A new Rose City mystery by Kate Dyer-Seeley: Natural Thorn Killer


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Natural Thorn Killer (A Rose City Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Kensington (March 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496705136
Digital ASIN: B073NPHX8Z

Cut down among the flowers . . .

Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she’s finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin’s floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It’s on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren’t as peaceful as they look.

For one thing, someone’s been leaving dead roses around—and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he’s found on the floor of the shop, with Elin’s garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . .

About the Author

Kate Dyer-Seeley aka Ellie Alexander writes multiple mystery series, all with a Pacific Northwest touch. She lives in the PNW with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.

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Survival of the Fritters (A Deputy Donut Mystery) by Ginger Bolton with CAT TOY instructions

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Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.


If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .

Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .

Guest Post: How to make a toy for your cat BECAUSE YOUR CAT IS NOT SPOILED ENOUGH ALREADY

Deputy Donut, the café in SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS, is named after Emily Westhill’s cat, Deputy Donut. When Emily and her father-in-law Tom designed the café, they set aside one room for a combination office and kitty playground.

            Dep goes to work with Emily and stays in the office and kitty playground combo. The room has windows on all four sides, looking into the dining area, the kitchen, the parking lot in back, and the driveway. One door leads directly outside, and the other leads into the dining area. If Dep tires of napping or keeping an eye on everything through her windows, she can climb carpeted columns, stairways, and ramps, and then she can run around the perimeter of the room on catwalks above the windows.

            Dep likes to take her toys up to those catwalks. She also likes to drop them and watch them bounce and roll. Here’s how to make one of Dep’s favorite toys for your cat:


  1. Faux fur, two pieces about five to seven inches square. Choose fur with flexible, knit backings. I raided my stash for scraps, white for the “icing” and a golden beige, like a fried donut (well, sort of), for the bottom half of the donut, but maybe you’d like strawberry pink or chocolate brown icing. The backing of the fur in my stash wasn’t as flexible as I’d like.
  2. Thread
  3. A few handfuls of polyester stuffing
  4. A teaspoon or two of catnip


  1. Cut two rounds of faux fur, 5”– 7” in diameter. If the faux fur in your stash is heavy or stiff, cut bigger rounds. I traced around the top of a bowl. Pin or clip the rounds together. In the center of one round, draw a small circle. I traced around a quarter, but for heavy or stiff fur, tracing around a nickel might have worked better. Use a ruler to draw a straight line from the edge of the circle to the edge of the fabric pieces.
  2. Starting close to the cut line, backstitch and then sew around the small circle. Don’t worry if the sewn circle isn’t round—donut holes seldom end up round. Leaving an unstitched space at the straight line, stop before your original backstitching and backstitch that end of the almost-circle. Remove the donut from your sewing machine and cut along the straight line and then around the inside of the circle, leaving a scant quarter-inch seam allowance. If your faux fur is stretchy, you don’t have to clip the seam around the inner circle.
  3. Backstitching at the one of the edges where the straight line was drawn, and with a quarter-inch (it doesn’t have to be exact) seam allowance, stitch around the outside of the circle, easing the top fabric as necessary. Don’t worry about any little pleats you might make or about stitching in a perfect circle—donuts aren’t perfectly round. Flip the donut over and check for stitching that went off or is too close to the edge. Re-stitch those sections with a quarter-inch seam allowance.
  4. This is the hardest part, especially if your faux fur is stiff or thick—turn the donut (it’s now a curved tube) right-side-out. Then the project becomes easy again. Holding the donut upright so that both open ends are up, stuff the donut, alternating polyester stuffing with pinches of dried catnip. Keep adding bits of stuffing until the doughnut is rounded, but still soft.
  5. Now for the second hardest part, and it’s not that difficult—slipstitch the two open ends to each other, finishing the donut shape. Mine ended up with catnip sprinkles. I don’t think the cat will mind . . .

About The Author  

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series–cops, crime, coffee, donuts and one curious cat. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, walking her two rescue dogs and generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts, coffee, and cafes were folks gather to enjoy those tasty treats and one another’s company.


Webpage: http://gingerbolton.com/

Ginger has joined Killer Characters! http://www.killercharacters.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGingerBolton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ginger_bolton

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16834862.Ginger_Bolton





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First in a new cozy series: Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent

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When Nora Alexander drives into Piney Woods, Texas, to fulfill her dying mother’s last wish, she has no idea what awaits her. First she is run off the road, then the sealed letter she delivers turns out to be a scathing rebuke to the town’s most beloved citizen and favored candidate for Piney Woods Pioneer: Adam Brockwell. Next thing you know, Adam has been murdered in a nasty knife attack.

Suspicion instantly falls on Nora, one of the last people to see him alive. After all, everyone in Piney Woods loved him. Or did they? Nora learns that her mother had a complicated past she never shared with her daughter. Told not to leave town by Tuck the flirty sheriff, Nora finds a job with Tuck’s Aunt Marty trying to get the rundown Tunie Hotel back in the black. The old hotel was Piney Woods’ heart and soul in its heyday as an oil boomtown. Now the secrets it harbors may be the key to getting Nora off the hook. She’s going to need to solve the mystery quickly to avoid arrest, or worse: becoming the killer’s next victim.

Character Interview: Nora Alexander

Nora, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?  

My name is Nora Alexander and I have recently lost my mother. Upon her death I found a letter she had written to a man in Piney Woods, Texas. Texas? Really? Anyway, I took off for a state I had never been to and tracked this man down. From what I could figure, it must have been a love letter, because why else would it concern my mother in her final days?

Who’s your favorite character in Murder of a Good Man?

Luckily, when I hit town, I found a room at the Piney Woods Bed and Breakfast and met Tatty and Ed Tovar. They are the owners of the B&B and Tatty has a wonderful gift of smoothing things over.  Having Tatty and her husband Ed around has provided a home away from home for me.

Anyone you’re not so fond of?

 Tuck Watson is the law around this town and he is determined to arrest me. For what, I can’t tell you right now, but the man is infuriating, and handsome, but infuriating!

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Teresa? 

So, she writes my scenes and then rewrites them and then rewrites them again. Some days I feel like I’m on a loop that can’t stop repeating. I guess I like the scene better when she’s finished, but gee whiz, some days I want her to just give it a rest!

What’s next for you? 

Well, I have some big changes in this book,  and I can’t tell you too much without giving it away…but…it has a lot to do with cats.


Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Author Links

FACEBOOK:   https://www.facebook.com/teresatrentmysterywriter

TWITTER:   https://twitter.com/ttrent_cozymys

BLOG:   https://teresatrent.wordpress.com/

WEBSITE:   http://teresatrent.com


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Pre-Meditated Murder: A New Downward Dog mystery and Guest Post by Tracy Weber

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Yoga instructor Kate Davidson is ready to marry her boyfriend Michael, so she’s disappointed when a special dinner doesn’t end with a proposal. But disappointment turns to dismay and outrage as she learns the real problem: Michael is already married and his green card-seeking wife is blackmailing him.

When his wife’s body is found—by Kate and her dog, no less—Michael is strangely unable to remember where he was the night she died. Since Michael has no alibi, Kate steps up to uncover what happened. What she walks into is a tangled web of deceit, obsession, and immigration fraud . . . with Michael trapped in the middle.

Guest Post from Tracy Weber

Finding Inspiration in Everyday Life: What Inspired Me to Write the Downward Dog Mystery Series

Several things inspired me to become a writer: a lifelong love of cozy mysteries; a passion for yoga; an almost obsessive love of dogs; a next door neighbor who is also a prolific author. I can even narrow down the specific moment I decided to write the Downward Dog Mystery Series. It involved a rainy night, a particularly challenging workout, and a passage from Susan Conant’s book Black Ribbon.

But in the end, the inspiration for my Downward Dog Mystery Series came from my first German shepherd dog, Tasha.

Tracy and Tasha

Tracy and Tasha

Tasha had some of the same issues as Bella, the German shepherd in my series. She was huge, not always perfectly well behaved, and she had a variety of expensive health conditions. In spite of her problems, I adored her to a fault.

She passed away a year and a half ago, and I still miss her.  Living with Tasha changed my life, in every way for the better. She made me more patient, more loving, and more connected with my community. At the same time, she got me into some pretty “interesting” situations. I began to wonder:  What if a yoga teacher with a crazy German shepherd like mine started stumbling into murder investigations?  What kind of trouble could she and her dog get into?

The plot for my first book, Murder Strikes a Pose, formed from that idea. In that story, Bella’s owner, a homeless man named George, is murdered.  In the most recent, Pre-Meditated Murder, Bella digs up the body of Kate’s boyfriend’s wife.  Oops!

Now that Tasha is gone, I share my life with crazy German shepherd pup Ana, so hopefully I’ll have another twelve years of GSD antics to share with my readers.

Ana protecting Tracy from Unidentified Creepy Statue

Ana protecting Tracy from Unidentified Creepy Statue

I hope you all continue reading my work and finding creativity in your own lives!


About The Author

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and is a 2015 Agatha award nominee for Best First Novel.

Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

Keep up with Tracy

Website | Facebook | Whole Life Yoga | Twitter | Goodreads 

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A New Amish Mystery: Kappy King and the Puppy Kaper by Amy Lillard

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Content to be unmarried and plain-spoken, Kathryn “Kappy” King is an odd-woman-out in the Amish community of Blue Sky, Pennsylvania. But she’s skilled at making the special kapps local women need to cover their hair. And she might be the only one who can unearth the danger hiding in this peaceful valley . . .

When Kappy’s neighbor, Ruth Peachey, turns up dead in her yard, everyone in Blue Sky believes it’s a tragic accident. Until the Englisch police find the gentle dog breeder was deliberately struck down—and arrest her mentally-challenged son, Jimmy, for the crime . . .

Jimmy’s sister, Edie, returns to Blue Sky clear his name, yet no one will speak to a shunned former Amish woman, much less give her information. Determined to help, Kappy starts digging for the truth among her seemingly-innocent neighbors. But suddenly a series of suspicious “accidents” threatens Edie and the Peachey farm—property Edie is determined to protect for her brother’s future.

Now, as danger looms large in the small community, Kappy must bait a trap for a killer snapping hard at her heels. And Edie must decide whether to make a home once more in the town she thought she’d left behind . . .

Author Interview

Amy, welcome to Island Confidential! You have a really unique protagonist in Kappy King. Can you tell us about her?

Kappy is a little different from the normal protagonist in an Amish mystery. First she’s still Amish with no plans to leave her church. She’s a little on the quirky side. Her family was killed when she was younger, and she went to live with her spinster aunt who made the prayer kapps for their district. Kappy inherited that business from her along with some of that odd, on-the-fringes style of living.

How much do you have in common with Kappy?

I adore Kappy. There’s some of me in Kappy of course. She’s a little bit of a rebel, by Amish standards of course. She doesn’t want to do business through the front of her house so she makes everyone go around to the basement. She may fudge it a bit and help Edie clean out the barn on a Sunday when she’s not supposed to work. She loves Jimmy, her special needs neighbor. All in all, I think she’s a good person, even if she doesn’t think she fits in, and she has a heart of gold. If I met her on the street, I would want to buy her a cup of coffee and chat all afternoon.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

They do. Kappy may be in line for a new love interest. Or she might end up with her ex-fiancé, Hiram. Since Hiram was married to Kappy’s best friend, Kappy has a few issues with those past relationships. Only time will tell if they can work it out. Edie is faced with the tough consequences of her return to Blue Sky. She has to figure out if she really belongs with the English or back with the Amish and if she can ever truly call Blue Sky home again. Then there’s her little crush on Detective Jack Jones. Jimmy, Edie’s brother with Downs Syndrome, will make a play for a little more responsibility and freedom. It’s going to be tough for Edie, but I’m sure their sibling bond will carry them through.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

No. Of course not! That would be horrible. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Right, no, me neither. Next question, how realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

Blue Sky, Pennsylvania, itself is a fictional town. But the area where Blue Sky is set is real, Kishacoquillas Valley. Also called, Kish Valley and Big Valley. Once I visited there I knew immediately that I wanted to set a series in the valley. It’s one of the most beautiful Amish communities I’ve ever seen. A great many of the details of the story hold true for Kish Valley—three different types of Amish there and three different color buggies. There is an Amish-Mennonite shared cemetery, a dry goods store, and other places that will show up in later books.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Allison Miller should play Kappy King with Sara Paxton as Edie Peachey. Tommy Jessop, a talented actor with Downs, should play Jimmy Peachey. And for Jack Jones…Brad Pitt. Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself. Here’s where I ignore my Brad Pitt crush and admit that I can’t keep up with all the actors these days. (The truth is I never really did.) So I googled to find someone to play Jack and every one I came up with was either on Indian or Turkish television. I guess that says something about Jack’s looks. LOL The closest I can come up with is Kit Harrington, aka John Snow. He’s not quite as dark or as tall as Jack, but he’ll do just fine. 😉

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

My former agent, the late Mary Sue Seymour, gave me the best writing advice of my career. When I told her about it years later she didn’t remember the conversation that changed my life. One afternoon years ago, she suggested I try my hand at writing books about the Amish. When I sputtered she told me, “you’re a writer. Write it.” Those words gave me the confidence to not only write about the Amish but write mysteries as well. It’s mindboggling that the words which were so important to me, she didn’t remember saying. Always keep in mind that what you say can affect people in ways you’ve never dreamed. Because of this, I always try to be positive. I want to spread a little of that Mary Sue Seymour confidence around.

 The worst…I can’t really think of anything. I either let it go a long time ago, or made the best of whatever it was. All advice is essentially good if you learn from it.

 Amy, thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for having me today and letting me introduce everyone to Kappy King!

About The Author  

Amy Lillard is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including the Wells Landing series, The Quilting Circle novels, the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries and the Kappy King Mysteries. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma. Please visit her online at www.AmyWritesRomance.com.


Facebook: @AmyLillard918

Twitter: @AmyWritesRomance


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A New Spice Shop Mystery and Interview from Gail Oust: Ginger Snapped

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Piper Prescott and Police Chief Wyatt McBride might have gotten off on the wrong foot but, over the past year, their interactions have evolved into a friendship of sorts. And when the body of Shirley Randolph is found floating in a fishing hole, their relationship reaches entirely new territory.

Shirley, the town’s Realtor of the Year, was also Wyatt’s suspected romantic interest, and now the residents of Brandywine Creek are speculating that Wyatt is responsible for her death. As the town council moves to suspend the handsome lawman, Piper springs into action to save his reputation and possibly his freedom. She enlists the aid of her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, along with Wyatt himself, to help solve the puzzle and find Shirley’s real killer.

Pointing them toward high-powered real estate tactics and possible affairs, the investigation soon becomes personal when Piper’s shop, Spice It Up!, is burglarized, and she’s forced off the road late one night, narrowly escaping serious injury. Realizing that she must be close to uncovering the truth, and that the evidence against Wyatt is no longer circumstantial, Piper resorts to drastic measures to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice.


Gail, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist?

For readers new to the series, Piper Prescott, following her divorce from her ambulance-chasing, skirt-chasing ex-husband, opens her own business, Spice It Up!, a spice shop in the small town of Brandywine Creek, Georgia. Piper’s teenage daughter, Melly, her meddlesome former mother-in-law, and trusty sidekick, Reba Mae Johnson inhabit the pages along with hunky Chief of Police Wyatt McBride. McBride is no fan of Piper’s when it comes to the amateur sleuth bent on crime solving but, even so, the two have formed a friendship of sorts.

How much do you and Piper have in common?

My claim is that Piper is purely a fictional character, but friends have told me they see me when they read the series. I’m flattered, of course, but Piper is much younger and thinner. She’s also much braver and more impulsive than I am. And she doesn’t have to resort to a box of Clairol to hide all the gray. Piper and I would most likely hit it off when we meet at Spice It Up! I’d be impressed with her extensive knowledge of spices and would leave after buying twice as many as I’d originally intended.

Do your characters change and evolve through consecutive books in the series?

Yes, but in subtle ways as do their relationships with other characters.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life—on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

Yes! Actually, I’ve done that. My bad. At a silent auction a good friend of mine bid on being a character in my next book—and won. I introduced her as a character in Cinnamon Toasted, then killed her off in Curried Away. My advice is beware of what you bid on. Good news though, we’re still friends.

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

Brandywine Creek is a fictional small Southern town. I’m originally a Yankee (born and raised in Michigan,) but when we moved to South Carolina nearly fifteen years ago I was instantly smitten by new lifestyle. Brandywine Creek is the composite of several small, charming towns in the area where I live.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Good question. I believe Amy Adams would make a great Piper Prescott.

And when I think of ruggedly handsome police chief, Wyatt McBride, I picture James Caviezel (most recently the star of the TV show Person of Interest.)

As for the role of Reba Mae Johnson, Piper’s BFF, I’m open for suggestion but definitely would cast a Geena Davis type.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

“If I can do it, anyone can” is simultaneously the best and the worst bit of advice. While we all are gifted with certain God-given talents, these talents/skills are all different. Strengths and weaknesses can vary within each individual. For example, some people are better writers than they are storytellers. Others are better storytellers but labor when it comes to putting the stories in their heads down on paper. I think we need to be honest with ourselves yet at the same time follow our passions. Just my opinion.

About The Author


Friends often accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement.  While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner for Avon, Pocket, Berkley, and Kensington.  It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery.  Hearing the words, “maybe it’s a dead body,” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series originally published by NAL.  In conjunction with Beyond the Page Publishing, the Bunco Babe series has  been republished in digital format as the Kate McCall Mysteries complete with new titles and a whole new look.  Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries for Minotaur/St. Martin’s.  When she isn’t reading, writing, or sleeping, she can usually be found on the golf course or hanging out with friends.

Keep up with Gail on her blog, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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Stowed Away: A New Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross

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It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .

When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .

Author Interview

Barbara, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, Julia?

In the Maine Clambake Mysteries, Julia Snowden returns from her venture capital job in Manhattan to save her family’s failing clambake business.

How alike are you and Julia Snowden?

Julia is in her thirties, half my age, so in that sense she’s quite different. She’s at a point in life where she’s making a lot of big decisions–about where to live and how to make a living and whom to love. On the other hand, she observes the world and reports on it much the way I do, filtering for the difference in age and experience. I find our characters have become closer together over the series.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

Julia’s the offspring of a marriage between a summer resident mother whose formerly wealthy family owns a private island and a townie father who delivered groceries to the island in his skiff, so she feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. And she’s been away for seventeen years for boarding school, college, business school and work. Over the course of the books, Julia comes to feel more and more at home in coastal Maine, learning that a lot of her feelings about being an outsider come from inside her, not from the community.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean? 

Actually no, though I know a lot of mystery writers do this. No one’s ever done anything to me that rises to the killing level.

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

My town is of Busman’s Harbor is fictional, but is based on Boothbay Harbor, Maine where my husband and I have owned a home for more than fifteen years. Making my setting fictional allows me to move streets around, borrow shops and restaurants from other towns, and yes, to kill way more people than are murdered in small towns in coastal Maine. I try to aim for an emotional truth rather than at literal truth.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

This is such a hard one. I usually propose Anna Kendrick for Julia, because she’s the right age, small like Julia and from Maine.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

Writers get so much bad advice! I even do a presentation called, “Four Lies People Will Tell You about Marketing Your Novel.” And that’s just the marketing part, not the writing or publishing piece. One of the lies is, “You should write a blog about a subject other than writing to attract readers to your website.”

My best advice comes from author Hallie Ephron about first drafts, “Just hold your nose and write.”

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. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.


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A New Down South Cafe Mystery and character interview from Gayle Leeson: Honey-Baked Homicide

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The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation…

Character Interview:

Amy Flowers from Honey-Baked Homicide by Gayle Leeson

Amy, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Well, I guess it’s that I’m a real girly-girl, but I have a tomboy side too. I love dressing up, hanging out in my “fancy room” (I transformed my mom’s old room into a girly paradise), and wearing makeup. But somedays, I’d just as soon not bother with the frills and go play softball, or hike, or climb a tree.

Which character in Honey Baked Homicide do you get along with the best?

I get along well with all my family. I mean, I adore my mom. Aunt Bess is a hoot—she keeps us all on our toes. But, I think my best friend is my cousin Jackie. We’ve always been more like sisters than cousins, and we work side by side every day.

Anyone you have a conflict with?

I have a little bit of a problem with Sheriff Billings. I get the idea he doesn’t approve of my dating his deputy—Ryan Hall—and that he doesn’t entirely trust me. I mean, yeah, there have been a couple of deaths on my property—I mean, the first one was before I even owned the place. And I had nothing to do with those! Still, the man likes my cooking, and I believe I might be starting to win him over.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

She’s sitting here beside me whispering, “Tell them I’m great! Tell them you like me!” So…yeah… she’s great and I like her. But it certainly doesn’t take much to distract her. I do wish I could block her Internet, especially during work hours. She goes to look up a word and comes back half an hour later. Or she needs to research something “real quick” and she doesn’t get back to writing until the next day. What is up with that? If I did my customers that way, I’d run myself out of business in a hurry!

Amy, what’s next for you?

Well, the holidays are right around the corner, so I’m sure I’ll be doing plenty of baking. But, I might need to put some mistletoe over the door jamb for when a certain handsome young deputy pays me a visit. 😉

About The Author

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series. I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Webpage – http://www.gayleleeson.com

Gayle Trent Webpage – http://www.gayletrent.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GayleTrentandAmandaLee/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GayleTrent

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/426208.Gayle_Trent

Purchase Links

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Books-a-Million – Kobo  

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The Tulip Shirt Murders – A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery and character interview by Heather Weidner (with gift card giveaway!)

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Private investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in The Tulip Shirt Murders. When a local music producer hires the duo to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests.

The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered.

Character Interview with Delanie Fitzgerald

Delanie, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Delanie Fitzgerald, and I’m the owner of Falcon Investigations in Chesterfield County, Virginia. I chose the name of my company in honor of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.

Who is your favorite character in The Tulip Shirt Murders (besides yourself, of course)?

One of my closest friends is my partner, Duncan Reynolds. He’s a computer guru who has a knack for getting computers to cough up all sorts of information. We share our office with his sidekick, Margaret the English bulldog.

Is there anyone you’re not so crazy about? 

I met this sleazy strip club owner last summer when he wanted some dirt on the Mayor of Richmond. Then I had to spend most of my summer helping him clear his name when the mayor ended up murdered outside of his establishment. The strip club owner, Charles Wellington Smith, III (Chaz) has horrible table manners and no filter. He says whatever pops into his head, but he’s a good, cash-paying client.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

Heather’s an interesting character too. Even though we are very different people, we both are redheads, love 80s music, and drive Mustangs.

What’s next for you?

Duncan and I have more clients in The Tulip Shirt Murders. We help a local music producer who thinks he is being bootlegged. And Chaz pops back in my life with a request to help solve a murder.



Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, Lethal Ladies Write, and James River Writers. The Tulip Shirt Murders is her second novel in her Delanie Fitzgerald series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She blogs regularly with the Lethal Ladies and Pens, Paws, and Claws.

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A New Golden Age-Style Mystery (with bonus cocktail recipe!) from Ellen Seltz: Mister Mottley and the Dying Fall

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The only way out is a long way down.

Edmund Mottley, Specialist in Discreet Enquiries, is in a precarious position: his old flame Susan needs his help. Her new fiance is accused of murder, and she wants Mottley to clear his name.

Mottley would rather jump off a cliff than get involved, but when Susan is threatened by a shadowy crime syndicate, Mottley leaps to her aid.
Mottley and Baker, his intrepid valet, pursue the case to an island of otherworldly beauty. But the island is haunted by secrets, treachery, madness, and … something more.
Every clue crumbles under their feet, pushing Mottley’s powers of deduction — and Baker’s loyalty — to the limit. With his own life on the line, can Mottley save Susan before time runs out.  The Mottley & Baker Mysteries are classic whodunnits set in the Golden Age of 1930’s traditional detectives. If you like Miss Marple’s pastoral puzzles or Albert Campion’s rollicking adventures, you’ll fall hard for this cozy historical mystery adventure.

Guest Post

Writing for Refreshment

Ellen Seltz

“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured cosiness.”

― P.G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters


Bertie Wooster sums up here the essence of my lifelong love for good old-fashioned mysteries:  They’re really a kind of hospitality. “Come right in, make yourself comfortable,” the author seems to say. “Just for a while, put your worries aside, enjoy the scenery, and take some refreshment.”

Perhaps it’s my training in live theater, but I always feel that my readers and my characters are sharing space – my space. It’s my job to meet their needs, take care of all the details, and make sure everyone gets the most out of the experience.

I thought, for a visit here at Island Confidential in Hawaii, something light and cool would be more suitable than hot tea and toast. So let me introduce you to the gimblet cocktail.

The gimblet, like its more famous sibling, the gimlet, features a combination of lime, spirits, and soda water, served ice-cold. The difference is that the gimblet includes fresh lime juice instead of lime syrup. It’s similar to a lime rickey, but without added sugar.

Like the classic gin & tonic with lemon, the origins of the gimblet and gimlet trace back to the days of British naval exploration and empire – ways to make the medicinal properties of citrus, juniper, and quinine more palatable. Those “make the best of it” snorts evolved into a palate-pleasing balance of flavor, temperature, and kick.

You make a gimblet by mixing one part lime juice to three parts gin. Shake well over ice and strain into a medium glass, then fill to the top with soda water. Being ahead of his time, Mottley prefers his gimblet with vodka.

The gimblet, though little-known today, is immortalized in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. The bar at the Savoy Hotel was a mainstay of jazz-age cocktail culture, and the bartender Harry Craddock was a celebrated expert with an encyclopedic knowledge of mixology. His recipes remain a gold standard and basic reference text for cocktail aficionados everywhere.

Some people find the gimblet overwhelmingly tart, but – well, not to put too fine a point on it, Mottley can be a bit tart in his attitude. It suits him. I’m not much of a drinker myself, but I do enjoy unsweetened lime or grapefruit-flavored sparkling water, so perhaps Mottley inherited his taste for tartness from me.

The gimblet pops up in my new book as a prelude to some pointed questions from Mottley’s old flame Susan Parton. Ever a good hostess, Susan is thoughtful enough to bring Mottley his favorite drink before she puts him on the spot. In fiction as in life, a difficult scene goes better when you have something to drink.

Mottley made his way to a quiet corner and dropped into a low chair. Susan materialised at his elbow and handed him a vodka with fresh lime and soda on ice. She perched on the arm of his chair as he sipped.

“All right?”

“Very nice. If ever you need a job, tell Craddock at the Savoy I sent you.”

“Are you going to take our case?”

“Look, Bunny, are you sure you want me mucking about with this? Denis is in no danger, there’s no legal case against him. Even if his money’s tied up for years, that’s hardly a problem for you.”

“It’s not the money, Edmund. It’s the people. Half the guests we invited tonight were mysteriously ill or otherwise engaged. We were cut dead at Chez Dupin last night.”

“People!” Mottley snorted. “Since when do you care about people? Doesn’t love conquer all, and what not?”

She gazed into his eyes, too intent to take offence. “I know you’ve a low opinion of my intelligence, but I’ve never been quite that silly.”

Mottley shifted in his chair. “My dear girl, of course not…”

“This isn’t a story to dine out on. It isn’t romantic. Denis has worked his whole life to build up that firm. Of course I don’t believe he’s a killer, but I can tell he’s keeping something from me. I just want to know the truth.”

“Bunny.” Mottley covered her hand with his own.

She snatched her hand back. “Don’t Bunny me! You owe me, Edmund. I’ve found someone who doesn’t think of me as a little sister. Someone who loves me back.”

“Oof… I’m sorry, Susan, I’ve said so. I meant it.”

“We need your help.” She leaned in and whispered, “You owe me.”

About The Author  

Ellen Seltz worked in the entertainment industry for twenty years, from Miami to New York and points in between. Her primary roles were actress and producer, but she also served as a comedy sketch writer, librettist, voice artist, propmaster, costumer, production assistant, camera operator and general dogsbody.

She turned to fiction writing in the vain hope that the performers would do as they were told. Joke’s on her.

Ellen is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, where she now lives with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys vegetable gardening and vintage-style sewing.


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