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.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

FAVORITES, FAILURES & FRUSTRATIONS WITH GUEST AUTHOR TINA NEWCOMB

Tina Newcomb writes heartwarming stories of second chances, new beginnings, and happy endings. She is not a plotter and loves to see where her characters will take her. Learn more about Tina and her books at her website.

Some of my favorite things…

I’m dating myself when I admit reading Charles M. Schulze’s Happiness is a Warm Puppy back in the 1960s. I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately. I’m a pretty positive person in general and can find happiness in simple things.

Happiness to me is the first day it’s finally warm enough to open the windows to allow the spring breeze admittance. Happiness is the first fonts of flowers pushing up through the dirt or the buds on the trees unfurling their new coats of green. Happiness is a beautiful monarch landing on the butterfly bush next to the patio. Happiness is remembering to take out the trashcans before the garbage truck comes around the corner. Happiness is a new bra, a swimming suit—that fits, losing a pound or five. Happiness is a clean house, rain hitting the windows, a pile of autumn leaves, the first snowfall of the winter. Happiness is hearing a song on the radio that makes me smile. Happiness is a hug from a friend, a call from one of my kids.

Happiness is typing “The End”.

Happiness is hearing my grandson say, “I love you, Grandma.”

Happiness is my husband and I laughing hysterically over something that isn’t really funny, but, if we don’t laugh, we may cry.

Happiness is family around the Thanksgiving table, a blaze in the fireplace, a bubble bath with an I-can’t-put-it-down book.

Happiness is that moment when you feel something deep in your chest that tells you a higher power is looking out for you.

Happiness for me now is a lot different that it was as a child. One of the happiest memories from childhood was the day I learned to ride a bike. Happiness then was camping trips, throwing rocks into a lake, tubing down the river. Happiness was all the hours I spent at the neighborhood swimming pool. Utter happiness was the first time I did a back dive that didn’t include a belly flop.

This month, happiness will be finishing NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words. Next month, happiness will be when I finally finish wrapping the Christmas presents I haven’t begun to buy, yet. And in January, happiness will be when I get all the decorations packed away and my house is clean again.

Then spring is here and I hear a bird twittering outside my bedroom window. Now, that is true happiness.

Remember every day is filled with ordinary miracles. We just have to look outside ourselves to find happiness in the little things.

What are some of your favorite things?

Finding Eden
Best-selling author Colton McCreed flies into remote but charming Eden Falls for the summer to study small town life for his next horrific murder mystery. As his research pulls him into the community, his life becomes entwined with Mayor Alex Blackwood and her exuberant son. Colton’s bitter past left him believing he’s immune to love, but he soon finds himself drawn to Alex and her happy-go-lucky kid.

Alex Blackwood is not only the mayor of Eden Falls, she’s a business owner, the mother of six-year-old Charlie, and a widow. While love for her son fills her soul, the crushing reality of the death of her husband, who was killed while serving his country, is always near. As she struggles to find balance between her busy life and the challenge of raising a young son on her own, dating someone who’s leaving at the end of summer runs dead last on her to-do list.
Charlie’s impromptu invitations to dinner throw Colton and Alex into a world of discovery, shattering her image of Mr. Right and his belief forever happiness is out of reach.

Colton must move past his fear of attachment or risk losing his opportunity at love.
  
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--GUEST MYSTERY SLEUTH LEE ALVAREZ BAKES UP POSSUM PIE

Multi-award winning author Heather Haven writes humorous, noir, historical, and romantic mysteries, short stories, and plays. She and her husband of thirty-five years are allowed to live in the foothills of San Jose with their two adorable but demanding cats. Learn more about Heather and her books at her website.

Lee Alvarez Shares Her Uncle’s Newest Recipe
I don’t mean to brag, but as the central character of the humorous Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series, I get to eat a lot of terrific food. That’s because my Tío is the retired executive chef of the world famous Las Mananita’s Restaurant in San Jose, California. During his illustrious career, his recipes were often written up in gourmet food magazines. They’d throw in a few snaps of him, too, because Tío is one classy uncle. I have all the articles and pictures in a scrapbook I started in my early teens. That was before my PI days. I don’t have time to make scrapbooks anymore – I don’t have time for squat anymore -- but I always seem to find time to sit down at the dinner table and scarf down one of his culinary masterpieces!

Tío’s desserts undo me. While he’s creating a recipe, he makes it again and again until it reaches his idea of perfection. Meanwhile, lucky me gets to gobble up every version as he strives for the ultimate. When Tío was working on his homemade mango and red plum ice cream garnished with fresh spearmint leaves, I must have gained six pounds.

Fortunately, I spend a lot of time chasing bad guys over Bay Area rooftops, so I tend to lose the weight as fast as I gain it. I’ll tell you, though, my new favorite is his version of Arkansan possum pie, Mexican style. And just for the record, there is NO real possum to be found in it. Just a lot of chocolate hidden under mounds of whipped cream.

Tio’s Possum Pie
(serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

First Layer (crust)
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Second Layer
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Third Layer
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup of Dutch cocoa
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground chilis (optional)
Salt, a pinch
3 tablespoon corn starch
3 large egg yolks
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1 teaspoons vanilla (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla if you don’t use Kalúha below)
1 teaspoon Kalúha, a coffee flavored liquor from Mexico (optional)

Fourth Layer
1 cup cold heavy cream  
 2 tablespoons sugar
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Chocolate shavings (optional)

 Place all pecans needed for recipe in a skillet on medium heat and sauté until they just begin to turn fragrant and brown, about 3 to 5 minutes (watch closely so they don’t burn). Remove from heat and let cool. Divide into four piles, one for each layer and top then set aside. Spray a 9-inch.

For the first layer (crust): finely chop the share of pecans being used in the crust. Combine melted butter, flour and pecans. Spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan, pressing down with your fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until the dough just begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

Forget the second layer for the moment, but move on to the third layer: While the first layer (crust) bakes, in a medium saucepan, add the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt, cinnamon (optional), chilis (optional), and corn starch. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks until broken up, then milk. On medium heat, add milk mixture to dry ingredients, whisking constantly until pudding begins to boil and thicken, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Add Kalúha (optional), but remember to only put in 1 teaspoon of vanilla, not 2,  if you’re adding Kalúha. Let cool about 5 minutes. Pour pudding in a shallow bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface so a skin does not form. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For second layer: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk. Beat with electric mixture for 2-3 minutes or combined.

For the fourth layer: Place mixer bowl and whisk in freezer for at least 20 minutes to chill. Pour heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla into the cold bowl and whisk on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Do not overbeat.

To assemble pie: Spread cream cheese mixture over the dough base. Remove pudding from fridge. Carefully spread pudding over the cream cheese layer. Top with whipped cream, toasted pecans and chocolate shavings if desired. Refrigerate or serve, cut into small pieces.

The Culinary Art of Murder
An Alvarez Family Murder Mystery, Book 6

Lee’s Uncle Tío is smitten with the guest chef at a Silicon Valley culinary arts institute. When the woman is arrested for the murder of a fellow chef, a reluctant Lee agrees to help prove Tío’s lady love innocent. But Lee suspects the ambitious, southern belle of a cook might just be guilty. Undercover work at the institute proves to have more pitfalls than whipping up a chocolate soufflé. The killer isn’t done and tries to get Lee out of the way permanently. But just who is the murderer? The accused? One of her two sons? Another inmate from a cooking school with more to hide than dirty dishes? With secrets as plentiful  as sauces, the nagging question remains, if Lee proves the lady chef guilty, will Tío ever forgive her for sending his new love to jail?


Monday, November 27, 2017

ANASTASIA GETS A FACELIFT


At some point many years ago I remember learning that people who are constantly rearranging their furniture do so because they have no control over certain aspects of their life. Changing the placement of their furnishings is a substitute for the things they can’t change in their life. Whether this is a principle of psychology or not, I don’t know. I never took a psych course in college. I suppose it makes sense, though. Change the things you can, and maybe it will help you deal with the things you can’t?

I’m wondering if that’s the reason author Lois Winston decided to update a few of my book covers. After all, she’s the one responsible for all the bad stuff that I’ve had to deal with in my life. She killed off my husband in Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, which was certainly bad enough, but she didn’t just leave it at that. She also left me penniless and burdened with debt greater than the GNP of most Third World nations AND permanently stuck me with a communist mother-in-law who blames me for all the world’s ills.


Will a totally new book cover for Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun and a slightly tweaked book cover for Death By Killer Mop Doll make my life any better? Doubtful. But they are nice to look at. I just hope Lois doesn’t consider this my Christmas present. Winter is coming, and I could really use a week in Aruba. Hint! Hint!

Friday, November 24, 2017

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--12 SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS MYSTERY BOX SET TO SUPPORT NO-KILL SHELTERS

Colleen Mooney joins us today to talk about a very special project she’s involved in with a group of fellow authors. Learn more about the project and the various giveaways the authors are offering at their website

I met Abby Vandiver in a Twitter group, and the next thing I know I’m working with these wonderful mystery writers, and we are doing a Christmas Box set called the 12 Slays of Christmas and donating all proceeds to Non-Kill Animals Shelters. Now, since Harvey hit Houston and Irma hit Florida, there is a greater need than ever.  We hope to sell enough copies so that we can help both areas.

The collection is available for preorder now on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and ITunes for only $.99.  After the December 5th release the price increase to $4.99.

The lineup of authors and stories include:

1.Abby L. Vandiver, Baby Its Cold Outside
It's a family affair. Cousins, Brigitt and San finally start their dream business - an event planning company! And what better time to open then at Christmas. But it looks as if the only event they may be hosting is a murder investigation after a body is found in their basement.

2. Judith Lucci, The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year
Faced with the recent death of her husband Medical Examiner Kinsey Zee and her black lab Solomon investigate a death by bear mauling on the Massanutten Mountain only to learn her holiday wouldn't be so bad after all.

3. Amy Vansant, Stollen Time
When a Pineapple Port resident is found face-down in her Christmas fruit stollen, Charlotte knows this case won't be cake. Was it an accident? The ungrateful granddaughter? Or the person who baked the stollen?

4. Colleen Mooney, Death by Rum Balls
Guests to a neighborhood Christmas party all have something to hide and the hostess has been spreading everything except good will. When a couple are discovered poisoned right before everyone sits down for dinner, all the guests are suspects and have reasons they want the hostess to pay.

5. Amy Reade, The Worst Noel
It's Black Friday, and Lilly Carlsen finds a body who's been strangled with a strand of pearls from her inventory on her biggest shopping day of the year. Lilly is a single mom with two teenagers, has a sister with Juniper Junction's finest and her mother is showing signs of dementia, but her life gets more complicated when her ex-husband shows up out of the clear, thin mountain air.

6.Nell Goddin, The Case of the Curious Biscuit
PI Molly Sutton expected Christmas in Castillac to be quaint and charming. But apparently murder doesn't take vacations...

7. Colleen Helme, Devil in A Black Suit
Ramos’ job as the right-hand man to a mobster used to be easy until Shelby, a mind-reading soccer mom, joined the organization. With all the trouble she gets into, he’s constantly putting his life on the line to save her. But this time, it could be a deal with a deadly enemy that gets him killed.

8. Larissa Reinhart, May Your Days Be Cherry and Albright
In this Rashomon-style Christmas mystery, while Cherry Tucker suffers from flu-induced visions of murder, Maize Albright’s on the hunt for a missing granddaughter whose criminal stockings have long been filled with coal. 

9. Kim Hunt Harris, Frankincense, Gold, and Murder
Salem is celebrating Christmas in true Trailertopian style, but her festivities take a downturn when she finds a murdered neighbor. It won’t be a jolly Christmas if her snooping for the killer leads to her becoming the next victim.

10. Cindy Bell, Christmas Chocolates and Crimes
Ally and Charlotte expected the holidays to be filled with chocolates and good times. What they didn’t expect is to be solving murders and crimes.
 
11.Summer Prescott, Home for the Holidays
When a down-and-out young veteran finds himself homeless for the holidays, he lands a job as a mall Santa, and finds himself in a situation much tighter than a chimney. Will the magic of Christmas come to his aid in time?

12. Kathleen Dionne, Murder at the Holiday Bazaar
Travel chef, Stevie Elliott, comes home to Quapaw, Mississippi, to help with the annual Holiday Bazaar by making her famous Southern Fried Chicken. But this joyous festival suddenly sours when Pastor Oliver is found dead in his office with one of Stevie’s half-eaten chicken legs in his hand.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Over the river and through the woods,

To grandmother's house we go;

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,

Through the white and drifted snow, O!
Over the river and through the woods,

Oh how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes, and bites the nose,

As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the woods,

To have a first-rate play;

Oh hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ling!"

Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day, Hey!
Over the river and through the woods,

Trot fast my dapple gray!

Spring over the ground, like a hunting hound!

For this is Thanksgiving Day, Hey!

Over the river and through the woods,

And straight through the barnyard gate,

We seem to go extremely slow.

It is so hard to wait!
Over the river and through the woods,

Now grandmother's cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?

Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

FAVORITES, FAILURES & FRUSTRATIONS WITH GUEST CHARACTER JULIENNE LaMERE

Avery Daniels graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in Fortune 500 companies and the Department of Defense her entire life. She lives in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions, volunteers at a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table. Learn more about Avery and her books at her website. 

Frustrations Galore

Hello, I’m Julienne LaMere. I make my debut in Iced by Avery Daniels. The beginning briefly shows how good my life started. I opted out of college because I was fortunate to get accepted in a management-training program at a five-star resort. I am receiving on-the-job training on how to run luxury resorts. How amazing is that! I think I am doubly blessed to start my career at the foot of a majestic mountain with a resort that exemplifies European elegance and glamour. Not that I am biased in the least.

As part of the training, I rotate jobs to learn each area. Currently I am doing event planning. One local Influential Leaders Networking Luncheon finds a celebrity mega-church pastor getting a bit grabby with me. I knee him where it counts and leave. Next time I see him, he has the pointy nose of the swordfish ice sculpture through his chest. Gulp.

Because of my incident with the good pastor I become the prime suspect. Frustration Number One and granted, the biggest concern. But oh, it is only the beginning of my trials and tribulations.

The incredibly popular and nationally known pastor haunts me from his grave, as if in retaliation for my knee to his sensitive bits, in the form of his devoted fans and church members calling to have me fired. If it weren’t for my dad hiring a lawyer, I might have lost my job before I could take a breath.

Oh, then there is my dad. Family is always a challenge… am I right? Come on, be honest now. Frustration Number Two, my father pours on the pressure to stop pursuing a career and marry, preferably with a financially set man, and start giving him the grandchildren he wants. Arggggggg!

My boyfriend, who is a long-term best friend of my cousin and nearly a member of the family because of it, decides to pop the question. Sure, most women would be over the moon, right? I was blown away, especially when he reveals how he sees my ambition to manage resorts around the world as silly little fantasies that I should have left in the dust with my Barbies.  Frustration Number Three.

As if all this weren’t enough to make a hummingbird exhausted or a Tasmanian Devil lose his cool, I have a new neighbor who the senior women simply call “the hot new guy.” I call him Bond Jr. because he is suave, a photographer of celebrities, and a professional level gambler. Somehow I have sparked his interest, not that I did anything for that honor. To be honest, the man scares the pudding out of me, he is just too….sexy. Now, you may not think that is a frustration, ladies, but when you are attempting to work through problems with your boyfriend and his detailed plans for our future that trample my dreams – it is yet another complication in life I could do without at the moment. Really. 

I don’t want to reveal all my frustrations, but suffice it to say I had to put my foot down in several instances…and take control of this situation before the police make a terrible mistake. I’m part French, and the last thing you want is this little French gal mad as a hornet. So I’m putting together a list for the police of other more worthy suspects they should be looking at, which involves my going undercover at one point. Some of what I discover about the dearly departed pastor is more than blush worthy, too.

If you would like to commiserate with me, read about all the frustrations and revelations I dig up, let alone the danger I come far too close to, check out the account of my adventure in Iced by Avery Daniels.

Iced
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--BOLOGNESE RAGU WITH AUTHOR LISA LIEBERMAN

Lisa Lieberman writes the Cara Walden series of historical noir mysteries about blacklisted Hollywood people in exotic European locales. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and blogs about old movies at deathlessprose.com

An Italian Thanksgiving

You might have thought life as a college professor was challenging enough, teaching history while trying to finish a book, with three small children at home, but my husband and I could never resist an adventure. We’d spent the first year of our married life in England and France, researching our doctoral dissertations in fusty libraries and taking advantage of student travel discounts to see as much of those two countries as we could, but jobs were scarce for academic couples and we ended up stuck in small towns with little hope of escape.

So when I was offered the opportunity to direct a study abroad program in Bologna, Italy, we didn’t hesitate. Who cared that we didn’t know Italian? We had a year to learn the language (and Italians turned out to be very forgiving of mistakes. . .) Somehow we managed to find a babysitter for our infant, a nursery school for our four-year-old, and a public school for our second grader — all within walking distance of our apartment.

That year in Italy changed us in so many ways. For one thing, we started eating pasta pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day! My Italian administrative assistant taught me how to make a proper ragu, Bologna-style. Turkeys being hard to come by in Italy, we made it for Thanksgiving and have kept up the tradition ever since. The recipe below makes enough sauce for two pounds of pasta, so you can freeze half if you’re not feeding an army.

All the Wrong Places, the first book in my Hollywood-themed mystery series, is set partially in Italy. Writing it allowed me to travel back there in my imagination. We’d taken our kids to Sicily for Easter, and stayed at a pensione in Taormina that had a swimming pool set in a terraced garden, complete with lemon trees. For breakfast, they served us juice made from blood oranges. “I couldnt get over the ruby red pulp,” Cara says. “That was Sicily, always surprising you with its vibrancy.”

I invite you to come along with Cara and have an adventure of your own. The ebook of All the Wrong Places will be on sale for .99 from Thanksgiving week through the end of November. Buon viaggio!

Bolognese Ragu

2 T. olive oil
1 small onion
1 small carrot
1 small piece of celery
1 lb. ground beef (can use ground turkey)
1 cup milk
grating of fresh nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine
28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes
12 sage leaves (or 1 tsp. dried sage)
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. pasta

Cook onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until soft (not brown).

Add beef, crumbling it into small pieces as it cooks.

Add milk and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Grate in a little fresh nutmeg. Add wine and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.

Add tomatoes and their juice, along with sage, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, two hours or more. You want the fat to separate from the meat. If it starts to dry out, add a little water. The tomatoes will start to break down as well (you can help them along by smashing them with your wooden spoon).

Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions, and combine with half of the sauce. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

All the Wrong Places
Seventeen-year-old Cara Walden arrives in 1950s London with her half brother Gray‚ a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter and closeted homosexual. Gray has looked after Cara ever since her mother‚ glamorous actress Vivien Grant‚ was found drowned in the pool at their estate. As Cara embarks on a film shoot in Sicily and begins a love affair with a temperamental actor‚ she cannot help pondering the mystery surrounding her mother’s death‚ but the questions she asks soon put Cara’s own life in danger.

Fans of old movies will get a kick out of All the Wrong Places, a historical mystery set in England, Italy, and the French Riviera that pays tribute to the films of the forties and fifties, capped off with a thrilling finale straight out of Hitchcock.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--ANASTASIA INTERVIEWS HER AUTHOR

Ever wonder why author Lois Winston chose to write about me? I certainly have. My life was definitely a lot calmer before she set her sights on me and turned my perfectly normal middle-class life upside down. So the other day I came right out and asked her. It turns out it had everything to do with my career as a magazine crafts editor.

Anastasia: Why me?

Lois: I started my career as a romance author, but in my day job I’m a designer. For several decades (more than I’m willing to admit at this stage in my life!), I’ve designed needlework for kit manufacturers, magazines, book publishers, and the world’s leading producer of embroidery floss. One day about twelve years ago an editor told my agent she was looking for crafting mysteries. My agent immediately thought of me and asked if I’d be interested in trying my hand at writing one. I jumped at the challenge, and the rest is history.

First, I did a bit of research to see what types of crafting mysteries were being published. I discovered all of them featured one particular craft and most took place in craft shops or a crafter’s studio. With just about every craft already covered and many crafts represented in multiple series (yarn and knitting mysteries galore!), I decided to break from the pack and chose as my sleuth a women’s magazine crafts editor.

Anastasia: Why?

Lois: That way, rather than my mystery series centering round a single type of craft, I could feature different crafts in each book. No other crafting mystery author had done that.

Anastasia: So my extremely normal and very safe profession thrust me into a life of murder and mayhem?

Lois: Sorry about that.

Anastasia: Somehow I don’t think you’re sorry at all. You could have chosen an art teacher, you know.

Lois: I suppose. But I didn’t.

Anastasia: I’ve noticed.

Lois: Anyway, getting back to crafts in mysteries…when you write a crafting mystery series, readers expect you to include craft projects, just as authors who write culinary mysteries are expected to include recipes. Recipes are easier. They don’t require charts or diagrams or step-by-step how-to photos the way many crafts do.

Right off the bat I was presented with a dilemma. Knowing the chances of a publisher agreeing to include photos in the books were slim to none, I had to come up with crafts that could be made with only written directions. This is easy if the craft is knitting or crochet. It’s far more difficult for other crafts.

For AssaultWith a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, I chose to feature general crafts. I have you working on two different magazine features in this book, one for June weddings and one for Fourth of July celebrations. I included directions for appliqué embellished bridal tennis shoes and birdseed roses for the wedding crafts. For the Fourth of July crafts I featured recycled jeans placemats, clay pot candles, and a decoupaged flag tray.

After the first book, I settled on one type of craft for each book. Death by Killer Mop Doll includes directions for making mop dolls and string doll ornaments. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse features projects made with fabric yo-yos, and DecoupageCan Be Deadly includes (what else?) decoupage crafts. In A Stitch to Die For I went with knit and crocheted baby blankets. Scrapbook ofMurder is the newest book in the series. For this book, rather than include a specific craft project, I’ve featured a series of scrapbooking tips.

Now I have to start thinking about a plot and a craft for the next book in the series. Any suggestions?

Anastasia: After the chaos you’ve brought to my life, you want my help? As we say in New Jersey, fuhgeddaboudit!

Scrapbook of Murder
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 6

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but normal deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.

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