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 15, 2016

Blog: My library trip and more by Pamela James

My library trip on Thursday evening was as always a fun trip.
First here are the books I came home with to read.
BOOKS OF A FEATHER by Kate Carlisle
The DEAD And The BEAUTIFUL by Cheryl Crane

Still waiting on my large type copy of The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett
I am loving watching the Olympics.

We cooked and baked again today for the neighbors. one of them had a birthday.
I haven't felt very well for a few days.

What books have your attention this weekend/new week?
We opted out of family events that were going on over the weekend.
We did go out to eat Chinese Food on Saturday night since one of our daughters had given us gift cards to one our local Chinese places.
our dog isn't doing well so I have to make an appointment to take her in and see if they can run some tests this week as we really need to know what the problem/s might be.

Movies: I had rented more New Tricks Seasons from the library on Thursday night. in honor of Hitchcock's Birthday I watched "Rear Window" and for acorn and netflix this week. I watched episode two of Agatha Raisin Mystery Series, we also watched DNA the first season. Of course I had already watched the first season. Frank hadn't so he enjoyed that one.

I didn't stitch but wanted to but I did read. on my kindle I am enjoying "Death Goes to the Dogs" by Teresa Massey Watson.

I will post reviews this week. I have one book I did finish reading in the past week and one I have almost finished,

My to-do list is a little longer for the next few days then it winds down.

This week the temps are more fall like so I am enjoying the fresh air.
Although still humid it's nice to only be in the 80's and to have a breeze.

Have a Magical Monday.

Friday, August 12, 2016

An Interview with Ellen Byron

MM: Ellen, give us the backstory on your writing career?

I graduated from Tulane University with the always-useful degree in Theatre. (Sarcasm!) I acted for a few years, and then started writing plays. My first, GRACELAND, won awards and was published. I began writing freelance magazine articles to support myself, and gradually writing supplanted acting. In 1990, I moved from my beloved New York City to L.A. to see if I could transition into writing for television, which I’m proud to say that I did. Since then I’ve written on shows like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME and STILL STANDING. I’ve also written pilots for most of the major networks.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write your books?

I’m not someone who who can write in coffee houses or unique places. I sit at the computer in my office and pound away.

MM: Are you the seat of your pants (punster) plotter? Would you rather outline or is there another way you plot your books?

I call myself a plotser. I need to lay out a blueprint for where my story is going, and that can turn into a 25 – 30 page outline. But the minute I start writing, things begin moving around. It’s like looking at amoeba on a slide under a microscope, where nothing seems to stay in place. I tend to have a lot of little brainstorms when I’m working on a book and I have to write them down or they go away. And I find my overall story structure stays the same, so the bones of the outline are useful, and it’s also useful as a repository for my random thoughts.

MM: Are you a member of a writer's group or is there a village, mentor, or many others you would like to tell us about and want to give a shout out of thanks?

Two groups: GoWrite, made up of Mindy Schneider, Kathy McCullough, 
Kate Shein, and Terri Wagener. This is where I first began writing mysteries and nothing would exist without them. And then there are the wonderful ladies who invited me to join their multi-author blog, chicksonthecase.com. They would be Lisa Q. Mathews, Kellye Garrett, and Marla Cooper. I love that I get to mix it up with both mystery and non-mystery authors. And both Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and SoCal Mystery Writers of America have been a godsend.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?

That I love them, and sometimes forget that I made them up. I feel like they’re real and I can go visit them. Which means I also forget that I made up Pelican, Louisiana!

MM: Now for lighter questions. What is your favorite meal, shows to binge watch, place to vacation, music, movies and snack or dessert?

Meal: anything Italian. Or sushi
Place to vacation: Bantam Lake, Connecticut. My family had a cottage there for years. We had to sell it after my dad passed away.
Music: I have the taste of a fifteen year-old girl, so Top Forty dance music. Right now I love “Cake by the Ocean,” by DNCE. But I also have both Bollywood and Cajun/Zydeco playlists.
Shows: I don’t have time to binge-watch, I’m always writing! I’m mourning the loss of my two favorite shows, Mad Men and Downton Abbey, but looking forward to the return of Silicon Valley and Veep.
Movies: All-time faves: The Producers, Flirting with Disaster, Amarcord, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and The Haunting.
Dessert: pretty much anything! I do live for See’s Candy, though.

MM: Tell us about where you live and why you love your home?

I live in Studio City, California. I’m a rain lover, so my residency in dry SoCal is purely for business. I dream of moving back East someday. But I do love our house. It’s a classic California mid-century ranch and we’ve tried to respect its style. My neighborhood is cool because it’s in the Valley side of the Hollywood Hills. Great hiking! And my neighbors include a certain Mr. George Clooney. He of course lives in the fancier section of our neighborhood. I’ve seen him on his motorcycle and neighbors have reported George-Amal sightings at local restaurants. We used to have a basset hound and when I read that George and Amal recently adopted one, I was going to drop our late Lucy’s snood in their mailbox!

MM: 2016 what can we expect from you this year?

Exciting things!! A mass market paperback edition of PLANTATION SHUDDERS launches in early August, and… drumroll, please… book two in my Cajun Country Mysteries series, BODY ON THE BAYOU, launches on September 13th.

MM: Personally and professionally what are you looking forward to person/s, place or thing?
I’m looking forward to the Malice Domestic Convention, which I just adore. They gave me my start by endowing me with a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant. And this year I’m nominated for a Best First Novel, which is an absolute dream come true. And I’m very much looking forward to Bouchercon 2016… in New Orleans! I’ll take any excuse I can get to visit my favorite city.

MM: Tell us about your website?

My website was designed by Catherine Respess of Red Mare Designs, and I love it. She is the loveliest, easiest person to work with. We worked to give it the flavor of Louisiana, with images of oak trees and the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. I blog about all kinds of local color, from plantation visits to New Orleans’ artists. And I send out a bi-monthly newsletter that you can sign up for on my website. It usually includes a recipe and a section I call “Your Louisiana Library,” where I write about some of my favorite Louisiana non-fiction and travel books.

MM: What are your writing pet peeves?

Hah! I just shared a couple of those on a listserv. Right now, one is when people use “it’s” incorrectly, instead of “its.” Another is spelling never mind as one word. Ignore that Nirvana cover. It’s – as in “it is” – two words.

MM: Do you know who your villain is at the beginning of your book?

Yes. I always give myself permission to change that, but so far I never have.

MM: What do you collect? Before writing books did you have a hobby?

I have a large collection of Roseville Pottery, although I haven’t added to it in years. Not enough disposable income. Now I collect vintage cookbooks. Not that I’m a great cook (despite the recipes in my books). I’m just fascinated by how tastes and cooking instructions have changed over the years. I also do needlepoint, and dream of one day writing a mystery series that involves the craft.

MM: Leave us with some sage words of writing wisdom? Also leave us with a quote by one of your characters?

Writing is hard, but it should also be fun and fulfilling. If it’s not, take a break and do something else. Let yourself be driven back to the pad or computer because you simply must get out what is inside you.

I’ll leave you with a quote from BODY ON THE BAYOU, the second book in my series. You will be the first readers to ever see these words. A little back story: my protagonist is Maggie Crozat. She’s an artist who lives and also works at her family’s Louisiana plantation-turned-B&B. She’s found a litter of puppies and one of kittens abandoned in the woods, and she and her family are caring for them. Her friends want to adopt them, but Maggie is being resistant. Her grandmere – “Gran’ “- tells her the following…
Gran’ sighed and shook her head. “Oh, my darling girl. Someday you will have children. And your life will revolve around them to the point where you have only vague memories of what it was like before they entered the world. And then you will have to let them go. You won’t know what to do with yourself at first. But eventually you’ll find the life you had before, or even a better one, if such a thing is possible. And your children will always be part of that, in some way. You will not lose them.” She put her arms on Maggie’s shoulders and looked straight into her granddaughter’s eyes. “But you must let your babies go, chere. Let them go.”

Monday, August 8, 2016

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

So I'm all recovered from my hip-replacement surgery, and all that hurts now is my back. Well, and my feet, but heck, you can't have everything.

Come to think of it, I also had cataract surgery on my right eye and now can't see, but there you go. Will see the eye doc on the 8th, and get new specs, and that will take care of that. I hope.
Anyway, August will see the publication of BRUISED SPIRITS, Daisy Gumm Majesty's tenth adventure (it's actually her eleventh, but who's counting?) I'll get in touch with the folks who won BRUISED SPIRITS individually.

July saw the re-issue of three of my old historical paranormal romances written by me as Rachel Wilson. They're available on Amazon's Kindle e-reader now and will be available on other venues soon.

They have lovely new covers, as you can see below:

If you decide you NEED to have one (or all) of these books, just click on the link below the coverer, and you'll get to Amazon's Kindle page for the book.

Restless Souls  

Heaven’s Promise  

Bittersweet Summer 

I guess I'll be giving way copies of these books in August. So if you're interested in winning a paranormal historical romance, please send me your name and e-mail address (well, I guess I'll already have that) at alice@aliceduncan.net.


Also, please visit my web page at http:aliceduncan.net and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Blog: Updates and more.

This week I have been to the library. I had them order me The Maltese Falcon that has larger print so I can see the type better for the cozy armchair group discussion. I am still reading it but only have read thru chapter three.

Now I have watched Agatha Raisin & The Quiche Of Death. This is new on acorn and I have to say I enjoyed this movie so much that I have watched and re-watched it. 

Tonight husband is mowing the lawn. it needs it since we have had a lot of rain. Plus his mower broke down, then something else went wrong with it and so on. 
Baby daughter is back from vacation. her vacation is ill-timed as this put them behind for moving, buying a car, enrolling the grandsons in school which starts very soon and of course she is behind in work. I guess they are all happy they took the vacation. She said she needed it and her daddy agrees that she did need it.

Now for more fun stuff such as books. I am happy to report "A DARK and STORMY MURDER by Julia Buckley is an above average cozy mystery to read. it's the first in a new series and it's must read if you like authors, books and page turner mysteries. This one has mystery upon mysteries. 
It's a Writer's Apprentice Mystery.

Now I also have to brag on "Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody." It's wonderful historical mystery that will put you in history, the moment and is rich gentle description. It has everything a village mystery should have and "Dying in the Wool" is an escape you can't miss. It is worth losing a little sleep to finish this book.

Moving on I am now caught up with the "Father Brown Mysteries that my library has the Father Brown I watched is Mark Williams.

I also watched "New Tricks Series" 
DMobed that has Martin Clune in it on acorn.

Re-watched all the "Garage Sale Mysteries" that I had DVRed. I also re-watched all the Hannah Swenson "Murder She Baked Series" I am thrilled with all of these. I sure miss the Mysteries and More channel on the Hallmark Movie Channel. 
This means I also watched the "Auroa Teagarden Mysteries Series and the Flower Shop Mystery series.
I loved Brooke Shields in the flower shop mysteries. 
Alison Sweeney is also great in the "Murder She Baked Series Movies."
What I did in the past week while watching the shows and more movies.
I baked a lot, I did laundry, I wrote (as they are inspiring), I colored a lot of pictures. 
I daydreamed and last week I cross stitched.

What else I have been up to let's see... I walked my neighbor a time or two. Frank cooked for several of our neighbors and I baked for them. 

it is now too hot to walk but I am still checking on everyone.
I have spent a lot of time watering plants, flowers, and of course making sure our pets are well kept in this heat. 
This week has either been a comedy of errors or anything but funny. 

i am excited to make out a book wishlist of authors whose books I want to read. 
There are some great new series being released.
I also wanted to read MURDER IN THE SECRET GARDEN. 
Anyway you get the idea that I am keeping myself amused with books, pets and hobbies.

How is your summer going and what has you amused?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review: As Night Falls by Jenny Milchman

Sandy Tremont and her family live in a remote house in the Adirondacks.  What starts as a normal day, turns into a nightmare as two escaped convicts invade their home.  The convicts want directions and gear from her outdoorsman husband to escape to Canada, but with an intense storm blowing in, things go from bad to worse.  

Flashbacks to the life of one of the escapees, Nick show what a cold monster he is and the story is taut and intense.  The characters struggle with themselves as well as the invaders.

I absolutely loved the intensity of this book!


Review: The Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie

The Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

May and June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Blog: My library trip

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


Monday, July 4, 2016

Blog:Happy 4th Of July

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

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

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

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

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

Last night I made chili cheese tots for supper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May your day sparkle with love and good books.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: The Bloody Tower by John Rhode

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

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

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

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