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The seventh book in the Needlepoint series is very creative and original for a cozy mystery. I have been reading for 75 years and almost exclusive mysteries since 2013. I have never seen the way the main adventures used in the way. It was a pleasure to read how the protagonist didn't do anything stupid but still managed to solve the crime. Angie Curtis goes to her first auction with her friend Sarah to learn about auctions. Angie sees an old faded needlepoint of a coat of arms and buys it. At home, she removes the back and a receipt for a child from a foundling nursery in the 1700's and a pink ribbon to identify the child. A chance meeting with a friend who is a TV reporter for a Boston TV station, a one-minute human interest report is made. Shortly, after it airs the station…

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Pumpkin Rolls by Judi Lynn

Hi, I’m Judy Post and I write romances and mysteries as Judi Lynn.  When I have holiday get-togethers at our house, we usually have a small crowd—my 2 sisters, my cousin, my daughter, and my grandson and his girlfriend.  They live close enough to show up.  For each holiday, we have the same traditional meals.  I love to cook and try new things, but not at holidays!  Everyone knows what they want, and it’s always the same.  Every year for Thanksgiving, if I don’t make a pumpkin roll, I hear about it.  Usually, I make two so people can take some home😊  Here’s the recipe:


Pumpkin Rolls

Beat 3 eggs for 2 minutes.  Don’t cheat.  They have to become thick.

1 c sugar
1 t lemon juice
2/3 c canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

¾ c flour
1 t soda
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t ginger
1 pinch salt

Mix together.  Grease jelly roll pan.  Put waxpaper in it and grease wax paper.

Do NOT overcook sponge cake. Continue reading “Pumpkin Rolls by Judi Lynn”

Playing Dress-Up with the Oliveras Familia

When you have little girls who love playing dress-up and performing, it’s only natural that you have one (or more) dress up boxes. And while many little girls outgrow the dress-up stage, in our house, most of us never did.

That’s why, if you venture into our attic at home, you’ll find not one, but two boxes filled with costumes my girls and I have worn throughout the years. I’ve been known to window shop in a second-hand store only hold up and item and exclaim, “This would be great for a costume!” Then promptly add it to our growing collection.

When it’s Halloween, I’m slipping into a costume to hand out Trick or Treat candy, head to a costume party, or brighten the atmosphere at the day job.

When it’s Oscars night, our house is typically teaming with friends and familia who’ve joined us in costume—with extra points for those who come dressed as a character from a film nominated that year. From animated films to comedies to dramas…we’ve represented the gamut. With the pics to commemorate the good times. Continue reading “Playing Dress-Up with the Oliveras Familia”

Top 8 Flower Names for Quirky Romance Novel Heroines by Anna Bradley

What’s in a name? Forget what Romeo told Juliet. A rose by any other name might still smell as sweet, but who wants to name their heroine Rosaceae? If names didn’t matter, romance writers wouldn’t spend countless hours trolling Nameberry. We’d name all our heroines Jane, all our heroes John, and call it good.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the classic names, but heroines come in every size, shape, texture and color, and their names should reflect their characters. Take Iris, Violet and Hyacinth Somerset. For three blue-eyed heroines cursed with whimsical parents, the playful blue flower names work. If you’re looking for a quirky name, the garden is a great inspiration! Continue reading “Top 8 Flower Names for Quirky Romance Novel Heroines by Anna Bradley”

Lauren Elliott’s Trick to Keeping the Magic in Christmas…

As my area of the world begins to turn into a winter wonderland, coupled with all the shining lights put up around the city. As well as the emergence of the outdoor skating rinks complete with surrounding trees adorned with twinkling lights, and then the ever so tempting Christmas markets popping up everywhere. You know you’ve got yourself another magical Christmas on the way. However, you may have to brace yourself, pull that collar tighter around your neck and be prepared to sing, “Baby. It’s Cold Outside,” instead of one of the beloved Christmas songs.

You see my corner of the world is in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and we’ve rarely had to sing. “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.

Have I told you yet that Christmas is my favorite time of the year? If not, well, let it be known that I’m a six-year-old at heart and love everything about the holidays. I know that for some, it’s a busy stressful time between shopping, social gatherings, decorating, and it leaves you wondering how you’ll manage to get it all done. As the day draws closer you begin to feel frantic and overwhelmed by all the demands and in the end, disappointment settles in because somewhere along the way you lost your Christmas spirit.  So, I’ll let you in on a little trick I learned in how to cope with all that inevitable anxiety that creeps up on us during the holidays. One that might also help you keep the magic of the season alive and well.

I begin to shop for the next Christmas in January, yes you read that right. That’s when the best sales are, and then I continue to shop throughout the year. Whenever I’m out, if something catches my eye that I know someone might like, I pick it up. That way, the added stress of trying to pay for it all in one month disappears, plus it leaves me free of the frenzied shopping hordes in December. My whole month proceeding the big day is open for things I enjoy. One of the traditions I love in December is baking. I’m not a crafty person and stand in awe of those who are, but I do love to create delicious treats for family and friends. With all the exotic recipes, I’ve tried out on them, there is one that has stood the test of many Christmases.  I can’t ever seem to make enough and often find myself back in the kitchen whipping up another batch.

What is this exotic recipe you ask? Funny thing is it’s the simplest recipe of all and one I found completely by accident online one year. It’s my secret weapon after a busy December day, whether it was spent open air skating, sledding or perusing one of the many craft markets. Nothing says cozy comfort like a cup of hot chocolate and one or two of these magical squares.

Magic Cookie Bars

Prep: 10 Min.

Cook: 30 Min.

Yield: 2 dozen bars

Calories: 240/serv


non-stick cooking spray

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

2 – 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (we like lots in my house)

1 1/3 cup flaked coconut – optional

1 cup chopped nuts – optional


HEAT oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

COMBINE graham cracker crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with fork.

BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm; cool on wire rack. Cut into bars or diamonds.

For perfectly cut cookie bars, line entire pan with foil, extending foil over edge of pan. Coat lightly with no-stick cooking spray. After bars have baked and cooled, lift up with edges of foil to remove from pan. Cut into bars.


SUBSTITUTE chocolate chips, nuts or coconut: with candy coated pieces, dried cranberries, raisins, mini-marshmallows or butterscotch chips.

From my kitchen to yours—Merry Christmas!


Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn’t expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .

Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . . .

Paper Mache Crafting by Leslie Meier

Papier-mache, who knew?

Recently, I found myself caring for four grandchildren (ages 3-13) on the hottest day of the summer. It was close to one hundred degrees and so hot and muggy that even going to the pool, as we usually did every afternoon, seemed impossible, especially considering the fact that the house has central air.

That said, I had to find something to amuse the kids during the long afternoon. The three-year-old went down for a nap, the thirteen year old headed for his room with his cell phone, and that left me with the six-year-old and the ten-year-old. What to do? Continue reading “Paper Mache Crafting by Leslie Meier”

A Healing Justice by Kristin Von Kreisler

Right from the start I must confess that I am a German shepherd crazy lady.  I adore the breed.   Though some people see the dogs as fearsome and ferocious, I find them as gentle as Justice, the gorgeous shepherd in A HEALING JUSTICE, my new novel.  He loves watching Animal Planet, and he sleeps with Bandit, his teddy.  I had a shepherd who did exactly that, so I know the loving nature that can lie hidden behind those teeth.

When I was a child, my first dog was a shepherd mutt named Zipper.  As an adult, I’ve had six of the breed—two rejects from Guide Dogs for the Blind and four rescues, who showed their gratitude for my forever home by loving me with all their hearts.  There is no animal more special than my current shepherd, Bridget, though of course I know that all dog people on the planet make that claim about theirs.

Because I write novels about dogs, naturally one had to be a German shepherd—and that’s how A HEALING JUSTICE came to be.  My other inspiration was signing up with nineteen other people for the Police Department’s Citizens Academy in Bainbridge Island, Washington, where I live.  In the ten-week course, we learned about drugs, crime scenes, parking tickets, traffic accidents, and mental health issues that require intervention.  We visited the county jail, court, morgue, and 9-1-1 dispatcher, and we learned to fire a rifle and handgun.  Needless to say, the Academy was a goldmine for research; and when I finished, I was bursting to share it with my readers. Continue reading “A Healing Justice by Kristin Von Kreisler”

Carving Out Some Family Time by Isabel Ashdown


Like many writers, I’m a workaholic, forever struggling with the concept of ‘downtime’ because my office and home are one and the same.  When you’re self-employed, there’s always something you could be doing at your desk – editing that last chapter, plotting out the next book, researching crimes, updating the website or Twitter or Instagram or Facebook … It’s fair to say, my working week is a long one, and the end of the To-Do list never really comes.



But as well as being a writer and workaholic, I’m a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend, and as a result, I’m occasionally dragged away from my desk and instructed to relax.  To have fun.  I come from an artistic family, so for me, true relaxation means making and creating, and this is where the pumpkin carving began – a few years ago, one fateful Halloween, when I was up to my eyes in deskwork and my husband Colin was away from home.  For the first time ever, the task of carving the Halloween Jack O’Lantern fell to me.  ‘You have to do it,’ my two (then) small children demanded.  ‘But I have a deadline,’ I complained.  ‘What’s a deadline?’ they asked, straight-faced.  And with that, I realised my deadline could wait.  I shut the office door and headed for the kitchen, where we set about the pumpkin, trying to work out which knife would serve best without taking off the top of my thumb. Continue reading “Carving Out Some Family Time by Isabel Ashdown”

The Mystery of Masks by Mary Jo Putney

The urge to dress up isn’t universal, but it is wide spread!  In historical romances, one of the fun tropes is the masquerade ball, where guests can come as Cleopatra or a Cavalier or whatever else they fancy.  Or if they don’t want a costume, they can wear sweeping, caped and hooded dominoes that disguise face and body.  Masks are a major part of the fun because they allow guests to dance with mysterious strangers, or flirt, or steal a kiss, or possibly a good deal more.  The joy of anonymity!

At a ball, the masks generally came off at midnight, at which point you find that the masked man who is a great kisser is the neighbor you thought was really boring, or some other interesting discovery.  Of course, those who really valued anonymity would sneak out before the unmasking.  Continue reading “The Mystery of Masks by Mary Jo Putney”

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