Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ParaMysMo 2014 - Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - October 14, 2014

Please welcome Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries, who shares how she celebrates Halloween!

         Halloween is the witches’ New Year – a time of reflection and gratitude for the past growing season, and a time to get ready for the coming dark season of winter. It’s also when the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest, and a good opportunity to remember those who have crossed over. Otherwise called Samhain (pronounced Sow-un), it’s the sabbat that falls between the fall equinox and the winter solstice.

         In the Magical Bakery Mysteries, Katie Lightfoot and the Spellbook Club celebrate Halloween with a big party in the Honeybee Bakery. They create their own decorations, including the black Halloween tree hung with tiny orange and green lights, mice silhouettes running around the floorboard, and a cartoon graveyard painted on the front window. They dress up in elaborate costumes (zombie bride, anyone? How about a seventy-eight-year-old Carmen Miranda complete with giant fruit headdress?), serve punch from a cauldron (a real one, it turns out), and hand out savory treats like salted caramel apples.

         Me? Not so much.

         The only costume I wear is the black satin witch's hat in which I greet trick-or-treaters at the door. Since I write about witches who run a bakery in Savannah, Georgia, that hat is part of the decor of my office the rest of the year, tacked up on the wall near my desk as I write about magic.

         And pretty much the only decorating I do is jack-o-lanterns.

         Did you know the original jack-o-lanterns weren’t even carved from pumpkins? They were carved from turnips! However, in America pumpkins were more plentiful in the fall, and larger. As for the “lantern” part, they were indeed used to light the way when people were out on Halloween night. Some folks believed the light that flickered out from the carved holes in the lanterns could identify vampires. People also put them in windows and near their doors to frighten away evil spirits.

         And the name Jack? Well, Jack was a bit of a thief and lazy to boot, but he was clever enough to fool the devil into not taking him to hell when he died. Problem was, he was enough of a scoundrel that he couldn’t get into heaven either. So after he died, the devil gave him an undying ember from the netherworld which Jack put into a carved turnip to light his way. To this day he wanders the earth with nowhere else to go.

         Whether they're funny, dorky, frightening or freakish, I love to see how other people carve their pumpkins. Sometimes we’ll have a little carving party, and inevitably there are a few arguments between the purists who make and execute their own designs and those who download patterns from the Internet and trace them onto the pumpkin before cutting the flesh with little saws. I'm on the fence, sometimes using my own design, sometimes using a pattern that I think will look interesting all lit up in the dark. One year I used a drill to create patterns on several different kinds of pumpkins -- zig-zags, spirals, straight lines, etc.

         One of my favorite sites for free patterns online is the World Wildlife Fund (http://tinyurl.com/kzgqcr3). Their patterns are of animals, of course – howling wolves, spooky spiders, etc. Another good site for free patterns of all kinds is www.pumpkinpile.com.

We serve mulled cider, and the spicy apple scent mingles with the tang of raw pumpkin and wood smoke in the fall air. Along with the cider we make up a batch of Cauldron Punch, a recipe originally from Country Living. Here’s the recipe for a single serving:
  • 3 oz. Rooibos tea, brewed (two teaspoons or two teabags in 6-8 oz water) and chilled
  • 1 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • 1 T agave or sweetener of choice
  • Fresh berries – mixed
Combine brewed tea with run and sweetener. Muddle in fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Serve over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with blackberries.


The Magical Bakery Mysteries

Some Enchanted Éclair
A Magical Bakery Mystery 4
Signet, July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages


When Hollywood invades Savannah’s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches’ coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie’s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie’s “fixer” fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy.

But when someone fixes the fixer—permanently—and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects…before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor….

Charms and Chocolate Chips
A Magical Bakery Mystery 3
Signet, November 5, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages


Between brewing magically spiced treats at Honeybee Bakery and volunteering with a local conservation group, Katie Lightfoot barely has time to see her firefighter boyfriend, Declan McCarthy, much less delve further into her destiny as a witch. But avoiding her fate won’t be as easy as whipping up a new recipe—especially when Katie finds herself once again mixed up in murder.

When a fellow volunteer for the conservation group is found dead, Katie’s mystical senses tell her that there’s more to the death than meets the eye. Her suspicions are confirmed when members of her coven are targeted next. Katie will have to embrace her powers quickly...or she may find herself chewed up and spit out by some serious black magic.

Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti
A Magical Bakery Mystery 2
Signet, December 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages


As a new witch—not to mention owner of Savannah’s most enchanting bakery—Katie Lightfoot is still getting used to casting spells, brewing potions, and mastering her magical powers. But that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to enjoy a picnic with firefighter Declan McCarthy…until she stumbles upon a corpse.

The dead man’s tattoo reveals he was a member of a secret society—and it turns out he's missing an object that was very important to the group. When Katie learns the killer was after more than the man's life, she and her Aunt Lucy leave the baked goods on the rack to cool and set off in hot pursuit of a killer.

Brownies and Broomsticks
A Magical Bakery Mystery 1
Signet, May 1, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages


Katie Lightfoot’s tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah’s quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy’s cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren’t just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben’s name and find the real killer.

About Bailey

New York Times bestselling author Bailey Cates believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. She studied philosophy, English and history and has held a variety of positions ranging from driver's license examiner to soap maker. She traveled the world as a localization program manager for Microsoft, but now sticks close to home where she writes two mystery series, tends to a dozen garden beds, bakes up a storm and plays the occasional round of golf.

Having apprenticed with a master herbalist for a year, she's prone to concocting teas and tinctures for family and friends from the stash of herbs stored in the corner cabinet in her office. She owns a working spinning wheel and is on a first name basis with several alpacas and two sheep with questionable dispositions.

Website  ~  The Lightfoot Chronicles  ~  Twitter @WriterBailey  ~  Facebook

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of her/his choice of Brownies and Broomsticks, Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti, Charms and Chocolate Chips, or Some Enchanted Éclair by Bailey Cates.

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on October 29, 2014. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow, it looks like I have ONLY one choice I could make if I'm the lucky winner. I already own the first three in the series. So my choice if I win would be Some Enchanted Eclair.

    I'd also contact the author off list to see if she'd send me autographed bookplates for my collection.

    1. Ooops, I forgot to answer the question. The last time I dressed for Halloween I was a Gypsy Witch.

  2. I like the wicked witch costume. Love the books and their titles and their covers

  3. I like my dress from last year its kind of a time peice late 1800's! It is in a black and blue silver so I can make it into anything!

  4. I never celebrated Halloween, but I would love to have Mummy costume. Very easy to wear, lol!

  5. Years ago, I was a fairy

  6. No Halloween here, but I think I'd make a great witch.

  7. My favorite Halloween costume was a cowgirl outfit. The side of the boots featured a horsehead silhouette and the fringe along the back looked like the mane. I really loved horses -- and rhinestones!

  8. No Halloween on my country, but i love to see costume from TV.

  9. I was a sack of potatoes one year---that was fun!

  10. I was a vampire one year and had the white face make-up and blood near the corners of my mouth. I wear glasses so that kind of ruins the effect.

  11. Not sure what my favorite has been. It's kind of a five-way tie between Cinderella, a witch, a jack-o-lantern, a noblewoman, and a red crayon. They were all fun, so how can I really choose?

  12. I dressed up as mummy one year - it was great as I didn't need to worry about air or make up as it was all under the bandages! :-)