does not sound exciting, but with places like these close by, my instincts for observation and detection don’t seem all that interested in letting me enjoy the quiet idle days of retirement.

Allen B Boyer is the author of the "Bess Bullock Retirement Home" mysteries published by Cozy Cat Press. Check out all the titles on Amazon. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: A Heartache Motel by Terri L Austin, Larissa Reinhart and LynDee Walker

Are you ready for a explosive new set of novellas? A Heartache Motel is coming soon from three talented authors: Terri L Austin, Larissa Reinhart and LynDee Walker.


Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)
When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)
Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King's home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief's crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.

HEARTACHE MOTEL will be on sale everywhere December 10, 2013.

To check out the other novels in these three humorous mystery series, you can find Terri (http://www.amazon.com/Terri-L.-Austin/e/B008EFCWM2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1), Larissa (http://www.amazon.com/Larissa-Reinhart/e/B008EME5MA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2) and LynDee's (http://www.amazon.com/LynDee-Walker/e/B009PD6PKW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1) other mysteries on their amazon pages by clicking their names.

What's your favorite Elvis song? Leave a comment below and enter to win a swag pack from Terri, Larissa, and LynDee!
Giveaway is open to US, Canada and UK and closes at midnight on Friday August 30, 2013 at midnight.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Paige Shelton

Five Places to Visit in Broken Rope, Missouri, by Betts Winston from Paige Shelton’s Country Cooking School series.

1. My gram’s cooking school. The school building originally housed a church then a Bingo parlor and now her school. It’s an old but well taken care of building that sits outside of town at the top of the first hill up the two-lane highway.

2. The cemetery next to the cooking school. A number of Broken Rope’s famous or infamous citizens are buried in this cemetery. You’ll find people like Jerome Cowbender, a bank robber who was shot in the back, and Sally Swarthmore, a convicted Lizzie Borden-like killer. Some say the cemetery is haunted.

3. My best friend Jake’s fake sheriff’s office. Jake will be dressed up like a law enforcement officer from the Old West days, and he’ll recite a poem he’s written especially for our visiting tourists.

4. The Jasper Theater. Currently, the theater shows modern day movies, but the stage with the wood grain “J” in its middle has seen live theater, beginning back in the days of Burlesque.

5. Bunny’s restaurant. The best restaurant in town, and the only one open twenty-four hours. Bunny doesn’t offer anything gourmet, but everything tastes great and her coffee is most definitely something worth swooning for.

Paige Shelton is the author of two cozy mystery series: Farmers Market Mysteries and Country Cooking School Mysteries. Visit her website: http://www.paigeshelton.com/

Monday, August 19, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Hannah Reed

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town by Story Fischer from Buzz Off by Hannah Reed

My Favorite Places in Moraine

Moraine, Wisconsin is where I was born and raised. After going off to the big city and taking my lumps, I’m back where I started. Small town life means lots of family and friends. We are one big happy community.

The Wild Clover – This is my grocery store where I sell all kinds of Wisconsin products like our prize-winning cheeses, wild rice, cranberries in all their glorious forms, veggies and fruits from local providers, and of course, honey products. It’s housed in the old Lutheran Church right on Main Street. I like to think it’s an important hub for our community.

Queen Bee Honey – my honeybee business bringing bottled honey, candy, beeswax, and whatever I’m experimenting with at the moment to the locals. All this from the honey house in my backyard, thanks to all the hives, their workers and especially the queen bee.

Oconomowoc River – The river meanders through Moraine and kisses up against my backyard. I love to take out my kayak and explore, although I’ve had a few unexpected surprises.

Stu’s Bar and Grill – Stu’s is another gathering place on Main Street, serving up local brewskis and staples like chicken wings, burgers, pizza, and plenty of gossip. Not to mention that Stu is a hunk and worth the stop.

Library – What town is complete without a library? Ours hosts special events like musical jams in the summer, chocolate and honey tastings in the winter, and used book sales year round.

Follow Hannah on the Web: Pinterest, Facebook, Website

Beewitched is available for pre-order from all your favorite book sellers

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Black Cat Appreciation Day + Giveaway


It's Black Cat Appreciation Day! My husband had a black cat named Midnight for over 18 years and he was the the most beautiful cat I have ever met. Unfortunately black cats are quite often the last to be adopted, which is just plain sad. So let's have a big shout out for black cats, because they should be the first to be adopted!!

One of my favorite black cats in cozy mysteries is Hamlet from the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries by Ali Brandon. In honor of Hamlet and Black Cat Appreciation Day I'm giving away a copy of Double Booked for Death (book 1) or A Novel Way to Die (book 2).

Details: 
1. Giveaway is for one paperback copy of either book, and is open international and book will be delivered via Amazon.
2. Easy entry with Rafflecopter below. 

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Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Blanche Day Manos and Barbara Burgess

Grave Shift
By
Blanche Day Manos and Barbara Burgess

After my husband Jake Tucker died, I returned to my mother’s house in my hometown of Levi, Oklahoma. My heart was breaking and I yearned for healing and peace. The healing has come but I’ve yet to find much peace because Mom, Flora Tucker and I, Darcy Campbell seem to attract mysteries like a small boy attracts mud. However, I love my hometown and want to introduce you to 5 of my favorite places.

Flora’s Kitchen: My favorite place in all the world is the kitchen of my mother’s hundred-year old farmhouse. It is sunny and bright and the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee from her old yellow coffee pot brightens even the gloomiest day.

The Office of the Ventris County Sheriff: A sheriff’s office is not a favorite place for many people but it is for me simply because of the man behind the desk. Grant Hendley, tall and slim with red hair and piercing blue eyes just happens to be my long-ago sweetheart and an active contender for a place in my life today.

Dilly’s Café: Stepping into this café where the good citizens of Levi meet for delicious meals and to swap gossip is like going back in time. The yellow formica and chrome tables and black and white tile floors haven’t changed much in the last 60 years and neither has the home cooking.

Spirit Leap: When I want to be alone, I mean really alone, I go to a big flat rock that sits atop a bluff above a stream in Mom’s back pasture. Sharp rocks line the banks of Spring Creek which hurries into the woods far below me and the peace sort of quiets my mind.

Jackson Conner’s Law Office: I must admit that this office is more of Mom’s favorite but I like it too. The cedar paneling and brown leather furniture of the room along with the faint aroma of cherry pipe tobacco is an imprint of the lawyer himself. Mr. Conner’s head of white hair and white mustache certainly appeal to Mom and I wonder if a romance might be blooming there?

Author’s website: blanchedaymanos.com 
Facebook page: Blanche Day Manos 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town (Scumble River, Illinois) with Denise Swanson

5 Top Places to Visit in Scumble River, Illinois
by Denise Swanson

It was hard of choose the first stop on out little tour, but since I spend so much time there, I picked the Scumble River Police Department. Between being the PD’s psych consultant and engaged to the handsome police chief, Wally Boyd, I spend a bit of my life in this place. It’s housed in a two-story red-brick building bisected by a massive double-deep three-door garage. The police department occupies half the main floor, with a single jail cell in the basement. The city hall, where my Machiavellian uncle Dante Leofanti rules as mayor, is on the other side of the building, along with the town library, which is on the second floor of that half.

And speaking of the library, Scumble River Library is normally presided over by Judy Martin, but she’s been on sabbatical and Yvonne Osborn has been in charge. While it’s still the same two rooms, jam-packed with books and magazines, the atmosphere is different with Yvonne at the helm. Things are much more regimented. The wooden chairs and study carols are lined up at precise angles and the shelves have been straightened to within an inch of their lives. Not to mention, the small corner office, that is now ready for a military inspection.

The newest business in town is my favorite. Tales and Treats is a combination bookstore and café. It’s owned by Risé Vaughn and her husband Orlando Erwin. I love the clever design. The main room contains the register, gift items associated with reading and writing, and a massive glass-fronted oak cupboard containing rare and first editions.

Radiating from the central hub is the café where Orlando does his baking magic, and four areas decorated according to the genre they held—mystery, romance, science fiction/fantasy /horror, and literature. I spend most of my time in the first two. The mystery space has elegant wood paneling and cushiony armchairs that invite customers to relax as they make their choices. A fireplace with a jumbo magnifying glass hangs over the mantel, and handcuffs, crime scene tape, and a variety of toy weapons are arranged on top of cherry occasional tables.

The romance nook is furnished with a pink velvet chaise lounge and a white wrought iron daybed stacked with frilly pillows. Oversized champagne glasses and high heel shoes are placed on gilt tables, and a lace peignoir hangs from a brass hook on the wall. Probably the most popular place in town square is the Feed Bag. Even though it was last redecorated in nineteen-eighty-four, it’s the only real restaurant in Scumble River. The dated mauve paint and brass railings don’t seem to matter too much to the locals, but over twenty years of hard wear has taken their toll with the interior. Most of the vinyl seats have tears that have been repaired with duct tape, and the walls are pocked with dabs of color that didn’t quite match the original paint. The ferns died more than a decade ago, and the plastic plants that replaced them are faded and dusty. Still, the owner, Tomi Johnson’s good cooking keeps the place humming. 

No visit to Scumble River would be complete without a stop at the bowling alley. The owner is my ex-boyfriend, Simon Reid, but his mother Bunny runs the place. There aren’t two more different people than Simon and Bunny, and luckily for business, Bunny’s the fun one. Bunny Lanes is housed in a brick building close to fifty years old. When Simon bought it he changed the interior from nineteen-sixties brown and orange to a sleek palette of blues with touches of silver. He expanded the bar area and enclosed it, adding etched glass doors, a small stage, and dance floor. The grill also received a face-lift. The counter tops are now blue faux marble and stools are upholstered in a denim fabric with silver studs.

I do have a few bad memories of this place. There was the bachelorette/bachelor party for my California cousin that got out of control and the murder when Bunny decided to host a combination speed dating and cat show, but all in all, it’s probably the most entertaining stop on the tour.

If you’re lucky, you won’t have to see Reid’s Funeral Home. Although its owner Simon Reid is a hunk, most people would rather skip this place unless they have no other choice. And just because Simon and I dated and I’ve helped solve a lot of murder cases, I promise not to try and make this your last stop.

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River and Devereaux’s Dime Store mystery series. Her latest, MURDER OF A STACKED LIBRARIAN, #16 in the series, hits the shelves on September 3, 2013. Her books have made the New York Times Bestseller List, Barnes & Noble best-seller lists, and the Independent Booksellers lists. All of Denise’s mysteries are available in print, digital, large-print, and audible editions. For more information visit Denise at: www.DeniseSwanson.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/DeniseSwansonAuthor

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Nina Bannister

WELCOME TO BAY ST. LUCY!

Bay St. Lucy is home to Nina Bannister, retired high school English teacher and protagonist of the Nina Bannister “Cozy” Mysteries, co-written by T. Gracie (actually Pam) Reese and Joe Reese. Nina’s first exploits were recounted in Sea Change: A Nina Bannister Mystery, which was published by Cozy Cat Press in May of this year, and her next adventure (Set Change) will appear in September. She loves her little Mississippi sea coast village very much, and recommends the following first stops for visitors:

1. Elementals from the Sea and the Earth. This shop is owned and run by Margot Gavin, retired director of The Chicago Art Institute and best friend of Nina (who sometimes helps out at the cash register). Everything in Margot’s vine enshrouded shop—all of the landscapes, seascapes, portraits, pots, knick knacks, local art, exotic art—is exquisite, which is not surprising, given the woman’s background; but how the most hideous possibilities could result in the most magical realities, never ceases to amaze. Take time, when you go to Margot’s, to people watch.
You might see a murderer.

2. Sergio’s By the Sea. The restaurant is slightly ill named, there being no ‘Sergio’ connected with it (It was in fact owned by a man named Leonard Katz, who lived in Jackson), and the distance between it and the sea being somewhat more than two miles. Still, Nina always tells herself, it is by the sea, to the degree that all places in the world are by the sea, given a bit of poetic license—and direct ownership of the restaurant by Sergio is not implied by the sign outside it, which contains no apostrophe.
Try the soft shelled crab.

3. The Robinson Mansion. A huge monstrosity of a place, built by gangsters (or so the story always goes), and allowed to fall into ruin after the horrific events of one stormy night in a September almost a decade ago (events well chronicled in Sea Change). Renovated at great expense by Eve Ivory, and described by Nina as follows: “It could not be viewed as a mansion at all, nor a house of any kind, nor even a land-fixed dwelling. No, the thing she was entering, with its chandelier spinning slowly and sparkling brilliantly like a Cinderella Ball Gown hanging from a ceiling high above—this thing could only be compared to the Titanic, dried, refurbished, up-ended, and wet-barred.
Explore the old escape tunnel in the back.

4. McGraw’s Landing. An improbable place on the ‘Bay’ side of the community. It lies on the far side of a great earthen levee which keeps the Bayou Fourche out of the town, and it triples as a slightly disreputable bar nights, an unhealthy restaurant afternoons, and the Center for Swamp Tours! mornings.
It has very little to be famous for except its drink menus.
But what menus!

The Landing (as it is referred to by townspeople) offers a remarkable variety of alcoholic beverages, a fact which always delights the fruit loving Nina and always appalls the pure gin loving Margot.

It is dimly lit, and one enters by walking beneath a huge stuffed alligator which had been clamped by massive concrete rods to the wall above the door.

One is then (hopefully, on uncrowded nights) taken to a table by a window, which overlooks the bay. The water is usually placid in the moonlight, and lamps glow on various platforms or fishing huts that dot the murky, moss laden, swamp surrounding the restaurant.

Try the Bacon Old Fashioned with either Gran Classico or Curacao as an inversion, if you are Nina.

Have a big glass of gin with just a splash of tonic sprinkled in it if you are Margot.

And keep an eye peeled, because the famous Shakespearian actor Clifton Barrett (from New York!) often brings women here, a habit which may lead to his eventual murder.

5. Seaside Statuary. Nina and the young and beautiful Helen Reddington go here, on the horrible afternoon several hours after Helen is publically humiliated by her husband. Nina has to talk about this, of course, but for a time all the two women can is gape at their surroundings. The first thing they notice is that they are surrounded by what would certainly be the largest most massive most wonderful cemetery lawn in the world except that there are no dead people under it. What there are, though, are birdbaths. Big birdbaths, wide birdbaths, petite little cute birdbaths, ornate birdbaths, Greek birdbaths, simple rustic birdbaths, birdbaths for eagles, romantic and flowery birdbaths, obscene and dirty and vulgar birdbaths—it even seems a shame, Nina finds herself wondering, that, just as there are apparently no corpses buried in the most wonderful graveyard in the world, there are also no birds bathing in the thousand million or more swimming pools that have, by dint of light gray limestone and loving workmanship, been offered up to them. Perhaps because there is no water.
Look carefully at all the statuary.
But don’t believe anything Helen tells you.

We—T Gracie, Joe, and Nina, as well as well as Margot, Tom Broussard, Alana Delafosse, Penelope Royale, Eve Ivory, Helen Reddington, John Giusti, Clifton Barret, and Moon Rivard—invite you to spend time in Bay St. Lucy.
You won’t regret it—and you might even guess whodunit!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Sharon Rose Mierke

Five Places to Visit in and around Parson's Cove

1) Mabel's Fables and Things: This is, of course, the number one spot because this little shop filled with nonessential knickknacks, second hand books, and Sadie MacIntosh's preserves, is Mabel Wickle's shop. It's an especially interesting place to check out because last fall it almost burned to the ground. Now, it's repaired as good as new and there's new merchandize on the shelves. Probably the main reason for visiting might be Mabel's coffee. Or one of her famous muffins if you're especially nice.

2) Parson's Cove Lake: The town of Parson's Cove is nestled alongside a rather large lake. There is no official name for it but everyone in town calls it Parson's Cove Lake. It's an easy walk from Main Street to the lake but the real beach is a few miles away from town. Just follow the narrow country road that runs along the lake's edge. Soon, you'll come to a sandy beach. If you look hard enough, you'll see cabins tucked in between bluffs of trees.

3) Krueger's house: Perhaps, this is one house you won't want to enter but you might want to drive by to check out - especially after you find out how many criminals have stayed there. This house is found right behind Mabel's house. Old Mr. and Mrs. Krueger died many years ago and their daughter rents it out as a summer home. Mabel has discovered that most of the renters end up being thieves or murderers. Perhaps, you'd be interested in renting it and staying for a spell?

4) Flori and Jake Flanders's home: Flori and Jake live a few blocks from Mabel's place. The reason their house makes the list is because you are being invited for dinner and Flori is the best cook in Parson's Cove. All you can hope is that none of the rest of her family arrives. Flori is the only sane one of the bunch.

5) Mabel's house: Last but not least. You will especially enjoy visiting with Mabel if you love cats. She started out with one, to keep the field mice out of the house in the fall. Before she knew it, Philip gave birth to a litter of five. She changed Philip's name to Phyllis. Then, the old Tomcat moved in. She has managed to give away two so she's now down to five. 

There are many other quaint places to visit in Parson's Cove; however, I've told you about the ones I thought you'd enjoy the most. If you can't visit in the summer, come in the winter and do some ice fishing!

Check out all the Parson's Cove mysteries at Sharon Rose's Amazon Page.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Giveaway: Cozy Mystery Paperback of Your Choice & Cross-Stitch Bookmark

It's Sunday. It's Summer and the sun is shining. Doesn't this seem like a perfect reason for a giveaway? We've had some rain and overcast so I'm rejoicing over good weather. As such here is a fantastic Sunday giveaway for my readers...

One winner will win a Cozy Mystery paperback of their choice delivered via Amazon.com and a Cross-Stitch Bookmark customized with their message and color. Check out all the bookmarks here on their Pinterest page.

To enter complete the rafflecopter and giveaway is open international.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in Cadbury by the Sea with Casey Feldstein ( Betty Hechtman)

My name is Casey Feldstein and I'm the amatuer sleuth in Yarn to Go. I recently moved from Chicago to Cadbury by the Sea, California. It’s a quaint town on the edge of the Monterey Peninsula, which means lots of white skies and fog. Cadbury certainly isn’t a cutsy town with Ye Olde anything. The old Victorian style storefronts are all genuine as are the grand houses on the main street. Though most of them are now bed and breakfasts instead of family homes.

Even though it is a tourist stop for people from around the world, the Cadburians go about their business as if they weren't on display. I think the word I’m looking for is authentic. Cadbury is definitely an authentic town.

My number one favorite spot is really on the edge of the town. Vista Del Mar is a hotel and conference center. The grounds have all been left in their natural state, which means there are no manicured lawns or borders of bright flowers. Instead there are tall slender Monterey pines, and Monterey cypresses that have been given a flowing horizontal shape by the constant wind. It feels almost like a camp with the large social hall and buildings with guest rooms scattered over the 100 and something acres. The air always smells of wood smoke and you can hear the rush of the sea nearby.

Most of the buildings are over 100 years old and covered with dark weathered shingles. Mix that with the fog and you get a moody feeling, maybe even a little sinister. The room are spare with simple furnishings and no TV or telephone. Deer wander through the grounds paying no mind to the guests.

You might wonder why I know so much about the place. It wasn’t my plan, but I inherited my aunt’s yarn retreat business, and that’s where the retreats are held. I certainly can’t complain about the commute. My house is across the street.

I don’t want to make Vista Del Mar sound too forbidding. The social hall is an inviting gathering spot with an old fashioned feel. My yarn people love to meet up in the sitting area in front of the massive stone fireplace. Mostly they knit, crochet and talk. There is a pool table and one for table tennis. A piano for sing alongs. The gift shop sells snacks and coffee drinks along with tee shirts and post cards. I find it particularly appealing at night when the glass amber lampshades give off a warm glow.

My number two suggestion is the Blue Door Restaurant. It’s located on the main street in downtown Cadbury. As it’s name suggests, it’s in a house that is painted blue. The building itself is also over 100 years old and has a plaque on the side to prove. Why am I so partial to this place? It is owned by my best friend in town Lucinda Thornkill and her husband Tag. They are a story onto themselves. They were high school sweethearts who only reconnected recently. Their happily ever after is a little complicated. They are also my bosses. After a laundry list of professions, I am currently working as dessert chef at their restaurant. I am self taught and so far my desserts all seem to be a hit. I also bake muffins for the coffee shops in town. All my baking is done at the Blue Door when the restaurant is closed. I turn on some mellow jazz and get lost in mixing flour, sugar, butter and more into something delicious.

My number three suggestion is the Vista Del Mar Beach. A street is all that separates the Vista Del Mar grounds from the sand. It’s not ordinary sand. Just like the trees are special here, so is the beach. It is the only one in Cadbury that has the silky white sand made from some stones with a hard to pronounce name. It is so soft, you don’t even mind getting it in your shoes. The waves are big as they roll in and such a special color. Remember the crayon that was called sea foam green? The water here really is that color. And sometimes, if your lucky, you may catch sight of the spray coming from a passing whale.

Number Four would have to be the Cadbury Lighthouse. It’s the oldest one on the west coast and has been continually operating since some time in the 1800s. Since it is on the very tip of the peninsula, it is often shrouded in fog. Unlike most of the light houses that I’ve seen, it isn’t a cylinder with a light on top. Actually it looks like somebody took one of those traditional lighthouses and jammed it into the top of a house. No silky white beach there. There is just a tiny strip of beach before the rocky shore and signs that warn of dangerous currents and undertow that could rip you out to sea.

It might seem odd that Number Five is the Cadbury Cemetery, but if you saw it, you’d understand why. It is a small patch of deep green lawn, which is a rarity in Cadbury. Most houses have just some kind of natural groundcover which is the politically correct way of saying weeds. When I say weeds, I’m not talking about an abandoned yard kind of weeds that looks like nobody cares. Here it is more about going with the natural flow of the land. So, the green of the cemetery stands out along with all the flowers left on the graves. There are usually a lot of deer lounging between the headstones.

Cadbury by the Sea is a lovely little town that has a very low crime rate. It certainly can’t be my fault, but ever since I moved here, there just seems to be one murder after another.

Yarn to Go is the first book in the Yarn Retreat series for Berkley Prime Crime. Betty Hechtman also writes the national bestselling crochet series for Berkley. Just like her characters, you could say she’s up to her elbows in yarn. Check out www.BettyHechtman.com for more information. You can stop by her Facebook page or read her Friday blog at www.Killerhobbies.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Giveaway: Virginia Lowell Book Set

Thanks to Virginia Lowell, I have an amazing prize to offer my blog readers.


Virginia has generally donated a signed book set, comprising the four books in her Cookie Cutter series. She has also donated several copies of her recent release - One Dead Cookie - all signed.

The prizes will be split as following:
First Prize - a book set of all four books in this series, signed by the author
Second Prize - two winners will each receive a copy of One Dead Cookie by Virginia Lowell, signed by the author.
Giveaway is open US/Canada.

To enter, complete the rafflecopter below.

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Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town By Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt from the Fuschsia, Minnesota Series by Julie Seedorf

Living in a small town is the best. Small towns make their own rules, are nosy about each other’s lives and accept each other’s quirky personalities. I love living in Fuchsia. It keeps me busy. Something is always happening. I will share my favorite haunts with you.

Ella’s Enchanted Forest: This is one of my favorite hangouts. It’s where I do a little romancing while scarfing up donuts and coffee. It helps to have a forest inside a building where you can chill out and pretend it is summer when the winter snow is flying. Of course that was only before the forest disappeared.

Rack’s Restaurant: I have met many interesting people in Rack’s. I hook many a crooks there. It helps that they protect me from my children when I am dining with my children. They don’t tell my children what I eat when I am by myself because my children would disapprove. The waitresses are great too, at least I thought they were, but that’s a different story. I do get a little romancing here too. Sometimes it’s a romantic place for an old woman.

The Cemetary: I know, it’s a strange place for someone to like. but the fact that I’m not buried there yet makes it one of my favorite places. And it has secrets only I know about.

Abstract: I do my best sleuthing here. I also fell for someone right here in this store. It is a romantic story, well about as much romantic as you can get at my age. I look at the goods but I try not to touch all the enticing merchandise. I leave that to the crooks I catch. Abstract carries the coolest things that you can’t find anywhere else in Minnesota. I like to hang out with the store clerks and sit in my corner and watch people and then I pounce and I make them bounce straight to the hoosegow.

Mrs. Shrill’s House: I love Mrs. Shrill’s house. Of course, I have never been inside. She doesn’t like me. I hang out outside her house and toss Baskerville, her hound, treats. One time I even tossed Mrs. Shrill a treat when she was “tut, tut, tutting” me. Visiting her house gives an old woman energy and laughter and………a little bit of a thrill, rhymes with shrill, when I get the best of her.

Julie Seedorf is the author of Granny Hooks a Crook. Check out her website: http://julieseedorf.com/ and her books on Amazon.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town by Sam Hayes from the Small Town Gossip Mystery series by Lyla Fox

My name is Samuels Harper Hayes, but, much to my highfalutin mother’s chagrin, my father Harley Hayes (aka Scoop) nicknamed me Sam, after his favorite Detective Sam Spade. The name stuck. Several years ago, I took perhaps the biggest risk of my risk-averse life when I left my luxurious condo in Chicago and a fairly boring job with a textbook publisher to return to Cotter’s Corner, Michigan, and my father, a sometimes sober and nearly-totally debauched newspaperman. I told myself the move was to save my father and his paper by using some of the mega-million trust fund established by my mega billionaire stepfather to buy into my dad’s paper The Corner News. Though it is a move I question almost daily as I verbally joust with my father and ward off my mother’s pleas to return to where I belong: big city and big money, it turns out that Mother doesn’t know me half s well as she thinks she does. I’m happy in my little three blocks and one stoplight small town. The following five places and the people associated with them are the reason that I don’t think I’ll ever want to return to bright lights, big city.

The Corner News
This is my dad Scoop’s paper. He bought it when he and my mother left Detroit and the Detroit Free Press. He’d come in drunk once too often so he landed in Cotter’s Corner and a paper with a circulation smaller than his Detroit zip code. It’s home to me, though. It’s the place where I played all those summers when the custody agreement ordered me to be there after my parents’ divorce. Scoop was far from Father of the Year, but even when I was very young, I realized the worth of the quirky people who wandered in through the Corner News’ door. Now I still cherish them as I edit and write my weekly column Snooping, designed to keep subscribers up on the latest goings on. Sadly, the most recent person to come in with “news that will shake this town up,” was the first victim of the person I dubbed The Cotter’s Corner Killer.

Mabel’s Restaurant
Mabel Pollock is a good cook and since her niece, the wonderful Lacy Pickett, has been my friend for as long as I can remember, I spend a great deal of time here. Lacy is gorgeous and a bit adrift with the men who come and go in her life, but she’s a true blue friend and gets me. She also knows that my favorite lunch is a green river soda and a sandwich made from homemade oatmeal bread, havarti, lettuce, and avocado filling with a special cucumber dressing. Yum. But the restaurant will become Lacy’s way too soon when her aunt meets with disaster.

Cotter Restoration
This is a bit of a fib because this spot isn’t exactly my favorite place. But it is the place where my very favorite man, the luscious Charley Cotter (Yes, scion of the super rich Charles Cotter, Sr.), has relocated his vintage car restoration business. He handles nearly priceless Mercedes Benzes and Ferraris, but more important he has suddenly shown an undeniable interest in me. I’m no longer too young for him to pay attention to. It may not be the smartest move I’ve ever made, but I’m dating Charley a little and liking him more and more. So if Charley loves his restoration business, I do too.

Le Noir
This restaurant is way more upscale than the greasy spoons in Cotter’s Corner. Le Noir is where people go to have long, romantic nights. It’s closed during the winter months but the rest of the time reservations are a must. Charley has part ownership in it so we get great treatment whenever we eat here. Oh, there was one night that the treatment was wretched, but the management had nothing to do with that. I nearly died and not from food poisoning.

Aggie’s House
Aggie Chestnut is another of my best friends, an unlikely one because she’s over seventy years old and devoted to tabloid trash and her police scanner. My childhood summers were full of Aggie, her outrageous sense of impropriety, and her closet full of the most yellow of journalism. She got me into celebrity gossip, and I can’t get out of it—even if I wanted to. Her house is nearly ramshackle ,and she won’t let me help her change it. She loves the stone gargoyles outside and the memories of her cherished husband Tubby, dead for thirty years, inside among the ragged chintz and knickknacks. I’ve had a lot of good luck in my life, but the top of my list of blessings is Aggie.

Lyla Fox is the author of two separate series: Snoop is the first book in The Small Town Gossip Series in which Sam and her friends appear . Lyla also pens the Shaky Detective Mysteries. The first book in that series is Murder on Cinnamon Street. Both series are published by Cozy Cat Press, where she happily writes with dozens of supportive, talented cozy mystery devotees. Lyla’s non-fiction has appeared in national publications and her tweenage novel won an honorable mention in the annual Writer’s Digest Competition. Her books are available online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Follow Lyla Fox on the web: Facebook, lylafox.com, and Twitter

Monday, August 5, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town by Margaret MacCrimmon Boyd from the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish-American Heritage Mysteries by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Moosetookalook, Maine, located in the rural Western mountains, has a population of 1007. In recent years—ever since my niece, Liss MacCrimmon, returned home—in spite of it’s small size, it has turned into quite a tourist destination, so much so that it is hard to pick only five places to visit. I’ve narrowed the list down to my personal favorites.

Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium: How can I not mention this lovely little shop that sells all things Scottish, from tins of haggis to kilts to little pewter figurines of bagpipers? It’s been a MacCrimmon family business for generations. I ran it for many years and now it is Liss’s turn. She’s added Internet sales to walk-in traffic and mail orders and is actually turning a profit. Clever girl!

Angie’s Books: Angie Hogencamp sells new and used books and lives in the apartment above the store. When we held a mystery fan convention at the hotel, she hosted a book signing that was an enormous success and had a table in the dealers’ room, too.

Patsy’s Coffee House: Patsy is a real old-fashioned “Mainah” who makes her own donuts, sticky buns, and whoopie pies. I hear the coffee is wonderful, too, though personally I’m a tea drinker. Patsy’s is where folks from away can hang out with the locals.

The Spruces: This wonderful old hotel, dating from the early twentieth century, has been completely refurbished and modernized by my old friend Joe Ruskin. Then he hired me to coordinate special events. We’ve hosted everything from a Burns Night Supper to a Christmas toy auction, plus that mystery fan convention I mentioned earlier. Joe’s son Dan recently married my niece Liss, and their wedding, and the annual Scottish festival, also took place at The Spruces . . . at the same time.

The Old Chadwick Mansion: For Moosetookalook’s Halloween festival, Liss is turning this abandoned building, taken by the town for unpaid taxes, into a “haunted house.” It’s quite a place—built by a wealthy family who may not have come by their fortune all that honestly and later the property of a mob hit man from Boston. There are rumors of treasure, and maybe a few bodies, buried on the premises.

Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish-American Heritage Mysteries, starting with Kilt Dead, when Liss returns to her home town of Moosetookalook, Maine after a career-ending knee injury. She used to be a professional Scottish dancer. Now she runs Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium. Just out (July 30, 2013) is the seventh entry in the series, Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones, in which the Old Chadwick Mansion plays a central role. As Kathy Lynn Emerson, she wrote two historical mystery series and the Agatha-award-winning nonfiction book, How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and will be Guest of Honor at Malice Domestic 26 in 2014. As Kate Emerson she writes non-mystery historical novels.
Check out her website.
Purchase Kaitlyn's books at Amazon.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Top Five Places to Visit in A Cozy Town by Constable Molly Smith (From the Constable Molly Smith novels) by Vicki Delany

My name’s Molly Smith, and I live in Trafalgar, British Columbia.

Trafalgar is a cozy town, nestled in the mountains in the British Columba Interior, a haven for neo-hippies, wilderness adventurers, new-age travellers, and the comfortably retired. But there’s nothing cozy about my job. I’m a cop and I have some big decisions to make.

I love Trafalgar, I love being close to my mom, known to everyone (and I do mean everyone) as Lucky, and I have a boyfriend here, a sexy RCMP dog handler, but if I’m going to have a chance of climbing the ladder in my police career, perhaps even making detective some day or becoming a forensics officer, I need big-city police experience. And that would mean leaving Trafalgar.

In the meantime, if you’re planning a visit to Trafalgar here are the places you don’t want to miss.

Mid-Kootenay Adventure Vacations: Trafalgar’s a tourist town, for the sort of tourists who want to hike and kayak in the summer and ski in the winter. Whatever your outdoor needs, Mid-Kootenay Adventure Vacations has it all. I was raised in that store, crawling among the ski poles and hiking boots, and when I was a teenager I led multi-day expedition into the backcountry. The store was opened back in the 1970s when wilderness tourism was just getting going by my mom and dad, Andy and Lucky Smith, who, come to think of it, were also just getting going. My mom still runs the place. Mom’s one of the town’s number one movers and shakers. She’s an old hippy (I try not to mention that my real name is Moonlight Legolas – what a name for a cop!), and as passionately committed to the environment, to issues of peace and social justice as she was on the day she married my dad. Makes it awkward sometimes, me a cop and Mom on one side or another on every issue in this town. Don’t remind me of the time I was policing a riot – and there was Mom, behind the barricades.

Big Eddie’s Coffee Emporium. As well as great wilderness and fabulous scenery, British Columbia is known for the quality of its coffee shops. And Big Eddies can be counted on as one of the best. Fabulous coffee, huge breakfast sandwiches, home-made muffins and cookies, healthy salads. My favourite is the Special Hot Chocolate. Full of piping hot chocolaty goodness and topped with a mountain of whipped cream. Real whipped cream. Sergeant Winters tells me the coffee’s pretty good too. And, best of all, it’s right around the corner from the police station. So you can find cops in uniform sharing a table, and a joke, with a long-haired, heavily pierced Internet guru or a sleek Lululemon-clad Mom straight from yoga class with her toddler in a stroller the size of a small car.

Blue Sky Ski Resort. If there’s one thing better than Big Eddie’s Hot Chocolate, it’s driving out of town with a mug of that hot chocolate and a breakfast sandwich heading for Blue Sky. It’s only about ten minutes out of town but one of the best ski hills in all of B.C. And that’s saying a lot. Blue Sky is famous for the amount of snow, as well as the quality of the snow. Champagne powder, we call it. All you’ll find at Blue Sky is superb skiing and a single building with a great cafeteria and hopping bar. No hotels, no restaurants, no fancy shops or wine bars. Just perfect skiing. And, to make things even better, as a police officer, I get to ski for free if I agree to carry a radio and help the security guys out if needed.

Hiking Trail above town. If you’re coming in summer, you won’t get to experience Blue Sky, but there are plenty of other things to do. If you’re short on time, or not the sort to want to go backcountry hiking, try the trail above town. It’s the old railway bed, now cleared and maintained for hikers. It’s built right on the lip of the mountain (Trafalgar is so steep, houses at higher elevations experience different weather than those below) with a wonderful view down the mountain to the town nestled in the valley, the river, and the mountains beyond. A great place to walk your dog or go mountain biking.

The Potato Famine. Okay, maybe the Potato Famine isn’t high on the list of places to visit put out by the Trafalgar Tourist Board. Not for those who don’t ride into town on a Harley looking for a drunken punch-up. But if you’re looking for me and it’s a Saturday night you’ll have a good chance of finding me there. Breaking up fights, checking on the bouncers, looking out for underage drinkers. Some nights we seem to run a taxi service between the PF (as we call it) and the cells at the police station. I’d recommend you do not try the burgers (I can’t vouch for the quality of meat that goes into it) or the beer on tap (where do they get that sludge?) but they can get some pretty good heavy metal music groups in.

If that’s your thing.

Alphonse’s Bakery. Last of all, my favourite place. A real French bakery run by a real Frenchman. Baguettes and croissants to die for. And best of all: I live in the apartment above. When I get home after night shift, I’m greeted by the marvellous smells coming from the oven. I fall asleep dreaming of warmth and rising yeast. When I get home after day shift, there’s often a treat of baking left on the step for me.

If I do leave Trafalgar, after the town, my mom, Adam, the guys and girls on the force (some of them, anyway), I think I’ll miss Alphonse’s the most.

As well as the Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press, Vicki Delany also writes standalone Gothic thrillers, and the Klondike Gold Rush series. The sixth Molly Smith book, A Cold White Sun, will be released on August 6th and can be pre-ordered at Amazon. Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com, https://www.facebook.com/Vicki.Delany, on Twitter @vickidelany. She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Top 5 Places to Visit in a Cozy Town with Duffy Brown

One of the reasons I wanted to writer my Consignment Shop mysteries was to set a book in Savannah. I love Savannah. My daughter went to school there and I fell in love with the city and the people.


Savannah is the old South as opposed to Atlanta the new South. One of the big reasons is because Sherman didn’t burn it to the ground sparing all the old wonderful mansions like the Sorrel Wee House restored to perfection…and haunted like no other. Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in the US and Last time Ghost Hunters was there they captured screams of Get out! Get out! Get out! on tape followed my Help me!

My favorite thing about Savannah…besides the incredible food…is that 23 squares dot the city. These squares were laid out by George Oglethorpe when he and his merry band of followers founded the city. The squares are a block in size, shaded by huge Live Oak trees draped in Spanish moss. One look at Savannah square and you know you’re not in Kansas or NYC or LA. This is GWTW territory for real. If you ever read/seen Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, you know Savannah. The home of pralines, sweet tea, voodoo--that is not a tourist trap scheme like in New Orleans but here spoken of in hushed voices--and springtime! No place does spring better than Savannah. It’s a two-month long event with azaleas in the squares and in the parks big as a bus, magnolias big as a dinner plate, the whole city one big impressionist painting and smelling line heaven on earth

Some of my favorite places to eat in Savannah are Zunzis for their Conquistador sandwich and special sauce that drips off your fingers when eating it, the Old Pink House for shrimp and grits and the Pirate House where Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island and has delish she-crab soup, pecan chicken and the great ghost stores the staff will tell you if you ask. The best thing to do when you get to Savannah is park your car and eat your way across the city. No chain restaurants here but real Southern cooking at it’s finest. Be sure to visit Tubby’s on River Street for fried oysters and a Moon River beer.


The only thing Savannah has more of than bars are churches. The plan is sin on Saturday and be able to repent on Sunday. Be sure to grab a beer and handful of Tabasco popcorn at Pinky Masters and go to Jen’s and Friends for the martini of your choice. Ever had a Snickers martini?

This is just a touch of Savannah. If my kids didn’t live in Cincinnati I’d live in Savannah. I’m a closet belle…have the baton, pearls and manners to prove it. If you ever want to take a roadtrip to Savannah, let me know at we’ll meet up at Leopold’s for a double-dip of Old Black Magic ice cream . Nothing beats Leopold’s and no city is more Southern than Savannah. 

Duffy Brown is the author of the Consignment Shop Mysteries. Check out her books on Amazon. Follow Duffy on the web: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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