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  • Writer's pictureAuthor Darci Hannah

Cookies, Holiday Books & a Ghost Story!

It's October. Normally I'd be blabbing on about my passion for pumpkin spiced lattes, fall baking, the beauty of autumn leaves, or how much I love to sit around a campfire on a chilly autumn night and tell ghost stories. I think I will tell you a ghost story, but right now I have Christmas cookies on the brain. That's because my new Beacon Bakeshop mystery just came out on October, 5th, Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off, and I'm so excited about this Christmas cozy mystery that I just had to share another Christmas cookie recipe with you. Not every delicious cookie recipe I have made it into the book. This one is a bonus cookie recipe and a family favorite. It's a cherry thumbprint cookie that is out-of-this-world delicious. I just know that you're going to want to make it too. Think of it as a little thank you for signing up for my blog and being such a wonderful supporter of my books!

If you'd like a copy of the recipe for this delicious Cherry Thumbprint cookie, click here!

Or visit my recipe page here!

As you might have heard...

Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off is now on sale!

Tucked away inside an old lighthouse in Beacon Harbor, Michigan, bakeshop café owner Lindsey Bakewell is ready to make her first Christmas in town shine bright. But her merry plans crumble fast when murder appears under the mistletoe...

"With nods to the Great British Bake-Off and a certain resident of the North Pole, MURDER AT THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKE-OFF is a fun holiday mystery that will leave you believing in the spirit of Christmas and the joy of eating holiday cookies!"

Remember, this book will not only get you into the Christmas spirit and make you crave Christmas cookies, but it makes a great gift as well. You can purchase this book on:

The great thing about October, other than the ghost stories and pumpkin spiced lattes I mentioned earlier, is that this seems to be the month when publishers release their much-awaited holiday books. I love Christmas cozy mysteries almost as much as I love Christmas cookies, and I've been furiously buying them up now so that when December rolls around I can kick back with my cup of hot cocoa, maybe a cookie or two, and go on my happy little Christmas mystery binge. I don't even get out of my pajamas if I don't have to. It's my time to curl up with a good book and enjoy the holidays.

So, before I tell you a ghost story, let me tell you about a few of my favorite Christmas cozy mysteries that you're going to want to read this season too!

Darci's Happy Little

Christmas Mystery Binge Recommendations

On Sale Now!


A Daisy Thorne Mystery

T’was the weeks before Christmas,

and Daisy nabs a new case,

when a missing man is found

stuffed above a fireplace...

Ooh La La hair salon owner Daisy Thorne adores the Christmas cheer in her picturesque hometown of Edgemead, England. Excitement is extra high this year, as international pop star, Mimi Levanté , the village’s newest resident, begins renovating historic Holly Lodge. But the charming country home’s makeover is cut short by a shocking discovery—the body of a man, dressed as Santa Claus, jammed inside the house’s chimney!

The secreted Santa is identified as Gregory Pearce, a local father who vanished on Christmas Eve two years ago. As the case moves from missing to murder, Daisy and dashing DCI Paul McGuinness begin combing through the clues of Christmases past. But the killer will go to great lengths to keep old crimes under wraps. Now, DCI McGuinness must protect Daisy as she tries to untangle the mystery before a merry murderer embarks on another slay ride.

Purchase this book on:

On Sale November, 9!


Christmas is coming to Cape Cod, but when Sam Barnes finds a very dead Santa in a very hip restaurant, it’s up to her to sift out suspects who have been naughty vs. nice…

Professional foodie Samantha Barnes has a simple Christmas list: a quiet holiday at home with her dog and a certain handsome harbormaster; no embarrassing viral videos; and no finding dead bodies. Unfortunately she’s got family visiting, she’s spending a lot of time in front of the camera, and she’s just stumbled over the lifeless body of the town’s Santa Claus.

Plus, Sam’s plans for Christmas Eve are getting complicated. There’s the great eggnog debate among her very opinionated guests. There’s the “all edible” Christmas tree to decorate. And there’s her Feast of the Five Fishes to prepare. Nonetheless, Sam finds herself once again in the role of sleuth. She needs to find out who slayed this Santa—but can she pull off a perfect feast and nab a killer?


A delightful sleuth, a complex mystery, and lovingly described cuisine: a winner for both foodies and mystery mavens” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Purchase this book on:

On Sale October, 26!

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

Astoria, Queens, is decorated within an inch of its life for the Christmas season, and Mia Carina is juggling her job at the Belle View catering hall with a case of murder . . .

Mia’s busy with a full schedule of events at the family business—among them an over-the-top Nativity-themed first birthday party and a Sweet Sixteen for a teen drama queen. But her personal life is even more challenging. Her estranged mother has returned—and her lifelong friend Jamie has discovered a shocking secret about his past. He’s so angry that he starts hanging out with Lorenzo, who claims to be his long-lost brother—even after it becomes clear that Lorenzo’s story is as fake as a plastic Christmas tree.

Then a body turns up among the elves in a Santa’s-workshop lawn display, and amateur sleuth Mia has a buffet of suspects to choose from. Amid the holiday celebrations, she intends to find out who’s the guilty party . . .

Italian recipes included!

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From the shores of Lake Michigan to the shores of Cape Cod, from Cozy Old England to quaint Astoria, New York, these four Christmas cozy mysteries will be certain to get you into the Christmas spirit!

And speaking of spirits, on to that ghost story I promised you...

Up until a few month's ago I worked at the historic Howell Carnegie Library in our small town of Howell, Michigan. Our town is a charming old town, and most of the original buildings do have ghost stories associated with them, most notably our historic opera house. However, I had never heard any rumors about the library being haunted until I had an encounter there myself.

The first encounter happened on a Friday evening during the summer. We had closed for the day, and after making sure there were no patrons left in the building, my coworker and I sat back at our seats behind the reference desk. It was still sunny outside, and we were chatting away about something when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see a tall shadow of a man walk out from behind the stacks toward the window we'd been staring at. Thinking somebody was still in the building, I immediately turned to the man, but he disappeared. At the same moment I turned, my coworker looked in that direction too, and asked, "Did you hear that?" She looked troubled.

"Did you see that?" I countered . She hadn't seen a thing, but clearly heard a sound that indicated somebody was still in the building. We immediately got up to investigate, only to find out that nobody was there. I thought this was the case, because what I had seen was the shadow of a man and not a real person.

I went straight home and called my younger brother, who, as one of his many hobbies, worked with a paranormal investigating team in Manhattan at the time. I told him about my encounter and he got really excited. "You saw a shadow man!" he exclaimed. "That's so cool." I really didn't think it was. Frankly, it was a little unsettling. He then went on to tell me that although I denied it, I was probably a sensitive like him. According to Ron, a sensitive is a person who attracts or is keyed into paranormal activity. I'm really not, but I was beginning to wonder.

Puzzled by the encounter, I asked around about any other strange occurrences that happened in the library. One of my coworkers, who worked as the evening janitor, told me all about the ghost that I believed I had seen. Apparently, she heard this particular entity nearly every evening. It made such a racket in the adult non-fiction section (where I had seen my shadow man) that she had to change her cleaning schedule because it freaked her out at night. She would only clean that area when we were all still in the building. Then she'd head downstairs to the children's department before leaving out the back door. She admitted that sometimes it sounded like books were falling off the shelves and crashing onto the floor. She'd hear footsteps too. Whenever she would go to investigate, she found things exactly as she had left them, which she found even spookier. It got so annoying that she'd listen to a book on tape when she was working so she didn't have to hear the strange sounds coming from upstairs.

My next encounter with this entity happened in the fall. Again, it was at night and we had just closed the building to the public. I was aware that there was a man still hanging out who had walked to the front of the building. I worked a bit longer until I looked up to see this person head down the stairs into the children's department. I got up and followed him. I was about to remind him that we were closed and that he'd have to come back another day. I marched down the stairs and watched him turn in the direction of the archives. I clearly remember that he was wearing blue jeans and a red-and-white stripped shirt that looked a little reminiscent of the 70's, but not unusual. Once I hit the bottom of the stairs, the man I'd been following vanished near the door to the archives. The door to the archives is always locked. I knew that the man couldn't have gotten through the door, but he clearly wasn't anywhere in the lower level of the building. Puzzled, I headed back upstairs, where I saw the man I thought I'd been following into the children's section. He was standing in a hallway near the front with his wife, chatting with one of my coworkers. Most notably, he wasn't wearing a striped shirt. It dawned on me then that I had followed a ghost down the stairs.

I didn't have any major encounters with this entity for quite a few years. However, when the library made the decision to install some security cameras in the building, I got, well, excited. I piped up in our meeting and asked, "If these cameras go off at night, would you let me know?" Nobody understood why I asked this. They all thought I wanted to see the footage if we ever had a break-in. I immediately assured them that was not what I was asking. Once they understood that my curiosity was more in the line of paranormal happenings in the building, they laughed, winked, and assured me that I'd be the first one notified if the security cameras ever went off in the middle of the night.

Well, the security cameras had been installed and I had gone on vacation. When I came back one of my coworker came to my desk in the computer lab and asked if the head of IT had talked to me yet. I shook my head and gave her a puzzled look. She then told me that the camera in the very room I was sitting in was was being set off at night. They couldn't make sense of what they were seeing, but something weird was clearly happening in the computer lab.

I immediately ran downstairs to the IT department to talk with Ray, our head IT guy. Once there I was told that the oddest thing was happening, and it appeared to be happening every night in the computer lab, almost like clockwork. Around midnight the motion censored security camera was being set off by orbs of light whizzing through the room. He told me they thought it was bugs, but when I was shown a series of videos captured by the camera in question, I quickly debunked this theory. This particular room is on the upper level of the building, and is an interior room. Also, there aren't any lights on at night, and there is no way that light from outside can get into this room. Besides the fact that I've never seen bugs in the building, I didn't believe that bugs would illuminate or act like the balls of light I was witnessing. Once I saw these videos I got very excited.

"Those are orbs!" I told Ray, watching a ball of light fly into the room, drop at a right angle then fly into a computer screen where it vanished. Sometimes there were two balls of light, other times it was just one that had set off the camera. They were coming from outside the room, inside the room, and I had even seen one pop out of the ceiling, elongate, then drop and disappear. It was completely bazar. I had never seen anything quite like it, but I did know a little bit about what they were, thanks to my brother, Ron. According to him, orbs such as the ones we were witnessing, are believed go be spirits of the dead. They often show up in areas of high magnetic or electric energy activity, which would explain seeing them in the computer lab. I didn't know if this flying orb of light was the spirit of the ghost I'd been seeing, but I did find it interesting that this was happening every night. Also, this secluded computer lab is located in the adult non-fiction section.

That first orb video was taken a few years ago. The cameras are still being set off every night in the library by these orbs of light, and nobody really knows what they are. It's another great paranormal mystery to me, and one I was happy to be a part of. Personally, I do believe that there is an entity (or entities) in my library, but from all of my personal encounters there, whatever is coming to visit poses no threat to humans. In fact, although a bit noisy at night, I believe our resident ghost is shy, curious, and like all booklovers, might even feel a kinship with books so strongly that he wants to spend an eternity around them... or at the very least visit them from time to time. And who could blame him for that? Certainly not this author.

Well, that's my library ghost story. Do you have any ghost stories or strange encounters you'd like to share?

Thank you for visiting my blog. As always, happy reading & happy baking!


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