Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!

Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.

Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: The Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie

The Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie.

In this charming collection of mysteries Miss Jane Marple is at home in St. Mary Mead and is hostess of a dinner party.
The guests are Miss Marple's nephew Raymond West and his friend Joyce, Sir Henry Clithering whose last assignment was Scotland Yard, Dr. Pender, an elderly clergyman and Mr. Petherick who is a solicitor or on this side of things would be known as a lawyer.

The after dinner conversation leads to mysteries. The unsolved mysteries of course and before the night is over the group has formed "The Tuesday Night Club," this means that one member each week must present a puzzle or mystery to the others. This is to enhance and test their deductive reasoning skills.

We soon learn of many stories and of course Miss Marple doesn't have to leave the village or her home to know who the murderer or cheater might be because in St. Mary Mead there is no shortage of suspects and red herrings.

Read The Tuesday Club Murder and come follow the clues with us. See if you can figure out who-dunit and why. Is some lying about motive, is there a bit of misdirection?
This is one of the best collection of stories I have read in a long time. I think if you are a fan of relaxing with a good book while challenging your skills you can miss reading "The Tuesday Club Murders."

I give this collection 9 out of 10 because I didn't guess one of the stories right. See if you can get all of them right.
 Best in reading,
Pamela James

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

May and June

Okay, so things didn’t go quite as planned during the merry month of May. I had been scheduled for hip-replacement surgery on May 3, but I got a sudden, acute medical problem, and the surgery was postponed until May 24. Therefore, most of June has been spent in recovering from my hip operation and trying to figure out what’s wrong with my intestines. I know. How disgusting. But it’s a problem, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Anyhow, the hip-replacement surgery and rehab are going well. I can tell the hip is much better because now my back pain is killing me again. However, I do believe there’s something that might be done about that, so I’m not in flat despair yet. Maybe later.

BRUISED SPIRITS, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s tenth (it’s actually the eleventh, but who’s counting?) adventure will be published August 8. Here’s the cover art and the Kindle link. I don’t think it’s up on Barnes & Noble or the other places yet:

If you entered a contest of mine for either May or June, please feel free to choose any old book you want of mine, and I’ll send you a copy, providing I have one. You can see most of them on my web page (which probably needs to be updated. I’ve not been good for much lately): www.aliceduncan.net

Also, Smashwords, on which most of my back-list historical romances and a few cozy mysteries are published in any e-format you want, is having a half-price sale during July, so you can snap up a copy of any old book you want (of mine, I mean) here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/aduncanzianet

I’ll give away copies of BRUISED SPIRITS at the end of July (or as soon as I get copies). I can send the e-book as soon as August 8 rolls around.

If you’d like to enter my July contest, please send me your name and home address as follows: alice@aliceduncan.net.

Thank you! Please visit my Facebook page if you like, too: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Monday, July 11, 2016

Blog: My library trip

Here is what I picked up at the Parsons Public Library tonight.
THE CAT, The VAGABOND And The VICTIM by LEANN SWEEBEY (Cats in Trouble Mystery)
I have been wanting to try a couple of these so tonight seemed like a good time. This is the only Colin Dexter Mystery they had and I hope I can inter library loan some more of them.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Blog:Happy 4th Of July

Happy red, white and blue day.
It is still raining here but will clear off as the day goes on and at least I could walk Pepper around the block without her freaking out as this will never be her favorite holiday.
It is not my favorite holiday either.
I want to thank everyone for the "Happy Birthday Wishes" I received on July 2nd.

Okay topic change:
I am reading "The Tuesday Club Murders" by Agatha Christie and I love it.
Terri will be posting about her vacation in a few days. In case you didn't already know her and her mother are having a great time.

I am cross stitching on a few things. One is Parisian Cats which is great and I want to have it finished my January. I am also still stitching on "Scarecrows" then there is a surprise I am stitching for someone in my cross stitch group. I also ma working on "The Spell Store" which is so much fun to stitch I don't want to stop.

Coloring well for my birthday Terri sent me a "Day Of The Dead" coloring book that has skulls and skeletons. I have completed one picture in it. She also sent me a "Steam Punk" coloring book and I have almost completed the first picture in that one.

I made myself a Jello/Dream cake for my birthday. It's main flavor is lime.

Last night I made chili cheese tots for supper.

Binge watching Marcella, Columbo, Miss Fisher Mysteries, Murder She Wrote, Death In Paradise, Jesse Stone Mysteries, Flower Shop Mysteries, Murder She Baked Mysteries, Garage Sale Mysteries, The Librarian Mysteries (I want to own this series) just love them.
I also watch Poirot Mysteries and rewatched two Agatha Christie Movies "Evil Under The Sun and Murder On The Orient Express."

Other than this I have been dealing with rain, storms, a stressed dog, when I can I have been tending to flowers indoors and outdoors, visiting with the neighbors, dealing with bugs, mice and laundry.

I kept thinking that I wanted to declutter and pick up the pace on the housework which basically all I did was run in circles.

Oh well I will try for the little at a time method.

I hope you have great picnics, hiking, meals whether it be fish fry, fried chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, steaks or just chocolate.

Okay you know the drill by now. which is if you want a book reviewed, an interview or you want to post your own blog of choice then by all means contact me or Terri so we can set something up for you.
If it wasn't for you we wouldn't have this blog.

Enjoy your holiday and I am off to read more in the "Tuesday Club Murders" oh and if you haven't read any new author or new series I want to leave you with a few you might like to read.
Elaine Viets has a new series and book out so be sure to look her up, Laura Levine has a new book out, Lynn Cahoon has a new book out, Victoria Hamilton has a new book out, Lorraine Barrett has a new book out, Jenn McKinlay, Janet Bolin, Mary Hart, Victoria Abbott (I think this one will be out in October)? Jennie Bentley, Cheryl Hollon, Murder She Wrote, Leanne Sweeney, Stephen King, Eva Gates and I will stop here but I could go on and on and please members feel free to brung to my attention any authors i did not list and no list would be complete without mentioning Jeff Cohen's Series. They are great series and he is quite a remarkable author.
Lee Perry is another one I must add she likes skeletons as much as me especially one special one. Ellery Adams is another one that has my heart as I love all of her series.
Okay I must move along today but feel free to bring more to my attnetion.

May your day sparkle with love and good books.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: The Bloody Tower by John Rhode

Jimmy Waghorn is with his friend Inspector Hanslet when they visit the scene of what appears to be an odd accident.  A man has been killed by an explosion of his shotgun.  His father's reaction to his death is likewise odd - not worrying because the tower on the property is still standing.  Of course, it turns out that there is much more going on than it seems.  

I kept wondering how this was billed as a Dr. Priestly book when for the first 3/4, he barely appears, but his explanation of events was very interesting and then I could see his appeal.

I enjoyed the book, but the pace seemed very slow and it took me a while to finish, because I think I just needed bits of breaks yet NOT because I wasn't enjoying it - it is hard to explain.

In all, I did enjoy it and found it satisfying but more sedate maybe...


Monday, June 20, 2016

Review: Scar Tissue by MC Domovitch

Ciara Kelly wakes up from a coma to find her memory of the last few weeks is gone.  She had been held captive and tortured by a killer named The Cutter.  She tries to get on with her life, moving in with her sister only to find she is being hunted and people around her are being killed.  The Cutter wants her back.  She goes on the run under an assumed identity and once again, is found.  She doesn't know who to trust only that someone close to her may be involved.

This was a fast, suspenseful read.  I did figure out who The Cutter was pretty early on, but that was okay, I wanted to find out how things were going to play out.

I also loved how as a result of her injuries she gained a paranormal ability to see/hear/know the last thoughts of someone who had died.  I nice twist and played well in the story without being too much WooWoo...

My biggest gripe was I disagreed with a lot of the choices she was making which were putting herself in more danger IMHO.



Have a wonderful and beautiful birthday. This place couldn't run smoothly without you.
There aren't enough words in the dictionary to describe you. One word might be "Magical" as that is what you do supply the magic with hints of mayhem.
Take a big bite out of your birthday and enjoy it.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Young, Queer, and Dead: A Biography of San Francisco's Most Overlooked Serial Killer, The Doodler by Reagan Martin

I had never heard of this killer until it was mentioned on a group.  Active during the same period as Zodiac and Zebra in San Francisco, this killer is thought to have murdered 14 gay men and attacked 3 others.

At the time, the killings appeared to have different victim sets:  the first transvestites, the second gay men involved in BSDM and the third, more well off and professional seeming gay men.  So the police thought they were dealing with three different killers.  After the three men who survived attacks identified a suspect who they say, drew them (hence the nickname The Doodler), had sex with them and then attacked them, the police found out it was likely the one suspect.

Unfortunately, the survivors were all in the closet and would NOT testify in court, so even though he allegedly gave them enough info to be sure it was him, they could not arrest him.

This entire story was fascinating and well told.  Afterwards I went online and there really is very little info about this horrible killer, so I am glad I stumbled across this book.

One can only hope that maybe someday, advances in science or a witness or something can close the case.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

An Interview with Sally Berneathy

By Pamela James

MM: Sally tell us how many books you have written? Give us the backstory on your writing career?
     I have published 24 books. We won’t talk about how many I’ve written. Those first couple will forever be a secret between my trash can and me.
     I began writing fiction in the third grade. We had to do book reports every six weeks. I hated those book reports! We had to take a living, breathing book and tear it down to bare bones then analyze the skeleton. So I decided to write my own story. The teacher loved it and said anyone who wanted could write a story instead of a book report. I was hooked!
      As I wended my way through college (18-1/2 years of night school, over 200 credit hours, lots of diversions into various fields), I could usually convince a teacher to let me do a piece of fiction instead of a boring analytical report or research paper.
     I made my first attempt at writing a book in 1988. That’s one of the ones we don’t talk about. But I found a local writing group, Mid-America Romance Writers, and got involved in a critique group…and learned that writing a book is a lot different from writing short fiction!
     I sold my first book in 1991, a romantic comedy, to Meteor Kismet. They published my book and went out of business.
     I sold my second book in 1992, a romantic suspense, to Silhouette Shadows. They published my book and shut down the line.
     I sold three romantic suspense novels to Robinson Publishing in England. Yeah, they published my books and went out of business.
     I sold a paranormal romance to Berkley’s Haunting Hearts. They published my book and shut down the line.
     But I sold 8 books to Silhouette Romance and 1 to Harlequin Intrigue, and they’re still in business!
     I left the world of writing in 2001 and went to work as a computer programmer for a decade.
   When I returned to writing in 2011, I decided to write mysteries instead of romance. Writers are admonished to write about what we know, and after three divorces, it became quite clear I don’t know squat about romance! But I do know a lot about chocolate and I’ve fantasized a lot about murder. So the Death by Chocolate series was born.
     I wrote that first book and decided to try the new phenomenon of self-publishing. I knew as much about self-publishing as I knew about romance. So the first book sat there selling a few copies but doing nothing spectacular.
   I decided perhaps I should try a different premise for a series. I was sitting at my desk, trying to come up with an idea for that series, when my phone rang. My ex. After nine years he was still harassing me. I felt he was never going to leave me alone. And he was never going to die. And if he did die, he’d come back and haunt me. And The Ex Who Wouldn’t Die series was born.
    I have now written 5 books in the Death by Chocolate series and four in The Ex Who Wouldn’t Die series. I am happy to report that readers have found them and seem to like them, and in May when I moved in with the boyfriend, the ex stopped stalking me!

MM: Give us  little background on who you are and why you became an author?

I have always been an avid reader and a story teller. The idea of creating one of those books that transported me to another world and held my attention for hours was both intimidating and alluring. Now that I’ve done it a few times, it’s still intimidating and alluring. I’m always a bit astonished when I finish a book and realize it actually is a book and not just a bunch of my ramblings.

MM: What is your writing schedule? Where do you write best and if it's your office do you have a picture we can see?

This is my schedule for a typical day:
7:00 ish – Get up.
7:00 to 7:30 ish – Check email.
7:30 ish – Yoga workout
8:00 ish – Free weight or elliptical workout
9:00 ish Shower
9:30 ish Breakfast
10:00 ish Get to work

Now that I’m living with the boyfriend, I stop writing (sometimes I just stop trying to write) around 6:00 for dinner. Even when I lived alone, I had to stop around that time. If I write too late, I can’t sleep. The characters and plot spin round and round in my brain. I have to turn them off and read or watch TV or do something to disconnect until the next day.

I do have an office. In my former house my office was in a sunroom on the second floor up among the trees. It was amazing. In the winter I froze since the sunroom was built over a storage room. But it didn’t matter. I would rather freeze in that sunroom than be comfortable somewhere else in the house. When the boyfriend and I decided to get a place together, my office was a primary concern! The place we chose has a large formal living room with one wall of windows. That’s my office. It’s only one wall and I miss the sunroom, but I sit facing the windows, so it works. The good part is that I have a wall to put some of my bookcases. I’ll take a picture of that wall.

MM: They say it takes a village to write a book. Who is in your village?

And they are so right, though “village” may not be the right term. “Country” may be closer. I belong to two local writing groups and a couple of national groups, and I belong to a critique group which meets every week. This group is the most important part of my writing. Nothing goes into one of my books that hasn’t been critiqued by my critique buddies. They keep me straight, point out when something isn’t working, when it is, when a character is out of character….hundreds of things. Then I have a couple of readers who will read the first draft and give me feedback. Then I turn the book over to my free lance editor. She was my first mentor when I joined MARA back in 1988, and she is amazing. We’ve remained friends through the years, and her editorial comments on my books are invaluable.

The writing groups provide articles and workshops on improving my craft, and I can always use those. Even though I’m no longer writing romance, the national RWA conference is a must for me. I go, attend workshops, get copies of all the workshops, and play them in my car and when I’m doing my yoga workout.

MM: Tell us how you plot your cozy mysteries? What comes first setting, character, background, plot?

I’m a “pantser” writer. I start with one element (which may be any of the above) then let the others develop around it. I try to have a vague notion of the crime and the murderer when I start writing, but most of the plot and characters evolve on a day to day basis.

MM: If you were going to have a dinner party what authors would you invite. Now here is where we suspend disbelief the author can be dead or alive. Who would you invite? What would the menu be and what would you ask the other authors?

The menu would be pizza, chocolate chip cookies, Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, chocolate chip pecan pie, a couple of varieties of chocolate cake, and Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream. That’s easy. As for the authors………
J.K. Rowling
Lisa Gardner
Alafair Burke
James Burke
Margaret Mitchell
George R.R. Martin
Steig Larsson
Patricia Cornwell
William Falkner
James Joyce (but only if he promised to bring the brownies; that man was on something really strange!)
Agatha Christie
Jeffery Deaver
James Michener
Mary Stewart
Arthur C. Clarke
Isaac Asimov
Robert Heinlein
Ray Bradbury

The list could go on and on and on. I have read so many wonderful books through the years. I’ll have to be sure I have enough chocolate for everybody.

As for what I’d ask them, I’d simply ask that they talk and let me listen.

MM: Do you have pets and if so tell us about them?

I have not had a pet since 2012 when my cat Leo died. My dog Cricket died in 2011. You don’t even want to let me get started on pet stories! I have had the most awesome pets in the world. And that’s why I don’t have a pet now. It hurts too much to lose them. I said I wasn’t going to have another animal in 1994 after losing one dog in 1993 and the second in 1994. But then a large white cat wandered into the back yard. I petted him and told him to go home. He looked up at me with big blue eyes then turned and ran inside the door I’d left open. I followed him and found him sitting on the sofa, looking quite comfortable and at home. A couple of months later I got him a Yorkie, Cricket, to raise. They were best buddies. King Henry in my Chocolate books is Leo. Every time I write one of those books, he lives for me again.

MM: What life lesson has writing taught you?

The value of helping others. I’ve had a lot of careers, but writing is the only one where everybody helps everybody else. We share craft knowledge, we offer critiques, we share publicity opportunities, we share the availability of friends’ books with our readers. Writers are the best.

MM: Here are some fun questions. Where would you like to vacation that you haven't already visited? Tell us why you like living where you live and be our tour guide, what is there to see and visit? What shows/movies do you like to binge watch?

I hope to visit Europe one day and see England, France, Ireland…all those countries with castles and centuries of heritage.

I like living in the Kansas City area because my boyfriend and my friends are here.

Love Rizzoli & Isles, the older episodes of Castle (not thrilled with this season), Person of Interest, the Blacklist, the Sopranos, Downton Abbey, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy.

MM: What is your favorite way to de-stress?

Reading a book, of course. As far as my favorite way to distress…thinking about the ex!

MM: Will you be attending Malice Domestic this year?

No. I try to limit myself to 3 conferences a year and I’ve already committed to Bouchercon, RWA and Writers’ Police Academy. I wish I could go to all of them! I always learn so much and have a great time doing it!

MM: Is there a humorous story you can share with us that happened at a book signing or conference?

My best friend and critique partner, Madonna, and I attend most conferences together. A couple of years ago we were flying from KC to San Antonio for the RWA conference. We had a short layover in Dallas and were to arrive in San Antonio around 5:00. Our flights, both departing and connecting, were delayed, cancelled, full, and a total mess. Long story short, we got to San Antonio around 9:00, and our luggage was due to arrive around 10:30. We took a taxi to the hotel so we could check in. Our driver was wonderful. She was a reader, and we talked books. She agreed to pick us up at the hotel and take us to the airport to get our luggage. When we got there, she parked and took us to the right area to collect our bags. They were delayed, and she waited with us, no extra charge. Said she didn’t have a lot of fares at that hour. Of course we gave her a huge tip. Things were great until about ten minutes before we got back to our hotel. I have two kinds of business cards…one with just my website url and one with my address and phone number. The latter is for friends, agents, editors. And this woman had become my friend! So I gave her my card and told her to stay in touch, to send me an email. She said she couldn’t use email, couldn’t get on the Internet. Okay, some people don’t. But then she went on to explain that the government had her blocked from the Internet because they considered her a dangerous person. They send people to get in her cab and check on her regularly. She’s tried to sue them but no lawyer will take her case because they’re afraid of the government. But she has a plan to get them. Fortunately, that plan was a secret she didn’t want to share! Now that we’ve ridden in her taxi, we would probably be on the list, and don’t be surprised if the government comes after us. And it went on until we reached the hotel.

We stood on the curb and watched her drive away. Madonna turned to me and said, “The conference hasn’t even started and you’ve just given your card to a crazy person. Maybe you should let me have custody of those cards for the rest of the conference.”

Fortunately, apparently the lady was right about not getting on the Internet! And apparently the government has her phone shut down too! I haven’t heard from her!!!

MM: Is there someone that you would like to give a huge thank you to who has been one of your favorite supporters or a loyal mentor?

There are so many. Talk about that village….
I’d have to give a list….a  long list.

MM: Lastly, tell us what is in store for readers in 2016 and please add anything I have missed asking you today.

I will soon have the 4th Ex book available, The Ex Who Saw a Ghost, and will then begin work on the 6th Chocolate book. I hope I give my readers fun and entertainment in 2016!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guest Blogger: Stacey E. Bryan

The Magic and Mayhem of Being Out of Sync

Thank you, Terri and Pamela, for hosting me on my blog tour, which is my first ever.
It’s apropos to be visiting Mayhem and Magic, as those two Ms have been a large part of my life lately, heavy emphasis on the mayhem.
Once Day for Night was accepted for publication, I gritted my teeth and jumped into the waiting vat of oil. Social media may not feel like a vat of oil to most people, but imagine this: You live in a city that’s made entirely of cars (Los Angeles) and yet you hate to drive. You still had a flip phone a year ago. For no discernible reason, the family poodle Puff hated your guts. You sent your first Tweet three months ago. And you’re still not sure where it ended up.

I have often been out of sync with things, and social media has been the monster plaguing me lately. When I was querying for my novel, one publisher wanted to know “my marketing plan,” and when I wrote back, essentially, “Could you…define…marketing plan?” I never heard from them again.

And rightfully so! I suppose. I wouldn’t want to hold my hand through the publishing process. I did promise to be open-minded and eager to learn and assured folks that I had lots of writer friends who could help me. And thankfully, my publisher believed me. It’s been a rocky road, but it’s also been informative and even border-opening. Lots of new faces, names, ideas, possibilities have come with my finally taking that dreaded hot oil bath. And really…the oil wasn’t even that hot.  Definitely not blistering and blinding. Just a tad past uncomfortable. When I stumbled across someone in Pamela’s blog saying that they “somehow ended up with a Google AND a Twitter log-in,” and was trying to resolve that, I was like…yeah! Not alone. Not alone!

Being out of sync with things is probably mostly why I write. It inspired the main character of my novel who never quite fit in, gets pulled in different directions without a solid plan, and ends up reassessing her life around the time when most people start to seriously plan for retirement. She’s not at retirement age, but she’s also not 25 anymore, and this fact can be and usually is a death knell when it comes to Hollywood, where she lives, causing her a lot of anxiety.

Having focused on topics like anorexia, divorce, and artistic suffering in the past, turning to second reality paranormal comedy was a change for me and lots of fun to write. Much like Terri, I’m into Stephen King and one of my favorite novels used to be I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. But also like Terri, I love Janet Evanovich’s hilarious series. I’ve been through number Twenty or Twenty One of her Stephanie Plum novels. And, in fact, my main character Rae is a lot like Stephanie Plum, and if they knew each other, they’d probably be good friends.

Day for Night takes place in Los Angeles, where I was raised, so there’s lots of talk about traffic and flaky people naming their children after the moons of Jupiter and being in the Biz, if only in the fringes. Another aspect contributing to my feeling somewhat apart from things while growing up was being mixed race, and race in general is a huge issue in the City of Dreams. That inspired me to make Rae mixed race and to tread those waters continuously throughout in what I hope are humorous but yet eye-opening ways.

Apart from these everyday facts of ordinary life, Rae is about to find out just how paranormal the world actually is. And she doesn’t handle it well. She’s a hard-drinking, sometimes foul-mouthed 38-40-something protagonist who simply wanted to buy a condo in Hermosa Beach. Her attempts to pretend nothing is happening while her life continues to spiral out of control, largely due to making important decisions while dead drunk, were a lot of fun to write. Of course, getting other people to laugh with me—that’s my biggest goal. That’s where the magic comes in!


When reality TV star Rae Miller is kicked unceremoniously to the curb by her back-stabbing cast mates, she quickly realizes that revenge fantasies and unemployment are the least of her problems after she witnesses an alien abduction in broad daylight. Worse, after escaping a terrifying almost-abduction herself, Rae succumbs to a sexy Nosferatu’s silky assurances, becoming undead in order to up her alien Ultimate Fighting skills. Life is hard as a 38-to-40-something aspiring actress in L.A. Thank God for Jack Daniel’s and denial.

Stacey was raised in the San Fernando Valley but born in San Francisco, where she left part of her heart. She has worked on a dude ranch, coached gymnastics, and captions for the hearing impaired. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines in New York and L.A., including Ginosko and The Rag. She is currently working on the sequel to her novel Day for Night. She lives in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say, with her husband who is also a writer.