Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour Author Guest Post & Giveaway: Muffin But Murder (Merry Muffin Mystery #2) by Victoria Hamilton

Muffin maker Merry Wynter hopes to find a buyer for the castle she’s recently inherited. But when she throws a party to draw interest, she finds someone who’s bought the farm instead…

Merry’s career as a New York City stylist has crumbled, but her passion for muffins has helped her rise upstate in Autumn Vale. Everyone in town loves the tasty treats. Still, she would like to return to her glamorous life. Besides, the upkeep of Wynter Castle is expensive, and Merry’s cup isn’t exactly overflowing.

So in order to bring some prospective buyers into the mix, Merry whisks together a spooky soiree and decorates the castle with dashes of fabric and a sprinkling of spider webs. Friends new and old are invited, and everyone has a blast. But as the revelers empty out, Merry notices one partygoer who isn’t leaving—or breathing. Now Merry must hurry to unmask a killer before her perfect plans turn into a recipe for disaster.

Muffins: the Cupcake's Underappreciated Sister
by Victoria Hamilton

If muffins and cupcakes were characters in a book, they would be the Misses Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  For those who are not Janeites, a brief explanation is in order.  Elinor Dashwood is the 'Sense' of the title, while Marianne Dashwood, her younger sister, is the 'Sensibility', a word out of favor now but meant to describe someone who is all feeling and showy emotion.  

How does that apply to baked goods?  Cupcakes are the darling of the media nowadays.  Just look at the TV shows dedicated to them: Cupcake Wars, DC Cupcakes, The Cupcake Girls.  Cupcakes are showy, flamboyant, pretty and much adored.  Muffins... not so much.   Muffins come in sensible flavors like Bran and Banana, and the showiest they get is to be called Morning Glory Muffins, which is a fancy way of saying they have a lot of ingredients that are good for you.  Muffins are wholesome and homely.  

But delicious!  And simple to make, and bursting with flavor.  

I've never made cupcakes.  That many empty calories just isn't my thing.  But muffins... they have always been my go-to baked good.  

In Bran New Death, Book #1 of the Merry Muffin Mysteries, my protagonist, Merry Wynter, describing the difference between muffins and cupcakes, has a conversation with Jack McGill, the real estate agent who is trying to help her sell her castle.  

Merry says: "It's easy.  Most people think that if it's frosted or iced, then it's a cupcake, but that's not so.  Some muffins can be frosted too.  Instead, think of the difference between a banana cake and a loaf of banana bread." 

"Okay," he (Jack) said. "I got that." 

"Well, with the batter of a banan cake, you can make cupcakes, and with the batter for banana bread, you can make banana muffins.  You can do the same with any cake batter or quick bread batter." 

"Ah!" he said, his eyes lighting up.  "Cakes are to cupcakes as, uh, what did you call it?" 

"Quick bread," Shilo, (Merry's friend) who had not gone to feed Magic, (her bunny) filled in. 

"Right... cakes are to cupcakes as quick breads are to muffins!" 

And Merry is right on... of course, I wrote her that way!  She manages to carve out a baking niche for herself in Autumn Vale, New York, supplementing her dwindling finances by supplying muffins to the baked good craving population of the town.  

So... if you don't bake, or are intimidated by all those showy frosted cupcakes, give muffin baking a try!  I guarantee, you won't be disappointed.  Who needs icing when the muffin itself has so much flavor?  

And you can start when you get Muffin But Murder, Book #2 of the Merry Muffin Mysteries, because I give you a killer recipe for muffins Fit For The King... I'll leave you to discover what that means, but they are delicious!  


Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of Muffin But Murder by Victoria Hamilton to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!

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