Sunday, January 24, 2010

Six Lovely Ladies of Mystery, Part 2

The lovely ladies of the Mystery Lover's Kitchen blog are a diverse group, but with a number of similar characteristics. The ladies all write cozy murder mysteries, they all enjoy good cooking, all enjoy sharing recipes, and all their mysteries have a food based theme.

Let me reintroduce the ladies to you and the series they each write: Krista Davis, author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries; Julie Hyzy, author of the White House Chef Mysteries; Avery Aames, author of the Cheese Shop Mysteries, (aka Daryl Wood Gerber, author of medical and paranormal thrillers); Riley Adams, author of the Memphis Barbecue Mysteries (aka Elizabeth Spann Craig, the Myrtle Clover Mysteries); Jenn McKinlay, author of the Cupcake Bakery Shop Mysteries (aka Lucy Lawrence, the Decoupage Mysteries); and Cleo Coyle (who’s really the writing team of Alice Alfonsi and her husband, Marc Cerasin) author of the Coffeehouse Mystery series (aka Alice Kimberly, the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries).

As you can see, these ladies write under a variety of pseudonyms. Avery pointed out they do this because they each write in different genres, as well as work through different publishers; and/or “a whole sea of reasons.”

Whatever name they are writing under, each lady has developed some very unique protagonists. Combining the various characters together in one setting could lead to a scene out of a Mel Brooks movie, with a whole lot of good eats on the side.

When the ladies combined to do the Mystery Lover’s Kitchen blog, a vast array of taste also came together. I ask them what has been the worst thing about participating in the blog with each other.

, “I’m cooking more and putting on weight.”
Cleo, “As with any group, when it comes to major decisions that involve all of us, we try to come to a consensus of opinion. This can be a problem only because we are all very busy and we live all over the country. We’re lucky to have Krista as our ring leader. She’s been a great moderator of our e-mail discussions so we can come to decisions, make choices, and get things done.
Elizabeth, “The worst thing are days when I thought I had all the ingredients for the recipe I’m posting the next day…and then realize a trip to the store is in order. I have a seventh grade son and my ingredients keep mysteriously disappearing.”
Jenn, “Remembering to put in the right date when I post. I’m such a potato head about this, I have reminder Post-it notes all over the place with my correct date and time. I live in fear that I might wipe out someone else’s post, which would be very bad form.”
Julie, “Having to cook. My family loves it. I’ve had to research, cook, and photograph items to post on the blog each Tuesday and I’m not used to coming up with that many “original” meals that often. LOL. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit I’m enjoying the experimentation in great deal.”
Avery, “If I’m going to be out of town, the hardest thing is to remember to do the cooking and photo work before I leave so I can upload everything for the blog. But truly, that’s not so hard. My husband is really enjoying the variety in our meals. He’s even getting into setting up the food right on the plates so I take a good picture.”

The Mystery Lover’s Kitchen blog offers readers a lot more than just a new recipe each day. Along with the recipe the reader is treated to photographs of the finished product and sometimes photos of the ingredients and steps in the preparing of the dish. There have even been a few videos to walk you through the dish preparation.

An added bonus is that each recipe has it’s own unique story. Sometimes the dish may be something that was past down through the author’s family, other times it’s one shared by a friend, or even an ‘original’ recipe. Occasionally the stories involve how the recipe was in peril  for a time due to the normal disasters cooks go through when preparing meals for the their families. Whatever the story, it’s something the reader will remember when preparing the dish themselves and can pass on to their family and friends. Thus, the chain of food and friendship continues. With this in mind I asked some of the ladies what else they wanted the readers of the blog to know.

Cleo, “From the start, all of us were concerned that our blog name reflect how we felt about our shared Interment home. We all agreed to call it ‘kitchen’ not just because we like to cook and post recipes, but because all of us have fond memories of family kitchens as gathering places. The kitchen is not a formal room, but one where friends and loved ones can gather, relax, laugh, feel comfortable, and just be themselves. I hope our site visitors think of our blog as a warm, cozy kitchen, a place to relax and enjoy themselves with friends. We also love comments. You’ll notice we always make an effort to personally acknowledge anyone who takes the time to leave a message on our posts. That’s how we feel about visitors who drop into our kitchen. We want to make you feel welcome around our table, and I hope anyone who reads this will not only drop by but become a regular follower.”
Elizabeth, “Our blog is for everyone - from novice cooks to epicureans. We’ve featured recipes with everything from gluten-free to vegetarian to down-home Southern cooking. We love getting comment, so please come by and visit.” 
Jenn, “The recipes are really, really good.”
Julie, “I think I would most like readers to know that we’re real. All of us. I’m sure they already know that from the personality that comes through on our posts, but we’re having fun, and hoping our readers have fun too.”
Avery, “This is a group of very talented writers as well as cooks. And they’re funny, kind, warm, intelligent. By the way, did you know that most people who read traditional cozy mysteries are college-educated people who enjoy puzzles? With our books, readers get to not only read a good puzzle, but read about things that taste good too. And they get recipes. What a match.”

The Sunday guest blogger slot has been filled by a diverse group of people as well. Each week the ladies take turns featuring a special guest. The guests have included: Sheila Connolly, Jennie Bentley, Annette Blair, Lesa Holstine, Jeri Westerson, Patricia Stoltey, Sally Goldenbaum, Kevin Cuddeback, JoAnn Carl, Joyce and Jim Lavene, Judy Alter, and Jessica Conant-Park, just to name a few.

With each one of these guest bloggers comes a wonderful story about their recipe, as well as a look at the books they write. Each Sunday morning I find myself poised with coffee cup in hand anticipating who will be there when I click on the link. What great new book or series will await for me to discover. I am never disappointed as an intriguing new friend is always there waiting.
The ladies themselves stay quite busy in other area of blogdom too as they have additional blogs and Website they participate in along with caring for their families, homes and (of course) writing great cozy murder mysteries.

Krista has an older blog, Domestic Diva Mysteries, that is still on the Internet although she says she no longer keeps it updated as much she once did. However, plans are in the works for a renovation of the site.

“I like to think that there’s a little bit of domestic diva in all of us,” Krista said. “Even if you’re a takeout queen, you probably want your children to grow up with warm memories of home. We don’t all have time to grow topiaries, make Beef Wellington, or embroider napkins for our guests, but we do all want to live in nice homes, eat delicious food, and create wonderful memories for our children.”

Krista’s latest book in the Domestic Diva Mystery series is “The Diva Paints the Town” and will be released on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2.

Cleo enjoys twittering under Cleo Coyle but largely directs her efforts toward her official Website, Coffeehouse She originally started the site as an Internet scrapbook, a place to share some of the coffee and culinary information she gathers while doing research for her Coffeehouse Mysteries. She now runs the site as a “virtual” coffeehouse adding interviews, links to news about food and health, and holds random drawings every Monday for a free pound of her latest “coffee pick.” The site tells how visitors can participate in the coffee drawing.

Cleo’s latest book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series is “Holiday Grind” that came out late last year. Her next release will be “Roast Mortem” which is scheduled for release on Aug. 3.

Elizabeth is a very busy lady. You can find her daily at Mystery Writing is Murder. Her Website is and she is a regular contributor on the Carolina Conspiracy blog, the Southern writers' blog, A Good Blog is Hard to Find, and InkSpot.

“Pretty is as Pretty Dies,” the first of the Myrtle Clover series was released August 2009 and “Delicious and Suspicious,” the first in the Memphis Barbeque series is scheduled for release in May.

Jenn is busy with her Website, “Stuck on Murder,” her decoupage mystery, was released in September of last year. The first book in her cupcake mystery series is “Sprinkle With Murder” and scheduled for release in March.

Julie has a personal blog at “State of the Onion,” the first book in the White House Chef Mystery series, recently won the Barry and Anthony Awards for Best Paperback Original. “Eggsecutive Orders,” the newest book in her series has just been released.

Avery stays busy with her Website ( where she shares tidbits about the history of cheese, as well as various recipes. In addition, she does numerous guest blogs. “The Long Quiche Goodbye,” the first in the Cheese Shop Mystery series is scheduled to be released in July.

All the ladies of the Mystery Lover’s Kitchen are busy but they take time for their readers and the visitors to their site. I know this from personal experience. Remember, I didn’t know a thing about blogs under I found their site. Having found it and become acquainted with them, I ventured into blogdom and created Thoughts in Progress with their encouragement and guidance.

All of the ladies have been very helpful, but I’d like to say a special thanks to Cleo for her step-by-step guide to joining and using Twitter. Without her help, I don’t think I would have given it a try so early on with starting the blog. She made it easy to understand. Thanks Cleo.

And Elizabeth, an extra special thanks to you. She guided me through setting up a professional Facebook account and even suggested various author friends “friend” me. She was my first “follower” on this site and has given me most invaluable information on blogging, as well as providing interesting and informative links. She has provided guidance and assistance for numerous other bloggers, as well. Thanks Elizabeth.

So you see these ladies have had a tremendous impact on this blog and I am most thankful for them and their many works of cozy murder mysteries.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope I have enlightened you on the lovely ladies of mystery and the wonderful books they write. Now grab another cup of coffee (or beverage of your choice) and let’s go see who’s guest blogging today at Mystery Lover's Kitchen.


  1. Mason, thanks so much for this wonderful profile on our group! Cleo actually uploaded a link to your article yesterday to use as our FAQ page for the press or interested readers. Thanks!

    And your blog is really amazing! I love your different features in the sidebars. My role was very small, but I was so happy to do it! :)

    We have Barb Goffman from Malice Domestic at the Kitchen today. :) Hope y'all come by and say hi...

    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

  2. Really enjoyed this two part post. Some great talent and interesting women here! I've been following Elizabeth for some time now, but appreciate finding out about the others. Very thoughtful of you to do this.

    Marvin D Wilson

  3. What a wonderful group of writers, bloggers, and cooks. It can get old, trying to come up with new recipes and variations. These women seem to have fun cooking.

    Straight From Hel

  4. Elizabeth, thanks for the kind words and the link to the site. I do so enjoy visiting Mystery Lover's Kitchen each day. And yes, you did have a great deal to do with the site. :)

    Marvin, be sure to check the other ladies out. The group is awesome.

    Helen, they do make cooking look like fun. I enjoy the stories they tell with their recipe each day. It's like visiting a neighbor's kitchen.

  5. Another great interview :)

    What a great group of cooks/writers! I love how writers always seem to have at least one other outlet of creativity!

  6. Mason -

    Thanks for spotlighting a group of my favorite authors/bloggers. They have made Mystery Lovers Kitchen a warm, friendly spot to hang out. It's always a treat to stop by, read their comments and recipes. It's a nice place to be with friends.

    Lesa -

  7. Oh, I didn't even know that there's a whole subgenre combining cooking and food with fiction. How amazing. It sounds like a truly enjoyable thing to read. And I love all these book tittles. Sooooo delicious (in more ways than one :)) And all those book covers look very inviting.

  8. Wow! What a great post! That is so awesome of you to highlight their hard work this way. Elizabeth is amazing with all those blogs plus family plus writing--how does she do it?

    I already feel like I know them better and want their books! You should be their PR gal!


  9. This is an excellent profile of one of the most enjoyable sites in blog world. And thanks for mentioning the Sunday guests, too. That was nice.

  10. Jemi, these ladies are all very creative in so many way.

    Lesa, I agree the Mystery Lover's Kitchen is a great place to hang out with friends.

    Dez, the authors are delightful and their books are great. With these cozy mysteries you not only get a fascinating story but also recipes, hints and tips in the back of each book (an added bonus).

    Michele, glad you enjoyed the post. I wanted to highlight them because they did introduce me to the blogging world and all of its wonders.

    Patricia, I think the Sunday guests are an added bonus to the group. We know who's blogging which day, but not what they'll feature. But Sundays .. that's just a little more mystery to the site. :)

  11. I cook and have been known to write. I would love to be apart of this world. You know I'm going to do some more research and who knows maybe in a year.
    I just love this, thanks for sharing it with me.
    Warmest regards and a brilliant week to you.
    All my love,

  12. Mason, thanks again for this wonderful blog. I'm thrilled and a little bit stunned to see so many warm and flattering comments.

    My Domestic Diva Mystery website is undergoing a renovation, which is timely since Sophie and Natasha are renovating an old mansion in The Diva Paints the Town. In about a month, I hope the website will have some interesting new features!

    Thanks again for blogging about us, Mason!

    ~ Krista

  13. Simone, thanks for the kind words and you do write beautifully. Have a great week.

    Krista, it was my pleasure. I enjoyed finding out all the neat information of each of you. I look forward to seeing your renovated website.

  14. Such a wonderful feature, Mason. Love part II as much as part I. Equally thrilled to see such kind comments. Here's to more happy cooking in the new year...and happy reading!


  15. I love culinary mysteries and I love Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. The ladies are so interesting and are also wonderful authors. I think I have tried more of their recipes than any other cooking blog. It is definitely one of the first blogs I check in the morning.

  16. Cleo, happy cooking and reading to you as well. Thanks for the kind words.

    Janel, it's one of the first blogs I check every morning too. Love their recipes and stories.

  17. That was just lovely, Mason.
    Thanks so much for including us in your blog. You rock!!!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.