Friday, September 23, 2016

Funny Friday

Zits by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman                                                                                    9/21/16

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Favorite Places in Lovett, Michigan

By special guest Peg Cochran.

Lovett isn’t a real town—just one I created for my Farmer’s Daughter series and No Farm, No Foul, the first book in the series. But it’s become quite real to me! I’d like to share a few of my favorite places in Lovett with you.

1. Love Blossom Farm: Shelby McDonald lives on Love Blossom Farm with her two children Billy Jr. and Amelia. There’s an old but comfortable farmhouse with a big porch out front and plenty of rocking chairs to sit in. If you stand at the backdoor of the farmhouse, you can see the barn in the distance where Jack Sparrow, the rooster, struts his stuff, and

Patches, the calico cat, keeps the mice population at a reasonable level. The scent of manure drifts over from Jake Taylor’s pasture next door, but Shelby doesn’t mind—the scent is home to her.

2. Lovett General Store: The general store carries everything from groceries to kayaks to house paint to plumbing parts. Shelby supplies them with her homemade yogurt, herbed yogurt cheese, fresh herbs and produce that she and her family don’t need.

3. Lovett Diner: It’s not a fancy place—it’s where the locals and the late night truck drivers can get a decent meal—decent being roast turkey on white bread with mashed potatoes and gravy, the cook’s special meatloaf and eggs over easy with a pile of hash browns and half a pound of bacon.

4. Lovett Feed Store: The floors are wooden and creak when you step on them, the air smells of grain and dust motes dance in the light coming in the dusty windows. They stock all kinds of feed including pet food.

5. St. Andrews Church: Shelby has been a member all her life. Amelia and Billy sing in the choir and Shelby helps out at Women’s Auxiliary lunches and potlucks. She’s also in the knitting club although it hasn’t improved her knitting skills one bit.

Peg Cochran's greatest love has always been writing - particularly mysteries! She has two cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime: The Gourmet De-Lite series set in Connecticut and featuring Gigi Fitzgerald, who provides gourmet diet meals to a select group of clients, and the Sweet Nothings Vintage Lingerie series, written as Meg London, set in Paris, Tennessee with Emma Taylor who finds murder and mayhem in this quiet country town.

When she's not writing, Peg can usually be found cooking. When asked to bring a dish to a potluck she invariably opts to bring dessert - partly because she loves making sweet dishes and partly because she and her husband always manage to be late so there's no point in putting them in charge of appetizers!

Peg loves connecting with readers and other writers so feel free to drop her an email via her contact page! And be sure to visit her other site at www.MegLondon.com.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cozy Monday

No Farm, No Foul (Farmer's Daughter Mystery #1) by Peg Cochran (Berkley Prime Crime mass market paperback, 6 September 2016).

Widow and mother of two, Shelby McDonald runs Love Blossom Farm in the small town of Lovett,  Michigan.  She also writes a blog called The Farmer's Daughter, in which she describes her experiences, discusses the process of growing vegetables, and shares original recipes.

Apart from missing her late husband like crazy, she has a pretty good life, even with her pre-teen daughter Amelia already being difficult.

But the bucolic peace is destroyed when the new minister's wife is killed during a church fund-raiser that Shelby hosts.  Prudence Mather was not an easy woman to like, so there are plenty of suspects, but then Shelby's best friend Kelly becomes one of the prime suspects and asks Shelby to poke around a little and see what she can come up with.

Already upset about the murder sullying the peace of her home, Shelby agrees, and gets to work.

Many of the chapters begin with the charming device of blog entries that Shelby drafts in her mind about events as she's experiencing them.  Shelby is an intelligent and accomplished protagonist who is easy to identify with.

Recipes for some of her creations are included at the end of the book, )but the one I really wanted, for the cottage cheese pie she keeps making, is missing).

The publisher has generously offered a copy of No Farm, No Foul to one of my readers.  Please comment below before 12:01 a.m. on Monday, September 19th.  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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Don’t you just love serendipity?

By special guest Jessica Estevao.

Several years ago my husband and I were looking for a summer place near the water. I had no idea that our search would lead to a new series and a love of historical mystery writing. After looking at places all over the state of Maine we found the perfect spot in Old Orchard Beach. We spent that first summer renovating the house and basking on the beach. By the end of the first month we were utterly charmed.

After all, what’s not to love about seven miles of sandy beach and the last remaining seaside amusement park in New England? But while the kids were building sand castles and perfecting their body surfing technique, I found myself visiting the Harmon HistoricalMuseum and buying antique post cards at Cottage Decor. Slowly, but surely, the history of Old Orchard worked its way into my affections and on my imagination.

I was intrigued to discover our property used to be part of a Methodist campground. While it now has different owners, the natural amphitheater they used for sermons and speakers is still in operation just up the street from our house.

I learned about the different incarnations the town had experienced. In the Victorian era it hosted wealthy families for the entire season at the grand hotels like The Hotel Velvet as well as day-tripping mill girls from neighboring Biddeford.

By the early 1900s Grand Beach was popular with early auto racers as well as pioneering pilots attempting the first trans-continental flights. A few years later the big band era and dance marathons drew the crowds. Soldiers returning from WWII brought their families in droves throughout the middle of the twentieth century.

It was inevitable, I suppose, that all that information would work its magic on the story-telling part of my brain. Before I knew it, I started imagining the buildings and vehicles and amusements from the past still lining the streets. Then, of course, the buildings filled with imaginary people with all their intrigues and peculiarities.

Before long, the influence of Old Orchard had concocted Ruby Proulx, the protagonist for my latest book, Whispers Beyond the Veil. The Gilded Age hotel where she lives and works, her friends and family all invented themselves as I walked along the sand or imagined a trolley car trundling down the street beside me as I strolled to the shops. Reasons for murder and mayhem swooped into my brain like marauding seagulls making a play for picnic lunches.

Just like that, an historical mystery had snuck up on me. I had never intended to turn my hand to historical writing but thanks to a little serendipity it had.

Jessica Estevao (who also writes as Jessie Crockett) writes the Change of Fortune Mysteries. The first in the series, Whispers Beyond the Veil, will release in September 2016. 

She loves the beach, mysterious happenings and all things good-naturedly paranormal. While she lives for most of the year in New Hampshire with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children, she spends summers on the coast of Maine where she keeps an eye out for sea monsters and mermaids.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Cozy Monday

Whispers Beyond the Veil (Change of Fortune Mystery #1) by Jessica Estevao (Berkley Prime Crime trade paperback, 6 September 2016).  

Ever since her mother died, Ruby Proulx has been travelling with her father, a snake-oil salesman, picking up a little money for herself by doing tarot readings.  After one of her father's get-rich-quick schemes ends in disaster, Ruby goes to Old Orchard, Maine to find her mother's sister Honoria Belden.

Old Orchard is a seaside resort experiencing a boom during the Gilded Age.  Many luxurious new restaurants and hotels are flourishing due to an influx of wealthy tourists. Ruby's aunt owns the Hotel Belden, which is unfortunately not one of the large new structures.

Unfortunately, the Hotel Belden is not new, nor does it have the fancy amenities that some of the newer hotels have.  In an effort to compete, Honoria has decided to cater to Spiritualists, with a staff including a numerologist, an astrologer, and other psychic practitioners, only a few of whom have arrived.

When one of the consultants is found dead on the beach, Ruby is worried about the effect it will have on her aunt's health, as well as her business.  When another death occurs, Ruby determines to find out exactly what's going on.

Ruby is an intelligent and appealing protagonist, and readers will be eager to see how her investigation fares. 

The publisher has generously offered a copy of Whispers Beyond the Veil  to one of my readers.  Please comment below before 12:01 a.m. on Monday, September 12th.  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.