Tag Archives: Joyce and Jim Lavene

My Musing ~ Gone by Midnight and Other Stories by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Gone by Midnight and Other Stories by Joyce and Jim Lavene is a collection of 13 short stories. February 2016

Gone By MidnightFans of Joyce and Jim Lavene will thrill at this collection of thirteen short stories—many are set in the worlds of their national bestselling mystery series, including the Missing Pieces Mysteries, the Renaissance Faire Mysteries, the Retired Witches Mysteries, and an upcoming mystery novel!

These stories contain the elements of mystery and fantasy the Lavenes are famous for, as well as some new things their readers have never seen. Several stories feature characters interacting with ghosts, magic, and the supernatural—the healing woman in “Courtship;” the Civil War widow in “One with the Darkness;” the city girl who summons a wizard from the past in “The Magician and the Sorceress/Accountant;” and the young introvert in “Aunt Edna” who finds her calling with help from a ghostly visitor.

Poignant, charming, and captivating, Joyce and Jim Lavene bring their characteristic wit and heart to these stories and introduce each one with a passage about its origin or how it ties into the universe they’ve created. Gone by Midnight is a treasury of tales that will delight the mind and touch the heart from one of the most prolific writing duos of our time.

This is a nice collection of short stories that fans of Joyce and Jim Lavene should not miss. There are stories with ghosts, there’s magic, there’s a bit of fantasy and a story that touched my soul. I liked that each story was diverse yet blended in how they were presented. This was a good read and I enjoyed how different these were from their other writings.

Author Showcase ~ Sweet Pepper Hero by J.J. Cook

Sweet Pepper Hero
Old rivalries heat up in the fourth Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery from the national bestselling author of In Hot Water.

Fire chief Stella Griffin has been put in charge of judging the annual recipe contest, but Eric—her resident ghost and true culinary genius—has vanished. Before she can track down his latest haunt, she’s called in to investigate a local moonshine distillery that was set ablaze, making her realize there’s more than pies and cakes cooking in Sweet Pepper.

As rumors of a revived whiskey war ignite, Stella turns to the town’s elders to help her find answers. The past might have some clues as to what has sparked the present fires. But when following a lead lands her in buried rubble, Stella realizes she must extinguish this case fast or she might be going down in flames.


Release: January 2016
Series: Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade #4
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime

About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000.

They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.

Visit them at: www.joyceandjimlavene.com, on Amazon, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for the chance to win a copy of SWEET PEPPER HERO. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end January 14 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Author Showcase ~ Last Dance by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Last Dance

When the prom queen is found brutally murdered, Sheriff Sharyn Howard recalls that a similar murder occurred on the night of her prom ten years ago. Her father was the sheriff of Diamond Springs and the man he sent to prison for the murder now sits on death row awaiting his execution. But, Sharyn’s convinced there are too many similarities between the two murders and that the true killer is still at large.

Her move to reopen the first case pits her against the community and her mother, who feels she’ll destroy her father’s reputation in the process. But, Sharyn is determined to discover the truth and catch the real killer before he can strike again.


Release: January 2016
Series: Sharyn Howard #1
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: JLavene
Note: This was previously released in 1999

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below for the chance to win a kindle copy of LAST DANCE.  The giveaway will end January 8 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999.

They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.

Author Showcase ~ Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Murder Fir Christmas
Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night.

Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind.

Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey.

Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late.

Christmas Recipes included!


Release: December 2015
Series: Christmas Tree Valley #1
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: J Lavene

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 11 for the chance to win a copy of Murder Fir Christmas. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000.

They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.

Visit them at: www.joyceandjimlavene.com, on Amazon, on Facebook and on Twitter

A Day in the Life of Book Lover, Lisa Wellman by Joyce and Jim Lavene

A Dickens of a MurderI’m Lisa Wellman. I love reading. I’m a former librarian, now a hopeful book shop partner and mystery writer.

So we’re two weeks before the Canterville Book Shop opens in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia, and there’s a dead man on the roof.

I can handle buying books, figuring out how to help our customers, and everything else my partner, Simon Canterville, doesn’t understand. But how do I handle a dead man on the roof – especially when it’s Ebenezer Hart – the man who was fighting to keep Simon from opening our book shop?

And who is the police detective they send out to investigate? My ex-husband – Daniel Fairhaven. We were only together for six months twelve years ago. I hate to admit it but when I saw him my heart went zing like it used to.

Please! Not now! It didn’t work twelve years ago and nothing has changed.

Six weeks until Christmas and everything is falling apart. How could things get any worse?

Never ask that question. You might wake up with the ghost of Charles Dickens in your bedroom. Ugh. I don’t know who is worse – Daniel or Dickens – both of them scares me.

Lucky I’m a budding mystery writer so I can figure this whole thing out. After dozens of classes, conferences, and workshops, I must know as much about solving a murder as Daniel, right?


You can read more about Lisa in A Dickens Of A Murder, the first book in the NEW “Canterville Book Shop” mystery series, published by J Lavene.

About A Dickens Of A Murder

Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia.

What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together.

Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin.

But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years.

Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels.

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on November 11 for your chance to win a print copy of A Dickens Of A Murder. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000.

They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.

Visit them at: www.joyceandjimlavene.com, on Amazon, on Facebook and on Twitter

Elsie Langton and The New Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Looking for Mr. Good WitchI’m not going to harken back to the ‘good old days’ as many my age would at this point. I’m a fifth generation witch and a retired school teacher – I thought I’d seen it all!

That was until a new sea witch came to my hometown, Wilmington, North Carolina. Water witches are especially powerful here because we are situated between the Cape Fear River (home of Blackbeard and other pirates) and the Atlantic Ocean. To make a long story short, she thought she could just come in and waltz away with my good friend, and almost coven mate, Brian Fuller.

Brian is a very powerful air witch but he can’t help himself. The magic is too strong that she’s woven around him.

Now my friend of many years, Molly Renard, is also a water witch. I’m hoping between us and our new friend, Dorothy Dunst (an earth witch in training), that we’ll be able to keep Brian away from the sea hag. We have a few other friends – a cream horn eating mermaid and a surly Selkie. Together, we should be able to save Brian.

Did I mention that the sea witch stays with her mate only until he dies from her passions?

Now you understand why we have to find a way to help him. We also have to keep the sassy sea witch from killing again when she’s done with him. We can’t depend on Molly’s husband, who is a homicide detective, to take care of the matter. He barely knows about magic at all.

And wouldn’t it be a pity if Brian died before he and Dorothy knew for sure that they were in love?

It’s a mess, friends, but I’m sure we’ll figure something to do about it. We have right on our side – now if we can just decide on the right spell!


You can read more about Elsie in Looking for Mr. Good Witch, the second book in the “Retired Witches” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Spell Booked.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, October 16 for your chance to win a print copy of Looking for Mr. Good Witch. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000.

They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.

Visit them at: www.joyceandjimlavene.com, on Amazon, on Facebook and on Twitter

A Day in the Life with Sunshine Merryweather by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Be My BansheeMy family is full of witches at least five generations back. I gave up counting after getting through that many. I am the only daughter of a witch who is married to a non-witch. My grandmother was a witch and so is my aunt. There are so many witches in my family living in the Wilmington, North Carolina area that I had to move to Norfolk, Virginia.

I love to see my family but they don’t approve of my lifestyle. I run a small private detective agency that helps people outside the norm such as other witches, werewolves, shifters – that kind of thing. It can be difficult living and blending in with suspicious non-magic users. My agency takes on clients who benefit from us having a foot in each world.

That’s the part my family doesn’t get.

Witches are supposed to be earthy and full of natural magic. That’s what my mother says anyway. She doesn’t like my purple convertible and some of the spells I use. She thinks of them as ‘fast’. Really? In this day and age?

My boyfriend, John, who was also my partner in the detective agency, was killed a few days ago. It was a violent, brutal death – especially for a werewolf. I mean, what is strong and savage enough to kill a wolf?

Since then I’ve been focused on finding his killer and to do that, I have to find someone else to work with. I’ve had other wolves, cat shifters, witches, even a ghost or two that were interested in working for me. None have measured up.

But I’ve met my first banshee and I think she might be exactly what I’m looking for. She’s strong and focused. She has a thing about finding some man named O’Neill but I think we can work around that issue.

The biggest problem is to keep her from moaning. I swear she’s gonna bring the roof down on my head!


You can read more about Sunshine in Be My Banshee, the first book in the NEW “Purple Door Detective Agency” mystery series, published by J Lavene.

About Be My Banshee

Sunshine Merryweather is a young witch with a passion for colorful clothes and good food. She is the owner/operator of the Purple Door Detective Agency. Her partner, John, was brutally murdered three days ago, and she won’t stop until she finds his killer.

Aine is only interested in one thing when she walks into the building with the purple door-locating the last man alive in the branch of the O’Neill family she haunts as a beane sidhe. She has been asleep for 200 years in a ruined Irish castle and realizes that the world has moved on without her. She needs to find the O’Neill heir and encourage him to start a family or she will pass from existence when he dies.

Sunshine sees a potential partner when she looks at the powerful beane sidhe – they could be the next Dynamic Duo! But Aine isn’t interested in Sunshine’s schemes – until the witch agrees to help her locate O’Neill. Even then, it will be a short-term association at best from Aine’s point of view. She has no need of witchcraft.

Neither woman is aware of the danger they face as an ancient assassin stalks the old port city of Norfolk, Virginia. It will take more than simple witchcraft or beane sidhe magic to stop the killer. They will have to work together and combine their talents.

But can Sunshine and Aine put aside their differences to stop the murders without tearing each other apart?

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, September 11 for your chance to win a print copy of Be My Banshee. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000.

They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.

Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com, on Facebook, on Amazon, and on Twitter

Sarah Tucker Will Give Them Something to Talk About! by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Give Em Pumpkin To Talk AboutI can’t describe all the feelings that came over me that first day back at the old farm and pumpkin patch my grandparents had worked for so many years. Certainly nostalgia, guilt, and grief.

They’d been missing since I was twelve. My mother and I had come to see them one day and they were gone. There was still coffee and cornbread on the stove. It was like they were about to sit down for breakfast – and disappeared.

We looked everywhere for them. My mother alerted the police with no results. She hired private investigators who could never find anything more than the police. I guess we finally gave up. The farm sat idle and empty all those years, slowly falling apart.

Except the pumpkin patch that re-seeded itself and kept producing big, orange pumpkins that were either eaten by wild animals or stolen by teenagers.

I felt nostalgia for the little girl I’d once been spending time there as often as I could when I was growing up. I’d loved my grandparents and felt as though they’d been ripped out of my life that day.

Guilt had haunted me for years. Even though I couldn’t do much with the land or trying to find them when I was a child, I’d grown up finally and still hadn’t tried to look for them again. Coming to Mystic River, Virginia to pay the taxes on the property and sell the old place made it all come flooding back to me. What was I doing?

Grief for my grandparent’s loss made me decide that I had to find them – no matter what it took. There had to be avenues that hadn’t been explored. No one just disappears.

But what really made me decide to stay was the excitement I felt when I pulled into their driveway and saw the old place again. I couldn’t wait to walk the land and smell the richness of the living earth. I looked at the old pumpkin patch and something tugged at my heart.

Stay, it said. Stay and build something here as your grandparents and great-grandparents did.

Now if I can just figure out how to manage Jack. He’s taken care of the land for the last sixteen years, keeping things together for my grandparents. He swears my grandfather asked him to take care of things before he disappeared. But I’m not sure I can trust him and he has this uncanny knack for sneaking up on me.

At least Jack seemed to be my biggest problem, but looking back at it, I realize that he was only the beginning.


You can read more about Sarah in Give ‘em Pumpkin to Talk About, the first book in the NEW “Pumpkin Patch” mystery series, published by J. Lavene.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 27 for the chance to win a print copy of Give ‘Em Pumpkin to Talk About. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for JJLavenebest first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000. They have written and published more than 70 novels that are sold worldwide for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster. They have also published hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in Midland, North Carolina with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy.

Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com, on Amazon, on Twitter and on Facebook

My Musing ~ Give ‘Em Pumpkin to Talk About by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Give Em Pumpkin To Talk AboutGive ‘Em Pumpkin to Talk About by Joyce and Jim Lavene is the first book in the NEW “Pumpkin Patch” mystery series. Publisher: J Lavene, August 2015

Richmond attorney Sarah Tucker returns to sell her family’s abandoned farm in Misty River, Virginia despite unanswered questions about her grandparents’ disappearance sixteen years earlier. Sarah was only twelve when she went to visit and found her grandparents had vanished. No amount of searching has brought answers.

Now Sarah is faced with other issues when a man is killed who claimed to have information about what happened to her grandparents. She learns of a Confederate chest of gold that is said to be buried on the property, and treasure hunters who are willing to do anything to get their hands on it.

Were her grandparents murdered for the gold? Sarah can’t sell the land and go back to her life until she has answers. But the cost of the answers may be her life.

Once again the Lavenes have penned a light-hearted drama that was very enjoyable and hard to put down. The pacing had an evenly flow so that each scene took me in the direction I needed to be to solve the puzzling mystery of Sarah’s missing grandparents and who is killing the potential buyers. I like how this whodunit was set-up keeping me intrigued with all the goings on in Misty River as someone desperately wants to stop the sale of the land. A suspect here; a suspect there; a suspect everywhere as the author did a good job at planting the seeds on the few with some red herrings to keep me plodding along until it was apparent as to who the killer was that came at a discovery. Sarah is a great heroine and I can’t wait to learn more about her. She is surrounded by a good supporting cast that includes Jack, Kathy, and her mother. The dialogue was engaging and I especially enjoyed the witty repartee between Sarah and Jack. With a lead in the disappearance of her grandparents, I can’t wait to see where we go next with that and the adventures that await Sarah and her friends.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog