Saturday, January 20, 2018

Go Left And You'll Be Right; Go Right And You'll Be Left by Ginger Bolton

Available January 30th!
One of my favorite people to run into at a conference is Ginger Bolton (aka Janet Bolin). She is friendly and funny and is always working on something new and fabulous! 

Like this brilliant new series: 

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.

If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .

Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .

And just so you know she did her research for this series, here's Ginger with a recap of her driver's training during Writer's Police Academy (yes, that's thing)!

Ginger Bolton (aka Janet Bolin)
One of the programs I looked forward to most at the Writers’ Police Academy last summer was the defensive driving course—in a real police car on a practice track.
            What could possibly go wrong?
            Our instructor and three of us authors buckled ourselves into the cruiser. I admit that I was hoping to drive a brand-new cruiser, but in a way, it was a relief that ours had retired from active service more than a few years before.
            The instructor dove us around the course and showed us what we were going to do.
            First, we would drive the cruiser through a couple of turns. This was probably a sort of driving test, a last-ditch effort to make certain that we were able to drive without, er, driving into a ditch.

           Next, we would try a fun little maneuver. I think he called it “the diversion.”
            It was diverting, all right. On a straightway, we were to accelerate to twenty miles per hour, and then let our foot off the gas and head straight at a traffic cone without braking or turning.
            Never fear, we were not going to hit that cone. There were escape routes to the right and to the left of it. The instructor would tell us at the last nano-second whether to take the right or the left escape route.
            Uh-oh. I have this problem with right and left (and east and west, but I seldom have to stop and think about which is north and which is south, and so far, the concepts of “up” and “down” have never been a problem, tripping over unexpected objects notwithstanding.)
            Next the instructor took us through the serpentine obstacle course and showed us how to quickly slalom through a series of traffic cones placed very close together.
            Uh-oh again. This is not a good ride for anyone with even the slightest tendency toward queasiness.

Ginger Bolton ready for a high speed chase!

            The first author took the wheel and did a fine job with both the diversion and the serpentine.
            I was next.
            I drove those first turns faultlessly. I accelerated to twenty miles per hour. I took my foot off the gas.
            I was barely slowing, and I was heading straight for that cone!
            “Right!” yelled the instructor at the last nano-second. Who has time for little tricks like holding up your thumb and forefinger with both hands to see which one makes an L-shape?
            I went left.
            Okay, I told myself, I’ll do better on the serpentine.
            I drove to it and steered hard and fast. Too hard and too fast. Clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk. Four cones down.
            I was given another turn around the course. I was determined to ace it.
            I was heading straight for that cone . . .
            “Left!” yelled the instructor at the last nano-second.
            I promptly went right.
            That time on the serpentine, I knocked only three cones over, but then, I’d already killed the other four.
            The instructor had me drive him back to the cones so he could set them up again for the third author, who drove the course perfectly.

            And you know what? I would have, too, maybe, if I had practiced about, oh, say, a thousand times. At least I think I would have. I would probably get the knack of the serpentine. But figuring out which is right and left in a split second? Um, maybe not.

How about you, Readers? Are any of you what we call directionally challenged?

Ginger Bolton is the pen name of author Janet Bolin, author of the Threadville Mysteries. 
To read more about her new series, check out her website:

Friday, January 19, 2018

In Search of Colorful Expressions by Edith Maxwell

Today, I am so pleased to have our friend Edith Maxwell (aka Maddie Day) blogging with us. Edith's new book will be out in just a few days and she's here to chat about it. Welcome, Edith!

Edith: I am delighted to be back on Jungle Reds, as always, and thanks to Jenn for hosting me. Jungle Reds is the first blog I read every morning and I love being part of the back-blog community.

Edith Maxwell
Biscuits and Slashed Browns, my fourth Country Store Mystery, comes out January 30. It’s set in southern Indiana, parts of which are really more Kentucky than Indiana. I wrote about how I came to set the series in that corner of the country right here a couple of years ago.

Here’s the new book’s blurb:

For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana—until murder saps the life out of the celebration. Robbie drops her maple-curry biscuits to crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky and murderous trap.

Two of the series’ continuing characters, Robbie’s Aunt Adele and South Lick police lieutenant Buck Bird, use colorful language when they talk. This is a cozy series, so by “colorful” I don’t mean obscenity-laden. But I try to work in fun regional expressions nearly every time one of them opens her or his mouth.

What do I mean? In one of the books Buck says, “That went faster than green grass through a goose.” And Adele says, “I’ve been up since before the rooster got his pants on.”

Other expressions include, “He was working harder than a one-armed paper hanger,” “Why, that was lower than a snake’s belly in a wheel rut,” and “About as useful as a pogo stick in quicksand.”

Aren’t those fun? I love to collect contributions. My blogmate (and a true blue New Englander) Julie Hennrikus contributed, “She was sweating like a whore in the front row of church.” My Hoosier sister Barbara Bergendorf sent along, “That guy is slicker than deer guts on a doorknob.” Another friend suggested a phrase her dad always used: “It’s as dark as a pocket!” And a Facebook friend gave me, “It’s raining harder than a blind mule pissing on a flat rock.”

Some of those might be a bit marginal for the cozy audience, but you get the picture. I love that while Adele and Buck talk real woodsy, they are each two of the smartest characters in the books. Nobody pulls the wool over their eyes. They are both so real to me now I’d like to share their pictures with you, except...oops! They’re fictional.

So readers, who has a colorful expression for me? Or tell me your favorite breakfast when you eat out, because I’m always looking for new recipes to include in the series. I’ll give a book away to one commenter.

Agatha- and Macavity-nominated author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the popular Country Store Mysteries and the new Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. She is president of Sisters in Crime New England and lives north of Boston with her beau and two cats. Her web site includes all her writing, and she hopes you’ll find her here:

Facebook: Maddie Day and Edith Maxwell
Goodreads: Edith Maxwell
Pinterest: EdithMaxwell

Instagram: EdithMaxwellAuthor