Chicken Soup and HomicideIt’s 5:00 a.m., but it’s dinner time for me. Or at least it is today. I’m Carla. I work in the ER at Kellerton Hospital, and I just got done working the night shift. There’s nothing like driving home in the dark on icy, snow-covered streets after working to patch up people who were in traffic accidents because of the ice rinks that double as roads on some days in Michigan. This winter has been particularly brutal in more ways than one.

I should be winding down, getting ready to go to bed soon. I’m filling in for a sick coworker, so I’ll need to go back to the hospital this afternoon. Like I said, I should be relaxing so I can get some sleep, but instead I’m drinking coffee and wolfing down double chocolate cookies made by my best friend, Amy. Apparently the recipe needs more work before she’ll consider it good enough to enter in any contest. Entering cooking contests is her hobby that leans more toward an obsession, but I can’t fault her for pursuing something she loves.

Amy is crazy in multiple categories. First of all, the cookies are fabulous. Better than many that I’ve had from bakeries. I’m sure they could win some kind of contest just as they are, with no further changes. Secondly, she’s standing up to the obnoxious detective who is trying to pin a murder on me. The man has the personality of a hungry grizzly bear…who’s hungry to put a fellow detective’s girlfriend in prison. Pitts has the classic, bad cop routine perfected, but Amy is fearlessly punching holes in his case against me. He got in a mental sword fight with the wrong person.

Some of her theories on who the real murderer is are rather creative, but there’s a decent chance she will figure out who the killer is. She did it last summer and even managed to play matchmaker at the same time. Now, rather miraculously, I’m still dating Bruce, a detective with the Kellerton Police Department. He would be able to solve the case if he hadn’t taken himself off of it because the victim was one of my former boyfriends. Just my luck that one of my past, dysfunctional relationships is messing with the first serious relationship I’ve had in years.

So I’m sitting here, filling up on sugar and caffeine, so I can stay awake long enough to call at least one of the sleuths that are on my side. Amy or Bruce could have uncovered a new clue while I was working. They’re both early risers, but even if one of them is up it would still be wiser to wait until they’ve had the time to get some coffee before dealing with my sugar-fueled desperation. Maybe I should switch out my coffee for milk, to give myself a better chance to fall asleep. But I know if anybody has any news, good or bad, I probably won’t be able to sleep anyway. Being a murder suspect is wreaking havoc on my already messed up sleep routine. Somebody needs to find the real murderer before I turn into an insomnia-induced zombie.

You can read more about Carla in Chicken Soup & Homicide, the second book in the “Culinary Competition” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. The first book in the series is Pies & Peril.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on March 27 for the chance to win an autographed copy of Chicken Soup & Homicide or an e-book–winner’s choice. The print giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The kindle copy is open to everyone. 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
Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten-shaped state of JanelGradowskiMichigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life. She writes the Culinary Competition Mystery Series, along with The Bartonville Series (women’s fiction) and the 6:1 Series (flash fiction). She has also had many short stories published in both online and print publications.

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