Tag Archives: Koehler Books

A day in the life of Myra Wilkinson by Barb Goffman

50-shades-of-cabernetDear Douglas,

Take this job and shove it!


Leaning back in my swivel chair, I stared at the words on my computer screen. My friend Gwen was right. It was cathartic to type them out, even if I’d never actually say them or send them. It’s silly to burn bridges, and these words would start a fire. Gwen knows. She runs the Human Resources department here at the Washington, DC, law firm we both work at, and she received a bridge-burner email a few years ago. It didn’t work out well for the sender in the long run.

I deleted the unsent email and glanced around. It was after seven p.m. on a Tuesday night, and our floor was quiet. The attorneys who were still here were busy and focused, hunkered down in their offices, writing briefs or reading case law. No one was paying attention to me, which is as it should be. As secretary to the head of the litigation department, my job was to make others’ lives easier. I arranged schedules and couriers, set up meetings and depositions, filed, typed, ordered supplies, and, most importantly, anticipated problems and solved them.

I’ve been assisting Douglas—our department head—in this manner for forty years. Some people wouldn’t like my job, always taking a supporting role, never being in the limelight. But it’s been just fine for me. In fact, up until this week, I’ve been darn happy. It’s only since I started trying to train Jessica to take over for me—I retire on Friday—that I’ve gotten aggravated enough to toy with taking a stand.

I mean, honestly, what does it say about me that my boss thinks I can be replaced by a twenty-something bimbo who clearly cares nothing about the job and is only here to land a rich husband? I tried to tell Douglas yesterday that he’s chosen the wrong person for his new assistant, but he wouldn’t hear it. As if my word means nothing.

Maybe I should tell him to take this job and shove it.

No no no. I love my job. And I love Douglas. And I only have three days left before I retire. I should focus on the positive. Maybe I could get through to Jessica before the end of the day Friday, make her see how important this job is, how she needs to focus on the details. Or at the very least, to wear longer skirts. Oh, who was I kidding? I needed to work on Douglas. Make him see reason.

Besides, I couldn’t leave before my goodbye party on Friday afternoon. I’d been planning them for years, and finally, this one was going to be for me—a public acknowledgment of all my years of dedication. There should be great food, as well as delicious wine. Organic cabernet sauvignon. We always have organic red wine at litigation department events because Douglas is allergic to the real thing. I’ll have to make sure Jessica knows about Douglas’s allergy and understands how important it is that his allergy remains a secret. He thinks if word got out, it would undermine his scary litigator persona.

Entrusting a big secret to a woman who isn’t detail oriented? What could go wrong with that?

Pick up a copy of 50 Shades of Cabernet, published March 20th by Koehler Books, to find out. This short-story anthology opens with Agatha Award-winning author Barb Goffman’s newest story—“Whose Wine Is It Anyway?”—about Myra’s last days at the law firm.

In vino mysterium is the theme for this anthology, each story blending a baffling mystery and a glass (or more) of cabernet. When eighteen mystery writers combine their talents, the result is the perfect “flight” of stories that range from the light-bodied puzzles to sparkling cozy mysteries to darker, heavier tales of deceit and murder. While cabernet is the featured wine, this anthology will appeal to connoisseurs of all varietals—in both wine preference and mystery style.

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About the author
Barb Goffman edits mysteries by day and writes them by night. She’s won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and she’s been a finalist for national crime-writing awards nineteen times: ten times for the Agatha, four times for the Macavity, three times for the Anthony, and once each for the Derringer and Silver Falchion awards. Her book Don’t Get Mad, Get Even won the Silver Falchion for the best short-story collection of 2013. When not writing, Barb runs a freelance editing and proofreading service. She lives in Winchester, Virginia, and blogs every third Tuesday at www.SleuthSayers.org. In her spare time, she reads, reads, reads and plays with her dog. Learn more at www.barbgoffman.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Kindle copy of 50 Shades of Cabernet. The giveaway ends March 24, 2017. Good luck everyone!

50 Shades of Cabernet is available at retail and online booksellers.

A Day in the Life of Hazel Rose by Maggie King

murder-at-the-moonshine-innI look in the mirror and laugh. Is that really my hair or did a cloud of chestnut-colored cotton candy land on my head? I may have gone overboard with the big hair look—but, as long as I fit in at the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s premiere redneck bar, that’s the main thing.

I streak frosted blue shadow across my eyelids. The shade did nothing for my green eyes, but Eileen Thompson had insisted that blue was more redneck. She was quite firm on the point. The scarlet polish on my nails sparkle like Christmas lights.

When I emerge from the bathroom, Vince’s appreciative whistle says he likes the redneck me.

“It’s just for tonight,” I say. “This is way too much work.”

The day before I had made a thrift store run and created my outfit: a Harley Davidson two-sizes-too-small tank top that revealed an impressive display of Victoria’s Secret-created cleavage; jeans that I’d slashed in strategic places molded my bottom half; Eileen’s contribution of hand-tooled cowgirl boots completed the costume.

I assure my husband that he looks pretty hot himself in his snug jeans, Confederate T-shirt, and baseball cap.

My name is Hazel Rose and I write baby boomer romances. My husband Vince writes true crime accounts. We’re not rednecks and we’re not celebrating Halloween in June. So why our curious wardrobe choices?

It all started when Roxanne Howard, a high-powered executive, was found in a pool of blood outside of the Moonshine Inn. Brad Jones, Rox’s husband and my cousin, is the chief suspect. But the police can’t find any proof to arrest him and Rox’s sister is convinced that he didn’t kill his wife because he’s “such a nice man.”

The sister remembers that I found another woman’s killer years before and pleads with me to find Rox’s. I’m not so convinced of Brad’s innocence. And, since he won’t deign to speak to me, I’d hardly call him a nice man. But he’s family, and I believe you should do anything to help your family—even if it means going undercover at the disreputable Moonshine Inn where Vince and I planned to (carefully) pump the denizens for any information that could lead to Rox’s murderer.

My cousin Lucy suggested that I might get writing ideas at the Moonshine Inn. Redneck baby boomers having hot and steamy sex? Hmm.

At the bar, Vince parks by the chain link fence and dumpster where Rox’s body was found. Despite the heat, I shiver.

I suggest that we review some grammar that I learned from a website devoted to redneck dialog. Vince dismisses my preparation attempts, saying it will all come naturally. “Just leave the gs off words that end in ing.”

“Yes, but there’s more. Time is tahm, fine is fahn, and for is fer.”

“Fahn. The men will all be looking at your lovely assets and won’t notice if you talk like a Harvard professor. Come on, let’s go in and get this farce over with.”

I give my husband—rather, my old man in redneck parlance—a look and get out of the car.

“By the way, tonight your name is Ricky and mine is Shelby.” At Vince’s questioning look, I explain, “I got them from a database of redneck baby names.”

“Whatever you say, dear.”

We walk into the Moonshine Inn.


Murder at the Moonshine Inn is the second book in the Hazel Rose Book Group mystery series, published by Koehler Books, November 2016.

When high-powered executive Roxanne Howard dies in a pool of blood outside the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s premier redneck bar, the victim’s sister enlists Hazel Rose to ferret out the killer. At first Hazel balks–she’s a romance writer, not a detective. But Brad Jones, Rox’s husband, is the prime suspect. He’s also Hazel’s cousin, and Hazel believes in doing anything to help family. Never mind that Brad won’t give her the time of day–he’s still family.

Hazel recruits her book group members to help with the investigation. It’s not long before they discover any number of people who feel that a world without Rox Howard is just fine with them: Brad’s son believes that Rox and Brad were behind his mother’s death; Rox’s former young lover holds Rox responsible for a tragedy in his family; and one of Rox’s employees filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her. The killer could be an angry regular from the Moonshine Inn–or just about anyone who ever crossed paths with the willful and manipulative Rox.

When a second murder ups the ante Hazel must find out who is behind the killings. And fast. Or she may be victim #3.

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About the author
Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including the recently-released Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She contributed the stories “A Not So Genteel Murder” and “Reunion at Shockoe Slip” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies.

Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.

Connect with Maggie maggieking.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Murder at the Book Group. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 24, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of PI Delanie Fitzgerald by Heather Weidner

Secret Lives and Private EyesMy brother, Lt. Steve Fitzgerald thinks I need to find a normal job. My name is Delanie Fitzgerald, and I’m quite pleased with my career choice of private investigator. I own Falcon Investigations. I do most of the sleuthing, and my partner, computer whiz, Duncan Reynolds, has a way with research. The rest of the world calls it hacking, but I look the other way because he has a way of getting computers to cough up information that people want to keep hidden.

Most days, I go to the office with Duncan and Margaret, his English bulldog, or run errands like everyone else. But with this job, I do get to play dress up and spy – usually on wayward husbands. My brother calls it stalking for a living. But I like to think that I’m a grown up Nancy Drew. I just show up at the mark’s favorite bar in my little black dress and see what happens. It’s amazing what people will tell a stranger.

People think that investigating is glamorous. It can be, but if I’m not working, I spend most evenings with what’s on my DVR in my Sears Catalog home. It’s the Yates model, and the original owners ordered it from Sears in 1939. The pieces arrived by train and were eventually assembled into my bungalow. It’s quirky, but it fits my style.

New cases are exciting, but they can involve long hours of stakeouts and talking to everyone and his brother who could have information pertinent to the case. I enjoy the people part. I learned a long time ago that if I carry a clipboard and look official, people will tell me just about anything. I keep a bag of work gear: clipboards, lanyards with lots of IDs, and a variety of hats and wigs in the trunk of my black Mustang for any occasion. It also helps that Duncan likes gadgets. He always has the latest hidden microphone, camera, or bugging device. I have a purse and a hat that conceal a camera. They all come in handy during investigations. I wish we had a drone. That would make stakeouts more interesting. I’ll have to check with Duncan about that.

Recently, we’ve acquired two clients with interesting requests that didn’t involve cheating husbands. The first came from a tell-all author in California. She wants Duncan and I to chase down rumors that 80s pop star, Johnny Velvet of the Vibes, faked his death and is living incognito in rural Virginia. Johnny Velvet was as big as Wham! and Culture Club in the Big 80s, and everyone knows he died in a fiery car crash on a bridge in Los Angeles. I had his posters on my wall in elementary school, and his music was part of every mix tape I made. Why would he give up stardom and retreat to a farm in the middle of nowhere? If the answer’s out there, Duncan and I will find it.

And if that’s not enough to keep me busy, local strip club owner, Chaz Wellington Smith, III hired us to look into allegations that someone at city hall was thwarting his efforts to open a new club near the museum district. And about the time I was wrapping up my research for Chaz, the mayor ended up dead in his Mercedes in front of Chaz’s club, The Treasure Chest. I have a feeling that I’ll be spending the next few months helping Chaz clear his name. Usually a poster boy for the hipster generation (a demographic that he’s aged out of), Chaz wears shiny suits with open collars and lots of jewelry and drives a gold Hummer, wrapped in bikini-clad advertisements for his club. Despite his rough edges and bad table manners, Chaz grows on you after a while. And more importantly, he always pays in cash. Chaz may be sleazy, but I don’t think he’s a murderer. Duncan and I are determined to find the real killer.

– Delanie

Secret Lives and Private Eyes is the first book in the NEW Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series, published by Koehler Books, May 2016.

Business has been slow for Private Investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, but her luck seems to change when a tell-all author hires her to find rock star, Johnny Velvet. Could the singer whose career purportedly ended in a fiery crash almost thirty years ago, still be alive?

And as though sifting through dead ends in a cold case isn’t bad enough, Chaz Wellington Smith, III, a loud-mouthed, strip club owner, also hires Delanie to uncover information about the mayor’s secret life. When the mayor is murdered, Chaz, is the key suspect. Now Delanie must clear his name and figure out why landscaper Tripp Payne, keeps popping up in her other investigation. Can the private investigator find the connection between the two cases before another murder – possibly her own – takes place?

Secret Lives and Private Eyes is a fast-paced mystery that will appeal to readers who like a strong, female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations.

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Meet the author
Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II. Currently, she is President of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, and a member of Guppies and Lethal Ladies Write. Secret Lives and Private Eyes is her debut novel.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Connect with Heather: Website and Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon Authors | Pinterest | LinkedIn

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Secret Lives and Private Eyes. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 11, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!