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, April 29, 2013

What would you say?


What Would You Say?

 

What would you say to the friends and relatives that have passed on before you about the difference they have made in your life? 

 

I mean the daily difference and what would you say to them about how they have changed you or that how their passing has changed you?

 

I would thank my grandma Dorothy for her belief in me and for filling in as a mother figure. I would thank my mother for letting me get to know the lighter side of her personality before she passed away. I would thank her for the time we had together after my stepdad passed away and we both felt a little more free to be us.

 

Anyway what would you say?

 

Hugs,

Pam

Monday, April 22, 2013

Good Morning


Good Morning Bloggers,

 

Today I am going to ask what blog subjects do you like to discuss and read?

For me I love hearing how people got their names. I also like to know who named them Mom or Dad? Maybe a brother or sister?

I also like to read how authors pick their character's name? It's fun to discover what's in a name.

I also like it when culinary authors discuss and discover their recipes.

My topics are just a few but now I want to know what topics you like in a blog?

 

Hugs,

Pam

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Movie Review: Behaving Badly


On Saturday I put in the most recent Netflix Series Movie that I wanted to watch.

I have to say Judi Dench is wonderful in her part.

It's starts with her husband announcing that he has another woman he has been seeing and of course she takes it well. The next morning he packs up and moves out of the house.

She moves to a apartment that she really can't stand but it is nice all the same. However she isn't fulfilled and she definitely isn't happy. This is fueled by her ex-mother-inlaw her calls her with updates on what the newlyweds are doing. The mother-inlaw lives on the top floor of the house that occupy her son and his wife to which she cannot stand.

Finally after a series of events Judi snaps and one weekend while her ex husband is away with his new wife she movies into their house. Much like Bartleby she won't leave. She is there to stay and she says she has never been happier.

It's all great fun and I can't wait for the next part of BEHAVING BADLY in my Netflix que.

Have a great day

Pam

Review: Blood, Ash & Bone by Tina Whittle


Blood, Ash & Bone by Tina Whittle is the third book in the “Tai Randolph” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2013

 

    Tai Randolph doesn’t want to hear about homicide. She’s had enough of the dark and the dangerous, and decides some time out of Atlanta is exactly what she needs to put the recent spate of corpses behind her. It‘s a idyllic vision —selling her wares at the Savannah Civil War Expo, attending a few Confederate re-enactments, perhaps a little romantic rendezvousing with Trey, who has agreed to put aside the corporate security agent routine and join her for a long weekend in her hometown.

 

    But in the South, the past is never past. It tends to rise again. In Tai’s case, it shows up as her tattooed heartbreaker of an ex-boyfriend, desperate for her help. He spins a tale of betrayal, deceit, and a stolen Civil War artifact that Tai agrees to help him recover. Suddenly, Trey’s on the case too, representing a competing — and well-moneyed — client with eyes on the same mythical prize. As the lovers square off against each other, Tai discovers that her complicated boyfriend makes an even more intriguing adversary, revealing a ferociously competitive streak under his cool Armani exterior.

 

    But where there‘s money, there‘s usually murder, this time involving the KKK and Tai‘s unapologetically unreconstructed kinfolk. As she unravels the clues to a 150-year-old mystery, she digs up secrets from her own past — and Trey’s — forcing a confrontation with a ruthless killer, and with her own willingness to do whatever it takes to save everything that matters.

 

Tai is after a Civil War artifact which takes her back to Savannah where danger and adventure awaits her. With Trey by her side, the duo will take on a group bent on destroying what they have. What a great read in this well-written drama that exudes a strong plot, engaging dialogue and a very determined heroine where the action never stopped from the first page until a finale worthy of this riveting tome. This is my first adventure with Tai Randolph and I look forward to more exciting exploits with this dynamic duo.

 

 

Dru Ann


 

 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Miss Dimple Suspects by Mignon F Ballard


Title: Miss Dimple Suspects

Author: Mignon F. Ballard.

Mystery Series (Historical) 1940's

ISBN: 978-1-250-00967-8

 

In Elderberry, Georgia a child is missing and the whole town wants to find her safe and sound. It's December and the nights are cold.

Miss Dimple sets off into a hilly search and the incoming darkness does not help her cause.

Little Peggy Ashcraft is one of her student and she will not give up. She finds Peggy in the woods and Peggy is in no shape to walk.

As luck would have it Miss Dimple stumbles upon the home of an artist Mae Martha and her companion Suzy and it's lucky that Suzy knows what she is doing because Miss Dimple is too cold and exhausted to be of much help.

Peggy and Miss Dimple eventually make it home. Peggy is still recovering but Miss Dimple feels fine and wants to thank Mae Martha and Suzy so she enlists her two favorite fellow teachers Charlie Carr and Annie Gardner to return to the cabin in the woods. All is well and they even buy some of Mae's paintings.

Later they decide to return again and that is when they find the body of Mae Martha and Suzy is nowhere to be found.

From here on it's a hunt for the murderer. The worst of it is that Miss Dimple fears the murderer is too close to home and she doesn't mean Suzy as Mae Martha had relatives on that hill and was a famous artist.

Miss Dimple Suspects is a historical cozy with a traditional flair. I loved every page and the characters are charming, endearing plus it's such a feel good mystery that makes it a pleasure to read all the ups and downs of the homefront in 1940.

Pamela

Cross Stitch Update

I am trying to quit smoking today. This means that cross stitch is on my mind. I started a new cross stitch project over the weekend. I wanted something with whole stitches, not a lot of color changes and that wasn't too large. My theory is that if I keep with it I might actually have a finish.

So I started a "Canterbury Design" title Washday Again. It's a Silhoeutte Design so no color changes.

The problem....I am already lost in the leaves. Since I am quitting smoking I refuse to go back nine leaves and frog. Yeppers I am off to a rip roaring start this week. LOL

What  frustrates you about your hobby or projects? I also have no clue when I finish this design what I will do with it. LOL

I say it's Monday all the way as we are having rain.

Today will be interesting.

Hugs,

Pam

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: Game Drive by Marie Moore


Game Drive by Marie Moore is the second book in the “Sydney Marsh” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, April 2013

 

Sidney Marsh is a Mississippi-born, New York-based travel agent. She and her best friend and business partner, Jay Wilson, are struggling to remain standing in a world where the ground is shifting. Their boss at Itchy Feet Travel has a new scheme to attract customers–safari tour packages. He sends Sidney and Jay on a familiarization trip to Cape Town and safari country to check out the accommodations and confirm that the experience lives up to the hype in the brochures.

 

Sidney’s looking forward to a deluxe dream of a trip and so is Jay, despite the fact that he is deathly afraid of animals, both wild and domesticated. Their experience will be far wilder than either could have imagined. First Sidney stumbles upon a suspicious rendezvous and possible murder scene in Cape Town. After Sidney’s pocket is picked on a cable-car ride up Table Mountain, she suspects that someone in their group is an imposter, a suspicion that is soon confirmed. At Leopard Drive–the luxury game lodge near Kruger National Park that serves as their base camp–one of the other agents on the “fam trip” turns up dead.

 

Sidney carries on a risky flirtation with a handsome Afrikaner, who may or may not be the latest manifestation of the “Marsh Curse,” which seems to jinx her every relationship. And Sidney and Jay discover that they have far more to fear from predatory humans than wild animals.

 

Sydney and Jay are off to South Africa to check out a new tourist destination for their travel agency and once again, Sydney stumbles upon an incident and as they say, “trouble follows” in this fast moving drama where danger lurks around every corner in Africa’s natural wildlife habitat. This is a great read that will have all your senses on alerts as this page-turning tome propels you on a journey of suspense and intrigue. The author knows how to keep me interested by creating a well-crafted mystery that kept me guessing throughout most of this story with some surprises that I didn’t see coming. With a vividly picturesque landscape as the backdrop and surrounded by a great supporting cast, this safari mystery adventure is an amazing ride and I’m looking forward to their next expedition from this terrific series.

 

 

Dru


 

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Household Hints


Household Hints

 

What is your favorite cleaning tip? Have you ever read a book on household cleaning tips? Do you ever feel like cleaning or try to avoid it?

How do you keep your drawers smelling fresh and clean?

Do you ever clean your lint trap?

Do you make things from scratch like butter? Have you ever churned butter?

Do you sew and do you make your own washcloths and Ttowels or hand towels?

Has anyone ever made a homemade candle holder?

When you write how do you organize your plot? Are the seat of your pants person? Do you outline and tell us about your character cards/notes/notebook/

 

Today I am interested in all things career and home.

 

Hugs,

Pam 

Review: Trouble in the Tarot by Kari Lee Townsend


Trouble in the Tarot by Kari Lee Townsend is the third book in the “Fortune Teller” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, March 2013

 

Lately Sunny has been experiencing a period of big opportunity: her business in Divinity, New York, is thriving, and Detective Mitch Stone has finally agreed to take Sunny on a date. But thanks to her clairvoyant abilities, Sunny knows better than anyone that life deals out bad cards along with the good.

 

When Sunny agrees to read tarot cards at the annual Summer Solstice Carnival, she meets her Granny Gert‘s “arch nemesis” Fiona Atwater, and is overcome by a vision of Fiona in a violent argument. Sunny knows trouble is brewing when Granny and Fiona start having squabbles all over town. But the fighting comes to a head when a local baker gets run over by a big white Cadillac—and Granny and Fiona are found at the crime scene.

 

Sunny knows she should step aside and let Mitch handle the investigating, but she’s not about to ignore her visions and leave her granny’s life in fate’s hands.

 

Love, love, love this story. When Sunny’s Granny Gert and her nemesis Fiona are framed for murder, Sunny is on the case despite Grumpy Pant’s dictum that she stays away. This was a hilarious read as the Dynamic Duo wreck havoc where ever they went while Sunny tries to keep them out of jail. A good mystery that kept me guessing and I truly loved how the relationship between Sunny and Mitch continues to grow and I look forward to the next book in this delightfully charming series.

 

 

Dru


 

 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Left to Die by Lisa Jackson



  • Mass Market Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra (August 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1420102761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420102765

  • In rural Montana, a serial killer is leaving women nude, tied to tries in the winter so they die of exposure.  But it gets worse:  Apparently he is shooting their tires, causing them to be in accidents, 'rescuing" and helping them before he kills them.  And he is leaving a mysterious message with carvings and each scene building up to something the police have yet to figure out.

    Now, Jillian Rivers, has been in an accident after someone shot her tire out - she is injured and in an isolated cabin with her 'rescuer' during a blizzard, wondering if she will be the next victim.
    There are multiple mysteries here, and exected twists which kept me turning the pages.  I enjoyed the story and really liked Jillian, Alvarez and Pescoli (the detectives investigating the case). 

    The multiple POV storytelling added to the twisting of the story and surprises. But the huge unfinished business at the end - the cliffhanger to the next book, left me a little bit irritated.  I like closure at the end of a 500 page book, but of course, now I am motivated to read the next one as the author intended.

    Terri

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Review: Some Like it Hot by KJ Larsen


    Some Like It Hot by K.J. Larsen is the third book in the “Cat DeLuca” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2013

     

    When an old friend buys a trenchcoat and opens his own detective agency, PI Cat DeLuca sees a train wreck. Because everything Billy Bonham knows about being a private dick, he learned from Humphrey Bogart. And that’s just enough to make him dangerous.  The bungling detective is way over his head on a case involving murder and a stolen pair of Marilyn Monroe’s dazzling diamond earrings. His outrageous client, Cristina McTigue, is pursued by men who want her dead. Five minutes after meeting the woman, Cat would cheerfully kill her too.

     

    When Billy is gunned down on the street, it’s up to Cat to save his crazy client and nail a murderer. She soon finds herself dodging bullets, knee-deep in trouble, and chasing diamonds. Before it’s over, she’ll be helped by her sexy FBI boyfriend, a hunky ex-spy, her outrageous Italian family of Chicago cops, and her interfering Mama who keeps the cannoli coming.  With a cast of zany characters and a pace that’s unrelenting, this laugh-out-loud mystery is best served hot.

     

    Now I know why I love this series, it’s Cat DeLuca herself, the intrepid and gutsy PI who knows how to catch a cheater, but always winds up investigating a murder with great aplomb. When her friend is murdered, Cat is on the prowl for a killer in this engaging story that entertained me from beginning to end through the streets of Chicago. The author did a good job in keeping this mystery light and exciting as Cat does what she does best and that is getting the job done with using all the resources available at her disposal. With a gun-toting faux-partner, her crazy family and a sexy FBI by her side, this was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in fantastic series.

     

     

     

    Dru


     

     

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Review: Homer & Langley by EL Doctorow

    Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 7, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0812975634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812975635


  • This is the story of the Collyer brothers as told by Homer Collyer.  Homer is blind and Langley is disabled to a degree from mustard gas in WWI.  Over the years, they become notoriously reclusive in their Fifth Avenue home.  The were considered eccentric and they were often in raging disputes with Con Ed and others to which they owed money.

    In addition, they because hoarders over time.  Langley collected all daily newspapers for a project he wanted to create (a sort of super paper), then it started being junk, musical instruments, a model T Ford in their dining room and so it grew.  People did come and go through their lives (including mobsters and hippies), but eventually, both brothers died in the house, with rescue workers having to fight booby traps and years of hoarding to find their bodies. 

    This is a fictionalized account of their sensationalized true story, trying to give their thoughts and emotions to understand their actions and how they ended up as they did.  It is sad and lonely and yet fascinating at the same time.

    Terri

    Review: Veiled Threat by Alice Loweecey


    Veiled Threat by Alice Loweecey is the third book in the “Falcone & Driscoll Investigation” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, February 2013

     

    It’s private investigator Giulia Falcone’s second Christmas since leaving the convent. She’s happy to be spending it with Frank Driscoll, even if his switching from boss to boyfriend and back again is giving her whiplash. But Giulia’s holiday is darkened with disturbing news from her friends Anya and Laurel—their adopted baby girl has been kidnapped. When she learns that two kidnappings in nearby communities, both involving same-sex couples, ended with devastating fatalities, Giulia is more determined than ever to return the infant girl to her mothers. With Frank reluctantly backing her and the understaffed police offering little assistance, Giulia goes undercover to snare the kidnappers before they can do further harm.

     

    This was very enjoyable and I love that Guilia is becoming a more confident person in charge of her life and will stand her ground in order to do that right thing and that she does when the agency take on a baby kidnapping case that has Guilia going undercover once again. The flow of the drama was a good one as each chapter spurned me onto the next as the suspense kept me turning the pages in the intriguing mystery. The side interaction with Guilia, Frank and Sidney was fun as well as the internal dialogue that Guilia has with herself. The ending left us with possibilities and I can’t wait to read the next book in this engaging series.

     

     

     

    Dru


     

     

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Guest Blogger: Alice Duncan


    Characters, Characters, Characters!

     

    It occurred to me recently that at present I have three historical cozy mystery series, and they all have more or less the same heroine.

     

    This came about through a series of events that are not uncommon in the publishing biz, which is crazy most of the time and understandable never, at least to me.

     

    First, along about 2001 or thereabouts, Daisy Gumm Majesty, phony spiritualist in Pasadena, California (my home town) in the early 1920s, popped into my brain. I love the 1920s, which were a fascinating era. I love the Pasadena of my girlhood. I love Daisy. She’s my favorite of all the characters in all my books. She’s a peach. In actual fact, Daisy’s me, only with a supportive family behind her and none of my crippling neuroses. Now it didn’t seem enough to have a cool heroine solving mysteries; I had to give her some problems. Therefore, I gave her a husband who was grievously injured (by both bullets and mustard gas) during the War to End All Wars (alas, misnamed). Billy Majesty, the love of Daisy’s life, had been all set to get a job as an automobile mechanic—a position greatly sought-after and respected at the time—but when he came back, shell-shocked, barely able to breathe and crippled, he couldn’t work anymore. Daisy, who had been fiddling with the Ouija board, tarot cards and palm-reading since she was around ten years old, boldly set out to make a living for the both of them. And if you think it’s tough for an ordinary, every-day woman without a college education and few skills to make a living today, you can probably imagine what it was like in the ‘twenties, when women were not merely believed to be, but KNOWN to be less intelligent and capable than men.

     

    Mind you, I had to rear two daughters alone in the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, and that was no blasted fun either. Things hadn’t come a very long way, baby, by then. I remember job postings for men and job postings for women in the company for which I slaved as a secretary. A secretary—I believe they’re now called administrative assistants, but in my day we were secretaries—is the person who does all the things nobody else wants to do and takes the blame when anything goes wrong. I suppose the ‘sixties and ‘seventies were more enlightened than the ‘twenties, but not by very blasted much, they weren’t.

     

    Ahem. I digressed there for a moment. Anyhow, I wrote the first two Daisy books, STRONG SPIRITS and FINE SPIRITS, assuming they would be marketed as historical cozy mysteries. Unfortunately, my editor said they didn’t have enough mystery in them (precisely true) and that they wanted me to take out the dead bodies, add a subsidiary romance (because Daisy was already married) and they’d publish them as romances. So I did. And they did. And the books tanked. I was brokenhearted. The late, great Kate Duffy even telephoned me one day to apologize for mis-marketing the books and asked if I wouldn’t please take another name (I already had four, for Pete’s sake) and write a series of romances. So I wrote my post-Titanic series. The first book in that series was the hardest book I’ve ever written because I didn’t want to write the cursed thing. After that, things got easier, but I was still crushed about the demise of Daisy.

     

    And then my good friend and fellow author, Mimi Riser, called to say that her good friend, the entrepreneur Melissa Alvarez (who has done smashing covers for a lot of my e-books) was starting a new publishing venture called New Age Dimensions, which would publish trade-size paperbacks and e-books. So I figured, what the heck, and wrote the first of my Pecos Valley books, PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND, which star Annabelle Blue, a young woman who lives in the gawd-forsaken town of Roswell (called Rosedale in the books because I don’t want anybody suing me) in 1923. These books, too, are historical cozy mysteries. That turned out fairly well, so I wrote the second book in the series. And then NAD was wiped out by Hurricane Wilma during the great hurricane epidemic of 2005. Wilma, by the way, was my late mother’s name. I don’t believe for a second that this is a coincidence. But now Annabelle was as dead as Daisy.

     

    Faintly daunted but pursuing, I allowed Mercy Allcutt to swim into my generally enfeebled brain about that same time. Mercy, a Boston Brahmin of impeccable lineage, flies in the face of her family, takes shorthand and typing classes at her local YWCA, and shocks her mother and father by moving to Los Angeles, California, to live with her married sister Chloe, whose husband does something in the silent pictures, but Mercy isn’t sure what. Mercy, you see, yearns to become a member of the worker proletariat and learn how real people live. In order to do this, Mercy—gasp!—gets a job! What’s more, she works as a secretary (see where I’m going here?) for a private investigator, the jaded ex-cop Ernie Templeton. I sent this book (LOST AMONG THE ANGELS) to Five Star, and they published it! What’s more, they’ve published several more, and the second book in the series, FALLEN ANGELS, won the 2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book of the Year Award for mystery/suspense. This is the only contest I enter, by the way, because it’s so . . . I dunno. Incongruous, I guess, the state of literacy in New Mexico being what it is.

     

    About then, and since Five Star had a women’s fiction line, I decided to send my third Daisy book, HIGH SPIRITS, to Five Star and see if they’d bite. They did, and by gum, Daisy was reborn! I was totally, absolutely and deliciously delighted.

     

    And then, greatly daring (actually, I figured what the heck) I sent the second Pecos Valley book, PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, to Five Star—and they published it! My cup very nearly ran over, but I managed to contain myself, mainly because I was still poor as a church mouse. I mean, unless you’re Nora Roberts or Stephen King or one of a very few other lucky and talented authors, you really can’t make a living at this. However, PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL got a starred review in Booklist, so I’m not repining. What’s more, the third book in the series, PECOS VALLEY RAINBOW, has just been published. Five Star, by the by, creates fabulous covers for their novels, so I really am a fortunate person. In some ways. Truth to tell, I’d rather be rich than have a way with words, but I guess we all have our own . . . blessings? Well, whatever.

     

    And there you have it. Three historical cozy mystery series all featuring more or less the same female protagonist. Go figure. The whole thing’s beyond me. Blame publishing.

     

    Please feel free to enter my monthly contest by sending your name and address to me at alice@aliceduncan.net . At the end of April I’ll be giving away copies of Mercy Allcutt’s fourth adventure, ANGELS OF MERCY. Also, please feel free to visit my web site, where you can read the first chapter of darned near every one of my fifty or so books (www.aliceduncan.net ), and feel free to hang out on my Facebook page, too, if you feel like it: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925?ref=tn_tnmn

     

    Thanks!

     

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    Review: Biggie and the Meddlesome Mailman by Nancy Bell


    BIGGIE AND THE MEDDLESOME MAILMAN

    Author: Nancy Bell

     

    Biggie Weatherford lives in Job's Crossing, Texas. This is also where nosey mailman Luther Abernathy lives and works. When Luther is found murdered Biggie sets out to find out why and who would have stamped Luther dead on arrival.

    With the help of JR Biggie's twelve year old grandson Biggie runs into more troubles than a rattlesnake in Texas.

    JR just wants to win his baseball game but soon he is bitten by the snooping bug and when him and Biggie are kidnapped JR knows that Texas law will win if only they can live long enough for the calvery to arrive.

    In Texas JR gets more of an education that he can read in any book but thank goodness Biggie is always there with a hand in keeping him just out the reach of chaos. Okay maybe not always but they do try to keep eachother from being worm food.

    This book had me chuckling all the way to the end. If you like the MISS JULIA books you will loves these. This series has long since ended but please go back and read the whole series. You will not be sorry as these are still some of the best down to earth mysteries you will ever read.

    Pamela