About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of six Maine Clambake Mysteries. The seventh, Steamed Open, will be published in December 2018. Her novella featuring Julia Snowden is included along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis in Eggnog Murder. A second anthology, Yule Log Murder, is coming in October 2018. You can visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com.

Kensington and Barnes & Noble Team Up Again for a Sale

Hi, Wickeds Fans (and Not Yet Fans)! From July 10 to August 20, just in time for beach reading, Kensington and Barnes & Noble are offering another Buy 3, Get the 4th Free Sale.

This time the books include two Wickeds first-in-series, Flipped for Murder, first in the Country Store Mysteries by Maddie Day, and Clammed Up, first in the Maine Clambake Mysteries by Barbara Ross. If you’ve been resisting the charms of these series, now might be the time to plunge in. Plus the sale includes books by Friends of the Blog, including Carol J. Perry, Devon Delaney, Alex Erickson, Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and many others. (If we skipped you inadvertently, let us know in the comments.)

As always, we went in search of the endcap display for the sale out in the wild. Here’s Edith at the Newington, New Hampshire B & N near Portsmouth.

EdithandDisplayCrop

Barb is living somewhat B & N deprived in Maine. (There’s only one and it’s in Augusta.) But here are the books at the Framingham store in Massachusetts.

Edith: And here’s the full display in Newington. As you can see, every store displays them differently.

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If your store doesn’t have one set up, ask them! And if yours does have the end cap,  we wouldn’t mind if you rarranged our books to be top, front, and center. Just saying…. ;^)

Here’s a link to the Kensington page which shows all the books included in this round of the sale. (Scroll down once you get there.)

Here’s a link to the B&N sale if you’re buying online.

Readers: Happy shopping! Is there a book series you’ve been wanting to start? Let us know in the comments.

The Real Cabbage Island Clambake

by Barb, enjoying the most beautiful day on the coast of Maine

My kids and their kid gathered with us in Boothbay Harbor for the Fourth of July this year. One request from them all was a visit to the Cabbage Island Clambake, the inspiration for the Snowden Family Clambake in my Maine Clambake Mysteries.

I’ve written before about the difference between the real Clambake and my fictional one. You can read about that here.

But this year there wasn’t a hint of a research trip. It was a happy day with family. I thought I’d take you on a photo tour below.

Friday started out rainy and windy, but it was the only day all seven of us were available, so we pressed on.

The crowd lined up in the rain and ready to get on the Bennie Alice

But then the sun came out just as we got to the island.

We grabbed a table under the covered porch, but plenty of people wiped off picnic tables and settled outside.

People getting their food

The clambake meal

After the meal

Badminton on the lawn

One of the island cats–there are four

Employees up on a platform washing the trays the meal come on

The little house the the dock. (The one in the books is slightly bigger.)

Time to go.

The owners, brothers Bob and Wayne Moore see the Bennie Alice off

On the boat ride home

Passing the osprey’s nest

Good-bye Cabbage Island

Readers: Did you do anything fun for the Fourth of July?

And the Winner is…

Happy first day of summer from the Wickeds!

Drum roll, please. Plucked at random from the 1000+ entries in the Wickeds’ Summer Reads Giveaway, the winner is Sharon Wilson Shook. Congratulations, Sharon! We wish you many happy hours of reading.

The following prizes will be winging their way to Kentucky. (Okay, more likely they will be riding in a truck, but that doesn’t sound nearly so exciting.)

These wicked good books…

* STOWED AWAY by Barbara Ross
* DEATH OF AN AMBITIOUS WOMAN by Barbara Ross
* BLUFFING IS MURDER by Tace Baker
* CALLED TO JUSTICE by Edith Maxwell
* DEATH OVER EASY by Maddie Day (Advanced Reader Copy!)
* TAGGED FOR DEATH by Sherry Harris
* I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER by Sherry Harris
* JUST KILLING TIME by Julianne Holmes
* WHISPERS OF WARNING by Jessica Estevao
* WHISPERS BEYOND THE VEIL by Jessica Estevao
* MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE by Jessica Ellicott
* PURRDER SHE WROTE by Cate Conte

Plus this cool beach stuff

…a beach tote, beach blanket, waterproof cell phone case, water bottle, cover up, flip flops, and sunglasses!

Thank you to all who entered. We’re thrilled with the results and will definitely be doing another big giveaway before the holidays–along with the offerings you’re used to seeing on the blog.

The Wickeds hope everyone has a glorious summer filled with wonderful books.

Enter to Win: The Wickeds Summer Reads Giveaway

To celebrate the start of summer, the Wickeds are giving away a beach bag stuffed with beach essentials and twelve Wicked books!

YOU can win

These wicked good reads…

* STOWED AWAY by Barbara Ross
* DEATH OF AN AMBITIOUS WOMAN by Barbara Ross
* BLUFFING IS MURDER by Tace Baker
* CALLED TO JUSTICE by Edith Maxwell
* DEATH OVER EASY by Maddie Day (Advanced Reader Copy!)
* TAGGED FOR DEATH by Sherry Harris
* I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER by Sherry Harris
* JUST KILLING TIME by Julianne Holmes
* WHISPERS OF WARNING by Jessica Estevao
* WHISPERS BEYOND THE VEIL by Jessica Estevao
* MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE by Jessica Ellicott
* PURRDER SHE WROTE by Cate Conte

Plus this cool beach stuff

…a beach tote, beach blanket, waterproof cell phone case, water bottle, cover up, flip flops, and sunglasses!

Follow the link to fill out the form to enter

We’re running the giveaway a little differently this time. To enter, please click on the link and fill out the form here.

(If the link doesn’t work, your can cut and past the url. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf3KOA_to8G-khCFUMszYlHSUlurmhYmH5gXh7bcK_uxtvNdQ/viewform

  • Please, one entry per person
  • The contest is open to all Wicked fans, worldwide.
  • The contest ends at midnight EDT on Wednesday, June 20.
  • The winner’s name will be announced on the blog and via social media on Thursday, June 21.

Wherever you do your summer reading–on the beach, by the lake, in the mountains, by the pool, or in a comfy chair by an open window, the Wickeds promise you hours of happy reading. Good luck!

I Just Can’t Talk to You

by Barb, in Boothbay Harbor on a gorgeous spring day (finally)

I’ve noticed lately that many of my relationships are defined by technology preferences–both my own and those of the people I communicate with.

I am an e-mail person–pure and simple. I’ve written before on the blog about how much I hate the phone. Phone calls require synchronous communication–both people have to be on at the same time for meaningful information to be transferred–which means it interrupts whatever you are doing when the call happens, and I hate to be interrupted. I accept that this is a personality quirk. I hate sudden changes of plan, too. I have the whatever the opposite of ADD is. Also, I hate that when you’re talking on the phone, you can’t see the other person’s face and judge it for comprehension, attention, acceptance and so on.

So I hate the phone. And unfortunately, that has caused many of my relationships with my phone-preferring friends to drift away. I’ve stayed closest to the distant people in my life who prefer my main mode of communication.

To me, e-mail was a miracle. It doesn’t have to be synchronous and, as a writerly person, I have time to craft my message. The pressure is off in all kinds of ways. When we first got e-mail, there was quite a long period, over a decade, when it could only be used for internal communication at work. It was a huge improvement over copying memos and sticking them in people’s physical mailboxes, and later a great way to communicate with far-flung colleagues. Then, miracle of miracles, e-mail moved outside the company so we could communicate with customers, suppliers, investors. Fantastic! My social use of e-mail increased on a pace with my use of it at work.

In a final miraculous step, e-mail appeared on my phone. That formerly loathed device. As a Chief Operating Officer at two higher ed technology companies, Customer Support ultimately reported to me. As you can imagine, our busy season was at the start of the fall semester in the northern hemisphere. From early August when many state college systems in the American south went back to work, through the end of September when the UK universities came online, I was virtually chained to my desk. But when I could follow the long e-mail support threads on my phone to monitor what was going on, I could go anywhere and do anything as long as no real emergency was taking place.

Alas, as with all technologies, the world has moved on. I know that if I send an evite to a family event, I have to text all my nieces and nephews to GO LOOK AT YOUR E-MAIL, because they never check it. My son, in his mid-thirties, was complaining that the youngest member of his Dungeons and Dragons group, in his early twenties, has asked that they not communicate about dates and places for games via e-mail because he doesn’t know how to use it.

And the number of ways people reach out is a problem for me. Sometimes I have to search all over, through my Facebook private messages, my Facebook fanpage private messages, Twitter and Instragram direct messages, and my Goodreads mailbox, looking for a message from a fan I know I want to get back to. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting fan mail, but it always puts me in mind of Drew Barrymore’s lament in He’s Just Not That Into You:

I have learned to text a fair amount, though I’m not good at keeping my phone by my side at all times, which my family finds mega-frustrating. I’ll adapt. I’ll learn, but I think I’ll always default to technologies that support my personality and don’t fight it.

Readers: What about you? Do you have a preferred mode of communication? What and why? Do you find it hard to keep in touch with people who have different preferences? Spill it all here.

Welcome, Devon Delaney and a Giveaway

by Barb, loving being back in Maine

Devon Delaney’s cozy, culinary mystery Expiration Date releases on April 24, (my anniversary!). I recently met Devon at the Kensington Cozy-con here in Portland and learned about her amazing success at a fascinating hobby–cooking contesting.

Devon is giving away a copy of Expiration Date to one lucky commenter below.

Take it away, Devon!

If someone had told me my life’s journey would lead me from teaching computer education and Lego Robotics to cooking contesting, then on to writing cozy murder mysteries I would have had a much easier time convincing my father the money he invested in my liberal arts college degree was money well spent. Admittedly, cooking contesting isn’t a degree offered in any schools I’m aware of, but the highly successful twenty years I’ve been involved in the hobby is an education in of itself.

Making the leap from competing in cook-off contests to authoring a cozy murder mystery series may not make sense to most, but to me it’s a perfect evolution of my beloved hobby. In the dictionary the definition of contest is battle, contend and compete. The cooking contests I compete in have taken me from coast to coast. At each venue I meet the most wonderful home cooks. But I never mistake my fellow competitor’s outward warmth as a weakness. Each wants to crush me and every other contestant to get that grand prize. Even though I have yet to encounter a murder at one of my cook-offs, my powers of observation have tuned in to a few salty scenarios when battles got heated. The notion of how far events could escalate occurred to me one day when a friend casually remarked, “I’d kill to be able to cook like you.” A series was born.

That being said, the main character in my series, Sherry, is a compilation of myself and other cooks I know. She is flawed. She finds herself in situations she doesn’t necessarily wish to be in. She makes the most out of the unusual talents she isn’t fully aware she possesses. I might have a more comedic, and probably inappropriate, approach to life’s serious moments than Sherry, but I have hopes she’ll loosen up as she realizes she can’t control every aspect of her life despite her efforts to do just that. Like me, she has her fingers in many pies. From canning her own produce to working at her family’s hooked rug store her day is a busy one, but her favorite pursuit remains battling in cook-offs showcasing her best recipe.

In the meantime, Sherry continues to cook and compete, flourishing with each victory. Her new and unintentional hobby as amateur sleuth lands her in some very precarious situations that only her experience in the contest kitchen could have prepared her for.

Devon’s Bio

I am a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester and a recent empty nester. I taught computer education and Lego Robotics for over ten years prior to pursuing writing. Along the way I have been handsomely rewarded for my recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years. Among the many prizes I have won are a full kitchen of major appliances, six-figure top cash prizes and four trips to Disney World. I have also won the grand prize in a national writing contest for my ‘foodie’ poem “Ode to Pork Passion.” Combining my beloved cooking contesting with my enthusiasm for writing was inevitable. My author website can be found at: www.devonpdelaney.com

Expiration Date, A Cook-Off Mystery

Sherry Frazzelle lives a busy life in her quaint coastal Connecticut town. Her passion is competitive cooking and she has the trophies to prove how serious she is when she cooks for a prize. When her prepared pork tenderloin dish is the last food a contest judge tastes before he expires, she must put aside her spatula long enough to clear her good name and find the killer before he strikes again. The deeper her involvement in the investigation, the higher the heat soars in the contest kitchen. Will the competition become so unsavory, she isn’t able to get herself off the chopping block?

Readers: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Expiration Date. Did you know competitive cooking was a thing? (I mean aside from Top Chef and the Food Network.) Would you like to try it? Doesn’t the world of cooking contesting sound like ripe ground for a cozy mystery series? Or just say “hi” for a chance to win.

A Double Cover Reveal!

by Barb, on her first full day back in Portland, Maine

I’m excited to reveal two, count-em two new covers to you today.

The first is the cover for Steamed Open, Maine Clambake Mystery #7, coming December 24 (or 25–Amazon has one date for the mass market paperback and another for the Kindle version), 2018. Either way, an auspicious date, just in time to cozy up in front of the fire as the holiday madness dies down.

Here’s the description.

It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?
 
Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

The second cover is for Yule Log Murder. This is a collection of three holiday novellas, by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and me, the same trio who wrote novellas for 2016’s Eggnog Murder.

Here’s the description.

Fresh-baked cookies, pies, and cakes can warm even the frostiest Christmases in coastal Maine. But there’s little room for holiday cheer when murder is the new seasonal tradition . . . 

YULE LOG MURDER by LESLIE MEIER
Lucy Stone is thrilled to be cast as extra in a festive period film—until the set becomes a murder scene decorated in blood and buttercream icing. Returning to her role as sleuth, Lucy dashes to restore peace to Tinker’s Cove, unwrap a cold-hearted criminal’s MO, and reveal how one ornate yule log cake could possibly cause so much drama.

DEATH BY YULE LOG by LEE HOLLIS
Hayley Powell’s holidays aren’t off to a very merry start. Not only has her daughter brought Connor—an infuriatingly perfect new beau—home to Bar Harbor, but a local troublemaker has been found dead with traces of her signature yule log cake on his body. As Connor becomes the prime murder suspect, Hayley must put aside her mixed feelings to identify the real killjoy.

LOGGED ON by BARBARA ROSS
Realizing she can’t make a decent Bûche de Noël to save her life, Julia Snowden enlists the help of her eccentric neighbor, Mrs. St. Onge, in hopes of mastering the dessert for Christmas. With everyone in the old woman’s circle missing or deceased, however, it’s up to Julia to stop the deadly tidings before she’s the next Busman’s Harbor resident to meet a not-so-jolly fate.

Kick back with something sweet and indulge in three bite-sized yuletide tales too good to resist!

Readers: What do you think of the covers? I loved writing both the novel and the novella and hope you enjoy them.