Edith/Maddie here, still digesting Thanksgiving north of Boston!
New Flash: Kathy Laweryson is the lucky winner of Winnie’s giveaway. She’ll be writing to your email address, Kathy. Congratulations!
I’m so happy to welcome author Melissa Bourbon, aka Winnie Archer, who has a new holiday book out and a giveaway – after you read her delightful post about her annual tamale-making party.
Here’s the blurb for A Murder Yule Regret:
Freelance photographer and Yeast of Eden bakery assistant Ivy Culpepper has just scored the job of a lifetime shooting the Dickensian dress-up X-mas party thrown by It Girl film actress Eliza Fox…until an unwanted guest appears.
A holiday costume party in the sleepy coastal town of Santa Sofia could be just the boost Ivy needs for her fledgling photography business. At the party, Ivy enters a Victorian fantasy come to life, all courtesy of the fabulous Ms. Fox. Ivy gets to play shutterbug while hanging with Scrooge, Marley, the Cratchits, and more classic Dickens characters. But what begins as the best of times turns out to be the very worst for one of the party guests—a tabloid journalist with more enemies than Ebenezer himself.
When the man’s body is found sprawled across the jagged rocks below the house, the fingers begin pointing at Eliza. Meanwhile, Ivy gets roped into helping prove the starlet’s innocence. Her festive photos are now official evidence—and the Ghosts of Christmas Present could mean the party for Eliza is over, once and for all.
Everyone has their favorite holiday and season. My favorite season has always been winter. I’m much more of a sweater/jacket/blanket/boots/slippers girl than I am a swimsuit/shorts/flip flops person.
I got married on December 30th, because I wanted my wedding to be during the winter.
This love of winter naturally lends itself to loving the Christmas season. It’s less about the day, and more about the activities surrounding the holiday.
As a family, our happiest tradition is our annual tamalada. This is a tamale-making party. We gather together at our home with friends and family and make dozens upon dozens of tamales. My daughter used to joke, saying, “Do your friends know they’re coming to this party to work?”
It’s true. It’s a work party. We make masa. We make the fillings. My husband even says that the way I make everything now is better than how his mom makes it. That is a high compliment since he tells it like it is, and his mom is an excellent cook.
We’ve added our own types of tamales to the mix. Where my husband, Carlos, grew up with just the traditional pork tamales, we now make chicken mole, bean and cheese, and sometimes other unique specialities.
Our friends come and learn about our family’s tradition, partake in the making, eat the tamales once they’re cooked (and the pozole and other goodies), and everyone leaves with a dozen or two tamales to take home.
Because of my love to the season, writing a holiday-themed mystery was SO much fun! I got to tap into my love of Dickens and A Christmas Carol, the brisk winter on the California coast, and the magic of the season (minus the murder, of course).
In my next holiday mystery, I’ll bring in our tamalada tradition!
Happy holidays, and happy reading!
Readers: Have you ever had tamales? Do you have a favorite flavor? What is one of your holiday traditions? Winnie/Melissa will send one commenter a copy – print or digital – of Murder in Devil’s Cove, the first Book Magic mystery.
Melissa Bourbon is the national bestselling author of more than twenty-five mystery books, including the Book Magic mysteries, the Lola Cruz Mysteries, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series, and the Bread Shop Mysteries, written as Winnie Archer. She is a former middle school English teacher who gave up the classroom in order to live in her imagination full time. Melissa lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and their two dogs, a pug, Bean, and a chug, Dobby. She is beyond fortunate to be living the life of her dreams. Learn more about Melissa at her website, www.melissabourbon.com, on Facebook @MelissaBourbon/Winnie ArcherBooks, and on Instagram @bookishly_cozy.