Sedona O'Hala Series:

Executive Dirt

Dragons of Wendal Series:


Moon Shadow Series:

Ghost Shadow

Now Available:

Soul of the Desert

Bargain Books – Historical Mysteries

Look! I found another one! A Quiet Life in the Country (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery 1). Okay, I’m not too sure about the martial arts angle back then, but I bet it adds some interesting scenes! Good cover on this one too.

Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they’ve just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life.

But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There’s a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation…

As Lady Hardcastle and Flo delve deeper into rural rivalries and resentment, they uncover a web of intrigue that extends far beyond the village. With almost no one free from suspicion, they can be certain of only one fact: there is no such thing as a quiet life in the country.

And here’s an Elizabethan one:

Murder at Hatfield House — I like the cover on this one too. More contemporary feel, but nicely done. It’s possible the red-riding-hood cape is a bit much.

1558. Kate Haywood, a simple musician in the employ of a princess, will find herself involved in games of crowns as she sets out to solve the murder of the queen’s envoy….

England is in tumult under the rule of Queen Mary and her Spanish husband. Confined to house arrest at Hatfield House, young Princess Elizabeth is the country’s greatest hope. Far from court intrigues, Elizabeth finds solace in simple things: the quiet countryside and peaceful recreation, including the melodies of her chief musician and his daughter, Kate Haywood.

But Kate will prove herself most valuable when an envoy of the queen—sent to flush out heretics in the princess’s household—is found dead on the grounds of Hatfield. Acting as Elizabeth’s eyes and ears, Kate is sent out on the trail of a killer whose mission could destroy her family, friends—and the future of England.

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New Cozy Releases

Some new releases for this week that caught my eye:

Christina Freeburn has a new Scrapbook mystery out: Masked to Death.

Cropped to Death is book one and it’s on sale for 99 cents.

There’s a new Miss Seeton book out too. I’d never heard of this series so rather than introduce book 25 that is pre-release, here is the first book and it’s only 99 cents. The entire series is VERY well priced and it sounds like it has some great characters and involves Scotland Yard. Really love the covers on this series too!

Picture Miss Seeton

When Miss Seeton walks out of a performance of Carmen and witnesses a real-life stabbing, all she can recall is a shadowy figure. But how could even she have guessed that her latest artistic endeavour is a picture-perfect portrait of the killer? Her caricature, however, puts her in a perilous position, for back at her rustic cottage in Plummergen, she’s fated to be a sitting duck . . . for murder most foul!

Meet Miss Emily D. Seeton
Retired art teacher Miss Seeton steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles. Armed with only her sketch pad and umbrella, she is every inch an eccentric English spinster and the most lovable and unlikely master of detection.

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Superb Bargain – Historical Mysteries 3 Boxed Set 99 cents!

Alec Halsey Mystery books — Three book set 99 cents!!!

The story arc of this boxed set spans three full-length novels set in aristocratic 1760s London, and features amateur sleuth Alec, Lord Halsey. In book one, DEADLY ENGAGEMENT, Alec is unwittingly caught up in country house murder and mayhem at an engagement party where he finally confronts his estranged brother. Some months later, in DEADLY AFFAIR, a vicar drops dead beside Alec at a private dinner party, forcing him to investigate the death of this seemingly harmless man of God and his surprising connection to the mysterious Miranda. In DEADLY PERIL Alec is lured away to Europe by a mad margrave and his sister who hold his friends to ransom in the remote and forbidding Castle Hertzfeld. In a race against time, Alec and the English delegation journey across an icy wasteland devastated by civil war to “a gob smacking finale you’ll never see coming”.

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Book Bargains of the Day

This looks intriguing. Historical mystery, possibly some romance, although it’s hard to say from the description. The Hanover Square Affair – freebie. If anyone has read it, let us know if it’s good!

A very reasonably priced historical mystery:
The Piper: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Story I’ve read the first in this series and enjoyed it–The Piper is sort of an introduction to one of the main characters in the series. If you like Scotland Yard mysteries, you’ll want to check out this series.

Charles Todd features Hamish himself in this compelling, stand-alone short story.

Before the Great War, Hamish is farmer in the Scottish Highlands, living in a small house on the hillside and caring for a flock of sheep he inherited from his grandmother. When one spring evening he hears a faint cry ringing across the glen, Hamish sets out in the dark to find the source. Near the edge of the loch he spots a young boy laying wounded, a piper’s bag beside him. Hamish brings the piper to his home to stay the night and tends to his head wound, but by the time Hamish wakes the boy has fled. He tracks the footsteps in pursuit of the injured lad and finds him again collapsed in the grasses—now dead.

Who was the mysterious piper, and who was seeking his death? As Hamish scours the countryside for answers, he finds that few of his neighbors are as honest as he, and that until he uncovers a motive, everyone, including Hamish, is a suspect.

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Grab Bars

Okay, we’re all getting older here, so let’s talk about a few handy conveniences. When I was home last, I noticed that Mom needed a grab bar or two near the toilets, sink and definitely the shower. When I mentioned my idea to Dad, he informed me that he hasn’t washed his one foot in a year because he can’t balance on that side!!! Now, y’all know that Dad is pretty handy with tools, even at 79. Why he hasn’t put in grab bars is beyond me, but believe me, we are shopping for just the right thing now!

One of the first products I bought them are these handy little suction cup bars for the shower. Because they have suction cups, they are not permanent and you have to be very careful to ensure they are attached to the wall before using them. I bought these so that Mom and Dad can move the bars around and test where they want a permanent bar installed (BEFORE I start drilling holes…)

Note they have little lights to indicate when the suction is working. Mom said that she has to re-suction them before each shower, but they are very easy to use. She has almost decided where she wants a permanent bar (and she may end up wanting two bars.) She is using them and appreciates having them there. Dad has not chimed in just yet, but that is the way of men. They are very stoic stubborn!

There are a plethora of choices when it comes to grab bars. I love the look of this one and it has a shelf! I’m afraid Mom might fill it so full of stuff she’d never be able to use it as a grab bar, but it’s a handy idea. I’m actually thinking of getting this one for the sink area because she wouldn’t use a grab bar very often, but she would definitely use the shelf!

I haven’t found any grab bars that have 16 inch mounts for the toilet paper (Sixteen inches is the distance between studs, and I want any grab bar firmly attached to studs). The toilet holders are cute and functional, but only one side would be in a stud and I don’t think that will work very well. So the jury is still out on that bar.

If you’re remodeling–think about adding grab bars. If you’re building a house, definitely have them put in. They come in many colors and sizes to match any decor. They will come in handy, probably sooner rather than later!

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Free Short Story: The Nutrition Mafia

A Day in the Life of Ivy (Nutrition Mafia Short Story) — This short was originally written and published for Dru’s Book Musing Blog.

A Day in the Life of Ivy (Nutrition Mafia Short Story)

I go by Ivy, no last name if I can help it. When your family is the mafia, there’s no point in getting too cozy with strangers.

Mostly Uncle Tom sends me on generic errands; deliveries that may or may not require a disguise. I’m mafia by necessity and a nutritionist when there is time for catering or cooking classes. Just remember the mafia never lets you go, not unless they decide you need to do the grocery shopping.

Of course, being in the mafia makes you a target.

“I wasn’t speeding,” I told Officer Kurt. He knew me or at least he thought he knew enough that he could pull me over and fine me for something.

“You were talking on a cell phone while driving,” he said, eyeing the boxes of cookies stacked on the front seat.

“Was not.” There were probably three cell phones in my purse; at least one was untraceable, one was for personal use and there was a backup just in case Uncle Tom told me to deliver a phone to someone.

“Your mouth was wide open, babbling away, completely oblivious to the rest of the world.” His lips thinned with disapproval, almost disappearing under his beard and mustache. His K9 kept his eyes squarely on me, the target.

“Hi Chance,” I said to the dog. “How are things?” Chance didn’t answer, although we had met more than once. “I was singing,” I told Officer Kurt. “The South Austin Moonlighters.”

His pen stopped scribbling. “What?”

I nodded. “Ask the dog. I bet he could hear me.”

“Chance could not hear you from the back of my vehicle!”

“My phone isn’t even out.” I gave a little Vanna White wave around my uncle’s van.

Officer Kurt was in his forties, old enough to know when he’d been outmaneuvered. His face, under his beard, turned red. He had highlighted his natural dark brown hair to mimic that of his German Sheperd. “This vehicle is not registered to you. Are you sure you have permission to drive it?”

Kurt knew crimes happened around my uncle, and he was pretty certain they happened around me too, but I’m not like my family. I just happen to be related to them. “It belongs to my Aunt Olivia.” It would have been more truthful to say it was registered under my dead aunt’s name and my uncle kept the records up to date, but I never offer more details than necessary.

“Singing, huh?” Officer Kurt folded massive arms across his chest. “Go on, then. Sing a verse.”

“What?!?” My voice was not what you’d call trained. I considered myself a nutritionist, not a musician. “I am not singing you a song!”

“You weren’t singing! I knew it.” He clicked his pen and went back to writing.

“You’ll be very embarrassed when cell records prove I was not on the phone,” I muttered.

The pen stopped. He stared into the back of the van via my window. There was only one back seat. The other side was open to the back. Shelves lined one side and a cabinet took up space on the other. Nutrition business is what you’d call “slow.” The only food needing delivery was on the front seat.

I glanced at Chance, more worried about the dog’s reaction than Officer Kurt’s casual search. Luckily, Kurt didn’t ask Chance to check anything out. There was no illegal contraband to be found because my uncle’s assignments were related to what he called the “government mafia,” not the crime syndicate. Still, if Uncle wanted to remain anonymous in this situation, it was better if the dog didn’t sniff around too hard.

“Start the car,” Officer Kurt ordered.

“He’s very suspicious, isn’t he, Chance?” The dog had cocked his head. One ear was tilted to the back of the van. My talking to him didn’t sway his gaze either. I quickly cranked the ignition.

The speakers obediently floated out the soulful pain of, “Mooovin’ On.”

Officer Kurt glared at me before snapping his book shut. “Something isn’t right here. You’re guilty.”

“La, la, la,” I sang while he made his way back to his vehicle.

“Is he gone?” the single back seat asked in Uncle Tom’s cultured tones. His voice was muffled from the cushions that pulled over a hidden space between the seat and the cabinet.

“He’s easing into traffic,” I said. “I don’t see why you can’t ride in the front like a normal person,” I grumbled.

“We aren’t normal, Ivy. Never forget that.”

As if I could. All I wanted to do was deliver a healthy batch of oatmeal whole wheat cookies to a customer. Uncle Tom, for reasons unspecified, decided to come along. My family always had a different recipe in mind, one that usually led to disaster.

Join Ivy in her quest to stay out of jail in One Good Eclair:

eclair_maria_schneider_avatarOne Good Eclair

At Amazon
At Kobo
At B&N
Also on Apple,
Google Play Books

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Bargain – Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs – Blood Bound is on sale today for $1.99. This is an excellent urban fantasy series. Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite authors. These are definitely more thriller than cozy so if you are a cozy reader, you might want to pass, but if you like great characters and stories. check it out! Moon Called is book one.

At Google Play
At Kobo

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New Karen MacInerney

The new Karen MacInereney, Whale of a Crime, is out this week and today the pre-order is only 5.99! I don’t know if it will go up in price, but her books normally sell in the 11 to 12 dollar range so you might want to order Whale of a Crime. Looks like Amazon has picked up this author as the cover is a little different and this book may be exclusive to Amazon? I’ll have to check other outlets and update!

I sort of reviewed the first book here.

The long-awaited seventh book of the bestselling Gray Whale Inn Mysteries is finally here!

When a tour company books the Gray Whale Inn for a full week, innkeeper Natalie Barnes can’t wait to get cooking — and to hitch a ride on the antique schooner Summer Winds, getting up close and personal with the local whales. But when one of the humpback whales turns up dragging a mass of fishing gear from its tail, the tour takes a dark turn. It turns darker still when the schooner’s handsome captain winds up attached to the vessel’s anchor, sixty feet underwater… and not by accident.

Before long, the tour naturalist (and Natalie’s best friend’s beau) is behind bars, charged with a murder Charlene swears he didn’t commit. Stir in a surprise visit from Natalie’s quarrelsome sister, midnight kitchen sabotage, a sick orphan kitten, and a mysterious investor with plans for a massive resort on the quaint island, and Natalie’s got a recipe for potential disaster.

When a second body turns up just outside the inn, the heat is on Natalie to solve the double murder… or risk ending up with her own goose cooked.

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Posted: January 15, 2017

Following Recipes–A Study in Improvisation

Originally posted on July 19, 2011– am bumping up in celebration of the 7th book in the series, Whale of a Crime, that is out this week.

I love to cook. I’m fairly good at it (no one has died yet). Baking is my forte–at least that is where I spend the bulk of my cooking time because I love sweets. One thing I am not good at is following the recipe. I am not certain I’m capable of following a recipe. I start out with the best of intentions, but if I were playing piano someone would send out for the tuner in a hurry.

After starting to read Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) one of my buddies mentioned that the recipes alone were worth having. So she sent me one of her favorites from the series, a decadent muffin recipe. I’m going to include that recipe, and then we’ll talk about what actually happened in my kitchen.

COUNTRY PLACE MUFFINS (Clovis’ Famous Muffins)


2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C frozen cranberries (cut in half)
1/2 C blueberries (whole)
1/2 C pecans or walnuts
1/2 C raisins (soaked in hot water and drained)
3/4 large apple (diced)


3/4 C milk
1 egg (beaten)
1/3 C canola oil

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spray muffin tins (this recipe makes 24 small muffins). Fill and sprinkle with sugar crystals
(raw sugar). Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes… and enjoy!

© 2008 Karen

Started out pretty good: I substituted white whole wheat flour for health reasons. Measured it, the sugar and the baking powder in the bowl. I don’t eat salt (health again) so left that out. Peeled an apple and put it in the food processor to get tiny pieces. 3/4 of a large apple? How much is that anyway? And what am I supposed to do with the other quarter? Besides, it was a medium apple, so the whole thing is going in.

Hmm. Don’t have cranberries. Will have to double up on the blueberries. A dry pint is probably a cup, right? Close enough. I don’t like nuts in muffins, so I decided to leave those out. I hate raisins in anything so I decided to leave those out. Eggs? Didn’t it say two? Cracked and in the bowl.

Looked at recipe. “Oh. One egg.”

Husband: “I saw you crack two.”

“Yeah, well, they were *small* eggs.”

Don’t have canola oil. Substituted grape seed oil. Wondered if it would be moist enough given that I used whole wheat flour. Well, I’ll just add some buttermilk. Put in half milk, half buttermilk for the 3/4 cup of milk and then to be sure they stayed moist added another splash of buttermilk. Yes, an unmeasured splash equal to *some amount of buttermilk.*

I’m supposed to be eating a tablespoon of flax seed each day for a condition called Dry Eye. Muffins seemed like a good place to put some, so I added a tablespoon of flax seed.

Yes, I remembered to sprinkle sugar on the top of the batches! Yay me!

When they were done, husband proclaimed:

“Lots of blueberries.”
A bit defensive, I said, “Well, I followed the recipe.” He looked at me with one of *those* looks so I added, “That’s a lie.”
He laughed.

I thought the first muffins to come out of the oven were a tad light on sugar (probably because of the whole wheat.) So I added a tablespoon of sugar to the leftover batter. The very last two muffins to go in didn’t have but a single blueberry so I decided to put chocolate chips in those.

That Karen MacInerney, she sure can cook. These are pretty good muffins! So glad she included the recipe!

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Posted: January 15, 2017
Filed in Recipes
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Bargains: History and a Family Story

At Hitler’s Side

This is the personal account of a Luftwaffe aide always at Hitler’s side from 1937 until the last days in Berlin, now published for the first time in English.

Nicolaus von Below was a 29-year-old pilot when Goering selected him for the position of Hitler’s Luftwaffe adjutant. He was with Hitler at every stage as the Second World War unfolded. His observations tell of Hitler’s responses to momentous events as well as military decisions and policy-making at Führer Headquarters.

This is a superb source describing life in Hitler’s inner circle, relied upon on by Gitta Sereny in her biography of Albert Speer. He provides fascinating insight into how Hitler planned the invasions of Poland and Russia, what he thought of Britain and America, why he placed his faith in the V-1 and V-2 projects, how others dealt with him, and much more. Von Below was present at the assassination attempt in July 1944, and records the effect on Hitler and his followers.

Von Below was the last of Hitler’s close military entourage to emerge from the bunker alive. His frank memoir will appeal to anyone interested in how Hitler ran his war. He was denounced to the British in 1946 and imprisoned as a material witness at Nuremberg, until being discharged in 1947.

Ties that Bind This sounds fabulous and it’s a great price at 99 cents. I love the cover and it has some great reviews.

Ties That Bind is one woman’s journey on the path to self-discovery as she puts the pieces of her past together. Pat always knew she was adopted. What she didn’t know was the depth of the cover-up. With her private investigator husband, Charles, the two set out for a road trip that takes them from California to Iowa to uncover the deep, dark secrets that have plagued her for years. Her journey to find out the truth exposes a more meaningful discovery giving Pat the peace she always yearned for.

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Posted: January 14, 2017
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