Welcome Emmeline Duncan, and a giveaway!

By Liz, happy to have Emmeline Duncan join us on the blog today, talking about coffee, mysteries and food carts! Enjoy…

For one beautiful summer years ago, there was a food cart pod with a fantastic coffee cart not too far from my house in Portland, Oregon. Walking to the pod was one of my black lab’s favorite activities since the coffee cart—Ole Latte Coffee–had dog treats. We’d go, and my dog would stand on his back legs with his paws against the counter until Todd (the cart’s owner) gave him a treat or two or three.

I’d like an espresso and a biscuit, please.

One thing I noticed when visiting the food carts is that it was a small community. I’d chat with the owners, who were all committed to serving the best food or drinks possible. Sadly, the lot holding the pod was redeveloped to become an apartment building. Thankfully, you can still find phenomenal food cart pods around Portland, frequently in collaboration with microbreweries in a marriage of small business owners focused on their passions. I’ve followed most of the carts by my house to new locations across the city. (Although I’m still salty one of the carts moved to Nevada.)

Fresh Brewed Murder is the combination of two lifetime loves: coffee and mysteries, along with my stomach’s appreciation for food carts. I’ve done my best to reflect the Portland I know in the novel. It touches on some of the issues Portland struggles with, like gentrification and homelessness. But it also celebrates the DIY sensibility and creativity that infuses the city. Plus bicycles.

The novel is set at The Railyard, an inner-Portland food cart pod that, sadly, only exists in my head. But it is a compilation of my local favorites. It was fun to imagine the food I’d like to see in one spot. I decided the carts needed local flavor, so I gave a few of them a Pacific Northwest spin. PDXJojos serves properly broasted chicken and jojos, while 4 & 20 Blackbirds specializes in a marionberry pie on a gluten-free hazelnut crust. And since it’s Portland, one cart serves falafel that’s both vegan and delicious.

Sage, the story’s narrator, wants to be a force for good in the world, even if she’s still figuring out how. She’s the daughter of a notorious con artist and, in a way, feels like she’s atoning for her mother. (Side note for Leverage fans: I’ve joked before that Sage’s mother is like an evil Sophie Devereaux). When Sages starts Ground Rules, a coffee cart and roastery,  with her friend, Harley, she wants to make everyone’s day brighter with a perfectly crafted coffee drink. She’s really not prepared to find the dead body of a customer next to her cart. It turns out he’s the developer of the new apartment building across the street, and he’s had his eye on the Rail Yard. And Sage is shocked to find out her mother once swindled the developer out of a large sum of money. With Sage as the police’s number suspect and a murderer on the loose, she needs to solve the case before her new business and maybe even her life come to a bitter end.

Launching Fresh Brewed Murder now feels strange, but everything in the world feels off-kilter.  I’m thankful I’m scheduled to do virtual bookstore and library events in multiple states without needing to leave my home. I look forward to saying hi to readers, booksellers, and my fellow writers in person again. In the meanwhile, know I’m toasting all of you with a cup of java. Of course, I brewed the coffee with my favorite Kalita Wave pourover cone, along with locally roasted beans grounded fresh. I added a splash of Oatly barista as the finishing touch.

One silver lining: I get to (virtually) meet Kate Lansing when we talk about wine, coffee, and mysteries at Murder By The Book. Please note the event is BYOU: Bring Your Own Unicorn.

What’s your favorite coffee, tea, or other hot drink to pair with a good read? Two US-based commenters will receive a copy of Fresh Brewed Murder and a handknit coffee sleeve! One international commenter will receive a copy of the novel sent directly from an online bookshop.

Fresh Brewed Murder and an official Ground Rules coffee sleeve.

The first installment in Emmeline Duncan’s hipster Ground Rules Mystery Series, Fresh Brewed Murder, arrives on March 30th, 2021. As Kelly Garrett, she’s the author of the Oregon Book Award-finalist YA thriller The Last To Die and a 2020 Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient. You can find her online at emmelineduncan.com, on Instagram and Facebook as @writeremmelineduncan, and on Twitter as @Duncan_Emmeline. If you look for her in person, you might find her in one of Portland’s coffee shops or on a hiking trail somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, accompanied by her Great Pyrenees, Waylon.

42 Thoughts

  1. I’m not supposed to drink any of the hot beverages I love, so I brew one pot of coffee using one scoop of grounds and then switch to tea (one bag per pot) black or green in the morning, herbal in the afternoon,

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  2. Congrats- I’ve added the book to my TBR! I’m a dark roast pour over fan. I love that you get one perfectly crafted cup of coffee . I’m going to look up your pour over cone brand!

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  3. Emmaline, I love the series premise so much! Congratulations, and welcome to the blog. I formerly visited Portland yearly with my ex-husband and kids, because he’s from there, but I never got to know the really fun parts of town. ;^) I look forward to reading this.

    Right now I’m sipping an excellent dark roast from Bolivia, locally roasted and ground fresh, with a splash of whole milk, just like I do every morning. From a Contigo travel mug so it stays hot!

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  4. This sounds like such a fun read. I like a hot Harney’s Cinnamon tea on a cold day. My favorite mug is a pottery mug made by my cousin.

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  5. Congratulations on the release of “Fresh Brewed Murder”!

    Although I have to admit that I’m not a coffee drinker, I absolutely can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Fresh Brewed Murder”. Hubby drinks enough for us both. Coffee brewing is the first thing done every morning in this household. I do love the occasional mug of hot cocoa when the weather is cold, but basically any season of the year my drink of choice is Diet Pepsi. I start with it in the morning and end the day with it so I still get my quota of caffeine.

    Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected. Thank you for the chance!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  6. Congrats on your book release. I’m more likely to have a glass of water or a mug of hot chocolate when I’m reading a book.

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  7. Congrats on the new release, Emmeline! I’m a tea person, so I like a glass of green tea when it’s warm and a cup of black tea with cinnamon when it’s cold. Cheers!

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  8. Congratulations on the new release. Fresh Brewed Murder sounds wonderful. I’m also intrigued by the food cart culture. We don’t have them in my area and I think they sound like the perfect way to dine!

    I am a coffee fanatic and a big supporter of small roasters. Give me Baby’s Private Buzz (touts itself as the last legal high) or Carrabassatt Coffee’s Out of Bounds or Country Mile Blend, both light roasts, and I’m a happy lady.

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  9. I love a rich dark roast coffee, black! We have a few food carts in my area, and folks really enjoy them. There’s an American Legion one that’s parked next to the local public beach that is very popular in summer. Congratulations on your new release, sounds like a fun read!

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  10. My husband is the coffee barista at our house and he uses 100% Costa Rican coffee. Yummy start to the day for us. Best of luck with your series, sounds just like my reading “cuppa joe.” 😉

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  11. I do love my coffee, but I also like to pair a hot cup of peppermint tea with a good book. Congratulations on your new series! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. Congratulations on your new series, it sounds fantastic! I prefer my coffee reg. with milk and sweetened. I love coffee from Starbucks and I also love the cold coffees and the chocolate covered coffee beans. How special that your lab would get treats, I love that. Thank you for sharing about your books. Have a Great week and stay safe. Thank you for the chance.

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  13. I’m a tea drinker, love to try different flavors all the time. One of my favorites is Blood Orange Rooiboos, perfect with ginger snaps or biscotti & a good book!

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  14. I like to have either a cup of coconut flavored coffee or a moscow mule with a book and plenty of time to sip and read.

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  15. I’m all about half-caff coffee with a little bit of Splenda to perk me up without too much caffeine. Love those photos, especially the Lab. I’d love to have a copy of Fresh Brewed Murder. Thanks!

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  16. Congratulations! Looking forward to the arrival of my copy. I miss browsing bookstores, but I do like getting books in the mail. We have been liking fresh ground, locally roasted cold-brewed coffee. Set it on the counter at night, it’s ready in the morning. Yum. This may be weird, but on dreary mornings I like a dollop of molasses.

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  17. Congrats on the book! Love the cover! I enjoy a medium roast coffee with a good cozy mystery. Thanks for the chance! What a great giveaway!

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  18. Congrats on your book. This sounds wonderful. How cool to be able to make up your own market like this. What a fun time it would be to browse. I like either iced tea or hot tea while reading. My favorite hot tea is black tea with blueberries. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  19. I love coffee and this book is on my TBR list. Looking forward to reading the book. My favorite coffee drink is a Cafe Mocha. Iced tea with lemon is my favorite drink while reading.

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  20. The only coffee I like is coffee ice cream. I’m a tea drinker. I drink Lipton, English and Irish Breakfast, English Afternoon, and Darjeeling. I loved the Kenya and Sri Lankan kinds my brother brought home from his trips. Say safe and well.

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  21. My favorite hot drink is hot chocolate. I’m always excited when a new series starts, and this one sounds like fun. Thanks for the chance!

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  22. Congrats on your latest release! I love the idea of food cart pods. (Also, Kate is such a supportive and kind person.)

    My go-to drink is tea. I tend to choose green teas, but lately, I’ve been treating myself to Malaysian milk tea/teh tarik.

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  23. I am a serious coffee drinker. My regular coffee is the Kick Ass blend from Kicking Horse Company in British Columbia, Canada. I brew my morning coffee by grinding the beans and brewing the coffee using a manual 2-cup drip filter. And I drink my coffee black.

    Outside the home, I prefer drinking a Sumatra blend drip coffee or an Americano, black.

    I loved the eclectic dishes that you can find at the food cart pods in Portland. I visited the city in 2015 and would love to go back for another vacation.

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  24. My favorite coffee is made with beans roasted with orange peel, found only in Cusco, Peru. I used to being home 8 kilos of them each year. I sure do miss that delicious coffee. I try lots of other coffees and even blend my own, but nothing comes close.

    I love reading about coffee, and cozy mysteries so I would be delighted to win a book.

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  25. During the day, I like an iced coffee or iced tea. At night I will drink hot tea or water. I am a foodie so I love cozy mysteries about food or drink.

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