Monday, April 22, 2019

Exclusive Easter excerpt and IPPY Award news! by Cathy Ace





(Note from author: the final chapter of my latest book is set on Easter Monday, 22nd April. I couldn’t resist bringing you an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT directly from the book, on that VERY date! I realize you won’t know who all the characters are, nor exactly what’s happening…but maybe you’ll want to find out more by reading the book. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to make sure you get notice about any special deals. By the way - I hope you have been enjoying a very Happy Easter!)

NEWS UPDATE: It was just announced that the THE WRONG BOY has won the IPPY Awards bronze medal for Best Regional E-book Fiction (yes, that's ALL fiction, folks, with entries from around the world!). 

(Note to readers: Betty Glover is the psychotherapist wife of just-retired Detective Inspector Evan Glover, of the West Glamorgan Police Service. They're staying overnight at The Dragon's Head pub to ensure the safety of Helen Jones, whose daughter Sadie lives at the pub with her. Bob is Helen's ex-husband. "Liz" is Detective Sergeant Liz Stanley, who was Evan's subordinate prior to his retirement.)

22nd April


‘Evan, wake up. I think there’s someone moving around downstairs.’ Betty checked the time on her phone. ‘Evan, it’s not quite half past four. Do you think there’s an intruder?’ Her mind leaped to Bob, and Helen’s safety. She shoved her husband in the ribs. ‘Wake up, Evan.’
Sitting upright, Evan looked puzzled.
‘You look like you’ve been shot. Out of a cannon,’ said Betty quietly.
He scratched his head. ‘I feel like I have been. Dear God, this bed’s a mass of lumps. What’s the mattress filled with? Horsehair? What’s wrong, anyway?’
‘Listen,’ hissed Betty. They did. ‘There, did you hear that scraping sound?’
‘I can hear many sounds that are utterly unfamiliar to me, love. We’re in a strange bed, in a strange place; everything’s either too quiet, or a weird noise.’
‘I’m having a terrible night, Evan. Awful dreams when I can catch a nap, but mainly just lying here listening, thinking. I can’t stop thinking.’
Evan sat more upright. ‘Come on, love, you need your rest. Look, we’ve taken on this task of looking after Helen for tonight, but this can’t go on. It’s got to be resolved within her family.’
Betty sighed. She knew he was right. That was why her mind was racing. ‘That scraping noise isn’t downstairs, it’s outside,’ she said quietly. She felt more than a little annoyed with herself.
‘Probably. But tell me, what’s the plan for the morning? Are we staying? Going?’
Betty tried to plump up the ancient pillow she’d been wrestling with for hours. ‘Don’t you think we should stay at least until Liz gets here? I know we can’t be involved in the interview, but we can be here for the fall out.’
Evan sighed his acceptance. ‘Cool as the proverbial cucumber Sadie was when she got back here tonight, wasn’t she? Amazing. As if nothing had happened. Seemed to be surprised her mother was in plaster. And so dismissive of us two running around the village trying to track her down, when she’d been swanning around God only knows where.’
Betty smiled. ‘I know we’ve sometimes wondered if we’ve been unfortunate to not have kids – well after a few hours with that one I can tell you it was most definitely a blessing. I’d be locked up for murder or madness by now if I’d had to put up with that for years.’
‘The word “madness”? From you? That’s not a word you professionals use, is it?’ mugged Evan.
‘Turn of phrase, cariad.’
Evan whispered, ‘Maybe she took a chance before going to bed to apologize to her mother, in private. You know, saving face in front of outsiders. We’re not family, and we’re also not People of the Dragon.’
‘And you can stop all that malarkey, too. Dragon’s this, and Devil’s that? This is the twenty-first century, Evan. Move on.’
He grunted. ‘What about Bob possibly coming here for lunch? Is that something we should stay for, do you think? Even if Sadie’s taken in for questioning, maybe Helen won’t be up to going with her, and he might still show up.’ Evan sounded a little testy.
‘Unless there’s a way to stop him coming, then, yes, it might not be a bad idea. It’s so frustrating that your lot can’t do anything until a stalker crosses a line. It must be a living hell for the victims.’
Evan sounded tired. ‘I love you, and I respect what you’re saying, but we’ve been through all this before. However, I will talk to Liz about it in the morning. Since the last time all that stuff happened to Helen things have changed; there are new charges that can be brought. The victim still has to play an active role in gathering evidence and presenting it to the police but, yes, there are now actions that can be taken that couldn’t even be considered back then. And before you say anything – no, there still isn’t enough done about it, and yes, there are thousands of victims we still can’t help, and no, I don’t think the money will ever be there for the police to be as effective as they could be, and no, I don’t think that there’s adequate protection for victims when a culprit is released. I get it, love, I do. But . . .’
‘I know all about the changes, Evan, and I’d like to say “too little, too late” for many women, but I understand that something is better than nothing, and that at least now the law has some teeth.’
Betty knew her husband understood, and was as frustrated as she was.
She added, ‘Removing a stalker from society can allow them to get the professional help they need to be able to come to terms with the fact that what they are doing is abnormal, as well as giving the victim a chance to get their life back.’
‘I know. But it’s still all about resources, isn’t it?’ said Evan heavily. ‘However, on this occasion, we can be the resource, the support system. I understand why Helen doesn’t want to be in the same room as Bob; he treated her in a truly criminal manner, so we should take our chance to stand up for her. We’ll stay.’
‘I love you, cariad.’
‘Good. Now let’s try to get some sleep.’
Betty snuggled down, as best she could, beneath the skimpy eiderdown – the like of which she hadn’t seen since she was a child, staying with her grandmother.
She was delighted Evan had suggested talking to Liz about the situation between Helen and Bob the next morning.
However, as she tried to ignore the strange sounds which seemed to echo through the house, she realized how terribly isolated the village was, and she even began to understand why the old beliefs, and ways, might linger in a place like Rhosddraig – where the thick stone walls of the picturesque cottages had the potential to trap people inside them, rather than keeping unwanted visitors out.

The real eleventh century church, in the real village the author disguised in her book - photo by author

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon's Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he's just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . . 
You can find out more about Cathy Ace, her Cait Morgan Mysteries, her WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries and her newest works at her website - by clicking here.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Making Changes, Taking Chances

By: Merry Wynter
Series: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Title: Muffin But Trouble
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Beyond the Page
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries 

Change... it can be hard. And taking chances? Even more difficult.

I've had a lot of those in my life, radical change and the necessity to take chances. I've lost loved ones and I've had to move and change everything about my life. It hasn't been easy, but almost without exception, it has been worth it.

Take, for example, the move I made from New York City to my western New York State castle... I left behind everything familiar and moved here, to my property near Autumn Vale, New York, about halfway between Rochester and Buffalo. In doing so I thought I was losing everything, my home, my friends, my life. Instead, my best friends Shilo and Pish followed me (LOVE them so much) and threw their lot in with mine. I made friends, I fell in love, and I have rebuilt my life.

I'm married now, and have a new career. I am moving fearlessly (well, not quite fearlessly) forward and together with my friends I am hoping to give back something monumental to the place and people who have welcomed me into their homes and hearts.

It hasn't always been easy, but it's been worth it. 

So... have you had to make changes and take chances? How did it work out for you?


Coming Soon!

The Merry Muffin Series is coming back with THREE new books, starting with Muffin But Trouble coming July 2nd from Beyond the Page. It will be available as an ebook, AND in paperback through online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Also... all three books will follow in audio format voiced by the same reader, Margaret

For all the latest, 'like' me on Facebook, and follow my Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter!

Facebook: Author Victoria Hamilton
Merry Muffin Mysteries on Facebook: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Victoria on Twitter. @MysteryVictoria

Also... visit my webpage and sign up for my newsletter, where I share all the latest news and promotions!

Victoria Hamilton Mysteries Website

Saturday, April 20, 2019

It's Showtime!

By Sully Sullivan, from the Theater Cop Series by J.A. Hennrikus

I was a cop for a long time. A long time. Then I went to work in theater, which I thought was going to be a cushy job after years on the job. Yeesh, I was wrong.

You know the adage, the show must go on? Before I started working at the Cliffside Theater Company, I thought that was just a saying. Little did I know, for theater folks, that's the truth. Actor sick? Send someone on with a script. Costumes not ready? Put them in street clothes. Theater lights not working? Keep the house lights on. These folks are hard core.

I've only seen one thing that almost stopped them. That was the year of the failed Easter egg hunt.

Now, it wasn't Easter. It was July. But we had an intern who found a basket of Easter eggs, and decided it would be fun to hide them around the theater. Our summer theater was, is, outdoors, so she took the two dozen eggs and hid them all around the theater, on stage, in the audience, and in the dressing rooms.

The problem was that the eggs had been left over from Easter, and the basket was moved to storage without emptying it. And they were hardboiled.

Did I mention it was July? And the theater was outdoors.

Did you know that there are vermin who love, and I mean love, rotten eggs? Or at least cracking them open and throwing the inside around?

Do you know how badly rotten eggs smell?

Yes, the failed Easter egg hunt almost closed us down. Happily, the high school was air conditioned and available, so we moved for a night. And the show went on.

Those theater people, they're tough. But they were almost undone by Easter eggs.
Sully Sullivan appears in the Theater Cop series, by J.A. Hennrikus. The most recent book in the series, With A Kiss I Die, was released earlier this month.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Celebrations Fort Myers Beach Style

Things are never quiet on Fort Myers Beach. We are always celebrating something, be it the annual Shrimp Festival, Pirate Fest, the Christmas Boat Parade or the American Sandsculpting Championship. 

My BFF Bridgy and I, as owners of a local business, the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookstore, love to participate in the planning of these super terrific events, but I have to tell you that the actual events themselves are exhausting for us but in a very good way.

While we usually are a breakfast and lunch kind of place, during festivals we open the Read ’Em and Eat earlier than usual and we keep it open far into the evening, serving our lunch menu for light dinners such as Old Man and the Sea Chowder or Green Eggs and Ham. And we always have tasty snacks. Miss Marple Orange Iced Scones come to mind. Customers keep us hopping and that is how we like it. So if you are in town for a special even, stop on by, I am sure you can find some thing on the Read ’Em and Eat menu that will satisfy.

So, which type of beach celebration has the most appeal for you?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Arf--er, Uh-Oh

by Biscuit, Carrie Kennersly's dog in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hi, it's Biscuit again.  I've barked here before.  I'm a dog, and I supposedly belong to Carrie Kennersly, the human who's the subject of the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, but as I say often, in my opinion she belongs to me. 

I've just barked an uh-oh.  I'm seeing some issues in the town of Knobcone Heights where Carrie and I live--and my person is apparently getting involved in solving another murder.

Our life together is mostly fun.  I spend a lot of time in one of Carrie's two shops, Barkery and Biscuits, since that's the one where she bakes and sells lots of treats that I love to eat.  She calls them healthy dog treats that she created at her other job, as a veterinary technician at the Knobcone Veterinary Clinic.  Her other bakery, Icing on the Cake, is next door, but there she sells some stuff that she says could hurt me, like chocolate, so I listen to her--mostly--and stay out of there. 

Carrie takes me for nice, long walks.  We meet other dogs and people, including humans Carrie considers very important in her life--and I mostly like them, too.  In fact, my life tends to be pretty good.  I seldom have to beg for treats, after all.

Anyway, it's nearly the month that humans call May, and Carrie has told me that yes, she's solving another murder and, yes again, it'll be talked about in a new book, For a Good Paws, that people can read then.

FOR A GOOD PAWS, the fifth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, will be a May 2018 release from Midnight Ink. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April in Louisiana means Jazz Fest!

BY: Gaynell Bourgeois
FROM: Mardi Gras Murder
SERIES: Cajun Country Mysteries
AUTHOR: Ellen Byron

Hey, y'all! Gaynell Bourgeois here. I'm one of Maggie Crozat's best friends. I have a band called Gaynell and the Gator Girls. April and May are my favorite months of the year here because the last weekend of April and first of May are when the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place. This year's the fiftieth anniversary, and you know who's gonna be there? THE ROLLING STONES!!! That's right. The. STONES!!! Wait, what?? They cancelled??? Mick had heart surgery? Nooo!!

Oh, well. Even without Mick and Keith and the gang, it's the most fun festival ever. There are a ton of stages and tents featuring just about every kind of music you can think of. Jazz, Dixieland, R&B, Zydeco, Cajun, Pop, Gospel.
You name it, they sing it! There are so many crafts from the region, and the food... My, oh my, where to begin? Catfish po'boys, jambalaya, muffalettas, Crawfish Monica. I have no idea what's in the giant cup my author's holding, but I'm guessing she felt it the next day!

My dream is to play at Jazz Fest. I want to play it so much that my author wrote it into the storyline for Cajun Country Mystery #5, FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL. Will my dream come true? I guess you'll have to wait until when the book launches in September to find out!

Readers, have you ever been to Jazz Fest? If not, is there a festival you just love?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Food, Funerals and a giveaway,

I live in a house that’s been in my husband’s family since before Sherman parked his unwelcome hide in Savannah. I teach dancing so the young people of Savannah don’t look like idiots at their cotillion and so that the not so young can show off at their 50thanniversary party.  

The problem is, here in Savannah, and as much as I hate to say it,  we’ve been getting more than our share of funerals lately.  
Now I understand that we all got to go sometime and some sooner than others but being dead is no excuse for bad manners and that’s why I’m here to be setting things to rights.
First of all and most important you must always be keeping your  “death-ready” pantry up to speed so as soon as you get the call that Miss So-and-so is toes at that there slumber house you need be rushing right over to the family with stuffed eggs, chicken salad, caramel cake and some pecan tassies. And everyone knows Pimiento cheese spread is the very paste that holds the South together through think and thin.
Remember that casseroles that contain cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta cheese are considered second tier presentations, but a can of cream of asparagus soup added elevates the dish to a higher status. And of course banana pudding is the Cadillac of southern desserts, so don’t be forgetting that.

And always remember it’s right important to refer to the deceased as successful, no matter how far from the actual truth that might be. The written description needs to include enough truth that the dead person is somewhat recognizable, but include enough flattery to please the grieving family and friends.

And of course you must encourage those relatives to attend who do the most carrying on. Someone discreetly weeping into a hankie just doesn't have the same appeal as multiple women screaming and throwing themselves onto the casket as it is being lowered into the ground. What good is a send-off unless it’s a mighty big one.

And as for the service…for heaven’s sake keep in mind that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heavenis only appropriate for one of those Yankee funerals. In this part of the world Amazing Gracewill do fine, thank you very much especially if there’s a martini two following right soon.

You all take care now, ya’ hear. Be sure to keep that death pantry stocked just in case and do let me know what’s your favorite dish to be sharing  with your family and friends in these most unfortunate times. 

I’ll give away three totes from the answers.