As soon as the guests arrive, itâ€™s plain that the five old college chums have bad blood between them. When Anne finds a threatening note, it’s clear that someone is out for revenge. Then they find a guest dead. At first, the death appears to be natural, but suspicions begin to grow.
When a blizzard threatens the Inn, will it trap them all with a killer and no way out?
Hope, can you share with our readers about yourself?
Certainly.Â I live above the shop of an herbal apothecary I own in Carolan Springs, Colorado. Iâ€™m also a medical doctor.. My mother, Faith, lives with me and I care for her. Iâ€™m an only child and I moved back to care for my mother when sheÂ started havingÂ health issues. I love living in a small town and I love Colorado. Iâ€™m in the perfect place for the life I want to live and the work I want to do. I have a new intern, Autumn, so thatâ€™s helping me to expand into other areas of interest.
Youâ€™ve recently opened a bed-and-breakfast with your friends. Can you tell us about that?
My father, Ralph Rogers, passed away, and I inherited his house. I didnâ€™t know for years that Ralph was my father, Â so it surprised meÂ when heÂ leftÂ me the home in his will. The house is a huge, old Victorian that probably stood by itself for many years before the other homes went up around it. Â Anne, who has become a good friend, and Kandi, another friend, talked about the possibility of opening a bed-and-breakfast in the house. As they live on either side of the house, it works well for them. Anne has written and taught about suburban homesteading while Kandi is a great cook. Plus, I get to do teaching on herbs through workshops we hold there. Itâ€™s called the Brandywine Inn as Ralph was a big fan of BrandywineÂ tomatoes. In the summer we open it up primarily for tourists and those who come for the homesteading fair. Then we can hold workshops in the spring and fall.
Tell us about where you live.
I live in the small mountain town of Carolan Springs in Colorado. (Donâ€™t try to find it on a map as itâ€™s only in the authorâ€™s imagination). I have to say the weather here in Colorado takesÂ someÂ getting used to. There can be a snowstorm in the morning and by the afternoon, lots of bright sunshine and warm temperatures. The key is to wearÂ layers at any timeÂ of the year! I finally learned that after living here for a few years. Iâ€™m excited about spring because itâ€™s that shoulder season when it’s normally crisp morning and sunny days. Itâ€™s a great time for hiking and seeing all the early wildflowers popping up and sometimes even mushrooms. Weâ€™re incorporating hike opportunities for our guests.
Can you tell usÂ a bitÂ more about Carolan Springs and its inhabitants?
Itâ€™s a fairly small townâ€”around 3500 peopleâ€”and just like everywhere else, you have many characters. My shop is along the main street filled with little shops and everyone is usually nice though we have some cranky folks just like any other town. I think Sheriff Carson and Anne should just get on with it and become a couple because theyâ€™re both so stubborn that theyâ€™d be a perfect match. But donâ€™t tell them I said anything. Problem is theyâ€™ll probably end up with others. Oh well, what can you do? Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll find out more about the townâ€™s residents in future stories.
You mentioned the author, what can you tell us about her?
Well, she was born in Chicago but spent most of her life in Texasâ€”around the San Antonio area. But just like me, she loves Coloradoâ€™s mountains. She grows and uses herbs and making her own tinctures, tonics, and salves. She loves the basic edible herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, and others. A few of her favorite medicinal herbs are astragalus and osha for tinctures along with comfrey she uses in salves. In addition to writing mysteries, sheâ€™s also written nonfiction books. She loves everything about being a suburban homesteader or what some call backyard farming. Sheâ€™s a certifiedÂ permacultureÂ designer, has chickens and beehives and gardens of various types.
Hope, can you tell us whatâ€™s next for the series?
Weâ€™ve all been talking about getting beehives for the property, so we can offer honey to our guests. Having bees on the property will also help with all the gardens we want to install. I wouldnâ€™tÂ be surprisedÂ to see one of those being a part of the next book in the series.
Anything else youâ€™d like to share?
I canâ€™t think of anything. Though my mother (Faith) says she has a bad feeling about our opening weekend at the bed-and-breakfast. She has second-sight so thatâ€™s a bit disconcerting that she says she has a bad feeling. But Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s nothing. I hope.
Vikki’s first words were “I get it!” This attitude became her life-long mantra to always go after what she wants. It also helped her realize her desire to help others get what they really want out of life.
After spending years as a registered interior designer, Vikki began to write. While writing for periodicals, Vikki found herself on assignment interviewing publishers in Colorado Springs. It wasn’t long before the natural beauty of Colorado captured her heart.
After moving to Colorado, VikkiÂ worked with nonprofits. However, she soon realized she needed more autonomy in her work.
Vikki started her own business as a nonprofit consultant and grant writer. She has helped nonprofits across the U.S. to receive millions of dollars forÂ their work. Yet, she realized doing one thing wouldn’t satisfy her for long.
Vikki became a Work Quilterâ„¢ combining her many passions to create multiple income streams. She started speaking and teaching adults on myriad and diverse topics around her knowledge, skills and passions.Â Â She’s taught and spoken on Creative Writing, Design for Heart and Home, Fundraising Fundamentals , Suburban Homesteading, Permaculture, How to Get What You Really Want, and of course, Work Quilting. Two words that continually appear on instructor and speaker feedback forms are “engaging” and “knowledgeable.”
Born in Chicago, Vikki lived outside of Paris for a few years as a small child. That may account for her love of travel. She moved to Wichita with her parents before going on to live most of her life around the San Antonio, Texas area. She is the founder of #girlswantago and you can connect throughÂ FacebookÂ orÂ www.girlswantago.comÂ
Vikki’s favorite genre is mystery so it wasn’t long before she had begun her first cozy mystery series. Â Incorporating her love of suburban homesteading, or as some call it, backyard farming, Vikki’s first book is Chicken Culprit.
You’ll most often find Vikki out hiking with her dog, outside gardening, traveling abroad, house or pet sitting, or writing her next book.
Vikki, tell us where you were born
I was born in Chicago, IL but spent most of my life in San Antonio, Texas.
What is the most difficult thing about being an author?
Sitting down and writing. I love thinking up the story or planning out a book, but you have to sit down day and day and spill your created worlds onto the page. Iâ€™ve never had writers block but I have writers procrastination.
Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
I would have to say other authors. They drew me into their imagination and opened up worlds for me. The most important way to learn writing is to read, read, read.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?â€¨
I love cozy mysteries and Iâ€™m a suburban homesteader. That means, even though I live in a typical home with a front and back yard, my backyard is a conglomerate of various gardens and I have chickens and beehives. My front yard is based on permacultureâ€”Iâ€™m a certified permaculture designer and is pollinator-friendly. I also preserve food through canning, make herbal preparations and many other things that harken back to simpler times. Thus, I decided that my mysteries would center around giving a glimpse into each of these areas. The books are under my backyard farming series. You donâ€™t have to be involved in homesteading to enjoy the stories, but you may learn a thing or two you hadnâ€™t known before.
What is the name of your new book?
Tell us more about it.
Cordial Killing is a classic who-dun-it with a twist. The theme for this book is herbs and herbal preparations.
What genre does your book fall under?â€¨
Small town cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth.
What other books would you compare it to?
The China Bayles Herbal Mystery Series, series around bed and breakfasts, gardening series. For the backyard farming piece, the Brie Hooker Mysteries by Linda Lovely, Wendy Tysonâ€™s Greenhouse Mysteries and the Dewberry Farm Mystery series by Karen MacInerney. For the Colorado setting, Diana Mott Davidsonâ€™s books.
What kind of impact do you expect your works to have in the reader’s lives?
First I hope that the bookâ€™s help the reader to escape from everyday life just for a bit and to be entertained. I also want to share a little bit of insight on modern homesteading and how fun it is to feel a bit self-sufficient or to learn something that you may not have known.
Where can we find your book?
Marieâ€™s Elderberry Cordial Recipe
- Quart canning jar with lid
- Funnel (large mouth)
- Wooden spoon
- Label or masking tape
- Cheesecloth (optional)
- Strainer (optional)
- Decorative Bottle (optional)
|Elderberries||1.25 cup dried or 2 cups fresh||For fresh, remove from stems.|
|Brandy||3 cups||Can also use other alcohol but brandy is most commonly used.|
|Honey||Â¼ to Â½ cup (or to taste)||Vegans or those who donâ€™t have access to good local raw honey can substitute maple syrup. Acquiring local honey will provide your cordial with its own unique flavor.|
|Cinnamon stick||One||Flavor along with Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory properties|
|Rosehips||Â¼ cup||Extra Vitamin C|
|Ginger||1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger||Flavor along with Antioxidants|
- Place elderberries (and any optional ingredients, if using) into quart jar.
- Cover with brandy.
- Add honey.
- Stir with wooden spoon or put lid on and shake.
- Place in dark, cool space (usually a cabinet will do) for three to four weeks.
- If desired, strain with cheesecloth and using a strainer, put into a decorative bottle.
- Or you can leave ingredients in jar.
- In winter take 1-2 tbsp daily for immune-boosting. If ill, take 3-4 tbsp (basically a shot glass) a few times a day until symptoms improve. This cordial can also be used as a base for poor-tasting tinctures such as osha.
- Can last for a year with fresh berries and longer if made with dried berriesâ€”if you have it that long!
Elderberry is a wonderful plant to have in your yard or on your property. It has many medicinal benefits and uses. The elderberry plant most commonly associated with immune-boosting and flu-fighting properties is the dark berry plant (Elderberry Sambucus Nigra). Elder flower is also used in elixirs, teas and food. Â Elder was the International Herb Associationâ€™s Herb of the Year in 2013. Itâ€™s usually harvested in September.
This Content isÂ notÂ intended to be a substitute for professionalÂ medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek theÂ adviceÂ of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding aÂ medicalÂ condition.
Cordial Killing (A Backyard Farming Mystery Seriesâ€”Book Two) www.vikkiwalton.com
Tags: amateur sleuth, beehives, Brie Hooker Mysteries, Cordial Killing, cozy mystery, Dewberry Farm Mystery series, Karen MacInerney, Linda Lovely, permaculture designer, pollinator-friendly, suburban homesteader, Vikki Walton, Wendy Tysonâ€™s Greenhouse Mysteries