Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Chicken Culprit" by Vikki Walton

Chicken Culprit
(Backyard Farming Mystery Book 1)
by Vikki Walton

Chicken Culprit (Backyard Farming Mystery Book 1) by Vikki Walton

Chicken Culprit by Vikki Walton is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Get your copy now for only $0.99. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Finally healing after her heart-breaking divorce, Anne Freemont is ready to put the painful past behind her.
Discovering an old Victorian for sale in the small mountain town of Carolan Springs may be just what she needs. The beauty of Colorado beckons, so Anne heads west to start her new life.
Yet, before Anne’s completely settled in, her neighbor is found dead in his compost pile. What’s worse is that Anne’s quirky young neighbor, Kandi Jenkins, could be the killer. When Kandi begs for her help, Anne feels she has no choice but to help the young woman.
However, she finds herself quickly at odds with the local sheriff. And while she uncovers more of the community’s secrets, she’s also exploring her awakening feelings for Sam Powers, the town’s deputy coroner.
Once Anne starts looking at who could be the real killer, the suspect list keeps getting longer and longer. It seems that Carolan Springs is a place of many secrets. But who would want to murder Ralph and who’s willing to kill again to keep their secret?

Anne pointed at a woman wearing a baby snuggly in her Tula wrap.
“I’d only seen white and brown eggs at my grocery store. But earlier today I saw some blue ones, some pink, and even some green eggs. How do you get those kinds of eggs and do they taste different than a white egg?”
Anne moved to the side of the stage where a dozen eggs were in a clear container. “Each of these eggs is a different color. Some”—she held up one—“even have spots on them. This is determined by the type of hens you have. For instance, if you want a brown egg, then your best choices would be something like a Rhode Island Red, a Wyandotte, an Astralorp, or Orpington.
Ameraucana or Aracaunas, or what some refer to as Easter-eggers, lay blue or green eggs.’’
A small hand shot up.
“Yes? You in the back.” She motioned to the small boy.
“Um, uh, how do you know if the eggs are good for you? I mean, you know, like, okay to eat? I mean, when you go to the store, you can trust they’re okay.”
“Good question. Thanks for asking.” The boy beamed at the praise.
“First, let’s start with the timing. When you go outside and retrieve eggs on a daily basis, those eggs are fresh. Eggs in the store can have taken up to five weeks just to get on your refrigerator shelf.”
Some people in the crowd gasped, and Anne heard, “Is that true?”
“It’s true. Look it up.” She smiled at the crowd.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“If you're a fan of curling up with a quick, readable mystery, then you'll love Chicken Culprit. And if other books in this new Backyard Farming series are as entertaining as this debut novel, they will prove to be utterly enjoyable. Be ready to immerse yourself in small town living, complete with a few wayward and badly behaved chickens!” ~ Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily
“Reading this book really was a delight. I enjoyed this mystery wholeheartedly and I am really hoping there will be many more of these as a series. I loved the characters! The best part was the ending. The mystery was solved and then there was a sweet surprise at the end.” ~ Barbara Snyder
“Great character development and plot twists throughout. This book should encourage any reader to consider moving to a smaller town where people are real. I'm being careful to not fall into my compost pile after reading this book!... Looking forward to the next in the series.” ~ Bill
“Loved this cozy so much! Great mystery, small town living, with people you would love to have for neighbors. Beautifully written! Highly recommend to all cozy lovers!” ~ Karen Correll
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Chicken Culprit! It was a fun read. Anne was my favorite character as she started life over! It was funny and serious without knowing what would come next. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good story. There was only one thing I didn't ended!” ~ Judie C Harrell

Guest Post by the Author
Bountiful Farming in Your Backyard
While called various things, such as urban or suburban homesteading, backyard farming is growing in popularity. Backyard farming is a way to connect to your food source and to enjoy creating a mini-farm right where you live. Homesteading, in its original form, dealt with setting down stakes and creating a home and farm from scratch. While some may still do this, in many cases, the property (be it a condo or townhouse or a suburban plot) has the main infrastructure in place. Backyard farming is also a bit different from a patch of ground committed to some fruits or veggies in that there is a stronger emphasis on creating food structures throughout the entire property.
Growing plants that produce food can be as simple as some containers on a deck, raised beds along a fence, or the creation of food forest guilds on a typical suburban plot. Enjoying food that came from just outside your door is a wonderful experience.
Right after adding gardens, chickens are the number one area that people consider when adding to their backyard farm, and it’s for good reason.
Have you ever popped outside to grab some eggs for breakfast? Have you enjoyed sunny orange yolks so rich that they looked like you’ve added cheese to your dish? Do you have a desire to know how the hens laying those eggs are living?
If so, then you are a great candidate for raising chickens. Whether a small coop with bantams on a covered patio or a larger coop with run out in your suburban yard, chickens are considered the gateway to all things homesteading.
Eggs are often found in homes everywhere and are some of the main ingredients in many recipes. Not only can eggs be used in myriad ways, but the eggshells, which are full of calcium, can be crushed and placed on your houseplants and outdoor plants. The hens laying the eggs provide manure that can be added to compost that, once complete, can be added to garden beds. They also go after bugs and mice, keeping your yard pest-free.
Chickens are often kept for their eggs, while some people also keep meat birds. Chickens are an easy animal to care for and bring into your home environment. However, like any pet, they are a responsibility, so it’s best to do your research before taking on the challenge of chickens.
If you’re not up for chickens, you could consider becoming a bee guardian. Bees are an extremely important pollinator. If you don’t think you can handle all the ins and outs of being a beekeeper, you may be able to foster a hive in your yard. The beekeeper brings a hive, placing it in a designated spot, and all you really need to provide are some great flowering plants for nectar (that have not been sprayed with any chemical) and a water source. Then, when the beekeeper harvests the honey, you will receive some of the honey for allowing the hive in your yard. It’s a great way to have bees help with your garden pollination. Conversely, you could also take a class on beekeeping.
Finally, one of the best things to consider is learning about permaculture. Permaculture is a set of principles that focus on sustainable eco-systems, often around agriculture. Yet, they impact other areas of life as well.
Backyard farming has lots of potential for anyone who wants to engage more with nature and become a bit more self-sufficient. Check out your local homesteading groups or connect with others interested in backyard farming at Havensteader.

About the Author
Vikki Walton
Vikki Walton is a suburban homesteader aka the Havensteader. She has chickens, gardens, and bees and is a certified permaculture designer. She’s also the author of nonfiction books. She loves to travel, is a global house and pet sitter and, when not out in the garden or hiking in beautiful Colorado, is plotting her next mystery.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a prize package including a $25 Amazon gift card (US only).