Tag Archives: Gemma Halliday Publishing

A Day in the Life of Isabella Lewis by Wendy Byrne

nearly-dead-in-iowaOvernight my Manhattan lifestyle became a thing of the past when my marriage of four and a half years dissolved. Just like that, I was transported from rich socialite to nearly destitute. And then, like some kind of miracle or nightmare, depending on your perspective, my long lost father contacted me and gave me a destination for my homeless, near penniless, self.

Except dear old dad lived in Iowa. As a gal who hadn’t been farther west then the upper west side of Manhattan, I’m picturing a whole lot of cows and corn and not much else. Needless to say, I’m not thrilled.

Despite my reticence, I put on a happy face and travel to my father’s house, hoping for the best, but anticipating the worst. I’d like to say things got better once I got there, but they didn’t, especially when I stumbled over a dead body. Thankfully, it’s not my father, but it’s his BFF—with my father suspiciously MIA.

After that, returning to my old life seems like a great idea, except it can’t happen financially, physically or any other way. Besides the sheriff is making me stick around while he investigates to see if I had anything to do with what happened.

Luckily, I meet a group of ladies who are Murder She Wrote groupies and would like nothing better than to help me figure out who murdered my missing father’s BFF. For women in their 80s they’re a feisty bunch—even if they are obsessed with pepper spray and stun guns along with bingo and craps. Needless to say, I have my hands full keeping them out of trouble—and by association—me.

An excerpt from my story:

The place was dark as a cave and a little spooky. I could barely see a hand in front of my face as I walked inside. I rummaged through my purse to find my phone, but remembered I’d left it on the front passenger seat when I’d checked my email. Instead, I brushed my shoulder along the wall trying to feel my way to a light switch. I had a really bad feeling about this as what ifs tumbled through my brain.

“Hello. Anybody here?” The words came out in a shaky whisper.

A strobe light broadcasting bad idea followed by what are you thinking? throbbed inside my brain. It felt like I was in my own version of a horror movie where I might scream at the main character, “Don’t go down into the basement!” Of course the poor heroine always did, leading to all manner of bloody carnage. That was not going to be me. Yep. I definitely needed to reconsider this harebrained scheme or at least come back in the daylight hours where all those things that went bump in the night were no longer fueling my imagination.

That was the first brilliant thought I’d had since I’d stumbled inside. I could check on dear old Dad in the morning. With my mind made up, I headed toward the front door and picked up my pace.

Before I reached the safety of the front door, I tripped and went crashing to the floor. On my hands and knees and with my arms outstretched, I patted the floor and tried not to think about what I might not see, like mouse droppings and creepy crawly stuff.

I swiped a wide arch with my right hand and encountered something solid. It felt like. . .skin. I sucked in a breath. It had to be my imagination. But then I touched what felt like fingers. Then a torso.

And I let out a scream that might have knocked some plaster off the walls. And then I think I might have done something really girly and passed out.

Nearly Dead in Iowa is published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, October 2016.

Manhattan socialite Isabella “Izzy” Lewis is in desperate need of a fresh start. Ending up on the wrong side of a nasty divorce, jobless, and pretty much homeless, she’s hit rock bottom. So when the father she never knew asks her to visit him in Iowa, she figures she has nothing more to lose—until she arrives at his home and promptly stumbles (literally) over a dead body.

Now her missing father is murder suspect number one, and Izzy’s in the crosshairs of the local sheriff who’s convinced she’s somehow involved. After being reluctantly adopted by a local group of Jessica Fletcher wannabes, Izzy resolves to find her missing father and the killer. A job that proves harder than she thought as she juggles running down clues to the killer’s identity, her hot but suspicious new next door neighbor, keeping the sleuthing senior citizens out of trouble, and above all, going at least one day without being nearly dead in Iowa.

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About the author
Wendy lives in the Chicago area. She has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing.

Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who’s determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people–not necessarily in that order–somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.

She has written three books in the Hard Targets trilogy, Hard to Kill, Hard to Trust and Hard to Stop through Gemma Halliday Publishing. In addition, she has three contemporary romance novels through Entangled Publishing called The Millionaire’s Deception, Bad to the Bone, and The Millionaire’s Revenge (December 2016) plus three self-published novels, The Christmas Curse (novella), Accused and Alone (novella).

Connect with Wendy at wendybyrne.net, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Goodreads and on Pinterest.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of one of her books (see above). The giveaway ends November 12, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day In The Life With Samantha Reynolds by Beth Prentice

deadly-wipeout“My name is Samantha Reynolds. Samantha Jane Reynolds,” I explained to the bored looking lady in front of me. “I’ve just flown into Aloha Lagoon from Sydney, Australia. Well, not directly from Sydney. It was supposed to be direct but I think the travel agent who booked my flight made a mistake. I wasn’t supposed to go to Seoul, just Sydney to Honolulu and then onto Aloha Lagoon. My luggage was tagged to come all the way through so that I didn’t need to worry about it, so I hadn’t. Until now, that is.” I stopped babbling and rubbed my eyes. It had been a long flight. I left Sydney at 10.30am yesterday morning. It was now exactly 11.15 am Hawaiian time and I’d been travelling or sitting in airports for 29 and a half hours.

I handed the lady my flight details. I’m sure it was just a small misunderstanding. Someone must have picked up my suitcase by mistake. I mean, why else couldn’t I find it on the conveyor belt? Maybe I was just too tired and didn’t see it and it was still going around and around all on its lonesome.

I caught my refection in a nearby window. My brown eyes were blood shot, my blond hair was frizzing, my clothes were crinkled, and I was hot. They really needed to turn up the air conditioning.

The bored looking woman slowly tapped her chubby fingers on her keyboard. I’d been warned that Aloha Lagoon worked on island time, so I took a deep breath and looked around me.

The airport was lovely, but what I could see of the outside, the scenery was breathtaking. The ocean was aqua blue and sparkling in the sun, and the gardens were green and lush. I took another deep calming breath as fatigue settled itself into my bones.

The bored lady looked up from her screen. “You may have made that journey, but your luggage didn’t.”

I stared at her, opened mouthed. “But. . .what. . .what do you mean?”

“Your luggage,” she repeated, even slower. “It’s not here. It was never put on your plane.”

“How? How does that happen?” I asked, my voice getting higher by the second. I thought of the contents of that suitcase and how pretty much all of my life’s possessions were in it. When I’d made the decision to leave Sydney it had been a permanent one.

“Well,” the lady said scratching her neck and looking back at the screen, “I guess someone put it on the wrong plane.” Her attitude was pretty casual and I wondered if she’d be this relaxed if it was her luggage that had been lost. “Don’t worry, I’ve emailed a request so it’ll be sent here on the next flight. Maybe. It could be the flight after that one. It really all depends on the load that they have onboard at the time.”

My heart missed a beat.

“Where exactly is it at the moment?”

“Right at this moment?”

I nodded.


“How did it get to Helsinki?” I asked, incredulous.

“Well, it went to Singapore, then to London and then to Helsinki.”

Geez, my luggage was better travelled than I was.

She shrugged, her dark brown bob bouncing off her shoulders as she moved.

“These things happen,” she said.

“They will send it won’t they?”

She nodded. “Sure.”

Okay that didn’t sound as reassuring as I’d hoped, but I’d take what I could get.

“In the meantime,” she continued, “I’d suggest you visit Coconut Closet Convenience Co-op. It’s in the main street. They’re having a two for one sale on underwear.”

I took a slow calming breath and stepped away from the counter, feeling slightly shell shocked and numb. My mum had told me to pack a spare set of underwear in my handbag, but did I listen? No. I was too embarrassed that the people x-raying my carry-on luggage would see them. And what would have happened if they’d made me pull everything out of it? I’d seen too many airport security shows to take that risk.

Now I really wished I’d done as I was told and listened to my mother. Just wait until I told her that I needed to stop at the shop before going home. I’d never hear the end of it.

The upside of losing my luggage was I didn’t need to declare anything as I made my way through Customs, and stepped out of the airport into the hot Hawaiian sun, my soul relaxing as the salt air filled my lungs.

Mum was standing on the sidewalk waving frantically. Smiling, I fell into her arms and held on tight. I’d never been to Kauai before today, but I felt like I was home.

I guess if losing my luggage was the worst thing that was going to happen in Aloha Lagoon, I couldn’t really complain.

Deadly Wipeout is the third book in the Aloha Lagoon mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, September 2016.

From bestselling cozy mystery author Beth Prentice comes an Aloha Lagoon mystery that will leave you gasping for more. . .

Samantha Reynolds had hoped that moving to the resort town of Aloha Lagoon would be the start of an exciting new life. Sure it may not be everything she had hoped for—she’s living with her mom, has no job, no income, and absolutely no idea what to do next. But it’s a start! Out of options, Samantha decides to take a job she’s just a little under-qualified for—a children’s surfing instructor at the Aloha Lagoon Resort. She can surf. . .she just doesn’t know how to teach surfing. But that soon becomes the least of her worries.

Throw in two dead bodies, two unexpected inheritances, and one hot bartender, and the heat in Aloha Lagoon has quickly turned up! Samantha just needs to figure out why her family is involved, control a group of preadolescent kids, keep her mom and brother out of jail, and get the hot bartender to notice her. It couldn’t be that hard, could it? With the help of her new friend Alani and some of the quirky residents of Aloha Lagoon, she just may be able to pull it all off. . .and still keep everybody alive!

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About the author
Beth was born in Manchester, England, but after moving backwards and forwards across the world 13 times in 14 years she decided that at the age of 18 that Australia was to be her home. She now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia where every day is a good one. To date, she has three self-published titles as well as two novels published by Gemma Halliday Publishing.

Her main wish is to write books you can sit back, relax with, and escape from your everyday life…and ones that you walk away from with a smile! When she’s not writing you will usually find her at the beach with a coffee in hand, pursuing her favorite pastime—people watching!

Connect with Beth at www.bethprentice.com

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed print copy of Deadly Wipeout. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Josie Sullivan by Catherine Bruns

Burned To A CrispI’ve seen some pretty strange things in my life. There was the time when my eldest son glued the baby’s diaper to the floor, or when my five-year-old ate a fly—on purpose—because he wanted to know what they tasted like. “Kind of salty,” was his response when I asked.

This all pales in comparison to a day at Sally’s Samples. It’s a specialty cookie shop owned by my best friend, Sally (Sal) Muccio. Since she returned home from Florida a year ago after leaving her loser, cheating ex-husband, I have witnessed some really weird, totally out there freaky events at the bakery, plus a couple of dead bodies thrown in as well. They take the cake—literally.

If you happen to be one of the few people in Colwestern, New York who doesn’t know me, my given name is Josephine Annabelle Sullivan. However, if you call me by that, I may have to hurt you. Josie will do just fine. I’m married with four little boys, and head baker at Sally’s Samples. Not to sound boastful, but my cookies are the best in town, especially the oatmeal crème pie ones. I tell you, Little Debbie has got nothing on me.

Sal always says it’s our shop but she’s being nice. If you ask me, she’s too nice. Sal’s the one who owns the place. Still, she lets me tell her what to do. . .most of the time.

So, here’s the thing. I love Sal dearly but she’s kind of like this magnet for disaster. Every time her life is going good, something happens and then she gets burned. Yeah, pun intended. A few months ago, her ex came back into her life and threatened to sue her for the business, then he turned up dead and Sal’s boyfriend (now fiancé) was accused of his murder. I mean, the girl just can’t catch a break.

Last night, the bakery caught on fire. I was sound asleep, exhausted from chasing my little monsters around the house when the phone rang. It was Sal, screaming that the place was going up in flames. Even worse? It looks like someone did this deliberately and yep, you guessed it—they found a dead body in the back room. How original (eye roll.)

Sal’s younger sister, Gianna, lives over the bakery. She wasn’t in the building at the time, thank goodness, but now she’s disappeared. Gianna’s a newly appointed lawyer and her first case was defending some sleaze named Bernardo Napoli who got brought up on racketeering charges. The case was dismissed when one of the jurors asked Gianna out. I know. . .more bad luck for the Muccio family.

Speaking of luck, Sal thinks the fortune cookies are to blame for everything. We hand out free homemade ones to customers whenever they make a purchase. I bake the cookies but don’t write the messages—we buy them from a novelty shop. Everyone adores the cookies but Sal. She thinks they’re evil. I mean, that’s crazy, right? Just because she got a message inside one yesterday that read, “Things will heat up for you tonight.” Totally a coincidence. Right?

Until we find another building, we’ll be running the bakery from Sal’s parents’ house. They’re lovely people, but also certifiably nuts. Her mother enters beauty contests and acts and dresses like a teenager. Sal’s father has a coffin in the living room, in case one of our customers wants to take it for a “test drive.” Yep, he’s definitely missing a few screws upstairs.

So why, you might ask, did someone burn down Sal’s bakery? Oh and did I forget to mention that the body belonged to Gianna’s client, Bernardo? Who killed him and why was he in the bakery alone? How come Sal’s fiancé is lying to her? Sal wants answers so maybe we should ask the fortune cookies.

Nah, that’s just being silly.


Burned to a Crisp is the third book in the Cookies & Chance mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, October 2016.

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

Just when things appear to be going well for baker and sometime sleuth, Sally Muccio, life turns up the heat again.

It’s summertime, and the living is easy for the Muccio clan. Sal’s wedding to her beloved fiancé is rapidly approaching, Mom’s won a beauty contest, and sister Gianna is now a licensed public defender. But when the bakery Sal’s worked so hard for goes up in smoke—along with her dreams!—she’s not sure how much more she can stand. Even worse, the man found dead in the bakery’s back room is none other than Gianna’s latest client, Bernardo Napoli.

The dough really hits the fan for Sal and Josie when they’re forced to temporarily relocate their bakery to the crazy Muccio home. Trouble is quickly stirred up as the best friend team must now contend with Sal’s father and his new mortuary business “undertakings,” a middle aged mother parading around customers in bikinis, and an Italian family hell bent on revenge. For Sal, several questions demand answers. Where has Gianna disappeared to? What role did she play in Bernardo’s death? What secret is Sal’s fiancé hiding from her? Sal is determined to find answers. . .before she gets burned once again!

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About the author
Catherine is the USA Today best selling 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 is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Catherine also writes the Cindy York mysteries and coming next January, the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries. Connect with Catherine at catherinebruns.net.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win either a print (U.S. residents only, please) or e-book (open to everyone) of Burned to a Crisp. The giveaway will end October 14, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Deadly Wipeout by Beth Prentice

Deadly Wipeout by Beth Prentice is the third book in the “Aloha Lagoon” humorous mystery series. Publisher: Gemma Halliday

deadly-wipeoutFrom bestselling cozy mystery author Beth Prentice comes an Aloha Lagoon mystery that will leave you gasping for more. . .

Samantha Reynolds had hoped that moving to the resort town of Aloha Lagoon would be the start of an exciting new life. Sure it may not be everything she had hoped for—she’s living with her mom, has no job, no income, and absolutely no idea what to do next. But it’s a start! Out of options, Samantha decides to take a job she’s just a little under-qualified for—a children’s surfing instructor at the Aloha Lagoon Resort. She can surf. . .she just doesn’t know how to teach surfing. But that soon becomes the least of her worries.

Throw in two dead bodies, two unexpected inheritances, and one hot bartender, and the heat in Aloha Lagoon has quickly turned up! Samantha just needs to figure out why her family is involved, control a group of preadolescent kids, keep her mom and brother out of jail, and get the hot bartender to notice her. It couldn’t be that hard, could it? With the help of her new friend Alani and some of the quirky residents of Aloha Lagoon, she just may be able to pull it all off. . .and still keep everybody alive!

I thoroughly enjoyed this engagingly entertaining romp with Samantha Reynolds as she begins an investigation when both her mum and twin brother becomes embroiled in a murder mystery where they are the prime suspects. The methods that Sam uses to ferret out the killer kept me laughing as she gets help from a local bartender and her new best friend. Soon everyone is suspect and the author does a great job in setting this light whodunit where the main characters all have pivotal roles in the apprehension of the murderer and misdeeds that led up to committing the crime. I love the little twist at the end when everything explodes with a certain discovery for Sam and her mum. This was a delightful read and I hope to see more light and humorous mysteries from this author.

A Conversation with Matt Viera by Gin Jones

Robbing Peter to Kill Paul

I’m Matt Viera, currently a reporter for the Cove Chronicles, and I’m supposed to be telling you a story about how hard it is to date a celebrity. I used to be something of an internet sensation. That’s all behind me now, and people are starting to forget, which is what I want, so these days it’s Keely Fairchild who’s getting all the attention. Solve a murder or two, and it’s hard to go anywhere without people staring and pointing.

But I just heard about another murder in the quilt world, and I’ve got to run, so for now, I thought you might be interested in a conversation Keely and I had about her bank vault. The one in her house, I mean. The building used to be a small bank branch. Removing the vault would have cost too much, so she renovated around it. And now she won’t let anyone see what’s in it. Which sets my reporter’s antennae to twitching.

So, there we were, having dinner at the Smugglers’ Tavern. (It’s under new management, in case you haven’t heard. But that’s a story for another time, after I’ve had a chance to do some interviews.) And I very subtly asked, “So, when are you going to let me see your bank vault?”

KEELY: “Why are you so interested in it, anyway?”

ME: “Because you don’t want me to see it.”

KEELY: “You’d be disappointed. It’s just a room like any other.”

ME: “If that were true, you wouldn’t be so reluctant to give me a tour.”

KEELY: “If we were in court, you wouldn’t be able to testify to that. It’s an opinion, not evidence.”

As an aside, I should probably mention that Keely used to be a high-powered trial lawyer, and she quit at the height of her career to become a quilt appraiser. She won’t explain about that either.

ME: “Fortunately, we’re not in court. In fact, if the legends about the smugglers’ activities during the early days of Danger Cove and this tavern are true, we’re in a place where no one much cared about the rule of law.”

KEELY: “Were there really smugglers operating here?”

ME: “I could tell you all about sunken treasure and the pirate’s hook out in the cove. But that’s going to have to be a story—or, really, several stories—for another day. I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to change the subject, and you still haven’t answered my question about the vault.”

KEELY: “It could just be empty space.”

ME: after some thought: “It could be, but it’s not. You’re too practical to let all that square footage go to waste.”

KEELY: “It’s only about ten feet square.”

ME: “That rules out my first guess. I’d read about people converting abandoned vaults into coffee shops and cafes.”

KEELY: “Definitely not big enough for that.”

The arrival of our food gave me some time to consider what might or might not be in the vault. Another woman might have filled the safe deposit boxes with jewelry or used the space as a dressing room. Not Keely, though. She isn’t particularly interested in clothes or accessories. I undoubtedly know more about fashion than she does.

ME: “All those little cubbyholes would be great for a collection of some sort.”

KEELY: “Mmm.”

I wasn’t sure if that was a noncommittal agreement with my guess or simply an indication that the entree she’d just tasted was up to the standards of the prior management of the Smugglers’ Tavern.

ME: “My sister was horse-crazy when she was a teen, and she collected model horses. The vault’s cubbies would make perfect stalls for them.”

KEELY: “I was never all that interested in horses.”

ME: “Perhaps a live pet then? A deep-sea aquarium that doesn’t require natural light? Bats? Geckos? An exotic wildcat?”

KEELY: “No pets of any sort. Although I have been thinking about getting a house cat. The quilt guild seems to think it’s impossible to appreciate a quilt without a cat. Or vice versa.”

ME: “I’m running out of options here. Perhaps you’re using it as a family vault, with ‘cremains’ in each safe deposit box.”

KEELY: Silently wrinkled her nose and went back to concentrating on her meal.

ME: “Okay, nothing morbid. What about chocolate? There were rumors of a cocoa bean shortage, so perhaps you stocked up.”

KEELY: “I might have, if I’d known about it. I have to wonder, though, if that supposed shortage wasn’t as much of a far-fetched story as the ones about Danger Cove pirates and smugglers.”

And so it went for the rest of the evening, according to the notes I scribbled down after I got home—alone—that night.

Keely might not have spilled any of her secrets, but we had a good time, and I made her laugh. A big improvement over when we first met, and all she would do was scowl at me suspiciously. Besides, the evening had been a nice change from all of our previous encounters. We’d finally managed to have a date that didn’t involve any dead bodies.

Robbing Peter to Kill Paul is part of the multi-author Danger Cove Mysteries, and the third book in the Danger Cove Quilting mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, August 2016

For quilt appraiser Keely Fairchild, the opportunity to appraise more than a hundred quilts feels almost too good to be true. And then she learns the bad news: the quiltmaker was murdered and the police have no leads. Keely suspects that the quilts hold the key to the dead woman’s death as well as to her life. While looking for answers in the quilts, Keely uncovers a variety of suspects, including the greedy heir, a smarmy used-car salesman, a feuding neighbor, and even a rival quiltmaker. As if this project weren’t enough to complicate Keely’s quiet life, she’s also under a short deadline to find new meeting space for the quilters’ guild and she’s running out of time to decide whether to let charming local reporter Matt Viera into her life. Of course, those other problems may not matter if the quiltmaker’s killer strikes again, this time to prevent Keely from finding the clues in the calico.

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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.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Robbing Peter to Kill Paul. The giveaway will end August 16, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

Franki Amato’s Back in Big Trouble in The Big Easy by Traci Andrighetti

Amaretto Amber“Ciao, y’all. You’ll never guess where I am—in the dressing room at Madame Moiselle’s strip club on Bourbon Street. Why? Well, you remember Glenda O’Brien, my sixty-something ex-stripper landlady?”

“How could they forget me, Miss Franki?” Glenda fluffed her apple-pastied breasts in her Stripper Snow White shirt. “I’m a lady legend down here in New Orleans.” She pulled a sewing needle from a bosom-shaped pincushion. “Now face forward so I can finish your costume.”

“Oh.” I turned back toward the mirror. “So Glenda’s sewing me into a costume, but Marilyn Monroe at JFK’s birthday I am not. Thanks to a run-in with a raging Russian during a bikini wax, I look more like a Mardi Gras tiger with mange.”

“That babushka’s got a bad attitude.” Glenda stuck the needle into the tiger-striped fabric at my bottom. “But tell them about Amber, sugar.”

“Okay.” I cast a cagey look at my backside. “Amber is a young woman who used to strip at Madame Moiselle’s. The manager found her onstage, but she definitely wasn’t dancing. Instead, she was dead in a claw-foot bathtub surrounded by a candle, some incense, and a bottle of amaretto. But that’s not the weird part.”

“Bestill your booty, sugar.” Glenda brandished a pair of scissors at my behind.

I gave her a pre-pounce glare while she clipped her sewing thread. “As I was saying, the crazy thing is that before she was killed, Amber stole a necklace made from a piece of the missing Amber Room— a priceless work of art that the Nazis took from Russia during World War II.”

“And that necklace belonged to one of my squirrel friends, Carnie Vaul.” Glenda pressed the Velcro closures at my hip.

“In case you’re not up on drag queen discourse,” I said, eyeing the Velcro, “squirrel friends are men who hide their nuts. And Carnie doesn’t just hide her nuts, she is nuts. In fact, if she hadn’t hired me to find her necklace and Amber’s killer, I’d suspect her of killing that poor girl.”

Glenda handed me a pair of purple-and-gold platform pumps emblazoned with the LSU tiger. “She’s a little tense, but it’s hard being a queen. Just ask Elizabeth Windsor.”

I smirked and began to work my foot into one of the six-inch shoes. “Anyway, Glenda’s my consultant on Amber’s case, and we have a lengthy list of suspects. Besides the raging Russian, there’s the club manager, a Texas oil baron, a stripper named Saddle, and a pimp-turned preacher. So, we’re setting a trap for the killer by billing me as Amber’s cousin, Tiger Eye, in tonight’s strip revue at Madame Moiselle’s.”

I grabbed Glenda’s shoulder for support as I climbed into the other shoe, and I saw a gleam in her eye. “Why are you looking at me like that? What have you done?”

“Coming to the stage,” the club DJ boomed over the sound system, “Tiger Eye, the late, great Amber’s porn star cousin.”

“Porn star?!” I spun around on Glenda like a wild animal on the hunt.

“Go catch the tiger by the tail, Miss Franki.” She shoved me onto the stage.

I stumbled into the spotlight and caught sight of a tail she’d sewn onto my costume, and I had a sneaking suspicion that tiger she was talking about was me.

Amaretto Amber is the third book in the Franki Amato mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2016.

Private investigator Franki Amato has just turned thirty, and she feels anything but festive. For starters, she can’t have cake because she’s given up sweets, and one of her teeth is torturing her. To add insult to birthday injury, she has to investigate a surreal strip club homicide—with her sixtyish ex-stripper landlady. Then her Sicilian grandma crashes the New Orleans non-party and insists that she steal a lemon to land a husband. Unfortunately for Franki, the man she has in mind has his mind somewhere else, and their relationship seems to have soured. Adding to her troubles, she has to figure out what a missing amber pendant and a mysterious amaretto bottle have to do with the murder, not to mention why she’s being followed. When a second dancer goes down and a third is threatened, Franki turns to a weird witch to crack the case and cancel a curse before someone blows out her candles for good.

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About the author
Traci Andrighetti is the national bestselling author of the Franki Amato mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries. In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is.

If she’s not busy working on A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur, the forthcoming novels in her two series, then she’s probably still celebrating the news that Deadly Dye and a Soy Chai, the debut mystery in her Danger Cove Hair Salon series, is a finalist for the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

To keep in touch with Traci, be sure to sign up for her newsletter at her traciandrighetti.com or on her Facebook page.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Amaretto Amber. US entries, please. Five lucky winners will be selected. The giveaway will end August 5, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Sleuthing for A Living by Jennifer L. Hart

Sleuthing for A Living by Jennifer L. Hart is the first book in the NEW “Mackenzie and Mackenzie P.I.” humorous mystery series. Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2016

Sleuthing for a livingAs a young single parent, Mackenzie Elizabeth Taylor has struggled to provide for her teenage daughter. She finally catches a break when she inherits half of an apartment building in Boston from her uncle Al . . . along with his P.I. business. So what if she doesn’t know the first thing about investigation or if their hot-but-crabby downstairs tenant is a police detective who’s looking for any excuse to handcuff her? Her daughter, Mac the computer whiz, has her back. And these two girls don’t know the meaning of the word quit—not even when their first case takes an unexpected turn.

The man Mackenzie’s been hired to follow in a custody case seems to have upset more than just her client when she spies another person tailing him—a mysterious man Mackenzie would bet is up to no good. But when her mark suddenly winds up dead, and her first and only client is accused of his murder, Mackenzie vows to find the truth. Only one problem: she doesn’t know where to start. . .or when to draw the line. Who is the mysterious man she spotted tailing the victim? Is he the killer? Is she in over her head, or will she uncover the secrets someone killed to keep hidden? Mackenzie and Mackenzie are on the case, and the world of private investigation will never be the same.

What a fun book. Unemployed Mackenzie inherits a house from her uncle. At a lost as to where her life should be, she decides to follow in her uncle’s footstep by becoming a private investigator and that is where the fun begins in the humorous mystery. I love the comfortable tone and how easy it is to follow the story from chapter to chapter. I like how the mystery was set-up where the suspects were few and where each clue discovered kept me turning the pages as I had to know what happens next. We are introduced to an eclectic cast of characters that bring their own charm and idiosyncrasies that enhance the telling of this tale. The author did a great job in capturing the essence of this fresh and light story where family dynamics plays a part in the outcome of Mackenzie working her first case. This was a very enjoyable and laugh out loud read that was both engaging and entertaining and I can’t wait to see what escapades will face Mackenzie and her friends.