Nancy G. West – Dang Near Dead

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On this third week of December, I’m hosting author, Nancy G. West


Nancy studied business administration and English lit and is ambidexterous, which explains a lot. While writing her serious suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, character Aggie Mundeen popped up and demanded that Nancy write a book about her…or maybe a series. Thus, the Aggie Mundeen mystery series was born. Aggie and Nancy still clash brains, but they’ve enjoyed every minute. Detective Sam, Aggie’s love interest, is a little nervous….Anyone who dreads aging, tries to stay fit or has loved the wrong man should appreciate Aggie Mundeen.

Dang Near Dead

Aggie and friends frolic on a dude ranch vacation with cowboys, dudes, heat, snakes, poison ivy, buried secrets and dangerous wranglers. When an expert rider flies off a horse and lies in a coma, Aggie believes it was no accident. Despite Sam’s warnings, Aggie probes secrets of the ranch, her ingenious methods strain her dicey relationship with Sam, and they discover that Home on the Range means murder.

Here is an excerpt.

They see the ranch:

                “We topped the hill and saw the entrance gate, bracketed on both sides by an eight-strand wire fence.  A four-by-eight-foot wood plank sign hung between wide gateposts.  BVSBar Ranch was scorched into the wood.  When our front wheels bumped over the first iron pipe of the cattle guard, the gate swung open.  A winding ranch road curved ahead.  Sun sparkling on limestone crushed into dirt beckoned us toward whatever lurked around the next bend….”

                Aggie and Meredith meet their cabin mates at the ranch:

                Chubby arms jingling with charm bracelets protruding from a floating tent of gauzy iridescent orange swept into the room.  Bleached hair tied high in a pom-pom bounced above crinkly, kohl-rimmed eyes and fire engine red lips.

                “Well, hellooo,” the apparition said. “We thought our suite mates would never come. I’m Jan Meisner, ‘Jangles’ for short.”

                A glow of southwestern turquoise flashed into the  room hanging on one of Jangles’ roommates.

                “I told Jangles not to wear those floatin’ hostess pajamas,”  she barked.  “This is a ranch. If she gets near brush, she’ll get snagged and leave half herself in the bushes.  I’m Rhonda Stone. They call me Stoney.  If we’re going to fit in at this ranch, we need to dress like it. We don’t want these ranchers to think we’re dudes.”  Stoney shook our hands like she was pumping a well.

                We heard a shriek from their cabin and rushed in to find their third roommate cringing on top of the wood table, clasping her knees.

                “There are bugs on my mattress! I’m sure they bite.  How can I possibly sleep on that foul pallet?”

                “Get over it, Mildred,”  Stoney said.  “We’ll knock ’em off your bed.”  Stoney turned to us and spiked her thumb toward the agitated woman.  “This is Millie Dietert.  She’s never been outside Dallas.”

DANG NEAR DEAD front.jpg

DANG NEAR DEAD, Aggie Mundeen Mystery #2                                                                                      Must Read.” Southern Writers’ Magazine November/December 2014

DANG NEAR DEAD release  video:

Henery Press Interview:

Henery Press:

Amazon purchase link:

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble purchase link:


Nancy’s Website: 

Nancy G. West and Her Characters:

                       (Nancy & Aggie Clash Brains)

Amazon Author Page –



Las Mysteristas Interview:

UniversalCreativity 14, Book Review:

Get Lost in a Story, Interview: 

FIT TO BE DEAD, Aggie Mundeen Mystery #1

RELEASE video:

Nancy and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.


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Mary Jean Kelso – One Family’s Christmas

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This second week of December, I’m hosting author, Mary Jean Kelso

mjkel bio photo

Mary Jean Kelso is a multi-genre’ author. Her children’s books include a dozen or more titles. She is, also, the author of four young adult novels and several adult novels. Her only factual book is, A Visual History Record of Alamo Defender Gordon Cartwright Jennings’ Family (co-authored with her daughter, Wendy Whiteman).

Several of her children’s books are available in braille through Xavier Society for the Blind ( and The Anna B. Repicky Foundation (

Mary Jean contributes to National newspapers and magazines and was an Asst. Editor prior to concentrating on fiction. She has  received awards from The Nevada Press Assn. and The National Press Assn. She is a member of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, The Alamo Society and Made in Nevada —

One Family’s Christmas

After a family’s star for their Christmas tree is destroyed they search for another ornament to top the tree. They resurrect the treetop angel carried across The Oregon Trail by a young pioneer and bring the story of The Christmas Angel full circle. Suggested age for readers: 4-12.


Fernley Author, Mary Jean Kelso, recently received word that two of her books were now in English Braille. A copy of the translation into braille of her children’s book, Andy and the Albino Horse arrived this week. One Familys Christmas is also available in braille.

 Kelso who writes for children, tweens, young adults and adults has been published in  many formats including ebooks, hardbacks, paperbacks and audio. These are the first braille editions. The books will be used to teach blind children how to read.

 “I am very excited to know that my writing is touching sightless children and adults,” Kelso said. “I hope the books bring them much joy!”

  The New York City organization, Xavier Society for the Blind (, has been serving the blind since 1900. The data for the books is stored in “the mind of the computer,” according to a spokesperson at Xavier. The books are produced when a client orders a book listed in their library.

Xavier also works with the Talking Books for the Blind and does inter-library loan. They are listed in the National Library Service.

Kelso’s books are also available through The Anna B. Repicky Foundation. The Foundation is based on the idea that “children become readers on the laps of their parents,” according to a quote by Emilie Buchwald on their website (

The goal of the Anna B. Repicky Foundation is to provide a print book and a braille copy to clients so the sighted and non-sighted in families and classrooms can read together.

The two organizations have teamed up to expand the number of books available through their libraries. The books are provided to the clients to keep without charge.

 “One of my uncles was blind. My best friend of many years is blind. I have seen the struggles the blind have to live a fulfilled life. If even one child learns to read because he or she enjoys one of my books, I am very happy about that,” Kelso said.

Visit Mary Jean on the Web at,,!/pages/Mary-Jean-Kelso-Author/197511410282689, or

Mary Jean and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.




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David K. Bryant – Tread Carefully on the Sea


This first week of December, I’m hosting author, David K. Bryant.


I started writing fiction after retiring from journalism and public relations. I suppose the books waited their turn during all the years I wrote articles, features, speeches and promotional material for other people. My career included running a district office for a daily newspaper, helping to introduce professional PR into the British police service and promoting a major parliamentary Bill for Margaret Thatcher’s government.


I live in Somerset, one of the nicest counties in England, and am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Stephanie and I have been married for forty years. We are proud of our two children Matthew and Melanie, grandson Henry, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Fleur.

Tread Carefully on the Sea

The Governor of Jamaica organised a splendid 21st birthday party for his adopted daughter, Jessica. However, the best surprise for her came the following day when her admirer, Captain Michael Townsend of the Royal Navy, asked her to marry him.

Meanwhile, Captain Flint, one of the most successful buccaneers of the colonial era, decided to take the fortune he had made from twenty years of piracy and retire to a secret place where he would be out of the reach of justice.

That’s what should have happened.

But Flint was persuaded to raise yet more money through one last crime; a crime more daring and dangerous than any he had previously committed. His men would kidnap Jessica and add her ransom to their pensions.

The kidnap leads to a desperate chase across the Caribbean and all the horrors of 18th Century life at sea for Jessica and those who try to help her, while Captain Flint himself must face the threat of both the hangman and those within his own crew who plot against him.

Here is an excerpt:

Flint had made use of his time at Jamaica to stock a generous table. In its center was a bowl of ackee, otaheite apple and hog plum. Already waiting on the china were servings of crayfish curried with garlic. Side plates held hard dough bread. The drink was inevitably rum, even at this early hour. There were, however, jugs of water at intervals along the table.

Jessica bit a little piece off a breadfruit. She had been silenced by Flint but she looked straight at him to convey without words that she was still waiting for her answers.

Townsend took up her cause: “Captain Flint, you obviously have the power to do with us what you will and I don’t doubt we’ll soon find out what that is. There are, however, two issues that are going to overshadow this meeting until we have the answers: Why did you take us aboard your ship and what has become of the governor and his nephew?”

“That’s a better way of putting it,” said Flint. “It shows we can deal with matters in a civilized fashion. I’m not surprised at your initiative, Captain Townsend. I’d heard of you before all this because of the ripples you have made in these waters for some of my buccaneering counterparts. You are an educated man. Indeed, I think we went to the same school, Harrow.”

O’Hara, sitting opposite Townsend, noticed his captain wince at the mention of his school. Any reference to the past seemed to make Townsend recoil. If O’Hara had been able to use telepathy, he would have asked Flint not to open up that matter too much. But Flint was still talking: “So did Harrow teach you anything except Latin and archery?” he asked Townsend. “I’ve forgotten the Latin but perhaps we should have an archery contest at some time. Isn’t it interesting that we also followed the same career, except that you chose the Royal Navy and I chose independence?”

“And which is the richer man?” interjected the first mate Billy Bones. He grinned and the face that looked like parchment now went into deep grooves just like real parchment which had been repeatedly folded. He took the Skull and Crossbones napkin from his collar and wiped a fragment of food off his face. The grin disappeared as well.

“A good point, Billy,” said Flint.

O’Hara, however, had a response of his own: “And who is the honest man?” he asked.

Flint coughed. It was not clear whether a piece of food had stuck in his throat or something had caught in his craw. The manservant, Darby, was quick to serve him water.

“I’ll tell you all about honesty,” Flint retorted, his words coming in jerks as the water went down. He was looking again at Jessica. “I have a little story to tell on that point and it will lead me nicely to this matter of the governor and your brother, Madam.

“Like the Spanish, the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese, Britain came to this part of the world to find riches. It was very successful in doing so but it had a major problem. It was shipping around so many slaves and so much merchandise that it didn’t have sufficient military resources to protect its new-found wealth. So what did it do about the policing of its trade routes and the protection of places like Jamaica? It found it convenient to encourage the people you would call pirates. Mind you they weren’t denigrated with that vulgar name then. Oh no, the euphemism was privateers. That made them sound much more like they were on legitimate business. It was all very official. They were given Letters of Marque by the British government, which meant ‘attack whoever you like so long as it isn’t the British’.

“The English monarchy was a bit distracted by its domestic affairs and didn’t much care how those privateers went about their work. Their Majesties were euphoric that the job was being done for them. In fact, they were so grateful that a privateer of whom you will have heard, Henry Morgan, was appointed lieutenant governor of your beloved island of Jamaica. Yes, Madam, one of the previous occupants of your mansion was the kind of man I am.

“Later, of course, the King became able to look after his own affairs through the offices of men like Mr. O’Hara here, who espouse honesty. When that happened, people like me acquired a new status, that of criminal, to be hunted down by naval captains in frigates and taken to Execution Dock for hanging.”

Flint looked towards Townsend, tapped the back of his fork on his forehead and continued: “You had better hope that the King never turns against the Royal Navy in the same way that he turned against the privateers.”

Tread Carefully on the Sea cover picture


Buy link:


Twitter @DavidKBryant

David and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.




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Laurinda Wallace – Family Matters


This Thanksgiving week,  I’m  hosting author, Laurinda Wallace.


Growing up in rural Western New York where cows outnumber people gave me a love for the great outdoors and the magical world of books. A good book for me usually had a horse or a dog as the main character, or even better, a mystery to unravel. Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, Call of the Wild, Lad, A Dog, along with Paul Hutchens’ Sugar Creek Gang mystery series, Sherlock Holmes, and Christie’s Poirot were all favorite reads. These books inspired writing my own tales of adventure in notebooks stashed under my bed.

Now fast forward quite a few years and I’m raising two daughters, working on a career, and driving our mini-van all over the countryside. Writing was a distant dream.

But once our nest was empty, my husband, David and I left New York for sunnier skies and warmer weather in southeast Arizona. The high desert with its beautiful mountain views, awe-inspiring night skies, and independent spirit brought back the old desire to write. Since 2005, I’ve been writing for a variety of publications. Throwing caution to the wind, the real fun began when the Gracie Andersen mystery series was conceived. With plenty of canine antics and a good mystery in the quirky town of Deer Creek, there’s something for everyone. Family Matters, By the Book, and Fly by Night are all available.  A couple of other books got written along the way as well.

Family Matters- The First Grace Anderson Mystery

Think your family’s dysfunctional? Meet Gracie Andersen’s and the peaceful farming community of Deer Creek. Gracie has her hands full–a new business and trying to get her life on track after the loss of her husband and unborn child. When an odd gift from her troubled uncle thrusts her into an investigation of a cousin’s tragic death 20 years ago, Gracie meets with opposition from family and friends. What really happened that rainy, October night when her cousin was killed by a hit-and-run driver? As pieces of the truth are wrenched from the past, her new business, Milky Way Kennels teeters on the edge of disaster. And then death strikes again. Someone is determined Gracie won’t find the truth. With Haley, her black Labrador by her side, Gracie doggedly pursues the trail of clues to unravel the mystery of her cousin Charlotte’s untimely death.

 Here is an excerpt:

It was over. Reverend Minders had pronounced the final “amen,” and the mourners drifted away from the artificial grass carpet draped against the sides of the open grave, an oak casket suspended above it. White roses, already wilting lay across the top of the casket. Gracie, more than eager to leave the cemetery, hurried over the thick, spongy grass toward her SUV. The rain shower that had pummeled the stained glass windows of the church during the funeral had cleared, but the trees still dripped, the light breeze spattering leftover raindrops on her face. She kept her eyes down, determined not to look in the direction of the gravestone that had her husband’s name carved deep into the granite. The small stone next to it with the white lamb on top only doubled her determination. Gracie had parked under the shade of an ancient maple tree at the edge of the cemetery. Now that the sun had finally burnt away the remnants of storm clouds, it was a perfect July day. Punching the unlock button on the key ring, the familiar click was silenced by the unmistakable grating voice of her cousin Isabelle.

“Gracie, wait. Aren’t you coming back to the house?” Isabelle’s tone indicated it was more of an imperative than a question.

“I don’t think so, Isabelle. I need to get back to work. It’s pretty busy right now.” She pulled on the door handle of the red RAV4.

“What are you talking about? Of course you’re coming back to the house for the meal. The family should be together. Mother would have wanted all of us to be together. Your mother’s not here, so…”

Gracie saw the look in her cousin’s eyes and knew she wasn’t getting out of town any time soon. She had no valid reason to skip out anyway. Work was merely an excuse.

“Well, I guess I could come for a few minutes.”

Family duty is a powerful force. It makes one do the most uncomfortable and inconvenient things. But she was her family’s official representative today, and she needed to hold it together no matter how she felt.

“Good. I’ll meet you at the house in a few minutes. I must catch up with Reverend Minders and make sure Tim gave him a check.” Isabelle, in her tailored navy blue silk suit and perfectly coifed blond hair, walked quickly to where her husband was talking to the silver-haired, slightly paunchy Reverend Minders.

The rest of the funeral group straggled toward their respective vehicles. She saw Greg and Anna, Isabelle’s teenage children, shuffling toward the family Lexus with their heads down. They looked as uncomfortable as she felt.

“At least I’m not the only one,” Gracie muttered to herself, turning the key in the ignition.

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There are always new books percolating. Gracie’s next adventure will take place in Arizona and a brand new mystery is in development. The disappearance of school teacher in the Genesee River Valley during the 1930s will introduce a possible new series.

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Laurinda is gifting three Kindle copies of Family Matters, so please feel free to leave a comment and you will be entered to win. 


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Marilyn Meredith – River Spirits

This week I’m pleased to host multi-published mystery author, Marilyn Meredith.


Lori and us

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at and her blog at

River Spirits

While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

 “Delia is nuts. She makes me so angry I could kill her.” The shrill outburst came from a slender woman not much out of her teens stomping into the dining room of the Bear Creek Inn.

The diners turned to stare at her, including Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband, Pastor Hutch Hutchinson.  He leaned closer to Tempe and asked, “Who is that?”

“She’s probably one of the movie people who are filming on the reservation,” Tempe said.

“She doesn’t look like a star.”

Hutch was right. The woman in question had a puff of short, curly red hair. Freckles polka-dotted a plain but animated face. She wore cutoff jeans and an oversize pale blue shirt that hung off one bony shoulder.

Claudia, the owner of the inn, came rushing after her. “Excuse me, dear, what can I do to help you?”  Claudia appeared to know the girl, or at least who she was.

She whirled around to face Claudia, but didn’t lower her voice. “Delia doesn’t like the food she ordered. She wants something else and she wants it right now.”

“Come with me to the kitchen. We’ll see what we can do for her.” While casting apologetic looks to the many other patrons as she passed, Claudia took the girl’s arm and led her away.

Hutch returned his attention to his dinner. “I wonder what that’s about.”

“I’m guessing she is Delia West’s personal assistant. It sounds like she has a difficult job.” Ever since the movie company invaded Bear Creek, Tempe had been hearing rumors about the problems they caused. Thankfully, nothing she had to take care of in her capacity as resident deputy of the mountain area surrounding the small town of Bear Creek—at least not yet.

Hutch finished the last of his steak and pushed the plate aside.  He focused his gaze on Tempe. “I’m still surprised the Tribal Council gave them permission to film on the reservation.”

“Me too. But from what I’ve heard, the production company promised the movie would promote a positive image of the tribe and bring tourists to the casino.  That weighed heavily on the decision. Not everyone is enthusiastic about the project.”

“Did they have an opportunity to read the script?”

Tempe admired her husband before answering. The wire-framed glasses perched on his nose helped his pastoral image, but contrasted with the twinkle in his eyes and his tousled auburn hair. “I don’t know, but I would think so or they wouldn’t have agreed.” Tempe glanced around the room. “Some of the other people connected with the filmmaking are having dinner here. I suspect the assistant’s remarks will get back to Ms. West.”

“I figured that’s who these strangers are. They kind of stick out.”

Besides being strangers, the extra people didn’t dress like the citizens of Bear Creek. Some of them wore what they might have thought mountain people might wear: brand new shorts and slacks, crisp shirts, and boots, looking like they stepped out of a Land’s End, J. Crew or L.L. Bean catalog.

“I hope that young woman doesn’t get into trouble.” Hutch pushed his empty plate aside. “This is one time I’d like to have Nick Two John fill us in.”

Nick Two John was Claudia’s partner in life, the main chef at the inn, and a good friend of Tempe and Hutch. Over the years, Nick educated Tempe about her Indian heritage and culture. Hutch didn’t always approve, but despite some disagreements their friendship grew.

Almost as though he’d heard Hutch, Nick stepped out of the kitchen following Claudia. She continued on to the front desk, but Nick pulled a chair up to their table. “Claudia told me you were out here.” His long black braids hung down over his white shirt, tucked neatly into worn Levis.

Hutch obviously couldn’t contain his curiosity. “We couldn’t help but wonder about that young woman. Where did she go, by the way?”

“Her name is Kate Eileen Shannon and she is the personal assistant to Delia West, the movie star.”

“She doesn’t sound too happy about her job,” Tempe said.

“Ms. West is difficult. I cooked a special meal at her request, but it didn’t suit her. She blamed Kate Eileen and ordered her to fetch something else. I fixed up a plate of tonight’s special and sent her out through the kitchen.”

“I take it that monstrosity out back belongs to Ms. West,” Hutch said. He referred to the 40-foot silver and black luxury motor home taking up a quarter of the parking lot.

“I think the studio provided it for her. She expected it to be set up on the Bear Creek Reservation, but the Tribal Council wouldn’t allow it. Supposedly it’s because they don’t have hookups for RVs, but I suspect they had other reasons too.”

“So you let it be parked here.”

“Ms. West wouldn’t agree to any of the campgrounds. I doubt any of the local ones have room for such a big rig. The production company offered enough money to make Claudia agree to have it here.”

“What’s it like having a famous movie star around?” Tempe asked.

“Do you want the truth?” Nick glanced around as if to make sure no one was listening and lowered his voice. “She’s not a nice person.  The gossip is she’s not at happy being in this movie, but it’s the only part she’s been offered in three years. I have no interest in such things so I don’t know whether this is true or not.”

River Spirits is number fourteen in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. It isn’t necessary to read them in order because though things do change in Tempe’s life from book to book, each one is written as a stand-alone.


 The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour. He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.

 River Spirits

Now I’m headed over to Marja McGraw’s and I’ll be discussing the author’s life, mine.

To purchase River Spirits from the publisher, all formats:

For Kindle:

Amazon paperback:

For Nook

 Visit Marilyn at



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Healthy Eating And My New Novel

What does healthy eating have to do with my new novel? I’m glad you asked.

Once Upon A Crime - WEB

In my new mystery, Once Upon a Crime, my protagonist’s Aunt Nettie has completely changed the way she looks at food. She’s now into eating healthy. While she made the change in her late fifties, I’ve been eating healthy most of my life.

I’m not a vegetarian. I also eat free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, wild Alaskan salmon, pastured eggs and elk meat. I do eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but only if they’re organic. I plant an organic garden every spring. And when the autumn weather approaches, I do a fall planting. I’m not a food snob. It’s just my preferred way of eating.

Aunt Nettie is also into herbal teas. I drink rosehips and hibiscus tea every morning. It’s a tasty way to help keep your blood pressure under control. But unlike Nettie, I also enjoy an occasional cup of decaf coffee with a good portion of almond milk added. It’s delicious. Just like having dessert. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I do make my own almond milk. I also make my own coconut cream from fresh, young coconuts. It’s decadently luscious on any dessert, like Raw Chocolate Mousse. (Recipes below.)

With her noon and evening meals, Aunt Nettie drinks lemon water, just as I do. It helps with digestion and alkalizes the body. And as Nettie so eloquently states, after dinner an occasional “cup of dandelion root tea is a great way to clear the toxins out of your liver.”

All the dishes Aunt Nettie serves in this novel are part of my diet. So if you’re of a like mind and you want any of the recipes, please feel free to contact me here on my website at.

 But if you’d prefer to eat at your local steakhouse or grab a burger at a café, and have chocolate whipped cream cake for dessert, like my protagonist, Charlotte, and her friend Jane, that’s totally up to you.

Here are the recipes for Raw Chocolate Mousse and Raw Cashew Cream

Raw Chocolate Mousse 

Ingredients – serves 2 or 3

(please use organic/local/sustainable produce where possible)

  • 1 large avocado

  • 2 medium bananas – very ripe

  • 6 drops vanilla cream liquid stevia (optional, if bananas are under-ripe)

  • 2 heaping TBSP raw cocoa powder. (I use Navitas brand. It’s raw, vegan, non-GMO and fair trade.)

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 tblsps. coconut water (I use Vita Coco, it’s the closest to the real deal.) or 2 tblsps. almond milk. You can also use filtered water.

  • A handful of frozen organic raspberries or six whole, fresh organic raspberries.


  • Cut open the avocado and place the flesh, banana, vanilla, stevia (if using) and cocoa in the blender and blend.

  • Slowly add the coconut water or almond milk until the mixture becomes creamy and easily moves around the blender, add a little extra if the mixture isn’t creamy enough. Test for sweetness and adjust.

  • Place the moose into two or three porcelain ramekins or cocktail glasses (be sure to lick the spoon)

  • Crumble the frozen raspberries in your hands and place them on top of each dessert, or place the fresh raspberries on top of the mousse. Top with coconut cream or raw cashew cream.

Raw Cashew Cream 

The night before or early in the morning, soak 1 cup of raw cashews (not roasted) in filtered water. Just before serving, empty water from container (I use a Mason jar). Rinse cashews several times and put in them in the blender with 3/4 cup filtered water. Blend until creamy. This may take a while. In any case let the blender run for at least three minutes. Add more water by the teaspoon, if necessary. Check periodically for creaminess. Add a sweetener if you like. Or top the raw chocolate mouse with the cream as is.

This can be made earlier in the day and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. Also can be used as a creamer for soups or as a topping for berries or other desserts.

Hope you enjoyed reading my blog this week. Please feel free to leave a comment.



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Marilyn Levinson – Murder the Tey Way

This week, I’m hosting mystery author, Marilyn Levinson.

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A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and books for kids.
 Murder a la Christie and Murder the Tey Way, the first two mysteries in her Golden Age of Mystery Book Club mysteries, are available in paperback and e-format. Untreed Reads has brought out new e-editions of her Twin Lakes mysteries, A Murderer Among Us, awarded a Suspense Magazine Best Indie, and Murder in the Air. Uncial Press e-publishes her ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, and her romantic suspense, Dangerous Relations. All of Marilyn’s mysteries take place on Long Island, where she lives. Three of her mysteries have been featured on Book Town’s reading lists.

Her books for young readers include No Boys Allowed; Rufus and Magic Run Amok, which was awarded a Children’s Choice; Getting Back to Normal, & And Don’t Bring Jeremy.
 Marilyn loves traveling, reading, knitting, doing Sudoku, and visiting with her granddaughter, Olivia, on FaceTime. She is co-founder and past president of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Murder the Tey Way

Professor Lexie Driscoll is discussing Josephine Tey’s books at a Golden Age of Mystery book club meeting when her sister Gayle arrives, terrified for her life. She had witnessed her boyfriend’s murder and fears the murderer is coming after her. The next morning a man’s body is found lying in Lexie’s backyard. Gayle takes off, and Lexie is worried that her sister may have murdered the man, believing he’s been sent to kill her. Determined to learn the truth, Lexie investigates. She discovers the book club members have secrets and hidden vices that lead to more murders and unexpected revelations.

Here is an excerpt:

            “Lexie, wake up!”

            I burrowed under my quilt to escape from the maddening person in my dream.

            The maddening person shook my shoulder hard. “You have to get up!”

            I blinked my way into consciousness. In the dim light, I saw my sister hovering over me, her eyes wide with fear.

            “What’s wrong?”

            “There’s a man in your backyard!”

            I sighed as I slipped out of bed and into the early morning chill. Seven o’clock, my clock said. My alarm was set to go off in an hour since I didn’t have to be at the university till eleven, but I had to calm my sister before she had an all out heart attack. I didn’t want a strange man in my backyard, especially with that peeper from last night. But neither was I especially worried. Ryesdale residents often gave themselves permission to cross their neighbors’ yards. Joy, who lived two houses from me in the opposite direction of the Roberts’ sisters, did it often enough when she stopped by for a visit. And I had faith in the alarm system Al had installed when I’d moved in.

            I peered out the window. “He’s gone.”

            Gayle pointed to the extreme left. “He’s lying face down on the lawn. Just beyond the patio.”


            She gripped my arm so tightly, I knew there’d be marks. “Do you think he’s dead?”

            Now I was worried. “I’ve no idea.”

            I raced into the kitchen, my sister behind me close as a shadow. I peered out the picture window. The man lay face down on the lawn. He hadn’t moved.

            I spun around to stare at Gayle. “How did you know he was out there?”

            She stared down at the floor. “I woke up hungry, so I made tea and toast. He was there when I looked outside the kitchen window.”

            “What time was this?”

            Gayle shrugged. “I’m not sure. Only minutes before I woke you up.”

            I opened the kitchen door and stepped into the cold, damp air. I crossed the cement patio to kneel beside him. My heart hammered so loud, I was sure Gayle, who had followed me outside, could hear it. I placed my fingers on his neck. No pulse. He was dead, all right, though I saw no head wound or bullet holes in his windbreaker jacket. Whoever had killed him had done it face-to-face.

            Looking closer, I saw blood had trickled from under the torso and into the earth. A black cap lay a few feet away. I started to hyperventilate. This was the man Joy had chased last night! There was something familiar about him and his cap, but no name came to mind.

            Who had killed him? 

            Why was he here?

            I rose unsteadily to my feet and stumbled backward into Gayle.

            “Is he dead?” she asked, helping me regain my footing.


            I stood there panting, too shaken to walk. Finally, I crossed the patio on rubbery legs. When I reached the door, I realized Gayle was still beside the body. I turned in time to see her reach out as if she meant to turn him over.

            “Don’t touch him!” I shouted.

            For a minute I thought she was going to ignore my order, then she followed me inside.

            I lifted the phone to dial 911. Gayle grabbed my hand. “Don’t call anyone!”

            “I have to call the police.” When she refused to relinquish her hold, I stepped back. Suddenly, I was afraid of my baby sister.

            Gayle’s face crumpled. “Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t kill that man. I don’t even know who he is.”

            “Then why don’t you want me to call the police?”

            “Call them after I’m gone,” she shouted over her shoulder as she ran to the front door.

            I chased after her. “Where are you going? A man was murdered. The cops will want to take your statement.”

            Gayle burst into tears. “I can’t talk to the police. I can’t!”

Murder the Tey Way cover

My Review:

In this second delightful Lexie Driscoll mystery, college professor and amateur sleuth, Lexie, gets a frantic visit from her sister, Gayle, and the next morning, she finds a dead man on her front lawn. But who killed him and why? Could it be her sister, or one of the members of her Golden Age of Mystery Book Club, which she’d hosted the night before? Trying to clear her sister of murder, Lexie allies herself with Joy, her neighbor and ex-FBI agent, to ferret out the truth. With lots of suspects, and a handsome police detective, who is also her love interest, warning her to stay out of the investigation, Lexie has her hands full discreetly searching for the killer. Ms. Levinson cleverly weaves the social issues from the novels of Josesphine Tey into the plot to come up with the solution. This is an interesting and satisfying mystery. I highly recommend it to any mystery lover.

my Amazon page:

Murder a la Christie:

Murder the Tey Way:

Congratulations go to Marja McGraw for winning a free copy of Marilyn’s novel, Murder the Tey Way.

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I’m On A Blog Tour

Hello Everyone.

I’m doing The Great Escapes Book Tour from November 3rd through November 11th as part of the launch for my latest mystery: 

Once Upon A Crime - WEB

Tour Participants

November 3 – The Gal in the Blue Mask 

November 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy

November 5 – Back Porchervations 

November 6 – Bea’s Book Nook 

November 7 – Lilac Reviews 

November 8 – Brooke Blogs 

November 9 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog  

November 10 – Socrates’ Book Reviews 

November 11 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading 

Please visit me while I’m on this tour and feel free to leave as many comments as you like. Thanks.

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Lydia Ponczak – Reenee on the Run

This week, I’m hosting author, Lydia Ponczak.

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Lydia T. Ponczak is a retired Chicago schoolteacher who is presently program director and host of a community cable television program. She is very involved in volunteer work in the community, for which she has received numerous awards. She claims being chosen first runner-up in a Ms. Illinois Senior Pageant was one of the highlights of her life, but the best highlight in her world is her fantastic son, Glen, and her unbeatable daughter-in-law, Joni.

   Lydia’s pastimes include reading mysteries, polka dancing, and she has been known to pull the handle a few times at her favorite casino. She lost her precious son, Jeff, at a tender age, and recently she lost her favorite polka  partner, Lee, her husband of many decades. She knows their essence remains at her side.

   Lydia is busy writing a psychological thriller.

Renee on the Run

The gritty mystery, Reenee on the Run, is a stand-alone sequel to Who’s After Samantha? bringing back the best friends, who, in their fifties are in dire peril from a criminal kingpin they thwarted  in their twenties, when Reenee pursued a Radio City Rockette career. The fast-paced mystery bounces back from the 1980’s in New York to the present time in the Chicago suburbs. The women’s husbands have no inkling of their wives’ involvement or the havoc about to explode in their secure lives. With hunky Deputy Chief David Kelly back in the picture, do marriages survive or crumble after the harrowing and wild experiences?

Here is a short excerpt:

“Happy New Year!” I held up my wine glass and toasted the cats at the stroke of midnight. Before they could meow their answer, an ear-shattering boom startled me. I spilled the large flute of Moscato over my hands and onto the new bedroom floor. The startled cats pounced on Darling Harry, asleep since 9 PM, New Year’s Eve or no New Year’s Eve. He sat up in bed like he was shot out of a cannon.

   “What the hell was that, Samantha…damn kids shooting off fireworks…what time is it anyway?”

   Before I could answer, he punched his pillow, rearranged his bedclothes, pushed the two cats off the bed and went back to his date with Mr. Sandman. Darling’s sleep remained more important to him than calming the fears about thunderous, unexpected noises heard by his more-or-less devoted wife of some twenty-five years.

   Avoiding the cats that were now underfoot, slurping up the spilled wine from the hardwood floor, I rushed to the bedroom window. No mangled car greeted my anxious eyes; my baby greens spotted no kids shooting off fireworks or guns to celebrate the New Year. No aliens from outer space had parked their mother ship on the lawn.

   What the heck, I thought. I got up on tippy-toes, looked down closer to the house, and caught my breath.

   “Oh, dear, lord,” I whispered.

   A man’s body lay sprawled across the front lawn. The moon shone like a spotlight on the blood that oozed onto the snow, which had fallen earlier in the evening.




Visit Lydia on Facebook or on her website: Reenee on the Run and her first mystery, Who’s After Samantha, are both available at  libraries and through

Lydia and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.




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Linda S. Reilly – Some Enchanted Murder

This week, I’m hosting mystery author, Linda S. Reilly

SOME ENCHANTED MURDER - Linda S Reilly - resized Author Photo

Armed with a degree in Criminal Justice, Linda Reilly once contemplated a career in law enforcement. But life took a twist, and instead she found her niche in real estate closings and title examination, where the dusty tomes in the Registry of Deeds enticed her into solving mysteries of a different sort. Her dream of one day having a story published happened in 1995 when a national magazine published her short mystery Out of Luck. Since then, she’s had over forty short stories published in Woman’s World magazine. Linda lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, where she is currently working on her new Deep Fried cozy mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime.

Some Enchanted Murder

Title searcher Apple Mariani is accustomed to solving mysteries—mysteries such as lingering liens and missing heirs. But when appraiser Lou Marshall is stabbed with an antique dagger at an estate sale, she finds herself plunged into the heart of a murder. For starters, she learns that the victim had entrusted her with a decades-old valentine minutes before he was killed. Then things get worse when Apple’s Aunt Tressa is pegged as a prime suspect, and their elderly friend Lillian goes suddenly missing.

Here is a short excerpt:

Aunt Tressa gave me a smug look. “I knew that tarantula would cause trouble. Who in their right mind would let a—”

“He’s dead!” a voice shouted from the top of the stairs.

Everyone turned to see Josh Baker galumphing down the staircase. “He’s dead,” Josh repeated, his shoulders heaving, his eyes shiny with fear.

“Hah!” Aunt Tressa stage-whispered to me. “Someone finally nailed the sucker. Probably squirted it with a can of bug spray.”

“Josh, are you talking about Zorba?” I asked.

He threw me a dazed look. “Zorba? No, not Zorba. Lou Marshall! Someone stabbed him in the neck with one of those antique knives!”

My aunt’s jaw fell open. “Lou? Dead?” She tottered sideways. “Then I—” she swallowed—“was probably the last person to see him alive.”

I grabbed her arm to keep her upright, at the precise moment I spotted Chief Fenton striding toward us.

“Is that so?” he said, his granite gaze locked firmly on Aunt Tressa’s horrified face.

“What I meant was,” she squeaked, “I . . . was probably the next to last person to see him alive.”



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Where to buy Some Enchanted Murder:

 Some Enchanted Murder is available at many local libraries, or through the following links:

It is also available on Kindle.

Linda is giving away a free print copy of Some Enchanted Murder. Leave a comment and you will automatically be entered to win. 

Despite the police chief’s irritating lack of concern, Apple is sure Lillian is in trouble when a cryptic call from her cell phone awakens Apple late at night. Still haunted by childhood memories of her own mother vanishing, Apple is determined to find Lillian before it’s too late. From the shelves of a local antique shop to the culinary horrors of the grimiest diner in New Hampshire, Apple and Tressa collect a series of clues that seem maddeningly unrelated. But time is running out, because a desperate killer­, bent on keeping the truth buried, is still walking free.

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