Tag Archives: Gemma Halliday Publishing

A Day in the Life of Kaley Kalua by Anne Marie Stoddard

Nothing ruins a marriage faster than finding your football star husband holding private cheerleading tryouts in your bedroom—especially when the three woman on top of him are wearing nothing but high heels and using pompoms in ways so dirty they’d make a stripper blush. Can you believe that actually happened to me? I mean, Bryan and I had been drifting apart for a while, but seeing him at the bottom of a pile of busty twenty-two year-olds in naked pyramid formation was the last straw.

Needless to say, I kicked the floozies out of our condo and gave my cheating hubby my spirit finger. After a whirlwind—and, thanks to Bryan’s NFL stardom, very public—divorce, I left my job at a clothing store in Atlanta, packed my life into an oversized Prada duffel bag, and came back to the one place that’s ever truly felt like home. So, now here I am: Kaley Kalua, twenty-seven year-old divorcee and Aloha Lagoon’s newest permanent resident.

Bless my Aunt Rikki; not only did she welcome me home with open arms, but she offered me a job as the manager of the Happy Hula Dress Boutique, the shop she owns in the merchant area of the Aloha Lagoon Resort. You’d really like Rikki—from her funky blue and black hair to her to her infectious energy and generous spirit, there’s no one else quite like her. After my parents were killed when I was twelve, she took me in and raised me like her own child. I don’t know where I’d be without her. That’s why, when one of her employees was recently murdered and Rikki found herself at the top of the suspect list, I swore I’d do whatever it took to prove her innocence.

Between juggling my day-to-day responsibilities at Happy Hula and trying not to strangle my high school rival, Harmony Kane (seriously, what was Aunt Rikki thinking hiring her?), I’ve been spending most of my days lately trying to track down the person who really killed Happy Hula’s former assistant manager, Louana Watson. It seems the woman had no shortage of enemies, not that I’m surprised—the one time I met her, she was screaming at my aunt and threatening to sue her. As it turns out, Rikki isn’t the only person that Louana treated horribly. Nearly everywhere I look, I find a new person who may have wanted her dead.

Lucky for me, I’ve got help following up on all these leads. There’s my new gal pal, Jamie Parker, the resort scuba instructor. She moved to the islands from the South, just like me, and in the few days since we met, she’s already proven to be a fiercely loyal friend. Sure, Jamie’s inhumanly perky after a night of drinking, and she’s about as subtle as a foghorn when it comes to being my wing woman—but hey, she means well. Plus, our shared love of shopping and mani pedis makes her my one of my new favorite people on the island.

Then there’s my childhood best friend, Noa Kahele, who also recently moved back to Aloha Lagoon. Noa’s funny, modest, and looks like he climbed out of the pages of a surf shop catalog—long, dark hair, rock hard abs, and dimples for days. Picture Jason Mamoa, and you’re on the right track. Mmm.

I wish I could chat for longer, but I’ve got to get back to work. After all, there’s still a killer loose on the island. That, and Detective Ray of the Aloha Lagoon Police Department seems to be building a strong case against Aunt Rikki. The deeper I pry into the lives of my potential suspects, the more danger I’m finding myself in. If I don’t find out the truth soon, I could wind up the next victim.

You can read more about Kaley in Bikinis and Bloodshed, the first book in the “Kaley Kalua” mystery series.

After a very painful—and very public—divorce from her cheating football star husband, Kaley Kalua just wants some peace and privacy. Cramming only the essentials (clothes, shoes, and makeup) into her Prada duffel bag, Kaley returns to her hometown of Aloha Lagoon to manage her Aunt Rikki’s clothing shop, the Happy Hula Dress Boutique. A new job, new friends, and a change of scenery are just what she needs to turn her life around. It doesn’t hurt that Kaley’s handsome childhood best friend, Noa Kahele, has also moved back to the small resort town.

Unfortunately, life on the island isn’t quite the peaceful paradise that Kaley was expecting. Not everyone is thrilled about her return—especially the Happy Hula’s assistant manager, who thinks that she deserves Kaley’s new job. And when the woman is found strangled by a bikini top from the boutique, the police make it clear that Aunt Rikki is their main suspect. But Kaley is determined to prove her aunt’s innocence! Between dodging a nosy local reporter and sparring with her high school nemesis, Kaley compiles her own list of suspects. In the process, she also attracts the attention of a dangerous killer. If Kaley isn’t careful, she could wind up trading her colorful wardrobe for funeral black. . .

Buy link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon e-gift card. The giveaway ends August 7, 2017. Good luck everyone!

About the author
Anne Marie Stoddard is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author, iBooks Bestseller, Amazon Mover & Shaker, and former Amazon Top 100 Author. She writes supernatural thrillers and cozy mysteries with an edge, many of which are based on her experience working in radio and at music festivals across the U.S. Aside from writing, Anne Marie loves college football, hula hoops, music, coffee, and anything pumpkin-flavored. Connect with Anne Marie at amstoddardbooks.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Maria Dolores by Gin Jones

The EMTs were missing.

Two weeks earlier, on my first day as the farmers’ market’s manager, I’d thought the size of the first aid tent, easily twice the size of the individual market stalls, was overkill. What could go wrong in the buying and selling of locally produced fruits, vegetables and art? Maybe a bit of dehydration, a bug bite or perhaps an allergic reaction, but nothing that would require such a large and fully stocked medical-emergency area.

That just showed how little I really knew about my new job. We’d experienced both an earthquake and murder over the Independence Day weekend. The EMTs—collectively known as the Baxter twins, since apparently I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t tell the brothers apart—had been every bit as much in demand as my sling bag filled with non-medical-emergency supplies.

Their absence on this drizzly July Saturday was worrisome. Usually they could be found loitering outside their tent. When I’d arrived shortly before opening time, the tent and all their equipment had been set up, but the two men were gone. Not a good way to start the day, if someone had been injured enough to need not just one but two EMTs.

I could have called them, but I didn’t want to interrupt if they were responding to an emergency. Instead, I checked with all the vendors near the first aid tent. As I left the last vendor, who like the others hadn’t seen the EMTs leave, I gave silent thanks for the unflappability I’d inherited from my great-great-great-grandmother, the town’s first lighthouse keeper.

Officer Fred Fields was hurrying up from the parking lot. I intercepted him before he reached the beginning of the market stalls. “Do you know where the Baxter twins are?”

Fields’s face tightened with worry. “They should be at their station. Too bad the quilters aren’t here this week. They’d know exactly where the Baxter twins and every other town resident was.”

On major holidays, like July 4th, Labor Day and Halloween, the market expanded into an all-weekend affair and brought in additional vendors, like the quilt guild and the Second Chance Animal Rescue. But not for this Saturday-only event.

“The quilters do have one of the best grapevines in town,” I said. “But we’re on our own today. I’ll take the parking lot and historical garden, if you’ll check Two Mile Beach.”

Fred left, and I trotted around the parking lot, coming up empty. As I was leaving for the historical garden, I was stopped by Henry Atwell, an elderly and curmudgeonly woodworker.

“It’s all your fault,” he said. “My granddaughter put me on a time-out from my very own stall. She never would have done that if she hadn’t seen you do it to me two weeks ago.”

“I’ll have a chat with her later.” I continued past Henry, planning to congratulate Etta on her good sense. Henry would probably make more money while he was away than when he was in the stall, as people rushed to buy his wooden kitchenware without having to deal with his cranky attitude.

The historical garden was tucked into the space between the market and some low, rocky cliffs that sloped down to the beginning of the beach. Garden club volunteers could sometimes get a little over-zealous while protecting the heirloom vegetables there.

I caught a glimpse of movement in the rocky cliff wall near the far corner of the garden. A moment later, one of the Baxter twins emerged sideways from a crevice. His brother became partially visible as I quickly texted their location to Officer Fields.

By the time I arrived, a pair of sheepish-looking teens had also slid out, given their rescuers a quick thank you, and raced off to the beach.

“Poor kids,” one of the EMTs said with a chuckle he couldn’t hold back any longer. “They were looking for a little privacy and got stuck.”

“They’d probably still be in there if I hadn’t noticed them go in,” the other one said. “We’ve responded to a few calls there in the past. It’s a funnel-shaped formation with a number of sharp rocks pointing away from the entrance. Easy to get into, but hard to get out again. They were expecting a long lecture on safety when we showed up.”

“They won’t get one from me,” I said. “They seem to have learned their lesson, and as long as no one was hurt, I’m satisfied with how it turned out.”

That wasn’t entirely true. I wouldn’t be entirely satisfied until the rest of today and the next six Saturdays proved to be uneventful. Then I might start to believe we’d also be able to get through the next weekend-long event on Labor Day without any mischief, mayhem or murder.

You can read more about Maria in A Death in the Flower Garden, the first in the “Danger Cove Farmers’ Market” Mysteries, available now, and the sequels, A Slaying in the Orchard (August 22) and A Secret in the Pumpkin Patch (October).

It’s Independence Day weekend, and Maria Dolores, the descendant of Danger Cove’s first lighthouse keeper, is the new manager of the Lighthouse Farmers’ Market. While she may be a bit uncertain about her career change—trading financial planning for flower stalls and farm fresh produce—she’s still determined to get the market into shape and onto one of the region’s “best of” lists.

From the very beginning, though, events conspire against her. Her mentor and attractive local farmer, Merle Curtis, fails to show up to introduce her to the vendors, the stalls are all in the wrong place, and an earthquake shakes up everyone in the market! In its aftermath, Maria realizes the flower vendor is more than shaken up. . . she’s dead. Maria suddenly finds herself embroiled in a small town mystery that’s got everyone on edge. Will it all lead to the end of Maria’s new career? Or worse yet. . . her life?

Buy Link

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About the author
Gin Jones overcame a deeply ingrained habit of thinking and writing like a lawyer in order to write fiction. In her spare time, Gin makes quilts, grows garlic and serves on the board of directors for The XLH Network, Inc. Connect with Gin at ginjones.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win either a Kindle/Nook copy of A Death in the Flower Garden or a Kindle/Nook E-ARC of A Slaying in the Orchard, winner’s choice. The giveaway ends August 2, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Sally Muccio by Catherine Bruns

frosted-with-revengeIt’s finally happening. After all of these years, I’m about to marry the man of my dreams, the only one I’ve truly ever loved. Our invitations have been sent out, the venue is reserved and my crazy but well-meaning parents are cooperating. . .sort of. There’s just one little problem.

Someone is trying to kill me.

My name is Sally Muccio. The last name is pronounced Mooch-EE-oo. My life comes with many blessings and a few trials that include my parents who are–well, unique, to say the least. My father’s hobby is death. Yes, you heard me right. He’s gone from planning his own funeral to driving a hearse to studying to become an undertaker. Now Dad’s the proud operator of his own “killer” blog. Mom’s a lovely woman but she’s been acting very mother-of-the-bridezillish lately. My sister Gianna is always there for me and so is Grandma Rosa, who serves up sound advice along with the world’s best cheesecake.

Josie Sullivan is my best friend and head baker at Sally’s Samples, the novelty cookie shop that I own in Western New York. And of course there’s my fiancé, who would go to any lengths to protect me from this crazy person. Mike and I first dated in high school and broke up over a stupid misunderstanding on prom night, which lead to my marriage to another man (can you say rebound?) It’s been over ten years but we’re finally back together. . .forever. Till death do us part. I just hope that comes later rather than sooner.

You see, ever since I came back to my hometown a year ago when my divorce was final, strange things have been happening. Strange as in murder. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, those blasted fortune cookies are responsible. Every customer gets a free one with their purchase and the cookies are so popular that if I discontinued them, my business would suffer. The messages come from a novelty store but always seem to come true in some shape or form. My latest one said, “Revenge is sweet.” How silly. Why would I ever want revenge on someone? I have a good life, try to be a decent person and give people the benefit of the doubt. Then I finally understood that the message was a warning. . .for me.

Suddenly, I’m suspicious of everyone. I can’t walk down the street without looking over my shoulder. Josie already decked one person she thought was the killer with a batch of her famous Whoopie pies. Maybe I can hire her as a bodyguard. Did I mention that our new delivery boy seems to have a weird obsession with me? Or that a former girlfriend of my fiancé is still carrying a torch for him and hates me? It’s horrible to be afraid.

A woman I didn’t even know is dead, because of me. The killer is communicating with my father through his death blog (appropriate, right?) To top it all off, now this maniac has ended up hurting someone I love. That’s the final straw. You don’t mess with my family and friends.

The cops don’t have any concrete leads so I’ve hatched a plan. It’s dangerous but I can’t live like this anymore. This person will be stopped. . .

If it’s the last thing I do.

You can read more about Sally in FROSTED WITH REVENGE, the fourth book in the Cookies and Chance mystery series.

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next dangerously delicious Cookies & Chance Mystery.

Sally Muccio’s walk down the aisle might be her last.

The some-time amateur sleuth and full-time bakery owner is finally marrying the man of her dreams. But during a last minute taste testing of their wedding cake, Sally and her fiancé are witnesses—and almost victims!—of a random shooting. At least they think it’s random, until an original fortune cookie message proves otherwise. Is someone after Sally? And why does the mysterious shooter want to ice the baker? Sal tries to proceed with caution, but when someone close to her is attacked, all bets are off. She’ll do whatever it takes to bring this monster to justice, even if it means sacrificing herself in the process.

Can Sal make it to the church on time. . .and alive?

Recipes included!

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About the author
Catherine is the USA Today bestselling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York and Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries.
To find out more about future releases and giveaways, you can visit her website at catherinebruns.net and sign up for Catherine’s newsletter at here. Please feel free to connect with her on social media as well at Facebook and Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win copy of Frosted with Revenge, either Kindle (open to everyone) or print (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. The giveaway will end April 28, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Frosted with Revenge is available at online booksellers.

My Musing ~ Frosted With Revenge by Catherine Bruns

Frosted With Revenge by Catherine Bruns is the fourth book in the “Cookies & Chance” mystery series. Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing, April 25, 2017

Sally Muccio’s walk down the aisle might be her last.

The some-time amateur sleuth and full-time bakery owner is finally marrying the man of her dreams. But during a last minute taste testing of their wedding cake, Sally and her fiancé are witnesses—and almost victims!—of a random shooting. At least they think it’s random, until an original fortune cookie message proves otherwise. Is someone after Sally? And why does the mysterious shooter want to ice the baker? Sal tries to proceed with caution, but when someone close to her is attacked, all bets are off. She’ll do whatever it takes to bring this monster to justice, even if it means sacrificing herself in the process.

Can Sal make it to the church on time. . .and alive?

Recipes Included!

I enjoyed the latest adventures with Sally Muccio and her family. Planning a wedding should be easy, but it’s not when there is a target on her back. Sally does what Sally does best and that is looking for the person who wants her dead.

This is a fast-paced and light hearted whodunit that kept me engaged throughout the telling of this tale. The mystery was nicely done, keeping me glued to the pages as I had to know what happened next. The suspect pool was small but the author enjoyed teasing me with clues here and there that every time I thought I had a handle on the killer, she changed direction all to the betterment of this drama. The narrative was visually appealing, putting me in the middle of all the action and I enjoyed the antics of her eccentric family, especially her death-loving father and her model mother. Rounding out the cast was her grandmother, sister, her best friend and the man she planned to marry. This was the best book in the series thus far and I’m so happy that more books with this cast of characters are coming.

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

A day in the life of Helen Binney by Gin Jones

a-darling-of-death“Is there something wrong with the peas?” my dinner companion, Ambrose Tate, asked me.

“No, they’re fine.” We were supposed to be celebrating my return to the small Berkshire Hills town of Wharton after too many weeks in Boston, undergoing endless medical tests and consultations related to my lupus. I didn’t feel like celebrating anything, and the peas had taken the brunt of my irritation. It wasn’t their fault, though, so I set my fork down. “I just felt like stabbing something.”

Something or someone?” Tate held out a hand to forestall an answer. One finger sported a small bandage, presumably from a minor accident in his woodworking studio. “No, don’t tell me. I probably don’t want to know.”

Always the lawyer, I thought, anticipating how my words could be used against us both. “Inanimate objects will suffice for the moment. And I hope you appreciated that I didn’t stab the maitre d’.”

“It made my day. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure why you were so annoyed with him.”

“He practically ripped my coat out of my hands.” I wasn’t as stable on my feet as I’d like, and his sudden tug on my coat had almost knocked me over.

“Ah, yes,” Tate said. “I forgot how much you hate it when people help you without your asking for assistance. As long as you’re jogging my memory, perhaps you could explain why you’re annoyed with me too. I didn’t take your coat or even open the car door for you.”

“You came to Boston three times while I was there.” I knew I was being irrational. I hadn’t even decided yet whether I was more upset that he’d visited at all or that he’d only visited three times. “I asked you not to make the trip.”

“I had to. Vicky missed me.”

“My cat hates you.” That wasn’t unique to Tate. Vicky hated everyone except me. “She knows you advised me not to adopt her.”

Tate shrugged. “She got over it when I smuggled some treats in to her. She doesn’t hold a grudge. Unlike some people.”

“I like grudges. They give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

“I thought that was what your gardening was for,” Tate said. “And your penchant for challenging violent people to kill you.”

“The garden is shut down for the season, and no one’s threatened to kill me lately.” I had a bad feeling my voice was getting whiney.

“So you’re bored.”

“Not bored, exactly.” Even when I was irritated with Tate, I appreciated the way he helped me to sort through what I was thinking. “More like restless.”

“And you think stabbing things will make you feel better?”

“I know it will.” I always felt better when I had a plan for dealing with my issues. I decided it was safe to pick up my fork again and enjoy the chicken and rice. “Perhaps I should take up fencing.”

“You did assure me you weren’t going to stab people.”

“Fake stabbing doesn’t count.”

Tate sipped his wine while he considered my words. Finally, he said, “I can’t think of anywhere around here where you could take fencing lessons. You’d probably have to go back to Boston for that, and I’m pretty sure you’ve had enough of the big city and living with your niece.”

He was right. Next time I went to Boston, it was going to be for something fun, like a museum tour, and I was staying in a hotel, not my nagging niece’s condo. I might even invite Tate to go with me.

For now, if I couldn’t learn to fence anywhere nearby, maybe there was something else I could do that would be equally cathartic. I needed to vent some of the irritation that I was even taking out on Tate, who didn’t deserve it. Even if he had made the six-hour round-trip to Boston to see me after I’d asked him not to.

Rather than stab something, perhaps I could thump something instead. A friend had recently opened a martial arts studio here in Wharton. He ought to have a punching bag I could use. First thing tomorrow, I was signing up for membership.

“Don’t worry about me,” I told Tate. “I’m already feeling less inclined to stab anything. You and your car will be perfectly safe on the drive home tonight.”

“No one is ever completely safe around you, but I’ve got years of experience with minimizing risks.” Tate reached across the table to take my hand. “Having to keep my woodworking tools locked up so you won’t stab me with them is a small price to pay for being with you.”

You can read more about Helen in A Darling of Death, the fifth novel in the “Helen Binney” Mysteries, coming March 7, 2017.

Helen Binney is frustrated with the challenges of her lupus and is desperate to hit something—anything! So what better place to go than a martial arts studio owned by a friend? Only her frustrations remain when she finds herself in a minor car accident, a female martial arts competitor mocks her physical limitations, and the studio owner won’t let her engage in any satisfyingly high-impact exercise.

But when the rude competitor is found dead in the locker room, Helen is distracted from her personal problems. She learns that the woman owned a Bed & Breakfast, and wasn’t very good at making friends. Murder suspects abound, with several ex-boyfriends, mistreated employees at her B&B, a competing B&B operator, and a romantic rival. And the murder isn’t the only mystery in Helen’s life. Her handsome ex-lawyer Tate seems to be withdrawing from their newly personal relationship, and she can’t get him to tell her what’s wrong. Can Helen keep Tate from giving up on their relationship and defend herself against a killer who was able to overpower a highly skilled martial artist? Or will this be one fight she doesn’t limp away from?

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About the author
Gin Jones overcame a deeply ingrained habit of thinking and writing like a lawyer in order to write fiction. In her spare time, Gin makes quilts, grows garlic and serves on the board of directors for the XLH Network. Connect with Gin at ginjones.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A Darling of Death is available at online booksellers.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Kindle or Nook copy of A Darling of Death. The giveaway ends March 6, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of Maizy Emerson by Kelly Rey

motion-for-mischiefJamie Winters mentioned that someone wanted to know about a day in her life, but since she’s really old, like in her thirties, she’s in bed asleep or something right now, so you’re getting me instead. Consider yourself lucky. Don’t tell her I said this, but if we were Batman and Robin, she’d be Robin, and who wants to know what he’s up to all day long?

I’m Maizy Emerson, I’m seventeen, and I help Jamie solve murders. She’s got a job as a glorified legal secretary for a low class law firm, and I do hard and unnecessary time in the classroom, but we rock at the detective thing. My Uncle Curt doesn’t like it much that Jamie keeps finding dead people, but he still helps out sometimes. Which is good for Jamie, because she kind of has a thing going with Uncle Curt. Besides, he’s pretty useful when we need some muscle. Or someone to drive the getaway car.

Personally, I have no time for romance. Sometimes I let Brody Amherst buy me a Sizzli, but that’s just a resource retention calculation on my part. Jamie drives the stegosaurus of cars, so we need to be able to rent Honest Aaron’s junkers when hers breaks down. Honest Aaron doesn’t care that The Man is conspiring to keep me from getting my driver’s license, and I don’t mind little things like rusted-out floors and bloodstains. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

Just because my dad’s a cop doesn’t mean I can’t shop locally.

I should probably tell you that I mostly observe the arbitrary societal norms designed to oppress free thinkers and teenagers, but I had to crash Oxnard Thorpe’s wedding because Jamie was supposedly getting paid to be the maid of honor, and if you know anything about Jamie, it’s that she hates weddings. So there was bound to be serious entertainment value there. It was only a perk that Oxnard was the Adult Diaper King of New Jersey. The situation practically required me to buy that tasteful five dollar thrift store gown and show up. I had a pretty good time, too. If you’ve never checked out a gazillionaire’s mansion, I recommend it. Don’t judge. If rich people don’t want anyone to conduct self-guided tours, they shouldn’t hold parties.

Anyway, for some reason, all the guests left after the food fight, so there was no one around when Jamie and I found the groom dead in the swimming pool. Which might’ve seemed like an accident if Oxnard hadn’t given so many people a reason to want to kill him. We got some help, (if that’s what you want to call it) in finding the killer from Eunice Kublinski, the new lawyer in town. Eunice will be fierce once she gets that fainting problem under control.

And that’s how we got involved in Motion For Mischief.

You can read more about Maizy in Motion For Mischief, the fourth book in the “Jamie Winters” mystery series.

Legal secretary and sometimes-sleuth Jamie Winters thought she’d seen it all. . . until now.

When Oxnard Thorpe, the Adult Diaper King of New Jersey and one of Parker, Dennis’s most important clients, is found dead in the swimming pool of his sprawling mansion on his wedding night, his bride gives Jamie and her teenaged sidekick, Maizy, the green light to find the killer. Could it be the faded society maven, the bridesmaid for hire, the harried housekeeper, Oxnard’s embittered twin siblings, the surly wedding planner, the groom’s sketchy colleague, or even the not-so-blushing bride herself? Just when it seems things couldn’t possibly get more confusing, they get an assist from Eunice Kublinski, the firm’s timid new attorney with a morbid fear of public speaking—which makes things much, much worse! If Jamie doesn’t unravel the truth quickly, she may just be next on the killer’s list!

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Meet the author
Kelly Rey is the author of the Jamie Winters Mysteries and co-author with Gemma Halliday of Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Brash Blonde. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, working out, and avoiding housework.

All comments are welcomed.

Motion For Mischief is available at online booksellers.

A day in the life mess of Poppy Peters by A. Gardner

wedding-souffle-and-a-dead-valetEvery once in a while you meet someone who portrays a certain word beautifully. By this, I mean that if you were to look up said word in the dictionary, this person’s face would appear instead of a description. Me? Well, you would most likely find my picture next to the definition of haphazard. Or hopelessly single, if you ask my mother. How else would you describe a thirty-something ballerina turned pastry chef who now finds herself unemployed? Marta, however, spells perfectionist in every way, shape, and form. So, you can imagine how shocked I was to see her mascara running, lipstick on her teeth, and a ratty red bun on top of her head.

Marta is losing it.

Marta is the Sous Pastry Chef extraordinaire at a popular Parisian bakery called Le Croissant. Her piping skills are superb, and her pastry dough is always flawless. If you haven’t already guessed, she wasn’t very fond of me when I first set foot in her kitchen. I was the mouthy American intern and Marta never so much as smiled in my direction. In fact, the rumor among the staff was that the cupboards in her flat were stocked with cauldrons and pointy hats. But a weekend catering gig in Cornwall changed all of that.

Now, Marta is getting married in the little English town of Woodbury, and I’m her bridesmaid.

Detective Berry, the groom, gave me one simple task. He told me to keep Marta calm because a dead body was found in the parking lot during her wedding dinner. I just happened to be the last person the victim spoke to before he died. All the scones and clotted cream in the world can’t distract me from that little tidbit of information. I haven’t slept since.

I have found a way to handle this situation. I think. Stress management isn’t my strong suit, but I would say that I’m better at it than Marta’s grumpy old neighbor, Mr. Fletcher, who walks around the village griping at people in his bathrobe. Marta and I are baking cheese soufflés and banoffee pies. Cooking is a language that we both speak fluently. Believe it or not, scrambling around the kitchen is helping us both hold onto the sliver of sanity we have left. And Marta is really going to need her sanity because her dad is coming to her wedding and her mother is coming to her wedding. . .and her mother’s new boyfriend.

You can read more about Poppy in WEDDING SOUFFLÉ AND A DEAD VALET, the fifth book in the Poppy Peters mystery series.

Poppy Peters, accidental sleuth and unemployed pastry chef, is back in Europe attending a friend’s wedding. But when a parking valet for the big event turns up dead in the front seat of an antique car, Poppy learns that the little English village of Woodbury isn’t all scones and clotted cream. Determined to help the bride and groom, she follows the killer’s trail which leads her from the local bakery to a grand estate owned by the town’s infamous Lord Chutney. Poppy quickly discovers that the village is keeping a deadly secret. Between a disgruntled shopkeeper, spiteful townsfolk, and a missing bridesmaid, Poppy is convinced that the murderer is living just a cottage away. And may have his sights on her as the next victim.

**Recipes included!**

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Meet the author
USA Today Bestselling author, A. Gardner, is a native westerner exploring the sweet bites of the south. After years of working in the healthcare industry, she moved across the country with her husband and adventurous baby boy. She is a mystery writer with a serious cupcake obsession and a love of storytelling that began at an early age. Visit her blog at gardnerbooks.blogspot.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Wedding Soufflé And A Dead Valet is available at retail and online booksellers.

A day in the life of Carrie Jorgenson by Catherine Bruns

death-of-the-big-kahunaAloha, kakou!

All right, I have a confession to make. I can’t really speak Hawaiian. In fact, those are the only words of the language I’m familiar with, except for a few that our chef, Poncho, mumbles under his breath occasionally when someone complains that the food is cold or there’s a mistake with their order. And I don’t dare ask him what they mean because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to find out.

My name is Carrie Jorgenson. I’m new to Hawaii and the island of Kauai. I’m new to waitressing as well, but please don’t tell anyone. Hopefully no one noticed that earlier mishap when I spilled coffee on a co-worker or face planted into a Mai Tai on the patio table. Hazards of the job, right?

At my interview, I told the owner, Mr. Akamu, that I had experience serving customers. What that really amounts to is that I once worked at a Walmart. I have no waitressing experience at all. Zero, none, zilch. But hey, how hard could it be to carry this off?

Up until a few weeks ago, I’d lived my entire life in Vermont, amid six feet of snow in the winter, rural dirt roads and a family that I’d rather not talk about. Anxious to escape more than just the weather back home, I followed my boyfriend Brad here. He’s the new head surfing instructor at the Aloha Lagoon resort. Loco Moco Café, where I am now employed, is also part of the same resort.

Living in a tropical paradise is a dream come true for me. Since I was a little girl, my other dream has concerned the theater. Acting in shows was an escape from reality and I love to sing as well. Oh, how I hope to get a part in the Hana Hou’s production of Little Women, the Musical. Last night I sang karaoke out on the patio of the Loco Moco and didn’t even shatter one drink glass this time! Success.

The entire island is gorgeous. I mean, it’s January and here I am wearing shorts and sandals, and riding on the back of mopeds. Back home, my former neighbors are shoveling out their cars and clearing windshields with ice scrapers after the latest blizzard. There’s a gentle breeze stirring through nearby banyan trees, a view of the ocean to die for (oops, shouldn’t have said it like that) and the water is the most gorgeous shade of blue, with the exception of a certain man’s eyes around here.

While it may be paradise on the outside, the inside of the Loco Moco is anything but. Like most restaurants, there’s a constant gossip mill going and the biggest piece of chatter concerns our owner, Hale Akamu. No one likes the man because—well, there’s simply nothing to like. Don’t get me wrong. He’s handsome in a similar way to the man from those reruns of the old television show, Magnum P.I. Tom something, right? Hale’s obscenely wealthy because in addition to the café, he owns a shopping mall in Oahu too.

Yes, the man has got it all going for him—tall, dark, and vile. Hale also has more enemies than the entire state of Hawaii has pineapples. Let’s just say that I could go on and on about who he’s wronged and the terrible things he’s done to people—especially his own employees, but that seems uncalled for now. Why, you might ask?

Because he’s dead. Wouldn’t you know that I was the lucky one to stumble upon his lifeless body? The police have their suspects, but they aren’t talking. . .

And I’m pretty sure they’re looking at me.

DEATH OF THE BIG KAHUNA is the first Carrie Jorgenson mystery, and part of the Aloha Lagoon multi-author series published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, January 2017. Note: The Aloha Lagoon books can be read in any order.

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns, comes an Aloha Lagoon Mystery that proves sometimes paradise isn’t all it’s served up to be.

New to both Hawaii and the Aloha Lagoon Resort, Carrie Jorgenson has big dreams of stardom. But while she awaits fame and fortune, she’s forced to accept a job waitressing at the resort’s The Loco Moco Café. It isn’t long before she discovers the dish on her new boss—also known to many as “The Big Kahuna.” Hale Akamu is rich, handsome, repulsive…and dead. When Carrie discovers Hale’s lifeless body, she’s suddenly forced into yet another role—amateur sleuth. With everyone from Carrie to the saucy chef to the café’s hot assistant manager under suspicion, Carrie needs to track a killer before she becomes his next main entrée!

**Recipes included!**

The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:
1. Ukulele Murder
2. Murder on the Aloha Express
3. Deadly Wipeout
4. Deadly Bubbles in the Wine
5. Mele Kalikimaka Murder
6. Death of the Big Kahuna

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About the author
Catherine is the USA Today bestselling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York mysteries and the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries.

To find out more about future releases and giveaways, you can sign up for Catherine’s newsletter here. Please feel free to connect with her on social media as well on Facebook and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print, signed copy of Death of the Big Kahuna. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends January 20, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A Day In The Life With Barb Jackson by Anna Snow

illegally-blondeI’m a little bit of a workaholic.

Honestly? That’s a colossal understatement. I think the word workaholic was invented just for me. But being a private investigator means you have to be on your toes at all times. I always have a case or two on my mind. Who did it, why’d they do it, where are they doing it? You know, the basic questions you have to ask yourself, especially when you’re dealing mostly with cheating spouses. But after much nagging and a near death experience my aunt Mona, my boyfriend Tyler, and my best friends Mandy, Kelly, and Silas have finally talked me into taking a vacation.

I’ve never taken a vacation in my entire life, especially not since opening Jackson Investigations, my PI firm, three years ago. Since opening the doors of my new business, keeping the lights on, paying the girls, and bringing in new clients has been my main priority. There’s no time for white sandy beaches and umbrella drinks.

But against my better judgement I finally caved. Two weeks from now I’ll be soaking up the sun on the deck of a cruise ship headed for the Bahamas with my hotshot detective boyfriend Tyler by my side, but instead of wrapping things up at the office in preparation for my hiatus which is what I’m supposed to be doing, I took on another case. A murder case.

You see, a few months ago, I met a nice young woman named Cindy while I was working another case. She’s a smart girl working her way through college at one of the local gentlemen’s clubs as a dancer. But her usual nights of dancing and tips have become quite frightening since the bodies of two of her friends and fellow dancers were found backstage. To top it off, the cops don’t have any leads so needless to say, Cindy and the other ladies of the Double Trouble Club are afraid that they might be next on the hit list.

Platform heels, feather boas, and shiny poles aren’t my normal gig, I’m more of a Converse and jeans kind of girl, but Cindy is a nice girl and I couldn’t just tell her that there was nothing I could do to help her when I knew that I could at least give finding the murderer a shot.

Now, all I have to do is catch a killer, and talk my besties and Tyler into forgiving me for taking on another case so close to my forced vacation, which I’ve learned the hard way is so much easier said than done.

Illegally Blonde is the second book in the Barb Jackson mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, November 2016.

From USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow comes the next laugh-out-loud installment in her bestselling Barb Jackson Mysteries.

After solving the biggest case of her career, PI Barb Jackson’s business is finally taking off. Cases are rolling in, she and her staff are getting paid, and she’s the apple of her hunky detective boyfriend Tyler Black’s eye. Life couldn’t get much better.

Instead, it gets much worse. Barb’s best friend, Kelly, is arrested and accused of killing her shifty on-again-off-again rock star boyfriend. Suddenly it’s up to Barb to hunt down the real murderer and save her friend’s life. Between an eccentric bookie, an oddball drug dealer, and an obsessed fan, Barb has no shortage of suspects. But understaffed and in over her head, Barb has no other choice but to call in an old friend for help . . . a gorgeous, flirtatious, charming friend. . . and Tyler isn’t going to like it. Can Barb track down a killer and save her friend from the slammer. . . before the killer strikes again?

The Barb Jackson Mysteries:
The Blonde Before Christmas (Holiday short)
Bubblegum Blonde (Book One)
Blondes’ Night Out (Short summer read in the Killer Beach Reads Collection)
Illegally Blonde (Book Two) 11/15/2016
Blonde and Fabulous (Book 3) Coming 04/2017

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Meet the author
Not only is Anna Snow a wife, mom, and lipstick junkie, but she’s also a multi-published USA Today bestselling author. Anna began writing as soon as she could hold a pen and hasn’t stopped since. She loves life and can think of nothing she enjoys more than spending time with her family and friends. She loves reading, writing, kitties, spending time outdoors, and did I mention kitties? *Big grin* Anna also loves to hear from her fans and answers all correspondence she receives. Connect with Anna at annasnow.info, on Facebook and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.