Thursday, May 24, 2018

Launch Party for Murder With Cinnamon Scones

by Karen Rose Smith

You are invited to a Facebook launch party for MURDER WITH CINNAMON SCONES!  

When I have a mystery book release I enjoy celebrating with my readers.  For the release of MURDER WITH CINNAMON SCONES on May 29, I have planned an all day chat and prize giveaway as well as a fast-paced virtual party from 7-9 p.m.  

Here are a few of my giveaways for the launch party which have an Amish theme.  

In this Daisy’s Tea Garden mystery, quilts play a prominent role.  

Join me on May 29th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT

Here’s a preview of MURDER WITH CINNAMON SCONES (which includes a recipe for the scones): 

Daisy Swanson and her Aunt Iris run a delightful shop in Pennsylvania’s Amish country with an emphasis on tasty teas and treats—but murder is not so sweet . . .
As local merchants unite to attract tourists for a much anticipated weekend quilting event, business is sure to spill over into eateries like Daisy’s Tea Garden. Gorgeous craftwork is hanging everywhere—but among the quilts, potholders, and placemats, one gallery owner is wrapped up in some dangerous affairs . . .
Reese Masemer had been dating one of Daisy’s employees, Tessa, an artist, though their last interaction was as strained as a cup of loose leaf tea. Now Reese has been found dead near a covered bridge where Tessa’s been practicing her sketches. She’s the obvious suspect, but Daisy’s learning that there were some major secrets in Reese’s background, and several of his relationships were infused with resentment. To save Tessa, she’ll have to find out who’s tainted this quaint little town with murder . . .


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The yumminess of it all!

Hi, Duffy Brown here and today is watermelon day mostly because I went to the grocery store, finally, and they had watermelon. 
I love watermelon so today I’m doing a few ways to serve it up. And the serving has to be super simple, who wants to stay inside on a nice summer day and cook!

First there’s my fave, the watermelon pizza. If summer had a taste this is it! 
Bite into a slice of summer with this easy, no-carb dessert. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, cream cheese, honey, and vanilla together until combined. Spread mixture onto slice of watermelon and top with berries, mint, and toasted coconut. Serve immediately.

Then there’s watermelon salad. Watermelon, chicken, baby spinach, almonds, and blue cheese (yes!), drizzled with balsamic glaze… it really can’t get any better than that!

We can always do watermelon itself. I make the cutout bowl all the time but
this porcupine cutout is adorable! I need to try this next time. The kids would love it and even eat a fruit!

What about watermelon punch. I’m doing it this year. It looks like so much fun. Cut off the top and bottom leaving 2 inches of pulp at the bottom so it doesn’t leak, scoop out the inside, cut hole for spigot…you see these everywhere, add your fave fruit punch loaded or not. You can eat the scoopings and add the juice back into the watermelon. What fun.
Next week we’ll tackle corn. I just love corn on the cob!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Springtime. . . At Last!

by Maggie Sefton

Sorry to be late this Tuesday morning.  Yesterday was a jammed full day which went into the evening.  

I'm SO happy that's it's FINALLY Springtime here in Northern Colorado---and in other parts of the country if you watch the Weather Channel. ( I actually love that channel which shows what's going on all over the United States).

This week I will finally be able to buy some of my favorite annuals to plant in my flower garadens, planters, and pots that fill my front yard and line my walkway.  And sit all around my backyard patio and hang from the tall hooks I have on all the corners.  I love, love relaxing on a chaise lounge on my patio and being surrounded by bright, colorful summer flowers.  :)  

I will be busy planting this week and will keep you folks updated with some photos of the tiny annuals.  Those bright, cheerful, colorful Petunias are still my favorites.  And they're so very hardy.  You can't beat that.  

Monday, May 21, 2018


Mary Kennedy                                                             

When I saw this cartoon, it reminded me of my own experiences with "things that go bump in the night." When you hear a noise in the house, for a heart-thumping moment, you immediately think, "Is it a robber? A home invasion? A ghost?" 

But what if it's a furry four legged creature?  Most of the time, it's been a cat! And it always seems to happen when I'm alone in the house, like one of those silly heroines in a Wes Craven movie. One night, I woke up from a sound sleep, when I heard a noise coming from the bathroom that's attached to the bedroom. Weird, I thought, and tried to go back to sleep. I was alone in the house, but not panicky because I remembered I'd left the bathroom window open to get some night air.  Probably a squirrel on the roof, I decided. And the bedroom is on the second floor so it seemed unlikely anyone would want to break in that way.

But Oscar, a slightly nervous cat, felt differently. He woke up the same time I did, and stared fixedly at the open bathroom door. I put my hand on him to reassure him, but he was having none of it. He gave a low growl and the fur was standing up on his back. Oh no! Now my heart was tap dancing in my chest.

"It's nothing, Oscar," I said in my most reassuring tone. Oscar ignored me and moved quickly to the bottom of the bed, never taking his eyes off the open door. And then, to my horror, he moved his head slowly from right to left, tracking something. Something I couldn't see. Something moving. Something approaching. As if an unseen person, or thing, was moving slowly towards the bed. Oscar was growling and twitching his tail, freaking me out!

Now I was in full panic mode. I jumped up and turned on the light. Just as I expected, there was nothing there. But Oscar had given every indication, he'd seen something moving in the shadows. Was it impossible to get back to sleep? Well, let's just say I left all the bedroom lights on and the TV.blaring. I think I finally fell asleep around 3:00 am. 

Do cats see things we don't? Sometimes I wonder. It took Oscar a long time to settle down, too.

Have you had any experiences like this? It was very unsettling for me. (and for Oscar!)

Mary Kennedy

Friday, May 18, 2018

It's rhubarb season

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

This year I've got a bumper crop of rhubarb. Of course, the thing I love to make is rhubarb chutney, but I made so much of it two years ago, that I haven't even started last year's jars.  And -- holy cow, did I mention that bumper crop???

Luckily, Mr. L loves rhubarb ANYTHING. In years past, I've made him rhubarb crisp and strawberry rhubarb pies. My folks like rhubarb and Bird's custard.

I'm going for rhubarb bread and here's the recipe I'm using.

Rhubarb Bread
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1½ cups brown sugar
1 egg
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (liquid or made from powder)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cup chopped rhubarb (small but not fine)
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, Gas Mark 4). Mix the oil, brown sugar, and egg together in mixing bowl. Alternate with flour, salt and soda. Add buttermilk, vanilla, rhubarb and walnuts. Bake in a well-greased tube pan for 34-55 minutes. Test with a toothpick to see if done. This recipe tastes better the day after baking. Refrigerate any leftovers. Keeps well in the freezer for several weeks.

Yield: 12-16 slices

What's your favorite rhubarb recipe?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lancaster County Tea Room

by Karen Rose Smith


I've been participating in book signings for as long as I've been published in 1992.  They usually take place at a book store or with a group of authors.  With the first book release in my new cozy series,  Daisy's Tea Garden,  I decided to do something a little different--have book signings at tea rooms in the area.

For Mother's Day weekend, I signed books at Sugarplums & Tea in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  My new series is set in Lancaster County and I was excited to meet everyone who came for lunch and tea on Saturday.  The setting for the Sugarplums & Tea establishment is gorgeous.  As you can see from the photos, the gardens are beautiful.  Customers can enjoy lunch or Courtyard Tea at one of the outside patios where the umbrellas are positioned. 

This is the pastry case at the tea room.  The baker baked a special version of Sugarplums' lemon tea cakes.

At the book signing, I met many women who enjoy both cozy mysteries and tea rooms.  We discussed books, tea delicacies, and life in Lancaster.  The time sped by.

After my book signing, I enjoyed Courtyard Tea with my husband and a friend.  She brought along one of her friends and we all connected right away.  Bookclubs, research and past history kept us engaged as we enjoyed each course.

Some of the savory offerings were chicken Cordon Bleu bites, fried zucchini drizzled with raspberry sauce, chicken salad with habenaro sauce.   Sweet treats included the lemon tea cakes, cherry tarts, coffee and brownie mousse.  I enjoyed Orange Oolong tea with the servings.  All of the food was excellent.

Have you ever been to a tea room?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Graduation Gifts

It’s graduation time and always exciting. The ceremony, cap and gown, off to a new school or new career, maybe even a new place to live and the parties. I love graduation parties and seeing everyone. And it’s always fun to think about where the graduate has come from and where their future plans will take them.
Even if it’s just graduation from kindergarten the little ones are already thinking about first grade and the big kids school. Then graduation from eighth grade and going to high school. Always a big step.
Graduation from high school is probably the biggest and most celebrated. This is more of not just graduation from high school being celebrated but the fact of going on to being an adult.
This is probably why graduating from high school is so important, it’s the passage from childhood to adulthood and now making your own way in the world.
The child no longer exists where the parent makes the decision but the child now adult makes his/her own decisions and chooses their own path in life. They choose their major and certain field of work.
I think this is why I always give this book to the graduates along with some money. Why give money is obvious, life is not cheap no matter what they decide to do and at this stage they are contributing to their expenses, at least they should be IMHO. Money helps get them on their way.
This book promises the future and the adventures that lie ahead. Nothing more fun and exciting than that. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Twenty-three Days And Counting

by Maggie Sefton

I apologize for my late posting today, Cozy Chicks Readers and Friends.  I was traveling
all day yesterday, returning from over three weeks back in Northern Virginia with Family and Friends.  Non-stop busy.  Plus, the yearly mystery conference, Malice Domestic, also took place during that time at a new hotel location in Washington, D.C.  it was great to touch base with old friends and fellow mystery authors.

Plus, this morning I set my alarm to wake up in time to watch my NASA Astronaut daughter Serena in an interview and answering questions about her upcoming launch to the International Space Station, ISS, on June 6 next month.  Exciting!

Since this is a late post already, I want to get it up on our Cozy Chicks Blog website right away, so no new photos.  I'll  simply post a previous photo of Serena and her crewmates that will also launch with her on June 6th.  They will replace three other astronauts who will be returning to Earth.   Six months is a long time, folks.  Needless to say, I'll be checking that NASA website frequently.  :)

Monday, May 14, 2018


By Mary Kennedy                               
I used to be terrified of Howard Stern and when I learned I was going to be a guest on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, I panicked. "You'll be interviewed by one of their top jocks," I was told. Top jocks. The words hung in the air. All I could think of was Howard Stern. Howard Stern. OMG. No!

"Will it be Howard Stern?" Long pause.

 "It could be," I was told.

I called a writer pal who had been interviewed by Stern. "Is he as bad as they say?" I gulped. "Worse," my friend replied. "Much worse. He'll eat you for breakfast. And then spit you out."

Doing a bit of "self-talk," as the shrinks like to say, I reminded myself that  this was going to be a good thing. I'd be talking about my new series, the Talk Radio Mysteries, that had just come out with Penguin-Random House. I'd be talking particularly about DEAD AIR, book one in the series. It;s all about a Manhattan psychologist who closes up her practice and moves to sunny Florida to be a radio psychologist, like Frasier. And she solves a murder in every book. My agent pitched it as "Frasier Meets Murder She Wrote."


It was all good, right? I figured I could hold my own on live radio, I used to work for a rock radio station in Nashville and had interviewed guests on the local PBS TV station here in the northeast. 

Free publicity for my book. What's not to like?

Of course, I hadn't factored Howard Stern into the equation. I knew radio jocks could be tough, raunchy (make that terrifying!) but nothing I hadn't dealt with before.  I thought about Howard Stern's former sidekick, Artie Lange, who had left the show. Would Robin Quivers go easy on me? Would there be some female bonding? Hmmm. Maybe not. 

I "near worried myself to death" as they say down south. And all for nothing, because in the end, I was a guest on the Wake Up With Taylor show, hosted by Taylor Strecker and her sidekick, comedian Kenny Z. The experience was wonderful, positive and I did 20 minutes of live radio! I had a terrific time! So much angst for nothing.

But back to the teaser at the top of this blog. Why am I no longer terrified of Howard Stern? Because I just learned he is a big-time cat lover and he and his wife Beth devote an incredible amount of time and money to cat rescue. In fact, they've rescued over 600 cats in the past four years. Surprised? I was, too! 

Howard Stern a cat lover! Who knew? Maybe I'll meet him someday and tell him how much I admire the work that he and his wife are doing.

And if there's a moral here, remember not to worry yourself to death. Sometimes your worst fears never come true. Did you ever have an experience you were absolutely dreading, and then it all turned out ok? I'd love to hear about it.

Mary Kennedy

Saturday, May 12, 2018

You never know what's going to happen

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm currently working on the second full-length Lotus Bay Mystery. Also, as mentioned, I've had a bit of trouble writing it--and not because I haven't had a lot of ideas.

There I was minding my business, typing away, when there was a knock on Tori Cannon's front door. There stood Avery Simon, Property Manager for Lucinda Bloomfield, who may or may not be a villain. Simon hands Tori an invitation to tea. And when she arrives at Lucinda's home -- who opens the door?

Yes, a butler! A valet. A gentleman's gentleman! In rural New York?

I didn't know it at the time, but said butler may just have a bit of a past.

See, I do have a lot of ideas ... I just don't always know where they are going to lead me. Hopefully, my readers will be as intrigued as me.

A REEL CATCH is scheduled for publication in August. Click this link to find out more about the book.

What would you think if you went to visit someone and a butler answered the door?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Is the long drought over?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

I don't believe in writer's block. Despite the fact I haven't written anything of substance since last October, it wasn't from a lack of ideas. Holy smoke do I have ideas. I have ideas for stories up the wazoo ... but I also suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I bought a SAD light and I used it just about every day over the winter, but ... still, I couldn't write, which left me feeling even more depressed.

And then in March we lost both of our cats to the ravages of age. That was a devastating blow.

But then ... last week ... the weather turned. We had several warm days in a row. I went and sat in my porch, editing my manuscript (what there was of it) and suddently I wanted to write again. In fact, while it's only May 11th, I've written more on this story this month than I have for any month in the last YEAR.  (Yes, I started it in May of 2017.) It won't be warm outside during the weekend, but I can still sit in my enclosed porch and write ... and I intend to do so.

One of the big stumbling blocks for the next Lotus Bay novel was the lack of a title. Yesterday morning, I was determined to assign one.  First, I wrote a short description of the book. I must admit, it's not yet very good, but it was a start. And then I remembered that two years ago I put together a list of possible titles for the entire Lotus Bay series. Of course, then I had to find that list. Did I name it something easy to find? That would be a huge NO! But eventually I did find it and right at the top of the list was ...



No sooner did I make that decision than I contacted my cover artist. While I don't yet have a cover, I'm pretty sure that once I do, I'll run with the story and finish it in no time flat. (Make that 4-6 weeks ... which, when writing a book, is definitely no time flat!)

Of course, because A JUST CLAUSE comes out in paperback on May 5th, and POISONED PAGES comes out on July 10th, it means that A REEL CATCH can't come out until August. So be it. Each books deserves an opportunity to shine.

But I'm writing again and that makes me happy.

Are you happy that the 2nd full-length Lotus Bay Mystery is on the horizon?

Thursday, May 10, 2018


by Karen Rose Smith

Do you like tea, scones, and salads? Then you might want to visit the fictional Daisy’s Tea Garden in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  I have good news about the first book in the series MURDER WITH LEMON TEA CAKES that includes mystery, a bit of romance and recipes.  It will be on sale for a Kindle Deal from May 14-20, 2018 for $.99.  It will also be on sale for $.99 on Nook May 16. 

Daisy's Tea Garden has become a gathering place in Willow Creek, (Lancaster County) Pennsylvania. Daisy, widowed mom of two teenagers--one at home and one who recently started college--along with her aunt Iris, are the proprietors. Although her aunt is in her golden years, she's enjoying the company of Harvey Fitz, wealthy CEO of Men's Trends.  (Harvey's favorite snack at the tea garden are Lemon Tea Cakes.) The only problem is that Harvey isn't yet divorced.  When Harvey is murdered on the tea garden's patio, Aunt Iris is the prime suspect.  But Daisy soon discovers many residents of Willow Creek are suspects--from Harvey's soon to be ex-wife, to his children to his business colleagues.  

Daisy's focus has to be on her adopted daughter Jazzi (Jasmine) who wants to search for her birth parents.  But with the help of a former detective turned furniture store owner, Jonas Groft, she finds answers for both her daughter and her aunt. (Daisy lives in an unusual home renovated from an old barn along with her daughters Jasmine (16) and Violet (18).  Their two cats, a tuxedo feline named Pepper and a dark tortoiseshell with a unique split colored face named Marjoram, are important members of their family.)  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Faster, Faster, Faster!!!

National Bike to School Day. I was surprised to see this in that I didn’t think kids rode their bikes to school these days. I think it’s a great idea! Start the day with exercise and fresh air and trying to race your buddy. What’s more fun than that.

I lived about two miles from school and walked every day till about the sixth grade when the parents finally figured I could ride to school and arrive in one piece.
These were the days of no helmets so no helmet hair. That was nice but still the hair looked like it was combed with an eggbeater by the time I got there. At first I didn’t care, I just loved the idea of riding my bike to school and getting there so much quicker. But then as the sixth grade wore on I realized I really didn’t like looking a mess so that meant a fix it job once I got to school. And of course I’d discovered boys and wanted to look nice.
But even this didn’t deter my love for riding my bike to school. I can still remember that bike. It was blue and I loved it. I named her Gretchen after some book character that I can’t think of right now but that bike was my ticked to more than getting to school fast it was my ticket to freedom. With a bike you can go so many places!
The big problems was then and is now is the traffic. Now people are getting into the bike thing and there are bike paths! My daughter in NYC rides all over the city on her bike scaring the heck out of me. But she says the city is loaded with bike paths to make it much safer.
So my question to you today is… Did you ride your bike to school? Do your kids? Do you have bike paths in your neighborhood?
Keep on peddling.
Hugs, Duffy  

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Coming This Summer

by Maggie Sefton

I'm still relaxing near the Potomac River enjoying Springtime and will return to the super busy Northern Virginia Metro area later this week.  I'll be joining with family for a fun and hectic family get-together for Mother's Day.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd mention my upcoming new Kelly Flynn Knitting mystery which will be released July 3rd of this year.  DYEING UP LOOSE ENDS has a fascinating murder for Kelly to figure out.  Plus---four years will have passed since the previous Kelly Flynn mystery ONLY SKEIN DEEP, so a lot has happened in all of the characters' lives, and I think readers will enjoy catching up on where each character is now and what they are doing.

And---the two younger characters, Cassie and Eric, are both now 20 years old and are sophomores at the local university---Colorado State University (in the real Fort Collins).  And they have all sorts of plans for their lives as well.

So----don't forget to look for DYEING UP LOOSE ENDS this July.  I think you will enjoy "catching up" with the characters.   :)  

Monday, May 7, 2018


By Mary Kennedy                                         
A local theater company is doing a production of Thornton Wilder's wonderful play, Our Town.  The play is set in 1938 in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire. When a young woman named Emily dies in childbirth, she realizes that she can relive just one day in her life. She decides to the return to the morning of her twelfth birthday. As Emily observes her family members, she has a heightened awareness of life and finds it painful to watch her family members take their time together for granted.

I asked a few close friends this question: "If you could relive one day in your life, what would it be?

Their answers were intriguing. No one mentioned the "big days" in their life--the sort of major milestones like their wedding day or college graduation or the day they landed a big job promotion.

Instead, they focused on days when they felt most connected to their loved ones.

One mother whose children were all grown up, said she'd like to return to one sunlit day in North Carolina when she took her young children berry-picking.


When they got back home, they all joined in, making a berry cobbler. It was a day that she and the children treasured.

 Another friend recalled a wonderful sunset dinner she hosted for her parents and sister on the beach . It was a beautiful, balmy night and she was so happy to see her whole family reunited. 

Another friend recalled a trip to Hana in Maui, Hawaii that she took with her fiance. If you've been there, you know that the road to Hana is wonderful and winding and can be rather treacherous!  They had one mishap after another during the nine hour ride; a flat tire, a fender bender and they ran out of gas! But somehow they laughed through the entire series of misadventures and cemented their relationship. 

How about you? If you could relive one day in your life, what would it be?

Mary Kennedy