A Day in the Life of Melissa Kerby by E.J. Copperman

Inspector SpecterMy average day is just like the average day of most other fifth graders: I get up the morning, get ready for school, get some breakfast, get driven to school, spend the day there, then get driven home and cook dinner—okay, that part’s a little unusual, but I like it—and do homework, maybe watch some TV or do online stuff until I have to go to bed.

Typical.

All right, I left out a couple of things. First, my mom owns a guesthouse on the Jersey Shore, so we always have some very nice people visiting in the house and I have to make sure I’m on good behavior when they’re around, because like my mom says, they’re paying for the house we live in.

Second, my mom also has a private investigator license, and every once in a while we investigate a case together. She does most of the driving around and interviewing people and then we talk about it at night and I sort of interpret what a lot of the stuff they said to her meant.

There is one other thing I should tell you: The house is haunted, and I do see ghosts, especially the ones who live there.

I’ve always been able to see ghosts. It took a long time when I was little for my grandma, who also can see them, to explain to me that not everybody does. It was harder because my mom couldn’t see or hear the ghosts all around her until a few years ago when she got hit on the head and then all of a sudden she could.

My best friend Wendy (Mom calls her my BFF, and maybe she is, but nobody says that anymore) knows about the ghosts and can’t see them. She’s totally cool with them, which is one of the reasons I like her so much.

So Maxie and Paul, the ghosts in our house, are part of my day every day. Maxie is so much fun—she likes to be outrageous but she really is sweet and she cares about us, even if Mom doesn’t think so. Paul is serious, but he always knows what to do when we have a case, and he’s really warm and nice for a guy who got murdered three years ago.

Anyway, my day includes school, guests, ghosts and sometimes investigations. I love the cases, and Mom pretends she doesn’t but I think she really does. It’s so cool to think about who did what and why they did it. But when our friend Lt. McElone from the police department asked Mom to help with something, it got a little weird for a while.

Mom tells that story in a book called Inspector Specter. What she says is mostly true.


Melissa Kerby is featured in Inspector Specter, the sixth book in the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series by E.J. Copperman, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Night of the Living Deed.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on December 29 for the chance to win a copy of INSPECTOR SPECTER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
E.J. Copperman is either someone’s pseudonym or the sick mind behind the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series, in which two resident ghosts help a single mom/innkeeper/private investigator solve crimes and entertain guests, or both. E.J. is a screenwriter, freelance reporter, teacher and bon vivant from New Jersey, if such a thing is possible. Visit E.J. at his website.

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: No. 51

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

Today at 6pm, the Winter season begins where the days start getting longer, but of course the days will get colder.

Christmas is upon us this week and for those celebrating, I hope you have a nice holiday season with family and friends.

Another winner will forfeit their prize if I don’t hear from them by today (12/21/14) by 6pm eastern. Please check your SPAM folder.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This week on dru’s book musings
Dec 22: Melissa Kerby from Inspector Specter by E.J. Copperman
Dec 23: Pepe Sullivan from The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice by Waverly Curtis
Dec 24: Zoe Donovan from Christmas Cozy by Kathi Daley
Dec 25: Kiki Lowenstein from Handmade, Holiday, Homicide by Joanna Campbell Slan
Dec 26: Juliet Montague Capshaw from Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander
Dec 27: Sadie Hoffmiller from Wedding Cake by Josi S. Kilpack
Dec 28: Bug from Malignancy by J. L. Greger

Last week on dru’s book musings
Mel Turner from Keeper of the Castle by Juliet Blackwell
Piper Prescott from Kill ‘Em with Cayenne by Gail Oust
Carol Childs from Shadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman
Mojito Man from Aground on St.Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale
Cassie Baxter from Unbelievable by Cindy Blackburn
Rose Mancini from One Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto

Recent contest winners
Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown – Ruth M.
Geared for the Grave tote from Duffy Brown – Helga T.
Geared for the Grave tote from Duffy Brown – Caroline C.
Blood Rubies by Jane K. Cleland – is Margaret U.
Death With All the Trimmings by Lucy Burdette – Patricia T.
Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Gabi E.
Murder, Served Simply by Isabella Alan – Cheryl D.
Secrets of Hallstead House by Amy M. Reade – Sandra H.
The Red Queen’s Run by Bourne Morris – Kathy K.


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Review ~ Inspector Specter by E.J. Copperman

Inspector SpecterInspector Specter by E.J. Copperman is the sixth book in the “Haunted Guesthouse” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2014

Just when she thought she’d seen everything. . .

Detective Lieutenant Anita McElone is one of Harbor Haven’s finest. She’s also a hard-boiled ghost skeptic. So when she shows up on the doorstep of Alison Kerby’s Haunted Guesthouse to ask for supernatural help in solving the murder of her former partner, it’s hard to tell which woman is more flabbergasted. But McElone is dead serious, so Alison promises to help in any way she can—even asking her resident ghosts, Paul and Maxie, for help with the case.

As Paul’s spirit source reveals some troubling information about the deceased detective, Alison wrestles with what to tell McElone. First, though, she has to find her. . .because the lieutenant has suddenly disappeared.

I enjoy the camaraderie between the living and the ghosts and if it wasn’t for the ghost-like behavior, sometimes the ghosts feel like the living, especially in their actions. This was an enjoyable read and I liked in this light drama we had more insight into the person Lt. McElone is out of uniform. But best of all is the outcome of their association that is a bonus in this fast-paced whodunit. The plot of this mystery kept me engaged in all that was happening and the suspenseful nature propelled me towards a conclusion befitting all the characters. Boasting a great cast of characters, witty repartee and the backdrop of the NJ shore, this is a delightfully wonderful read and I look forward to more adventures with Alison and the gang.

A Day in the Life with Rosa Mancini by Jennifer Fischetto

One Garish GhostHi, I’m Rosa Mancini—matriarch of my wonderful family, co-owner of Mancini Deli (over on Park Place in South Shore Beach), and murderabilia collector. Yes, I’m aware that’s bizarre, but let me explain.

My husband is a regular man. He isn’t much affected by life’s morbidity. Well, except for what the rest of us place at his feet, but for the most part, he goes about his day slicing meats, taking orders, and making sandwiches. Then there’s our middle child, our son. The responsible one.

Please don’t tell my two daughters I said that.

Our son graduated college and entered the police academy. He’s currently an officer and just bought his own house. We’re very proud of him. My eldest daughter works at the deli part-time, is married, and has given us the sweetest granddaughter. Well, she’s a teenager now, so maybe ‘sweetest’ is the most accurate term on most days.

Then there’s our youngest daughter, Gianna.

When she was eight-years-old, she fell in the deli’s walk-in freezer, hit her head on the floor, and passed out. It was so busy that day we didn’t realize she was missing. When we found her, she was so cold and stiff, I feared the worst. According to the paramedics, she died for one minute and thirty-two seconds in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital. To this day, eighteen years later, I still shudder when I think how we almost lost our little girl. But everything turned out fine. She had a mild concussion and sprang back immediately.

There was one change though. Gianna could suddenly see and communicate with ghosts. And for reasons we’re still not sure of, the ghosts pass to the other side through the freezer. She stopped talking about them to her father, siblings, and me some years ago. I believe she was trying to spare us the weirdest of it all, but I know she still sees them. Luckily Gianna has a great sense of humor and can handle it all.

As for me, I collect murderabilia—items that once belonged to a murder victim or their killer. Yes, I realize it sounds like a gruesome hobby. It all started years ago when my sister, Stella, died. I was convinced she’d been murdered while taking a bath, but it turned out that she simply slipped getting out, hit her head on the edge of the tub, and slipped under the standing water. It started a fascination with me though.

Now don’t look at me like that. I don’t wish people dead. And I’d never want to see a bloody body, but their possessions intrigue me. The things they leave behind. I used to collect items locally, but when my husband bought us a computer, it opened up a world of collectibles. Online I’m knows as Clarice. Yes, I’m quite proud of myself for picking that name. I am very grateful I’ve never come across a real life Hannibal Lecter though.

As for the family as a whole… Well, we like to scare one another. It’s not malicious. It’s all in good fun. The kids love it especially. One will stand outside the bathroom door, nose pressed against the wood, wait for the other to open, and then whisper, “Boo.” Just the other day, my husband and I were out, but my eldest and granddaughter were at our home. Our son snuck inside and down to the basement. He screamed at the same time he blew the circuit breaker, shutting down all the lights. My daughter had a few choice words for him, but my granddaughter laughed and thought it was fun. I’m not sure when we started this tradition, but being scared sure gets your adrenaline pumping.

So next time you stop in Mancini Deli, if you hear a scream, it’s probably one of my children scaring another. And if you see Gianna talking to no one, just ignore her. Of course, if you happen to come across any murder items, you know where to find me.


You can read more about Rose in One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam, the first book in the new “Dead by the Numbers” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on December 26 for the chance to win a signed print copy of ONE GARISH GHOST & BLUEBERRY PEACH JAM (US residents only, please) or an e-book (open to everyone)–winner’s choice.

Jennifer Fischetto is the National Bestselling Author of the Jamie Bond Mysteries. Unbreakable Bond, her adult debut novel, has received a National Reader’s Choice award nomination. She writes dead bodies for ages 13 to six-feet-under. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, singing (off-key), and watching an obscene amount of TV. She also adores trees, ice cream, thunderstorms, things that sparkle, and horror movies—the scarier the better. She lives in Western Mass with her family and is currently working on her next project.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

A Day in the Life of Cassie Baxter by Cindy Blackburn

UnbelievableDo yourself a favor, never move in with your father. Especially if he’s an early bird. Because your father, if he’s anywhere near as annoying as mine, will wake you up at the crack of dawn. We’re talking every day. Drives. Me. Nuts! Dad keeps insisting we Baxters are morning people. I keep reminding him I’m forty-four and haven’t been a “morning person” since I was twelve. And once we have that daily argument out of the way, what a shocker, I’m awake.

During breakfast, Dad fills me in on Chance Dooley’s latest adventures. My father—Bobby Baxter—is a retired English teacher who’s taken up writing science fiction. The hero of Bobby’s stories is Chance Dooley, owner and operator of Dooley’s Delivery Service: The Delivery Service That Delivers Where No Delivery Service Has Ever Delivered Before. Needless to say, Chance and his trusty Spaceship Destiny get into some truly absurd situations. And given enough coffee, I can usually come up with an equally absurd solution to Chance (and my father’s) problem du jour.

Why I ever agreed to this truly absurd living arrangement with my father is a long story, but Dad and I share a big old Victorian house in Lake Elizabeth, Vermont—population 600, not including dogs, cats, and livestock. My favorite animals are our black lab Charlie, Evert Osgood’s basset hound Miss Rusty, and Oden Poquette’s goats Rose and Ruby. I’m getting to know Miss Rusty and the goats quite well this summer, since they were my only witnesses when I found, and then lost, the dead redhead. Yeah, I know—unbelievable. I was in my pajamas at the time. Yeah, I know—way unbelievable. My story’s even more unbelievable than Chance Dooley’s latest crisis.

Oh, but Dru Ann asked me to tell you about a normal day. I’m a history professor at Crabtree College, so during the school year I spend my days teaching. Crabtree’s not exactly a bastion of academic excellence, but I like it. My best friend Bambi also teaches at the college, and we usually do lunch together. Bambi and I bonded long ago because we both have trouble in the being-taken-seriously department. Me, because I’m teeny-tiny and, as everyone’s been telling me since the day I was born, “cute as a button.” Bambi’s normal-sized, but with a name like Dr. Bambi Lovely-Vixen? You get the picture.

When I’m not on campus, I’m home in Lake Bess, where my father, as mentioned, drives me nuts. But Dad’s not the only one. We have neighbors. Maxine Tibbitts, a reporter for the local newspaper, lives next door, and to say she’s a busy-body snoop is putting it mildly. Maxine thinks my every action is worth reporting in her weekly gossip column. And when I found, and then lost, the dead redhead? Let’s just say Maxine’s report was memorable.

Not to be outdone in the driving-Cassie-Baxter-nuts department is our other neighbor, Josiah Wylie. Joe’s a mad scientist who works at home with his invention, a machine he calls—don’t ask me why—the FN451z. No one but Joe has the foggiest clue as to the FN451z’s purpose. But everyone around the lake has heard the thing, since the FN beeps, burps, and chirps 24/7.

Joe, on the other hand, is annoyingly quiet. The man must have secrets, and considering he gets himself invited to dinner with Dad and me on an almost nightly basis, I intend to learn out what those secrets are. Don’t tell my father the match-maker, but Joe Wylie’s kind of sexy. A sexy mad scientist? Yeah, I know—unbelievable. But I’m here to tell you such a thing actually does exist.

Which brings us back to that dead redhead. She exists, too, and luckily I have the summer off. So, unbelievable or not, I intend to solve the mystery of the missing redhead. I may be undersized, but don’t underestimate me.


Learn more about Cassie, Joe, and the gang in Unbelievable, the first book in the new “Cassie Baxter” mystery series.

Here’s some info about Unbelievable:

Small sleuth, tiny town, unfailing fun.

Welcome to Lake Elizabeth, Vermont, where the water is blue, the mountains are green, and Cassie Baxter is going nuts. Who wouldn’t go nuts in a town this size? What possessed Cassie to move in with her father? And why do they have to live next door to a mad scientist? A sexy mad scientist. Does such a thing even exist? And speaking of existing, what happened to the dead redhead? You know, the one Cassie found, and then lost? What’s up with that? Cassie Baxter intends to find out. Read Unbelievable and you will, too.

The Cassie Baxter Mysteries: They’re not Cue Balls, but they are screw balls.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on December 26 for the chance to win a Kindle copy of UNBELIEVABLE. The giveaway is open to everyone.

Meet the Author
Cindy Blackburn spends her days sitting around in her pajamas thinking up unlikely plot twists and ironing out the quirks and kinks of lovable characters. When she’s not typing on her laptop or feeding her fat cat Betty, Cindy enjoys taking long walks with her cute hubby John. A native Vermonter who hates snow, Cindy divides her time between the south and the north. Most of the year you’ll find her in South Carolina. But come summer she’ll be on the porch of her lakeside shack in Vermont. Yep, it’s a place very similar to Lake Elizabeth. Cindy’s favorite travel destinations are all in Europe, her favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory, her favorite movie is Moonstruck, and her favorite color is orange. Cindy dislikes vacuuming, traffic, and lima beans.

Learn more about Cindy and her books at www.cbmysteries.com. Cindy can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

A Day in the Life of the Mojito Man by Rebecca M. Hale

Aground on St. ThomasI’ve been sick for a while. Cancer. Doesn’t really matter what kind. It’s spread through my entire body. Stuff is eating me away from the inside out. I only have a few weeks left to live. That’s what the doctors told me.

I’ll get the last laugh, though. I’m going out with a bang. I had all I could take of the hospital. Those dreary white walls, blocking you in. Don’t get me started on the food. And those oncologists, I tell you, they have no sense of humor.

So I bought a one-way ticket to the Virgin Islands. I’m going to lie in the sun, chill out on the beach – and suck down as many Mojitos as the bartender can mix up for me.

I’ve booked all the rooms at Blackbeard’s Castle. For the next month, I’ve got the place to myself. That should pretty much do it. It’s a fantastic view from up there. You can see everything: the harbor, the sea…every detail in the city below.

Of course, I didn’t expect all this hullabaloo with the governor. I guess he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and now he’s on the lam. Charlotte Amalie is crawling with G-men. The place is on lockdown until they find him.

Me, all I’m searching for is the perfect Mojito. This government upheaval is causing a major disruption in the supply of mint leaves, and you can’t make a proper Mojito without fresh mint leaves.

People keep asking me what I saw up at Blackbeard’s Castle the other night. To tell you the truth, I don’t rightly know. That was after my nightly medication. Things get kind of fuzzy once the drugs kick in. They should just leave me alone.

I came here to die. And to drink Mojitos… Hey, do you know where I can get some fresh mint?


You can read more about Mojito Man in Aground on St. Thomas, the third book in the “Mystery in the Islands” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Adrift on St. John.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on December 25 for the chance to win a copy of AGROUND ON ST. THOMAS. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
NY Times bestselling author REBECCA M. HALE worked for almost ten years as a patent attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area before taking time off to write her first novel, HOW TO WASH A CAT. She is now the author of nine Penguin titles and a growing list of ebooks released under her own imprint, Green Vase Publishing. Her writing is often influenced by her travel experiences and the people she meets on her journeys.

Rebecca lives in Western Colorado with her feline writing associates, that is, when she’s not off researching future books set in San Francisco, the Caribbean, or wherever else her wandering spirit takes her.

Author website: www.TravelingWithBooks.com

January 2015 Books

jan15

January 1
Classic Cashes In by Amy Myers – Car Detective #6

January 6
For Whom the Bluebell Tolls by Beverly Allen – Bridal Bouquet Shop #2
A Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourbon – Magical Dressmaking #6
In Hot Water by J. J. Cook – Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade #3
Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy – Greek to Me *new series*
Snow Way Out by Christine Husom – Snow Globe Shop *new series*
All the President’s Menus by July Hyzy – White House Chef #8
Ghost in the Guacamole by Sue Ann Jaffarian – Ghost of Granny Apples #5
No Ghouls Allowed by Victoria Laurie – Ghost Hunter #9
Snoop to Nuts by Elizabeth Lee – Nut House #2
Lie of the Needle by Cate Price – Deadly Notions #3
Diners, Drive-Ins and Death by Christine Wenger – Comfort Food #3

With Baited Breath by Lorraine Bartlett – Lotus Bay *new series*
Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves – Lizzie Snow *new series*
Viking Bay by M.A. Lawson – Kay Hamilton #2
Fry Me a Liver by Delia Rosen – Deadly Deli #6
Some Like It Haute by Diane Vallere – Style & Error #4
Twisted Threads by Lea Wait – Mainely Needlepoint *new series*
Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker – Headlines in High Heels #4
Insatiable Appetites by Stuart Woods – Stone Barrington #32

January 8
Dying for the Past by TJ O’Connor – Gumshoe Ghost #2
The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian – Zoe Faust *new series*

January 13
Fatal Scandal by Marie Force – Fatal #8
Nun Too Soon by Alice Loweecey – Giulia Driscoll *new series*

January 20
Puzzled Indemnity by Parnell Hall – Puzzle Lady #16
Dead Red by Tim O’Mara – Raymond Donne #3

January 27
This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle – Fixer-Upper #2
Toured to Death by Hy Conrad – Amy’s Travel *new series*
Arsenic and Old Books by Miranda James – Cats in the Stacks #6


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