Tag Archives: Lyrical Underground

A day in the life with Lara Caphart by Linda Reilly

Sixteen years—sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? But that’s how long it’s been since I’ve seen my Aunt Fran.

I’m Lara Caphart, watercolor artist and cat lover. I was eleven when my folks moved from Whisker Jog, New Hampshire to a suburb of Boston, taking me away from my aunt. For a long, long time, I missed Aunt Fran horribly. And I really missed her cats—she always had at least three adorable felines roaming her Folk Victorian home. The quintessential loving aunt, she cheered me on in my artistic pursuits. Every day after school, I headed to her house. She was a teacher, so she got home from work earlier than my folks did. I couldn’t wait to rush into her fragrant kitchen, where cookies, juice, sketch paper, and colored pencils were soon plopped onto the Formica table for me. I drew pictures to my heart’s content—usually with a cat in my lap—until Dad picked me up after work.

But after we moved, everything changed. For reasons I never understood, Aunt Fran and I became estranged. I wrote her letter after letter, but she never replied. And she didn’t call, either. Didn’t Dad give her our new unlisted number? After a while I stopped asking, but I still missed her like crazy.

Now I’m a real artist, living above an Italian bakery in Boston’s historic North End. Yup. Living the dream, as people say. Truth is, I’m a struggling artist. I work part time in the bakery to help make ends meet. . .and to score free pastries.

I have to admit. . .until a few days ago I was reasonably content. Then I got a call from my childhood bestie, Sherry Bowker. Sherry owns a coffee shop in Whisker Jog with her mom, Daisy. My aunt, she confided, is having serious troubles. Aunt Fran’s knees have gotten so bad she was forced to quit her teaching job. To complicate matters, she’s been taking in rescue cats and is now on overload. A few locals have even dubbed her the “crazy cat lady.” Add to the mix the town bully, who’s been harassing my aunt because he wants to buy her vacant lot. Sounds like one big mess, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why Sherry begged me to intervene.

I want to help my Aunt Fran, honestly, I do—and I definitely want to help with the cats. But will she even want to see me, after all this time? Will she blame me for the falling-out we never really had?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I just knocked on her door. My heart is pumping wildly, and my legs feel like pudding. Even if she answers the door, I’m not sure she’ll invite me in. Maybe you could come along with me. . .you know, for moral support? One thing I can promise—you’ll meet plenty of cats. I only hope I don’t have to deal with that town bully. From Sherry’s description, he sounds dreadful. And I’m not sure why, but I have a sinking feeling he’s going to be one colossal problem. . .

You can read more about Lara and her Aunt Fran in Escape Claws, the first book in the NEW “Cat Lady” mystery series, coming December 26, 2017.

Here, killer, killer, killer . . .

For the first time in sixteen years, Lara Caphart has returned to her hometown of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. She wants to reconnect with her estranged Aunt Fran, who’s having some difficulty looking after herself-and her eleven cats. Taking care of a clowder of kitties is easy, but keeping Fran from being harassed by local bully Theo Barnes is hard. The wealthy builder has his sights set on Fran’s property, and is determined to make her an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.

Then Lara spots a blue-eyed ragdoll cat that she swears is the reincarnation of her beloved Blue, her childhood pet. Pursuing the feline to the edge of Fran’s yard, she stumbles upon the body of Theo Barnes, clearly a victim of foul play. To get her and Fran off the suspect list, Lara finds herself following the cat’s clues in search of a killer. Is Blue’s ghost really trying to help her solve a murder, or has Lara inhaled too much catnip?

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (Kindle or Nook) of Escape Claws. The giveaway will end December 26, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Linda Reilly is the author of the Deep Fried Mysteries published by Berkley Prime Crime, and the Cat Lady Mysteries published in e-book format by Kensington Lyrical. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, she lives with her husband in southern New Hampshire. You can visit her at lindasreilly.com. She loves to hear from readers!

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Daria Dembrowski by Greta McKennan

What a day! In the space of twenty-four hours I learned that my client’s will was stolen, handled a mortuary urn containing the remains of a man who died in a house fire, cobbled together an eighteenth century gown for a crotchety old lady, met a grad student at the university and heard a shocking story of treason that took place during the Revolutionary War, took a road trip from my small town of Laurel Springs to Philadelphia, witnessed a fire on my front porch steps, fit a wedding dress for the bride-to-be of my former fiancé, and almost beaned my brother over the head with a cast iron skillet.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

The worst part was the fire. I was on my way home from Philly with my favorite obnoxious photographer Sean McCarthy when we saw the smoke rising from my downtown neighborhood. We followed the fire trucks to my house, a solid three-story building dating from the mid-nineteenth century that was home to me, my older brother Pete, and my housemate Aileen, the lead singer in the metal band, the Twisted Armpits.

A pile of brush on the porch steps was on fire. When I looked closer, I saw that it was my new Japanese maples, the ones that I had rescued from the renovations at Compton Hall. My sweet old client Priscilla Compton had arranged for them to be torn out because they weren’t historically accurate. She was in the midst of restoring her house to its original state from the eighteenth century, as part of the TV reality show, My House in History.

“Out with the new, in with the old,” the gardener had said as he uprooted the trees. As the only historical seamstress in town, my job on the set was to sew period clothing for Priscilla and her ornery sister Ruth. If Compton Hall got the most votes from viewers, Priscilla would win a million dollars. I wasn’t sure it was worth a million dollars to destroy Priscilla’s prize-winning Japanese maples.

Pete and I had rescued two of them and transplanted them in front of my house, and now they were burnt up. I felt like crying. After the smashed eggs and the dead mice strewn all over the porch, not to mention the creep who tried to break into the house in the middle of the night, this was the last straw. Somebody was definitely trying to intimidate us.

Of course, nobody could intimidate Aileen. Standing six feet tall without her six-inch boot heels, she stomped around the porch barefoot in a black trench coat with her hair up in a towel, trying to put out the fire. She looked like she was ready to take on all foes. But were any of us ready to tangle with a murderer?

Read more about Daria Dembrowski in Historically Dead, the second book in the “Stitch in Time” mystery series.

Seamstress Daria Dembrowski must find a historically-minded killer before the fabric of her peaceful town rips wide open . . .

When the reality show My House in History comes to Laurel Springs, Pennsylvania, savvy seamstress Daria Dembrowski sees a business opportunity. The show follows two elderly sisters’ quest to restore their colonial mansion, and that means a heap of work for a seamstress who specializes in historical textiles. Although one of the old women is a bit of a grump, Daria loves the job—until she discovers one of the researchers dead, and the whole project threatens to unwind.

As a series of historical crimes pile up, from a stolen Paul Revere platter to a chilling incident of arson, Daria must find the killer quickly, for her life is hanging by a thread.

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Meet the author
Greta McKennan is a wife, mother, and author, living her dream in the boreal rainforest of Juneau, Alaska. She enjoys a long walk in the woods on that rare sunny day, reading cozy mysteries when it rains, and sewing the Christmas jammies on her antique Singer sewing machine. She is hard at work on the next novel in her Stitch in Time Mystery series featuring seamstress Daria Dembrowski. Find her online at www.gretamckennan.com.

A day in the life of Matilda Wilde by Sharon Pape

Hello there – I’m Matilda Wilde, but folks just call me Tilly. Since the accident that took the lives of my older sister, Morgana, and my mother, Bronwen, I’ve become the matriarch of the Wilde family. Not that we’re much of a family anymore. It’s only my dear niece, Kailyn, and I. But enough belly-aching, as my mother would say; I’m here to tell you about a typical day in my life.

There was a time not long ago when my typical day would have bored you all to tears, even though I’m a sorcerer and highly regarded psychic. We live in a quaint little town up in Schuyler County, New York where tourism pays the bills. We Wildes prefer to keep a low profile, but that’s a whole lot harder since Merlin crash landed in Kailyn’s magick shop. Yes – that Merlin! Imagine someone from hundreds of years ago being plunked down in today’s world without any warning – talk about culture shock. Now multiply all the possibilities for misadventure a thousand fold, because Merlin is the most powerful sorcerer of all time. Nope – not finished yet. Add the fact that he is elderly and suffers from a wee bit of dementia. Now you have a general idea of how different my life has become.

Let me tell you about yesterday, for example. Merlin woke me at dawn to say he was hungry. Are you wondering why he didn’t just use magick to make his breakfast? Well, after he created one too many disasters with mis-remembered spells, Kailyn and I had to forbid his use of them. Not that he always obeys our rules. It seems that his pal, King Arthur, gave him pretty much free reign, and now we’re paying the price.

After Merlin finished a huge breakfast, we went to my shop, Tea and Empathy, which is cheek to jowl with Kailyn’s magick shop. We try to take turns wizard-sitting him, but yesterday I had readings and teas scheduled, and Kailyn was busy investigating the latest murder in town. I left Merlin to entertain himself with the TV and computer. Apparently that wasn’t enough. He decided to bake a blueberry pie by himself. He doubled the amount of blueberries in my recipe and the result was a blueberry river spilling out of my oven and streaming across the kitchen floor. He tried to clean up the mess with a spell that not only stopped the overflow, but solidified it like cement onto my oven and floor. Thankfully when Kailyn returned, she remembered the spell to reverse other spells.

After I was done with the day’s readings, Merlin and I visited another shopkeeper in town to ferret out info for Kailyn’s investigation. To be fair, Merlin has proven to be quite useful in that regard. We make quite the team. When dinnertime rolled around, my poor arthritic toes and bunions were aching too much for me to prepare a meal, so I took Merlin to The Soda Jerk. He polished off a bacon cheeseburger, fries and two strawberry shakes. Back home, while we watched TV, he gave me a wonderful foot rub. Lord only knows where he learned that art, but I didn’t ask. I decided to just be grateful for small favors, like my mother used to say.

You can read more about Tilly in That Olde White Magick, the second book in the “Abracadabra” mystery series.

It’s time to work her crime-solving magic again . . .

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the body of a board member outside the schoolhouse, Kailyn doesn’t want any suspicion cast on the wrong person. She plans to crack this case, even if she has to talk to every living soul in town—plus a few departed ones . . .

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About the author
Sharon describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they ever condensed. Then life brought her an unexpected challenge by the name of breast cancer. After treatment, she and her oncologist started a not-for-profit to provide information and peer support to breast cancer patients. With the organization up and running, she returned to her first love – writing. This time around she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. That Olde White Magick is the second book in her Abracadabra Mysteries.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Sue Patrick by Lane Stone

Hi there,

I’m taking a break sanitizing the dog crates in what we at Buckingham Pet Palace call our Sleepover Suites, to write to you. Sure, I’m one of the co-owners but we all pitch in and do what needs to be done. Right now, what needs to be done is sitting on the sofa in my office with my feet up.

My days are long but fulfilling because I’m doing what I want to do. I wake up around five o’clock and go to the Lewes Beach to run. My house is about three miles from the ocean. Then I go home and walk my Standard Schnauzer, Abby, and get ready for the day. When you work with dogs, the days are the same, because of their love of routine, but somehow different. If you’re a dog person, or any kind of a pet person, you know what I mean by that. It’s one of the reasons we love our guys. The only time my routine is thrown into chaos is when my co-owner, Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, comes to town. And the other is when murder comes to Lewes, Delaware.

Our partnership is the product of an organization called Global She. That’s an international organization of female small business owners, which encourages collaboration among women from different cultures. I’m not sure we’re what they had in mind, but it’s worked. I wanted something to make my business stand out. I needed help with branding to let pet parents know their dogs would get the royal treatment at our pet spa. Lady Anthea Fitzwalter was offering her consulting services. I sent her an email with my proposal and offered a percentage of the profits. She accepted right away and the “pet-ronage” began. We use photos of her estate, Frithsden, and its gardens all over Buckingham’s. Let me tell you, Downton Abby has nothing on that place. Here’s a bit of trivia: the queen’s favorite breeder is also the breeder for Lady Anthea’s Corgis. And, get this, her grandmother was Lady-in-Waiting to the queen!

I love Elvis, surfing and reading murder mysteries. She loves opera, art and history. We have nothing in common but that helped us when we had to solve the murder of one of our employees last year. I used my, if I do say so, thorough knowledge of Elvis songs for some of our most important clues. She used what she’d learned through her education and her family’s art collection, collected over generations, for others.

It’s good we were successful because of our town’s new police chief. He thinks he’s decisive but I think he’s way too quick when it comes to declaring someone a suspect. He’s learning that this is my town and that I can find out what no one will tell him.

He also wants me to go out with him. Should I? What do you think? Gotta go, those crates won’t clean themselves.

Sue Patrick

You can read more about Sue in Stay Calm and Collie On, the first book in the NEW “Pet Palace” mystery series.

Buckingham Pet Palace is known for treating dogs like royalty-until murder dethrones its good reputation!

As owner of an upscale doggy daycare and spa, animal-lover Sue Patrick pampers pooches for the most elite clients in Lewes, Delaware. Surely she can survive a weeklong visit from Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, her well-to-do business partner from England. But before Sue can serve her guest a spot of tea, she discovers more-than-a-spot of blood inside the company van-and all over the driver’s dead body . . .

Someone abandoned the van full of dogs at the Lewes ferry terminal and got away with murder, leaving Sue and Lady Anthea pawing for clues. With a fundraising gala approaching and Buckingham Pet Palace facing scandal, can two very different women work together to fetch the culprit from a list of dodgy suspects-or are they heading toward a proper disaster?

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Meet the author
Lane Stone, husband Larry Korb, and the real Abby live in Alexandria, Virginia during the week and Lewes, Delaware on the weekend.

Her volunteer work includes media and communications for the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation. She’s on Georgia State University’s Political Science Department Advisory Board. She serves as College/University Coordinator for the American Association of University Women for Virginia and on Northern Virginia Community College’s Women’s Center External Advisory Board.

She is currently pursuing her post-graduate certificate in Antiquities Theft and Art Crime. Her alma mater is Georgia State University.

Her standard schnauzer, Abby, tweets as TheMenopauseDog. You can find Lane at www.LaneStoneBooks.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Dodie O’Dell by Suzanne Trauth

It’s winter in Etonville, New Jersey, and I, Dodie O’Dell, restaurant manager extraordinaire, along with everyone else in town, is slipping and sliding on the ice and snow. While most people in the northeast would be content to spend their evenings before a roaring fire, hot toddy in hand, the town’s hardy citizens are braving the weather to attend rehearsals for the Etonville Little Theatre’s upcoming production. Inspired by the classic Our Town, written by the ELT’s own former artistic director Walter Zeitzman and titled, what else, Eton Town, everyone is excited to enter new play territory. Sort of. The cast isn’t sure about Walter’s playwriting skills. Maybe he should have done the original and left well enough alone instead of setting Eton Town during the American Revolution to honor Thomas Eton, founder of Etonville.

My BFF and current artistic director Lola Tripper decides to direct this one herself and has asked me to, once again, serve as her part-time cheerleader and go-to confidant. And I have a brainstorm: celebrate the 18th century founding of Etonville and build on my theme-food adventures at the same time. The Windjammer could stock the concession stand with colonial desserts whipped up by Etonville folks!

So. . .I am sponsoring a baking class with the locals, plus Sally, one out-of-town brave soul, to create apple pie and pumpkin bread. Rehearsals are finally underway while I hold Lola’s hand and Chief Bill Thompson, Etonville’s top law enforcement officer and my recent squeeze, holds mine. Lately, he’s been seen popping by the theater and the Windjammer on his nights off. . .

The whole town is getting in on the act. Mildred is teaching hymns to the onstage chorus; the Banger sisters play dead bodies in the town graveyard; Vernon delivers monologues as the Stage Manager—perfect since he frequently forgets his hearing aids and in this role won’t have to dialogue with anyone. Walter—actor, playwright, and producer—is a triple threat and has even installed a turntable on the stage. The ELT is now high tech!

We’ve been baking early American desserts for several Sundays now and today is our last session. Henry is glad since he balks at having to come to work Monday morning and find cake batter splattered on his oven. Today’ s recipe is for Swamp Yankee Applesauce cake and as long as everyone can follow the recipe, multiply and divide, and get the oven temperature correct, the concession stand should be good to go.

At the end of the afternoon, we have a dozen cakes ready for sale and it’s time to head back out into the winter night, where snow has begun to fall. Sally, my out-of-town baking volunteer, offers to stay and help me clean up. She’s a quiet, pretty, twenty-one-year-old transplant from New England. I’d met her mid-January when I’d given her some recommendations on a place to live and helped her with job-hunting. It wasn’t long before she ended up in the cast of Eton Town and joined the baking class.

I propose that I drive her to the rooming house where she is staying, but she declines the offer and says she’ll walk. She’s from Boston and used to the cold and wind and snow. The sun has set by the time we step outside and Sally turns to go. Then she freezes and catches her breath, staring across the street. Barbie’s Craft Shoppe, one of the only businesses on Main Street open on Sunday, is closing up, lights are being flicked off, and Barbie is hanging the Closed sign. I glance back to see what has disturbed Sally.

To the left of the shop, a man stands under the street light. Big, burly, filling out a camouflage coat, he wears a trapper hat with the ear flaps flipped up. A full beard sprouts out of a face that stares back at Sally. Then he opens his mouth as if about to shout something at us. Before he can say a word, an Etonville police cruiser, lights flashing, comes to an abrupt stop in front of Barbie’s Craft Shoppe. Officer Ralph Ostrowski jumps out. They talked briefly, then Ralph escorts the man into the back seat of his squad car. They drive off, but not before the man twists in his seat and presses his face against the window, still gazing intently at Sally.

She stuffs her hands in her pockets and backs up, looking around and checking our side of the street. Then she pulls the hood of her coat over her head and runs off. I watch her leave. Despite the fact that I am warm inside my down jacket and scarf, I shiver. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand upright. My radar system giving me a warning: something isn’t right.

You can read more about Dodie in Running Out of Time, the third book in the “Dodie O’Dell” mystery series.

Restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell’s themed food ideas have been called cute, clever, and delicious, but never revolutionary-until now. Dodie’s Windjammer Restaurant is stocking the Etonville Little Theatre’s concession stand with colonial-era desserts and drinks: Swamp Yankee applesauce cake, pumpkin bread, hot cider punch, and mulled wine to complement the latest production. A local playwright has adapted Thornton Wilder’s Our Town into Eton Town, shifting the story to colonial America and the founding of Etonville, New Jersey, shortly after the Revolutionary War.

On opening night, hours before the curtain rises, Dodie runs into an agitated actress backstage with blood on her hands. Then a stranger is found among the chairs set for a graveyard scene with a knife in his chest. The show will not go on-the theatre is now a crime scene. Hoping to clear the red-handed suspect, Dodie returns to the role of amateur sleuth to mull over the clues and beat the backstage stabber to the punch-before someone else becomes history . . .

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About the author
Suzanne Trauth’s novels include Show Time, Time Out, and Running Out of Time. Her plays include Françoise, Midwives, Rehearsing Desire, iDream, and Katrina: the K Word. Her screenplays Solitaire and Boomer Broads have won awards at the Austin Film Festival and she wrote and directed the short film Jigsaw. She is currently a member of Writers Theatre of New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights program. Ms. Trauth has co-authored Sonia Moore and American Acting Training and co-edited Katrina on Stage: Five Plays. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

For more information, visit her website at suzannetrauth.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Seamus Carmichael by Amy M. Reade

If only I’d known what I was getting into when I bought that painting from the junk dealer in Edinburgh, I would have left it lying there on the floor where I found it.

After all, it wasn’t even in good shape. I recognized it as a painting by an old Scottish master, so I snapped it up before the junk shop owner knew what he had.

Och, that painting has brought no end of trouble for me and my wife, Sylvie.

Life in the village of Cauld Loch in the Scottish Highlands is good, or at least it was until Florian McDermott died under bizarre circumstances. He was a strange wee man and it’s downright eerie to think Sylvie and I may have been the last ones to see him alive.

Life for the two of us has spiraled downward since Florian’s death. We’ve gotten strange phone calls, an unexpected houseguest, and a very disturbing visit from a person who remains anonymous. It’s got to have something to do with that painting, but we don’t know what’s so special about it.

But we’ll find out, of that I’m sure.

The one bright spot since Florian’s death has been the invitation for me to show my paintings in a posh London gallery. Sylvie and I have made a vacation out of it and are staying in London for two weeks. She’s seeing the sights of one of the world’s most beautiful and storied cities while I work, but I don’t mind.

Come to think of it, Sylvie hasn’t been too specific about the places she’s visited while I’ve been working, but I’m sure she’s hitting all the high points. Och, she’ll show me the pictures when we get back to Cauld Loch. She’s a cracking photographer; she’ll choose the best photos and make prints of them to sell in our gallery.

Our time in London has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Sylvie and me, but I think we’re both ready to head back to our home in the Highlands. We miss the quiet of the village, the mountains and the loch, and our friends and family.

If only the authorities could catch the person responsible for Florian’s death, our lives could return to normal. We’re both under a lot of stress and I know Sylvie’s scared. But there’s something I need to talk to her about and if she’s not able to listen to me calmly and with an open heart, things may never be the same between us.

So much for life returning to “normal.”

You can read more about Seamus in Highland Peril, the second book in the “Malice” suspense series.

Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view.

Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.

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About the author
Amy M. Reade is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malice Series, consisting thus far of The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross. She has also written three standalone novels of gothic suspense: Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade.

Amy is a recovering attorney living in Southern New Jersey. She is active in community organizations and loves reading, cooking, and traveling when she’s not writing. She is currently working on three mystery novels.

Connect with Amy at amymreade.com and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Sunny Taylor by June Shaw

It started as a bad day. Since my twin Eve Vaughn was grief-stricken, instead of working on our new remodeling and repair business, she chose to stay home and slap black paint all over her newest canvas.

Living a block away, I couldn’t lift her mood. If you know anything about me, you might recall that I also couldn’t do much physical labor since a killer shot me in the shoulder and almost made me his next victim. My arm was healing, but complications set in, making me also discontent. That’s when Dave Price called and changed everything.

Eve is thrice divorced, but after businessman Dave moved into our small bayou town, she decided he was her soulmate—the man she had been searching for all along. Coming on strong with him, she let him know how she felt. The problem was (and he is too much of a gentleman to just say it), he didn’t want her.

The worse problem? I had never been truly in love with a man (even though I divorced the one I’d agreed to marry) and never thought I wanted another man—until Dave and I were thrown together. He seems to really care for me, too, and recently bought a fishing camp along the bayou. He wanted me to give him suggestions on how to improve it. Eve doesn’t know of our interest in each other so to get her out of her doldrums, I easily convinced her to join me at Dave’s new place.

At his camp that should provide a relaxing space, I let him show Eve one section while I checked out the utility room. The previous owner had cleared everything out of it except the hot water heater, which a filled large black garbage bag leaned against. Uncomfortable because a plastic bag leaned against a heater, I tugged to move it away but could not. I opened the top to remove some items—and that’s when my sister knew.

The Christmas carol that rang out from my mouth made her come running to see what I feared.

You can read more about Sunny in Dead on the Bayou, the second book in the “Twin Sisters” mystery series.

It may be easier to patch up an old home than a broken heart. But along the Louisiana bayou, where beauty and danger mingle all too seamlessly, thoughts of romance may have to simmer on the back burner . . .

Twin sisters and fellow divorcees Sunny Taylor and Eve Vaughn have established their home repair and remodeling business with an eye toward quality and personal attention. So when they’re approached by hunky Dave Price to fix up his bayou fishing camp, they’re more than happy to take the job—especially since they both secretly think he may prove to be more than just another satisfied customer . . .

The ramshackle campsite could certainly use a woman’s touch. What it does not need is a dead body—but that’s what the trio stumble across. Clearly, the poor soul was murdered—and once the town tongue-waggers get going, Sunny, Eve, and Dave come under suspicion of the police, not to mention potential clients . . .

Now, with their futures on the line, their brewing love triangle will have to wait. Helped—and harried—by the twins’ mother and her retirement home’s cadre of amateur sleuths, the trio starts snooping on their own. But when another dead body turns up, they’ll have to get their hands dirtier than a swamp-bottom snake if they hope to clear their names . . .

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June will be giving away two Kindle copies of A Fatal Romance, book one in this series, in a random drawing two days (August 25, 2017) from now from those who leave a comment. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
June Shaw is a bestselling author from the bayou country of Louisiana. She represents her state on the board of Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter, which includes La., Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. She has written another mystery series and other books and loves to hear from readers! Reach out too June at juneshaw.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Greg King by Lynn Cahoon

Hey guys, Greg King here. I’m filling in today for Jill Gardner, your Coffee, Books, and More owner and columnist. Jill’s working at the bookstore, training her newest employee, Deek. Man, that kid is something else. Fun and smart, but you couldn’t tell it from the looks of him. Jill has a way of finding the good in everyone and bringing it out. When she’s not messing in my business that is. That woman loves to get her hands dirty in an investigation. Especially when it involves murder. I swear she should have gone into law enforcement, but that would mean she’d have to follow the rules, and we all know Jill isn’t good at that.

We’ve been living together for a few months now. I’ve tried to play it cool. Being the good roommate. Not leaving my dirty socks on the bedroom floor, you know the drill. But wouldn’t you know it, right after we take this step, which Jill thought was too big of a commitment, my buddy from home invites us to his bachelor party.

Jill kind of freaked when I mentioned going to the party. Don’t get the wrong idea, the event is being held over at The Castle just down the road. No Vegas showgirls in more than a hundred miles. And the wives/girlfriends are invited too. In fact, it’s kind of a command performance. The gang has been asking when I was going to bring Jill to our annual get togethers. But it’s complicated. They’re complicated.

Besides, Jill hates group things. She’d much rather sit by the pool with a book than chat over a few beers. Especially since she doesn’t know anyone at the party. But Levi is expecting us and it is a weekend away from our jobs, which can get a little stressful.

Toby, my deputy and Jill’s barista, is watching over Emma, Jill’s Golden Retriever. Jill’s Aunt Jackie is handling the store, and Tim and Toby are taking over for me at the station. Everything’s covered, I hope. Now, all we have to do is pack our swim suits and head over for a weekend of drinking and fun.

We need the break. Besides, we’re only a few minutes away from South Cove. What could go wrong?

You can read more about Greg in Killer Party, the ninth book in the “Tourist Trap” mystery series.

For a gang of old college buddies, the quaint resort town of South Cove, California, is the perfect spot for a no-holds-barred bachelor party. But for Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books and More—this stag party is going to be murder . . .

After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating face down in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .

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About the author
Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. LynnCGuidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She’s also pens the recently released, Cat Latimer series. A Story To Kill and Fatality in Firelight are available in mass market paperback. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com.

Connect with Lynn on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Kindle/Nook copy of Killer Party, winner’s choice. The giveaway will end August 1, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of Maggie McDonald by Mary Feliz

Decluttering can be deadly

If you’ve been living on this planet, or even in a nearby solar system, you’ve been barraged by messages from news outlets, best sellers, and talk shows about decluttering, downsizing, and tidying up. They may have inspired you or, more likely, made you feel like a hoarder, a slob, or worse.

Rest assured, you’re probably neither. As a human being, you’re subject to the laws of physics, among them those involving entropy. Entropy is just a science-y word for the fact that disorder has a way of winning out over order. Always. It’s the law.

For me, that means job security. I’m a professional organizer, and I’m here to bust a few myths. Decluttering won’t make you happier, thinner, or more successful. It won’t make your teenager confide in you or solve a problem with a cheating spouse. If you’re seriously allergic to dust mites, it might make you healthier in the long run, but as you dig through your stuff, you’re going to inhale a lot of dust. It won’t be good.

Marie Kondo’s blockbuster The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing makes a case for the sheer joy of tidying up, as if it’s a new designer drug. It’s not. Tidying up is tedious. It’s hard work, it takes too long, and it’s relentless.

So why hire an organizer?

Because I can shorten the process for you. I can help you focus on your goals and keep you from getting sidetracked by your high school yearbook while you’re clearing your bookcase. I can prevent you from diving into an Internet black hole to discover what your prom date is doing now.

Once you’ve done the hard part of sorting, organizing, and paring your belongings to only what you need and want, I can set up a system to help you keep it organized with as little effort as possible. I can get rid of all the items you no longer want in a jiffy, no matter how bulky those items are.

Will I make you get rid of your grandmother’s collection of ornamental china? Or your childhood teddy bear? Or that pile of decaying rubber bands that you just might need one day? I’ll probably encourage you to toss the rubber bands. They tend to rot with age and become useless. But you can keep whatever you need to keep. My job is to help you decide, stay on task, and find a great way to store the items you’d like to preserve.

Will I judge you? Never. Talk shows and flashy magazines might make you feel guilty about your clutter, and many shops will urge you to ease that guilt with the purchase of matching hangers and nesting storage boxes. But I’m here to help however I can. For instance, if you love your grandmother’s figurines, I can help you find a way to safely display them, dust free, instead of keeping them stashed in a box in the attic. Or if you’re tired of packing them up with every move, I can help you sell them.

Many potential clients avoid calling an organizer because they fear what will happen when the expert goes home. Let’s look at that. If you’re like most of my clients, I’ll work with you as long as you’re willing to pay me and until you’ve got a firm handle on an organizing system that you understand and can use.

But if you’re like most people, your dedication to your new system will wear off. Life will intervene, and you’ll choose to comfort a crying child instead of sorting your bills. Or you’ll call 911 and get out of the house when a fire starts instead of folding all the clean laundry and putting it away. Life happens. Physics happens. It’s the law.

And that, again, means job security for me. If I’ve done my job well, I hope you’ll call me back from time to time to restore order and give your system a tune up. We can look at how things have changed in your life and what challenges you have. Maybe you have a puppy who likes to chew and you can’t store things on low shelves any more. Or you’ve had shoulder surgery and can’t reach any of those pretty hats you stashed on a high shelf. We’ll resolve those problems together to make things easier.

Organizers aren’t magic. But we can help quickly and without judgment. For some of us, receiving help without judgment is a mystical experience, but decluttering won’t solve all your problems. In fact, for some of my clients it can be downright deadly, but that’s another story.

To find an organizer in your area, consult the National Association of Professional Organizers at www.napo.net.

You can read more about Maggie in Dead Storage, the third book in the “Maggie McDonald” mystery series.

As a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald brings order to messy situations. But when a good friend becomes a murder suspect, surviving the chaos is one tall task . . .

Despite a looming deadline, Maggie thinks she has what it takes to help friends Jason and Stephen unclutter their large Victorian in time for its scheduled renovation. But before she can fill a single bin with unused junk, Jason leaves for Texas on an emergency business trip, Stephen’s injured mastiff limps home—and Stephen himself lands in jail for murder. Someone killed the owner of a local Chinese restaurant and stuffed him in the freezer. Stephen, caught at the crime scene covered in blood, is the number one suspect. Maggie finds herself in the middle of a political hot-button issue when she discovers that only witness is an undocumented teen. Should he come forward and risk deportation or stay mum and let bad guys run amok? Or can Maggie come up with a unique solution before putting her friends, family, and herself at risk?

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About the author
Mary Feliz writes the “Maggie McDonald Mysteries” featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. The third novel in the series, Dead Storage, was released July 18, and is available in all eBook formats. Paperbacks can be ordered from any bookstore and online.

All comments are welcomed.