Tag Archive | art

Crafting Between The Pages; Key to a Crafty Killer

BTB Crafting is Key header

I love a good mystery of course and mystery parties just seem like the next step. My daughter’s upcoming birthday inspired my craft for this week as well as my good author friend, Vicki Vass and her amazingly titled book, “Key To A Murder.”

So, today you’ll need key charms that you can get at any hobby or craft store. Do make sure to see if they have a coupon….that’s the KEY to a good bargain. I got mine for 40% off. You’ll also need a good craft glue, paint brush and enough toothpicks for whatever you plan to stick these in.


Tiny Key Charms


Craft Glue

Paint Brush

Good Music (might I suggest Pearl Jam?)

You can use these as cupcake picks,  picks for a cheese and fruit trays at your book club gatherings and whatever else you can think of to stick these in; as the possibilities are endless. The KEY is to have fun!

I hope you enjoy the video, try this craft, check out Vicki’s book and enter my contest. I’m giving away a set of my keys I used and Vicki is throwing in her book “Key To A Murder.” WOW!

Click here for the Key to A Crafty Murder GIVEAWAY!


Order “Key to a Murder” here!

Key to a Murder Cover Vicki Vass

***Comment of my YouTube video and you’ll get an extra entry!***

Stain Glass Rocks! The Book Effect; Crafting Between The Pages

I adore the Webb’s Stain Glass Mystery series by Cheryl Hollon. Have you read it? If not, the link to buy it will be at the bottom of the page.
For my first craft, I wanted to start out with the newest craze of painting rocks! Are you into painting rocks? Today I show you how to turn a rock into faux stained glass.

I hope you like the video, share the video and post photos of YOUR finished faux stained glass rock project.

Oh…and count how many times I say “um” in the video. Seriously, it’s a lot.



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BTB Review of Michelangelo’s Ghost by GiGi Pandian

Michelangelo’s Ghost by GiGi Pandian



I have not had the pleasure of reading any of GiGi Pandian’s works before so I went into this read completely blind. The cover is what captivated me and from there I went to the description. That’s when I knew I wanted to read it. Being a fan of mystery and exploration, a character such as Jaya Jones was going to help me escape on a much-needed vacation and explore my need for an exotic location. I grew up watching Indian Jones and always thought the females in his movies seemed pretty week. The thought of a female exporter fascinated me. I only hoped Jaya lived up to my expectations.

We have two females who are the main characters and focus of this story. Yes, there is a brother, his girlfriend and Jaya’s two love interests that form an uncomfortable love triangle, but I’m not sure those are the focus really.  So, I am focusing on the two main ladies.  One ends up dying, people thinking her a fool and dreamer while one goes on to explore this dreamer’s theories. There are lots of plots and twists in the book, but these two ladies and how their relationship is with each other is the thing I would like to focus on.

Lilith Vine was once an impressive professor of Jaya’s, but she and others left professor Vine behind in fear of having the stigma of “crazy dreamer” put upon themselves. After all, a real researcher can’t have that shameful of a person them around. Her fifteen minutes of famed discovery was over and she was a has-been, right? Yet, when professor Vine calls up Jaya and tells her about a connection between a world-famous artist and a set of carved statues in Italy, she can’t seem to pull herself away. Even after leaving her behind, Jaya knows deep in her heart that she looks up to Lilith Vine and that the quirkiness of her ideas makes her adventurous heart skip a beat with anticipation of the unknown.

Unfortunately, a prominent death occurs that puts a damper on the research but this drives Jaya even harder to find out if there is truly a historical connection. She is led to Italy to talk to the distant family of the artist in question and finds out of the shame associated with him, the scandal of his work and just how far people will go to manipulate others to get what they want.

I loved the adventure, the characters, the scene setting and development that goes on in Michelangelo’s Ghost. Jaya goes from a researcher who is not sure of herself to one who gains a full head of steam toward her better self. The character of Jaya did not disappoint.

Anyone who likes adventures and strong female characters will fully envelope this book. I was constantly “watching my back”, trying to figure out who was after who and if people where truly who they said they were. There is no sense of security for Jaya in this book and it’s an spree to the very end. I can’t wait until the next installment. I’m now a huge Jaya fan and plan to read the prior ones now.

About the Author:

gigi-pandian-bw-headshot-14-webres-rgb-7x8SA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the the southern tip of India.

She graduated with honors from Pitzer College, studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh, and went on to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of Bath in England. Before completing her PhD, she realized she was much better suited to writing about the fictional adventures of academics than being one herself. She left academia for art school, and began writing the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series.

Artifact, the first book in the series, was awarded the William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant, hit the USA Today bestseller list, and was named a “Best of 2012” Debut Mystery by Suspense Magazine.

The Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries continued with Pirate Vishnu (awarded the Left Coast Crime Rose Award), Quicksand, and Michelangelo’s Ghost. 

Gigi also writes the Accidental Alchemist Mystery Series. The first book in the new series, The Accidental Alchemist, won a Lefty Award. The Masquerading Magician was released in 2016, and The Elusive Elixir will be published in January 2017.

In addition to novels, Gigi loves writing locked-room mystery short stories. Her story “The Hindi Houdini” was shortlisted for Agatha and Macavity awards.

Gigi’s publishing journey was kicked into high gear by a cancer diagnosis. A month after her 36th birthday, Gigi was diagnosed with breast cancer. To get through her treatments, she decided to throw herself into her mystery writing. She’s doing well, but life is still uncertain, so she plans to have a lot of fun in life as she travels the world with her husband, camera, and notebook for writing mysteries.

Gigi sits on the board of Sisters in Crime, is a member of Mystery Writers of America, and is an avid participant in National Novel Writing Month


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GigiPandian/

Twitter @GigiPandian

Email: gigi@gigipandian.com

Website: http://www.gigipandian.com/


Buy “Michelangelo’s Ghost”

Review of Hearse and Gardens by Kathleen Bridge

Hearse and Gardens by Kathleen Bridge

hease-and-gardensI now want to live in the Hamptons. Meg Barrett has taken me into her world of interior design, as well as cozy bungalows and I am now ready to hire her to decorate one for me to live in beside the ocean.

Kathleen Bridge has once again painted the picture of utter beauty that is the Hamptons. The lifestyle, elegance of the people and nature of living by the ocean have been sold to the reader. We get to see new locations that astound and amaze in the second installment of the Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery as we are taken to the grandiose home that is Sandringham. Oh what an amazing place!

In the process of helping clear out some older bungalows we find our first of many mysterious hidden rooms. This one, however, has the skeletal remains of a man that has been missing for some twenty years. This is only the beginning to Sandringham’s many mysteries. As Meg and Elle continue working with the family, more secrets ooze from the walls. Meg is literally the grown up Nancy Drew in this book. I found myself reading this, jealous of her pursuits of such a fantastic riddle.

skeleton-on-wallThe story was gripping, full of literal twists and turns and enough family secrets to keep one researching for years. The question throughout the story was always who had Uncle Harry’s best interest in mind and who was after the lost Warhol painting, the money and estate. The guilty would start looking innocent and the innocent, guilty. It was a wonderful rollercoaster of confusion. To add to the confusion, I had to question the fictitiousness of the writing. It all sounded so plausible that such a painted existed that I had to ask Kathleen. Who knew!

This story was not only a mystery on the surface with the sleuth, victims and suspects, but ran much deeper for me. It was psychological. It seemed that the hidden passages, discovery of bodies and the unknown fate of her housing situation showed the outward appearance of what Meg was struggling with inwardly. As an interior designer, she goes searching for the past, for items to fill a void in not only a person’s space, but also their life. She helps them create a story, a world that they want to live in and to escape to. At the same time, it fills voids in her own life.

She misses having a place to call home, a person to call her own after a bitter separation and she is mentally trying to figure out these hidden nuances in her personality and come out on the other end like one of her design creations, a beautiful statement that is one of a kind and looks put together with everything in the perfect spot. That is hard to do as a human and I think she will realize this as she comes into her own. But, I think she is making great progress in this book and I look forward to seeing her continue to develop as a character in the hands of Kathleen Bridge.


To keep her mind off the legal battle over the oceanfront cottage she’s trying to buy, Meg agrees to help her friend inventory and clear out furniture from the massive Montauk estate of wealthy art broker Harrison Falks. But the job takes a terrifying turn when Meg discovers a skeleton in a hidden room in one of the estate’s many bungalows. The remains turn out to be those of Harrison’s son, who went missing nearly twenty years ago—along with one of his father’s Warhol paintings.

As Meg delves into the Hamptons’ pop art past, she gets drawn into the sketchy goings-on and family drama at the estate. But when Meg makes no bones about solving the crime, she just might become the subject of the killer’s next installation.

About The Author:

kathleen-bridgeKathleen Bridge, author of Hearse and Gardens and Better Homes and Corpses, started her writing career working at the Michigan State University News in East Lansing, Michigan. She is the author and photographer of an antiques reference guide, Lithographed Paper Toys, Books, and Games.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and has taught creative writing classes at Bryant Library in Roslyn, New York. Kathleen is also an antiques and vintage dealer in Long Island, New York, and has contributed to Country Living magazine.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkathleenbridge/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/KathleenBridgeG/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathleenbridge

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkathleenbridge/

Blog: http://weekendinthehamptons.blogspot.com/


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*And don’t forget to leave a comment here on my blog. I love to hear what YOU think.*

The Art of Murder: Part 1; Bella Pilar and Heather Blake

It takes a witch with dollI am excited to bring you a series that I have started called “The Art of Murder” where I will be bringing you interviews with the artists of some of my favorite covers in the Cozy Mystery world as well as the authors whose words sit within.

When I first started reading cozy mysteries, I didn’t realize just how many there would be to choose from and how diverse the cover art would be. Being a trained photographer, I am a very visual person so I natural am drawn to the covers. I have spent hours in book stores looking at the details of the covers of some pretty amazing artwork by painters, photographers and digital artists. Time after time, I would choose books based on covers and read them. There was one series,though, that kept catching my eye that I would pick up but never purchased. I don’t know why, but I liked the art so much I was afraid to read it and mess up the covers. Weird to some, but that was what I was thinking as I live in a house of messing kids.

It took me a month of passing by Heather Blake’s books and seeing her on Facebook along with the amazing artwork that went with her books until I finally gave up and bought the bright yellow cover of, “Some Like It Witchy” that she had just released. I am a sucker for yellow. Honestly, it draws me in and this one just begged to come home with me. I promised myself I would be gentle and not let the smallest of my messy crew touch the pretty, sparkly cover of girly splendor. But wait…who drew this? Who’s art was it that had me so captivated to the point of making me want to put it in a glass case so my three year old wouldn’t get her sticky, oatmeal caked hands on it if she too by chance thought the sparkles were too enticing not to touch? So, I looked inside the cover. Bella Pilar. Hmm…that sounded familiar. I looked her up and realized I had seen her girlie-goodness on a bunch of items I had been looking at over the years. I was hooked. Now I could really order a print for my wall. Score!

Seeing how artists don’t usually get a whole lot of recognition for what they do, I thought it would be great to put names to those covers.  I can’t recall the number of covers or photos I shot that never had my name associated with them. Most people don’t even give it a second thought.  Most of the time it’s, “Oooo, pretty!” Then, they move on.  I decided to do an interview with the lucky author who has these snazzy, sparkly covers as well as the queen of sparkle herself. Enjoy! It is really neat seeing how each side works together to make a book happen. And…sorry if you get glitter on you. HAHA, no I’m not.

Booth Talks Books: How did you come to working with each other? Some Like It Witchy

Bella Pilar: The publishing company reached out to me about creating the art for this series.  From the very start of hearing what Heather’s new series was going to be about, I just knew it was a great fit and that I would enjoy working on each and every one.

Heather Blake: It was set up completely through the publisher. I am a big fan and now look for her art whenever I’m out shopping. I love seeing all the cards she does for Papyrus, and I’ve bought several of her puzzles through Barnes & Noble as giveaways throughout the years. I have so much fun browsing her website to see all the cool projects she’s working on.

BTB: Do you all work together on the cover art like the colors, style and such?

BP: The publisher works on the art direction, the general look they want, on their end. Then the art director passes these notes along to me, and then I pencil sketch cover ideas based on all of their notes and direction.  Once they decide on the final sketch they think works best, I paint!

HB: ​ Bella and I have never communicated one-on-one about the covers–all my ideas are sent to her via the publisher. ​My editor will ask for cover suggestions from me, then those suggestions go to marketing. Marketing decides which cover option works best, then that idea is sent to Bella to work her magic. Once her first sketch is done, it’s sent to me (through my editor), and I either accept it as is or ask for tweaks.

BTB: Heather, do you think she represents your characters well on the covers?

HB: Bella’s colorful artwork completely captures the magic of my stories, not only of the plots but also the characters.

BTB: Which is your favorite cover?  As I have said already, I LOVE “Some Like It Witchy.”

BP:I can’t say, as I love them all!  And I hope all of the readers do as well.

HB: I truly love them all.

BTB: Bella, do you do the art only or also the type over the artwork?

BP:I do the art only, I do not work on type.  The designers over there do the type layout on top of the art I give them.  I just keep in mind, as I paint, where the type will most likely fall, so that I give them the open space they need in my art to add in the type.

BTB: Thanks Bella and Heather. It has been amazing talking to you both. I love your artwork and your books. I hope you get to keep working together because it is an amazing partnership. The books and covers together are amazing.

BP: Working on these covers are so fun for me- I hope this series goes on forever so I can keep painting more covers for her!

HB: I am in awe of Bella’s talent and extremely grateful that her art is part of my books.​

The Good The Bad The WitchyThe Goodbye Witch