featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) claims she’s has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. Learn more about Marilyn and her books at her website and blog.

When Fiction Comes too Close to Reality

That’s what happened to me with my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Seldom Traveled.

I’m a combination of a plotter and a “pantser”. When I begin writing I’ve already decided who the murder victim will be and why, along with a few ideas who might have done it, where and how it happened.  An actual murder in a mountain community that I read about in a news clip is what got me started, however not much about that murder ended up in my story.

As I wrote, more and more ideas about who might have killed this person and why began to bounce around in my head. As I’m writing the story on the computer, I always have a notebook and pencil at hand to jot down all the new ideas so I don’t forget. This is an exciting process for me and part of why I enjoy writing so much—even after all these years.

Something else real that I included was a fugitive who managed to get away from the law and fled to the foothills where I live. Despite using dogs, law enforcement was unable to find this man. (I don’t know if he ever was apprehended because nothing more was ever mentioned in our local news.) For me, though, this was a great starting point for Seldom Traveled, and my fugitive plays a major part in the plot.

As I continued with the writing, I knew that a forest fire would play a major part in the plot. To make things accurate, I spent a lot of time asking a friend who is a firefighter many, many questions. He supplied me with the answers and made suggestions.

Remember, that a book is written long before it comes out. You probably all know that forest fires have plagued California this summer and into fall. When the book came out, several forest fires were burning around the state. Though I knew I had nothing to do with the fires, I couldn’t help feeling a bit of guilt.

When I sent the book to the publisher and answered the questionnaire about what I wanted the cover to look like, I mentioned the forest fire and a bald eagle that also plays a big part in the ending. My heroine is an Indian (she prefers that to Native American) so there is always a bit of Indian mysticism in the series. The artist did a perfect job. Take a look and see what you think.

Seldom Traveled
The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016


Former award-winning journalist and author Michele Drier writes the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries and the paranormal romance series SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles. Learn more about Michele and her books at her website.

Maps are a passion.

Want to get from Bath to Stonehenge by way of Limply Stoke? I have a map for that.
Looking for the best route between Beaune and Auxerre? I have a map for that.

I love to travel, to find different lands, different people, different foods, different cultures and outlooks. There’s a sense of adventure, of reinventing oneself, of adopting a different persona.

This may be why I set the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles primarily in and around Kiev. The protagonists live there, but they travel throughout Europe. And, like me, their favorite city is Paris.

They own a flat in the 7th Arrondissement, a leafy enclave overlooking the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars and the Ecole Militaire. They visit Paris for shopping, for business and always for Fashion Weeks.

A few years ago, before my mother died, she got a passport but hadn’t gone anywhere. I told her it was illegal to have a passport but not use it and asked where she’d like to go. I expected her to say England, but she said Paris and so we went for a week, not long enough.

After we spent hours at the Louvre, we sat beside one of the ponds in the Tuileries Gardens, watched French kids sail toy boats and she said, “I’m in love.” She loved the sights, the families, the art, the food, the sounds. She said that all her life she’d heard French emergency sirens in movies and on TV and now she was hearing the definitive “OOOH-ah, OOOH-ah.”

That was probably my seventh or eighth visit to Paris and I, too, had fallen in love with the city over the years. Now, as I write, I have maps of many European cities and countries near. After all, the Kandeskys are an uber-rich, uber-sophisticated vampire family who rose in Hungary five hundred years ago. They spend time in many European cities, and I need to see where they go, what they do, so I read the maps. The most tattered is a map of Paris from Galleries Lafayette picked up years ago. I close my eyes and see the street, the apartment, the courtyard, the trees that the Kandeskys see, though their view is by night.

 In the latest Kandesky book, SNAP: I, Vampire, a visit to a Fashion Week show results in a kidnapping and chase through the French countryside. And I traced the kidnappers’ route on one of my maps.

Soon, I’m going back to Paris, back to the 7th Arrondissment, back to the food, the people, the OOH-ah sirens, and to revisit the places where my mother fell in love.

SNAP: I, Vampire
Book 9 of The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles

Maxie Gwenoch, LA-based media star, VP for International Planning for the multi-national gossip conglomerate, SNAP, has finally agreed to marry Jean-Louis Kandesky, a 500-year-old Hungarian vampire and leader of the family that owns SNAP.

Is marriage a big change? Not as big as the fact that Maxie is now a vampire, as well. When munitions from the Kandesky Enterprises weapons plant in Slovakia turn up at the bombing of a Royal's house in England, Jean-Louis and his "brother," Nik, are hot on the trail of shadowy terrorist groups dealing in international weapons sales. Are the Kandesky arms being sold to terrorists groups? Should Maxie use her newfound vampire strengths to ferret out the scum?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Amber Foxx has worked professionally in theater and dance, fitness, and academia. In her free time she enjoys music, dancing, art, running and yoga. She divides her time between the Southeast and the Southwest, living in Truth or Consequences during her New Mexico months. Learn more about Amber and her books at her website. 

Frustrations: Fragmentation

I usually blog about things that make me happy, so I challenged myself to discuss frustrations. It was harder than I expected. I have a bias toward the positive. Still, it can be good to hear someone share a frustration. Recently, one of my students delivered a hilarious rant about early morning classes as she slumped and sprawled over her desk—in a morning class, of course. I’m the professor, so I can’t behave like that, but I agreed with her and felt more normal about my preference to sleep late. It doesn’t change the fact that morning people took over the world while we were asleep; it just makes it more bearable to have someone express the same feelings. I don’t have much to complain about it, and I’m not as funny as she was, but I do have an ongoing frustration that others may identify with. Fragmentation.

I heard the following fragments of fascinating facts on NPR.

1.   A study found that people who are interrupted frequently as part of an experiment will continue to interrupt themselves for one to two hours after the intrusions have stopped.

2.   France has passed a Right to Disconnect Law. Workers have the right to ignore calls and emails from their workplaces while they are on vacation or after working hours, and employers legally cannot penalize them for not taking those calls. The purpose of this is to make sure people can enjoy their leisure, their social events, and their family time uninterrupted.

I would have liked to learn more, but I had to interrupt each of these stories, get out of the car and go teach a class.

As a professor, my day is broken up into one-hour to ninety-minute chunks for meetings and classes without enough time in-between to focus the way I like to. During an hour between two classes, I end up doing lots of fragmented tasks, such as answering emails. Students and colleagues have come to expect this as the norm for communication, rather than dropping by office hours for conversation. I long for uninterrupted concentration. (Did you notice the rhymes? I could write a patter song from that. Oops. Did you notice how I just interrupted myself?) All these tiny tasks breaking up my focus are turning me into an absent-minded professor. It’s my job to read, write and think, and fragmentation makes it harder. I’ve picked two nights out of the week on which I schedule nothing after work, so I can stay late to read and grade student papers in peace, taking as long as I need to.

Because I crave escape from fragments and want whole experiences, I love getting lost in books, both reading them and writing them. Summers and vacations are bliss because I can write for hours. I schedule my time around a few key events—exercise, social life, and sleep—and otherwise I can enter flow to my heart’s content.

I confess that fragmentation fatigue makes it hard for me to enjoy most social media. Facebook lets me stay in touch with friends I don’t see often and fellow writers I only know online, but its busy interface doesn’t inherently appeal to me. Twitter makes me feel as if hundreds of fragments are flying at me, and I want to duck them. The only social media form I truly embrace is blogging. The blogs I follow present fully developed ideas or images that I can take time to enjoy, with no other visual stimuli clamoring at me from above or below them. Writing a blog post allows me time to explore an idea and polish it. While other social media feel like a drive in heavy traffic in a construction zone with billboards on all sides, blogging feels like a leisurely walk on a pleasant day.

While I was writing this, it struck me that although my protagonist is in college (she’s in her late twenties, a non-traditional age student), I’ve set only small portions of any of my books during the academic year. As a student, her days are chopped up as much as mine are, between her classes and study groups and her job at the campus fitness center. The open space of her vacations gives me more freedom in my plots. Snake Face takes place during a Christmas holiday. The newest book, Ghost Sickness, is set during her summer break.

On my own summer breaks, I have frequently and blissfully attended the ceremonies on the Mescalero Apache reservation that Mae goes to in the book. I can enter a deep, ecstatic state of pure attention during these dances. But of course, I can’t give my main character the kind of serene vacations I enjoy. What I can give her is uninterrupted time to get involved in a mystery.

Ghost Sickness
A Mae Martin Psychic Mystery, Book 5
No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all.

A visit to the Mescalero Apache reservation turns from vacation to turmoil for Mae Martin.

Reno Geronimo has more money than a starving artist should. He’s avoiding his fiancée and his family. His former mentor, nearing the end of her life, refuses to speak to him and no one knows what caused the rift. Distressed and frustrated, Reno’s fiancée asks Mae to use her psychic gift to find out what he’s hiding. Love and friendship are rocked by conflict as she gets closer and closer to the truth.

Bargain! The first book in the Mae Martin Series, TheCalling, is on sale for 99 cents through October 28th.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Award-winning romance author and editor Kathryn Lively is an avid Whovian and Rush (the band) fan who loves chocolate and British crisps and is still searching for a good US dealer of Japanese Kit Kat bars. Learn more about her and her books at her website. 

In my contemporary romance, Finish What You Started, actress-turned-showrunner Gabby reconnects with her ex-husband Dash. Dash’s acting career hovers around the D-list, and he hopes to get back to star status. Along the way, there’s food to enjoy but I don’t dwell too much on the eats as I have in other works. Dash and Gabby have takeout from his favorite Italian place, there are scenes at the craft table during a shoot, and a tense confrontation at a popular Jewish deli. Food isn’t much of a star in this story, but rest assured people will eat well in the follow-up book.

I tend to showcase Italian food in many of my works by virtue of heritage. My mother is a second-generation American in her family, with grandparents from Sicily. Sundays were reserved for sit-down dinners of pasta and meatballs, or ziti with fried zucchini. Special occasions called for lasagna and sausage and peppers. Over time, I’ve managed to cooks all these dishes with good results. One of my favorite meals, gnocchi, my mother never tried for some reason. I’m not sure why—having made a lasagna, the work involved doesn’t seem excessive.

My characters enjoy a variety of bites in my first book, Totally Bound. Do they have gnocchi? You’ll have to read to find out. I know I plan on it in the future. What’s more, I’ve devised a “cheater” recipe in case you don’t have the time to boil and mash potatoes beforehand. If you have leftover mashed potatoes from the grocery deli, or if you buy the premade stuff, it can work.

I take about a cup of cold mashed potatoes (they have to be cold, you’ll see why) and mix in one egg with enough flour to create a dough-dumpling consistency. If the potatoes are warm, wait, otherwise you’ll end up creating cooked egg in potatoes. Yuck.

As for measuring flour, I start with a quarter cup and keep adding until I get the dough. You don’t want potatoes coming off on your fingers as you knead.

Once the dough ready, separate it and roll long ropes to about the width of a fingertip. Cut one inch pieces and press the tines of a fork down on each to create that ridged appearance. Or don’t – it doesn’t affect the flavor.

Boil a pot of water, and add the gnocchi. The dumplings will be ready when they float to the surface, and you just skim them out of the water into a bowl. Add your favorite sauce, brown some ground sausage or add ham or meatballs, and grate some cheese. Time to eat!

Just thinking about gnocchi has me ready to make some dough for dinner. Don’t be surprised if my characters eat it in every book I write from now on. ;)

Finish What You Started
In this business, it gets hot under the spotlight…

Once a teen idol, Gabby Randall now spends her time behind the camera. With her show Danse Macabre scripted and greenlit for a popular streaming site, she has everything she wants…except her star. Deadlines are looming and she’s desperate to cast the role of a modern-day, motorcycle-riding Grim Reaper. She never thought she’d end up hiring her former co-star, TV’s most beloved g'eek…and her ex-husband.

Until the day he dies, people will remember Dash Gregory as Freddie ‘Grody’ Grodin, the token geek friend of the cool kids at Wondermancer High. After years of casting agents overlooking him for plum roles, Dash wants to show Hollywood he’s more than a one-note player. He’s ready to break the vicious typecasting cycle, and he’s set his sights on the lead role in a sexy new series too hot for network TV.

When the director yells “Cut!” the star wants to keep up the action behind the scenes. Are Dash and Gabby willing to make ratings history again?

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Monday, October 17, 2016


With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I'd share with all of you a cross stitched Halloween Haunted House designed by author Lois Winston and featured thirteen years ago in The Cross Stitcher magazine.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Ryan Aldred writes mysteries and thrillers. Today he joins us for an interview. Learn more about him at his website.

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I’ve enjoyed writing and storytelling for as long as I can remember, but it was back in high school when I first attempted to write a novel. I wasn’t really thinking about genre at the time, but I suppose you’d call it a comedic political thriller about a seniors home in the U. S. that declares itself an independent nation. It was and remains completely unpublishable, but I had a tremendous amount of fun writing it. The consensus was that I wouldn’t be able to make a living from writing, so I studied Cognitive Science (computing science and psychology) and shoved my writing to the side for a decade. But I always had one project or another brewing in the back of my mind.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Either four years or fourteen, depending on how you count it.

I was on parental leave with our son when the idea for the Bar on a Beach mystery series came to me. I’m grateful to my very patient and understanding wife for not murdering me when I told her that I intended to start writing a novel while we were still learning how to look after a three-month-old. But I worked at it steadily, and had the first draft of a novel about four months later. That’s when the real work began – editing, querying, more editing, more querying, more editing, and so on.

Within that first year, I wrote the novel, found an agent, and did the first major re-write. In the second year, we went through a slew of rejections, the agent and I parted ways, and I met Deni Dietz from Five Star at the Bloody Words conference in Toronto. We went through two more major re-writes – adding and removing about 15,000 words – before Five Star picked it up in November 2014. It was published in June 2016.

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Traditionally published through Five Star, which is part of Gale Cengage. A lot of authors are doing some incredible work via the indie and hybrid route, but I knew my first novel would benefit from an experienced editor. I can’t say enough good things about the work done by Deni Dietz and her team.

Where do you write?
We live in a Victorian-era home in Prince Edward County. There’s an old teak table in the library that’s surrounded by windows overlooking our garden. There’s a bit of motion outside, but not enough to distract. Although my wife and kids are also at home, I like being on the main floor – it lets me feel a part of the household, but still far enough removed that I can focus on my work.

But really, I’ll work anywhere. I write in 90 minute blocks. So long as I can get (relative) peace and quiet for that window, I’ll get some work done. I set a goal of 500 words – about a page and a half, double spaced – per day. 500 words might not seem like a lot but if you do that every single day, you’ll have the first draft of a novel in five months.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I love music, but I just can’t do lyrics when I’m writing. The words get all jumbled. So I listen to a lot of Vitamin String Quartet – they do covers of a lot of big name alternative music. It’s beautiful and upbeat. Their rendition of ‘What’s My Age Again’ by Blink 182 is a personal favorite – it’s beautiful music, which stands in such stark contrast to the song’s filthy lyrics. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VAoHQbndKs ]

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I first visited Rum Luck’s setting of Tamarindo in 2004. It’s just this really great town, with this laid back vibe. Beautiful beach, great surf, awesome people. But it does have a bit of an edge to it. There is a drugs trade in the region, and there’s not much that can’t be had at the right price. Still, Tamarindo has this gravity. It makes you want to sell all of your worldly belongings and live in a shack by the ocean.

Some friends and I joked that we were going to open a bar that we’d rent out to pretend-owners who wanted the experience of running a bar on a beach somewhere. We’d let clients customize the bar however they’d want – so it could be a sports bar one week, and a jazz club the next. Time marched on and we never opened that bar, but that became the basis for the cantina in Rum Luck and the rest of the upcoming Bar on a Beach mysteries.

My characters tend to borrow traits from a handful of people I know in real life. That’s where they start, at least. But as they get out into the ‘real world’ and make decisions, they grow and evolve on their own.

Describe your process for naming your character?
I have a hard time remembering names, so I try and keep my characters’ names as distinct as possible. I also try and space them out on the alphabet. There’s nothing worse than a book with five characters whose names start with ‘M’. And I genuinely feel that names convey a certain personality, and so I reflect that with my characters as well.

Real settings or fictional towns?
I set Rum Luck in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, which is a real town. I think it’s tougher to use real towns – it takes more research, and there’s a greater chance you’re going to make someone angry – but I love the idea of introducing someone to a real place. One reader told me that she felt like she’d been to Costa Rica after reading Rum Luck, and I’m just not sure you get that feeling with a fictional town.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Victoria Holmes flies down to help her friend Ben Cooper when he’s arrested for the murder of the cantina’s former owner. She’s this really smart, sarcastic lawyer who works at this high powered law firm, and who quite enjoys her life of luxury in Toronto. But she’s also always dreamed of being a DJ, so when the chance presents itself, she decides to quit her job and stay in Costa Rica. She’s wearing a business suit during her first set, and picks up the name of Maestra de Escuela or DJ School Mistress. I love exploring the idea of a character who seems to have everything, yet never had the chance to pursue a dream. It seems ridiculous in some ways, but it is very, very human.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
A couple of years ago, I joined an improv troupe by accident. It started with a practice once a week and, before I knew it, we were actually performing. By then it just felt as though it was too late for me to back out. While I never imagined that I’d end up performing on stage that way, I do really enjoy it. As a writer, I’m always trying to get the perfect story eventually. When I’m up on stage, I have to do the best I can with the very limited time available. It makes it easier to go back to writing rough drafts.

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
I absolutely love Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. She just has a flair for the locked room mystery. I’d love to attempt something that technically demanding one of these days, but I don’t see that happening for a while yet. But I do like having something to aspire to.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I don’t think you can go back and change just one part in your life. I’m really happy with where I’ve ended up, and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that by mucking about with history.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when someone complains that a television show / author / musical artist that they pirate isn’t making any new material. If you are completely broke or simply can’t access the content where you live, then I understand. But most of this material cost less than a trip to a coffee shop. If you like what we’re making, vote with your dollar.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A satellite phone, membership with Global Rescue [https://www.globalrescue.com/], and a pizza. By the time I’m done with the pizza, Global Rescue will have me on a helicopter back to the mainland.

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
When I first joined the Army, a Sergeant told me that it would be the best and worst job of my life. I thought he meant that some years would be hard, and others would be easy – but no, one moment you can be digging trenches, and the next you’re in a helicopter flying over a frozen lake, so low that you’re below the tree line. I’ve been in the Army Reserve for 18 years now. I’m a Sergeant myself. And I would say it’s the most difficult job I’ve ever done, but I fully intend to stay in until I age out.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
It’s a tossup between Starship Troopers and Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, but I think I’ll have to give the edge to Pratchett. He just did such an amazing job of creating these fantastic characters that seem so very real, and weaving a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I’ve never been a police officer, but the way he wrote Captain Vimes seems so natural. Whenever I read Night Watch, it feels like I’m spending time with an old friend.

Ocean or mountains?
Why not both?

Perhaps our favourite place to visit is Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica. It has these beautiful hillsides – not quite mountains, but a fair facsimile thereof – that are covered in rainforest, and they crash down to the Pacific. Best of both worlds.

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
I’m a country guy, but I live within a few hours of Toronto. I like knowing my neighbours and buying that night’s dinner from a farm stand, but sometimes you just need to spend some time at a museum and take in a show.

What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m working on an in-depth re-write of Past Salvage. That’s the first book in the Extractor series, in which the lead operative from a private search and rescue firm is drawn into the black market antiquities trade. I’m hoping to get it out to agents in early 2017.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I’d just like to thank everyone for reading. I hope you’ll consider taking a moment to read the opening pages of Rum Luck. I love hearing from readers, so do reach out and let me know what you think of it.

Rum Luck
Sand. Monkeys. Murder. Ben Cooper was supposed to be on his Pacific honeymoon, not waking up in a Costa Rican prison cell with no memory of the night before.

Then again, Ben never thought he would catch his fiancée with some clown--literally. Or that his friend Miguel would drag him to the surf paradise of Tamarindo before Aunt Mildred could ask why they canceled the open bar reception.

But surely his friend and lawyer Victoria didn't need to fly down from Toronto overnight. After all, the police would let him go once he sobered up and paid his fine. Right?

Except for the little matter of a murder. And Ben's buying a beachside bar from the victim, hours before the man's death. With foreclosure looming and death threats piling up on the rum-soaked bar, Ben and his friends must scramble to salvage something from the ramshackle cantina that is their best shot at a fresh start or a quick end.

To succeed in this sinister surf town, they must turn to the wild idea that got them into this mess--building a business around those who've always wanted to run their own bar on a beach somewhere, even for just a week.

But to survive, they'll need every skill at their disposal--including those they'd rather forget they have.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016


Laura Plantation
Ellen Byron's debut novel, Plantation Shudders, made the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. The second book in her Cajun Country Mystery Series, Body on the Bayou, was recently released. Learn more aobut Ellen and her books at her website. 

A great way to build a day trip from New Orleans is to tour one Creole plantation and one American plantation, with a lunch break between tours –which is exactly what I did with my family on a recent visit to Louisiana.

Creole plantations are of an earlier vintage and were painted in vivid colors. American plantations tend to date after the Louisiana Purchase, when planters from other parts of the country migrated to Louisiana. They were usually white and leaned more toward Greek Revival in style. (There was a reason Creole planters avoided white - colors did a much better job of hiding Louisiana's mold and mildew. However, once American rule was imposed on Louisiana, many Creoles wound up painting their houses white so that they blended in with their new neighbors.)

My husband, daughter and I began our adventure at Laura, a Creole plantation on the west River Road. They give a wonderful tour where you get a wide-ranging view of what plantation life was like. The owners had the miraculous good luck to locate the diary of Laura Lacoul Gore, who grew up on the plantation (hence the name) and documented her life there and her home's history. The tales of Br'er Rabbit originated in Laura's slave cabins, and that’s an important part of the tour. You see the grim lodgings where enslaved people were forced to live, and learn about the brutal difficulties they had to endure.

Before crossing the Mississippi to our destination on its east bank, we stopped for lunch at B&C Seafood, a local haunt that also enjoys national popularity. I love its authenticity and delicious dishes.
Houmas House 
Next up on our agenda was a tour of Houmas House, once known as The Sugar Palace. Houmas House is a classic "American" plantation, although it’s currently painted pale yellow instead of white. The tour is detailed and fascinating, with even a little gossip thrown in about what happened when Bette Davis and Joan Crawford butted heads on the set of Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. (Hint: Joan Crawford isn’t in the movie.)

Both Laura and Houmas House have excellent gift shops. Houmas House also offers great dining options, so hopefully you’ve worked off that lunch at B&C’s by the time you’re done with their tour. I've had dinner at The Carriage House, and it was outstanding, as was the Burnside Cafe, where I had one of the best oyster po'boys ever. And my husband fell in love with the sweet concoction that they served with their bread. It's made from butter, Steen Cane Syrup, and pecans, and trust me, if he could have packed it in his suitcase, he would have! Enjoy a light bite – or even a heavy one – before you return to New Orleans after a day spent stepping back into Louisiana’s unique past.

Body on the Bayou
The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

When everyone else refuses the job of being Vanessa's Maid of Honor, Maggie reluctantly takes up the title and finds herself tasked with a long list of duties--the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities.

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