A bargain cruise — and such fun! Murder at Sea: A Destination Murders Short Story collection is only 99 cents for Kindle through Aug 21. Eight short cozy mysteries and eight fabulous trips — no shoes required. Pepper Reese from my Spice Shop series makes her first short story appearance in “Seafood Rub,” when she and Nate take a long weekend getaway to the San Juan Islands, only to discover that trouble took the same ferry…
Isn’t that a darling cover? If you love short cozies, take a look at the earlier entries in the series: Murder in the Mountains, including my Food Lovers’ Village short mystery “The Picture of Guilt,” and Murder at the Beach!
Thank you, thank you, friends. We did it. YOU did it!
I’m thrilled to say that Crooked Lane Books will publish Alicia’s next suspense novel, tentatively titled BLIND FAITH, on October 11, 2022. Two women whose paths crossed in Montana when they were teenagers discover they share keys to a deadly secret that exposes a killer—and changes everything they thought they knew about themselves and their families.
And I credit YOU for giving BITTERROOT LAKE the push we needed to persuade them!
Who’s Alicia Beckman? You may remember that with BITTERROOT LAKE, the publisher wisely asked me to write my suspense novels under a pen name to avoid confusion with my cozies. (Don’t worry—Leslie will keep writing cozies!) Alicia novels are moody and I hope, suspenseful; still no gore, not much blood, but some darker moments. The name honors my mother, Alice, and my maternal grandparents.
I’ll be diving deep into revisions with my fabulous editor shortly.
Meanwhile, more good news! AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, the 5th Food Lovers’ Village mystery, was re-released in paperback and e-book on November 9, by Beyond the Page Publishing. I’m so pleased to have all the Village books available again, after the sad closure of publisher Midnight Ink. And just in time for holiday reading — and gift-giving! (If you love Christmas mysteries, be sure to read “The Christmas Stranger” in CARRIED TO THE GRAVE AND OTHER STORIES, the 6th Village book.)
Speaking of short stories, Erin, Adam, and the villagers will return in “The Picture of Guilt,” in MURDER IN THE MOUNTAINS: A Destination Murder Collection, featuring short stories by nine terrific authors, out in paperback and ebook on February 1, 2022. Isn’t the cover a delight? And you can pre-order the ebook now for only 99 cents! (WoW!)
Last, but so not least, we have a publication date for PEPPERMINT BARKED, the 6th Spice Shop mystery, coming from Seventh St. Books on July 19, 2022. (Available for pre-order now.) Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece investigates when a young woman working the Christmas rush in her friend Vinny’s wine shop is brutally attacked, on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Meanwhile, I’m working on the first draft of another Alicia novel, using tips I picked up in a class to help me clarify the emotional heart of the story and identify what actions the characters take as a result. That’s always been key to me as a writer and reader, and I’m loving having new tools to help me heighten that story element.
(Reader Carol, who lives in Seattle, also bought SIX copies of ASSAULT & PEPPER as holiday gifts. I heart Reader Carol. And I sent her bookmarks. Drop me a line if you’d like a few to tuck in your holiday packages.)
I also heart libraries! The Mercer Co. (NJ) library system creates videos of authors sharing a bit of book-related trivia. I’m part of this compilation of mystery, suspense, and other fiction authors. Check the library’s channel for more trivia videos, including mystery and children’s books.
Reader Barb asked if I’d ever published the recipe for the Spice Shop’s signature spice tea. Surprise—I never had! CHAI ANOTHER DAY includes Pepper’s chai recipe, and PEPPERMINT BARKED will include both the pie spice recipe Pepper often puts in coffee and her peppermint mocha recipe, but the tea? I knew what was in it, so I headed down to the kitchen and brewed up a cup. For one cup, use a teaspoon or more of black Assam tea leaves, a slightly crushed cardamom pod, two allspice berries, and about 1/8 teaspoon dried grated orange peel (or fresh if you’ve got a willing orange). Use an infuser or a strainer. Steep 3-5 minutes, then pretend you’re sipping tea in the Spice Shop with Pepper, Sandra, and Arf!
Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and well, with a good cuppa and a good book close at hand.
My deepest thanks for keeping me company on this journey.
It’s a treat to take you back to the village with this collection of short mysteries.
Today, May 25, my beloved Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries return with CARRIED TO THE GRAVE AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of five short mysteries featuring Erin and the Villagers, and a historical novella set in 1910, the year Erin’s great-grandmother Kate arrived in Jewel Bay as a new bride. Turns out that Erin’s sleuthing skills may be hereditary!
From the cover: “In her Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, Agatha Award-winning author Leslie Budewitz introduces us to Jewel Bay, a tight-knit Montana community that thrives on tourism and farm-to-table fare. Featuring Erin Murphy, beloved proprietor of the Merc—a century-old general store converted into a local foods market—each book brings us closer to the folks who call Jewel Bay home, and the cunning culprits in their midst.
In this delicious new collection of five short stories and one novella, she takes us further into the heart of Jewel Bay—from the playhouse to the Merc, from funerals to food festivals—with equal parts humor, suspense, and compassion, and no shortage of murder to spice up the menu . . .
In “Carried to the Grave,” a long-hidden family secret refuses to be put to rest.
Jewel Bay’s community food festival serves up the perfect opportunity for a devious killer with an appetite for murder in “Pot Luck.”
In “The Christmas Stranger,” a small gesture by a mysterious man turns out to change lives . . . and much more.
A romantic getaway to a secluded beach town in Mexico provides a deadly remedy for a couple’s trouble at home in “A Death in Yelapa.”
As the local playhouse opens for the season, it’s curtains for a stage manager with a secret in “Put on a Dying Face.”
And in “An Unholy Death,” when Kate and Paddy Murphy open Murphy’s Mercantile in 1910, they know making a go of it in rough-and-tumble Montana will be hard work, but for a local preacher, it’s murder.”
I hope you enjoy the trip back to Jewel Bay as much as I’ve enjoyed taking you there. And remember, if you’ve enjoyed my books, please tell your friends, library staff, booksellers—even your dog, if he reads. And leave a review online, if you’re so inclined.
My thanks, as always, for joining me on this writing journey.
From my heart, Leslie
CARRIED TO THE GRAVE AND OTHER STORIES: A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery Beyond the Page Publishing May 25, 2021 Food Lovers’ Village #6 Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookseller.
Missing travel? Love a good mystery? Join me Monday evening, March 15, at 7 pm Mtn/ 9 pm Eastern for The Mystery Hour, sponsored by Authors Live Online. I’ll be reading “With My Eyes,” a 2019 Derringer Award winning short story originally published in Suspense Magazine. Inspired by a little woman my husband and I spotted at the Acropolis on our honeymoon trip more than 20 years ago, it features a lovesick man who sees what he wants to see.
My good friend Daryl Wood Gerber will be reading “No Final Act,” originally published in Mystery Most Theatrical, the 2020 Malice Domestic Anthology.