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!



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.”

My 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!

Book Launch continues — where I’ll be — and free book offers!

Death al Dente

Thanks to you all for making this last week one of the most memorable weeks in years. Honestly, there is nothing like seeing the dream come to life, no matter how often I’ve visualized it.

I’ve got a few more appearances scheduled, and quite a few guest blogs, including book offers. Join me if you can—and spread the word if you’d like.

Tonight, Thursday, August 15, from 7-9 p.m., I’ll be speaking to the Authors of the Flathead, a multi-genre writers’ group in Room 151 of Ross Hall (Science and Technology Building) at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell. My primary topic is blogging, but we’ll leave plenty of time for questions on anything related to writing and book marketing—and yes, I’ll have books!

Next Friday, August 23, at 2:00, I’ll be giving a book talk and signing at Touchmark, formerly Waterford, at 915 Saddle Drive in Helena. Some of you know my mother Alice—this is the senior community where she lives. If you’re nearby, come help me share the celebration with her!

On line, today I’m interviewed by writer Edith Maxwell at Wicked Cozy Authors, comparing the view out west with that of my New England writer friends. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Death al Dente.

All this week, I’m the featured author on the Barnes & Noble Mystery Bookclub. I’ll admit, that’s especially fun because the wonderful customers of B&N made me a national bestseller last week—Death al Dente was #11 on the mystery list for mass market paperbacks (the small format) and #44 on the overall fiction list in that format. Champagne flowed at our house!

And finally, book champion extraordinaire Barbara Vey is giving away a book a day on her blog, and if I filled out the form right, Death al Dente‘s turn is Saturday, August 17.

I hope you’re having as much fun this summer as I am — can you believe it’s the Ides of August already? My advice: pour a glass of something, stretch out in the shade, and open a good book. And if you need a suggestion, well, I have one!

With many thanks,


A report on collecting DNA from arrestees

The “law” segment of Law & Fiction is still on vacation, but because I’ve posted about recent changes in the law allowing DNA samples to be taken from persons arrested for specified violent crimes, rather than after conviction, I wanted to share this report from the Urban Institute of the Justice Policy Center titled Collecting DNA at Arrest: Policies, Practices, and Implications. Here’s the Executive Summary.  Forensic Magazine says

“This report examines arrestee DNA laws, their implementation in the field, and their subsequent effects on agency operations and public safety. Twenty-eight states and the federal government have enacted laws authorizing DNA collection from individuals arrested for or charged with certain offenses, and the practice has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Arrestee laws vary across states, particularly with respect to qualifying offenses, point of collection and analysis, and expungement procedures, and impose significant administrative and analytic burdens on state laboratories and collecting agencies.
The report finds that arrestee DNA laws have contributed additional profiles to CODIS and led to additional hits, but is unable to estimate the total number of hits for which arrestee laws were solely responsible.”