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, August 11, 2014

Monday Morning

Okay I have been living under a rock. So will somebody please tell me what is going on with amazon and our top authors? I know I should have paid more attention but last week  I was very tired.

Authors tell us what you know and think of this topic today.
Also someone asked me last week if I was wearing something in my hair that day. I hadn’t so far that day but put a headband in after this question was asked.

Now of course I want to know what everyone is reading? 

I am reading MURDER YOUR DARLINGS which is a mystery series by JJ Murphy and Darlings is referred to as manuscripts. It is about Dorothy Parker and the alongorian round table of authors. Southern newcomer young man Billy Faulkner (William) has been accused of murder. Dorothy knows better and so the authors, editors etc….will prove the cops wrong.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry


By Leigh Perry

After accepting a job as an adjunct professor at the local college. Georgia Thackery and her daughter temporarily move into her parent home. It’s been vacant for a while as her parents are on sabbatical out of the country. Madison and Georgia have at least a year before they are to return.

 The trouble starts when Sid who lives in the attic and has lived in the attic since saving Georgia’ life when she was six years old at a carnival from a very scary man. He came to live with Georgia and her family because they were so grateful he saved their daughter. Sid doesn’t remember much about his murder or his past.

However when he see a woman in a crowd he knows she is a woman from his past and is very important to him. The real problem is that the woman is murdered before she can answer any questions. This would have been bad enough but put together with the fact they do not know Sid’s real name or where his skeleton comes from and the hunt it on.

There are numbers in skull so that is where the hunt begins but it ends up being a twist road to the truth of who Sid is, why he was murdered and when other happenings occur like their house being broken into and a close friend being hit in the back of the head. Time feels as though it’s running out. Even though Sid is dead it appears someone is trying to conceal the truth and they will stop at nothing to accomplish their task.

What a fun and great read in this series. I dragged reading this book out because I enjoyed it so much and really Sid I am in love with already and to tell you the truth I couldn’t enjoy a mystery more.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Gust Blogger - Alice Duncan

Termites Ate My Blog

Oh . . . very well, termites didn’t eat my blog. But they ate my bathroom floor, and I had to have a new one put in, and the disruption in the household turned me into a basket case, and I didn't write a July blog. I regret to admit that I'm easily upset. I think it's because I’m old and set in my ways and like things to stay the way they are. Just the wieners and me in this dumpy little house, editing, writing, eating, and walking (well we all do the last two. I do the first two by myself).
Shoot. I honestly didn’t realize what a slave to routine I was until termites ate my bathroom floor. But everything’s better now, including the bathroom. Good thing it’s a small one or the termites might have eaten the whole house (the issue being money):

Not only that, but a new Daisy Gumm Majesty book, DARK SPIRITS, was released in July, and I darned near missed it! I’ll be giving away copies of DARK SPIRITS at the end of August. If you’d like to enter to win a copy, send me your name and home address at alice@aliceduncan.net

Link to Amazon

I’ll be in touch with the folks who won copies of RESTLESS SPIRITS individually. Sorry I’m so late.
Things are back to normal now. I have too much work to do, too many dogs to care for, and still live in the Middle of Nowhere. But at least I have a new bathroom. And a new book out! And, to add to the excitement, I’m in a running battle with the local newspaper (which is really, really bad, but it’s the only game in town). It’s odd how a good fight can perk a person up J

Please visit my web site (www.aliceduncan.net) and my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925) Thanks!

Friday, August 1, 2014

If Today....

If today starts the rest of your life. What has your previous life before now said about you? Mine says that I have always been a reader.

Also things have been an uphill climb for me. This means from climbing trees, to driving uphill, to facing down many challenges in my life.

My favorite decade was the 90’s and I love certain decades in history more than others.

On a girly frilly note I have always loved to wear something in my hair. Headbands, combs, flower and many other things.

Now for today being a grandmother has its rewards. I can go thru another childhood. Also this week at my daughter’s house I have had more adventures than I lived the past ten years.

I’d say I am getting younger and older all at the same time.

So my motto is do not get in a rut. Live, live and live some more.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Miss Dimple Picks a Peck of Trouble by Mignon F. Ballard



 This series is set in Georgia in the 1940's. All the young men are at war or others are waiting to be shipped out overseas. Miss Dimple is a teacher and has taught at one time or another almost everyone in town.
One days Miss Dimple and friends are picking peaches when Miss Dimple thinks she heard a scream. Thinking nothing of it the group continues to pick their peaches. Soon they learn that Prentice is dead. not only dead but murdered. Charlie is another teacher at the school. Charlie has a sister named Delia was Prentice's best friend. Delia wants answers and so does Miss Dimple. When another murder happens and more things occurring such as people disappearing then this steps up the women's investigation.
Charlie's mother isn't happy with her investigating and shutting her and her Aunt Lou out of the investigation. Soon family secrets come unraveling and Mad Hattie the town eccentric has a few secrets of her own.
This book is just another great example of Mignon F. Ballard's deft pen and her talent for murder. Mignon is the real deal she knows how to carry a series and she knows people, characters, writing plots and she knows exactly what it takes to be a historical mystery author.
Hats off to Miss Dimple and Mignon F. Ballard for writing one of the most memorable series since Ann B. Ross penned her series.
********* stars.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hello Everyone

Hello Everyone,

I am trying out my new computer tonight. It is a learning curve. I have to say I think this computer will take time to get used to and I hope everyone will ber with me.

Anyway, how are you all doing? Terri has a birthday this Friday and she will take that day off. Yippee as she is working very, very hard lately and I am excited that Terri, will get some much needed rest and I hope she has a little fun on Friday and this weekend.

Now what are you reading? I am still on Miss Dimples and the other book I am enthralled with is A SKELETON in the FAMILY. I love this book and am dragging out finishing it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Today I want to talk tv series and movies. I am loving Major Crimes this season. I really like Motive and I do have to say I miss watching Call The Midwife, Downton Abbey, Castle and another show or two I can't remember this morning.

Have you watched any fun movies this week? I haven't but here at Melissa's, yesterday I watched Magnum PI for several episodes.

This visit I haven't stitched a lick. BUT have been reading I can't say enough good things about the cozy I am reading "Skeleton In the Closet by Leigh Perry/aka/ Toni P. Kelner. I have to say I want the whole series. I am jealous of the concept  because I should have thought of this series to write. My friends can tell you I love skeltons, skulls and crossbones.

I am in kind of a fould mood today that I hope goes away as I have both grandson's home today.



Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: Hilda Hopkins, Murder She Knit

Title: Hilda Hopkins, Murder She knit.
Published 2011
Kindle Edition:

Hilda Hopkins is a retired government employee. She soon finds that her money doesn't stretch far enough so she decides to take in borders. Ones without family but are comfortable.
Soon Hilda finds living with tenant a little tedious. So she cooks up, digs up and buries a plan to keep the money coming in and have her peace of mind.
However people do get nosy and soon she finds herself dying her hair, going on the run. However old habits and hobbies don't always die.
Hilda Hopkins is one woman whose character traits you do not want to miss. This book is part of a series. There are some moments of surprise, humor and more than one fork in the road.
The ISBN:978-1-257-80845-8
I give it ten stars and can't wait to read all of the books in the series. The author is Vivienne Fagan and she is not only a talented and entertaining author but has created a memorable character.


Monday, June 2, 2014

A Brand New Month

A brand new month. I hope everyone has a great week. We will hit 90 for Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the weather is sane again. LOL

Anyway what was your favorite book, movie and tv series in May and will you tell us about it?

My favorite series was "Waking The Dead" although over the weekend we also watched "Heat Of The Sun" and "Kidnap and Ransom", all have Trevor Eve in them.

Favorite book was my kindle read Hildao Hopkins (Knitters mystery series), it is a great!

Movie I can't remember any movie that moved me this month.

"May your talents bloom."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

An Interview with Joanne Pence

MM2: Jo, tell us about bringing Angie and the gang back?

After 15 years of writing the Angie Amalfi mysteries, I took a break to write other types of stories. The break lasted six years, and in that time I've published six books that aren't even mysteries.

That done, I've now not only returned to Angie, but have begun a new mystery series with "spin-off" characters from the Angie stories. 

Going back to writing about Angie in COOKING SPIRITS (April 2013), and then in a Christmas novella, COOK'S CURIOUS CHRISTMAS (December 2013), was like reacquainting myself with a very dear old friend. Once again, I am finding it fun to write about the entire Amalfi clan, as well as Paavo and his co-workers in Homicide.

Let me add that I'm very grateful to the many people who wrote to me over the years when I wasn't publishing an Angie book and saying that they missed reading about her and the many people who fill her life.

MM2: What are some of the favorite characters that you have written into your books?

Besides Angie and Paavo (of course), I enjoy Angie's best friend, Connie, who's a little older, a lot wiser about life, and yet finds herself going along with some fairly outrageous Angie shenanigans in the name of friendship. I usually chuckle to myself when Angie's neighbor, Stanfield Bonnette, shows up in a story. Also, the three ex-cons who run The Wings of an Angel restaurant, Vinnie, Butch and Earl are great fun, not to mention Angie's mother, and sisters…and the unforgettable Inspector Pamela James, who works in the Missing Persons bureau. Paavo seeks her help in BELL, COOK, AND CANDLE and TWO COOKS A-KILLING .

Some years ago, I thought it would be fun to write a novella pairing two characters from the Angie stories who should hate each other on sight…but don't. I matched Homicide Inspector Rebecca Mayfield (who has always had a huge crush on Paavo, and who everyone in Homicide says is much more "right" for Paavo than is Angie) with Angie's Cousin Richie. Rebecca is a straight arrow, by-the-book cop. Richie Amalfi is said to be "connected," and knows lots of shady characters…but no one really knows if he just knows those people, or is more deeply involved with them. Rebecca wants to suspect the worse about him, but can't. He wants to have nothing to do with a cop, but can't seem to stay away from her. The two of them have a chemistry that's great fun to write about. The novella is THE THIRTEENTH SANTA.

I've also wanted, for some time, to give Rebecca and Richie their own full-length mystery, and this month ONE O'CLOCK HUSTLE was released. I'll be quite curious to see if readers enjoy their strange relationship as much as I've enjoyed writing about it. I hope to come out with the next book, TWO O'CLOCK HEIST, this summer. (There's a definite theme in the titles, which should make the books easy to identify.)

MM2: Let's talk about your writing schedule.

My two sons are grown and on their own, the oldest is married, and I now have three grandchildren. My husband is retired, so other than when family or friends come to visit us here in Idaho, my house is nicely quiet (except for 2 dogs, 3 indoor cats, 1 outdoor cat who refuses to come into the house, and 1 peahen [female peacock] who showed up one day last summer and refuses to leave).

In any case, I can write pretty much whenever I want to. I tend to write in the afternoons, usually sitting on an easy chair in my sun room with a netbook on my lap and a cat by my side. I find it much more comfortable than sitting at a desk.

MM2: Do you ever reread some of your favorite books? If so which ones?

Since I've been published (over twenty years now), I have less and less time for reading, let alone rereading. Much of my reading is either for research, for friends, or simply to know what people are talking about when they discuss a new writer. I enjoy research, and did it for nearly 3 years when writing ANCIENT ECHOES, the longest, most complex story I've ever written. I'm now working on a sequel, ANCIENT SHADOWS, which I've been researching in my spare time for over a year.

MM2: What advice do you have for new mystery authors or beginning authors who want to write a mystery series?

The biggest surprise for me was that many people read mysteries NOT for the mystery itself, but to enter the world the author has created with his or her characters—a world made more interesting because of the mysteries that happen around them.

I had thought what was most important was the "whodunit"—how clever, how hard to "solve," and how many clues and red herrings I used. I was wrong. When people talk to me about my books, they want to know about Angie and about Paavo. People have enjoyed the mysteries, and that they couldn’t guess who did it, but my main recommendation is to make your characters and their world (friends, family, cohorts, setting) so real and so rich that the reader feels as if the characters could be, and perhaps should be, alive.

MM@: I know that you have written books in other genres. Tell us about those and what you like or found hard about writing those books?

In the 6 year hiatus between Angie books, I've put out 6 others. One, ANCIENT ECHOES, is a supernatural suspense and won a Best Idaho Fiction award for 2013. DANCE WITH A GUNFIGHTER was a finalist for the Willa Cather Literary Award in the Best Historical category, two of the books have reached Kindle Top 100 bestseller status, a romance, SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES, and a romantic fantasy, GHOST OF SQUIRE HOUSE.

I enjoy reading a good, emotional love story that will bring me to tears, and that's what I've tried to give readers in my romances. They have little sex (or none, as in THE GHOST OF SQUIRE HOUSE, which is a true ghost story), but lots of feeling. They purposefully move slowly as the feelings build (is that terribly old-fashioned of me?). That's the hardest part about writing that type of book—to take it slow but still keep the reader involved enough in the characters to want to keep going with the story. They're very nuanced. Sometimes a slight turn of the head, or a single step, will mean a tremendous amount to a reader (and the writer).

I've written one book that is different from all the others, a suspense with supernatural elements, ANCIENT ECHOES. It is one of my best-selling books, month after month, as more and more readers discover it. I would have called it a thriller except that these days, people think of thrillers as being nearly all action and gun-battles. This book has to do with a secret expedition that followed Lewis and Clark across the US. When they reached Idaho, they disappeared. Now, 200 years later, a group of anthropology students and their professor go to the same spot in the central, roadless wilderness of Idaho, and they disappear. Why? What's going on there? The reason has to do with an ancient secret that men have pursued for millennia.

The complexity of ANCIENT ECHOES, combining 200 year old events with those of today, and all the research involved (the story goes from Mongolia to Jerusalem to Idaho), plus writing it as a suspense and not a mystery, were all enormous learning experiences for me. I gave the book its own website to explain and show pictures about some of the research that went into it: www.ancientechoes.info.
MM2: Time to promote your favorite convention or workshop?

The Idaho Writers and Readers Rendezvous, of course! It takes place May 1-3 this year in Boise. It's small enough that participants can talk with all the presenters and get to know them, but large enough to bring in some top talent. This year's Keynote address will be by Ron Powers, author of FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. Last year's was C.J. Box—one of my favorite mystery writers with his fish and game warden series.

MM2: Besides writing...what is new in your life?

Fortunately, outside of writing, my life has been quiet and only growing deeper in love for family, friends, and my faith.

MM2: What do you like about living in Idaho? I know it has to be a far different lifestyle than California.

I truly love Idaho. I've been here 14 years now, and it still seems fresh, new, and beautiful. It is a gorgeous state. The people are friendly and kind. One thing I enjoy is that the pace of life is much, much slower than in the San Francisco Bay Area where I lived most of my life, and everything here is closer to nature. I live on over five acres in the foothills north of Boise, with cattle and horses as my neighbors, and antelope, coyotes, foxes, and mule deer as occasional visitors. Yes, it is definitely different from San Francisco.

MM2: Now I know you used my name as a character in your book (many books years ago) what are the chances I will see my name in your book again? LOL

Very, very high . Inspector Pamela James is an important character!

MM2: Okay for more fun questions. Where are you signing books this year?

So much is being done on the Internet these days, that I rarely venture out to do bookstore tours the way I used to. I'll be doing signings in Boise, and perhaps in Lincoln City, Oregon, where I'll be for a workshop with other multi-published authors given by Dean Wesley Smith and his wife Kristine Katherine Rusch (who writes mystery and romance along with sci fi and fantasy). They offer a number of workshops both online and on the Oregon coast—a beautiful spot if you've never seen it. They are fantastic instructors and writers (learn more about their classes, both online and in person, at www.deanwesleysmith.com).

MM2: What is your favorite movie/s, meal, dessert and way to distress?

Favorite movies—that's tough because there are so many! I can tell you the type I never pass up (and no, I'm not really as old as they make me sound), but they're old movies, such as the "screwball comedies" of the 1930's—movies like It Happened One Night, My Man Godfrey, The Bride Came C.O.D.; anything with Fred and Ginger; and any good, atmospheric love story (such as Jane Eyre and Rebecca). In fact, my supernatural suspense has a touch of the old film, Lost Horizon in it, and my ghost story was definitely influenced by The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, another favorite movie. People have told me that ONE O'CLOCK HUSTLE has a touch of the old comedic mysteries like the William Powell-Myrna Loy Thin Man movies. I hope so! I would consider that a compliment and a plus.

Favorite meal—anything Italian. Favorite dessert—where to start? I make a great chocolate-walnut torte, with mocha frosting and almost no flour in the torte. Talk about rich! And delicious!

Way to distress—I go for a walk through the foothills where I live, or I will simply sit out on the deck and look at the foothills, with (much like Angie), a cup of Italian roast coffee and a biscotti (or two).

My website is www.joannepence.com. You'll find a blog about my new Rebecca and Richie mystery series that includes an offer of a free copy of THE THIRTEENTH SANTA. The blog is at www.joannepence.com/wordpress.

Thank you, Pamela, for inviting me to talk about my books. I truly appreciate it. Anyone who would like to contact me can do so at joanne@joannepence.com.