The Solace of Bay Leaves is out today!

From the cover: Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves.

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface …

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow.

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own.

Audio book cover

Ebook and Audio: June 21, 2020
Trade paper: October 20, 2020

Published by Seventh Street Books and Tantor Audio

Available in the US and Canada at:
IndieBound
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Fact and Fiction
Books-A-Million
Bookshop.org
And your local booksellers!

Enjoy the trip to Seattle with me — on the page or screen, or through your headphones!

The Solace of Bay Leaves is coming soon!

THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES is on the way.

And gosh, we could all use a little solace right now, couldn’t we?

The ebook and audio will be out July 21, the paperback on October 20, but you can pre-order them now in all the usual places. Pop over to my website for an excerpt and buy links. And if you’re a library user, please ask your library to order the book — most libraries have request forms on their websites, and they want to know what patrons want to read.

The fifth Spice Shop mystery bears a more poetic title than its older siblings. Pepper likes to say that when her life fell apart, she never expected to find solace in bay leaves. Meaning that she never expected to buy a spice shop—or that it would be one of the best decisions she ever made.

THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES explores women’s friendships, a major theme of the series. Just as Pepper and Kristen’s friendship was tested in KILLING THYME, here we see how misunderstandings and jealousies affect other long-standing friendships, and how Pepper’s passion for justice makes her the very best kind of friend. Once again, we explore the Market, Seattle’s heart, soul, and stomach. Pepper also takes us up to Capitol Hill and the Montlake neighborhood, places where I lived, walked, and ate as a young woman. And we see her and her fisherman draw closer, as they learn to navigate the here again–gone again schedule his work dictates.

I think it’s a special book, and hope you’ll agree.

Why the paperback delay? Blame the virus. It’s jumbled so many plans, and book launches are no exception. In March, my publisher, Seventh St. Books, realized that disruptions in the supply chain meant it couldn’t guarantee that the paperback would be in warehouses, libraries, and bookstores by July 21, so the paperback launch was moved to October 20. But they didn’t want to make you wait for a little SOLACE, so they stuck to the original date for the ebook and audio. It’s not safe to get together in person now; let’s hope by then, we can meet for a book talk and a cup of chai.

Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when the paperback comes out! Remember, though, that you can pre-order it from your local booksellers or online now. As a friend says, pre-orders are great because you don’t have to give it another thought—the book just shows up, like a present you’ve given yourself!

I’ve been surprised how many readers have told me they’ll grab the e-book now and the paperback in the fall. See how wonderful and generous you are? Cozy mystery fans truly are the best. And in this oh-so-difficult time, I am grateful for every one of you.

My booth at the 2019 Bigfork Festival of the Arts

Whenever you read the book, in whatever format, please do post a review online, at Amazon, B&N.com, Bookbub, Goodreads, bookblogs, Facebook, Twitter, Insta—so many options. Word of mouth, even if it’s digital, is simply the best.

To authors, an audio book deal feels like a sign you’ve arrived. I’m lucky that all my mysteries are in audio, and luckier still that the Spice Shop mysteries are narrated by the fabulous Dara Rosenberg. I finally got a smart phone and recorded myself pronouncing a few Northwest tribal names and other local tongue-twisters for her. She’s so smart and prepared – I hope you love listening to her as much as I love working with her.

Audio book cover

In keeping with the bay leaves, my characters eat a lot of soup and the recipes are in the book. It’s not exactly soup weather, though, so in July and August, I’ll share some warm-weather uses of bay on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen (I post on the 1st, 3d, and 5th Tuesdays) and get to the soup in October.

It’s beyond strange to launch a book without meeting readers face to face, and I don’t like it one bit. YOU make a book real. But we will meet again.

Until then, happy reading. Be well,

Leslie

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!

Time to celebrate a new book!

Guilty as Cinnamon

What a crazy year this has been! By year’s end, I will have finished three books, and published three—and taken on the wonderful, daunting responsibility of serving as president of Sisters in Crime. Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride!

GUILTY AS CINNAMON, second in the Spice Shop Mysteries, arrives this week, on Tuesday. Here’s the scoop, from the cover:

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…

You can find the book at all the usual outlets, including your local independents and several locations in Western Montana. Links here, on my webpage, along with an excerpt.

Events: I’ll be signing all my mysteries and chatting about books this Friday, December 4, at Think Local in downtown Kalispell, from 5-8 pm, as part of the Kalispell Holiday Art Walk, and Saturday, December 5 at Fact & Fiction in downtown Missoula, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, as part of the annual Author Extravaganza!

tea infuserBlogs and giveaways: On Monday, November 30, I’m participating in a blog hop starting Club Hen House, the blog of Henery Press, which publishes WRITES OF PASSAGE, the award-winning SinC anthology that I’m part of. More than two dozen authors are participating, with fun posts and giveaways. My offering? This adorable gingerbread man tea infuser—something I’m sure you could find at Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop!

On Tuesday, release day, I’ll be celebrating in two places, at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, where I’ll be sharing a recipe from GUILTY AS CINNAMON and giving one lucky reader a signed copy. I’ll also be a guest of the delightful Jungle Red Writers, talking about the memories triggered by what I’ve found in old books, and offering a signed copy of the new book and a tea infuser!

SinC

On Thursday, Dec 3, I’ll be interviewed at Wicked Cozy Authors, a super-fun group of New England writers, about Sisters in Crime and its impact on my career.

On Friday, Dec 4, I’ll be sharing spice trivia at Lori’s Reading Corner, where my publisher will be offering a copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON.

And CINNAMON is one of the featured titles for December at BookBitch, where Stacy Alesi and the members of International Thriller Writers team up for a month-long giveaway of signed books!

I hope you’ll join me this week as this writing adventure continues, and remember, keep it spicy! 

Celebrate! Celebrate!

CrimeRib_CV.inddThe focus on the “fiction” part of “Law & Fiction” continues this week, as I celebrate the launch of Crime Rib, second in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, on Tuesday, July 1.

Two favors to ask: Early reviews are a big help to authors, so if you’re so inclined, please share your comments about Crime Rib on Amazon, B&N.com, Goodreads, or with your friends. And if you see Crime Rib in the wild — on a bookstore shelf, in a library, in a reader’s hands — please send me a picture or post it on my Facebook page.

Two giveaways! My publisher, Berkley Prime Crime (part of Penguin Books), is joining the fun by giving away 25 copies of Crime Rib on Goodreads. The contest is open through July 15. You need an account to enter, but it’s easy and fun.  And the giveaway at the Debutante Ball  continues through July 5. Extra points if you tell me a chicken joke I haven’t heard.

Come celebrate with me! Join me in Missoula on Wednesday, July 2, for a book talk, reading, and signing at Fact & Fiction Books, 220 N. Higgins, at 7 p.m.

Join me on line: Monday, June 30, I’ll be naming names at Shelley’s Book Case  — giving you the inside scoop on how I name my characters.

On Tuesday, July 1, I’ll be at Fresh Fiction, answering that old question: “Where do you get your ideas?” Some writers roll their eyes at the question, but I love it — and I’ll tell you why!

On Wednesday, July 2, I’ll be in two places at once. Join me at Books N Kisses for “Another Weekend, Another Festival — and Another Body.” I’m also joining my good friend Janet Fisher, author of the new history, A Place of Her Own, for a reflection on the magical critique group she and I were were part of here in Montana.

2014 launch - the foodAnd next Saturday, July 5, join me at Cozy Mystery Book Reviews‘ “Cozy Cooking” feature, where I’ll share Erin’s recipe for Two Bean & Pesto Salad — yummy summer fun. Chef Dan Solberg served it at my launch party Friday night — his version is almost as good as Erin’s!

Speaking of the launch party, it was great fun! Thanks to so many local friends for joining Don, my mother, brother, and me — and to Derek Vandeberg for hosting us as part of the opening reception for the 2d Annual Bigfork in Paint & Print show. If you’re in the Flathead, do drop by and see the lovely pieces created to illustrate this wonderful place. A few photos below.

My thanks, 

Leslie

2014 launch - don2014 launch - Liz and parrot2014 Launch -- girls at leslie's book signing

 

Celebrate with me! It’s a Book!

Untitled-4Update: The guest blog listed for today will appear Friday — and there WILL be a book give-away over the weekend — just leave a comment at Suspense Your Disbelief to be entered in the drawing!

Today is the day! Death al Dente is officially a book! I feel  like a 5 year old who’s been waiting for Christmas for years and can’t believe it’s finally here.

It takes a village to catch a killer — and to publish, launch, and celebrate a book. With assistance from Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin Books) and the UPS man, I was able to launch the book a few days early in Bigfork and Missoula, as part of the 35th Annual Bigfork Festival of the Arts and Missoula’s First Friday Art Walk.

So many favorite moments from the weekend. Walking in to Frame of Reference Gallery in Bigfork Thursday evening and seeing the cover poster hanging on the wall with my Birch Grove painting — the banner on my website — and paintings by ten local artists celebrating Bigfork in Paint and Print. Seeing the food — so stunned I forgot to snap a picture — catered by Chef Dan Solberg from BruMar Estates using recipes from the book. Seeing my friend Louise Lamontagne, whom I met in Seattle 26 years ago and who now lives near here, and the marvelous landscape she painted for the exhibit. (The gallery owners fooled us and didn’t tell us we were both part of the exhibit!)

Leslie & Louise

 

You can spy a small painting by Louise over her shoulder, and a pastel by my friend Jeanette Rehahn behind me. Both had other pieces in the exhibit.

 

 

Here’s Louise holding my book cover while standing in front of her painting. Aren’t her landscapes stunning? Louise & painting

 

 

 

 

 

IMGP1877

Friday, it was on to Fact & Fiction in Missoula, the bookstore where I shopped — and shopped and shopped — when I first started writing seriously. Barbara Theroux, the manager, hung my cover poster right next to James Lee Burke’s latest! (Just out of view is a poster for Ivan Doig’s next book!)

IMGP1880

 

 

 

 

And then it was back to Bigfork for the 35th Annual Festival of the Arts. The sun and glare made picture-taking tricky — consider this shot proof that I was there! By then, a few people had already read the book. I can’t decide whether my favorite compliment was “I stayed up way too late reading” or “I made the garbanzo bean salad from your website, and it tasted just as good as it did at the signing!”

 

 

Next week, we’ll be at Huckleberry Days in Whitefish, enjoying more opportunities to talk with readers — and eat huckleberries, which those of you who’ve already dipped into Death al Dente know are a passion Erin and I share!

 

I’ll also be a few places online this week. Please join me — all the Aug 6 date include a chance to win a copy of Death al Dente!

Tues Aug 6, talking about the motto for my writing life on Suspense Your Disbelief.

Wed Aug 7, talking about moving from writing fact to writing fiction — and a very special birthday (not mine) — at Jungle Red Writers.

Thurs Aug 8, a day in the life of Erin Murphy, protagonist of Death al Dente, on mystery maven Dru Ann Love’s  blog, Dru’s Book Musings.

And Saturday, join me at Poe’s Deadly Daughters for a conversation about how belonging to a book club influences a writer.

Thanks for being part of my village!