Monday, June 23, 2014

Interview and Giveaway 
with author Leslie Budewitz

Author Leslie Budewitz is a two time Agatha award winner,
 just this year winning for her first book in the Food Lovers' Mystery series DEATH AL DENTE

Enter using the Rafflecopter form after the interview for a chance to 
win your choice of one copy of

LKBR:  Hi Leslie. Thank you for being here. You won the Agatha Award for your non-fiction book Books, Crook & Counselors: How To Write Accurately About Criminal Law And Courtroom Procedure. What was that like for you?

LB:  In a word, stunning. Mine was only the third book for writers to win the Agatha
Award for Best Nonfiction. Most winners are biography or literary criticism,
and the other nominees were excellent books by lovely people. The win told me
that I had correctly identified a need and filled it – that writers wanted
information about the legal issues that crop up in fiction, particularly
mystery and crime fiction, and found it well-presented and accessible. We write
to be read, and we write nonfiction to be of use, so that continues to be very

LKBR: Your book DEATH AL DENTE was quite a hit last year and an Agatha Award winner! What was your inspiration for this series?

LB: I live just outside a delightful village in Northwest Montana, a place that
invariably catches visitors by surprise. It truly is a cozy community, with
marvelous people, great restaurants, galleries, and shops, in a magnificent
setting. We have mountain trails for horseback riding and hiking, rivers and
lakes for all kinds of boating, a top-notch golf course, skiing, the Bob
Marshall Wilderness, and Glacier National Park – all right here. 

The best cozies use all the familiar elements – the people, the food, the
setting – to explore how crime affects a community, and how the community
responds. My hope with this series is to give readers a good story that does
exactly that, along with a view of the West they might not know. 

LKBR: What’s next for the series?

LB: The second Food Lovers’ Village mystery, CRIME RIB, will be out July 1, 2014.

“Gourmet food market owner Erin Murphy is determined to get Jewel Bay,
Montana’s scrumptious local fare some national attention. But her scheme for
culinary celebrity goes up in flames when the town’s big break is interrupted
by murder…

Food Preneurs, one of the hottest cooking shows on TV, has decided to feature
Jewel Bay in an upcoming episode, and everyone in town is preparing for their
close-ups, including the crew at the Glacier Mercantile, aka the Merc. Not only
is Erin busy remodeling her courtyard into a relaxing dining area, she’s
organizing a steak-cooking competition between three of Jewel Bay’s hottest
chefs to be featured on the program.

But Erin’s plans get scorched when one of the contending cooks is found dead.
With all the drama going on behind the scenes, it’s hard to figure out who
didn’t have a motive to off the saucy contestant. Now, to keep the town’s rep
from crashing and burning on national
television, Erin will have to grill some
suspects to smoke out the killer…”

CRIME RIB was great fun to write, because it combines a real event---the annual
local Arts Festival---with a made-up event, the steak Grill-off, and adding the
TV coverage. Lots of quirky folks and fun foods, plus a head-scratching
mystery. Erin’s love life takes a turn, and her tensions with her old friend,
Detective Kim Caldwell, heat up.

And I’ve just turned in the third installment, tentatively titled IT HAPPENED
. It’s February in the village, a time to relax and enjoy good friends,
good food, and a few good movies.. When Erin agrees to help organize Jewel
Bay’s First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, she has no idea her co-chair
will wind up dead, leaving her in charge---and Erin’s brother Nick the chief

LKBR: Any ideas for a new series or stand alone title?

LB: Delighted to say I have a three-book contract with Berkley Prime Crime for the
Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, featuring Pepper Reece, a former law firm HR
manager who unexpectedly finds herself at the helm of a venerable institution
in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. In the first installment, ASSAULT AND PEPPER,
out in March 2015, Pepper must investigate when a Market resident is found dead
in the Spice Shop’s doorway---and a trusted employee is accused of murder.

This is NOT the real cover. Just a silly blogger image. 

LKBR: What's your idea of a perfect day?

LB:  Every day is perfect in its own way! But I love waking up to snuggle with Mr.
Right and our cat, taking my coffee and journal out to the back deck – this is
a perfect summer day – to sit among the tall trees and let the bird song drift
around me. I’d write, take a walk along the river, cook a fun dinner with my
hunny, and curl up for the evening with my guys and a good mystery! The perfect
winter day? Much the same, but I watch the snow fall in the woods around our
home from the warmth of my kitchen counter!

LKBR:  What are three things you would like your readers to know about you?

LB: 1. I really do enjoy cooking, and all the recipes are tried, tested, and true
– and easy for you to recreate at home, whether you’re an experienced cook or a novice.

2. Readers have asked how much of Erin is based on me. Like her, I grew up in
Montana, left for a few years, then returned – a common story -- but she’s quite a bit younger than I am, so I’m enjoying exploring how that is for a younger woman.

3. And I love hearing from readers! But my email’s been a bit cranky lately – you can all relate, right? – so, if you write me and don’t hear back, please find me on Facebook, at, and we’ll chat there!

LKBR: Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

LB: The response to DEATH AL DENTE has been wonderful, and I want to thank the
readers who have given me their time and trust. There is nothing more heart-
warming, more smile-inducing than to hear from a reader who says she loved the
book, she stayed up too late reading, she made the Fettucine a la Fresca and it
was really good, and when will the next book be out! So, thank you.

It’s was a thrill to be nominated for and to win the Agatha Award for Best First Novel,
given at the annual Malice Domestic convention celebrating the traditional
mystery. I could even say “it’s maliciously good fun!” The other nominees are
delightful women who’ve written really enjoyable books, and I’m so pleased to have
been nominated with them. I have long thought there are few more generous
communities in the world of mystery writers---and then I met the mystery
lovers, who are so engaging, so happy to find and share new books and authors,
and so very encouraging.

You can read more about me and the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, and read
excerpts of DEATH AL DENTE and CRIME RIB on my website,

My characters blog on the 27th of the month at

(Quill Driver Books), winner of the 2013 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction---a reference for writers and readers.
For more on that, and an excerpt, please visit my website
I blog for writers and readers interested in legal issues at

Find me on Facebook at

LKBR: Thank you, Leslie for spending this time with us.

LB: Thank you, Lisa!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 

It's simple...
I'm giving the first paragraph of the first chapter of a book. 
Since I have the interview and giveaway with author Leslie Budewitz going right now, I'm going to choose her first book in the 
Food Lovers' Village Mysteries DEATH AL DENTE.

"Who put these huckleberry chocolates on the front counter?" I grabbed the stack of purple boxes crammed with gooey huckleberry-filled chocolate wannabes swathed in purple foil and shoved them onto an open shelf on the side wall, next to the herbal snoose.

 Should Be Reading
Hosted by Miz B Should Be Reading

Another fun one...
Open current read to a random page and share
 2 "teaser" sentences from that page.
Although I am not currently reading DEATH AL DENTE, I'm sticking with my theme and choosing my teasers from this book.

I gaped at the wreckage, unable to take it in. Who would do this?


  1. I would love to read about life (and death) in Jewel Bay—thanks for the opportunity to win a book in what sounds like quite an intriguing series!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  2. This sounds like a fun series. Congratulations on your Agatha!

  3. I absolutely love mysteries and these sound fantastic.

  4. Good to learn that the recipes have been tested and are ready to be used.
    I always wonder about that when I'm reading a book - will this really work if I follow the recipe or will I have an awful mess.
    thanks for the chance to win the book.

  5. Thanks to you all for stopping by, and for taking the trip with me -- on the page -- to Jewel Bay. Marylouh, yes -- that's a peeve of mine. I hope you enjoy Erin and Fresca's recipes!

  6. This looks like a fun series and would love to try it out by winning a book. If I don't you can be sure it is going on my list of TBR!

  7. Series looks good and will become a part of my TBR hill :)

  8. I have totally enjoyed Death Al Dente so I am sure that I will love Leslie's latest book. Having been a food writer for local newspapers, I am drawn to books about food especially those with recipes. And I so liked when Leslie told of how she likes to spend her days, waking up with Mr. Right, her cat and sitting on the deck enjoying the air. I love that too but now we don't have a cat and moved so don't have a deck either, but I have my memories. Yes, I still have Mr. Right like Leslie does. :) Love finding out something so nice about a writer each time I read a blog. Thank you for the lovely write up Lisa. Would love to win this book to fill in all of my hours spent recouperating (which could be another year or more the drs just don't know). So bring on the books. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Cynthia B.

  9. I loved Death Al Dente and I can't wait to get reacquainted with all the characters again.

  10. I wonder if it is any easier to write in Montana when you get snowed in during the winter. Maybe I'm just a whimp, but when it snows , I avoid going out if possible. Interesting that we often return home to where we were born and raised. Great concept for a series. Congrats on winning--well deserved! Go for a third one with your new book!!! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

  11. Cynthia, thanks for sharing your memories. Speedy recovery!
    Ronna, if I didn't leave home when it snowed, I would never get out -- esp this last winter! We have chains and 4 wheel drive, and happily, we live on a county road that gets plowed regularly -- more often than our looooong driveway does! But you're right -- the quiet days do make it easier to focus on the manuscript in progress.
    Thanks to you all for your kind words -- knowing we have readers waiting really spurs writers on!

  12. I love a good cozy, and this one sound wonderful! Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “SHE CAN HIDE”

  13. I'd love to win a copy of either book by such an accomplished author!

  14. I love cozies. And especially ones where food is involved. Great interview.

  15. I'm not a big cozy mysteries person, but I do love the food angle!

  16. I don't read many cozy mysteries, but this does sound like fun.

  17. Thank you everyone for taking the time to leave your comments! And Good Luck to those who have entered in the giveaway!

  18. I have Death al Dente on my kindle, it's next on my TBR list.

  19. What a fun sounding series.

  20. Sounds like a cute cozy. Love the cover and your Teaser.
    My Teaser is from NOT THE MARRYING KIND.

  21. Congratulations on your Agatha Award for best first novel...way to go!

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  22. Congratulations and this series sounds wonderful!

  23. I like the Agatha award teapot. I've heard that you're Laura Childs' cousin. I enjoy her books. Haven't read any of yours yet. I absolutely love cozies.

  24. What awesome titles! I would keep readingl Sounds fun!

  25. I enjoyed this interview and learning about the books which are memorable and special. Congratulations. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. Lisa i love reading the interviews with authors. I did not know about Leslie's Assault and Pepper books. I listed both Death Al Dente and Crime Rib on my Goodreads tbr list. here are my two teasers
    "He's totally Adorbs! " Adorbs? really, when did people get too lazy to finish their words?"
    a day that ended with liver treats is a good day
    from Paw Enforcement diane kelly

  27. I love the focus of local foods and I'm super excited about the upcoming spice mysteries. I love herbs and spices!

  28. This sounds like a great new author (to me) and series. I'd love to win to see how it is. Good luck to all

  29. I am addicted to cozy mysteries & love culinary cozies. Would love to win! :)

  30. I've read the first one & loved it! Wonderful 1st course & now I'm ready for crime rib! Thak you for the great interview and giveaway.

  31. I loved Death Al Dente (I own a copy) and the Agatha is the cherry on top to show that your peers agree with the readers. I look forward to reading Crime Rib even if I'm not the lucky winner... The old beg, borrow or steal a copy will also work just fine.

  32. Thank you Lisa for yet another great interview and review. I have yet to read Death Al Dente (sounds like a good one), but I would look forward to reading the Seattle Spice Shop debut book. Congratulations Leslie on your Agatha award...WOOHOO!

  33. Many thanks for all the kind comments -- too many to reply individually -- and the congratulations on my Agatha. I smile every time I see that little black teapot.

    And yes, Laura Childs and I are first cousins!

    My thanks again to all of you, and to Lisa for the interview & contest!

  34. Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments! And thank you, Leslie for being here.

  35. Enjoyed the interview. And, Leslie, congrats on your awards for both the debut novel, DEATH AL DENTE, and for your non-fiction work. I remember reading about DEATH AL DENTE last year and wanting to read it [haven't yet managed to however], and now with CRIME RIB coming out next week, I've really got to get busy!!
    I don't cook (hubby took that over 20+ years ago), but I always enjoy reading the recipes in cozies -- so I'll be looking forward to reading your Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries also.

  36. I'm looking forward to that new spice shop series. Thanks for the contest.

  37. Enjoyed reading the interview, and looking forward to reading CRIME RIB and the new series as well.

  38. Thanks for all the kind words and the congratulations! Donna, there's a lot to be said for a hunny who cooks! We share the kitchen duties, making it a lot more fun for us both!