Celebrate, celebrate!

Untitled-4ChampagneCelebrate with me, friends! Death al Dente has been nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel! The Agatha Awards are given at the Malice Domestic convention — a celebration of the traditional mystery — in early May.

Congratulations, too, to all the other nominees. http://mysteryreadersinc.blogspot.com/2014/01/agatha-award-nominees.html (Sorry — still haven’t solved my linkage problem!)

Thanks for all your support — including your readership, your encouragement, and your word of mouth. Writers need readers and I’m so grateful for each of you.

Leslie

 

 

Win a copy of Death al Dente

Ruff in windowThis week, the guitar takes over the Flathead Valley, as the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival and Workshop swings on to center stage. It’s a magical event, for music students like my hunny, who’s in the singer-songwriter class, and music lovers like me, out late every night at a concert to die for: Scott Tenant and the LA Guitar Quartet, Lee Rittenour and Robben Ford, the Pat Metheny Trio, Rittenour playing with Darryl Steurmer, and Saturday night, Livingston Taylor and Mac McInally.

Me, I’m treating Music Camp week as Writing Camp and getting back to the page. Yay! But you can read my article on recipes as story-telling in the new issue of 406 Woman, available free throughout the Flathead Valley — and don’t miss the piece on Linda Manzer, a Canadian luthier who’s here at the Festival this week. Metheny has more Grammies than any other musician — and Manzer makes his guitars!

This week, Mr. Sandburg — aka The Cat — talks about the move to Montana and his transition from City Cat to Country Cat on Killer Characters: Where the Cozy Characters Speak. Leave a comment on my post at Killer Characters for a chance to win a signed copy of Death al Dente; the cat will stick a paw in the fishbowl to pick a winner Wed evening.

Thanks for joining me on this amazing journey!

Leslie

 

A review worth sharing

Delighted to share with you a lovely review of Death al Dente from Fresh Fiction, a review site and community for mystery, romance, and women’s fiction. Here’s a taste:

B&N Bestsellers 8-13-13 #7“This is Budewitz’s first novel-length mystery, and it’s a good one. She has avoided the pitfalls of contrived plots, pushy amateur detectives and shallow connection to the deceased that plague a number of long-running cozy mystery series and has produced a book even a non-mystery reader will find engrossing and satisfying.

As a reader, you will come to care deeply about Erin and her family as well as the cast of characters, each with their own backstory and niche they fill in the small town of Jewel Bay, Montana.

Leslie Budewitz also deftly handles the expressions of grief the murder victim evokes from her friends and acquaintances, helping you become even more enmeshed in Erin’s desire to find the killer.

Although romance and dating plays a certain role in Erin’s life, her core relationship outside her family is one with the town’s sheriff’s detective, Kim Caldwell, an estranged friend who was as close as a sister when they were children. This is a hallmark of the maturity and care with which DEATH AL DENTE is crafted. It is not simply a formulaic cozy mystery, it is a novel strong enough to stand beyond the confines of its genre. I highly recommend it.”

ChampagneMy legal posts will return after Labor Day. Meanwhile, I have shared links to a few stories on legal issues for writers — forensics, Stupid Criminal Tricks, and more — on my Facebook page, so please join me there!

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!

The Saturday Writing Quote — OW Holmes

“It is a good plan to have a book with you in all places and at all times. If you are presently without, hurry without delay to the nearest shop and buy one of mine.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes (the elder) (1809-1894)

 

Or one of mine: Death al Dente is officially out on Tuesday, August 6 — though if you’re in the Flathead  this weekend, swing by the Bigfork Festival of the Arts. I’ll be selling and signing all my books.

 

Death al Dente — from the jacket — from other authors

Untitled-4I thought for sure I’d shared with you the cover copy for Death al Dente — out in just over two months — and the marvelous quotes other authors kindly gave me, but apparently I only thought about it. So — if you can stand me talking about “the book” one more time — here’s what the cover and some very smart writers are saying about it:

“The town of Jewel Bay, Montana—known as a Food Lovers’ Village—is obsessed with homegrown and homemade Montana fare. So when Erin Murphy takes over her family’s century-old general store, she turns it into a boutique market filled with local delicacies. But Erin’s freshly booming business might turn rotten when a former employee turns up dead…

Murphy’s Mercantile, known as the Merc, has been a staple in Jewel Bay for over a hundred years. To celebrate their recent makeover as a gourmet food market, Erin has organized a town festival, a Festa di Pasta, featuring the culinary goods of Jewel Bay’s finest—including her mother Fresca’s delicious Italian specialties.

But Erin’s sweet success is soured when the shop’s former manager, Claudette, is found dead behind the Merc on the Festa’s opening night. With rival chef James Angelo stirring up trouble and rumors swirling that Fresca’s sauce recipes were stolen from Claudette, Erin’s mother is under close scrutiny. Now Erin will have to hunt down some new suspects, or both her family and her store might wind up in hot water…

Includes fresh, delicious recipes!”

Praise for Death al Dente and The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries:

“Small town charm and big time chills. Jewel Bay, Montana is a food lover’s paradise – and ground zero for murder! A dizzying culinary delight with a twisty-turny plot! I’m totally enamored of Leslie Budewitz’s huckleberry chocolates, Shasta daisies, and Cowboy Roast coffee. More please!”

–Laura Childs, New York Times best selling author

Death Al Dente is the first book in a delicious new series. Leslie Budewitz has created a believable, down-to-earth heroine in Erin Murphy, who uses her sleuthing skills and the Spreadsheet of Suspicion to catch a killer. The supporting cast of characters from Erin’s mother Fresca, to her cat Sandburg, are charming. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Jewel Bay.”

–Sofie Kelly, New York Times best-selling author of the Magical Cats mysteries

“Clever, charming and completely yummy. Leslie Budewitz cooks up a delectable mystery! A tempting concoction of  food, fun and fatalities that will have you racing through the suspenseful pages…then heading for the kitchen to try out the irresistible recipes.”

–Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity winning author

“An intriguing sleuth, who loves gourmet food, family, and her hometown, plus recipes to die for distinguish a delectable mystery.”

–Carolyn Hart, Agatha-winning author of Dead, White, and Blue, and Letters from Home

And coming in May 2014, Crime Rib. When a national TV cooking show comes to Jewel Bay to film the annual Grill-Off, things get hot. Can Erin find a killer–before the town’s reputation is toast?

Thanks again for sharing my excitement — it means the world to me!

Discounted pre-orders for Death al Dente

Planning ahead? Love a bargain? Amazon is currently discounting all paperback mysteries from Berkley, Obsidian & Signet (all part of Penguin) by 10% — including pre-orders on Death al Dente. So pop on over and place your pre-order now—which will give you plenty of time to plan how to spend the 80 cents you save!

Seriously, pre-orders are hugely important—especially to new authors like me—because publishers use them to gauge which books are more likely to succeed, and give those books an extra boost. So if you place a pre-order, Ruff the Cat (seen at left, disguised as Mr. Sandburg) will be eternally grateful.

It’s a cover! Death al Dente in full color!

Thrilled to share the cover of my first mystery, Death al Dente, first in The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, coming from Berkley Prime Crime this August.

“The town of Jewel Bay, Montana—known as a Food Lovers’ Village—is obsessed with homegrown and homemade Montana fare. So when Erin Murphy takes over her family’s century-old general store, she turns it into a boutique market filled with local delicacies. But Erin’s freshly booming business might go rotten when a former employee turns up dead…

Murphy’s Mercantile, known as the Merc, has been a staple in Jewel Bay for over a hundred years. To celebrate their recent makeover as a gourmet food market, Erin has organized a town festival, a Festa di Pasta, featuring the culinary goods of Jewel Bay’s finest—including her mother Fresca’s delicious Italian specialties.

But Erin’s sweet success is soured when the shop’s former manager, Claudette, is found dead behind the Merc on the Festa’s opening night. With rival chef James Angelo stirring up trouble and rumors swirling that Fresca’s sauce recipes were stolen from Claudette, Erin’s mother is under close scrutiny. Now Erin will have to hunt down some new suspects, or both her family and her store might wind up in hot water…”

 

Killer Characters — A Cozy Christmas giveaway

From November 26 through December 25, celebrate the holidays with the cozy characters at Killer Characters, where we’re giving away a book every day. Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for that day. On November 27, hear from Francesca “Fresca” Conti Murphy, mother of Erin Murphy, the star of my new series, The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, which debuts in August 2013 with Death al Dente.  Erin manages The Merc, a specialty regional food market in the Village of Jewel Bay, Montana — she’s got a passion for pasta, retail, and huckleberry chocolates, and an unexpected talent for investigating murder.

Leave a comment and you’ll have a chance at winning a copy of Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books), the 2011 Agatha winner for Best Nonfiction.

A Mystery Update

I don’t talk much about my fiction here, but do want to give you an update. The first book in The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries now has a title: Death al Dente. 

When Erin Murphy returns to her Montana hometown from Seattle to manage the Glacier Mercantile — aka The Merc — a market specializing in local foods, she anticipates her biggest challenge will be finding early tomatoes and consistently yummy chocolates–and keeping a close eye on her mother, Fresca, whose pastas and sauces built the business. She never imagines she’ll find the Merc’s former manager dead in the alley behind the shop–on the opening night of Erin’s first big splash, the Festa di Pasta, an Italian food festival kicking off summer. Or that the suspicions of the deputy sheriff–once her best friend–will focus on Fresca. Erin must solve the crime to save her mother and the family business–and stay alive.

The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries are set in Jewel Bay, Montana, a lakeside resort community on the road to Glacier Park, and will debut from Berkley Prime Crime in August 2013.

My characters blog at KillerCharacters, a group blog “where cozy characters do the talking,” on the 27th of every month. Last month, Erin Murphy wrote in her journal about a summer visit home — and her longing to return. Today, her sister Chiara Murphy Phillips, an artist and gallery owner, emails Erin about the beauty of autumn in the Village–illustrated with a copy of her latest painting.