New Down South Cafe Mystery and Character Interview: Silence of the Jams

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In the latest Southern cozy from the author of The Calamity Café, small-town chef Amy Flowers can’t take her freedom for granted when she’s served up as a murder suspect…

silence-of-the-jamsIt’s Independence Day in Winter Garden, Virginia, and the residents are gearing up for their annual celebration. The Down South Café is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making pies and cakes for the holiday. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the café so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site.

When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it’s a heart attack—until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now, it’s up to Amy to prove her innocence before her liberty is lost.

Includes delicious Southern recipes!


Island Confidential: Aloha Amy, and welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Amy: Hi! It’s nice to meet you. I’m Amy Flowers, and I own and operate the Down South Café. We’re gearing up for Independence Day. In Winter Garden, that means a town-wide celebration! Since the café also kind of serves as a bakery—because the closest bakery outside of Winter Garden is about a twenty-minute drive away—I’ve been baking extra cakes and pies so patrons can come in and buy them for their individual celebrations. A lot of reunions take place around the time of the Winter Garden Independence Day Festival. You might not know this about me, but I love to dance. I’m not really good at it, and I prefer a nice slow dance to a fast dance, but swaying in the arms of a handsome man is just wonderful. And I know just the man I want to dance with…if he asks me to the dance, that is.

Which character in Silence of the Jams do you get along with the best?

Amy: I guess I’d have to say that the person I get along with best is my mother. She and I lived on our own for a long time—my dad left when I was just a little girl—and we’ve always gotten along really well. I think I always recognized the sacrifices she made for me, and I’ve always appreciated her. I know it takes some kids at lot longer to come to that realization than I did, but I’m glad I came to that conclusion at a young age.

Which other character do you not love so much?

Amy: Oh, my goodness! Have you got the rest of the day? George Lincoln gets on my last nerve. That man is impossible. First, George tried to get Pete Holman to sell the café to him instead of me. I didn’t have a problem with that. In fact, I encouraged Pete to get the best deal he could. But Pete knew that George was planning on tearing down the café and putting a bed and breakfast on the site, and Pete didn’t want that. He wanted something of the café his grandfather had built to remain. And so he sold it to me, and my friend Roger helped me renovate it. You’d think that would be the end of it, right? Not for George Lincoln! He still comes in two or three times a week to tell me how poorly the restaurant business is doing, what my odds of going broke are, and trying to get me to sell out to him. No matter how many times I tell him no, he just keeps on asking. If I had a parrot, all the poor bird would know how to say would be, “No, thank you, Mr. Lincoln. I’m not interested, Mr. Lincoln.”

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

Amy: I like Gayle pretty good. But since this is just between you and me, I’ll tell you, she tends to procrastinate. You can get her off track with a single email, and she’ll neglect her work for hours. She’s like a racoon or a crow—show her something shiny, and off she goes. “Oh, my goodness,” she’ll say. “Did you see that puppy video on Facebook? Wasn’t that the cutest thing? And, I meant to get right on those edits, but then I saw a sale that just during the lunch hour. I didn’t buy anything, but you never know, right? So then I saw the Google doodle for William Shakespeare’s birthday. [Sigh] William Shakespeare…well, you can’t ever know too much about him, can you? So, I clicked through and—” And that’s when I interrupt her and say, “You know, Gayle, maybe old Bill was so prolific because he didn’t have the Internet to distract him from his work.”

What’s next for you?

Amy: Well, I love to support the local farmers in the area, and I’ve been talking with Stuart Landon about selling some of his honey on consignment in the café. I think that will be a good business decision for both of us. Don’t you?

Readers: Find out in HONEY BAKED HOMICIDE, coming in December!


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

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New Spice Shop Mystery and #Giveaway: Curried Away by Gail Oust

>>>Enter to Win a Mini Gift Box of Penzey Spices<<<
Piper Prescott, proprietor of Spice It Up!, has persuaded Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been dating, to demonstrate Indian cuisine at her shop. But before Doug’s presentation of classic chicken curry is completed, Ned Feeney, local handyman, bursts in with news of a murder.

curried-away-cover

Sandy Granger, the director of a local production of Steel Magnolias, was found strangled in the third-floor balcony of the Brandywine Creek Opera House. Sandy, it seems, had not endeared herself to cast or crew. Complaints about her ran the gamut from her management style to her lack of people skills. Everyone connected with the production falls under suspicion, including Piper Prescott’s BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, who made it well known how unhappy she is that she was cut from the cast.

When the spotlight for the dastardly deed shines on Reba Mae, Piper rushes to her friend’s defense. Who among Sandy’s detractors was angry enough to wrap a silk scarf around her neck—and pull tight? Will Piper succeed in solving the case before she becomes the killer’s encore performance? And will she ever learn just how to prepare the perfect curry? As delicious as it is charming, the latest entry in Gail Oust’s mouth-watering Spice Shop Mysteries is sure to delight both old fans and new.


Q: Reba, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Tell us a little bit about yourself—maybe something that readers might not guess.

RMJ: Hey, y’all. I’m Reba Mae Johnson, Piper Prescott’s BFF. After my husband Butch drowned during a fishin’ tournament—some say too much beer, not enough bass, but no matter, dead is dead—leavin’ me to raise twin boys, I reinvented myself. I’m the proud owner of the Klassy Kut, the best little beauty shop in Brandywine County. But what most folks don’t know is that I’m more than a pretty face. I’ve actually got a darn good head on my shoulders when it comes to business. Stay tuned. I’ve been savin’ up nickels and dimes to expand my horizons. I haven’t even breathed a word of my plans yet to Piper.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best?

RMJ: Like I said, Piper and I are besties and have been ever since when she moved into the house next door years ago. Both of us were new moms back then so we bonded over diaper rash and soap operas. Even after Piper moved to a bigger, grander house and joined the country club, our friendship remained unchanged. Piper’s the same gal she always was—sweet and steadfast. Why, when Butch died and I found myself up to the wazoo in debt, it was Piper who loaned me money for beauty school. She told her then-husband she’d needed the money for a tummy tuck. To this day, I don’t think CJ ever figured out her trim tummy was her own doin’ and not a plastic surgeons.

Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?

RMJ: That’s easy. CJ Prescott, Piper’s ex, tops the list. He dumped my best friend to chase ambulances and a bimbo in a short skirt. Ask me, and I’ll tell you that makes him a fool in my book. CJ’s changed a lot over the years. I suspect he resorts to Clairol Nice ‘n Easy to keep his hair that yellow color. And his teeth are so white, it makes me want to grab my shades. But it’s his holier-than-thou attitude that really gets my goat. I’m usually not the kind to criticize, but you asked the question.

Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of Gail Oust?

RMJ: She’s a good ol’ gal—for a Yankee. Most of the time she gets things right. She might not have been born in the South, but as she said, she got here as soon as she could.

Q: What’s next for you?

RMJ: What’s next? All kinds of changes comin’ up for me in Gail’s next book, Ginger Snapped, available next December. Keep it on your radar.


About The Author

gail-oust

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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A new Italian Kitchen cozy mystery: The Seven Course Christmas Killer by Rosie Genova

Culinary mystery author Rosie Genova has a new novella out just in time for Christmas!On Christmas Eve, someone might be sleeping with the fishes. . .

the-seven-course-christmas-killer-high-res

Rosie Genova, author of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, serves up a new dish this week with the release of her e-book holiday novella, The Seven Course Christmas Killer: A Holiday Novella from the Italian Kitchen, only 99 cents!

The story takes place on Christmas Eve, as Vic and the gang prepare the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes for their annual holiday party. But before you can say “shrimp scampi,” Mayor Anne McCrae takes a nasty fall that may not be an accident. Add a nosy reporter, guests with grudges, and a missing kitchen knife—and Vic suddenly has all the ingredients for murder.

Italian Kitchen

The Italian Kitchen Mysteries by Rosie Genova

It’s December at the Casa Lido, which means only one thing: the Rienzi family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration, including wine, song, and seven Italian seafood courses. As Victoria and Tim prep scungilli and calamari, Nonna directs the cooking until all is in readiness for the big night.
But the holiday cheer is interrupted by the attempted murder of Mayor Anne McCrae, who asks Vic to investigate. Trouble is, there are as many suspects as there are fishes on the Christmas Eve menu . . .


About the author


A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries. Her debut, Murder and Marinara, was voted a Best Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. Her books have been described as blending “mystery with comedy, romance, family drama, a vivid and affectionate portrayal of the Jersey shore and…oh yes, cooking.”

The proud mama of three grown sons, Rosie still lives in her home state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy. She also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista.

Shop for the Italian Kitchen Mysteries

 


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Introducing a new culinary cozy series: The Crêpes of Wrath: A Pancake House Mystery by Sarah Fox

In the debut of a delightful cozy mystery series, Sarah Fox introduces a charming new heroine who finds herself in a sticky situation: stacking pancakes, pouring coffee, and investigating murder.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!


When Marley McKinney’s aging cousin, Jimmy, is hospitalized with pneumonia, she agrees to help run his pancake house while he recovers. With its rustic interior and syrupy scent, the Flip Side Pancake House is just as she pictured it—and the surly chef is a wizard with crêpes.

 

Marley expects to spend a leisurely week or two in Wildwood Cove, the quaint, coastal community where she used to spend her summers, but then Cousin Jimmy is found murdered, sprawled on the rocks beneath a nearby cliff.

After she stumbles across evidence of stolen goods in Jimmy’s workshop, Marley is determined to find out what’s really going on in the not-so-quiet town of Wildwood Cove. With help from her childhood crush and her adopted cat, Flapjack, Marley sinks her teeth into the investigation. But if she’s not careful, she’s going to get burned by a killer who’s only interested in serving up trouble.


About The Author  

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

Author website http://www.authorsarahfox.com/

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/authorsarahfox

Twitter: @thewritefox

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14950357.Sarah_Fox

Buy:

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Interview: Zanna MacKenzie, author of Murder on the Menu

A dead boss, a sexy spy living next door – Lizzie’s in BIG trouble!

After Lizzie’s new boss, celebrity chef Armand, is stabbed in his own kitchen, Lizzie finds herself at the top of the suspect list.

Determined to clear her name she’s forced to enlist the services of her new neighbour, Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (CCIA) special agent Jack Mathis, who’s been suspended from his duties for reasons unknown.

Can Lizzie save herself from getting arrested and manage to resist her special agent sidekick’s considerable charms and gorgeous smile? Will they solve the culinary murder mystery or will she end up in a prison cell?


Q: Zanna, thanks for stopping by! Tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Lizzie.

A:  In Murder On The Menu, Lizzie Carter thought she’d got her life all sorted – great job in the city, lovely boyfriend – but then her life is turned upside down. Desperate for a new start she finds herself living in the country and waitressing to make ends meet. Things are finally beginning to look up for her but then her celebrity chef boss is stabbed in his own kitchen and Lizzie finds herself at the top of the list of suspects. I’d describe Lizzie as resilient, nosy and stubborn. She’s determined to clear her name and catch the real killer even though she’s never sleuthed before in her life!

Q: How much of you is in Lizzie?  How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

A:  Hmm, interesting question. Yes, I think Lizzie and I do share some traits, though she’s far more outgoing than me (I’m quite shy). I guess I can be stubborn too sometimes, as I’m sure my husband will agree! If I met Lizzie in real life then yes, I’d like her. I’d probably think she’s fun, friendly and easy to chat with.

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

A:  Absolutely. Lizzie’s life keeps changing and there are lots of challenges for her to face. From tracking down murderers through to battling to make a living and attempting to bake a cake that’s actually edible. She’s inherited a recipe book from her Aunt Molly and is keen to learn to bake to the same amazing standard as her beloved aunt but she has an awful lot to learn and the farmhouse has an Aga with a mind of its own which is her nemesis!

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

A:  LOL! I can’t honestly say that I have. I’ve never based a character on a real life person so that helps. I tend to create my characters from star sign personalities and traits and build them up layer by layer – education, mannerisms, family background, looks, job etc. I usually pick a suitable celebrity to visually inspire the height/looks/clothing side of a character in a book using photos I find online or in films/TV shows, so nothing is based on people that I actually know in real life.

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

A:  I normally make up the actual village/town in my books but it is in a real life location and inspired by places I have visited or seen photos of online via sites like Pinterest. For example, in the Celebrity Mystery series, the books are all set in Cumbria’s Lake District in the UK, a place I love and have taken holidays in many a time. The actual village in the books is entirely fictitious though but very similar in looks to real villages in Cumbria.

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

A:  Well, Jack (Lizzie’s love interest in the series) was visually inspired by the gorgeous actor Andrew W. Walker, so it would make sense for him to take on that role. As for Lizzie, she’s a mix of a few female actresses in my head, but I’d probably choose Jennifer Morrison, who stars in the fabulous Once Upon A Time TV series, to play her.

Jennifer_Morrison_SDCC_2014

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

A:  Oh, that’s tough. Best advice, I’d say, was write what you’d want to read yourself and in a genre you’re very familiar with. Worst advice, there has been lots! Probably to write in a way that ticks all of the ‘formula’ boxes, such as structuring sentences in specific ways – this totally stifled my own writing when I tried it back in the early days.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I write romantic comedy mysteries and when I’m not writing I can be found gardening (trying to grow tomatoes in the British climate is a major challenge!) walking the dogs or reading.

I’m a former therapist, a fan of the great outdoors – especially Scotland, the Lake District and Derbyshire’s Peak district – and also something of a dreamer!

Home is a village on the Derbyshire / Leicestershire border in the UK with my husband, our 4 Labrador dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

At every opportunity I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I’m working on and I love it when the characters in my work in progress novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

Keep up with Zanna:

Website |Twitter|Facebook|Goodreads|Amazon Author Page|Pinterest|Google+|Wattpad|Blog


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Character Interview: Éclair and Present Danger: An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery

The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Book Cover Eclair

With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow’s hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude’s late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery—a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bart Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.

To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods—and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she’s not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart’s killer—before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim…


Winnie Johnson herself stopped by Island Confidential to talk about her life and adventures, and to dish (ahem) on some of the other characters.

Q: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something readers might not guess?

My name is Winnie Johnson. When you hear that name, you probably think I’m an elderly person, but I’m not. I’m actually 34. What’s interesting is that most of my friends—my true friends—are elderly. I enjoy their wisdom and their candor, though, between you and me, I wish they’d show a little less candor about my love life (or lack, thereof).

My biggest passion in life is baking. It’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl. I get a kick out of turning a person’s day around with something I’ve baked.

I’ll never forget the day I opened my bakery, Delectable Delights. It was a dream come true. People hired me to bake their children’s birthday cakes, their book club’s pastries, their office party’s treats, you name it.

But now, just a few years later, that dream has turned into a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to bake. And I still love my bakery. But the landlord has raised my rent so high, I can’t stay open any longer.

I thought I had a shot when I got word I was named in Gertrude Redenbacher’s will, but, sadly, a vintage ambulance and a cat that hisses non-stop (at me) wasn’t exactly the bequest I needed.

But hey…I’ll figure it out. One way or the other.

 Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? Why?

Don’t tell Renee, my best friend and employee (or, rather, my soon to be let go employee), but I think I’m going to have to say Mr. Nelson for this one. Mr. Nelson is the elderly man who lives downstairs. He’s virtually deaf (though somehow he can always hear the sound of Renee’s stilettos on the front porch) and has a penchant for playing tricks on people (I can’t tell you how many times he’s gotten me with the old whoopee cushion gag), but he’s also the best listener I’ve ever known.

Q:  Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why?

Right now, I’d have to say my biggest issue is with Nick Batkas, the man who is so hell bent on turning downtown Silver Lake into some sort of happening area, he’s pulled the proverbial rug right out from under my bakery.

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

Laura Bradford? She’s okay, actually. She lets me do my thing without getting in the way and she’s not amused by Renee’s repeated innuendos regarding my checkered pet-owning past.

It helps, of course, that she’s responsible for the demise of a few goldfish in her past, as well…

Q: What’s next for you?

I’m hoping to make my Emergency Dessert Squad the talk of not only Silver Lake, but the surrounding towns, as well. And I’m hoping this thing with Jay Morgan (the oh so cute business professor at Silver Lake College) is real.  Mr. Nelson and Renee are sure it is. But Jay’s teenage daughter, Caroline, is determined it’s not…

 

 

 


Laura Bradford

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a child, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do or be anything else. Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the upcoming Tobi Tobias Mystery Series. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Author Links

Website: www.laurabradford.com

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

Twitter:  @bradfordauthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/laurabrad4d/

Purchase Links:

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New culinary mystery: CHEF MAURICE and the WRATH of GRAPES

If you enjoy the BBC mystery series Pie in the Sky or M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin mysteries (and you jolly well should), have a look at the Chef Maurice mysteries, by British author J.A. Lang.

Chef Maurice

Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes

An invitation to dinner at the home of renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent soon finds Chef Maurice in the middle of an all-too-real murder mystery party, when Sir William is found dead in his own wine cellar. The guests are acting all innocent, but which one is only playing the part? The pushy Californian film director? The seductive French winemaker?

Or could it be, against all narrative decency, the butler who did it?

With the help of food critic friend Arthur Wordington-Smythe, a large kipper sandwich, and the newly formed Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society, Chef Maurice must get to the bottom of matters before events turn decidedly sour…


J.A. Lang

About This Author

J.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the ChefMaurice Mysteries series.

She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.

Author Links

J.A. Lang’s Website
J.A. Lang on Goodreads
J.A. Lang on Facebook

BONUS:
Download the free prequel to the series, Chef Maurice and the Rather Fishy Tale!

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