Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 Anthony Nominations

The Anthony Award is named for the late Anthony Boucher (William Anthony Parker White), well-known writer and critic from the New York Times, who helped found the Mystery Writers of America. This year, they will be presented at Bouchercon in Toronto on October 15th.
Congratulations to all the nominees!
Best Novel
You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott (Little, Brown)
Where It Hurts – Reed Farrel Coleman (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Red Right Hand – Chris Holm (Mulholland)
Wilde Lake – Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Best First Novel
Dodgers – Bill Beverly (Crown)
IQ – Joe Ide (Mulholland)
Decanting a Murder – Nadine Nettmann (Midnight Ink)
Design for Dying – Renee Patrick (Forge)
The Drifter – Nicholas Petrie (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Best Paperback Original
Shot in Detroit – Patricia Abbott (Polis)
Leadfoot – Eric Beetner (280 Steps)
Salem’s Cipher – Jess Lourey (Midnight Ink)
Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street)
How to Kill Friends and Implicate People – Jay Stringer (Thomas & Mercer)
Heart of Stone – James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)
Best Short Story
“Oxford Girl” – Megan Abbott, Mississippi Noir (Akashic)
“Autumn at the Automat” – Lawrence Block, In Sunlight or in Shadow (Pegasus)
“Gary’s Got A Boner” – Johnny Shaw, Waiting to Be Forgotten (Gutter)
“Parallel Play” – Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning (Wildside)
“Queen of the Dogs” – Holly West, 44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul and Payback (Moonstone)
Best Critical Nonfiction Work
Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life – Peter Ackroyd (Nan A. Talese)
Letters from a Serial Killer – Kristi Belcamino & Stephanie Kahalekulu (CreateSpace)
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin (Liveright)
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker – David J. Skal (Liveright)
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer – Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury/Penguin)
Best Children’s/YA Novel
Snowed – Maria Alexander (Raw Dog Screaming)
The Girl I Used to Be – April Henry (Henry Holt)
Tag, You’re Dead – J.C. Lane (Poisoned Pen)
My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier (Soho Teen)
The Fixes – Owen Matthews (HarperTeen)
Best Anthology
Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns – Eric Beetner, ed. (Down & Out)
In Sunlight or in Shadow – Lawrence Block, ed. (Pegasus)
Cannibals: Stories from the Edge of the Pine Barrens – Jen Conley (Down & Out)
Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 – Greg Herren, ed. (Down & Out)
Waiting To Be Forgotten: Stories of Crime and Heartbreak, Inspired by the Replacements – Jay Stringer, ed. (Gutter)
Best Novella (8,000-40,000 words)
Cleaning Up Finn – Sarah M. Chen (CreateSpace)
No Happy Endings – Angel Luis Colón (Down & Out)
Crosswise – S.W. Lauden (Down & Out)
Beware the Shill – John Shepphird (Down & Out)
The Last Blue Glass – B.K. Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2016 (Dell)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Please welcome Bailey Cattrell!

Nightshade for Warning is the second in the Enchanted Garden Mystery series featuring aromatherapist and perfumer Elliana Allbright. After divorcing her philandering husband, she opened her dream business, Scents & Nonsense, in her hometown of Poppyville, California. Her almost supernatural sense of smell combined with her ability to intuitively know what fragrances will help her friends and customers overcome difficulty or simply bring them pleasure has made her business take off like a rocket.

The Enchanted Garden behind her shop is chock-full of rambling plants, bird houses and windchimes, winding paths, tumbling terrace beds, and myriad herbs and flowers from which she distills the concentrated scents that are the hallmark of her unique perfumes. For this, she uses the ancient copper alembic her gamma left her along with an illustrated garden journal Ellie has come to realize contains more than a little magic.

The garden is open to her customers and friends to sit, sip tea, and nibble on the cookies that her best friend, Astrid Moneypenny, bakes up every morning. Miniature garden tableaus, gnome doors and fairy gardens are tucked into crevices and nooks all over the space. Dash the corgi and Nabokov the Russian Blue shop cat provide Ellie company and keep an eye on things, while Ellie herself lives in a super-efficient tiny house at the back of the property.

In Nightshade for Warning, Ellie is missing Ritter Nelson, her new beau who is on a research project in the Alaskan tundra. He’s only been gone for a few weeks, but there are months to go. It’s a welcome distraction when journalist Blake Sontag wants to feature her tiny house in a national magazine. She’s proud of her small-scale home, and Ellie’s business group, the Greenstockings, see it as a terrific opportunity to spread the word about their adorable tourist town with its Old West flavor and access to outdoor activities.

Then her younger brother, Colby, turns up with his Westfalia van and a new girlfriend, Larken. Ellie adores her brother, and takes to Larken – a wildcrafter and herbalist after her own heart – right away.

Things are looking up until Sontag is poisoned, and the police focus on the last person to see him alive – Colby’s girlfriend, Larken. It doesn’t help that she had extensive herbal knowledge and the poison that killed the journalist was plant-based.

Detective Max Lang has held even more of a grudge against Ellie ever since she proved herself innocent of the murder he tried to pin on her months before, so it’s not easy when Ellie agrees to help Larken. But she plunges in with the help of Astrid and the other members of the Greenstockings to uncover the murder victim’s past in Poppyville, a mysterious land grant, an old family secret – and plenty of motives for murder. In the process, she learns a bit more about her magical abilities, and a new admirer challenges her determination to stay true to Ritter despite his long absence and sometimes confusing communications.

The book includes recipes for Astrid’s Lavender Shortbread Cookies and the Peppermint Foot Polish that Maria Canto loves so much.

Next up? Potions and Pastries, the seventh in the Magical Bakery Mystery series that I write as Bailey Cates, will release in November, 2017, and I’m currently working on the third Enchanted Garden Mystery, tentatively titled Marigolds for Malice.

For more information about all my books (and pen names), please visit www.baileycates.com.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cozy Monday

Nightshade for Warning (Enchanted Garden Mystery #2) by Bailey Cattrell (Berkley Prime Crime, 2 May 2017).

In this second Enchanted Garden mystery, we learn more about Ellie Allbright, the horticulturalist/aromatherapist and her business Scents & Nonsense, which she opened after her bitter divorce.

Ellie is excited about being interviewed for Conscience Magazine about her tiny house.  She's hoping that the writer, former Poppyville boy Blake Sontag will put in a few good words about her shop and garden as well.  

When her brother Colby and his new girlfriend Larken turn up for a visit, she arranges to meet them at their hotel for dinner.  Coincidentally, an acquaintance of Ellie's, Cynthia Beck is dining there, and she invites the three of them to join her and her companion, who happens to be Blake Sontag.

Sontag is inexplicably rude to all of them, and provokes Larken  to leave in the middle of the meal, with Colby not far behind.

The next morning, the housekeeper finds Sontag in his room, dead, apparently poisoned by some herbal tea.  When it turns out that Larken was the last to see him -- and that she's an herbalist-- she immediately becomes the prime suspect.  

Ellie is certain that Larken is innocent, and determined to prove it.  Her investigation plunges her, and those close to her, into a confusing mess of family disagreements, professional betrayals, and downright nastiness.  

Despite all the unpleasantness, this is still a story of healing and forgiveness, and is an enjoyable read.  

I look forward to spending more time with Ellie and her family in the third book in the series, which the author is currently writing.

The publisher has generously offered a copy of Nightshade for Warning to one of my readers.  Please comment below before 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 15th.  Entries from the US only, please.  

Please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win!

TC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Horace Bick, The Grizzly Bear, and The Joy of Old Hardware Stores

A guest post by Julia Buckley.

Readers who enjoyed my first Writer’s Apprentice mystery, A Dark and Stormy Murder, don’t have to wait much longer for the sequel. Death in Dark Blue debuts tomrrow,  May 2. Since I don’t want to delve too deeply into the storyline and risk spoilers, I thought I’d talk a little more about Blue Lake, the fictional town where all the mystery happens.

Blue Lake is an amalgam of any number of Midwestern small towns I’ve visited, and even Bick’s Hardware has shades of other hardware stores I’ve seen over fifty years. One in particular stands out. It was a wonderful old store in Valparaiso, Indiana—my college town!—and I happened to wander into this place when I was twenty and searching, just before Christmas break, for family Christmas gifts. 

I had chosen my brother Christopher’s name in the family grab bag, and I wanted to buy him a saw and a flannel shirt (both on his list). So I walked the mile from campus to Valpo’s downtown strip, and I stumbled across an amazing place called Wark’s Hardware. The interior was dim, dusty, wonderfully fragrant of cut wood and mixed paint and varnish. Like Bick’s Hardware, Wark’s had shelves that went all the way to the ceiling, and in fact it had a dizzying effect, giving me a sense of vertigo until I adapted to the sheer volume of stuff on the walls.

It didn’t take me long to realize I loved the place, especially after asking Mr. Wark for some help and finding that although he hadn’t smiled much, he was quite friendly and attentive, and spoke in a scratchy voice that grew on me, too.

I bought a saw from him, and when my family came to pick me up a day later, I insisted that they visit Wark’s Hardware with me just to revel in its wonderful eccentricity.

Wark’s is no longer there, and it’s likely that Mr. Wark is no longer with us, either, but the store lives in my imagination. The great thing about writing is that we can borrow bits and pieces from every memory that we have. We then embellish those memories with our own little decorations. 

For example, there was no giant grizzly bear at Wark’s Hardware, but I did see a lot of things like that when I visited South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. I decided to borrow this bit of whimsy and place a giant stuffed Grizzly in the porch lobby of Bick’s Hardware, and that Mr. Horace Bick, showing a bit of humor, placed a sign in his clawed hands that said “Bick’s is Best.”

In addition to my love of hardware stores, I am mad for antique shops. My husband and sons do not share this love, and so I am often a lonely wanderer on family vacations, trying to suss out likely-looking places that might hold dusty treasures when all the boys are ever looking for is a good hamburger joint and perhaps a place that sells guitars. Some of my cool antique shop finds have also made it into Bick’s Hardware, but I’m thinking that in a future book I might just let Lena wander into an antique shop and get lost in the wonderful objects that take her to other times and places.

Thanks for reading! Book two is available for pre-order now. Here’s the Amazon link. https://tinyurl.com/ksl6oxc

Oh, and assuming I write about one, what’s a good name for an antique shop? 😊

Julia Buckley is a Chicago mystery author. She writes two mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. A Dark and Stormy Murder was recently named "a noteworty traditional mystery" by Writer's Digest, and her novels The Big Chili and Cheddar Off Dead will both be available in Japanense translations. She has twelve books available on Kindle.

She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Chicago Writer's Association. In addition, she has worked with the same writer's group since 2000.

Julia has taught high school English for twenty-eight years; she lives near Chicago with her husband, two sons, four cats, and a mischievous Lab puppy named Digby.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Cozy Monday

Death in Dark Blue (Writer's Apprentice #2) by Julia Buckley (Berkley Prime Crime mass market paperback, 2 May 2017).

Lena London has been Camilla Graham's assistant long enough that their first collaborative book, The Salzburg Train,  has been published.  They're both pretty excited, and Lena wants to share her excitement with her new beau, Sam West.  But when she goes next door to to give him a copy, she (almost literally) stumbles upon the body of a woman.

Lena recognizes the woman: Taylor Brand was the best friend of Sam's late wife Victoria, who was determined to prove that Sam had murdered Victoria, even though Sam had been exonerated when proof surfaced that Victoria was still alive. Lena is, of course, stunned.  She's also certain that Sam wouldn't be foolish enough to commit a murder on his own property, and local police chief Doug Heller agrees with her.

Still, the media presence, which had just begun to dissipate, increases, and Lena and Sam are once again in the national spotlight.

Lena and Sam are desperate to determine the identity of Taylor's killer.  They'd like to find Victoria, too, but that has been taken over by federal agencies, who seem to have given the case very low priority. 

There are some fictional characters whose jobs I'd love to have.  Lena London is one of them.  Camilla Graham is a romantic suspense author reminiscent of Mary Stewart, the grande dame of romantic suspense. 

Julia Buckley has been so thorough in the conception of her characters that there is a list of all of Camilla Graham's novels (from 1972 through 2016!) at the front of the book.  And, each chapter begins with an epigraph from Camilla and Lena's work in progress, Death on Danube.  

Although not absolutely necessary, it's probably a good idea to read the first book in the series, A Dark and Stormy Murder, to fully understand what's going on in this book, but it won't be a hardship!

The publisher has generously offered a copy of Death in Dark Blue to one of my readers.  Please comment below before 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 8th.  Entries from the US only, please.  
Please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win!

FTC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.