Tag Archives: Karen Cantwell

A day in the life of Barbara Marr by Karen Cantwell

My name is Barbara Marr and I’m a soccer mom living in the boring, predictable suburbs. The only thrills in my day should be the frantic road races between ballet lessons and the much-too-closely-scheduled orthodontist appointment on the other side of the universe. But here’s the thing: my life isn’t so boring and definitely not predictable. See, I seem to have a gift for stumbling upon the messy remnants of lurid crime scenes.

I suppose my real problem in life isn’t the fact that I find dead people, but rather the chaotic events that follow. In fact, I have such a talent for attracting trouble, that my husband Howard has developed an emergency code system for alerting friends and family when danger is imminent. I was unaware of this alert system until the first time it was put into use. This is how the system works: A text goes out to my best friends Roz and Peggy, family friend and business partner, Colt Baron, and my mother and Howard’s mother who share a condo and are collectively referred to as “The Grandmas.” Code yellow is just a precaution whereas a code red basically means “Call in the SWAT team, Barb is at it again.”

So you may be wondering if all of my days are emergency alert days. No, but most are at least a little crazy.

A more typical day in my life goes something like this:

My eyes open at the break of dawn when the sound of a quacking duck awakens me before the alarm.

Husband Howard, nudges me. “Your duck is back.”

“Vito Corleone is not my duck,” I protest.

“You gave him a name, he’s your duck,” Howard says.

I crawl out of bed, knowing he’s right, but not without having the last word. “When a duck saves your life, you kind of have to give him a name, don’t you think?”

After taking Vito the duck back to his den on the lake, I return home to find my two youngest daughters sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal. Middle-schooler, Bethany, reads a book while she chews, and nine-year-old Amber is video-chatting with her big sister, Callie, a freshman in college.

My cell phone buzzes. It’s a text from my mother. I hear sirens. Are you okay?

I type back. Am fine. Not every siren means I’ve been kidnapped. Then I turn my attention to the video-chat.

Callie’s pretty face looms large on the tablet. “What is his name?” she asks Amber

“Marcus,” Amber answers around milk and corn flakes. “I love him.”

“Wait a minute,” I interject. “You’re nine years old, Amber. You can’t be loving any boys yet. Not allowed.” I wave at the tablet. “Hi, Callie!”

She waves back. “Before you get worked up, Mom, ask Amber to show you a picture of Marcus.”

Bethany lifts her gaze from the book long enough to add her two cents. “He’s disgusting. Don’t do it, Mom.”

Amber hands me a picture. “Meet Marcus, Mommy. Can I have him?”

The picture doesn’t give me much information. All I see is an aquarium without water. I pull the paper closer, finally spotting something suspicious. “What’s that brown thing? Is that a dried up banana peel?”

“That’s Marcus,” Amber says.

Callie bursts out laughing. “He’s a cockroach.”

“Hissing cockroach,” Amber corrects her, as if that makes it better.

I cringe. “No way, José. I found two ants on the kitchen counter last night—domesticate them, instead.”

“But, Mommy,” Amber urges. “Willow Jones can’t keep Marcus because her own mommy is allergic. Marcus needs a home.”

I sigh, wondering when Amber traded her fairy fascination for a twisted insect obsession. “Tell Willow Jones that your mommy is more allergic than her mommy. Now say goodbye to your sister. The bus will be here soon.”

Minutes after the girls head out for the bus, I am looking out the kitchen window drinking a cup of coffee. I spot a figure of a man dashing into the woods from the corner of our backyard. Howard enters the kitchen to grab his travel mug before leaving for the day. “What are you looking at?”

“I think I just saw Moyle,” I answer.

“The crazy guy who thinks he’s a time traveler?”

“Don’t be mean,” I say. “Moyle isn’t crazy. He helped me solved that murder case last year. He’s just unique.”

Howard gives me warm, enticing kiss. “Whatever you say. But stay out of trouble until I get home, okay?”

“I read my horoscope,” I tell him. “No dead bodies today.”

But two days later. . . well, that’s another story.


You can read more about Barbara in Dial Marr For Murder, the sixth book in the “Barbara Marr” mystery series.

A flu epidemic seems to have wiped out the volunteer force at the Rustic Woods Nature Center. Never fear, Barbara Marr to the rescue! When Nature Center activities director, Bunny Bergen finds herself without a crew to decorate for the annual Halloween Nature Walk, she dials Barb for assistance. Always the helpful friend, Barb rises to the occasion. Of course, this is Barbara Marr we are talking about. Five minutes into her task, and she discovers a dead body by the frog pond. Five hours later, she’s a trending hash tag. How does Barb do it? Read this sixth book in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series, and find out! #ThatBarbaraMarr

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About the author
Karen Cantwell is a comedienne at heart. She loves to make people laugh with her Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series and Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance series. You can learn more about Karen and her works at KarenCantwell.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Halloween with Mystery Characters by LynDee Walker

midnight-mysteriesHalloween ranks among favorite holidays for many a mystery reader—so we gathered some of our favorite characters from the anthology MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES around the fire pit tonight to share tales of their favorite Halloweens, past and present. Grab a mug of cocoa or cider and pull up an adirondack chair—we’ll start with our favorite talkative ghost. . .

Marmaduke Dodsworth (It Takes a Ghost/Karen Cantwell): My favorite Halloween story, you say? Well, yes, that is a most fascinating question to ask a ghost, now isn’t it? First, let me introduce myself: My name is Marmaduke Dodsworth. I was born in Dartford, England in the year eighteen hundred and eighty-four. I lived a mostly content life until 1915 when I traveled to the United States of America where I was struck by a car and killed. I would not say it was a good death, but oh well, as you Americans say. One Halloween, not so long ago, I joined my living friend, Sophie on a haunted house tour. There, I met a fellow spirit by the name of Myrtle May. Myrtle tutored me in the fine art of moving objects through space. Some may consider that this is a feat which comes easily to ghosts, but I assure you, this is not the case. Myrtle, ah, fair Myrtle. She had a gift and she taught me well. In no time at all she had me levitating tea pots, tea cups, spoons, and even a lamp. Why, you should have seen the faces on the tour patrons! Wide eyes, fallen jaws. We had them trembling in their boots! Yes, it was a fine Halloween indeed.

* * * * * * * *

Cherry Tucker (Vigilante Vignette/Larissa Reinhart): My favorite Halloween memories are not from childhood since I was the sole kid wearing a handmade costume. Not that my third grade Chiquita Banana suit wasn’t brilliant—although it did cause a bit of a mess—but you have to understand when I was growing up, Pinterest didn’t exist so homemade costumes were not in vogue.

But even after Shawna Branson played Monkey in the Middle with my bananas (literally), I grew to love making costumes. And now handmade costumes are in vogue. I even get paid for them. When you’re an artist, you hustle for any kind of job.

My particular favorite was a recent Halloween party at Red’s County Line Tap. Painted a Renaissance landscape backdrop in ochres and siennas, cut a big hole in the canvas, inserted my head, and went as the Mona Lisa. Luke wore a dusty pair of Wranglers, boots, and a western shirt. In the crowded bar, Luke’s cowboy had found my Mona Lisa smile and pulled me into the gents’ bathroom before our friends and family could notice. We’re the Romeo and Juliet of Halo, if you didn’t know.

Actually more like Hatfields and McCoys.

Before we could talk, my brother-in-law Nik had kicked in the bathroom door.

His kick alerted my brother, Cody. Who, misinterpreting our bathroom cluster, threatened to kill Luke.

Which led to my sister, Casey, pitching a fit for all to hear.

And then Red booted us all from the party.

But I’ve had worse happen. I just may reprise that Mona Lisa costume yet.

* * * * * * * *

Jackson Bell (Salad Days, Halloween Nights/Eleanor Cawood Jones): I don’t talk about it much, but a big part of the reason I love dressing up for Halloween as an adult is because there were a couple of years as a kid when I didn’t get to put on a costume or even enjoy any candy. My foster parents were good to me, but strict, and Halloween wasn’t on their radar.

So when I became Chef Jackson Bell, opened my own restaurant, and Halloween rolled around, I couldn’t wait to decorate, dress up, and throw a party for new customers and their kids on Halloween eve. It started small, but now we sell out every year. We carve pumpkins, admire costumes, eat treats and pumpkin pie, and laugh a lot.

My favorite Halloween was five years ago, when I first invited all the kids in foster care in our little city to come to their own party at the restaurant. It’s an annual event now. We provide costumes and masks, and the kids trick or treat at the tables and in the kitchen, enjoy Halloween lunch, and take home a bag of treats and a little pumpkin apiece. I love it!

* * * * * * * *

Nichelle Clarke (Frightening Features/LynDee Walker): I haven’t had much luck with Halloween the past couple of years—my late Octobers seem to be stuck in a “recovering from a life-threatening injury” rut that leaves me parked on the sofa with a bag of Oreos and Anderson Cooper on my TV. But sometimes, that’s not as bad as it sounds.

I’ve always loved this holiday—costumes and spooky stories are such fun, and my mom had the only “Halloween Tree” in our neighborhood when I was a kid (we got an old Christmas tree from Goodwill and spray-painted it black. If only we’d decided to sell them, we’d be holiday millionaires today.) These days, I have a teeny one that sits on the table behind the sofa, and this year, my boyfriend (still pinching myself a little on that one) camped out to play nurse/entertainment director, and it turns out he’s pretty good at it. He even dug out my spooky light up witch and the “Munchies for Monsters” candy bowl, slicked his dark hair back and popped in some vampire teeth for the trick or treaters. And, when he wasn’t manning the door, he gave a wicked foot massage. It may just be my favorite Halloween yet, healing surgical wound and all.

* * * * * * * *

The Black Cat (Weeping Moon/Maria Grazia Swan): Halloween is a canine conspiracy. The word Halloween is a dead giveaway. Try saying it slow and with a high pitch. . .get it? It’s the sound of a dog howling. . .

Ghosts, witches and goblins is what makes the day fun they say. Ah! Is what they aren’t mentioning that matters. Black cats. . .yes, black cats.

Every witch has a black cat. I’m not saying that Lella, my human personal assistant, is a witch, although there are days—but in general she pays attention to my needs and I heard her say a firm no to some neighbor kid who wanted to ‘borrow’ me, Flash, for Halloween.

Borrow. Is that even legal? And tonight is Halloween. I get to sit and watch the parade of loud kids wearing silly costumes that will be obsolete in the morning. And what for? So they can go door to door to beg for cheap candies? Take the costume money and buy your own candies I say. So everyone would stay home and my human could rub my belly instead of wasting time opening and closing the front door.

* * * * * * * *

Samantha Sweet (Spellbound Sweets/Connie Shelton): Prior to one very special Halloween, Samantha Sweet was a 50-something woman who broke into houses for a living. Covering the bills was a stretch and she baked pastries at home to fill in the gaps. Early one autumn, she encountered a dead body in one of her break-in houses, clashed with the very handsome deputy sheriff, and was handed a magical artifact. Those three events set her life on a new course and led to the first mystery she ever solved.

Halloween will always hold a special place in Samantha’s heart because October was the month in which she finally realized her dream of opening her own pastry shop, Sweet’s Sweets, and Halloween was the first crazy-busy holiday for her new business. Each year, as autumn rolls around, the witches come out of the woodwork and when costumed kids stop by Sweet’s Sweets for decorated cookies, Sam readies for the holiday with her best baked goodies of the season.

* * * * * * * *

The Kitchen Witch (No Time to Witch/Morgana Best): “You’re kidding me, right?” I asked.

Thyme, my closest friend, shook her head. “Every Halloween, an evil demon, repelled only by pumpkins, manifests the very worst fears of the townspeople.”

I wasn’t sure if she was pranking me. “Worst fears, like snakes, spiders, being buried alive, getting peanut butter stuck on the roof of your mouth?”

“All that, and more.”

I disabled the smoke alarm and threw the burned remains of my latest attempt at baking into the sink in one fluid motion. “Mine is that my cupcakes make someone spontaneously combust.”

“I can understand that. Anyway, last year, a man forgot to place a pumpkin, and he. . .” Thyme paused to wipe a tear from her eye. “Amelia, do you have a pumpkin outside your house?”

“No!” I exclaimed, as I heard a knock at the door. “Be right back.” I opened the door, using one of my charred cupcakes as a doorstop.

The hideous demon standing there struck terror into my very soul. As he stretched out a gnarled black hand to my throat, I threw my cupcake at him. He dissolved into flames.

Thyme gasped behind me. “How did you kill the demon?”

I shrugged. “It was a piece of cake.”


You can catch up with these characters plus other favorites in the limited-edition anthology MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES, which includes all-new stories by Ritter Ames, Carolyn Haines, LynDee Walker, Larissa Reinhart, Karen Cantwell, Maria Grazia Swan, Morgana Best, Connie Shelton, and Eleanor Cawood Jones. Tell us about your favorite Halloween below, and you could win one of two kindle copies! The giveaway ends November 6, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Thanks so much for having us today, Dru!

All comments are welcomed.

Interview with Mystery Characters by Ritter Ames

Cozy Holiday EscapesInterviewer: Hello readers! Welcome to our Christmas issue of Cozy Sleuths Magazine.

I’m interviewing several interesting characters today who play roles in several of the yuletide-themed stories in the new Cozy Holiday Escapes anthology available now at a special price, with eight stories in all. We’re thrilled to have characters from four of those tales here today to talk about how their lives took a turn toward mystery.

Amanda, let’s start with you. Tell us how you began in the pet sitting profession. I understand you feel it started with your name.

Amanda: I often asked myself how I ended up with this name, Amanda. Hardly a family name. My mamma was Italian and my father American, maybe they figured that was a good compromise, easy to spell and pronounce on both side of the ocean. Then I found out it means lovable, worthy of love, and it all made sense. In my opinion, every creature is worthy of love, even Cheech and Chong the two mischievous cats or Sam, the friendly dog I’m pet sitting at the moment.

Interviewer: And I understand you have a very distinctive pet you’re currently caring for—

Amanda: Matilda. A desert tortoise. Hard to miss, due to her size. She is very quiet and of course slow moving, here, see? That’s her compound, in the yard. Wait a minute…Matilda? OMG!!! Where is Matilda?

Interviewer: Well, Amanda needed to run find Matilda, so let’s move on to Barbara Marr. Barbara, how did a movie blogger’s life turn into mystery solving?

Barbara: I’m just an ordinary mom living in the ordinary suburbs. I have three beautiful daughters, a super sexy husband who looks like George Clooney, a dog, two cats, and a duck.

Interviewer: Come on…I’ve heard there’s more to it than that—

Barbara: Yes, I also find myself in dangerous situations every once in a while. You know, situations with guns and killers and such. Once there was a hand grenade. But deadly weapons and personal peril aside, it’s been a good life.

Interviewer: And this Christmas?

Barbara: This Christmas, something felt wrong. My heart wasn’t in it. Then I heard that those Finches were up to no good, and well, I couldn’t help myself. I pulled another Barbara Marr.

Interviewer: Readers, you’ll love reading this new adventure. Shuffling my notes here, next we have Sheriff Coleman Peters. We understand you’ve had to keep an eye on Sarah Booth Delaney again. Both professionally and romantically, I hear.

Sheriff Peters: Sarah Booth works hard to end up on the “nice” list each Christmas, but to be honest, I’d like to see her name on the “naughty” side. But only if she’s naughty with me. Sarah Booth and I have shared a few kisses, and she’s one special lady.

Interviewer: Once the mysteries are solved, Sarah Booth is out of trouble, and bad guys are locked up, do you have any special plans, Sheriff?

Sheriff Peters: I’ve planned a private Christmas Eve complete with eggnog, a gift or two, and some mistletoe. I’m ready to take my relationship with Sarah Booth to the next level, and that’s what I’m hoping Santa will bring me. Merry Christmas!

Interviewer: Sounds promising. We wrap up with our final guest, Kate McKenzie. Kate, I understand this is your first Christmas in your new Vermont hometown.

Kate: It is, and I’m really enjoying the whole Currier and Ives feeling of Hazelton’s hometown festivities. My best friend and neighbor, Meg Berman, is making sure I see and do everything this season. She even believes she’s going to get me to eat fruitcake.

Interviewer: So all your organizing tasks are done, and the mysteries are solved this year?

Kate: Not exactly. Some puzzling things are happening around Hazelton. They might all be coincidences, but I’m getting the feeling there’s more to it. Meg is always ready to investigate. But I’m trying to be good since I promised my husband to stay out of trouble this Christmas. I hope I can keep my promise.

Interviewer: It sounds like everyone is trying to stay on Santa’s Good List. Readers, to hear what happens to these four sleuths, as well as stories featuring four more sleuths from other bestselling mystery series, get a copy of Cozy Holiday Escapes.

Besides these stories by Maria Grazia Swan, Karen Cantwell, Carolyn Haines and Ritter Ames, there is a Kiki Lowenstein story and a Cara Mia Delgatto tale by Joanna Campbell Slan, Leslie O’Kane included an Allie Babcock story, and there’s a new Bodies of Art short by Ritter Ames.

All of us at Cozy Sleuths Magazine give the collection our highest critical review—five magnifying glasses. It’s specially priced at 99 cents, but get it quick—just like Santa, this anthology disappears after the holidays!

About Cozy Holiday Escapes

Eight light holiday short stories by six bestselling mystery authors–

  • “How the Finches Stole Christmas” by Karen Cantwell, a new story in the popular Barbara Marr series. When a new couple moves down the block and Christmas decorations begin disappearing, Barbara investigates in her own humorous way.
  • “Organized for Christmas Wishes” by Ritter Ames is a Kate McKenzie Organized Mysteries short story. Kate and Meg sign up for a cookie exchange, and find a new mystery to solve.
  • “Cara Mia Delgatto’s White Christmas” by Joanna Campbell Slan, a short story in the Cara Mia Delgatto series. Cara spends Christmas with her new friends in Florida and learns what a recycled, upcycled, repurposed Christmas can mean.
  • “Bones on the Bayou” by Carolyn Haines, a Sarah Booth Delaney short story. A hometown Christmas event is tarnished by a practical joke, and Sarah Booth Delaney investigates after a foreign visitor goes missing.
  • “Christmas in Venice” by Maria Grazia Swan. Amanda finds she has to do more than pet-sitting over the Christmas holidays when Matilda the tortoise goes missing.
  • “A Dog-Gone Christmas” by Leslie O’Kane, an Allie Babcock short mystery. Allie Babcock and her mom are at the airport, heading for a holiday away from home, when Allie notices a dog-switch and has to find a celebrity’s canine.
  • “Kiki Lowenstein and the Secret Santa” by Joanna Campbell Slan, a Kiki Lowenstein scrapbook story. Kiki and her scrapbook pals think they’re just having fun with a holiday scrapping party, but there’s more to the Christmas story.
  • “Seasonal Switches” by Ritter Ames, a brand new Bodies of Art Mysteries story. Laurel Beacham stops a Christmas crime, and may be gifted something she’s wanted for months–and almost given up on receiving.

cozy

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 11 for your chance to win a Kindle or Nook edition of Cozy Holiday Escapes. Five lucky commenters will be randomly selected. Good luck everyone!

Dead Man Stalking by Karen Cantwell

Dead Man StalkingDead Man Stalking by Karen Cantwell is the fifth book in the “Barbara Marr” murder mystery series. Publisher: Boundless

When Howard and the girls leave town, Barb thinks she’ll have some quiet, peaceful alone time. Of course, this is calamity-prone Barbara Marr. Her life doesn’t know quiet or peaceful. And forget alone. With her air conditioning on the fritz, Barb accepts an invitation from a famous thriller writer to spend a few days in a cool and comfortable lakeside house. There is just one problem: the house has a few odd characters lurking about. They aren’t after Barb, but that doesn’t stop her from becoming outrageously tangled in the lunacy and danger than ensues.

In this fifth installment of the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series, Barb finds herself fumbling through another laugh-out-loud caper while making some new and interesting friends along the way

I lLoved Dead Man Stalking. A good beginning and a good ending with comedic situations that was both engaging and entertaining. You can help but laugh your way through this fast-paced and non-stop action drama. There’s no one else like Barbara Marr and I’m so happy that she keeps coming around and around. Moyle is a welcome additional to this quirky cast of characters and I hope we get to see more of him. A delightful read that leaves me smiling for the next adventures with Barbara and her friends.

Bjorn! on the Fourth of July by Karen Cantwell

Bjorn on 4 JulyBjorn! on the Fourth of July by Karen Cantwell is the third short story featuring Barbara Marr. Publisher: Karen Cantwell, July 2014

Barbara Marr is a mom, like any in the world, who just wants to make her kids happy. When youngest daughter, Amber, begs to see the great magician Bjorn! on the Fourth of July, Barb can hardly deny her. But, in Barb’s world, the road to happiness is… rocky. Will Barb and Amber overcome life’s hurdles in time to see the magical Bjorn!? Will they be amazed?

Once again, Barbara Marr is hilariously funny as what she deemed is do-ably easy is not and how she gets Amber there in time will have you laughing out loud (even on the subway). A fun read that tickled my funny bone and I can’t wait to see what exciting escapades awaits us in the next Barbara Marr series.

Saturday Night Cleaver by Karen Cantwell

Saturday Night CleaverSaturday Night Cleaver by Karen Cantwell is the fourth book in the “Barbara Marr” murder mystery series. Publisher: Boundless, December 2012

Poor Barb. She just can’t stay out of trouble, no matter how hard she tries. But this time she has a good reason: family friend Colt Baron has gone missing. When soccer mom, Barbara Marr, and her ex-FBI husband, Howard, begin following clues in a search for their treasured pal, they find themselves crashing a rather racy sort of party – a soiree for swinging couples. Awkward. What they learn there is…interesting. But the question is, does the information lead them to Colt?

This book is a rip-roaring, laugh-a-minute, crack-me-up-to-the bone story that had me in stitches from beginning to end as Barbara gets involved in a calamity of situations. I especially love the witty and amusing dialogue that runs rampart through this as well as the relationship Barbara has with her friends and family. Kudos to Karen as this is one of the best book in this delightfully hilarious series.

Silenced by the Yams by Karen Cantwell

Silenced by the Yams by Karen Cantwell is the third book in the “Barbara Marr” murder mystery series. Publisher: Books on the Green, February 2012

What’s more chaotic than a house with a canary, two hungry cats, and a yappy poodle with elimination issues? Answer: Barbara Marr on a murder investigation. That’s right, when Barb attends her first movie review screening, film director Kurt Baugh dies within twenty minutes of meeting her. If that isn’t bad enough, her friend, ex-Mafioso, Frankie Romano, is arrested for the murder. In usual Barbara Marr fashion, a whole load of trouble ensues when she seeks to vindicate Frankie of the crime. More laughs, more fun, more Barbara Marr!

This third book in the popular Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series brings Barb out of the suburbs and into the slimy, urban world of bright lights, nightly news, and drive-by shootings. Luckily, she never loses her sense of humor or her ability to befriend some decidedly quirky characters.

There is never a dull moment when life gets in the way of Barbara Marr. This is a hilarious, fun-filled romp as Barbara finds herself in situations that can only happen on her watch as a dinner turns into murder, and when her friend is arrested, Barbara is determined to prove his innocence, even when faced with danger. The lovable and quirky cast is back in this wonderfully-crafted and fast-paced mystery. This was an enjoyable read in this pleasingly entertaining series and I can’t wait to see what adventures await Barbara and the gang.

A Day In The Life Of Barbara Marr by Karen Cantwell

I’m a mom living in the quaint suburban town of Rustic Woods. Many of my days go something like this: I have one headache, two doctor’s visits to reschedule, three daughters giving me the evil eye, four piles of clean laundry screaming to be folded, and five minutes to get to ballet class which is twenty minutes across town. Husband Howard has called to tell me he’ll be working late for the eleventh night in a row.

“I don’t want to go to ballet today!” wails my usually good-natured Amber.

“Those lessons were expensive and you’re going. I was dollars away from having to sell a kidney to pay for them.” I point to the stairs. “Go get your bag.”

I pick up the phone and punch in some numbers. “We’ll go as soon as I reschedule these appointments.”

Amber crosses her arms across her chest, sticks out her lip and glares me down before turning to stomp away.

A woman answers after three rings.

“Schmenck, Schmenck, and Yang Pediatrics, can I help you?”

“This is Barbara Marr. My daughters, Bethany and Callie, had appointments with Dr. Yang at four o’clock. You’re not going to believe this – it sounds crazy, I know – but I couldn’t find my car keys for over an hour. I turned the house upside down. That’s why we missed those appointments. I have them now though – the keys, that is. They were in the freezer next to the peanut butter.” I end with a chuckle hoping to add some levity to an otherwise gruesome tale.

As you have probably guessed by the specific details above, many of my days are not only chaotic, but repetitive.

However, there are other days that are, well . . . a tad more interesting.

See, I attract trouble the way the North Pole attracts short men with odd wardrobe choices. More to the point: I find dead people.

For instance, there was the time I found a severed human head in my neighbor’s basement. Technically, I guess you could say in that particular case, that I found part of a dead person. Then there was the time that I accidentally ran my minivan into a neighbor only to find out that someone else had already tried to kill her first. And most recently, a famous movie director actually died on top of me. Don’t worry, it wasn’t sexual—I’m happily married. It was messy though. On the upside, at least it wasn’t another neighbor.

Now, the days when I try to mix mothering with murder investigation—those are days of pure bedlam. Trust me. I could write a book.


** Thanks to the Karen, I have one (1) e-copy of SILENCED BY THE YAMS to give away. Contest ends February 22. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. E-book will be sent via e-email directly from the author. **

Meet the author:
Karen Cantwell is the author of the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series. Like her character, Barbara Marr, Karen is a mother living in the suburbs. She has never, however, found monkeys in her trees (at least not literally) or a severed human head in her neighbor’s basement, and for this she is very thankful since she would not approach the events with nearly as much chutzpah as Barb. Books in the series are Take The Monkeys And Run, Citizen Insane, and the newly released SILENCED BY THE YAMS. She is currently conjuring a fourth in the series, Saturday Night Cleaver. Karen loves to hear from readers. You can find her email address on the website, KarenCantwell.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

It’s a Dunder-Bull Wife by Karen Cantwell

It’s a Dunder-Bull Wife by Karen Cantwell is the second short story featuring Barbara Marr. Publisher: Karen Cantwell, December 2011

Dunder-Bull – the perfect little town bordering Barbara Marr’s not-so-polished Rustic Woods. Everything in Dunder-Bull is five-star rated, including the wives. As Barb puts it, “Dunder-Bull Wives make Stepford Wives look like couch potatoes.” Succumbing to the need to “measure-up,” Barb decides to prepare a grand and luscious Christmas feast for a party of twenty. The problem? Barb can’t cook her way out of a turkey-roaster bag. In usual Barbara Marr fashion, chaos ensues. Will she survive? Will her family fall victim to salmonella food poisoning? Will Martha Stewart ridicule her publicly?

A Barbara Marr Holiday short story, sure to tickle your funny bone and touch your heart at the same time.

It’s Christmas and Barbara being Barbara gets in over her head with the preparation for large holiday party. You can’t help but laugh at the antics that is Barbara as she scrambles to have the perfect Christmas for her family and friends. This was a fun and amusing read that will leave you with the holiday spirit and a smile.