The Marmalade Murders: A Penny Brannigan Mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan

The latest book in an award-winning mystery series, celebrated for its small-town charm and picturesque Welsh setting and starring amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan.

The competition is friendly and just a little fierce at the annual Llanelen agricultural show as town and country folk gather for the outdoor judging of farm animals and indoor judging of cakes, pies, pastries, chutneys, jams and jellies, along with vegetables, fruit and flowers. But this year, there’s a new show category: murder.

Local artist, Spa owner, and amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan agrees to help with the intake of the domestic arts entries and to judge the children’s pet competition on show day. When the president of the Welsh Women’s Guild isn’t on hand to see her granddaughter and pet pug win a prize, the family becomes concerned. When a carrot cake entered in the competition goes missing, something is clearly amiss.

A black Labrador Retriever belonging to the agricultural show’s president discovers the body of the missing woman under the baked goods table. A newcomer to town, a transgender woman, is suspected, but amateur sleuth Penny Brannigan believes her to be innocent. She sets out to find the real killer, but when a second body is discovered days later, the case is thrown into confusion, and Penny knows it’s up to her to figure out what happened—and why.


Character Guest Post: Why Wales?

by amateur sleuth, artist, business woman and main character, Penny Brannigan

Elizabeth J. Duncan found me here in North Wales by accident. She was her way to lunch with friends when the driver took a wrong turn and they all ended up in the market town of Llanrwst, where I’d been living for about 25 years. I didn’t meet Elizabeth that day, but I was here.

I found my way to this town by accident, too. As a young Canadian backpacker, I was making my way around Europe, the way you do when you’ve just finished uni and have no job lined up and no prospects of one. But more than that, my degree is in art history and I longed to see the great European masterpieces. So I was on my way through Wales to Holyhead to catch the ferry to Dublin, when I heard about the picturesque stone three-arched bridge in Llanrwst, and as an amateur watercolour artist, I wanted to paint it. As I was sketching, a lovely woman stopped to talk to me and before I knew it, we were chatting away in the tea room beside the bridge over cups of Earl Grey and warm scones with jam and clotted cream.

 

The woman offered to put me up for the night and on my tight budget, I leapt at the chance! Her name was Emma Teasdale, she was a retired school teacher, and probably the kindest person I’ve ever met. Well, that day turned into a week, and a week turned into a month, and I never left Llanrwst. To earn a bit of money I started doing manicures for the ladies in the nursing home, and pretty soon I was running my own little nail bar. Oh, don’t worry. I was legally entitled to work because I was in the UK on a patrial rights visa that some citizens of Commonwealth countries are entitled to, or at least they were back then.

I’m estranged from my family back in Canada. I had a rough childhood, and I was never close to them, so staying on to build a life for myself in the UK made sense at the time, although I never thought too much about it. I just drifted into it, really, and one day I realized I’d never return to Canada. Wales had become my home.

So when Elizabeth eventually found me, I was well established, with a close circle of friends, and although some might think of me as an underachiever, I think of myself as content. The way of life here suits me. The pace may be slower, but I’ve built deep connections with people, who really care about me, as I do them. They’re my family now.

A year or so after discovering the town, Elizabeth started writing the first book in the Penny Brannigan series set in North Wales, and a few months after that, she returned to Llanrwst. The other characters and I watched her walking through the town, as if she were looking for something. She didn’t see us, but we saw her. And now I know what she was looking for. She was looking for us. She might not have seen us, but we were here. In the shops, in the pub, in the tea room, in our homes.

Elizabeth spends the winter in North Wales with us now, and returns to Canada in the spring. But she knows I’ll always be here, right where she found me, waiting to welcome her back in November.



About The Author

Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada’s best light mystery and lives in Toronto.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | BookBub


Sign up for Frankie’s newsletter and get a free Professor Molly story

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List
Advertisements

Why I Write Cozies: Guest post and new Haunted Library Mystery from Allison Brook

Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

Enter to win a print copy


Why I Write Cozies
by Marilyn Levinson/Allison Brook

Like many authors who have been writing novels for several years, I write in various genres—mysteries, romantic suspense and kiddy lit. Recently I find myself especially drawn to writing cozies. And here are the reasons why:
1. I love writing mysteries but prefer leaving the CSI end of it to other authors. I’m interested in the puzzle and human interest aspects. Why was a person or persons murdered? How does my sleuth go about her investigation to expose the killer?
2. While I enjoy plotting, my characters are my main concern. What makes each one of them tick? How do they relate to one another? Why do they behave the way they do?
3. I LOVE secrets. Many of my characters have secrets that influence their current behavior. Secrets can make a character look guilty when she isn’t. Keeping a secret secret can drive a character to murder.
4. I love writing about small towns. Small towns where everyone knows everyone else is such a cozy element. The setting of a cozy is another character because it influences the people in the story. DEATH OVERDUE takes place in a small town with centuries- old homes and shops built around a village green. My sleuth, Carrie, is a librarian, so a good part of the action occurs in the library.
5. Romance winds its way in many cozies. In DEATH OVERDUE, Carrie finds herself attracting the attention of not one but two very different men.
6. Animals and cozies go hand-in-hand. In DEATH OVERDUE, a half-grown cat attaches himself to Carrie, and she finds herself bringing him to work. In a matter of minutes, Smoky Joe becomes a Library Cat.
7. Cozies always have a satisfying ending. The murderer is caught. Justice prevails. Most cozies are written in series, giving one’s sleuth an opportunity to forge more adventures and solve more mysteries.


About the Author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Website | FacebookGoodreadsTwitterPinterest | Amazon  | B&N

 


Sign up for Frankie’s newsletter and get a free Professor Molly story

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List

A New Nosy Parkers Mystery: The Case of the Clobbered Cad by Debra E. Marvin

>>> Enter to win a prize package including books and a custom table runner <<<

Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls’ Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until…Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master’s Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, the same would-be lothario she’d hoped never to see again.

As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to trust.


Guest Post: When Setting Becomes a Character

When we sit down to read, we have two settings vying for our attention. When I’m not tired or stressed, I can read in a noisy room—as long as the story has sucked me in. What about you? Do you need the quiet corner of your favorite couch or can you sink into that novel while riding on the bus?

What really counts is the setting we step into, inside those pages!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve always preferred historical settings because they take me just that much farther away from real life! That fictional setting needs to be compelling whether it’s a place as distant as a mystical new planet or the corner coffee shop you’ve visited just last week. When authors provide what we call a ‘telling detail’, they’ve provided an anchor into that world—the scent of a man’s cologne or a horse barn, the sound of children playing or a four-in-hand carriage rolling down a cobbled street—details that should overcome what’s around us to draw us in.

In The Case of the Clobbered Cad, we hear bits of Scottish dialect, Benny Goodman and the drone of bagpipes. We smell fresh scones, bus exhaust and musty old books. But setting also tells us about the characters. My heroine Heather couldn’t get enough of the old structures of an old city and her reactions differed immensely to those who lived there. That was easy to do. I had the opportunity to visit Edinburgh and walk those streets in just the same way as my awe-struck heroine. I heard the chatter, rode the bus past centuries-old statues and watched rain and big blue skies change the lighting along the Royal Mile. I smelled wet wool, hot tea and spilled ale. While I can’t guarantee you’ll be immersed in my setting as much as I was, I hope you’ll enjoy a ‘taste’ of Edinburgh found my amateur sleuth tale.

I’m not saying every book must have an awe-inspiring setting, because it’s the characters and their challenges that keep us turning the pages. But don’t you love when that setting pulls you that much deeper into that story?

What book settings have you enjoyed enough that you made a point to visit? What ‘telling detail’ do you recall from something you read that made you stop and sigh? Have you ever picked up a book to read just because of the setting?

Thank you for letting me be your guest today! I’m looking forward to chatting about settings with readers!

Readers, when has a setting in a book made an impression on you?


About the Author

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, and contracted with Journey Fiction, and a judge for the Grace Awards for many years. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.

Twitter |Facebook | Website | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page | Instagram |  B&N | kobo


Sign up for Frankie’s newsletter and get a free Professor Molly story

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List

New Elmwood Confidential Cozy Mystery: Dead Air and Double Dares

Crystal Cropper, editor of the Elmwood Gazette, has added incentive in finding out who killed Horace Q. Ogilvie, owner of the local radio station and the most reviled man in town. Horace turns up dead minutes before he is supposed to broadcast his next malicious editorial, designed to destroy yet another Elmwood luminary.

Fortunately for the police department, Horace’s list of future targets provides an abundant pool of suspects. Unfortunately for Crystal, her name is at the top!


Guest post from Janis Thornton: Butt-Bustin’, Bloomin’ Boomers

 

Imagine my delight when I read this paragraph in the first email from the new editor assigned to give my book a final scrub:

“I am currently at work on the proofreading of Dead Air & Double Dares. While hunting for misplaced commas and odd spacing, I have been enjoying Crystal’s adventures. I need your help on something. I had my assistant Olivia read DA&DD before I set to work. I told her very little about the book so I could get a fresh read. Olivia found herself quite far into the novel before she realized that Crystal was in her sixties. She assumed our sleuth was in her thirties.”

I had to read it again. Olivia assumed my sixty-plus-year-old protagonist was in her thirties! I wrote back my editor praising her assistant’s presumption.

I enjoyed hearing about Olivia’s surprise finding out Crystal is over 60. What she experienced is exactly what I’m trying to convey through Crystal’s character — that just because someone is well into their “golden years” doesn’t mean they can’t be as vibrant and relevant and youthful as they were in their 30s and 40s.

Part of the fun of writing a novel is creating characters that channel the author’s views and attitudes. Take my protagonist, Crystal Cropper, for example. Crystal is very much like me. I confess, she embodies many of the life experiences that make me who I am: We’re both only-children … we’ve both been editors at small-town newspapers … we’re single, independent, fun loving, and domestically challenged. And although we’re well into our sixties, we both blow our pretty, blonde stacks every time someone dares suggest or treats us like we’re “old ladies.”

While we are proud to be children of the era of skinny Elvis, saddle shoes, and poodle skirts … do not expect us to behave like “old ladies.”

Crystal is a Baby Boomer, but she has no use for society’s long-accepted expectation that she behave in a manner traditionally associated with being older. She lives her life on her own terms, as a woman who’s tireless, culturally current, curious, relevant, and bold. She will not be dismissed, diminished, disregarded, or declared irrelevant simply because there are silver roots at the bottom of her blonde curls.

Crystal’s self-proclaimed mission is to gather support for a long-overdue, age-based demographic: Butt-Bustin’, Bloomin’ Boomers.

Not getting the picture? Then picture this: Meryl Streep. Sally Field. Condoleezza Rice. Helen Mirren. Kathy Bates. Oprah Winfrey. Hillary Clinton. All are relevant, high-energy, resourceful, independent, confidant, accomplished Boomers. They’re all well into their third act, living with the same positive attitude, lust and gusto they exhibited at half their age.

I beg my Boomer-aged friends to reject the long-standing, stereotypical definition of them as gerontologically impaired. I also encourage them to hold up their past as a telephoto lens and focus it on their potential. And their future.

I hope as you read “Dead Air & Double Dares,” Book 2 in the Elmwood Confidential series, you will find a kinship with Crystal Cropper. She’s not old. She’s better than ever — a Butt-Bustin’ Bloomin’ Boomer through and through. I hope my readers — regardless of their generational identity — connect with her. Those who have yet to reach their sixth decade of life are in for an exciting awakening. That classic advertising slogan, “I’m not getting old … I’m getting better,” has never been more relevant. It’s true for Crystal and me, and it should be true for women at every age and stage of life.

So here’s to Olivia … mission accomplished! Thank you for seeing Crystal for the woman she is and not the woman you expected. Crystal Cropper may have lived sixty years, but she is ageless!


About the Author:

Janis Thornton is a writer, personal historian, and journalist. She is the author of two local history books, “Images of America: Tipton County” and “Images of America: Frankfort”; and contributor to “Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul 2” (page 189!). “Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies” is her debut novel (a cozy mystery), released in October 2014. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Indiana Writers Center, Association of Personal Historians, and the Midwest Writers Workshop Planning Committee. A 2009 MWW Fellow, she also was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier contest that year. Her newspaper feature stories have been recognized by Women in Communications (Lafayette, Indiana chapter), Smiles Unlimited, and the Hoosier State Press Association. She lives in Indiana. You may contact/follow/like her at http://www.janis-thornton.com, Twitter (@JanisThornton), and Facebook (facebook.com/janis.thorntonauthor).

Blog  | Facebook  | Twitter|  Goodreads | Amazon

Sign up for Frankie’s newsletter and get a free Professor Molly story

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List

How I started writing my first mystery: Guest post and #Giveaway on The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

One day back in 2011, I was exercising on the elliptical machine and reading a popular cozy mystery. As I pedaled, I found myself mentally editing the book: “Don’t show everyone laughing and laughing; either the line was funny or it wasn’t.” “You’re spending way too much time on the cat.” Finally I realized I should just go write my own book.

Read more: BLOG TOUR – The Black Thumb – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf


KEEP UP WITH PROMOTIONS, EVENTS, AND NEW RELEASES:

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List

Guest post and #Giveaway: What to read after you’ve read all the contemporary campus cozies

As a cozy fan who works in academia, I love to read (and write) cozy mysteries that take place on college campuses or feature sleuthing professors. While there are some great contemporary campus cozies, there aren’t, nearly enough. Campus cozies are greatly outnumbered by cat, culinary, and craft subgenres.But if you’re willing to broaden your horizons a little, you can find a great read that skewers Machiavellian administrators, Byzantine bureaucracy, pompous professors, and slacker students.Here are five of my favorites. The publication date or genre might place them outside of the contemporary cozy category, but consider giving them a place in your library. As in your favorite cozies, sex and violence take place offstage; entertaining characters, rich settings, and compelling stories are front and center.Read more: Guest Post/Virtual Tour with Giveaway ~ The Black Thumb by Frankie Bow


KEEP UP WITH PROMOTIONS, EVENTS, AND NEW RELEASES:

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List

Who is Ettore Sottsass, and why does my heroine’s love interest have his sofa? Guest post and #Giveaway

I think The Black Thumb will appeal especially to residents and vacationers of Hawai′i, people with green thumbs (or black thumbs, like me), people in academia, proud Albanian-Americans, and fans of Frankie’s other books.

Read more: Jane Reads: The Black Thumb by Frankie Bow | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway


KEEP UP WITH PROMOTIONS, EVENTS, AND NEW RELEASES:

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List

Guest Post and #Giveaway on Author Annette Drake’s Blog

Things that inspired The Black Thumb, in no particular order: Undermine-y people who serve up backhanded compliments and are astonished when you take offense; the utter wretchedness of the academic job market; DNA analysis; blended families; the Completion Agenda; and, of course, tropical gardening.

Source: Annette’s blog | Author Annette Drake


KEEP UP WITH PROMOTIONS, EVENTS, AND NEW RELEASES:

Blog  | Facebook  | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | Mailing List