Tag Archives: LynDee Walker

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.

My Musing ~ Lethal Lifestyles by LynDee Walker

Lethal Lifestyles by LynDee Walker is the sixth book in the “Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, September 2016

Lethal LifestylesWedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.

Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.

LynDee consistently entertains me with each subsequent book in her long-running series. This was a fast-paced and feet on the ground action-packed drama where the multi-plot storyline boasted a bevy of suspects and twists and turns that adds to the betterment of this tale. The mystery was nicely done with narrative that supported the character’s behavior as one by one, each played a pivotal role where the author made directional changes that continually teased me throughout the reading of this book. I like the tone and the writing style of the author that makes this an easy and comfortable read and the author never loses steps with the character development that enables me to build a continuing relationship with Nichelle and her associates. The scenes towards the end quickened my reading pace and the ending was pure heaven. This is one of the best book in this endearing series and I look forward to more exciting adventures with Nichelle.

Monday Morning Headaches with Detective Aaron White by LynDee Walker

Lethal LifestylesDays that start with a ringing phone seldom turn out well.

I fumbled for the nightstand, a dull pain in my ribs when I reached too far reminding me that I’m not twenty-five anymore.

Thirty-one years in uniform, and I’ve been shot twice. The first time, I was back to tossing my baby girl in the air four weeks later. This time, seven months have ticked by and I still wince when I raise my arm too high.

Finding my cell phone, I cracked an eyeball at the clock.

Four forty-eight.

“White,” I grunted, putting the thing somewhere in the vicinity of my ear.

“You’ll be getting a visit from a Sheriff Jim Rutledge this morning, detective. He had a murder out in Augusta County this weekend that’s of particular interest to some important people,” Deputy City Manager Matt Finderman, more commonly known as the Mayor’s favorite lackey, barked without so much as a “sorry for the ungodly hour.”

I sighed, patting an apology on my wife’s shoulder and sliding out of bed. Finderman made everything sound like high-level espionage, usually for no reason.

“Good morning to you, too, Matt,” I said, pulling the bedroom door closed and padding toward the kitchen in bare feet. “Why don’t you go ahead and tell me what this guy wants while I get some coffee?”

“What he wants isn’t nearly as important as who he needs to talk to.”

I flipped the switch on my Mr. Coffee and took a seat on a wooden barstool, the smell coming from the burbling machine chasing enough cobwebs from the corners of my brain for me to get good and annoyed. Who wakes people up before five in the morning to be cryptic?

I waited for him to elaborate. He didn’t.

“And who would that be?” I didn’t even try to keep the irritation out of my tone.

“Grant Parker.” He stopped again, and I drummed my fingers on the countertop. Both my daughters were home from college for the summer, currently at war over a boy. I had enough drama in my life with that nonsense.

Rubbing my temple with my free hand, I felt a massive headache coming my way. “Grant Parker. The sports columnist, Grant Parker?”

“By the end of the day, he’ll be the murder suspect Grant Parker.” Finderman waited a beat, plowing on when I didn’t take his bait. “You will assign the best homicide detective in your department to help Rutledge with anything he needs. You will have Parker hauled in for questioning, and you,” there went the pausing again, “will handle Nichelle Clarke.”

The big vein in my temple throbbed under my fingers.

Yep. Headache dead ahead.

“Who’s the victim?” I’ve met plenty of murderers, and couldn’t think of much that might push Grant Parker over that particular cliff.

“Mitch Burke.”

Well. Much besides that.

It hadn’t even been a week since Parker’s boss called me in an uncharacteristic panic. Because of Burke.

Damn.

Scrubbing my free hand over my face, I wondered just exactly what I was about to get pulled into.

“I expect to find Grant Parker in a jail cell by this time tomorrow, detective.” Finderman snapped. “Help Rutledge get his man. And keep your nosy reporter friend in line.”

I touched the end button without bothering to respond, dropping the phone to the tabletop.

Could Parker be mixed up in Burke’s death?

Tough one. Maybe.

But if City Hall wanted Nichelle out of the way, something was shady. Figuring out what without tipping my hand was the tricky part, since my job as the public information officer meant people recorded just about everything I said.

But for Nichelle, I’d find a way. My fingers brushed across the still-pink scar over my ribs. I’d never trusted a reporter so completely. And last time I checked, Finderman and his cronies hadn’t saved my life last Fall.

I shuffled back to the coffee maker and filled a Richmond Police Officers’ Association mug, checking the clock. Five-oh-four.

Nichelle would be done with her morning news meeting by nine.

That gave me four hours to study up on Mitch Burke and Grant Parker. And why the Mayor might want Parker behind bars.

Thanks so much for having me and Detective White today, Dru Ann! I have some goodies for your readers: TWO commenters will win the Headlines in High Heels e-book of their choice.


Lethal Lifestyles is the sixth book in the Headlines in High Heels mystery series, published by Henery Press, September 2016.

Wedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.

Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
LynDee Walker is the author of the national bestselling Headlines in High Heels mystery series, beginning with the LynDeeAgatha Award-nominated Front Page Fatality (2013).

Before she started writing mysteries, LynDee was an award-winning journalist. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the U.S.

She adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear. Connect with LynDee at lyndeewalker.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway will end September 30, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

Roses are red, Riesling is white: Joey surprises Nichelle by LynDee Walker

Cover ShotThe road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

If I was a tattoo guy, I’d have that somewhere on my body by now.

See, I never meant for any of this to happen.

All I wanted was to keep a few people out of jail, and a bunch of others from getting killed. So I convinced some associates to let me try a new approach to a business problem. Information is a powerful weapon in the right hands, I said. This’ll work, and it’s a hundred percent legit, I said.

I was right about all that.

But I was a hundred and eighty degrees wrong when I said it would be less messy.

I could tell Nichelle was shaken up, finding me on her sofa that first night. I meant for her to be. I have a knack for getting people to do what I want, and keeping them off-kilter makes it a whole lot easier.

But man, she’s got some guts. She got ahold of herself faster than any man I’ve ever dealt with. Hell, she had me a little nervous, wondering if I should’ve taken my story tip to the blonde from the TV station before I made it out the door. Know what else is powerful in the right hands? Intelligence. Guts. Sass.

I spent the rest of the week watching the paper, patting myself on the back. I got my way, nobody got hurt, win-win. Right?

Except I kept thinking about her.

Her long dark hair. Her longer legs in those sexy shoes she likes so much. The effort she put into keeping her voice even as she shot her cute little dog “you traitor” looks for staying in my lap.

I meet a lot of people, but I’ve never met a woman like her. Damned if I could find a way to shake her out of my head.

Then people all around the story I’d sent her off chasing started to disappear. I went back down to Richmond to have a look around. Not to check on her.

Not.

Until I rounded a corner in Shockoe Bottom and there she was, beaten up but still standing, flagging me down like a NASCAR pro.

I am hardly the knight in shining armor type, but when she fell into my passenger seat, pale from the blood gushing out of the gash on her leg and woozy from being clocked over the head—I like to think of myself as above losing my temper, but that night put it to the test. Every bit of self control I could summon nearly failed to keep me from ending the guy chasing her. Barely, I held my cool.

Stupidly, I tried to keep my distance. Until she grabbed my hand when the doc was numbing up her leg to stitch it shut—Jesus. Like someone stabbed a cattle prod into my palm.

I couldn’t stay away. Signore sa, I tried. Nearly drove myself out of my mind last year, avoiding her for five of the longest weeks of my life, hoping she’d get pissed off and find someone else.

Of course, as soon as she stopped calling, I started having frigging nightmares about her and Miller.

Would he be better for her? Absolutely. I knew it then, and turning onto her street tonight I still do.

She makes me see things in ways I never would’ve thought to. Makes me feel like a better man than I actually am. Three months of sharing her bed on a fairly regular basis, and I’m not bored. Nowhere close to it.

Like tonight: I haven’t seen her in almost a week, and…I don’t like being away from her.

No woman has ever been so necessary in my life.

So I’ll go inside, play with the dog, wait for her with roses and wine. Maybe a candle or two.

Romantic.

Sappy.

Normal.

For a few hours, I can pretend I’m not a selfish bastard for putting her in danger just because I can’t seem to stay away from her and keep my sanity at the same time.


See more of Joey and Nichelle in Cover Shot, the fifth book in the “Headlines in High Heels” Mystery Series, available today. Buried Leads, the second book in the series is just 99 cents this week in all e-book formats!

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on November 17 for your chance to win a signed copy of your choice from LynDee Walker’s Agatha Award-nominated Headlines in High Heels series (Front Page Fatality, Buried Leads, Small Town Spin, Devil In The Deadline, Cover Shot). US entries only, please. Good luck everyone!

About the author
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the U.S.
LynDee
Her debut novel, Front Page Fatality, was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Cover Shot is the fifth in LynDee’s national bestselling Headlines in High Heels mystery series. The sixth is due out in Fall 2016.

LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.

Visit LynDee at lyndeewalker.com, on Twitter, on Pinterest and on Facebook

A Day in the Life of Chris Landers by LynDee Walker

Devil in the DeadlineShifting the car into park, I let my head thump back against the cool leather of the seat.

My phone bleated another text arrival, and I knew without looking it was Aaron White. The last three messages he’d sent skated through my thoughts.

Not your average Saturday Night Special murder vic. Meet me at the old power plant at Belle Isle.

Where are you?

Landers. NOW.

This new one was probably less polite than the last.

I put one hand on the door hitch and pulled, the hot dogs we’d grilled for dinner roiling in my gut. I didn’t want to see the murder scene that would freak White out.

I loved being a cop. Almost everything about it—from never knowing what the day would bring to the sense of having done something good for the world when a conviction came back on some dirtbag I’d hauled in.

The gore, I could do without. Twenty minutes ago, I was listening to my kids laugh while they blew bubbles on the back deck.

Now I was trying to gather motivation to go see a corpse.

Some Saturday night.

The phone buzzed again as I climbed out of the car and I sighed. “Coming, boss.”

I picked my way through the woods, past a gaggle of reporters—vultures, always at every body dump—and into a building that would give Freddy Krueger nightmares. I glanced through the holes in the walls at the eerie play of the moonlight over the water and rocks and shivered in the summer air.

What the hell were we into now?

“Jesus, man, what took you so long?” White called from overhead. I looked up to find a hole in the ceiling, him looking down through it at me and a fifteen-foot extension ladder.

“Sorry, boss. Got here as quick as I could.” I hauled in a deep breath. I hate ladders.

Not my day.

I put a foot on the bottom rung and started up toward White.

“This is going to be a mess,” he said as I climbed. “Caucasian female, fairly young—coroner says early twenties.”

“Cause of death?” I focused on his words, clicking bits of information into holes and refusing to look down.

“Fillet?”

My head snapped back. “Come again?”

“You heard me.” White’s mouth disappeared into a thin white line, and he offered a hand to help me off the ladder. I took it, then ran my fingers through my hair and shook my head.

“Where?” The room we were in was bare, save floodlights that belonged to the department and some graffiti on the walls.

“Back here,” he motioned for me to follow him down a narrow hallway.

I swallowed hard when I smelled the blood.

Harder when I saw the altar.

Thirty seconds of looking was enough to make me question my career choices. Another thirty, and I was ready to go after whatever psycho could do this to another human.

I turned to White. “It looks like freaking Charles Manson has been here.”

He nodded slowly. “What if it’s a serial, Landers? Tell me it doesn’t fit.”

Except he knew it did.

“Damn. Who called it in?”

“Couple of street kids. They were pretty shaken up. Ambulance came to take them to St. Vincent’s about fifteen minutes before you got here.”

“Hurt?” I furrowed a brow.

“Not that I could see. Just in need of a shower and a bed and maybe some sleeping pills.”

“I’m on my way.” I bolted back for the ladder. Anything was better than standing still while there was a nutcase on the loose.

I sped to the hospital, rushing up to psych and back to the rooms where they’d put White’s witnesses.

And got nowhere. The guy wouldn’t even look at me.

I texted White and tried the girl again. Not a word. That I could understand, anyway. She was crying too hard to talk.

I strode back into the hall to keep from yelling, banging a fist into the wall. My phone buzzed.

“I’ll be home in a little while, baby,” I said as I pulled it out.

But it wasn’t my wife. It was White. Telling me there was a reporter on her way up to try to get something out of these people.

And not just any reporter. That nosy broad from the Telegraph.

Dammit.

What a day.


You can read more about Chris in Devil In The Deadline, the fourth book in the “Headlines in High Heels” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Front Page Fatality.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on February 19 for the chance to win a copy of Devil In The Deadline. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.

About the author
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.

Her debut novel, Front Page Fatality, is an amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and was nominated for the Agatha LynDeeAward for Best First Novel. DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE is the fourth in LynDee’s “Headlines in High Heels” mystery series. The fifth arrives October 2015.

LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

My Musing ~ Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker

Devil in the DeadlineDevil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker is the fourth book in the “Headlines in High Heels” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, January 2015

When the Richmond police offer an exclusive in exchange for help with a case, nothing—not even a costume party—stops crime reporter Nichelle Clarke from making Manolo tracks to the crime scene. The hunt leads her to a televangelist’s compound in the Virginia countryside where the Reverend may be more interested in fat stacks of cash than he is saving wayward souls.

With two sexy guys tangled up in Nichelle’s story—and in her heart—work and love are on a crash course for disaster. Pressure pours in from every corner, including a faceless new competitor that means the deadline is always five minutes ago. As secrets threaten and the truth becomes her lifeline, Nichelle must unmask the killer and nail down the story before she’s snared in the carefully-constructed web.

LynDee does it again by delivering a fast-paced and action-filled drama that has Nichelle going gung-ho in her quest to find a murderer and get down to the dirty business of crime where you least expect it. A thrilling read that knocked me off my feet, this is one of her best work yet and I can’t wait to see where we are headed next with Nichelle and her investigative reporting.

Cover Reveal ~ Devil In The Deadline by LynDee Walker

Thanks so much for having me on today to reveal the cover for the fourth Headlines in High Heels Mystery, Dru! DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE was such fun to write: the idea actually came from the body dump location, which my husband found one day on a run along the James River. We went back to scout it out, and the place was so creepy, I knew I had to have a victim turn up there.

Here’s a peek at the jacket copy:
Devil in the Deadline

When the Richmond police offer an exclusive in exchange for help with a case, nothing—not even a costume party—stops crime reporter Nichelle Clarke from making Manolo tracks to the crime scene. The hunt leads her to a televangelist’s compound in the Virginia countryside where the Reverend may be more interested in fat stacks of cash than he is saving wayward souls.

With two sexy guys tangled up in Nichelle’s story—and in her heart—work and love are on a crash course for disaster. Pressure pours in from every corner, including a faceless new competitor that means the deadline is always five minutes ago. As secrets threaten and the truth becomes her lifeline, Nichelle must unmask the killer and nail down the story before she’s snared in the carefully-constructed web.

DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE will be on sale everywhere January 6, 2015.

Contest: Thanks for stopping by today! Comment below and let me know what you think of the new cover, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a “Headlines in High Heels” swag pack. Contest ends by 6 p.m. eastern on September 16. US addresses only, please.

About the author
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.

LynDeeHer debut novel, Front Page Fatality, is an amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE is the fourth in LynDee’s “Headlines in High Heels” mystery series. The fifth arrives October 2015.
LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

A Day in the Life with Grant Parker by LynDee Walker

Small Town SpinY’all ever have one of those days that feels like you’re walking around in a nightmare?

It didn’t start that way. I woke up this morning with a beautiful woman sleeping next to me (the same one who has been for several months now, which is new and different, but great). Sun shining, birds chirping. Like a Hallmark card with partial nudity.

Then the phone rang.

My buddy Tony. At seven in the morning? Weird.

“I thought you were retired, man,” I said, stepping away from the bed so I didn’t wake Melanie. She had a late city council meeting last night. “Don’t you know that means you sleep in? Maybe do some TV commentary during the season?”

“Grant, I—” Tony’s voice broke, and my heart jumped into my throat. Fifteen years as one of my best friends, and I’d never heard him sound like that. Worst-case scenarios sprang to mind. Someone was hurt. Sick. His folks weren’t getting any younger. Damn.

I flipped the coffee maker on. “It’s okay,” I said, because I couldn’t think of anything else to offer. “Whatever it is, it’ll be okay. What can I do?”

I got a choked sob in response.

What the hell was going on out there? “Tony? What is it?”

“TJ.”

I dropped my coffee mug. It splintered into a thousand pieces on the tile floor. I might have stepped on it, but I couldn’t be sure. I leaned heavily on the edge of the granite countertop, because his voice told me everything I didn’t want to know.

TJ. Tony’s son was like the nephew I didn’t have. I taught him to throw a baseball. Cheered at his games. He’d just gotten his driver’s license, and there were so many twisty country roads in the little mapdot they’d moved to when Tony retired from pro football last year.

“Was it an accident?” I asked.

He pulled in a shaky breath. It sounded like he tried to answer, but the word stuck in his throat.

“Take a breath,” I said around the lump in my throat. “I’m listening.”

“Suicide.” He managed the one word before he lost it.

“No.” Me, too.

I felt the door pull on the cabinet scrape my back as I slid to the floor, ceramic shards all around me. I kept my iPhone to my ear, burying my face in the other hand and sobbing.

“Why?”

He couldn’t give me an answer. Maybe because of the tears. Maybe because he didn’t have one. I wasn’t about to push.

“You need me to come out there?” I tried to stand. Tony and I have been friends since my first day at the University of Virginia—he was the star quarterback on the football team, I was a class-A pitching recruit. The athletics department asked him to show me around campus.

He went on to win three rings with the Skins, two of them as MVP. I blew my rotator cuff in the minors and ended up as the headline sports columnist at the Richmond Telegraph.

When Tony retired, he moved his family to their beach house, on a teeny island in the Chesapeake Bay. It’d take me an hour and half to get there, but I’d blow off work for the day and head out if he needed me.

“I can’t—I don’t—the people from the sheriff’s office are still here,” he said. “Tomorrow? Can you come tomorrow?”

“Whatever you need, man.”

“The press, Grant.”

Aw, hell. It would be a big story. One that would bring out the inner asshole in some commentators, to be sure. I didn’t know what was going on, but I’d been around sports—and sports reporters—enough to know someone would spin the story to make it look like Tony was too hard on Teej. Which was absolutely untrue. My friend loved his family with a passion I admired, and hoped I could find myself, someday.

Mel shuffled into the kitchen right then, rubbing sleep from her brown eyes. Her brow crumpled when I looked up at her. I waved her away and gestured to the broken cup and her bare feet. She waved back and knelt beside me, laying a cool hand on my arm. I squeezed her fingers.

“Our cops and courts reporter is a good friend of mine,” I said into the phone. “I’ll talk to my editor and get him to move the story from sports over to her, and I’ll ask her if she can help with the spin. But y’all are going to have to talk to her. Are you up for that today? I’ll see if she can come out this evening.”

“I don’t think we’re going anywhere.”

“I’m so sorry, man. Call me if you need me. I’m serious. And I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Thanks, Grant.”

I clicked off the call and pulled Melanie close, bawling like a baby. She held me without saying a word. There were definitely some bonuses to the monogamy thing.

Clarke would help, I was sure of it. And she has this way of digging up the truth that could come in handy. I wasn’t sure what was going on in Mathews County, but I was positive that TJ was a happy kid. Something didn’t feel right.


You can read more about Parker in Small Town Spin, the third book in the “Headlines in High Heels” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Front Page Fatality. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY
Comment on this post by 6pm EST on April 13, and you will be entered for a chance to win a digital copy of SMALL TOWN SPIN. One winner will be chosen at random.

Meet the author
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation. After LynDeenearly a decade covering crime, courts, and local politics, she left full-time reporting for motherhood with a side of freelancing and fiction writing. LynDee’s debut novel, Front Page Fatality, is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and a 2013 Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel.

LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children or working on her next novel—but probably not cleaning her house. You can find her online at www.lyndeewalker.com.


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Small Town Spin by LynDee Walker

Small Town Spin 1Small Town Spin by LynDee Walker is the third book in the “Headlines in High Heels” humorous mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, April 2014

When a superstar athlete’s son turns up dead in a tiny town on the Virginia coast, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke gets the inside scoop. But she quickly spies a gaping hole her inner Lois Lane cannot ignore.

Determined to unravel the mystery, Nichelle fights off paparazzi cameras and an unexpected rival. She uncovers an illegal moonshine operation, a string of copycat suicides, and a slew of closets stacked with more skeletons than slingbacks. Chasing a killer who’s a breath from getting away with murder, Nichelle realizes too late the culprit has her number—and it might be up.

Nichelle, our strong-willed and determined heroine believes in her guts that the apparent deaths are not what is being broadcasted, so between her forays and her nose for gathering information, she’ll make it right for the victim’s family.

I love it. The writing in this series continues to get better with each book and I love the tone in this book that kept me on edge throughout most of this engrossing and riveting mystery that quickly became a page-turner. The chapters flow so easily in this fast-paced and action-filled drama that reeked of small town secrets, sports participation and hidden agendas. Boasting a strong cast of supporting characters, one of whom I would love to see disappear, and engaging and witty dialogue, this was very enjoyable and I do hope Nichelle makes a decision on her personal life. This is the best one yet in this series and I can’t wait to see where Nicey takes us next on her crime reporting endeavors.

FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.