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Dark Moon Coffee and Murder Go Round

Carol Perry is visiting today to take us on a ride on a merry go round, for her latest in the Witch City cozy mysteries, Murder Go Round. With all of that spinning, Carol has treated us to a caffeinated beverage with a bit of a kick.  

Murder Go Round is the fourth book in the Witch City Mystery series (Kensington Publishers.) In this one Lee Barrett agrees to attend a storage locker auction with her librarian Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. But the two, with one lucky bid, uncover a trove of wonderful curiosities, including a stunning carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint After Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop for some cosmetic work, another of the dusty treasures, a Russian silver samovar, awakens Lee’s psychic abilities and shows her visions of murder.

With her detective boyfriend Pete Mondello, and with the aid of her wise ginger cat O’Ryan, Lee follows a trail of deception and death as intricate as the antique nested matryoshka dolls she found in the storage locker. Mystery Scene magazine says “Murder Go Round is entertaining fare, replete with compelling characters and a unique plot.”

* * * *

When friends drop by, Lee and Pete like to make a big ice cold pitcher full of Dark Moons. Readers of the Witch City Mystery series know how much Lee and Pete love their coffee and a Dark Moon is a heavily caffeine-laced version of that old New England favorite, Rum and Coke! The recipe will serve eight. Continue reading “Dark Moon Coffee and Murder Go Round”

Phantom Pearl by Monica McCabe



Recently I went on a hike at my town’s local greenway. I soaked up bright sunshine, admired the lush landscaping and a gently rolling stream that followed the trail. Then suddenly, I had an epiphany. Not the earth shattering, life changing kind. More like a realization, a cosmic connecting of the dots when it comes to being a writer.

It’s no secret that I love travel. I like going places. That fascination has infiltrated into my stories too, which brings us to that moment of truth on the trail. It occurred to me that books and real estate have a lot in common. Location, location, location. It’s also my mantra. I’m always on the prowl for a new place to explore – whether for vacation, movie time, or reading choices.

It also plays into being a writer. Some people start their story with characters. The WHO is important. They want to know everything about them – eye color, hair color, where they went to school. Not me. I start my story with the WHERE. Then I move into the WHAT. Until I get deep into location and plot, characters are just a vague impression. It’s taken me four books and a long nature hike to realize this is my process. Continue reading “Phantom Pearl by Monica McCabe”

Tiny House On The Hill by Celia Bonaduce

  • Tiny House tips: How to organize your tiny house

Living tiny is a provocative idea, but like romance, it needs to be tended carefully. The right choices need to be made to keep the passion alive. Remember what’s important and what isn’t. In with the good, out with the…well, out with everything else. Don’t fill every inch of your precious 250 square feet with clutter. Only keep what you need – clothes, shoes, bath products, kitchen stuff, furniture, and books. Books should be easy – switch to an e-reader. Try buying bath and cleaning supplies that do double or triple duty – like a shampoo/conditioner/body wash and an all-purpose household cleaner. Keep kitchen appliances to a minimum, but be realistic. If you drink coffee every morning, don’t ditch the Keurig. Every single thing that is going into your house needs to be rethought. Dump the concept of “extras” – extra plates, cups, glasses, blankets, hats, sunglasses. Keep in mind that there is probably not going to be room for a mop, broom and vacuum cleaner. That 10-pack of toilet paper and 4-pack of paper towels? Fugetaboutit! If you’re like me, clothes and shoes will be your Waterloo. With a heavy heart, I suggest trying the Project 333 approach. The idea behind Project 333 is to limit your clothes/shoes/accessories to 33 items for 3 months – except, if you’re living tiny, instead of three months, you’ll need to do it forever. Impulse buying will need to become a thing of the past. Living tiny means living spare.  A tiny house needs to make you feel like you’re on a path to freedom, not like the walls are closing in on you.


  • Finding the Best Tiny House for you

Narrowing down what kind of tiny house you want isn’t easy. They are all so damn cute! As romantic as the notion of living tiny might seem, don’t lose your head. The time to be realistic is BEFORE you buy! The first consideration should be size. There is tiny…400 square feet and there is tiny…100 square feet or less. Exactly how tiny can you go without going crazy? Can you picture yourself climbing up a ladder to your bedroom loft (and down again in the middle of the Continue reading “Tiny House On The Hill by Celia Bonaduce”

Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping by Rose Pressey

Often vintage clothing can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Don’t be afraid to buy something just because it doesn’t have a brand label. If you love it, that’s all that matters.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Just because the style isn’t current doesn’t mean you can’t wear it.

Practice makes perfect. The more you shop for vintage, the better you’ll get at identifying vintage.

Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy. If you like something, buy it because it will probably be gone if you return to purchase it.

Examine vintage pieces in the light. You’ll want to notice if there are holes or other flaws.

Check for missing buttons or faulty zippers. Also look for stitching that may need repair. Continue reading “Cookie’s Savvy Tips for Vintage Shopping by Rose Pressey”

Bestselling author John Gilstrap


A rescue gone wrong. A deadly double cross. A desperate race to freedom. Freelance operative Jonathan Grave faces his fiercest challenge yet in bestselling author John Gilstrap’s explosive new thriller . . .

The mission is simple. Drop into the Mexican jungle, infiltrate a drug cartel’s compound, and extract a DEA agent who’s been kidnapped and tortured. But when Jonathan Grave and his partner Boxers retrieve the hostage and return to the exfil point, all hell breaks loose. They’re ambushed by the cartel. Abandoned by their chopper. Attacked on all sides with no means of escape, no contacts, and no allies. Their only hope of survival lies inside the walls of a remote orphanage where innocent children have been targeted for death. Continue reading “Bestselling author John Gilstrap”

Monsters I Would Grow by Hunter Shea

What kind of monsters would JUST ADD WATER author, Hunter Shea, like to grow in his own laboratory? Find out (if you dare…):

Trying to whittle down my favorite monsters to the top 5 wasn’t easy. For a card-carrying horror hound, it’s a true Sophie’s Choice. I love ugly and scary, and there are just so many lurking in my brainpan. So I had to ask myself, which 5 monsters would I love to watch devour today’s true monsters, the media and politicians? Let the games begin!

5. Gill-Man from The Creature from the Black Lagoon– Look, he’s the last and my favorite of the Universal monsters. It would be kinda fun to watch him swat people’s faces off and run away with Megyn Kelly.

4. Hedorah in Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster– I have to say, this pollution-inspired kaiju freaked me out as a kid. It could vaporize people just by flying over them. Even as a young ‘un, I knew it was a metaphor for the atomic bomb. And that was no joke to us Cold War babies. Continue reading “Monsters I Would Grow by Hunter Shea”

Five Fun Facts about the Nugget Romance Series by Stacy Finz

1 The fictional town of Nugget is based on an amalgam of towns in Plumas County, which is located in California’s Sierra Nevada. My main inspiration was the town of Portola, less than an hour from Reno, Nevada.

2 There was a real-life burger restaurant called the Bun Boy in Baker, California (nowhere near Plumas County) but it’s now closed. I used to eat there on my way to Death Valley and the name stuck. So, when I decided to include a burger joint as one of the businesses in Nugget it was a no brainer to call it the Bun Boy.

3 The inspiration for Sierra Heights, Nugget’s sole gated community, came from Grizzly Ranch in Portola. It’s a gorgeous subdivision with a golf course that seems slightly out of place in an otherwise rustic town. My husband and I like to make fun of it, but secretly, we want a home there.

Continue reading “Five Fun Facts about the Nugget Romance Series by Stacy Finz”

My Teddy Bear Love Affair by Meg Macy

Who doesn’t love a teddy bear? I have to confess, however, that I was a deprived child. I’d been given a stuffed animal, the mouse of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, and while it was great to cuddle at bedtime, I have no idea what happened to it since then. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed of true comfort until adulthood.

My “teddy bear love affair” began on a trip to London’s Harrods department store.  My older sister and I, diehard Anglophiles, had always dreamed of visiting England. We spent three glorious days in London. So a trip to Harrods was absolute. Tea, of course, and chocolate were the things I had in mind as souvenirs. But when I saw a Paddington Bear, with his tag “Please look after this bear, thank you”, I was smitten.

Once I brought Paddington home, I had to buy the book to go with him – and loved his adventures to London from darkest Peru. From then on, my bear collection grew. People gave me tiny bear figurines, my mother found more stuffed bears, and when Hudson’s department store in Detroit issued the first Santa Bear (without a year on the hat), well – we had to buy that! The following year, I received two more Santa Bears at my baby shower. I soon added Pooh Bear and Corduroy Bear for my daughter, plus the Velveteen Rabbit – her favorite stuffed animal. She also received an adorable Red Riding Hood bear with a basket from a relative. During the Beanie Baby rage, I added lots of bears – including the purple Princess Diana bear. Continue reading “My Teddy Bear Love Affair by Meg Macy”

The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea


You’re a male author whose novel has at its center two strong female characters.  Did you find it difficult to write from the female perspective?

Initially, it was a challenge.  But there comes a point in the writing process where your characters are no longer these entities you created.  They become people in your life, or at least your mind.  They develop traits you never imagined they’d have when you first invented them, and they take on a life of their own. Then, it’s more about how they react to the story they are part of and less about me making decisions for them.  This is what makes them authentic.  And if the character becomes real enough, the reader will connect with them.

How do you create suspense within your writing?

It’s important to have astute and honest first readers when you’re creating a story that contains plot twists.  The best way to learn the art of suspense is to read novels from the author’s point of view, and write stories from the reader’s point of view.  Then have first readers who will tell you what works within the story and what doesn’t.  The first draft of SUMMIT LAKE failed so horribly to fool my wife that I was embarrassed by how little credit I initially gave readers of this genre.  Suspense readers are careful readers who look for clues and will anticipate plot twists unless they are carefully constructed.  My wife and my sister helped me see more clearly form the reader’s point of view, and understand what the readers would likely be thinking during critical plot twists.  This collaboration is at the heart of the suspense in my work.

Can you name any books or authors who have influenced you?

Many, but Robert Ludlum will always be the author I credit for planting in my head the desire to write.  He was the first author I read for pleasure and not by assignment.

Writing is like any sport or hobby.  To improve at it, you have to learn from people who do it better than you.  To become a better writer, you need to read authors who are better than you.  You need to read books and say, “Wow, this is so much better than what I’m capable of producing.”  These authors and their books will make you a better writer.  For me, a few of those authors are Robert Ludlum, Dennis Lehane, Gillian Flynn and the great Nelson DeMille.  It’s actually a very long list. Continue reading “The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea”

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