Tag Archives: Karen MacInerney

Author Showcase ~ Whale Of A Crime by Karen MacInerney

whale-of-a-crime

The long-awaited seventh book of the bestselling Gray Whale Inn Mysteries is finally here!

When a tour company books the Gray Whale Inn for a full week, innkeeper Natalie Barnes can’t wait to get cooking — and to hitch a ride on the antique schooner Summer Winds, getting up close and personal with the local whales. But when one of the humpback whales turns up dragging a mass of fishing gear from its tail, the tour takes a dark turn. It turns darker still when the schooner’s handsome captain winds up attached to the vessel’s anchor, sixty feet underwater . . . and not by accident.

Before long, the tour naturalist (and Natalie’s best friend’s beau) is behind bars, charged with a murder Charlene swears he didn’t commit. Stir in a surprise visit from Natalie’s quarrelsome sister, midnight kitchen sabotage, a sick orphan kitten, and a mysterious investor with plans for a massive resort on the quaint island, and Natalie’s got a recipe for potential disaster.

When a second body turns up just outside the inn, the heat is on Natalie to solve the double murder . . . or risk ending up with her own goose cooked.


Release: January 2017
Series: Gray Whale Inn #7
Genre: Cozy Mystery

About the author
Karen is the housework-impaired author of multiple mystery series, and her victims number well into the double digits. She lives in Austin, Texas with two sassy children, her husband, and a menagerie of animals, including twenty-three fish, two rabbits, and a rescue dog named Little Bit. When she’s not chauffeuring children or coming up with creative ways to kill people, you can usually find Karen hiding away with a book, dodging laundry, playing in the kitchen, or attending martial arts classes. She occasionally teaches writing classes.

Feel free to visit Karen’s web site at karenmacinerney.com. You can also find her on Twitter at @karenmacinerney and on Facebook (where she spends an inordinate amount of time). You are more than welcome to friend her there — and remind her to get back to work on the next book!

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a kindle copy of Whale Of A Crime. The giveaway will end January 17, 2017. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Killer Jam by Karen MacInerney

Killer JamKiller Jam by Karen MacInerney is the first book in the NEW “Dewberry Farm” mystery series. Publisher: Thomas and Mercer, July 2015

A big crime in a small town turns Lucy’s focus from life on a farm to solving a murder.

When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother’s farm in Buttercup, Texas, she’s looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader. But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick. Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders’ Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy’s jam jars beside her. . .and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie’s neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she’s not the only one who had a beef with Nettie. Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare?

This was very enjoyable. A past perceived discretion threatens Lucy’s farm from the previous owner and when she is found dead, Lucy becomes the only prime suspects and it’s up to Lucy with some unexpected help to clear her name and save her farm.

I love the pacing and the comfortable tone that is featured in this fresh new whodunit. The murder mystery was well-executed and I enjoyed watching it play out as the story got closer to the killer’s identity with a few twisty turns. The author did a great job in keeping me intrigued with all that was going on and introducing the town and residents of Buttercup that I too, wanted to buy up land and farm it myself. With a wandering cow who I found adorable, this was a fun read. Boasting a lovable cast of characters, a picturesque setting, great dialogue and a blossoming romance, this was a delightfully charming beginning to a debut series that I hope is here to stay.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

An Interview WIth Lucy Resnick by Karen MacInerney

Killer JamAn interview with Lucy Resnick of the new Dewberry Farm mysteries, conducted by author Karen MacInerney. . .

Karen: So, Lucy. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Lucy: Gosh. . . I used to ask questions like that all the time when I was a reporter. It’s a bit weird being on the other side of the interview! Let’s see. I’m a single, thirty-something former Houston reporter who now lives in Buttercup, Texas with a bald poodle, several chickens, and an escape artist cow whose primary goal in life appears to be eating the geraniums outside the Town Hall.

Karen: A bald poodle?

Lucy: Poodles don’t make particularly good farm dogs – particularly if you have a lot of burrs on your property. Poor Chuck looked like a ball of Velcro after the first day on the farm. He looks a little odd bald, but he’s a lot happier.

Karen: And a cow who likes geraniums?

Lucy: I found out after I bought Blossom that her nickname was Harriet Houdini; she can slip through fences like water, and loves nothing more than a trip to town to graze on window boxes. She plowed through the geraniums in front of the Town Hall on one escapade, and I know she has her eye on the tomato plants outside the Red and White Grocery. Life with Blossom always an adventure.

Karen: You moved to Buttercup from Houston? Why?

Lucy: My grandparents owned a farm there when I was growing up, and it was my favorite place in the world. I learned to can peaches and bake pies at my grandmother’s side, and I’ve always been a bit of a closet homesteader (closet because that’s about the size of my balcony in my Houston condo; there wasn’t much room for tomatoes). When my grandmother’s farm came on the market, I decided that life was too short to spend the rest of my life investigating murders. Of course, I soon learned that even places like Buttercup aren’t completely immune to violence, but I love the life I’ve made for myself – even if it is a challenge keeping crops going in the Texas heat.

Karen: What is a typical day like for you?

Lucy: Mornings are my favorite time of day; the sun on the rolling hills is just beautiful, and I have to pinch myself to believe I actually live here! The first thing I do is head down and milk Blossom and take care of the chickens (and collect any eggs). In the morning, while it’s cool, I water and weed, harvest anything that’s ripe, and make sure everything’s humming along. In the afternoons, I might make a batch of soap, or put up some jars of jam, or I might head into town and help my friend Quinn out at the Blue Onion café – and catch up on gossip.

Karen: What’s something that nobody else knows about you?

Lucy: One Christmas, I made brown sugar fudge for all my friends and relatives, but misread the recipe and put in two teaspoons instead of a quarter teaspoon of salt. I figured it out when I tried a piece and just about choked – which was after I’d wrapped it all up and given it away.

Karen: What inspired you to chase your dreams?

Lucy: When the farm came up for sale, I almost chickened out, to be honest; it was a big, scary step. But I visited my old college roommate, Natalie Barnes, at her inn in Maine, and seeing the life she’d made for herself convinced me to take the plunge. I won’t say it hasn’t been hard at times, but it’s still the best decision I ever made.

Karen: What plans do you have for the farm?

Lucy: I’m thinking about adding some goats. And maybe expanding the peach orchard.

Karen: Have any favorite recipes?

Lucy: Here’s my brown sugar fudge recipe. Just make sure you limit the salt to ¼ teaspoon!

Lucy’s Brown Sugar Fudge

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Line an 8-inch square pan with wax paper. Combine the evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Let the mixture simmer, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 238° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl. Add the vanilla and combine with a mixer. Add the powdered sugar in quarter-cup increments while continuing to beat with the mixer, until all sugar has been added and mixture is smooth. Spread the fudge into the pan and chill until firm.


You can read more about Lucy in Killer Jam, the first book in the NEW “Dewberry Farm” mystery series, published by Thomas & Mercer.

About Killer Jam

A big crime in a small town turns Lucy’s focus from life on a farm to solving a murder.

When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother’s farm in Buttercup, Texas, she’s looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader. But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick. Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders’ Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy’s jam jars beside her. . .and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie’s neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she’s not the only one who had a beef with Nettie. Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare?

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 14 for the chance to win a print copy of Killer Jam. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Karen MacInerney is the housework-impaired author of several mystery series, including the Agatha-nominated Gray Whale Inn mysteries, the Margie Peterson mysteries, and the new Dewberry Farm mysteries. Killer Jam, the first in the Dewberry Farm mysteries, was released in July. You can find Karen at www.karenmacinerney.com or on Facebook.

A Day in the Life of Author Karen MacInerney

Death Runs AdriftWhen I first started writing the Gray Whale Inn mysteries, it was summer in Texas; I was the mother of two small children, one of whom was a big fan of both projectile vomiting and tantrum throwing; and the most riveting part of my week was Gymboree class, where the topics included such things as — and I am not making this up — “What is your favorite baby accessory?” (Wipe warmers won by a landslide.)

It may not come as a surprise that I found myself doing a lot of escape reading during that period of my life. And, as I strapped belligerent children into car seats and endured yet another round of storytime at the library, I started to think seriously of dreams I’d not yet fulfilled. In particular, dreams of writing a book.

The problem was, what kind of book? I had always written vignettes, and some of them weren’t half bad. Whenever I tried to stretch them into something bigger, though, I found myself grinding to a halt. But I’d always liked mysteries. I’d cut my teeth on Nancy Drew mysteries, moving on to Miss Marple’s adventures (usually paired with butterscotch candy and M&Ms) in my junior-high-school years, and was a lifelong lover of cozy mysteries. And one afternoon, as I slid the minivan door shut, it occurred to me that mysteries had a built-in plot. Somebody died! And your protagonist had to figure it out!

It was a Eureka moment. I would write a mystery novel! My plot problems were soon to be a thing of the past! But that led to a new question: Who was my main character, and where on earth was I going to set it?

I was stumped again. But, as luck would have it, my parents took a vacation to a bed and breakfast in California called the Lost Whale Inn. They loved everything about it – the food, location, and above all, the cozy feel of the place. As I pored through the recipe book they returned with, salivating over the recipes, I found myself thinking that an innkeeper would be a great main character for a mystery. The problem was, I hadn’t been to Northern California, and my second setting choice (Newfoundland, where I’d spent summers with my grandmother) had so much dialect I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. Serendipity struck again a few months later, when friends invited us to visit them on Little Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine. As soon as we stepped onto the mail boat and felt the breeze as we cut through the cold blue water, I knew I’d found my book’s home.

I started writing the Gray Whale Inn mysteries 11 years ago, sitting in bed at ten o’clock at night and scrawling in a composition book. The first scene, which involved an islander coming to the inn with a basket of fresh wild blueberries, never made it into the book, but it succeeded in launching me into a new world.

Three afternoons a week, for five months, I fled… I mean, I left my children in the care of a babysitter and hurried to a Starbucks with the ambient temperature of a meat locker. I’d sit in my favorite green chair in the corner and pretend I was in Maine (not a challenge, given the chill in the air), imagining a different kind of day from the ones I usually led. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons were spent filling 20 notebook pages (double-spaced) with dreams of what life would be like on a Maine island, with no toddlers, loads of sinful cakes and muffins, and interesting guests. (With a few dead bodies tossed in, of course.)

Cranberry Island and the Gray Whale Inn were my haven for many years, and still are. Simply by picking up a pen (or a laptop), I could travel to an island where blueberries abounded, the cool sea breeze ruffled my hair, and I got to live in a gorgeous, gray-shingled Cape on the rocky shore of an island. There were no diapers. There were no clinging toddlers. Sure, there were murders and avaricious developers, but at least you didn’t have to feed them strained peas.

Now, more than a decade later, I’ve written lots more books, but the Gray Whale Inn is still special to me. Natalie, Charlene, Eli and Claudette are like old friends, and I love finding out what Natalie’s got cooking – and maybe whipping up something in my own kitchen to accompany a scene I’m working on.

So that’s how an imaginary “day in the life” turned into something much bigger.

But enough about me. What are your dreams?


You can read more about Natalie, Charlene, Eli and Claudette in Death Runs Adrift, the sixth book in the “Gray Whale Inn” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink. The first book in the series is Murder on the Rocks. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY
Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on May 29, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of DEATH RUNS ADRIFT. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Critically acclaimed author Karen MacInerney teaches writers’ workshops and drives a mean carpool. Her book KarenMMurder on the Rocks was selected as an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. When she’s not writing or chauffeuring children, she loves to read, drink coffee, attempt unusual recipes, and hit the local hike-and-bike trail. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two children, and a rabbit named Bunny, and escapes to Maine as often as possible. Visit her online at karenmacinerney.com.


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Why I Like Cozies by Karen MacInerney

Brush with DeathDru kindly asked me to write a blog post entitled “A Day in the Life.”

Well, I was thinking about my life, and what I was going to write about my life, and I found myself coming up on the empty side. You see, although it is pleasant, my life is fairly uninspiring from a storytelling perspective, as it largely involves sitting at a computer and making things up, followed by driving and nagging children and making dinner. (This sequence is punctuated occasionally by gardening and karate class.) So, lest I spend 900 words detailing the quirks of my keyboard and the state of my living room, I decided to write about something I know you, Dru Ann, and I all love. And something I was thinking about the other day, anyway. So, in lieu of my grocery list for this week (which, while we’re on the subject, includes lemons, sugar, butter and flour, which will soon surprise none of you), I bring you…

Ten things I love about cozy mysteries!

    1. Instant vacation between the covers! (Of a book, that is.) I’m completely sucked in by beautiful settings, and there’s nothing better than being able to pick up a book and travel to a gorgeous locale where the characters are like old friends. If there are recipes to drool over, a potential romantic interest, and terrific scenery, all the better. (This also applies to writing cozy mysteries. I get to go to Maine all the time, even if it’s only in my head. And I have an excuse to bake pound cakes in several flavors! Unfortunately, the latter often leads to elastic waistbands, but one must make sacrifices for one’s art.)

 

  • The bad guys get caught. Unlike in real life, where criminals too often fade into the sunset, things are usually all tidied up by the end. I love that sense of justice. It’s satisfying, like a slice of lemon pound cake with a big cup of tea. Speaking of pound cake, excuse me while I visit the kitchen for a moment…

 

 

  • Useful, or at least interesting tidbits. You get to learn about poisons. And maritime history. And rum running. And quilting, or fishing, or baking, or any number of fascinating hobbies and activities. All from the comfort of your favorite armchair! With lemon pound cake on your plate and tea in your cup! (Excuse me again, please…)

 

 

  • No gore. Really, this is a big one for me. The less blood, the better. Which is why I think I’ll poison someone in my next book, now that I think of it.

 

 

  • No terrible things happen to children. Ever since I had my first child, I can’t abide when bad things happen to little people. No child will ever be murdered on Cranberry Island – at least not under my watch. Irritating developers, on the other hand…

 

 

  • The characters are like old friends. It is lovely to be able to visit with reliable friends, again and again. Catch up with their love lives, admire their new hairstyles, sample their baked goods… like lemon pound cake, for example. Which will hopefully be gone soon, so that I don’t have to keep eating it.

 

 

  • They’re terrific for book clubs. Because everyone can bring a recipe. And there’s nothing more fun than talking about relationships, clues, murders, interesting tidbits and recipes while eating baked goods and drinking tea. Or Irish coffee. Or eating lemon pound cake. Hmm. I’m sensing a theme here…

 

 

  • Cozies are a real pick-me-up when life gets tough. I don’t know about you, but I have a stash of favorite books I return to when things get challenging. Sometimes life can be unpredictable, troubling, and downright upsetting. When I’ve had a bad week, I like nothing better than to take one of my favorite cozy mysteries, run a bath, make a cup of tea, and spend a few hours visiting old friends in a comforting place I know and love. (Lemon pound cake is optional, but recommended.)

 

 

  • You can give them to family members and friends as gifts. No worries about offending Great-aunt Tilly with inappropriate orgy descriptions or Jack-the-Ripper-type crime scenes. And, last but not least…

 

 

  • They’re just plain fun! Both to read and to write. Let’s hear it for cozy mysteries! And lemon pound cake!

 


blueberry blues
I’m giving away one (1) digital copy of BLUEBERRY BLUES, a “Gray Whale Inn” short story, for Kindle only. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends June 26.


BRUSH WITH DEATH is the fifth book in the “Gray Whale Inn” mystery series; the first book in the series is Murder on the Rocks.

Meet the author
Karen is the author of the bestselling “Gray Whale Inn” mystery series, set on Cranberry Island, Maine. When she’s not writing or chauffeuring children, she loves to read, drink coffee, attempt unusual recipes, and hit the local hike-and-bike trail. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two children, and a rabbit named Bunny, and escapes to Maine as often as possible.

Visit Karen at www.karenmacinerney.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Blueberry Blues by Karen MacInerney

Blueberry Blues by Karen MacInerney is the first short story in the “Gray Whale Inn” mystery series. April 2012

When innkeeper Natalie Barnes volunteers to host the Cranberry Island Clambake at the Gray Whale Inn, she’s looking forward to good food, good friends—and maybe even a bit of good press. The day is perfect and the event as smooth as Natalie’s crème anglaise—until a mysterious illness grips several islanders, and the police finger the inn’s blueberry pies as the culprit. Will Natalie sniff out the source of the poisoned pies before she—and the Gray Whale Inn—end up in hot water? (Includes the Gray Whale Inn recipe for Double-Berry Lemon Muffins.)

Oh how I missed this series and author Karen MacInerney whets our appetite with this wonderful short story featuring Natalie from the Gray Whale Inn mystery series that will be returning in 2013. Bonus recipes are included.

Berried to the Hilt by Karen MacInerney

Berried to the Hilt by Karen MacInerney is the fourth book in the “Gray Whale Inn” cozy mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, November 2010

When a lobsterman discovers a sunken ship, Cranberry Island is abuzz with excitement. Is the wreck the remains of the Myra Barton, the missing ship of island sea captain Jonah Selfridge? Or the elusive Black Marguerite, which belonged to one of the most notorious pirates of the 17th century and vanished without a trace—except for the ghost ship that old-timers say roams the water on fog-shrouded nights?

Soon the island is swarming with marine archaeologists and treasure hunters. It’s good news for Natalie—and for the Gray Whale Inn—until a body turns up floating near the wreck. Natalie finds herself immersed in the world of pirates and sunken treasure, both past and present. Will she solve the mystery and find the killer in time? Or will Natalie be the next to join the lost ship’s crew, down in Davy Jones’ locker?

It’s been two years since we last saw Natalie and she’s been sorely missed. When a shipwreck is discovered offshore, archeologists descend on Cranberry Island and will need a place to stay. All is well until one of the guests is found dead and one of the locals is arrested for his murder. Believing in his innocence, Natalie does what she does best and that is snoop. With a clever plot, illustrious characters and a nice island locale, this lighthearted mystery and enjoyable read kept me both intrigued and wanting more. My rating: 4 stars

Murder Most Maine by Karen MacInerney

Murder Most Maine by Karen MacInerney is the third book in the “Gray Whale Inn” cozy mystery series.  Publisher: Midnight Ink, November 2008

The long-awaited third book in Midnight Ink’s bestselling series is finally here!

It’s springtime on Cranberry Island — and love is in the air. It seems like every woman has the hots for buff trainer Dirk De Leon. He and his equally-gorgeous business partner, Vanessa Black, are leading a weight-loss retreat at the Gray Whale Inn — forcing innkeeper Natalie Barnes to lighten up her butter-laden breakfast menu.

The mood on the island darkens when two grisly discoveries are made. The first is a skeleton walled up at the island’s lighthouse. The second is a corpse of the fresh variety — the handsome Dirk! Could the spirit that once embodied the skeletal remains — perhaps the lighthouse keeper who disappeared a century ago — be responsible for Dirk’s death?

The police pin the blame on Natalie’s boyfriend who — to her dismay — had a long-ago fling with Vanessa. To find the true killer and ease her own aching heart, Natalie must untangle the knot of jealous girlfriends and spurned admirers that once surrounded the hunky trainer.

Innkeeper Natalie Barnes is hosting a weight-loss retreat at her inn when on the first night the fitness trainer is found dead outside her property.  The cause of death is poison and there are plenty of suspects, namely Natalie’s boyfriend, John; the local lobster fisherman Tom; Vanessa who had previous relationships with the fitness trainer as well as the two men; and the assorted guests who’s attending the retreat.  There was a 150-year old skeleton mystery that was found in an old lighthouse that also made this story interesting.  I enjoyed this story where you got to see and feel the atmosphere of living on a coastal island in Maine.

*new-to-me author