‘Tis the day! Launch Day for AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES

Just like a kid at Christmas, we wait and wait — and then, all of a sudden, it’s here! Launch Day for AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, the 5th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery. More details, including an excerpt and buy links, on my website.

“Clean-as-a-whistle dialogue, endearing characters, and a solid plot make this cozy a winner.” – Publishers Weekly

Tis the season — As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles coming soon!

Delighted to tell you that AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, the 5th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery will be released on June 8, in paperback, e-book, and audio (Midnight Ink/Recorded Books).

From the cover: 
Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive til Christmas?

In Jewel Bay, Montana’s Christmas Village, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, aka the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

The early reviews are thrilling! Publishers Weekly says “Clean-as-a-whistle dialogue, endearing characters, and a solid plot make this cozy a winner.” And Kirkus Reviews, notoriously difficult to please, says ” “Budewitz’s finely drawn characters, sharp ear for dialogue, and well-paced puzzle make Jewel Bay a destination for every cozy fan.”

I’ll be celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas on my Facebook page, from May 22 to June 5, with giveaways of Christmas mysteries by friends of mine, including Victoria Hamilton, Vicki Delany, Lucy Burdette, and Cleo Coyle, along with bookstore giftcards and holiday-themed prizes. Visit the page, like it, and comment, for a chance to win.

You know how I love to talk about books and writing! I’ll be in Seattle, Bigfork, Augusta, Billings and Bozeman in June, and later in the summer, in Polson and Missoula. Details on the News & Events page on my website.

And as in past years, my publisher has arranged a blog tour, with essays, interviews, and reviews. Many of the tour stops will include a chance to win a book. Here’s the tour:
May 30 — Writers Who Kill — interview
June 5 — Jungle Red Writers — guest post
June 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book  — guest post
June 7 – The Book’s the Thing
June 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies
June 7 – A Blue Million Books — interview
June 8 — Cinnamon & Sugar and A Little Bit of Murder — a baker we all wish lived next door shows you how to make my Fudge Ecstasies, one of my favorite Christmas cookies!
June 8 – The Avid Reader
June 8 – The Montana Bookaholic
June 8 – Carole’s Book Corner — guest post
June 9 – MJB Reviewers
June 9 – Texas Book-aholic
June 10 – Rosepoint Publishing
June 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy — guest post
June 11 — Dru’s Book Musings — an interview with Erin Murphy, star of the show
June 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews
June 11 – Babs Book Bistro
June 11 – Ruff Drafts
June 12 – The Power of Words
June 12 – Island Confidential – author interview
June 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – guest post
June 13 – Valerie’s Musings
June 14 – cherylbbookblog
June 14 – My Reading Journeys
June 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower
June 15 – A Holland Reads
June 16 – A Chick Who Reads
June 17 –   Mysteries with Character – author interview
June 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog
June 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews
June 19 – Bibliophile Reviews
June 19 – Laura’s Interests
June 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf
June 20 – Melina’s Book Blog
June 20 – Brooke Blogs – guest post

I hope to celebrate Christmas in June with you, somewhere along the way!

 

 

Celebrate with me! Release Day for Treble at the Jam Fest

leslie budewitz's treble at the jam festOh, look, a book! By me! You may be used to it by now, but if it ever stops thrilling me, it will be time to hang up my pen — or my keyboard!

TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, #4 in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, officially launches today, from Midnight Ink, in trade paperback and e-book. Watch for the audio book later this summer.

From the cover:  Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

If you shop online, here are the links:
IndieBound
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Fact & Fiction 

If you shop in person, you can find TREBLE and my other books in Whitefish at Bookworks, in Kalispell at the Bookshelf, Montana Marie (formerly Think Local), and the Hockaday Art Center, in Missoula at Fact & Fiction, Shakespeare & Co, and Barnes & Noble, and in Bigfork at Roma’s Kitchen Shop, Bay Books, and the Bigfork Art & Cultural Center.

And here’s where I’ll be this summer, live events and blog tour stops–posts about the book and writing life, interviews, reviews, and the occasional giveaway! And remember, you can find me and a recipe at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on the 1st, 3d, and 5th Tuesdays, and on Killer Characters on the 27th of each month.

Thanks for being part of the fun! And remember, wherever you go this summer, be sure to take a good book!

Let the music play — Treble at the Jam Fest is on the way!

leslie budewitz's treble at the jam festAfter a short break, Erin and the villagers return on June 8, in TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the 4th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, from Midnight Ink (trade paperback and e-book; audio later this summer).

When the body of an internationally renowned guitarist is found on the banks of the river outside town during the annual Jewel Bay Jazz Festival, Erin investigates to protect the community, and keep the music playing.

More details, and an excerpt, on my website.

I’ve got a lot of fun planned, and I hope you’ll join me along the way—in person, or on the screen. Here’s where I’ll be live:

Wed June 7, 2017, 7 pm, Tattered Cover, Aspen Grove (Denver) Book talk and signing

Thurs June 8, 2017, 7 pm, Rocky Mountain chapter, Mystery Writers of America (Denver) CADA (see RM-MWA website for specifics)
Common mistakes fiction writers make about the law

Sat June 10, 2017, 5:30 Bigfork Art & Cultural Center
Celebrate the new book in the hometown!

Tues June 13, 2017, 7 pm Fact & Fiction, Missoula
Whitefish mystery writer Christine Carbo and I celebrate our new books together!

Thurs June 15, 2017, noon Seattle Mystery Bookshop
Signing and chatting, with Martin Walker, author of the Bruno mysteries! 

Thurs June 15, 2017, 7 pm Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park (Seattle)
Book talk and signing

Saturday, July 1, 2:00 Montana Book & Toy Co., Helena
Signing and chatting about mystery!

Sat-Sun, August 5-6, 2017 Bigfork Festival of the Arts
Celebrating and signing, in the Village!

And join me on line for a great blog tour–posts about the book and writing life, interviews, reviews, and the occasional giveaway! And remember, you can find me and a recipe at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen on the 1st, 3d, and 5th Tuesdays, and on Killer Characters on the 27th of each month.

June 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 6 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

June 6 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

June 7 — Cozy Wednesday on Escape with Dollycas — talking about music festivals

June 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 7 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

June 8 — Dru’s Book Musings — A Day in the Life of guitar phenom Gabby Drake

June 8 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW

June 8 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

June 9 — Mysteristas – interview

June 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

June 9 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 10 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

June 10 – Bookworm Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

June 11 – 3 Partners  in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

June 11 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

June 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 13 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

June 13 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

June 14 – Deal Sharing Aunt – INTERVIEW

June 15 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW

June 15 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST

June 16 – Varietats – REVIEW

June 16 – Teresa Trent Author Site – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 –  Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 18 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

June 19 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 19 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

Wherever your summer takes you, be sure to take a good book!

The Last Best Reads—My Favorite Books of 2016

IMGP1761“The Last Best Book” is my occasional post on a favorite recent read — playing on one of Montana’s many nicknames, The Last Best Place.  A handful were published in 2016; others go back a few years. I’ve included audio books—yes, listening to a book is reading it, albeit a different experience. And I love audios—the narrators create their own worlds for me, and I get to read books, especially nonfiction, that I might not otherwise pick up.

Of 57 titles, including 46 novels or story collections, 18 were published in 2016 and 13 in 2015. (One will come out in 2017.) Yay—I’m catching up! No doubt I’ll still have read like a demon this spring to be ready to vote for the Agatha Awards, especially since only one of those 2016 titles was a first book. But books from earlier years rose to the top as well, so I’m listing my faves, in no particular order, regardless of when they were published.

FAVORITE NOVELS: 
The Last Bus to Wisdom, Ivan Doig (2015) Alas, the last novel by the great Montana writer, but a fitting end to a storied career. IMO, Doig was at his best when writing in the voice of a young boy—here, Donal Cameron, age 11, sent by “dog bus” (the Greyhound) from north-central Montana to a great-aunt he’s never met in Wisconsin, in 1951. Part road trip, part buddy story, part coming–of-age novel, with Doig’s keen eye and ear—pure delight.

The Orphan Train, Cristina Baker Kline (2013) An intriguing snippet of history, with a surprising modern parallel. 

Whistling Past the Graveyard, Susan Crandall (2014) Hmm. The third historical coming-of-age novel on the list. A different time and place—Mississippi, 1963—but just as powerful.

Little Pretty Things (2015) and The Day I Died (2017), Lori Rader-Day. The winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2015 is a major new talent.

Wilde Lake, Laura Lippman (2016) Not sure whether I’m more impressed by the story or its structure. Masterful.

The Ex, Alafair Burke (2016) Smart and wicked—a great combo.

Down River, John Hart (2007, audio) and A Killing at Cotton Hill, Terry Shames (2013) Two authors who deserve to be better known. Set in North Carolina (Hart) and Texas (Shames), both books convey their authors’ love of the land as well as their deep understanding of crime and family.

Two fun historical mysteries: Murder in Morningside Heights, Victoria Thompson (2016), the 15th or 16th Gaslight Mystery, and Delivering the Truth, Edith Maxwell (2016), the first Quaker Midwife Mystery.

And I’m finally catching up with Deborah Crombie and Jacqueline Winspear, reading several books by each this year, every one a true joy.

A special mention for a short story collection, All the Wrong Places, by Molly Giles (2015). Giles’ stories are smart, funny, with an amazing range and dialogue that makes my writerly heart churn with envy. I met Molly this past summer on a perfect evening on a friend’s deck overlooking the Swan River, and am so happy that I liked the stories as much as I like the woman herself!

What were your favorite reads of the past year? 

What’s on Pepper’s bookshelf in Killing Thyme?

IMGP3441In ASSAULT AND PEPPER, the first Spice Shop mystery, Pepper discovers the joys of the Brother Cadfael mysteries by the late, great Ellis Peters. In later books, she dives into the Dame Frevisse mysteries by Margaret Frazer—one of my very favorites—and the Sister Fidelma mysteries by Peter Tremaine.

In KILLING THYME, just released on October 4, 2016, Pepper’s mother, Lena, visits and introduces her to several newer historical mysteries series. As Lena says, “Now you know why I love historicals. Life could be harsh, and people haven’t changed a whole lot. But reality is easier to take when it’s dressed in period clothing.”

KillingThyme_FC.inddOf course, Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop carries a wide range of cookbooks and food fiction. Readers have asked me for a list of the books Pepper mentions. Here’s Part One.

And here’s what’s on Pepper’s bookshelf in KILLING THYME:

Rhys Bowen, the Molly Murphy Mysteries, including Murphy’s Law and Death of Riley

Victoria Thompson, the Gaslight Mysteries, including Murder on Amsterdam Avenue and Murder in Morningside Heights

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames, the Cheese Shop Mysteries and the Cookbook Nook Mysteries

World Spice at Home: New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes by World Spice Merchants owner Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne

Essays by the late novelist and food writer Laurie Colwin and the late food writer MFK Fisher

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War, by Annia Ciezadlo, a tour of Middle Eastern food during the wars in Iraq and Lebanon

Laura Childs, the Teashop Mysteries, Gunpowder Green

Krista Davis, the Domestic Diva Mysteries, The Diva Runs Out of Thyme

Happy reading and eating!

 

What book is that again? Pepper’s bookshelf

IMGP1761Like me, Pepper, the main character in my Seattle Spice Shop series, is a mystery reader. She often mentions books she’s reading. One of her updates to the Spice Shop has been to expand the book section, adding more cookbooks, memoirs and chef lit, and even foodie fiction. When Pepper drops into the Seattle Mystery Bookshop (a real place), to consult with Jen, a former paralegal who now sells books, Jen gives her several recommendations.

By reader request, here’s Pepper’s reading list:

assault and pepperPepper’s bookshelf, in ASSAULT & PEPPER:
Salt, Mark Kurlansky
Salted, Mark Bitterman
Skippyjon Jones: Lost in SpiceJudith Schachner

Pepper learns a lot about herbs and investigating from Brother Cadfael, created by Ellis Peters, reading A Morbid Taste for Bones, One Corpse Too Many, and Monk’s Hood, as well as the Cadfael Companion, Ellis Peters and Robin Whiteman, and Brother Cadfael’s Herb Garden, Rob Talbot and Robin Whiteman.

The Spice Shop also carries the Teashop Mysteries by Laura Child, the Domestic Diva Mysteries by Krista Davis, the Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle, and Key West Food Critic Mysteries by Lucy Burdette. Jen recommends a reader traveling to Erin consider Sheila Connolly’s County Cork series, Erin Hart’s archaeological mysteries, and when Pepper nears the end of the Cadfael series, Jen suggests the Sister Frevisse mysteries by Margaret Frazer and Sister Fidelma mysteries by Peter Tremayne.

Guilty as CinnamonPepper’s faves in GUILTY AS CINNAMON:
In her second outing, Pepper is celebrating cinnamon, and displays several mysteries in the shop: Cinnamon Skin, John D. MacDonald, Cinnamon Kiss, Walter Mosley, and The Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke.

She draws inspiration from The Servant’s Tale and The Outlaw’s Tale by Margaret Frazer. Her friend Callie, a law librarian and avid baker, drools over a cookbook called Sugar Rush.

And after she’s solved the crimes, Pepper’s staff gives her a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating, by Steven Kerry Brown. What, they couldn’t have given it her before she found—nevermind. No spoilers here!

In GUILTY AS CINNAMON, Pepper also discovers music by the Portland Cello Project.

The Last Best Reads — my favorite books of 2015, or whatever year it just was

IMGP1761“The Last Best Book” is my occasional post on a favorite recent read — playing on one of Montana’s many nicknames, The Last Best Place — but I’ve been a bad girl and haven’t kept it up this year. So here I am looking at my list of books read the year, including audio books, with some embarrassment. It’s surprisingly short on books published in 2015 and surprisingly long on books published in 2013 and 2014 — meaning I’m waaay behind! (And that I’ll have to read like a demon this spring to be ready to vote for the Agatha Awards!) So I’m listing my faves, in no particular order, regardless of when they were published.

FAVORITE NOVELS: 
The Child Garden, Catriona McPherson (2015) A stunning exploration of evil triggered by a childhood mistake, and a mother’s fierce love. I predict many awards for this tale of psychological suspense set in Scotland.
The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty (2013) Many novels that wouldn’t be classified as mystery or crime fiction nonetheless have a mystery or crime at their heart, and this is one. I knew where Moriarty was taking us, and I couldn’t take my eyes of the page.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak (2005) Even better than the movie.
I’d Know You Anywhere, Laura Lippman (2010) Guaranteed to make you squirm.
Death is Like a Box of Chocolates, Kathy Aarons (2014) A delicious cozy.
Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear (2003) I know, I know, but I’ll catch up, I promise.
Just One Evil Act, Elizabeth George (2013) Still the master of psychological suspense.
To Dwell in DarknessDeborah Crombie (2014) An exploration of the crowd mentality, urban protest, and more.
Long Upon the Land, Margaret Maron (2015) The last Deborah Knott mystery, and an excellent wrap-up.
St. Nick: A Christmas Cop Novel, Allan Russell (2013) A surprise find in my Left Coast Crime gift bag, and the perfect read for the day after Christmas!

BEST FIRST MYSTERY:
Really sad I didn’t read more in this category, but my two favorites were Bun For Your Lifeby Karoline Barrett, a sweet cozy, and The Alchemist’s Daughter, by Mary Lawrence, set in Elizabethan London and environs.

What were your favorite reads of the past year? 

Wrapping up the CINNAMON fun

IMGP2110Thanks to all of you for celebrating with me the release of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, and for making it so much fun!

This week, I’ll be at the Fresh Fiction blog, revealing my 10 Favorite Things About Seattle — or at least, my 10 top faves on the day I wrote the post! I think the publisher is offering a giveaway, so check it out!

And speaking of giveaways, the Book Bitch’s December giveaway runs through Dec 31. Enter for a chance to win 4 signed books — GUILTY AS CINNAMON, TRICKY TWENTY-TWO by Janet Evanovitch, and the latest from Lawrence Block and the trio who write the winemaking detective mysteries, set in France!

Untitled-5A couple of guest blogs are still waiting in the wings, including one on what I’ve been reading recently — I’ll let you know when it’s up. And I’ll post a list of some favorite reads from the past year shortly.

Many of you have sent me kind notes, by email or on Facebook, saying how much you enjoyed GUILTY AS CINNAMON. I’m so happy! Would you please take a few minutes and post a short review on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N.com? Your help can make a difference in how the recommendation algorithms work, and in helping other readers find my books. THANK YOU!

IMGP2188And now, life returns to normal. I’m working on the fourth Food Lovers’ Village mystery, still unnamed, and expecting edits on the third Seattle Spice Shop Mystery, KILLING THYME (October 2016), and the cover any day now. I’m working on a couple of other projects as well, along with this blog, and my regular gigs at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen (1st, 3d, and 5th Tuesdays) and Killer Characters (the 27th of the month.) We’re working on several new projects at Sisters in Crime. And I hope to get out and enjoy that snow — or maybe stay inside and curl up with a good book.

Thanks for joining me! Keep it spicy!

Oh, what fun it is to celebrate a new book!

ChampagneThanks to all of you for making GUILTY AS CINNAMON another national bestseller! I’m considering that an early Christmas present—but that doesn’t let Mr. Right off the hook!

And I’m delighted to report that the large print edition will be available in July 2016.

Readers and bloggers continue to be very good to me. Jennifer at Moonlight Rendezvous calls it an “exciting mystery that has the perfect recipe of charm to entice cozy readers.” And Kings River Life gives a spot-on recap.

cabinMy favorite bad boy, Alex Howard, and I are Dru Ann’s guests at Dru’s Book Musings on Friday, December 25, giving the chef’s-eye view of GUILTY AS CINNAMON—and thanks to my publisher, there will be a giveaway!

Stacy the BookBitch is including a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON in her December giveaway—along with the latest by Janet Evanovitch (TRICKY TWENTY-TWO), Lawrence Block, and the authors of the French winemaker’s mysteries. One lucky winner gets all four books!

My thanks again to all of you for sharing the CINNAMON spirit!

(Photo: Our new cabin in the woods!)