Collecting can be murder — Leslie Budewitz — #bookgiveaway

Butter Off Dead (final)The past two weeks, we’ve been celebrating the upcoming release of my third Food Lovers’ Village mystery, BUTTER OFF DEAD, with a glimpse of some of your favorite authors’ prized collections. Today—mine, and a few musings.

(And a double giveaway: a signed bound galley of BUTTER  and a copy of THE COZY COOKBOOK. Scroll down for details.)

I thought I’d escaped the collector gene. My father’s baseball cards and memorabilia, his stamps and first-day covers, his postcards, the cameras and carved wooden boxes he brought back from his captivity in Switzerland during the war—all intrigued me, but I never felt a need to follow suit. One Barbie doll was enough, and even that had been a gift. The trolls? Fun, until I was done with them. My brother got the gene—and the collections, and he’s added to them. My sister-in-law has her fabrics and her cat figurines and her pottery, my mother her angels, my husband his swords and Huichol Indian beadwork.

IMGP2935 Even when I wrote BUTTER OFF DEAD and found myself musing about when a collection becomes an obsession, and when an obsession becomes deadly, I didn’t think of myself as a collector. I don’t stop at garage sales and rarely scrounge through antique or junk shops. The umpteen glass candlesticks? An accident that began with two Fostoria Americana singles I found at an antiques show in Seattle, when I went with a friend. I’d always loved the pattern and snatched them up, inspired by my mother’s doubles. I bought other shapes and styles; she searched out a few more, and a friend joined in the fun.

IMGP2931Then I visited that friend in San Jose and carried home two Fostoria goblets. (The TSA guard was initially troubled by all the packing material, until I rattled off exactly what was in the package. As in fiction, details are persuasive.) When my mother sold the family home, she gave me her pieces, all wedding presents. Then she added another two or three, and the friend in California has a long memory …

IMGP2939The first antique bottle surfaced when I was digging a hole for a yew at a farmhouse I once owned. A second hole yielded a second bottle—I’d probably found the homesteader’s garbage heap. Now gardener friends share their finds, and a few others have come to me as well—bottles that once held ink, cream, patent medicines, and who knows what else.

deer heart

The hearts? Okay, you got me: that’s a collection, though the only heart I’ve ever bought to add to it is a rusty, elongated metal cut-out, found while browsing in Spokane. Many are found objects—copper wire, shells, rocks, and this whitetail hoof print. I gave the collection to my girl Erin In BUTTER, and a certain someone adds to it…


IMGP2926What about the notes readers have sent me and the bookmarks from stores where I’ve given talks or readings? Collection, or inspiration? Both.




My first brass doorknob came from IMGP2946that same rural Montana farmhouse. They’re hard to reuse in modern doors, so I kept my treasured few in an old cigar box (and no, that’s not another collection!) until we planned a major remodel. A friend who’d salvaged a few knobs in his days as a builder rounded out the collection, and we created this coat rack inside our back door.


IMGP2930 IMGP2929 IMGP2928

One more: Since my unpublished days, I’ve bought myself a piece by a local Montana artist as a prize for finishing a book. (Still haven’t bought the prize for BUTTER; must go shopping!) Here are a few faves: an iridescent cattail grove by Christine Vandeberg (you’ll meet her namesake in BUTTER); a woodblock print called Three Chickadees by Sarah Angst; and a tree spirit by Lana O’Myer.

Over the last two weeks, as we’ve shared our collections, it’s been clear that readers and writers simply must have our books. One reader said books aren’t collections, because collections are luxuries and books are necessities. Mine, like most of yours, I suspect, were bought to be read, not to complete a set or fulfill a search. Maybe that makes me less a collector and more a reader. I can live with that!

Another reader called our collections part of our identity, and there’s a lot of truth to that. Even the authors who initially told me they didn’t collect anything quickly realized otherwise.

Some collections, it turns out, are accidental. Others are inherited. Some are nurtured; some the owners wish had never gotten started! They are, ultimately, symbols of connection—to a time or a person long gone. To a place we loved, to a feeling they bring. To friends, to lovers, to family. To pieces of ourselves.

What better symbols of all that than hearts and light?

tnTheCozyCookbookLeave a comment on my Facebook page or blog by midnight, Tuesday, June 2, for a chance to win a SIGNED bound galley of BUTTER OFF DEAD or a copy of THE COZY COOKBOOK, telling me which book you’d like to win. Ruff the Cat will choose a winner at random—check back Wednesday to see who sent him the tastiest catnip bribe!

IMGP2198Ruff and I thank all the authors and readers who’ve helped us celebrate the past two weeks. We’re super-excited about BUTTER OFF DEAD (out July 7; pre-order it now), as well as the other authors’ new books. Hugs and kisses to:
Connie Archer
Vicki Thompson
Cathy Ace
Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Kate Carlisle
Sheila Connolly
Catriona McPherson
Roberta Isleib
Kathy Aarons
Susannah Hardy
Diane Vallere
Molly MacRae
Krista Davis
Bailey Cates aka Cricket McRae

(This contest is not sponsored or endorsed by Facebook.)



83 thoughts on “Collecting can be murder — Leslie Budewitz — #bookgiveaway

  1. I love Fostoria and I think glass and china cannot be beat for collecting. I gave a talk at a Museum in Texas on antique post cards. After the lecture a Woman came up to me and said that her Great Grandmother had 500 of them and she wanted me to have them.So I ended up with a collection in that..Thanks for the giveaway…

    • What a treasure trove, Marilyn! And you’re right about the glassware and china — so many beautiful things in this beautiful world.

  2. I have another collection – my I Love Lucy Barbie dolls. The details and the clothes are all from certain episodes. And i would like the galley of Butter Off Dead if I win, as I already have the cookbook. Thanks for the fun these two weeks!

    • Ohmygosh, I don’t think I’ve ever seen those — what a hoot! Glad you’ve enjoyed the authors’ collections — we’ve had a lot of fun sharing them!

  3. Thanks for the chance to win. I would love to win the signed copy of Butter Off Dead since I already own The Cozy Cookbook, a book I had to add to my cookbook collection. I hope Ruff the Cat likes my entry but sadly no catnip to send. Our cats go insane on catnip so they are in rehab and not allowed any. 🙂

  4. It seems everyone collects something even if it happens by accident! I’ve found new authors to read during these giveaways. Thank you!

  5. What wonderful collections. Chickadees are my mom’s favorite bird, so I’m always on the lookout for items with chickadees on them-your piece is wonderful! I’d love a copy of Butter off Dead if I’m lucky enough to win. Thanks!

    • Kathy, as you might have guessed, if 3 items make a collection, I could have posted a chickadee collection as well. And of course, they are one of Ruff’s favorite birds…we have to stop filling the bird feeders as soon as the weather warms in spring and he starts going outside again! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I definately have the collectors gene while my husband does not. He doesn’t understand my “compulsion to collect” but puts up with it (reluctantly). Really hoping to win….after reading will add to my collection! Thanks for the generous giveaway

    • My own parents made a kind of game of teasing each other about collecting and tossing. Thanks for dropping by so often these last two weeks.

  7. I’ve enjoyed reading about everyone’s collections. I’d love to win the cookbook (since I collect them), but your books are in my TBR pile. Thanks so much for the giveaways!

  8. I think everyone collects something although they may not call it a “collection”. 🙂 Would love to win this prize. Great giveaway.

  9. This has been a fun series of posts, getting a glimpse at the different kinds of things people collect and enjoying the “oh, right, I am a collector” moment some of them (you?) have had. It seems there are two kinds of collectors, those that almost seem obsessed and it’s all about the acquiring another one of whatever it is. Then there are the collectors who don’t start out to make a collection but realize they love something and have ended up with quite a few of “them,” each one with special meaning. Finding antique bottles while digging a hole – fascinating. Thanks for the giveaway. Looking forward to reading BUTTER OFF DEAD.

    • Sally, I think your distinction is exactly right. I love all my little bottles, but the brave ones that stayed in one piece after decades underground? Priceless!

  10. I would love a copy of Butter Off Dead! Thank you for the opportunity. I have really enjoyed the blogs on collecting – love your’s today on ” accidental” collections. I have one of those – depression era / glass baskets. I bought one at an antique auction because I loved it & then very slowly I have added a few more. Luckily for me, my other hobby (dogs) keeps me too busy to do a lot of collecting .

  11. When I lived in Europe, I had a teapot collection. I still love teapots, but now I collect tea cups. Thank you for sharing your collections with us. Thank you for the giveaways you have had.

  12. Love all the collections, if I have any it would be books. Thanks for sharing. i would love Butter Off Dead. Thanks for the chance,

  13. I really enjoyed reading this mornings post. It made me do a lot of thinking, and I now realize I have a few different things that I have and I never considered them collections. My many jars of seashells and beach glass, all of my heart shaped rocks that I find and of course my bucket of “pennies from heaven” (pennies that I find when I am out walking, parking lots etc..) Thanks for all of the interesting posts the past few weeks. It has been fun and interesting to see that we all are collectors of something!! Thank you for all of the great giveaways the past few weeks 🙂 Have a beautiful Sunday

  14. I’m not really a collector, but I love your collections!!! If I were to win I would please like Butter Off Dead ( love the title! ) Thanks sooo much for the giveaway!!! 🙂

  15. I have really enjoyed reading about the collections. I am taking all the book marks I have and framing them. As far as which book I would like if I am one of the lucky ones……well, I collect cookbooks and books so I would be happy with either but will say the cookbook. Thanks for the chance to win.

  16. It is nice to know there are other collectors out there who understand the process or now recognize it. It can sneak up on you 🙂 I have started to embroider with some of the beads I have collected over time, thus merging two collections. I have considered making furniture from books! Would love a signed copy of Butter.

    • I’m smiling at the image of candlesticks sneaking up on me. They did, indeed. And I love that you’re combining the beadwork and embroidery. I’ve seen footstools and boxes made of books, but not much else. But my old pal Deb Lacy at Mystery Playground often features crafts made with books. Check it out!

    • Thank you, Alicia! Hasn’t it been fun to peek inside the authors’ closets and curios and browse their shelves?

  17. This has been a fun few weeks learning about collections so – thank you! Mine include spoons, Santas, cat figurines and, of course, books.

    • Thanks, Karen! It’s been fun for me, too, catching a glimpse inside the other passions — besides our shared love of books — that authors and readers enjoy!

  18. “Butter Off Dead” would get read. My husband would laugh if I added another cookbook to my unused collection.

  19. I am looking forward to reading Butter Off Dead. I love collecting. I have a collection of Raggedy Ann’s. I have been getting them since I was a little girl. My biggest is 3 ft. tall. My oldest is from the 1930’s. I also collect antique hats and vintage aprons. I think almost everyone collects something!

    • Raggedy Ann dolls! Oh, they sound delightful! My character Luci the Splash Artist would love to see your vintage aprons — they’re part of her daily wear! Thanks for sharing your collections.

    • On the uniqueness scale, I think Molly McRae’s toilet paper wins, don’t you? It’s been a lot of fun to peek into the authors’ homes and passions!

  20. I have been sitting here for 2 hours trying to decide on which book (Butter Off Dead or The Cozy Cookbook) I really want more. I finally decided on Butter Off Dead (it was a hard decision for me). Thank you for the chance to win.

  21. I’d choose Butter Off Dead if I won. The cookbook sounds good, too. There’s a city called Fostoria here in Ohio. Maybe that’s where your Fostoria stuff came from? I collect books, postcards, rollerball pens, stationery, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. I have quite a few rubber stamps and stamp pads and also collect postage stamps and first-day covers.

  22. I’ve enjoyed reading about the different collections. I have had a bone china animal collection since I was a child. I “inherited” my originals from my older sisters and just added from there.
    I love your books and your descriptions of the northwest. That’s one part of the country I have not been to but is definitely on my bucket list!

    Thank you! I would be happy to win either of your offerings.

    • Thanks, Val! I am a NWer through and through, and am delighted to be your virtual tour guide! Your collection sounds delightful. Thanks for joining in the fun!

  23. Honestly, would love both but the cookbook is something I’ve been wanting. I want to be able to recreate the beautiful recipes that I read about in all the books I’ve “collected.” Reading books is something that was passed down to me and I’m returning that tradition with my own children. Congratulations on your third book and can’t wait to read it!

    • To quote Doris Ann Norris, aka the 2,000 y.o. librarian, “When they say you can’t take it with you, they don’t mean books, do they?”

  24. I used to collect rabbits but stopped after I decided to downsize. I’ve enjoyed reading about the different collections. I would love the galley copy of Butter Off Dead! Thanks for the chance.

  25. I’d like the cookbook. I’ll wait until your new book is published since an advanced copy won’t help your sales.

    • Sandy, how smart and sweet of you! But you know what would help? A pre-order, whether you shop on line or in person — B&N stores’ practices vary, but indies can pre-order and reserve a book for you. And that *does* make a difference with publishers. xoxo

  26. My late little sister collected hedgehogs. We were all on the lookout for unique specimens to add to her collection, and a vastly disparate collection it was! I think we were all trying to outdo each other to please her! When she left us, how dare she!, we were fortunate enough to reclaim some of the special hedgehogs, two of which reside on my mantle next to her picture.
    Since she and I both shared a love of mysteries and cooking( swapped cookbooks, too), I think I’d love to have “Butter Off Dead”.
    Thank you so much. I enjoyed reading of the other collections!

    • Oh, Kathleen! What a treasure — and a treasured memory. You’ve proven my belief that at heart, collections are about connections. xoxo

  27. Thanks for sharing your collections with us — I really liked using the old doorknob for a coat rack! I would love to have a copy of Butter of Dead! Thanks for the giveaway!

  28. Loved reading Butter Off Dead and would love to win the cookbook — I am on limited income and all excees goes to books

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