A day in the life with Autumn Season by Dane McCaslin

Photo FinishedGreetings from Aloha Lagoon. My name is Autumn Season and I’m the resident photographer at the Aloha Lagoon Resort. Yeah – I’ve heard all the jokes before, but this is the kind of name you get when your parents are hippy leftovers. At least my name sounds fairly normal: my brothers are Trout, Quail, and Buck. Try living with one of those handles!

I happen to think that I live in paradise, and judging by the amount of visitors we get, I’d say a lot of you out there agree with me. Luckily for me, my boyfriend Jimmy Toki works at the resort as well. In fact, he’s the one who helped me get the job here. I was freelance for a long time, and I loved the fact that I could set my own schedule…when I had the work, that is. I certainly do appreciate the regular paycheck, you know?

I love taking pictures of nature, and our island has some of the most beautiful scenery on this planet. Orange bougainvillea grows rampant along the roadways and over fences, and a gorgeous sky blue Climbing Dayflower adds the perfect touch in public gardens. Add in the sandy beaches and the sparkling water, and you’ve got the recipe for paradise. And speaking of beaches, that’s got to be my fave place to shoot. I love it when there’s a wedding or a luau on the sand; I get to work on my tan and make money at the same time! What could be better, right?

It was at one of our luaus that I happen to catch a murder in progress via my trusty Nikon camera lens. I’d just focused in on a plate of food when the person sitting there fell over dead, face down in the poi. Needless to say, that was the end of the luau – and the end of my film. While I was off comforting one of the hula dancers, someone opened my camera and removed it. This was the beginning of a mystery that took me and Jimmy from one end of Aloha Lagoon to the other, from the beach to the resort.

Join me in Aloha Lagoon for some tropical adventure. You can find me doing my thing in Photo Finished, one of the Aloha Lagoon Mystery Series. If you can’t wait to head to the island, you can always find me on our resort’s website: Aloha Lagoon. Come on over for a taste of paradise. . .and mystery.

You can read more about Autumn in Photo Finished, the fourth book in the Aloha Lagoon mystery series.

When photographer Autumn Season gets a job photographing a wedding party at the Aloha Lagoon Resort, she’s ecstatic. But when one of the guests winds up dead, Autumn realizes she may have accidentally snapped a picture of a murder in progress! Now the killer will go to any lengths to protect his (or her) identity, and Autumn is clearly in his sights. With the help of her best friend, super hottie and head of the Aloha Lagoon Resort Security, Jimmy Toki, Autumn sets out to find the killer’s identity before the killer finds her. Stolen camera equipment, angry wedding guests, and a group of jealous surfers mix together to make for a deadly brew. Another luau, another body: Aloha Lagoon Resort might be headed for infamy instead of fame. And if Autumn doesn’t get to the bottom of it all soon, she may just be the next victim to wipeout!

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About the author
Dane McCaslin, USA Today bestselling author of the new Proverbial Crime mystery series, resides in the state of Arizona with her very patient husband. She has been writing all of her life: poetry, short stories, journals, letters (yes, those old-fashioned epistles that require pen and paper), and now she brings her talents to the cozy mystery genre.

In addition to being an author, Dane McCaslin is an educator. She currently teaches advanced language arts classes for grade 11; additionally, she teaches beginning writing classes at the local university. Being an educator is an important part of her life, and passing on her passion for reading and writing is one of her great joys.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Emily Westhill by Ginger Bolton

I’m Emily Westhill. I set my alarm to go off at five fifteen every morning.

I have a cat.

I seldom need that alarm. . .

Deputy Donut is a tortoiseshell tabby with tri-colored tabby stripes and cute circles on her sides that resemble donuts. I usually shorten her name to Dep. After I’ve fed her and eaten my own breakfast, I get out her halter and leash. She usually lets me fasten the halter around her without much batting and biting, probably because she doesn’t want to be left behind and she likes our daily walk to work. Well, I walk. Dep bounces and pounces.

After about six blocks of our start-and-stop progress, we’re in downtown Fallingbrook, Wisconsin. We enter our café, named Deputy Donut after the cat, by the back door leading into our office. After making certain that both the back door and the one leading into the dining room are securely closed, I release Dep. She races up ramps, staircases, and carpeted “trees” to the catwalk surrounding the room just below the ceiling. She dashes through tunnels up there, grabs toys, and bats them off the edge. By the time she gallops down, I try to be in the dining room, with the door securely shut again. Actually, I try to be in the dining room before the toys start raining down.

I go behind the serving counter to the kitchen. Tom, my business partner, is often there first, making dough and batter while oil heats in our deep fryers. He usually does the frying and I usually do the decorating. When customers start arriving at seven thirty, our display counter is full of delicious fried treats and our coffee makers are ready to dispense rich brews from around the world.

Our customers are wonderful. We have a couple of groups who come in nearly every day, and other townsfolk drop in often. Tourists have discovered us. They come to visit the falls for which Fallingbrook is named, and they stop at Deputy Donut for donuts, coffee, tea, and a taste of our friendly community. And then they spread the word . . .

I was a 911 operator for a couple of years until I could no longer stand the stress. Tom retired recently after being Fallingbrook’s very popular police chief. Both of us have lived in Fallingbrook most of our lives. Between us, we have many friends among Fallingbrook’s first responders, many of whom show up at Deputy Donut for their breaks.

Okay, I’ll admit right here and now that donut-loving cops are a stereotype. Cops truly do not spend their entire days eating donuts and drinking coffee. Most of them work out and stay fit.

However, Fallingbrook police officers are especially fond of the donuts that Tom and I make. Actually, everyone is.

Tom and I rush around all day, but we find time to chat with our customers. Deputy Donut is the perfect place to pick up facts, gossip, rumors, and lies, especially if there’s been a crime.

My two best friends since junior high also still live in Fallingbrook. One is a policewoman and the other is an Emergency Medical Technician. The three of us get together often. We tease each other and laugh until we hurt.

Sometimes I envy those two women for the fast vehicles they drive, complete with sirens and flashing lights.

But I’m not very jealous.

I have donuts. And a cat named Deputy Donut.

You can read more about Emily in Survival of the Fritters, the first book in the NEW “Deputy Donut” mystery series.

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.

If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .

Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .

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About the author
Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series–cops, crime, coffee, donuts and one curious cat. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, walking her two rescue dogs and generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts, coffee, and cafes were folks gather to enjoy those tasty treats and one another’s company. As Janet Bolin, she wrote the Threadville mystery series.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ 19 Souls by J.D. Allen

19 Souls by J.D. Allen is the first book in the NEW “Sin City Investigation” private investigator series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, coming February 8, 2018

Private Investigator Jim Bean is a straightforward, to-the-point man. When his latest client, Sophie Evers, asks him to find her brother Daniel, Jim has no idea how complicated his life is about to become.

Daniel is not Sophie’s brother. He is her most coveted prey. Clinging to the belief that they belong together, Sophie kills Daniel’s real sister to manipulate Jim into flushing Daniel out of hiding. She will create the “perfect life” for the only man she’s ever loved, no matter how many people she must kill along the way.

When Jim discovers the truth about Sophie, he’s driven to set things right before her delusional plan claims even more souls.

This fast-paced, action packed drama grabbed my attention immediately, quickly becoming a page turner as I could not put this book down until the last page was read. From the start, the narrative was gripping descriptive as the voices of Jim, the private investigator and Sophie, the serial killer was heard, giving me a better perspective on their personalities. The premise was suspensefully intoxicating keeping me in tuned to all that was happening. The author took me on a captivating ride as I didn’t know what Sophie would do next and it was Jim’s response that had me rooting for him to overcome his misstep. Where the drama holds me is in the psychological game that Sophie believably plays and the determination of Jim to make it right. Overall, a good rocking thriller that is rivetingly dangerous.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher.

A day in the life of Ginger Barnes by Donna Huston Murray

THE MORNING the deceased came into my life I woke up with a start, the way I had when I was a kid. Lifting my head from the pillow, I squinted at pale June daylight leaking through the gap in the bedroom drapes. No doubt about it; I felt different.



Nearly as happy as my former self: Ginger Struve Barnes, mother of two, DIY enthusiast, and wife of Robert Ripley Barnes, the esteemed, green-eyed, and wickedly funny head of Bryn Derwyn Academy.

During the three years since my husband’s fatal accident on an icy stretch of I-95, the words “eager,” “ambitious,” and “happy” seldom described my mood. Yet lately I have felt physically lighter—never mind that the bathroom scale disagreed. I’ve also caught myself saying “Yes” more often than “No,” especially to invitations.

I’ve rejoined the world! I told Rip telepathically. How about that?

Go for it, babe, he replied, just as I knew he would.

To break the silence, at times I said these things out loud. Never in public though, so what was the harm?

I also talked to my dog. Soon after the accident, I discovered the muddy derelict digging for table scraps in the neighbor’s compost pile. He wasn’t wearing a collar, so I dutifully posted signs and even advertised for his owner. No one called; I had myself a new pet.

Fideaux responded as any physically and emotionally starved animal would, but surprise, surprise. I did, too. I slept better touching the rangy mutt’s curly gray fur. On my worst nights he licked away my tears. If I sighed, he sighed. Whenever I began to feel sorry for myself, he rested his chin on my foot and worried about me.

“Up and at ’em,” I woke him with a nudge on that lovely morning. “We have things to do, people to see.”

He lumbered off the bed and stretched before trotting toward the kitchen door.

I poured kibble and freshened Fideaux’s water before hustling back to get dressed. Since I’d be alone putting down peel-and-stick tiles at my newlywed daughter’s house, I chose my oldest green t-shirt, the one that said “Alaska or Bust.” And jeans, always jeans. I splashed my face, fluffed my short reddish hair.

“Ride in the car,” I informed the dog the instant we finished breakfast.

The newlyweds had purchased a promising fixer-upper in a cozy, treed settlement nine miles by turnpike from where I live. Rush-hour traffic clogged the exit, but when I broke free of the entrance to an industrial park, it was only another three minutes to my destination, a yellow, three-story Victorian close to Chelsea’s teaching job and Bobby’s train commute.

The house sat shoulder to shoulder with its neighbors but possessed a lengthy backyard. Due to some missing fence Fideaux needed to be leashed and supervised back there, a time-consuming chore I preferred to get out of the way before starting the kitchen floor. Unfortunately, the morning’s gray-white sky had lowered during my commute, and the air felt thick with drizzle.

While Fideaux dithered and sniffed, sniffed and dithered, I planned how to go about laying the floor tiles. Tidy up first, then make sure the old Formica was clean and sound. Snap a line to get a square start—for sure the old walls would be off; they always were. . .


I jumped. Fideaux growled. Then we both gravitated toward the sound.

Someone had thrown a loaded garbage bag from the third floor of the somber gray Victorian to the left. It landed beyond a shallow cement patio and split, spewing clothes and bricks in a messy heap.

Bricks? I hoped no child had taken such a chance.

I raised up on tiptoes for a better look over the shrubbery-lined fence.

Yes, bricks.

“Hey!” I shouted up to the wide-open window.

No response. Just a gaping black rectangle, no screen, nothing and nobody visible beyond the opening.

Maybe the woman of the house had been cleaning out a closet, tossing her kids’ outgrown clothes, or purging her own unwanted dreck. Faced with carrying a loaded bag downstairs for disposal, I might have tried the three-story drop, too. Once anyway. If nobody was around.

And nobody was supposed to be around. The house in question was the last on the block, Chelsea and Bobby were both at work, and I was here merely by chance.

But bricks?

Somebody should probably look into that.

You can read more about Ginger in For Better Or Worse, the eighth book in the “Ginger Barnes Main Line” mystery series.

Men have once again become an issue for amateur sleuth Ginger Barnes–men who mistreat their wives, men suspected of murder, and men who ask her out.

While working on a DIY project at her newlywed daughter’s house, a bag of bricks is thrown from the neighboring third-story window. Next, pops that sound like muffled gunshots have Gin racing for her phone. Eric, who lives in the house with his grandmother, claims she’s obsessed with mystery novels. Yet after the septuagenarian falls down a flight of stairs, she’s so frantic to keep Eric away that Gin must intervene. Was the fall actually attempted murder?

In her husband’s eyes, Cissie Voight can’t do anything right. Gin occasionally helps the frazzled young mother, and when she needs a dresser carried upstairs, Gin brings Eric along. Bad move! The electricity between the two new acquaintances sparks a chilling premonition. This time Gin’s good intentions will produce grave consequences–for everyone involved.

Recommended for fans of Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich.

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Meet the author
Donna Huston Murray’s eight cozy mysteries feature a woman much like herself, a DIY headmaster’s wife with a troubling interest in crime. Final Arrangements, set at Philadelphia’s world famous flower show, achieved #1 on the Kindle-store list for both Mysteries and Female Sleuths. The first in Murray’s new mystery/crime series, What Doesn’t Kill You, garnered Honorable Mention in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

At home, she assumes she can fix anything until proven wrong, calls trash-picking recycling, and, although she should probably know better, adores Irish setters.

Donna and husband, Hench, live in the greater Philadelphia, PA, area. Visit Donna at donnahustonmurray.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Lori Reynolds by Teresa A. LaRue

The news sent me reeling. My sister was dead! How could this happen? When I spoke to her on the phone a few days ago, she told me someone had been playing tricks on her, but I never imagined her life would end so abruptly.

Everyone insists her fall down the stairs was an accident. But I know better. She was murdered. And I was here not only to bury her, but to find her killer. The thought that someone I knew, thought of as family, could be a cold-blooded killer, sent chills racing down my spine.

For years, I had stayed away from Oakwood and the memories it held. Mostly, I’d used work as an excuse not to show up for holidays. But the truth was, I couldn’t bear to see the only man I’d ever loved in the arms of another woman.

I have a complicated relationship with Selena, the woman who ended up with the man I was supposed to marry. After my parents died, my sister married her father and I moved in with them. For some reason, Selena got the idea that her dad liked me more than he did her. Which is ridiculous!

When I asked Trevor, my brother-in-law, about Kay’s death, he acted like I was crazy. But there was something in his eyes―fear maybe―that made me wonder if he knew more than he was saying. After floundering around on my own, I enlisted Marc, Selena’s husband, in my investigation. Though seven years have passed since I last saw him, the connection between us is still there. Which makes me realize how important it is to wrap things up and get home to my apartment in Texas.

To make the situation more complicated, there’s all this talk about a Grant family secret. Could it have anything to do with Trevor’s ex-wife moving in with us? She claims she’s only looking out for her daughter, but I don’t buy it. Where was she when Selena needed her? And why does she keep referring to my sister as “that woman”?

Even Trevor’s brother has gotten in on the act, siding with his ex and warning me to lay off the questions. Hopefully, I’ll figure out who killed my sister before someone decides to shut me up. Permanently.

You can read more about Lori in Fatal Fall, the first book in the NEW “Lori Reynolds” mystery series.

Lori Reynolds thought she’d never return to the home where she spent her teenage years, but her sister Kay’s death from a fall down a staircase, changes all that. Having recently spoken with her sister on the phone, and knowing how worried Kay had been about all the strange things happening in her house, Lori suspects that her sister’s fall was anything but an accident and she resolves to investigate. Now that she has arrived for Kay’s funeral, she is caught up in the very family battles that she had tried to avoid when she left seven years ago. From Kay’s husband, Trevor, to his daughter from a previous marriage, Selena, to Lori’s first love and now Selena’s husband, Marc, to Trevor’s brother, Derek, to Selena’s grandmother, to Trevor and Kay’s daughter, Amber, the tension runs high. Then it really explodes when Trevor’s first wife, Jocelyn, decides to make an appearance. Did any of these family members have a motive strong enough to kill Kay? And if so, what was it? Kay moves closer and closer to the truth behind her sister’s fatal fall.

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About the author
Teresa A. LaRue grew up in a small town along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She’s worked as a secretary, assistant manager of an audio book store, and manager of a fashion jewelry store. She is an avid reader, gardener, and movie buff. She lives across the lake from New Orleans with her family, including a dog named Bones, and a cat named Chloe.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix

What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix is the first NEW book in the “Willa Pennington” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, coming January 8, 2018

Favors are for suckers, especially when they lead you straight to a dead body

Willa Pennington thought that becoming a PI would be better than being a cop. She thought she’d never have to make another death notification or don a bulletproof vest again. She thought she’d be safe.

But she couldn’t have been more wrong, because Willa’s real problem is that she’s always sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. And people really don’t like that.

Now, agreeing to do a simple favor has netted her a dead body, a missing person, and an old friend who just may be a very bad guy. If whoever is trying to kill her would lay off she could solve the murder, find the missing girl, and figure out if the person she’s trusted with her life is the one trying to end it.

What starts out as a simple request turns into something precarious and Willa who is struggling with her own self-being, is caught up in multiple intensifying situations, that had me enraptured as I followed her story in this riveting debut novel.

The author did a great job in creating a flawed, gutsy, stubborn, pain in the butt protagonist and a narrative to support said heroine, that kept pulling me in deeper and deeper into this action-packed and suspenseful tale with each page turned. There were some tense moments that gave me pause, but once again, the author pulled it off with great aplomb.

Headstrong, you betcha. Personable, yes. Professional, yes. And yet, Willa continues to thwart those in command as her search for a killer puts her in the crosshairs of a much larger case which could jeopardize others. I enjoyed this tightly woven, multi-plot drama that had my adrenaline pumping and at the same time embracing the dynamics of Willa, her friends and family.

This book is a great beginning to what I hope will be a long-running series and I look forward to the next exploits with Willa and her friends.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher.

A day in the life of DSS Agent Raisa Jordan by Chris Goff

Diplomacy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Case in point, an hour ago I was babysitting the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel en route to five days in a luxury hotel while she attended an international women’s conference. Then, five minutes after wheels down, I was waylaid by three Marines from the Ukraine embassy. I was really looking forward to some light duty, but now the Regional Security Officer in Kiev, the RSO, had a job for me. Technically he’s my superior and I couldn’t say no. As it turned out, People’s Republic Flight 91 had gone down in eastern Ukraine with a Diplomatic Service Special Agent onboard.

That’s what I do. I’m a DSS Agent.

A lot of people don’t realize how difficult it is to earn the badge. First, you have to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university. It could be a B.A. in Underwater Basket-weaving for all they care, but you have to prove you graduated. After that you have to pass a physical, obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance, a medical clearance, and then be determined to be capable, stable, resourceful, trustworthy, and able to assume responsibility by a Suitability Review Panel.

Once you clear all of those hurdles, you’re sent to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) where you must prove proficiency in job-related subjects that include criminal law, federal court proceedings, use of firearms, personal defensive tactics, driving skills, security techniques and criminal investigation. And it doesn’t hurt if you can speak multiple languages.

That’s what I do. My official title is ARSO-I, which stands for Assistant Regional Security Officer-Investigations, and I speak five languages.

Most people think all DSS Agents do is check for visa and passport violations and oversee the Marine details protecting our embassies. But, in fact, we are the Department of State’s security and law enforcement arm abroad—the only law enforcement agency with representation in nearly every country in the world. Among other things, we investigate the activities of foreign intelligence agencies, look into terrorist incidents and threats, and assist in apprehending fugitives who have fled the United States.

That’s what DSS Agent George McClasky was doing on board PR Flight 91. He was escorting a U.S. citizen wanted for treason out of China, along with a packet of sensitive documents. My job is to secure the package and ensure the Top Secret information isn’t compromised. Much easier said than done.

So why become an agent? you ask.

When I was eleven, my father was shot dead in St. Petersburg Square. I am the daughter of a highly acclaimed Russian hockey player and an American mother. They met while she was attending the Russian Academy of Arts. Eleven years and two kids later, he was murdered during a botched assassination attempt on the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. That’s the official story, anyway. I never believed it, and I’ve made it my life’s mission to find out the truth.

I tend to be a “color inside the lines”-kind of girl. As a rookie agent, I was serving my requisite three years in a domestic post when my boss opened fire on a terrorist. The only problem was the man’s feet were firmly planted on the grounds of the Lebanese consulate. When asked what happened, I told the truth. My boss was demoted, while I was promoted and shipped overseas. I’m still on the fence about whether it was punishment or a reward.

Just weeks after my arrival in Tel Aviv, my predecessor was gunned down in Dizengoff Square. I was tasked with finding out why he was still in Israel instead of back home in Washington D.C., and why someone had shot him. The answers were complicated and I learned a few things I’d rather not know. I also learned that sometimes, in order to get to the truth and nail the bad guys, it’s necessary to color outside the lines.

The case in Israel was difficult, but I worry it’s nothing compared to what I’m facing. Parking the car, I can see the remains of PR Flight 91. Small fires still flare in the rubble, and the stench and devastation are overwhelming. Fragments of the plane’s fuselage along with luggage, computers, pillows and clothing are strewn across the ground for miles. Bodies litter the wreckage, scattered like rag dolls on the scorched earth. When my gaze falls on an orange teddy bear propped against a tangle of twisted metal, I can’t check my tears.

Behind me I hear a voice, speaking a language I don’t know. Ukrainian? Brushing away my tears, I turn around to find a soldier. I get the gist of what he’s saying. He thinks I’m a member of the press.

Vy govorite po-russki?” Do you speak Russian, I ask. I lift the card and lanyard hanging around my neck. “Ya ne is pressy. Ya zdes’ po gosudarstvennym delam.” I’m not press. I’m here on government business.

It’s what I do.

You can read more about Agent Raisa in Red Sky, the second book in the “Raisa Jordan” thriller.

When People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes in northeastern Ukraine with a U.S. diplomatic agent onboard, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa Jordan is sent to investigate. The agent was escorting a prisoner home from Guangzhou, China, along with sensitive documents, and it quickly becomes apparent that the plane was intentionally downed. Was it to silence the two Americans onboard?

To avoid a diplomatic incident, Jordan must discover what the Americans knew that was worth killing hundreds to cover up. With Russia deeply entangled in the Ukraine and the possibility that China could be hiding reasons to bring down its own plane, tensions are high.

As international relations and even more lives hang in the balance, Jordan races to stop a new Cold War. Red Sky, Chris Goff’s pulse-pounding follow-up to Dark Waters, is yet another white-knuckle joyride for fans of Gayle Lynds.

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Meet the author
Chris Goff is an award-winning author of eight novels. Her most recent, Red Sky, is an international thriller set in Ukraine and Asia where DSS Agent Raisa Jordan tests the boundaries of diplomacy as she races to prevent the start of a new Cold War. Goff’s series debut, Dark Waters, was nominated for the 2016 Colorado Book Award and Anthony Award for Best Crime Fiction Audiobook. For more information, visit christinegoff.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Daisy Swanson by Karen Rose Smith

Just how did I end up being owner of a tea garden in Willow Creek, Pennsylvania with my Aunt Iris?

A widow, I moved back to Willow Creek with my two teenage daughters, Jasmine and Violet. After much discussion with my Aunt Iris (all the women on my mom’s side of the family have flower names), we decided to open a tea garden to cater to tourists who visited Lancaster County but also all the local folk in Willow Creek and nearby Lancaster and York.

My best friend from high school, Tessa Miller, is my kitchen manager and an artiste in every sense of the word. She lives on the second floor of Daisy’s Tea Garden and paints in her attic studio. Another friend from high school, Cade Bankert, who escorted me to my high school prom, is a real estate agent who found us the tea garden property as well as the old barn I had renovated for a home for me and my girls

I recently discovered that Jazzi, who is fifteen and adopted, is now searching for her birth parents. Vi, who is eighteen, went off to Lehigh College last month. Jazzi and I, as well as both of our cats—Marjoram and Pepper—miss her dearly. We have been living in Willow Creek for two years now and the tea garden is doing surprisingly well. At least it is until a murder occurs there.

Jonas Groft, a former Philadelphia detective, owns a woodworking shop down the street from Daisy’s. Although, after my husband died, I decided never to need a man again, I feel something electric whenever Jonas is in the same room. He has a protective attitude that sometimes rankles, but with his help, I found myself solving a murder!

I love to create recipes to offer customers at Daisy’s Tea Garden—soups, salads and baked goods. I look forward to seeing you at Daisy’s Tea Garden as you get to know me. . .and my family. . .and my friends.

You can read more about Daisy in Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes, the first book in the NEW “Daisy’s Tea Garden” mystery series.

In an old Victorian in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson and her aunt Iris serve soups, scones, and soothing teas to tourists and locals—but a murder in their garden has them in hot water . . .

Daisy, a widowed mom of two teenagers, is used to feeling protective—so when Iris started dating the wealthy and not-quite-divorced Harvey Fitz, she worried . . . especially after his bitter ex stormed in and caused a scene at the party Daisy’s Tea Garden was catering. Then there was the gossip she overheard about Harvey’s grown children being cut out of his will. Daisy didn’t want her aunt to wind up with a broken heart—but she never expected Iris to wind up a suspect in Harvey’s murder.

Now the apple bread and orange pekoe is on the back burner while the cops treat the shop like a crime scene—and Daisy hopes that Jonas Groft, a former detective from Philadelphia, can help her clear her aunt’s name and bag the real killer before things boil over . . .

Includes delicious recipes for Iris’s Lemon Tea Cakes and more!

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of Slay Bells Ring plus $10 Amazon gift certificate. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 28, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
USA Today Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith’s 100th novel is a 2018 release. Her passion is caring for her six rescued cats. . .and other felines who stop by in winter. Her hobbies are gardening, cooking, watercolor painting and photography. An only child, Karen delved into books at an early age. Even though she escaped into story worlds, she had many cousins around her on weekends. Families are a strong theme in her novels in both her mysteries and romances. After writing romances for 20 years, she began writing women’s fiction and cozy mysteries. She hopes to write novels in all of these genres for many years to come.

Reach out to Karen at karenrosesmith.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Goodreads and on her blog.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Chloe by Cathi Stoler

Most people think a model’s life is a series of one exciting event after another—glamorous parties and thrilling dinners filled with famous people and beautiful clothes. Well, they’d be half right. The other half is really hard work. Especially when you work with a photographer like Otto. Although, it didn’t seem like that at the beginning.

Otto plucked me from oblivion at a party for the opening of a fashion photography exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. With one bold and impassioned gesture, he dubbed me his muse and swore to make me famous. Like the other one-named models of the day, Twiggy, Penelope and Veruschka, I would be Chloe. His Chloe. Sassoon cut my hair. Mary quant chose me to model her new line for her London show. Otto took the shots and Vogue featured them on glossy pages I viewed with awe. Me, an eighteen-year old from Iowa, who thought I’d died and gone to heaven with all the fame and fortune coming my way.

Otto and I lived and worked in a big, old loft downtown. It was 1969, a time of exciting changes for the world and us. We were going to put a man on the moon that summer and Otto became obsessed with creating a series of photos for MoMA, staring me, to mark this occasion.

Our studio was filled with people. Hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, set designers and assistants were there from morning until late at night. Only to have it all repeated the next day and every day for months. Otto could be kind, generous and loving. He could also be imperious, demanding and tyrannical, when things weren’t going exactly right.

The photographs were beautiful and Otto made me gleam and glitter like one of the stars surrounding the moon our astronauts were heading for. I loved the idea of being the face of the moon landing, but one wrong gesture or a prop out of place and Otto would be off in rage. Most of the time I shrugged it off; he loved me after all and only wanted the best for us.

His assistants were a different story, often leaving the studio after just a day or two of enduring his outrageous behavior. The newest one, Jed, was different. Somehow, he bore the brunt of Otto’s tirades and seemed to shrug them off. As Jed and I worked together, we became close and eventually, it turned into something more. As abusive as Otto was, Jed wasn’t leaving, not anytime soon and I knew why. Me. Even if I’d known what falling in love with Jed would lead to, I don’t think anything could have made me stop.

Chloe appears in Cathi Stoler’s short story, “Every Picture Tells A Story,” in Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4, an anthology of crime and mystery short stories by members of the New York/Tri-State Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

What is the essence of the New York experience? A stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge? A concert at Carnegie Hall? Crossing the finish line at the New York Marathon? A trip to the Bronx Zoo? Or any one of these—plus murder? These seventeen stories by members of the New York/Tri-State Chapter of Sisters in Crime, with a foreword by Margaret Maron, explore the mystery and mayhem that lurk in every corner of the most unpredictable, irrepressible, inimitable city on the planet.

Where Crime Never Sleeps includes stories by Rona Bell – Fran Bannigan Cox – Lindsay A. Curcio – Joseph R. G. DeMarco – Ronnie Sue Ebenstein – Catherine Maiorisi – Nina Mansfield – Mary Moreno – Anita Page – Ellen Quint – Roslyn Siegel – Kathleen Snow – Triss Stein – Cathi Stoler – Mimi Weisbond – Stephanie Wilson-Flaherty – Elizabeth Zelvin

“A dream of an anthology for readers who appreciate a classic mystery unfolding in a perfectly characterized setting. A terrific collection of short stories!” —Alafair Burke, New York Times bestselling author of The Ex

“A collection of stories as diverse, original and exciting as New York itself. I really loved this book.” —Alison Gaylin, USA Today bestselling author

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About the author
Cathi Stoler is the author of the three volume Laurel & Helen New York Mystery series, including Telling Lies, Keeping Secrets and The Hard Way, as well as the novella, Nick Of Time. She has recently completed a new Urban Thriller, Bar None and Out Of Time, a full-length sequel to Nick Of Time. She is the winner of the 2015 Derringer for Best Short Story “The Kaluki Kings of Queens,” as well as the 2012 Derringer Short Story finalist for “Fatal Flaw” published at Beat To A Pulp. Her stories have also been published in several anthologies and online. Cathi is Co-Vice President of Sisters in Crime New York/Tri-State, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. Please visit her at cathistoler.com.

All comments are welcomed.