Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Interview with Alice Loweecey

Alice Loweeecey stops by today while on blog tour to celebrate her new book, The Clock Strikes Nun, the latest in her Guilia Driscoll series. It's always easy to spot Alice at a conference because she'll be wearing her fabulous fascinators. 

But you don't have to track her down just yet because she's answered a few questions for us (and don't forget to enter her contest at the end of the post).

What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels? 

Discovering how much I enjoy making people laugh. I never considered myself a humor writer until people began telling me how my books made them laugh. One of the nicest comments came from a friend who said she took one of my books back home when her father passed and it was the only stress relief she got that week.

If you could be any character in a book, who would you be and why?

I read a lot of horror. A lot a lot. I don’t really want to be a character in what I usually read! However, I also read a lot of manga and it’s not all horror. I’d like to be Goku from Dragon Ball Z. He can fly and when he fights, he turns Super Saiyan: His hair turns to gold, his skills increase exponentially, and he gets a glowing full-body aura. It’s so much fun!

How long did it take you to get your first draft done of this book? How much time do you spend in revisions? 

Seven and a half months. I have a Day Job and my family does like to get fed once in a while. The cats, too. Cats do NOT shut up when it’s past their usual feeding time! Then I spent nearly a month revising. I print out the final draft and load it into a three-ring binder. The binder makes it easy to rearrange, which is especially good when I attack a chapter with scissors and tape to make things flow the way they ought to.

What did you do to research the book?

Everything I could! I love research. I have to set a timer so I don’t spend all day at it. Because my sleuth begins host hunting in this book, I got to play with EMF and EVP apps. YouTube is filled with videos of people using “spirit boxes” to communicate with ghosts, people talking about their attacks by demons, and especially people who’ve faked ghost videos. Some of those are almost convincing. I watched nearly a hundred videos all told so I could learn how a good fake looks and sounds. Do you have any idea how big “haunted dolls” are? Then there are the real estate sites. I use lots of visuals when I write and I found the perfect house to haunt. I changed details to suit the book, but much of the floor plan remained intact. Except the chameleon breeding room. I had to tack that one on. No house I researched was inhabited by a chameleon breeder. Good thing I can imagine it! Also, chameleons don’t drink like most other animals: they gather water drops from plant leaves. I’ll stop now…

And if you need a little something to sip while you read the book, check out Alice's Drinks with Reads from her last book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are the other stops on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours celebration.

May 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
May 29 – Brooke Blogs – INTERVIEW
May 29 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW
May 30 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW
May 30 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 31 – Mystery Playground – INTERVIEW
May 31 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
June 1 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
June 1 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
June 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
June 2 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

You can find Alice on Twittter @AliceLoweecey and Mystery Playground @MysteryPLaygrnd

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Queen's Scones

Happy Memorial Day! We're taking the day off, but we didn't want to abandon you. Why not check out the recipe to Queen Elizabeth's scones? I know it has nothing to do with Memorial Day but it is fun.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries: Will There Be a Season Four?

Fans of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries are wondering about the future of the series and Kerry Hammond did a little digging to try and find out. Here's what she found.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve watched every single episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries…..three times. It really says a lot about a show when viewers will re-watch episodes of a show before they will look for a something that is new to them. Re-watching a favorite mystery is like re-reading one. You may remember the plot, but you enjoyed it so much the first time around that the second allows you to visit with old friends. You might even see (or read) things you missed the first—or second—time around.

With that said, I would really love to see another season of Miss Fisher. Season One introduced us to Miss Fisher and all her charms. We met Jack Robinson and saw the attraction between the two characters. We got to know all of the supporting characters as well, including her companion Dot and her two drivers/go-to men Cec and Bert.

Season Two really got us hooked on the characters. Hugh Collins showed us how adorable he can be and how loyal he is, and devoted to Dotty. Jack’s ex-wife got herself mixed up in one of the mysteries, and Jack and Phryne continued to get closer.

Season Three revisits Phryne dealing a bit more with family issues, in the form of her father and of the craziness that comes with him. He was a big part of Season Two as well, but comes back for more mayhem.

Season Four, oh wait, there ISN’T a Season Four. Unfortunately, there also isn’t much hope that there will be. I did a little online investigation to satisfy my curiosity and found out that it’s not all bad news. There isn’t a Season Four in the works, but there is a movie script that actors Essie Davis and Nathan Lane are reading. This photo is from a MissFisher Facebook page post showing the actors in Melbourne reviewing the script for Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears.

According to gossip, it is the first in a proposed trilogy featuring the cast and might put us in mind of the adventures of Indiana Jones. Miss Fisher would be traveling the world to find her excitement rather than just waiting for it to land on her doorstep in Melbourne. Since Essie Davis, the actress who plays Phryne, has moved back to London, this would fit better into her schedule.

Fingers crossed everyone! In the meantime, we can read and re-read all of the Kerry Greenwood books featuring this wonderful lady detective. There are 20 books in the series so far.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Flame Noir Candle Company

The Flame Noir Candle Company has wonderful detective themed scented candles - and not just the usual suspects. Sure they have Sherlock, but there is nothing new in a Sherlock scented candle, but I haven't ever seen Phryne Fisher & DI Jack Robinson or Sam Spade or Poirot for that matter. Poirot has his regular candle, AND a Christmas Candle. 

As you can see in the photo above, Poirot's candle smells like Belgian chocolate, blooming poppies and the aroma of old fashioned grooming tonic. The Christmas scent is a dignified blend of teakwood, citrus, vetiver and pines trees for a Jazz Age holiday filled with mystery and delight. 

Santa - if you're reading this, a Flame Noir Candle or two in my stocking would be a big hit. 

The Phryne Fisher candle smells of French Lavender of course, bergamot, playful vanilla and the fiery spice of freshly ground cinnamon. Jack has a straight laced blend of tweed and freshly pressed linen, complimented by the warm aromas of masculine frankincense, rich leather and crisp bergamot. 

They also have candles for Sam Spade, Miss Marple and Phillip Marlow. You have to check it out. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Iced Coffee and Mulch Ado About Murder

Edith Maxwell is here today to talk about her new book, Mulch Ado About Murder (come back next week for our review) and match it to the perfect drink. Edith is a frequent Mystery Playground contributor both of us had short stories in the 2016 Bouchercon anthology: Blood on the Bayou

Mulch Ado About Murder, the fifth Local Foods Mystery, opens at the end of an extra-warm May. When organic farmer Cam Flaherty walks her boyfriend’s dog over to a neighboring farm to ask her neighbor a few questions about one of the suspects, the woman offers Cam iced coffee.
“Helen handed Cam a glass of iced coffee and sank with her own glass into a lawn chair opposite Cam. They sat under a big oak in the front yard of Helen’s white farmhouse. Pink and purple petunias spilled over blue window boxes that matched the trim on the house. Dasha sat in a sphinx pose next to Cam, having slurped up the water Helen had brought him.”
I first tasted iced coffee when I was teaching English to Japanese businessmen several decades ago. My American boyfriend and I were strolling a wide boulevard in Shinjuku, Tokyo, in the summer. We stopped for an iced coffee and I was instantly sold on this sweet, milky, cold beverage that still gives a kick of good dark java.

The way I make it is pretty simple.

Iced Coffee
1 cup brewed French roast coffee, warm
2 heaping teaspoons sugar
½ cup whole milk or cream
Ice cubes
Stir the sugar into the coffee while it is still warm, and then cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Add the milk and ice cubes and stir again. For a late afternoon or evening drink, add a shot or two of Kahlua or brandy to fancy it up.
Then kick back with your copy of Mulch Ado About Murder and enjoy!

2017 double Agatha-nominated and national best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries; as Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in many juried anthologies and journals, and she serves as President of Sisters in Crime New England.

A fourth-generation Californian and former tech writer, farmer, and doula, Maxwell now writes, cooks, gardens (and wastes time as a Facebook addict) north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at, Killer Characters, and with the Midnight Ink authors. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at

Book blurb:

It’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap when a fellow farmer is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching a set of rosary beads. Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex-husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own visiting mother. Lucky for Cam, her nerdy academic father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing. Will he and Cam be able to clear her mom’s name before the killer strikes again?

You can also check out another one of Edith's books from this series, and of course, it's matched with another drink

Thursday, May 25, 2017

No. 1 Dad Father's Day Card

Lorraine Masonheimer, our card creator extraordinaire, is here to show us the delightful steam punk themed card she created to celebrate Father's Day. We're posting it a little early so you have time to make it. 

12” x 12” cream cardstock
Color coordinated papers (one pattern of your choice and four solid colors)
Book page
6 ½” square envelope
Big Shot machine
Die cut gears (assorted sizes)
Metal gear embellishment
Three dot embellishments
Dad stamp
ColorBox Chalk Charcoal Ink Pad
Glue dots
Pop up dots
X-acto blade

Step One:  Card Base
Cut a 12” x 12” sheet of cream paper to 6” x 12” and fold in half to 6” x 6” card base.  Cut the lighter solid paper to 6” x 6”.  Place a small mark on the dark solid paper at ¼” on the top left side, a small mark at 1” on the bottom left side and cut the diagonal as shown.  Measure the width to 2 ¾” and the length to 6” and cut to the same diagonal.  Repeat with the patterned paper with a width 2 ½” x 6” on the same diagonal.  Cut the book text to ¾” wide at the top and 1 ¼” wide at the bottom and 6” long. Tear a strip of text about 1” thick x 6” long.

Step Two:  Die Cut, Tear & Glue
Glue the lighter solid paper to the card base.  Glue the triangular book page to the left side of the card with the wider side at the bottom.  Glue the patterned paper to the dark solid strip and glue the left side slightly overlapping the book page.  Slip the torn strip of text behind the dark solid strip and glue everything to the card base.

Step Three:  Stamp & Embellish
Stamp a Dad sentiment onto the top right side of the card using a charcoal ink pad as shown.  Place a large-size die gear over a medium color paper and run through the Big Shot machine.  Cut a medium-size gear die from a dark solid paper.  Cut a small-size gear from the lightest color solid paper.  If desired, cut three small-size gears from the same paper for the lower right corner of the card.  Glue to the card base incorporating a medium-size metal gear. Use pop-up dots to set the lightest color gear over the metal gear.  Adhere three dot embellishments as shown.

Step Four: Embellish Inside and Envelope
Using the computer, create a text box about 5” x 5” and type "Getting it in gear to celebrate,  Best.  Dad.  Ever."  The example shown uses the type face Poor Richard at 20 pts in custom RGB color Red 84, Green 40 and Blue 4, centered.  Print and cut the sentiment into a 4½” x 4½” rectangle to leave space at the bottom to sign the card.  Adhere the sentiment to the card as shown.  Use scraps to add interest to the inside of the card and envelope flap. 

Extra postage is required for the larger size card.   

For a gift idea, include a gift card for a local bookstore, restaurant or hobby of his choice.  Either slip the gift card into the card or make a gift card holder (2 ½” x 2 ½”) and glue to the inside left flap as shown.