Tag Archives: cozy mystery

Interview with Vicki Batman

Welcome to the blog, Vicki.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I do have other creative outlets. I like to stitch needlepoint and embroidery. Usually, when Handsome and I watch TV in the evenings, I pull out my project and get to work. Kinda “doing two things at once” idea.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I say characters, but it is what they say—the dialogue–I start with first. I write lots of it; then, I have to go back and add the details.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I am what my friend calls a “plotster,” meaning plot(ter) + pant(ster) = plotster. I know the plotting elements I have to hit-beginning, middle, black moment, end. I sit down and write in a linear fashion. Yes, I toss some stuff, but most goes in.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I listen to classical guitar, classical music, Simply Frank, and the ’70s.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

I also write romantic comedy short stories and have had a lot published. Others are in collections I have published.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I am a pet person. All my life, I’ve had cats until our sister cats passed a while back. For the last ten years, Handsome and I are mom and dad to Champ and Jones, the Adora-poos.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I want readers to have a good laugh, sigh with the ending, and enjoy the ride.

BLURB

Great job. What man? And murder. Newly employed at Wedding Wonderland, Hattie Cooks is learning the industry from a woman she greatly admires. When her former brother-in-law is found dead in his luxury SUV, all fingers point to Hattie’s sister, who is planning her own I Dos.

Detective Allan Wellborn is caught between a rock and a hard place—Hattie’s family and investigating the murder of a well-connected Sommerville resident, the same loser who was once married to Hattie’s sister. Determining who’s the bad guy—or gal—isn’t going to be easy and sure to piss off someone.

Can Hattie beat the clock to find out who murdered Tracey’s ex before she is charged with the crime and her wedding is ruined?

BUY LINKS

Amazon E-book

Amazon Print

Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook

Barnes and Noble Paperback

The Book Depository Paperback

BAM! Books-A-Million Paperback

Google Play eBook

Kobo eBook

EXCERPT

Stuart bounded to my side. “Hattie. Allan. You’re naturals.”

I rolled my eyes. Great. I passed the tango test.

Allan chuckled.

I stayed in position for what seemed like hours but most likely were five loonnng minutes. My lower back spasmed, which caused me to grimace. Allan pulled ever-so-gently and restored me to my feet. I removed my hands from his. Moisture coated my palms and sweat dripped down my back along my spine. I was a wreck.

“Thank you so much, couple.” A beaming Ms. Yolanda rotated. “I’m impressed by your length and beauty.”

Length and beauty—my ass.

REVIEW COMMENT

Review: I loved it! It was a very entertaining and a fast read that kept me engaged throughout. The pacing was perfect. My only complaint is now I’m craving M&Ms and enchiladas. And donuts. And wedding cake.

Funny, sweet, and quirky, Vicki Batman’s stories are full of her hallmark humor, romance, and will delight all readers. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.

WEB CONTACTS

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Bookbub

 

Guest Promotion–Mrs. Spinney’s Secret by M.S. Spencer

BLURB: Amity Landing is being invaded by Hollywood and Cassidy Beauvoir, chairman of the board of overseers, doesn’t like it. That is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. Their budding romance is interrupted by a series of deadly incidents, sending them on a quest for long-lost English gold. Who will be the next victim? Can they find the treasure before the murderer does?

BUY LINKS

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/3JXWEA

https://books2read.com/MrsSpinneysSecret

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Spinneys-Secret-M-Spencer-ebook/dp/B08P886V99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mrs-spinneys-secret-m-s-spencer/1138392573?ean=9781509234486

ITunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/mrs-spinneys-secret/id1543575824

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mrs-Spinney-s-Secret-Paperback/474281367

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mrs-spinney-s-secret

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/M_S_Spencer_Mrs_Spinney_s_Secret?id=kTsTEAAAQBAJ

EXCERPT

Nemo’s

“Speaking of, I think I deserve a raise for hazardous duty. Guess how I spent yesterday?”

“Has to be with the Red Hat ladies. Bunch of old coots in purple dresses who rampage through town harassing the inhabitants like a modern-day James gang. The one in charge accosted me the other day. Ripped me up and down for crossing against the light.” He shivered. “She’s terrifying.”

“That would be Edna Mae Quimby.” Cassidy suppressed a smile.

Sally turned to her. “Quimby, you say? It must be her husband I had to deal with then. The sheriff.”

Cassidy started. “Sheriff Quimby? What did he want with you?”

“He was asking about Rick Ahearn—the subcontractor who found the Spinney house for me. Evidently he’s dead.”

Cassidy thought of the news article Nellie had brought in. “That’s right. They found him a mile from Amity Landing. He was dressed in a sailor suit.”

“Yeah—pretty queer, huh? I didn’t have to ID him, thank God. Wouldn’t have been able to anyway—we only spoke on the phone. The hotel found my card in his room and gave it to Quimby. He wanted to know what my connection was to him. I told him I’d hired him to find sites for the filming, but that I hadn’t heard from him in days.” She blew her cheeks out. “Bit of a jolt to hear what happened to him.”

Jasper drained his beer. “Sailor suit, huh. So they think he fell off a boat and drowned?”

“That’s what they thought at first, but no.”

“No?”

“No. Sheriff told me he was found on this floating barge out in the water.” Sally jumped off her stool and plopped some bills on the bar. “Gotta go. You coming, Jasper?”

“Might stay for dinner.” He regarded Cassidy tentatively. “Fancy a bite to eat?”

She nodded, afraid to speak, afraid he’d see her pleasure at his invitation. She followed him out, but at the top of the stairs remembered her purse. She ran back. Pauline was standing behind the bar, a singular expression on her face. It might have been panic, but the fear was mixed with a hefty dose of sheer bafflement.

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She has published fourteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

WEB CONTACTS

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msspencermysteries

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

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Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

Author Interview with Wendy Kendall

Welcome, Wendy. I can’t wait to get started.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I start with the characters. My stories come from the characters, their personalities, lives, backgrounds, dreams, flaws, strengths, and what they want. Each character is the hero of their own story. I love to develop the characters, and then see how they grow. Then the plot. It’s the characters who always drive the plot and shape the story. Sometimes I expect a character to act a certain way, but then I learn from them how they must proceed, and that’s how I must write the scene.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I’m a hybrid author, and I love it. All of it is so creative. First come the characters. Then an outline of the plot. Followed by a timeline that visually shows me what is happening and what characters are involved, scene by scene. Then I write the scenes. As I write, things change, and I go with those changes happily because it’s all so creative. I belong to a wonderful critique group who give me helpful feedback as I go through the process. After the first draft comes the editing. Lots of editing. And then the beta readers tell me what they think, followed by more editing. It’s all exciting for me.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I love listening to music, especially when I’m writing. When I’m working on a story I prefer instrumentals, lyrics sung while I’m writing are a big distraction. My favorite music is Kevin Eubanks cd’s. I also enjoy all kinds of jazz music. It’s such a creative style, it really creates an atmosphere that inspire my imagination. When one of my sons was in high school he played in a jazz band. He taught me so much about the music, that’s when my appreciation for it really grew.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Sort of. Katherine Watson, purse designer and amateur sleuth opens her own purse museum that shows women’s history through the decades with purse exhibits. My research for my cozy mystery included a trip to the Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s owned by a sensational woman named Anita Davis who started it with her own collection and it’s grown incredibly since then. This is one of four purse museums in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, learned so much from the exhibits, and also from the very nice and helpful staff. If you want to learn more about my visit, please visit my blog – A Passion For Purses

In what genre do you read?

I love a story! I’ve been an avid reader all my life. My favorites have always been mysteries, all kinds of mysteries. My favorite cozy mystery author, is Laura Childs. No reason to stop at one genre though. When it comes to reading I can’t get too much of that good thing. I haven’t found a genre I don’t like from classics to contemporaries. I’m a big reader of Shakespeare too – now that’s amazing plotting and characters. I love sharing my reading recommendations too. If you’re looking for your next read, you might want to take a look at my column Recommended Reads. I also recommend books for kids in my column Kids Are Bookin’ It.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I am a pet person. Over the years my family have enjoyed a bit of an assortment. Parakeets, lizzards including geckos, cats, and dogs. Pets are such a sweet joy in life. In Kat Out of the Bag Katherine Watson has adopted a stray cat. Katherine names her Purrada and what a pampered pet she beomes. Jason Holmes is a cop in my mystery, his K-9 partner is Hobbs. I researched police dogs for my book. What amazing, smart animals. I have such great respect for all service animals. When police dogs are off duty, they’re wonderful pets. My research included a ride along with a K-9 patrol. What an experience! I’ve included so much from this adventure in my novel. If you’d like to know more about the ride along, you can hear about it on my YouTube podcast Kendall and Cooper Talk Mysteries.

BLURB

Celebrated international purse designer Katherine Watson hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: Murder at the Gala Premiere. Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble,   Google Play,   Kobo

EXCERPT

Someone had their arm around her, and she couldn’t scream because they were tightly holding a big white handkerchief over and in her mouth. It was also over her nose and she could feel that it was wet and sweet all at the same time, like a chemical. She struggled, kicking back with her feet and trying to get her arms free, but those were tightly held down. Katherine was in a panic and all her muscles seemed to seize up as she fought. Her last conscious thought was of a huge, black, furry growling beast jumping up at her shoulder height, knocking the person holding her away, as she fell hard on the ground.

A review

“Inside every handbag are artifacts – pieces of personality, glimpses of the past and often the deepest secrets. Vintage purses have a story to tell and for Kendall’s mystery, these stories unveil more than just purse-sonal history; they’re the clues to catch a killer.” – ESSE PURSE MUSEUM, Little Rock, Arkansas

Wendy Kendall has a passion for purses and stories of the women through history who carried them. Her cozy mystery Kat Out of the Bag is the first book of the In Purse-Suit Mystery Series, introducing Katherine Watson an international purse designer/sleuth. Wendy is a blogger, editor, speaker, project manager, and syndicated columnist. Catch exciting author interviews on her YouTube Podcast—A Novel Talk, and the debut of her podcast – Wendy Kendall In Purse-Suit of Fashion. She loves her two sons, Alex and Brad and her Purrada cat.

WEB CONTACTS

wendywritesbooks.com

Facebook – Wendy Kendall, Mystery Author

Twitter – @wendywrites1

Instagram – wendyekendall

Goodreads

Guest Release Promotion: Flotsam and Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair by M.S. Spencer

Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog, Linda. I’d like to talk about my new cozy mystery romance, Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair.

 

BLURB

Who’s littering the park with corpses?

State Park Rangers Simon Ribault and Ellie Ironstone are used to dealing with messy campers and ravaging raccoons, but when three bodies wash up on the beach, they mobilize all their powers of deduction. Who are they and how did they get to the shore of Amelia Island? Are they connected to the secretive League of the Green Cross? Or linked to a mysterious Jamaican drug ring?

Ellie, new to Amelia Island, must penetrate a close-knit community if she wants to find answers to the mystery, all while deciding between two rivals for her affection: Thad, the handsome local idol, and Simon, the clever, quirky bookworm.

Simon, for his part, will have to call on his not-so-well-honed romantic prowess to lure Ellie away from Thad and at the same time use his wide-ranging research skills to solve the case.

Simon has been mooning over Ellie for six months, with little to show for it. It takes three corpses—plus a bit of goosing from his best friend Georgia—to  bring them together.

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press ebook

The Wild Rose press print

Apple Books

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO Books

Indigo

EXCERPT

As they crossed the street, a fire-engine red Miata barely missed them. It skidded to a stop, and a woman who would put Christie Brinkley to shame leapt out of the car. Simon, accustomed to the sight of her waist-length black hair and eyes a remarkable malachite green, didn’t notice Ellie’s slack jaw. He called, “Hey, Georgia, how’s Santa’s garage? You didn’t unwrap any presents, did you?”

She ran over to them, her short skirt making the long, Tina Turner legs seem even longer. She kissed Simon’s cheek and smiled at Ellie. “You must be Simon’s new partner. Does he treat you as badly as he treats his other colleagues?”

Ellie made a garbled sound in her throat.

She turned to Simon. “Dollink, I’m only down for a few days, and I need to talk to you. Can you come to dinner tonight?”

Simon started to make a joke about checking his social calendar but caught sight of Ellie’s face. She looked pained. What the—?

“Well?” Georgia tugged at his arm.

“Oh, um, sure. What do you want me to bring?”

“Some of that fabulous Italian bubbly you brought the last time. It gave me such a buzz.” She winked at

Ellie, who blinked. “Seven?”

“Okay.”

Georgia turned on her heel and ran back to her car, starting up just as the two drivers behind her had stopped admiring her attributes and begun to fret. She roared off.

“Who…who was that?”

Simon turned surprised eyes on her. “I’m sorry. I should have introduced you. Georgia Petrie.”

“Oh. Your friend from law school.”

“Uh huh.” He gazed at the cloud of dust, the only sign of her passing. “We grew up together.” Ellie muttered something.

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing.”

“Did you ask if Georgia had seen me naked?”

“Me? That’s absurd.” Ellie plopped into the driver’s seat and waved angrily at Simon. “Get in.”

Simon did as he was told. On the drive back to the station, they were both quiet. Simon rubbed a meditative finger over his lips, wondering. What set Ellie off anyway? A thought intruded. No, couldn’t be.

He checked her profile. Nah. But his mouth formed a hopeful smile, and he leaned back, humming his favorite tune.

 

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, non-profit director, and parent. She has published twelve mystery/romantic suspense novels, and currently, she divides her time between Florida and Maine.

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Guest Release Promotion of The Mason’s Mark by M.S. Spencer

Thank you so much for having me at Musings about the Writing Life, Linda. Several of my romantic suspense/murder mystery books are set in Alexandria, Virginia, a colonial town on the Potomac River across from Washington, DC, where I lived for many years. The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, is one of those novels.

GeorgeWashingtonMuseum in Masonic Memorial

Most of The Mason’s Mark, is set at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. The 330-foot-tall building has three sections—the ground level, the main floor, and the tower. The tower holds six progressively smaller rooms. The top level opens to an observation deck, from which visitors can see all of Alexandria and Washington, DC—or, if you’re my heroine, find a dead body.

The fourth floor contains a museum dedicated to George Washington. Washington served as the Charter (first) Master of the Alexandria lodge, and many of his letters and memorabilia are housed here, including the Washington family Bible. Since our heroine and hero meet in the museum, it follows that the Mason’s Mark would involve long-lost papers, distant family scandals, and academic intrigue concerning our first President. Delicious mystery and even more delicious romance ensue.

TheMasonsMarkLoveandDeathintheTower_1027

BLURB

In the worst first day at work ever, newly minted docent Claire Wilding’s carefully memorized spiel is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body. As she deals with a smitten police detective, a hunky Senator, shadowy black ops agents, and two eccentric mothers, she learns more than she ever expected to about jewels and pennies, renegade Italian Masons, and our first President’s family secrets. Along the way she discovers that first love is not always the right love.

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

iTunes

KOBO

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Bookstrand

EXCERPT

When they reached Prince Street, Gideon found a parking spot directly in front of her house, no small feat. Just one more way he’s special, thought Claire glumly. He walked her to her door. She unlocked it and turned to thank him, but he was already on his way to his car.

Ichabod greeted her with a snarl.

“I know. I forgot to feed you. Come on, Icky.” She found a can of cat food and emptied it into his bowl. Then she poured herself a large glass of water and took it to the living room to conduct an analysis of the soiree.

So at any point did I come across as even semi-coherent? She tried to hack through the warm, fuzzy blanket of the evening. Gideon had been the perfect gentleman, ordering foie gras and champagne, pointing out the constellations with obvious expertise, helping her in and out of the car. It all seemed so…unreal. Like he was acting a part. Too perfect. And he’d sucked her in like soda through a straw. She slapped her forehead, forgetting that she still held the glass. Water sluiced across her face and ran down her front. She mopped it up with some tissues and vowed to hit the antique stores that weekend. I’ve got to get a coffee table. Preferably one with cup holders.

The doorbell rang. With the disintegrating tissue pressed to her face, she stood on tiptoe to check the peephole and looked straight into an unblinking sea-green ocean. Gideon. After a minute she remembered to open the door.

He stared at her with concern. “Are you all right?”

Claire pulled the tissue away and noticed black streaks on it. Her mascara must have run. Oh no, I bet he thinks I’ve been crying. She rubbed her eyes, hoping that wasn’t making it worse. “Fine. I spilled a glass of water, that’s all.”

“Oh.” He stood, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “Um, could I come in for a minute?”

She pointed at the living room and backed away, then turned and leapt up the steps. A quick look in the mirror confirmed her suspicions. I look like something Ichabod’s been playing with. She fixed her face, wrung out her blouse, and returned with renewed aplomb.

Gideon filled the small space. Claire sidled around him and sat on a packing crate. He looked around the room. “So…er, have you just moved in?”

“Yes.” It struck her that he was more uncomfortable than she and drew strength from that. “About a week ago. Sorry about the mess. Won’t you have a seat?”

He dropped down on the loveseat but immediately sprang back up. He patted his rear, flummoxed. “Why am I wet?”

Claire put a hand to her mouth to suppress the giggle. “Ooh, I’m sorry. I forgot. That’s where I spilled the water. Here, let me.”

She retrieved a towel from the kitchen and began to dab at the dark blotch on his khakis. He stood it for a minute, then put a hand under her chin and lifted her up. “You’d better stop doing that. This is hard enough for me.” He blinked. “Do you…do you know how beautiful you are?”

The question threw her. How to respond? Yes? No? Tell me more? She decided to let him talk.

“Your eyes are the color of the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea on a cloudless day. I could sink into them and drown.” He touched her brow. “And these little cinnabar ringlets framing that soft, creamy face…” He wrapped one around his finger. “Wind one up tight and it could strangle me.” He took her hand. “Your fingers—so slim and delicate, like little stilettos. Sharp enough to gouge an eye out.”

Claire stepped away from him, bewildered. “You make me sound like a vicious animal. Why?”

His hands dropped to his sides. “Because I sense how dangerous you are.”

“Dangerous?”

“To me. Claire…I—” He gazed at her helplessly.

Someone had better take charge.

M. S. Spencer Author (2)

Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Blessed with two fabulous grown children and an adorable grandchild, she has published ten romantic suspense/mystery novels. She now divides her time between the Florida Gulf coast and a tiny hamlet in Maine.

WEB CONTACTS

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Romance Books 4 Us

 

Character Interview of Alex O’Hara from Diane Burton’s mystery series

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

I’m Alex (Alexandra) O’Hara from Diane Burton’s mystery series. An only child (but never spoiled), I grew up in Far Haven, Michigan, a small resort town on Lake Michigan. I love it here and don’t ever want to leave.

What’s your favorite participation sport?

Swimming. Growing up on the lake meant a lot of beach time. I used to sail, but now I have no time.

Did you always want to be a private investigator?

Absolutely. My father and Nick Palzetti’s father owned an investigation agency. I started working there in high school. I loved it when they’d let me tag along on a case. Of course, my mom had a fit the first time. Too dangerous. Hah. That was the exciting part.

What do you like most about being a PI?

Helping people get answers. Sometimes, like with a philandering spouse, they don’t want to know something they already sense. Finding a lost sibling or confirming the history of a potential spouse makes me feel good.

Talk about your favorite setting for a date.

The beach. Maybe a picnic, if it’s warm enough. Or just a long walk. I’m not crazy about going to fancy restaurants, although I clean up good. 😊 Or so I’m told. I’m just a small-town girl with small-town tastes.

What attracts you first to a man?

His attitude. Forget guys who think they’re God’s gift to women. I want to see confidence and intelligence. His body comes next. Since I’m 5’ 10”, he has to be tall, with long legs, and a great butt. Shallow, I know.

Are you talking about a particular man?

Oh, yeah. Nick Palzetti. We grew up together then he broke my heart in high school. We were reunited in The Case of the Bygone Brother when he returned to town. He comes and goes through the next two books in the series, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé, and The Case of the Meddling Mama. I’m not real happy about his absences. He thinks I get into too many dangerous situations. Our jobs are a constant source of frustration and arguments between us.

Alex O’Hara - Bygone Brother Cover - 1025

BLURB

Small Town . . . Big Case.

Alex O’Hara finally gets a case that will give her bottom line a much-needed boost. She might even be able to change her diet from ramen noodles to prime rib. All she has to do is track down a man who’s been missing for over ten years. Piece of cake . . . until an old flame arrives and a mugger roughs her up with orders to back off.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

Smashwords

EXCERPT

“Hello, gorgeous.”

I whacked my head on the display shelf.

Well, what would you do if you were lying across the top of a four-drawer lateral file cabinet, and your arm—yardstick attached—was wedged between the wall and the cabinet, trying to retrieve the license renewal application that if you mangled, crushed or couldn’t get would mean the end of your business, and the ex-love-of-your-life stood in the doorway looking at your butt?

The shelf shook on its braces from contact with my head. Never mind that the encounter didn’t do much for the aforementioned body part. The Far Haven Chamber of Commerce awards rattled, and signed Detroit Tigers baseballs pelted my head, shoulders, and the back of my thigh. I dropped the yardstick and swore.

“I thought you promised your mother you wouldn’t swear anymore.” He would remind me of that vow.

“Relapse,” I muttered as I looked over my shoulder.

In that loose-limbed, cocky manner I once thought scary, sexy, and so cool, Nick Palzetti stood in the doorway to the spare office. He even dressed the same in a black leather jacket, black knit shirt, and jeans that molded his hips. Lordy, he could still make my mouth go dry.

As I wiggled back and sideways across the long cabinet, I felt my skirt ride up. Of all days to wear a skirt. With my foot, I searched for the desk chair I’d climbed to get on top of the cabinet. I’d kicked off my high heels before standing on the chair, probably the only smart thing I’d done so far.

“Red panties, you naughty girl.”

Diane Burton

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is regular contributor to The Roses of Prose and Paranormal Romantics blogsites. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three (soon to be five) grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

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Guest Release Promotion–The Baron’s Cufflinks by P.J. MacLayne

The Baron’s Cufflinks is the third book in the Oak Grove Mysteries, and Harmony Duprie is up to her usual antics. I fell in love with Harmony when I wrote the first book in the Oak Grove Mysteries series, The Marquesa’s Necklace, so I enjoy writing her stories. As I often tell people, I’d like to spend an afternoon sitting on the bottom step leading to her apartment, sipping ice tea, and chatting about everything and anything. You could say that this book is the product of one of those chats.

baron_cufflinks_jpg

BLURB

What starts as Girl’s Night Out ends in murder, and Harmony Duprie is a suspect.

She’s innocent, but with no alibi, the sheriff’s department won’t remove her from the list of suspects. It doesn’t help when a waitress from the bar gets beaten up and the only clue is a slip of paper with Harmony’s name on it. Throw in a rookie deputy set on building his reputation and Harmony must tread carefully.

But caution isn’t Harmony’s middle name and she plunges head first into danger to defend her honor.

What she finds is a web of half-truths and suspicions implicating several law enforcement agencies, with Jake, her ex-lover, stuck in the middle of it all.

BUY LINKS

KOBO Books

Books2Read universal

Amazon

ibooks

Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT

It didn’t take long for a warm body to slide into the barstool next to me. The middle-aged man with a bad comb-over hairdo and bulging stomach wasn’t my type at all. But Tiffini would talk to him.

“How’s it going, Sugar?” he said. “Buy you a drink?” He’d already had several drinks based on the smell of liquor on his breath.

I smiled and waved my beer bottle in front of his face. “Thanks! How about the next round?”

He waved to get the bartender’s attention and pointed to me. “Another of those for the lady.”

I wouldn’t be drinking it, but I didn’t stop him.

“What’s your name, Sugar?” he asked.

God help me, I giggled. “Sugar will do fine for now. What’s your name?”

“Dave.” He took a swig of whatever poison he was drinking. “I haven’t seen you around here before.”

He looked like a Dave. His wife—yes, he was wearing a wedding ring—probably called him David when she was mad at him. “I’m new in town,” I said. And giggled again. “Thought I’d get out and make some friends.”

Dave grinned widely. At least he had a full set of teeth. “Why don’t you come over and join me and my buds?”

I glanced over towards the table he indicated. The three men looked like clones of Dave. None of them appeared to be dangerous. It would likely be a waste of my time, but I picked up my beer and slid off the barstool. “Sure.”

He grabbed my second beer and his own drink and we made our way across the room.  One of them grabbed an empty chair from a nearby table. “Sugar, meet the guys. That’s Bill, Harry, and Lamar.”

They could have been Mo, Larry, and Curly for all I cared, but I grinned as I settled into one of the empty chairs. “Nice to meet you.”

“Sugar’s new around here,” Dave announced. “So, I volunteered us to make her feel welcome.”

I fluttered my fake eyelashes and giggled. “Sure is nice of y’all to let me join you.”

I did my best impression of Tiffini flirting with all four of the men and discovered, to my surprise, they were actually fun to talk to. I think they were surprised at my knowledge of Steeler’s football, and that made Tiffini more of a friend than a target. The chair they’d given me had a view of the front door, and as was my habit, I’d been keeping an eye on it. It had opened and closed many times, but this time was different.

pjmaclayne

Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests.

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Guest Release Promotion–Bad Lies by Rolynn Anderson

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00002]

Italy’s haunted caves spell danger for an American golfer and a NATO geologist

Sophie Maxwell is a late-blooming, unorthodox golfer, and mother of a precocious thirteen year-old. Determined to put divorce, bankruptcy, and a penchant for gambling in her past, Sophie goes to Italy for a qualifying golf tournament.

Jack Walker turned his back on a pro golfing career to become a geologist. As a favor to his ailing father he’ll caddy for Sophie; off hours, he’ll find caves on the Mediterranean coast, suitable for NATO listening posts for terrorist activity.

Someone is determined to stop Jack’s underground hunt and ruin Sophie’s chances to win her tournament.

On a Rome golf course and in the Amalfi coast’s haunted caves, all the odds are stacked against Sophie and Jack.  In their gamble of a lifetime, who wins?

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EXCERPT

A wave of sadness about the chasm separating Jack from his father hit him hard. He covered his discomfort by picking up his water glass.

Sophie lost her smile. “You didn’t know your dad was coaching me, did you?”

“I told you, we don’t talk about golf.”

“Yet now you have to because you’re my caddy.”

He gave her a shrug. “He’s never asked me to do something for him, not since I quit golf. My mother’s been trying to get him to offer an olive branch for fifteen years. Seemed cruel not to accept one when he’s sick.”

“I get all that,” she said. Her expression morphed to calculating. “You wondered how I could afford your father, didn’t you? He told you I’m not paying for coaching lessons and—”

Raising his hand to stop her, he said, “Not my business.”

“I knew it. I could tell you were mad about something.”

Irritated she presumed to read his thoughts, he said, “I repeat—”

“You can’t figure out why he’d work free for a nut like me, but you won’t ask him. And you’re mad at me because you think I’m taking advantage of your dad.”

The sun and Sophie had him pinned down. He’d rather explore a dank cave.

“You won’t ask him and you won’t ask me. Do I see a pattern?”

Jack widened his eyes at her comment. When he saw her teasing smile, he exhaled. “Every time I talk to him on the phone, his motives get muddier. This isn’t about his heart problems or the operation. He’s using something about you or getting back to golf, or both, as catalysts for repairing my relationship with him.”

Sophie gulped. “Yikes.”

Jack nodded. “Like dropping the bomb about you not paying. He keeps upping the ante.” He huffed. “My inclination is to resist his manipulation.”

“So is mine,” she blurted. In the next moment, she looked down, appearing confused.

“Sophie?”

Her eyes met his. “Your father’s a good coach.”

“Okay.”

“I’ve learned what he says works, if I apply it. Like the new Vision 18 concepts.”

“So?”

“I want to win this tournament.”

“Of course you do.”

“I don’t blame you for feeling set up. But for this one week, could you erect a temporary bridge between you and your dad? Could we do exactly what he wants?”

Once again, Jack felt trapped. In the airplane, perpetually facing Sophie, on a dreaded golf course, all engineered by a father he hardly knew. He examined his hands, which hadn’t held a golf club or embraced a father in fifteen years. The tremor in his fingers spoke volumes.

When he raised his eyes to look at Sophie, he read genuine fear in her expression. She thinks if I balk at Dad’s bidding, she’ll fail.

Time stopped for a moment, underlining their separate fears, so strangely entwined. I thought I could do this without really getting involved. Now I’ve got her and my dad to worry about. Give me a cave to spelunk any day; rocks I understand.

Brows knit, she said, “Only five days of staying with your dad’s program.”

“Believe me, I know his philosophy.”

She gave him a not-that-well look.

“I’ll help you in every way I can.”

Sophie added narrowed eyes.

Feeling panic, he let out a breath. “Okay, I’ll talk to him. Later.” He ran his fingers through his hair.  “You, too. I’ll ask you later,” he said, his gut twisting as he made both promises.

rolynn color 1.5mb

Scandinavian, Army Brat, Wife, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author.  She delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges.  Her hope: You’ll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters, capture your imagination and your heart.

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Character Interview from Dumpster Dicing by Julie B. Cosgrove

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics? 

My name is Janie Manson and I am the widow of an Austin police detective. He often bounced his most puzzling cases off my brain to get a different perspective. Now I live in Sunset Acres retirement village where I power walk almost every morning with my best friends Ethel and Betsy Ann and host Bunco on Thursday evenings.

Family members?  

I have a son living with his family in New Jersey ad a daughter, Mel, who lives here in Alamoville with her husband. His name is Blake Johnson and he is the chief detective for their police department. I don’t mind telling you, he is overworked and I worry that it might damage their marriage.  Mel and Blake have two teenaged kids, Elli and Jaime. He never gets to their banc=d concerts or soccer games.

Did you attend college? 

I did, and that is where I met my late husband. He was moonlighting as campus security while going for his law enforcement degree. I majored in English with a minor in sociology. Don’t ask me why. Back then it was acceptable. All of us gals were really there to get our MRS. Women’s lib was not yet in full swing so most of us expected to be housewives.

Are you athletic?  

I try to stay fit, even though I am in my sixties. My ticker is fine and except for a slight blood pressure issues and being about fifteen pounds more than I’d like to be. I do power walk, as I said, which is how Betsy Ann and I discovered Edwin’s body diced up in the community’s dumpster. And after he’d only lived here three days. Quite odd, don’t you agree? But I won’t tell you why, because then you wouldn’t read Dumpster Dicing.

I also take yoga at the village and swim. I have never been a golf or tennis aficionado, even though they offer both here at Sunset Acres. Walking the golf course in the early morning is invigorating, however.

Did you ever think about a profession?  

(She leans closer to the microphone with a hushed voice.) Just between you and me I wanted to be a private investigator. Women in my day just didn’t do that sort of thing, you know. Or if they did, well they were very secretive about it.

Are you a pet person?

Oh my, yes. I have a cat, Ms. Fluffy. A spoiled rotten Persian, but she is a great companion. I am not that fond of dogs, but I tolerate them as long as they don’t bark obsessively or slobber. My late husband had a German Shepherd named Buddy. He was a police dog, of course, so when Jack died I gave him to his junior partner. Buddy stayed outdoors most of the time. He preferred his run and dog house to our house. Got antsy when he remained inside for too long, so we got along just fine.

Do you have any hobbies?

I do needlework, and of course I am an avid reader. Mostly suspense and mysteries, though I am nothing compared to Ethel with her bookshelves crammed with mystery novels. Did you know she cross-catalogs them by crime and motive? Oh, but I digress. I also love Bunco, which is why I host it in my home.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Well my dear, if I told you, I’d be revealing part of  the plot of Baby Bunco, the next one in the Bunco Biddies mysteries. You will just have to wait until the winter of 2017 to discover that!  (She winks and sets down her tea cup.)

DumpsterDicing June 15

BLURB

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

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EXCERPT

The community’s trash receptacle dangled at a precarious angle.

The senior citizens sputtered in unison. “Stop. There’s a body.”

The garbage man shook his head in confusion.

Betsy Ann motioned to the back. “A body. Get it? Dead person.”

The man shut down the engine. “¿Muerto?”

“Yes. Uh, sí.” She bobbed her cropped, reddish-blonde hair.

The worker crawled down from his seat and walked to the back of the sanitation truck, which rumbled and spewed more putrid fumes. The dumpster titled down at a forty-five degree angle. Suspended in time clung numerous trash bags, pizza boxes, a broken lawn chair and…an arm?

It’s Edwin.

“Who?” Betsy Ann’s brow furrowed.

“Newman. Edwin Newman. He chewed out Mildred Fletcher because her Yorkie barked at him. Threw a coffee mug at the poor animal. Whack! Right on the nose. It left a raw, sore spot.”

“He did?”

Janie gave her a quick nod. “Mildred must apply a special salve on him three times a day. Says it cost her $22.95.”

“On Mr. Newman?”

Janie scoffed into her velour v-neck. “No, the Yorkie.”

Betsy Ann’s lips formed an “O.”

Janie pointed to the dumpster. “Mr. Newman’s in there all right.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Janie bent to Betsy Ann’s ear. “I see his head.”

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove is an award-winning novelist, freelance Christian devotional writer and public speaker.  When she is not writing novels, she enjoys reading those by other faith-based authors while curled on her sofa with her two purring cats and a cup of Earl Grey.  And yes, she plays Bunco.

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Guest Promotion–The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé by Diane Burton

Alex O’Hara - The Case of the Fabulous Finance - 750 Cover

BLURB

Alex O’Hara wants to take her investigation agency in a new direction—background checks for potential spouses. She hopes this new case will do the trick when a high-powered executive asks for info on her new boyfriend. Is the man she met on a cruise her Mr. Right or is he too good to be true? On the same day, Alex gets another case—finding a deadbeat dad. And both women want to double her rates so she’ll give them highest priority. She can’t believe her luck. Her finances are on the upswing. If only Nick Palzetti was around to share her good news. He disappeared on Christmas Eve, and she hasn’t heard from him in almost three months. But glitchy phones and no internet bring everything to a screeching halt.

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EXCERPT

“Dottie Matthews said you’re the best at finding people.” Perched on the visitor chair in my office, Stephanie Voorhees clutched her purse.

The old saying “When it rains, it pours” was true. I mean, when did I ever get two cases on the same day? Nora Finley in the morning, and Stephanie Voorhees late in the afternoon. I should have stopped the woman from pouring out her story, but she’d said the magic words. Dottie Matthews.

“You need to find that deadbeat who hasn’t paid child support in two years. My kids—his kids—need new shoes. Boots, too. And snowsuits don’t grow on trees. My God, you can’t believe how fast they outgrow their clothes.”

“Have you gone to the police? They are vigilant about making deadbeat dads pay what the court has mandated.”

If her kids needed new shoes and winter coats, she shouldn’t be shelling out money to hire an investigator.

“Mrs. Voorhees, Michigan—”

“It’s Ms. I’ve taken back my maiden name.”

“Ms. Voorhees, Michigan has zero tolerance for fathers who don’t pay child support. I can give you information on how to—”

“I’ve already done all that.” She cut me off again. “I want action, and I don’t see it from the Bloomfield Hills police. That’s where we lived when he left us. I want you to find that b*****d.”

“Right now, I can’t take on another case. I—”

Her eyes filled with tears. Were they real or a practiced reaction? “B-But, why . . .”

What did I do to deserve this? A windfall—two emotion-packed cases—when I didn’t have time to devote to either.

“Ms. Voorhees, Stephanie. I can’t devote the time necessary to do justice to your case. Perhaps next month—”

She tried to stifle a gasp. “A month?”

Oh, hell. She looked so crestfallen, I added, “Or three weeks.”

At that, she brightened. Tears miraculously gone. I’d been played. “Three weeks is fine. I mean, it’s not fine but acceptable. I’ve waited this long—nearly two years—what’s a few weeks?”

“Are you sure? I might not be able to—”

“I have faith in you. Dottie Matthews says you’re the best.”

Diane Burton

BIO

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mysteries. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

 

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