Meet Celeste Farmington by Sally Carpenter

The Cunning Cruise Ship CaperYou’ve never heard of me, Celeste Farmington, but you know my big brother Sandy Fairfax, that popular teen idol of the ‘70s and star of the TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth.” At least that’s the handle he goes by. His real name is Stanford Ernest Farmington Jr. I guess his family name wasn’t good enough for show biz. He said his manager made the name change, but Ernest is stubborn enough that I’m sure he could turned him down if he wanted to.

I’m a musician too. I play piano better than Ernest (but not as good as my other brother, Warren) and I sing well too. I also write songs; Ernest hasn’t written anything except maybe a barroom song from his drinking days.

In the ‘70s I recorded two acoustic folk rock records, “Dragon in the Forest” and “Gently Sings the Dove.” I asked Ernest if his big-time record label would release my music but somehow that never happened, as well as a promise for me to guest star on his TV show and to open for his concerts. So my career went nowhere while he hit the heights.

In the years since Ernest retreated into the bottle and I scraped by. I’ve been blind since birth and earning a living hasn’t been easy. I’ve relied mostly on government checks; my parents and Warren (but not Ernest) gave me money too. I made ceramic sculptures and sold a few. I got rid of my piano because I needed the money and music didn’t interest me anymore.

Recently Ernest showed up at my doorstop claiming he was sober and that he had a job offer for me—a week’s worth of concerts aboard the SS Zodiac cruise ship. I was still angry with him for not helping out when I needed him. But he wanted to make amends, so I relented.

But I was scared. Crowds and unfamiliar places frightened me. I was comfortable in my home and with my routines. Learning the music for the show was difficult and I almost quit, but Ernest pushed me.

On board the ship, Ernest was a gentleman and he guided me around the decks. I enjoyed doing the concerts. I’d forgotten how much I loved to sing. I especially liked poking fun at my brother on stage in front of the audience. Hee hee.

What I didn’t like was the dead body that turned up in my brother’s backstage dressing room. That upset me. My brother started playing sleuth and interviewing suspects. I poked holes in some of his theories because I’m better at solving puzzles than he is. Then the killer tried to drown Ernest; the murderer even locked me in a box.

You can read about our adventure and how my dopey brother needed my help to unmask the killer at the onboard Halloween costume gala in the new book, The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper, the third book in the “Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol” series from Cozy Cat Press.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 26 for the chance to win a copy of THE CUNNING CRUISE SHIP CAPER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.

She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. Her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also SallyCearned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City. Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.

She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

The initial book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel. “The Sinister Sitcom Caper” is the second in the series.

Her short story, “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in,” is in the anthology “Last Exit to Murder.” “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” was published in the “Plan B: Vol. 2” e-book anthology.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. She blogs at and you can contact her on Facebook.

Another Day in the Life with Jill Gardner by Lynn Cahoon

If The Shoe KillsWelcome to South Cove. Christmas in our town is an event. We’re always adding new decorations either in front of City Hall to build up Santa’s Village. Carolers wander the streets, singing the classics along with a few modern twists. Nothing like a good Beach Boy’s Little St. Nick to help rock in the Christmas spirit.

I’m Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, South Cove resident and Santa fan. I love the holiday season. Aunt Jackie and I love decorating the store to match the annual theme. Everyone’s happy and cheerful and easy to get along with.

Except this year. First, Mayor Baylor volunteered our business community to host ten participants of the local work program, Work Today. Of course, I’m the one who has to meet with Ted Hendricks, the program director, and someone who’s definitely on Santa’s naughty list. Then instead of letting Darla Taylor plan our annual holiday festival, Mayor Baylor wants Tina, his spoilt wife, to run the committee. Tina’s anti-Santa campaign will have the streets of South Cove decorated in black and silver without a single mention of the big guy or the reason for the season.

Now with the holidays approaching, our streets remain undecorated and worse, I found Ted, dead in his classic Mustang. My days are filled with trying to keep the work program alive along with finding out who had a reason (besides anyone who ever met the guy) to kill Ted.

I’m still holding out hope that someone, anyone, will step up to take on the spirit of Christmas. I’m just hoping it’s not going to have to be me. I’ve got my hands full planning my first Thanksgiving dinner for Greg and our friends.

What was I thinking?


In the California coastal town of South Cove, history is one of its many tourist attractions—until it becomes deadly…

Jill Gardner, proprietor of Coffee, Books, and More, has discovered that the old stone wall on her property might be a centuries-old mission worthy of being declared a landmark. But Craig Morgan, the obnoxious owner of South Cove’s most popular tourist spot, The Castle, makes it his business to contest her claim. When Morgan is found murdered at The Castle shortly after a heated argument with Jill, even her detective boyfriend has to ask her for an alibi. Jill decides she must find the real murderer to clear her name. But when the killer comes for her, she’ll need to jump from historic preservation to self-preservation…

You can read more about Jill in If The Shoe Kills, the third book in the “Tourist Trap” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Guidebook to Murder.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 26 for the chance to win a digital copy of IF THE SHOE KILLS. The giveaway is open to everyone.

Meet the author
USA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she LynnCgrew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

For more information check out Lynn’s website at

A Day in the Life of the Queensville Emporium by Victoria Hamilton

No Mallets IntendedI’m a store; there, I said it. I was built to be a general store, and I’ve been one my whole life, about a hundred and forty years or so, give or take a decade. I hope to remain a store until my walls crumble to dust. That being said, I may be old, but there’s a lot of life left in the old gal yet.

Let me tell you about my typical day.

I don’t get up that early. Back in the day when I was also the local post office I’d be up at the crack of dawn, but not anymore. Valetta Nibley (she’s the town pharmacist) unlocks my creaky old doors about eight fifty or so, in time for her to get organized at her pharmacy counter in the back. Mr. and Mrs. Klausner, whose family has worked with me for almost a hundred of my years, then arrive. Not every day, though. More often than it used to be a gal named Jaymie Leighton arrives and her and Valetta have a good chin wag – they being best of friends – and then Jaymie gets down to business. I like it when she works. She’s a wee bit on the plump side, but oh, my stars is she energetic! She gets up on stools and cleans my rafters, and crawls under counters to clean up the dust balls.

That tickles, you know… the cobweb cleaning and dusting, with the feather duster especially!

But my favorite time of day is morning tea break. When Jaymie is working her and Valetta get a big mug of tea and sit out on my porch, watching the good folks of Queensville go about their business. They say howdy, wave, talk to all the dogs being walked, maybe play with Jaymie’s little three legged Yorkie Poo Hoppy, if she brought him to work and has him in the puppy pen by the porch. Or she and Valetta just have a grand gossip about everyone and everything going on in their lives.

I love hearing all the news, so that is a wonderful day. It reminds me of the good old days, when I was the hub of the town and everyone dropped in for a game of checkers on the pickle barrel, or just to gossip with the proprietors and every other soul with time on their hands.

Ah, but times change. I’ve seen a lot of changes in Queensville Michigan over all my years. But once in a while – every Christmas, especially – I get to relive the old days. Valetta and Jaymie will decorate me with cedar garlands, and folks dressed in Victorian garb stand outside around a bonfire and sing carols.

At the end of a long day Jaymie turns out all the lights as Valetta closes down her pharmacy counter, and they’ll lock up so I can nap. I watch the stars come out, and fall asleep listening to the St. Clair river slip past, down by the docks.

About No Mallets Intended:

Jaymie Leighton is excited and a little nervous about her current big venture, completely redoing the kitchen at Dumpe House—now the Queensville Historic Manor—in time for the December opening. But the house is mired in controversy, a challenge to the heritage society’s right to own it, and questions about the author hired to write a pamphlet detailing the Dumpe family history and that of the house.

None of Jaymie’s business, so she keeps her head down and her focus on the exact color right for the kitchen, and assembling all the accouterments, including a Hoosier cabinet! She’s also got lots to think about in her personal life with Daniel acting a little odd, and her friend Heidi dragging her in to the trouble between her and her fiancé, Jaymie’s former boyfriend Joel.

But a late night whack on the head with one of the antique mallets Jaymie has been cataloging for the society and a dreadful murder right on the house’s doorstep draws her once again into murder and mayhem. Jaymie faces her most cunning and dangerous opponent yet, but with Valetta and Hoppy by her side and the police chief’s approval, she must figure out whodunit before they do it again!

You can read more about the Queensville Emporium in No Mallets Intended, the fourth book in the “Vintage Kitchen” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is A Deadly Grind.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 25 for the chance to win a copy of NO MALLETS INTENDED. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

About the author
Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling Victoria Hauthor of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!

Visit Victoria at

A Day in the Life of Molly Pink by Betty Hechtman

Knot GuiltyMy name is Molly Pink and I think I might have taken on too big a challenge this time in KNOT GUILTY. It’s one thing being the event coordinator at Shedd & Royal Books and More, along with handling the yarn department. Yes, we’re a bookstore with a yarn department. We even have a crochet group that meets there which I’m a part of. It comes under the “more” in our name. But it’s quite another having the whole responsibility of a booth at a yarn show. My co-worker Adele is supposed to be helping, but anyone who knows her can figure out how that’s going to go.

When I heard the Southern California Knit Style Show was going to include crochet for the first time, it seemed like a good idea for the bookstore to have a booth in the vendor area. We could sell yarn, books, and tools. Mrs. Shedd reluctantly went along with the idea thinking it would be a way to let people in the area know about us.

Then Mr. Royal designed a booth that takes up three spaces and we added free crochet lessons, and the chance to make a granny square pin. We have the best spot in the place, but we’re going to have to move a lot of yarn to make it profitable.

Luckily my crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, is going to help out. Eduardo, our one guy in the group, is really going the extra mile to help draw customers. He used to be a cover model for romance novels and he’s cracking out the old outfits to wear while he offers free crochet lessons. Just imagine a handsome cowboy who can really handle a hook.

Elise is bringing her husband. I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out. Is she going to get him to dress up like Anthony, the vampire who crochets? The series of books is a super success and they’ve even made a movie out of the first book. Hugh Jackman played Anthony. Logan Belmont is no Hugh Jackman.

Part of my worries are that even though K.D. Kirby the head of the show and publisher of several knitting magazines decided to include crochet in the show, she seems half hearted about it at best. I wonder what she’s going to do when she sees the giant crochet hook logo Adele Abrams made based on the golden knitting needle logo K.D. has for the show. And the banner over our booth saying Crochet Spoken Here might not sit well with K.D. either.

And there’s something else. It seems like wherever people gather, drama follows, even at something that seems as friendly as a yarn show. Will I end up in the middle of it?

On top of it all, I have decided to make a big change in my life. But I really should just concentrate on the show and forget about trying to make a go of it with one of the two men in my life. I wonder if I am choosing the right one.

You can read more about Molly in Knot Guilty, the 9th book in the “Crochet” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Hooked on Murder.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 24 for the chance to win a copy of KNOT GUILTY. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
Betty Hechtman writes two national best selling yarn related series for Berkley Prime Crime. KNOT GUILTY and FOR BETTER OR WORSTED are her latest in the Crochet series and SILENCE OF THE LAMB’S WOOL is the latest in the Yarn BettyHRetreat series. All books in both series feature patterns and recipes.

In addition, she has just released STOLEN TREASURE, a Blue Schwartz Mystery as an e-book. Formerly published as Blue Schwartz and Nefertiti’s Necklace, it features a 13 year-old babysitter who loves to cook and is accused of stealing a priceless necklace. Three of Blue’s favorite recipes are included in the book.

She has a B.A. in Fine Arts and has taken classes in everything from improv comedy to magic. She has written newspaper and magazine pieces, along with short stories and several scripts. She splits her time between Southern California and Chicago and has yarn stashes in both places. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and her website She blogs Fridays on

A Day in the Life of Rory Anderson by Sybil Johnson

Fatal BrushstrokeI love the city I live in, but it doesn’t always love me back. Vista Beach is a beautiful place, no doubt about it. From my house, it’s a short walk to the ocean. I try to get down there once a week or so and spend a little time just staring at the waves. It’s very therapeutic.

My parents and my best friend, Liz, are the most important people in my life. My dad’s a lawyer and my mom owns a store that sells tole painting and scrapbooking supplies.

Crime wise the town I live in is pretty quiet, mostly car thefts and burglaries, though there was that arson spree eons ago—the one my birth parents were responsible for. I don’t know why I mentioned that. I guess it’s been on my mind a lot lately. And then there’s the murder, of course…

You wanted to know about my day. People hire me to create websites, produce apps for their business, stuff like that. Most people would find what I do boring, but to me programming is fun and satisfying. There’s an art to it. Writing an elegant piece of code is a beautiful thing.

Since I work for myself, I make my own schedule. On the average day, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, writing code, calling and e-mailing clients. Sometimes, I’ll take a break and head downtown to my mother’s store or have lunch with Liz. She’s a top producer in the local real estate market and knows everyone, and I mean everyone, in town.

Like me, she enjoys decorative painting. We’ve gone to conventions together, taken classes together and solved a murder together. I told that story to a woman who wrote a book about it. She seemed nice; I think I can trust her. Still, I can’t bring myself to read it. You do it for me, okay?

Oh, I’ve got to go. My mom’s calling. She probably needs my help at her store.

You can read more about Rory in Fatal Brushstroke, the first book in the “Aurora Anderson” mystery series, published by Henery Press.

Meet the author
Sybil Johnson writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery series. Sybil’s love affair with reading began in kindergarten with “The Three Little Pigs.” Visits to the library introduced her to Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and a host of other characters. Fast forward to college where she continued reading while studying Computer Science. After a rewarding career in the computer industry, Sybil decided to try her hand at writing mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mysterical-E and Spinetingler Magazine, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Sybil now lives in Southern California where she enjoys tole painting, studying ancient languages and spending time with friends and family. Visit her at or on Facebook at

December 2014 Books


December 1
Blue Avenue by Michael Wiley – Daniel Turner #1 *new series*

December 2
Murder, Served Simply by Isabella Alan – Amish Quilt Shop #3
Keeper of the Castle by Juliet Blackwell – Haunted Home Renovation #5
Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown – Cycle Path #1 *new series*
Death With All the Trimmings by Lucy Burdette – Key West Food Critic #5
Scorched Eggs by Laura Childs – Cackleberry Club #6

Blood Rubies by Jane K. Cleland – Josie Prescott Antiques #9
Inspector Specter by E.J. Copperman – Haunted Guesthouse #6
Once Upon a Grind by Cleo Coyle – Coffee house #14
The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice by Waverly Curtis – Barking Detective #4
The Ghost and Mrs Mewer by Krista Davis – Paws and Claws #2
Aground on St. Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale – Mystery in the Islands #3

Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris – Sarah Winston Garage Sale #1 *new series*
Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Retired Witches #1 *new series*
Meow If It’s Murder by T.C. LoTempio – Nick and Nora #1 *new series*
Suspicion at Seven by Ann Purser – Lois Meade #7
If You’ve Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey – Haunted Vintage #1 *new series*
Shadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman – Carol Childs #1 *new series*

Week of December 7
The Red Queen’s Run by Bourne Morris – Red Solaris #1 *new series*

Week of December 14
Kill ‘Em with Cayenne by Gail Oust – Spice Shop #2
A Nip of Murder by Carol Miller – Moonshine #2

Week of December 21

Week of December 28
Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander – Bakeshop #1 *new series*
Die Again by Tess Gerritsen – Rizzoli & Isles #11
Paw and Order by Diane Kelly – Paw Enforcement #2
Wedding Cake by Josi S. Kilpack – Culinary #12
Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King – Book Group #1 *new series*

Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for posting about discounted books, giveaways and some of my reading musings.

Lottawatah Repossessed by Evelyn David

Lottawatah RepossessedLottawatah Repossessed by Evelyn David is the 12th book in the “Brianna Sullivan” mystery series. Publisher: Evelyn David, November 2014

Home Sweet Home turns deadly when the ghost of a murder victim takes up residence in the house psychic Brianna Sullivan and fiancé Cooper Jackson have just purchased. Up to their eyeballs in mortgage debt, the last thing they need is an unwanted permanent visitor who doesn’t pay rent. But the specter refuses to move towards the light unless Brianna can solve his murder. It would help if she even knew the ghost’s identity, but that proves more complicated than she ever imagined. At the same time, Police Chief Cooper has the entire department searching for the young teenaged son of Reverend Saunders, a man who insists that Brianna is the devil’s disciple. Is there a connection between the missing teen and an anonymous ghost who refuses to reveal his name? As Brianna gets closer to figuring out who is behind the murder, a life-altering accident upends all previous theories. With Cooper in the hospital, it’s up to the reluctant psychic to stop a determined killer before more blood is shed on her new bedroom carpet.

Join Brianna, Cooper, bulldog Leon, and all the gang in Lottawatah for a roller coaster ride through home ownership, love, wedding planning (think hoop-skirted bridesmaids), and the effects of too many sausage links on the cutest bulldog with the wonkiest digestive tract in the state of Oklahoma.

This was an enjoyable read from beginning to end. Once again, Brianna is confronted by a ghostly spirit and his request is find his killer and that puts Brianna on a road that reaps with danger. This fast-paced drama was executed nicely and I loved how the mystery was set up with a nice flow that was easy to follow. The author did a great job in building up the suspect list which kept me guessing and what a fine job it was when the killer was revealed. All the main players were around for this thrilling ride in Lottawatah, OK.