A Day in the Life of Rhetta McCarter by Sharon Woods Hopkins

KillergroundThe morning I woke up and told my husband, Randolph, that I was quitting the bank and going to work at my new Caring Edge Foundation, I never dreamed that I would be involved with a cult-like group, its charismatic leader—Avery Fielding—and more dead bodies.

My name is Rhetta McCarter, former banker and insurance agent. Last year I inherited a whole lot of money from a Tontine Trust that my father established after the Vietnam War. I hope to do some good with it, so one of the first projects I tackled was helping a local Native American tribe build a museum. I looked forward to working with Chief Edward Silver Fox, whose land borders the Righteous Rewards Retreat—a mysterious group led by Avery Fielding who sees auras and believes in ley lines. Then I witnessed a murder and found human remains on the Righteous Rewards compound—right where Avery Fielding is building a new lake for his Retreat.

Top that off with guard snakes, explosions and too many threats to count, and I am almost ready to agree with Randolph that I may be the next target for death. I’m not backing off, though, until I prove who is digging up an ancient Native American burial ground and killing off anyone who threatens to stop the Retreat from building their lake.


You can read more about Rhetta in Killerground, the fourth book in the “Rhetta McCarter” mystery series, published by Deadly Writes Publishing, LLC. The first three books in the series are Killerwatt, Killerfind, and Killertrust.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on June 4 for the chance to win a copy of Killerground. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
Sharon Woods Hopkins’ mystery series featuring mortgage banker Rhetta McCarter and her ’79 Camaro hits close to home. Sharon lives in Southeast Missouri with her author husband, Bill Hopkins.

She is a former branch manager for a mortgage office of a Missouri bank. She also owns the original Cami, a restored ’79 Camaro like Rhetta’s. Sharon’s hobbies include painting, fishing, photography, flower gardening, and restoring muscle cars with her son, Jeff.

She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Thriller Writers of America, the Southeast Missouri Writers’ Guild, Heartland Writers, and the Missouri Writers’ Guild. Sharon also spent 30 years as an Appaloosa Horse Club judge, where she was privileged to judge all over the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

Her first Rhetta mystery, Killerwatt was nominated for a 2011 Lovey award for Best First Novel and placed as a finalist in the 2012 Indie Excellence Awards. Her second book, Killerfind, was a finalist in the 2013 Indie Excellence Awards, and won first place in the Missouri Writers’ Guild Show-me Best Book Awards in 2013. Her fourth book in the series, Killerground is now available. A short story, “Rearview Mirror” appeared in the 2014 anthology, Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman published by Mo/Zark Press.

Visit Sharon at her website and follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Ellie Kosloski’s Wicked Cool Day by Edith Maxwell

Farmed and DangerousHey. I’m Ellie. Cam asked me to, like, come over here and tell you about my day. But maybe I ought to tell you how I met her, first, right? Last year I was so, so excited to graduate eighth grade and be able to enter Senior Scouting. That’s Girl Scouts, in case you don’t know. I’ve been a Scout since I was a Daisy, and I really wanted to keep going through high school. The first Senior badge I chose to work on was one of the new ones, the Locavore badge. Locavores are people who want to eat mostly locally grown food. Isn’t that awesome?

My dad told me about this organic farmer in our town of Westbury. You can’t get much more local than that, so I called her and asked if I could learn about farming and local foods from her. She said yeah, so he drove me over one day after school. It was so, so cool. I think maybe she wasn’t that comfortable around me at first – you know, she’s not a mom yet or anything. But then I kept volunteering and we got to be friends. She’s really nice, and wicked smart. She even told me she used to run cross country in high school, just like I do.

In the winter, of course, there’s not that much to do on the farm, plus we’ve had huge, huge snows this year. Cam said she was lucky the hoophouse didn’t collapse, the one where’s she’s growing greens. She even has worm boxes in there, which kind of creeps me out, even though they’re really good for the soil.

So I work over at the assisted living place where Cam’s great uncle lives, Mr. St. Pierre. He’s super nice. I help with the activities, and sometimes I pick up dishes from residents who eat in their rooms, and stuff like that. But last week a lady at the place died after eating Cam’s vegetables and they said she was poisoned. Ms. Montgomery was kind of not a very nice lady, but she sure didn’t deserve to die. And Cam had had arguments with her before, so the detective (who I think Cam likes, like, a lot) had to suspect her for a while. Which was just crazy, because Cam wouldn’t hurt anybody.

I think I might have seen the murderer, too. It’s so, so scary, and I didn’t want to tell anybody. But because of Girl Scout’s honor and stuff I promised Cam I’d tell her what I saw.

In the third Local Foods mystery, Farmed and Dangerous (May, 2015), snow is piling up in Westbury, Massachusetts. Unfortunately murder seems to be the crop in season. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at an assisted living facility seems like the least of Cam’s worries—until one of the elderly residents dies after eating some of her produce. As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”


You can read more about Ellie in Farmed and Dangerous, the third book in the “Local Foods” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die and ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on June 3 for the chance to win a copy of Farmed and Dangerous. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Amazon-bestselling Amesbury author Edith Maxwell writes four murder mystery series, as well as award-winning short stories.

EdithMFarmed and Dangerous is the latest in Maxwell’s Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing) with organic farmer Cam Flaherty and locally sourced murder set in a town much like West Newbury. The latest book in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder. Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in November, 2015. Her Carriagetown Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury, with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help. Delivering the Truth will debut in March, 2016.

A fourth-generation Californian and former organic farmer, Maxwell lives in an antique house with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (wickedcozyauthors.com), and you can find her at www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest, and on Facebook.

A Day in the Life of Krissy Hancock by Alex Erickson

Death by Coffee“What do you think?” I asked, looking around at the stacks of boxes that dominated most of the floor space.

My large orange cat, Misfit, didn’t seem all that impressed. He flipped his tail and walked off, leaving me alone in the maze of unpacked boxes. It was standard, really.

I’d had something of a panic attack when my U-Haul broke down on the way to Pine Hills. If I hadn’t had movers helping me, I never would have managed to get everything into the house today, let alone by the time I had to go into work in the morning. It was a good thing the furniture had been set up the day before or I wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep, let alone sit down.

“Well, Krissy, you’re here,” I told myself. It was finally official; I was now a resident of Pine Hills. Not only that, but I was a business owner as well, something I never would have imagined when I was younger.

With boxes placed in the rooms where they would eventually be unpacked, I headed to the kitchen. There was no way I was unpacking today, not with the big day tomorrow. I opened a box beside the counter, removed one of my favorite chipped coffee mugs, and then went in search of the actual coffee pot. Twenty minutes later, I had a pot brewing and a chocolate chip cookie sitting in the bottom of the mug, just waiting to sop up the caffeinated goodness.

A knock at the door brought me up from where I leaned. I crossed the room and answered it, wondering who could possibly be stopping in for a visit. I hadn’t met the neighbors yet, or anyone else, for that matter. When I’d said I was new in town, I’d meant it.

“Krissy!” My best friend Vicki Patterson beamed at me. She looked as gorgeous as always, hair pulled up off of her neck, smile as dazzling as the sun. She should have been an actress; could have been if she had wanted to. I felt both glad and guilty that she’d decided to settle down and run a bookstore café with me instead.

“Hi Vicki,” I said. We hugged and I stepped aside to let her in.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?”

My excitement slipped as dread found a way in. “Are we really going to do this?”

Vicki was unperturbed. “We are.” She clasped her hands together. “The store is all set up. All we need to do now is open.”

“Are we sure about the name?” I knew it was futile to argue over it again, but I had to try one last time to get her to change it to something a little less . . . ominous.

“Everyone will love it. Death by Coffee.” She breathed in as if tasting the words. “It has a ring to it.”

“If you say so.” I motioned toward the kitchen. “I’m making coffee if you want some.”

“I wish I could. Trouble is in the car. We just came back from the vet and I thought I’d stop by on my way home. It’s going to be an early morning.” Trouble was her cat and Misfit’s littermate. They were both long-haired, but where Misfit was orange, Trouble was black and white.

And he was going to be our store cat.

“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then,” I said, trying not to let my trepidation show. I’d never owned a store before, so I was intimidated by the prospect. What if everyone hated us? What if no one bought a single cup of coffee or book? I don’t think either of us could go home again if that were to happen. It would be too embarrassing to admit we’d failed.

Vicki gave me a winning smile and hugged me again. “I can’t wait,” she said as she stepped back outside. She got into her car, waved once, and then was gone.

By then, my coffee was ready. I didn’t add creamer or sugar; the cookie was enough. I sat down at the island counter and drank it slowly, wondering if we were going to come out of this thing alive. Once the coffee was gone, I fished out a spoon and began to eat the soggy cookie mess left behind.

Tomorrow was the big day. We were going to open Death by Coffee for the very first time.

“Don’t worry, Krissy,” I muttered to myself. “It’s just a coffee shop. What could possibly go wrong?”

Little did I know, I was about to find out.


You can read more about Krissy in Death by Coffee, the first book in the NEW “Bookstore Cafe” mystery series, published by Kensington.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on June 2 for the chance to win a copy of Death by Coffee. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
Alex Erickson has always wanted to write, even at a young, impressionable age. He’s always had an interest in the motive behind murder, which has led him down his current path. He’s always ready with a witty—at least in his opinion—quip, and tries to keep every conversation light and friendly. Alex lives in Ohio with his family and resident felines, who provide endless amounts of inspiration. You can visit him on Twitter and on Facebook.

A Very Strange Day in the Life of Emma Cross by Alyssa Maxwell

Murder at BeechwoodI awoke the other day to an eerie keening of the wind and believed the ocean had delivered a storm to our shores here on Aquidneck Island. Although the sudden nature of the storm puzzled me—there hadn’t been the slightest indication the previous night—I turned over and tried to go back to sleep. But the winds had other ideas and kept sending up cries to echo beneath the eaves of my house, yanking me from sleep each time my eyes fell closed.

I padded my way downstairs to discover the other inhabitants of Gull Manor, my seaside home, awake as well. These included Nanny, my housekeeper and surrogate grandmother; Katie, our maid-of-all work who came to Gull Manor after deplorable circumstances led to her dismissal from employment at The Breakers a year ago; and a temporary guest, Stella, bruised and demoralized the night she turned up on my doorstep, but determined to forge a better life for herself away from the sailors, dockhands, and, yes, wealthy men of lewd tastes who mistreated her. We had all been roused from our beds by the same noisy squall—and yet were baffled by the blue skies that greeted us when we opened our curtains. Were we all hearing things? Dreaming the same dream?

But there was little time to ponder. We had the day’s food to prepare and laundry to wash. Barney, my aging roan hack, needed tending. And I had articles to write, for though I’m part Vanderbilt by heritage, none of the family fortune has trickled down to me. I have my home and a modest annuity left to me by my great aunt Sadie—a Newporter through and through and something of a suffragette—and I have my independence, which I treasure. But remaining independent means, much to my Vanderbilt relatives’ chagrin, that I must work, and so I write articles for the Newport Observer, being one of few women in a man’s profession, even if my employer believes female reporters should concentrate on balls, fashions, and other society news. Humph. I have proved him wrong a time or two.

But I would write no articles that morning. I was on my way from the morning room to the front door to see if the morning paper had come when the elusive storm once more kicked up with a mournful wail that crawled inside me until I trembled. Determined to get to the bottom of whatever strange weather phenomenon this was, I hurried to the front door and tossed it open, ready for the blustery onslaught…only to fall to my knees in shock.

Here was no storm, no oddity of nature, but a baby, swaddled, tucked into a basket, and left, red faced with crying, on my doorstep.

Who is he? Who left him? And most pressing of all, is there a connection between this poor mite and the man I later discovered was found dead—shot—not two miles from my house? If so, is the child himself in danger?

These are the questions I must answer, dear readers, and I ask you for your help. Accompany me during my search, which will take me to Mrs. Astor’s Beechwood estate for a Season opening gala; to the New York Yacht Club, the hospital, the Point section of Newport, a lonely railroad track, and a grand steamer anchored in the harbor. Together we’ll ask questions, we’ll poke about, and we will prevail. We must. A tiny, precious individual is depending on us.


You can read more about Emma in Murder at Beechwood, the third book in the “Gilded Newport” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are Murder at the Breakers and Murder at Marble House.

About Murder At Beechwood
For Newport, Rhode Island’s high society, the summer of 1896 brings lawn parties, sailboat races. . .and murder.

Having turned down the proposal of Derrick Andrews, Emma Cross has no imminent plans for matrimony—let alone motherhood. But when she discovers an infant left on her doorstep, she naturally takes the child into her care. Using her influence as a cousin to the Vanderbilts and a society page reporter for the Newport Observer, Emma launches a discreet search for the baby’s mother.

One of her first stops is a lawn party at Mrs. Caroline Astor’s Beechwood estate. But an idyllic summer’s day is soon clouded by tragedy. During a sailboat race, textile magnate Virgil Monroe falls overboard. There are prompt accusations of foul play—and even Derrick Andrews falls under suspicion. Deepening the intrigue, a telltale slip of lace may link the abandoned child to the drowned man. But as Emma navigates dark undercurrents of scandalous indiscretions and violent passions, she’ll need to watch her step to ensure that no one lowers the boom on her. . .

Giveaway: Tell me, what is the oddest, most unexpected thing that has ever happened to you? Was it a positive experience, or not so much? Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on June 1 to be entered in a drawing to win either a signed print copy (U.S. only) or an Audible edition (open to all) of my previous book, Murder At Marble House. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the Author
Alyssa Maxwell is the author of the Gilded Newport Mysteries and, beginning January 2016, A Lady and Alyssa teaLady’s Maid Mysteries, beginning with Murder Most Malicious set in England in 1918. She lives in South Florida in the current year, but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian, Edwardian, and post WWI eras. In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns and strolling manor house gardens, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons. she positively loves writing historical mysteries, and is currently working on the fourth Gilded Newport Mystery, Murder At Rough Point. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com, and friend her on Facebook.

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: No. 73

Weekly Roundup
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

May 25 – May 31, 2015 on dru’s book musings
May 25: Emma Cross from “Murder at Beechwood” by Alyssa Maxwell
May 26: Krissy Hancock from “Death by Coffee” by Alex Erickson
May 27: Ellie Kosloski from “Farmed and Dangerous” by Edith Maxwell
May 28: Rhetta McCarter from “Killerground” by Sharon Woods Hopkins
May 29: Elouise Norton from “Skies of Ash” by Rachel Howzell Hall
May 30: Caro Layton-Browning from “A Bird in the Hand” by Dane McCaslin
May 31: Cece Dee Falcon from “Bone To Be Wild” by Carolyn Haines

Week of May 18 – May 24, 2015
Iris Stanford from “Deadly Desire at Honeychurch Hall” by Hannah Dennison
Elizabeth Hartley from “A Finely Knit Murder” by Sally Goldenbaum
Colleen McCabe from “Neighing with Fire” by Kathryn O’Sullivan
Carrie Kennersly from “Bite the Biscuit” by Linda O. Johnston
Mavis Loomis from “Dollar Daze” by Karin Gillespie
Jamie Taylor from “Flame Game” by Peg Brantley
Aria Tortura from “Tied Down” by Tim Hall

Recent contest winners
“Come to Harm” by Catriona McPherson – J. Robinson
“The Body in the Birches” by Katherine Hall Page – K. Sullivan
“The Corpse With The Sapphire Eyes” by Cathy Ace – K. Killgore
“Any Other Name” by Craig Johnson – B. Jones
“Flourless to Stop Him” by Nancy J. Parra – A. Holland
“Dying Brand” by Wendy Tyson – C. Blain
“Ming Tea Murder” by Laura Childs – D. Carney
“Ming Tea Murder” by Laura Childs – S. Molloy


Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook.

A Day in the Life with Aria Tortura by Tim Hall

Tie DiedI don’t know what you people want from me. If you’re trying to get some dirt on my boyfriend, Bert Shambles, keep dreaming. Bert’s the sweetest guy I’ve ever met—totally different from the typical Long Island men who hit on you at clubs with their gold chains and hairy chests. I’m done with those guys.

Before I met Bert, my typical day went something like this: get up around 9, go downstairs and see what the cook has made for breakfast, then sit out on one of the terraces and catch up with texts and Facebook while the landscapers tend to the 15 acres we live on overlooking Long Island Sound. Then I might work out or go swimming, or go to the club, make plans with friends—the usual stuff that 22-year olds do.

It sounds cushy, and it is, but the truth is that before I met Bert I was miserable. All I was ever really doing was trying to fill the emptiness of my days, while under the thumb of my parents and brothers. I’ve been overprotected and sheltered my whole life; I’m definitely privileged but I don’t think I’m spoiled, if that makes sense. Bert and I were in high school English together—I was a year behind but I was put into the advanced class—I had a huge crush on him back then but he never noticed me until we met again recently.

A day with Bert is unlike anything I’ve experienced. We’ve broken into people’s houses, threatened a powerful real estate developer, and I’ve been kidnapped and Bert was almost killed trying to save me. It’s a lot more exciting than scheduling pedicures at the spa, I can tell you that.

And yeah, sometimes he does stuff that makes me want to put his head through a wall—like the other day I flew across country on the red-eye just because I was worried about him and wanted to see him, and I get to his place and he has two women in there with him! And one of them is coming out of the shower! I could have killed him—and believe me, I could if I wanted to—but here’s the crazy thing: after Bert explained it to me, and I understood what had happened and that nothing had gone on except he was trying to help them, I couldn’t be mad at him. My brothers are always doing bad stuff and then denying it, all innocent-like, but with Bert there’s usually a good explanation. He’s actually. . .honest, I guess is the word. How weird is that for a guy his age?

Also, most people our age are still living at home (hello, I’m one of them), with no clue where to go or how to move forward, but Bert is determined to pay his own way and live on his own terms, however humbly. That’s something I totally admire about him. Half the time I want to punch him, and half the time I think I’m falling in love with him, and it doesn’t really matter because we’re both in our early twenties so it’s supposed to be kind of crazy and dramatic, right?

Those are just some of the things I love about Bert. He knows that I’m not shallow like some people, just because I’m rich and a daddy’s girl and my daddy happens to be a very powerful man with a bad temper. That’s why I suggest you ladies all stay away from Bert. If I ever come over one morning and find you hanging out at his place, you’re not going to be so lucky, believe me.


You can read more about Aria in Tie Died, the second book in the “Bert Shambles” mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press. The first book in the series is Dead Stock.

About Tie Died
Bert Shambles is still recovering from the injuries he sustained in his first adventure when he is recognized at the local library by a lovely hippie named Scarlet. She hires Bert to help dispose of her deceased father’s memorabilia and takes him to a music festival at a local park, where they witness the tragic electrocution of the lead singer, who is an old friend of Scarlet’s. Bert soon finds himself entangled in a plot to steal a rare guitar, accidentally drugged with a powerful psychedelic, and dumped by his girlfriend and soul mate, Aria–until a second rock musician is found dead, and the clues all point to him as the prime suspect.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 29 for the chance to win a print copy of Tie Died. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Tim Hall is the author of the Bert Shambles Mysteries, featuring an amateur sleuth trying to stay out of trouble while temporarily living back in his Long Island hometown. He works part-time at a thrift shop and has a complicated relationship with a mobster’s daughter. The series has quickly gained a small but devoted fan base—including online magazine Splice Today, which called Dead Stock one of the best novels of 2013 and said “Shambles is an amazing character.” Tim lives in New York City with his wife and son and pet hamster. As if New York doesn’t have enough rodents. Visit at timhallbooks.wordpress.com

My Musing ~ Tie Died by Tim Hall

Tie DiedTie Died by Tim Hall is the second book in the “Bert Shambles” mystery series. Publisher: Cozy Cat Press, March 2015

Bert Shambles is still recovering from the injuries he sustained in his first adventure when he is recognized at the local library by a lovely hippie named Scarlet. She hires Bert to help dispose of her deceased father’s memorabilia and takes him to a music festival at a local park, where they witness the tragic electrocution of the lead singer, who is an old friend of Scarlet’s. Bert soon finds himself entangled in a plot to steal a rare guitar, accidentally drugged with a powerful psychedelic, and dumped by his girlfriend and soul mate, Aria–until a second rock musician is found dead, and the clues all point to him as the prime suspect.

This was a very good read that had me rooting for Bert Shambles in this entertaining whodunit. The tone and the pacing of this light drama were nicely done, making it easy to follow the plot. The author has a way with the words as he describes the actions of Bert and his fellow characters. I like how the mystery was set-up with clues that the author planted to keep me glued to the pages. There were some amusing moments that caused a few chuckles with the interaction between Bert, Scarlett, China and Aria. Poor Bert, he tries so hard. I like the author’s approach in the telling of this story and I can’t wait to see what befalls Bert in the next book in this terrific series.