Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

a place where characters give you a glimpse into their day

A Day in the Life of Carleigh Warner by Amy M. Reade

The Ghosts of Peppernell ManorMy day usually starts in one of two ways:
a) I wake up my daughter, Lucy, in which case she’s grumpy and the day is off to a slow start, or
b) Lucy wakes me up, in which case I’m tired but happy and the day is off and running. Just like Lucy.

After I take her to preschool in Charleston, I usually head straight back to the manor where we’re living right now. It’s called Peppernell Manor and I’ve been hired to restore it to the way it might have looked during the days before the Civil War. The house is beautiful, but it’s been neglected and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on it.

I have a detailed plan for the restoration and I work hard on the floors, the ceilings, the walls, and the trim. You name it, I work on it. It can be a dirty, grimy job, but I love what I do and the reward is seeing an old home get a new lease on life.

So my days are planned and predicable, right?

Wrong.

Something’s not right at Peppernell Manor. The family is divided over its future: Cora-Camille, the Peppernell matriarch, has hinted that she plans to change her will to leave the management of the property to the state of South Carolina. Other members of the family think the property should be administered by a for-profit investment group (the family will stand to make more money that way). I try not to get involved, but emotions run high and sometimes I wonder if Cora-Camille is safe in her own home.

I wonder if Lucy and I are safe here, too. There have been some frightening incidents since we arrived, and I don’t know who’s behind them. I don’t want to leave the restoration of Peppernell Manor unfinished, but protecting Lucy is my top priority.

Cora-Camille’s granddaughter, Evie, is one of my best friends. I love Evie dearly, but on top of everything else that’s going on, she wants me to start dating again. I’ve been anti-men since my divorce (my ex-husband left me for a stripper – that still stings), so Evie is a bit more enthusiastic about my love life than I am. But we’ll see. . .

Add to all of that the house manager who talks to ghosts, and you can see why my days don’t always go exactly as planned.

Did I mention it is hurricane season?


You can read more about Carleigh in The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, published by Kensington.

Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger. . .

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 5 for the chance to win a kindle copy of The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor. The e-book giveaway 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
Amy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New AmyRYork City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, and two cats. She writes full time and is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands region of New York. She is currently working on her third and fourth novels, set in Hawaii and Cape May, New Jersey, respectively. She loves cooking, reading, and traveling, and is entranced by the beauty and charm of the South.

Amy can be found online at website, her blog, on Twitter or on Facebook

A Day in the Life of Allie McMurphy by Nancy Coco

Oh Say Can You FudgeHi, my name is Allie McMurphy. I’m the owner operator of the Historic McMurphy Inn and Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island Michigan. The McMurphy has been in my family for over one hundred years and I’m the next generation to run it. I love my job as fudge maker and inn keeper, but recently I’ve sort of branched out into amateur sleuthing. It all started with finding Joe Jessop toes up in the McMurphy’s second floor utility room. With his murder under my roof, I discovered I’m pretty good at following clues and figuring out who is behind the crimes.

Of course I have help from my trusty bichon-poodle mix, Marshmallow—Mal for short. My puppy gets me into and out of all kinds of trouble. Today is no different. We were out for a walk when Mal ran off. I chased after her only to discover a shed was on fire. I got Mal out of harm’s way and called 9-1-1 just before the shed exploded. It seems that the owners were storing lawnmowers and edge clippers and cans of gasoline to fuel them. I managed to turn and tuck Mal under me to shield her with my body from the flying debris. We are safe for the moment.

This explosion is just one in a string of arsons that have been occurring on the island this year. Mal and I have managed to be at the scene of the last few and that means the police are looking at us and the arsonist/killer has to know we are steps behind him. It’s not looking good for our safety.

Arsons aren’t the only troubles on my plate. It’s July on Mackinac and I’m on the Star Spangled Fourth committee. More specifically I’m in charge of the fireworks, which were lost in the most dramatic of the arsonists events. For the first time in over one hundred and fifty years Mackinac Island’s Star Spangled Fourth fireworks celebration might not happen. It seems it will take all my wits, Mal’s ability to find clues and my friends and family’s help to catch the killer and see that the Fourth of July celebration goes off without a hitch.


You can read more about Allie in Oh Say Can You Fudge, the third book in the “Candy-Coated” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first two books in the series are All Fudged Up and To Fudge or Not to Fudge.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 4 for the chance to win a copy of Oh Say Can You Fudge. 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
OH SAY CAN YOU FUDGE is the third book in Kensington’s Candy Coated Mystery series by Nancy Coco also known as Nancy J Parra. Inspired by the gentile Victorian feel of Mackinac Island, Nancy asked the people at The Island Bookstore if anyone had ever written a mystery series set on Mackinac Island. The answer was no. Nancy went to work with a poll of Island visitors and locals. If an amateur sleuth lived on Mackinac Island, what would she do for a living? The overwhelming answer was run a Fudge Shop, of course. Mackinac Island is known for its world famous fudge. The rest is history. Nancy’s alter ego, Nancy J Parra has an MA in Popular Fiction and a day doesn’t go by when she isn’t working on a new story or walking her own bichonpoo known affectionately on line as Little Dog. Visit Nancy at www.nancyjparra.com.

Author Showcase ~ Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Gathering Prey
They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes—they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.

Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.

Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger—but just may change the course of his life.


Release: April 2015
Series: Prey #26
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 29 for the chance to win a copy of Gathering Prey. 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
John Sandford is the pseudonym for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. He has been a reporter at The Miami Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories about a Midwestern farm family. He is the author of twenty-five Prey novels; four Kidd novels; The Night Crew; Dead Watch; eight Virgil Flowers novels, most recently Deadline; and a Young Adult novel, Uncaged, co-written with his wife, Michele Cook. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For more information go to www.johnsandford.org.

From The Personal Journal Of Kathy Briscow by Anne Louise Bannon

Fascinating RhythmDecember 8, 1924

What a tiresome day this has been! I am very glad that I decided not to work tonight and went to see Lady Be Good instead. (Mem – Adele Astaire was very good. And I think the composer, a George Gershwin, also composed that Rhapsody in Blue experiment that was so talked about last spring.)

I suppose I shouldn’t complain so much. I know plenty of women at Healcroft House who would be thrilled to be editing, even with their bosses getting the credit. But Mr. Selby decided not to come in to work again today, and on a Monday, of all days! I had to call him to remind him about the editors’ meeting and he said I should cover it. Well, of course, I should cover it. I’m the one doing his work! Sadly, I didn’t think Mr. Healcroft would agree. At least the old goat let me stay at the meeting.

But he is getting suspicious about Mr. Selby (who is almost never at the office these days, I wonder what he does all day?) And after fighting Mr. Trimble this afternoon about the Keller print run, I am very close to telling Mr. Healcroft what is going on.

Maybe after I finish editing The Old Money Story. Mr. Little (or his ghost writer) has written such a wonderful novel. I have no idea how Mr. Selby acquired that for the firm (could he really be working when he’s gone after all?), but I’m glad he decided I should do the work on it. It’s pure joy to work on, even if the story wanders off track. That will be easy to fix. Well, we’ll have to see what Mr. Little writes back in response to my letter.

I just hope I can keep Mr. Healcroft from finding out about me until after the book is printed and selling well. I should go to bed. Tomorrow will be upon me far too quickly as it is, but maybe I’ll do a few quick edits on The Old Money Story. Maybe I’ll get lucky and Mr. Selby will find himself out of a job and I can finally take credit for what I’m doing.


You can read more about Kathy Briscow in Fascinating Rhythm, the first book in a NEW series featuring Kathy and millionaire author Freddie Little, published by Robin Goodfellow Enterprises. Look for the sequel Bring Into Bondage to come out this fall.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 1 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book copy of Fascinating Rhythm–winner’s choice. The print giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The e-book giveaway 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.

Meet the author
Anne Louise Bannon is an author and journalist who wrote her first novel at age 15. Her journalistic work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Wines & Vines, and in newspapers across the country. She was a TV critic for over 10 years, founded the YourFamilyViewer blog and created OddBallGrape.com, a wine education blog, with her husband, Michael Holland. She also writes the romantic fiction serial WhiteHouseRhapsody.com. She lives in Southern California with her husband and various critters. You can find out more about Fascinating Rhythm and Anne’s other mystery novel Tyger, Tyger at www.annelouisebannon.com.

A Day in the Life of Wallace Prescott by Dawn Eastman

A Fright to the DeathHello. I’m Wallace Prescott, the manager of Carlisle Castle, where every guest is treated like royalty. At least that’s what it says on our new brochures. We used to be a small country inn nestled in the woods located just outside of Kalamazoo, MI. Jessica and her mother Linda converted their family home to an inn ten years ago and they’ve built a loyal following. But since Clarissa Carlisle (niece and cousin) moved in, things have changed. She wants Carlisle Castle to become a destination spa experience. I don’t know if it’s working.

Even with Ms. Carlisle’s modifications, the knitters are back again this year. They booked the entire castle for their weekend workshop. I thought it would make my job fairly easy. I thought they’d entertain themselves with the workshops. I thought, “how much trouble can a bunch of knitters be?” Plus, winter conferences help to keep the lights on and the bills paid.

However, it’s been one difficulty after another since the knitters arrived. The first problem is the yarn-bombing contest. Every time I think I’m caught up on my work, another knitter is here at the desk wanting me to climb a ladder to install more knitting in precarious places. I’ve begun sending them to the maintenance guy – he ought to be good for something. Fixing things is apparently not one of his talents. Another worry is that there is a huge snowstorm on the way. We sent most of the staff home to avoid the snow and now we’re down to a skeleton crew. I hope we have enough food to last through the weekend. If we lose power, things are going to get tense. I don’t think people can knit in the dark and then what will they do?

Violet Greer, one of the knitters, has been badgering me about the Carlisle ghost. We do have a ghost, but I’m not supposed to talk about it. I don’t know how she did it, but she dragged the story out of me and now I seriously regret it. If Ms. Carlisle finds out I told the story, she’ll be furious. She seems to think she can stamp out all knowledge of the ghost just by ignoring it.

And then, two new guests showed up with no reservations. Clyde Fortune and Mac McKenzie didn’t seem happy to discover that Ms. Greer was staying here. At least she offered to share her room overnight or I don’t know where we would have put them. I think we’ll just about survive the storm, as long as nothing else goes wrong. . .


You can read more about Wallace and Carlisle Castle in A Fright to the Death, the third book in the “Family Fortune” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first two books in the series are Pall in the Family and Be Careful What You Witch For.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 1 for the chance to win a print copy of A Fright to the Death. 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
Dawn Eastman lived in Michigan for many years, in a house full of animals, unusual people, and laughter. She now lives in Iowa with her family and one extremely bossy small dog. She is the national bestselling author of The Family Fortune Mystery Series, which features psychics, animal communication, quirky characters and murders. For more information, visit www.DawnEastman.com

Spending Time With Dani Greene by Jessie Crockett

A Sticky SituationEven though there are still snow banks higher than my head here in New Hampshire spring is in the air. It may not be easy for everyone to spot but if you’re a fourth-generation sugar maker like me you really notice the subtle changes in the season. Every year, just as you think you can’t take one more minute of cold, it’s time to tap the maple trees and to boil down sap into syrup.

Since it requires forty gallons of sap to produce just a single gallon of finished syrup, I put a lot of miles on my snowshoes every sugaring season, placing taps and running tubing to collect the sap. But I don’t mind. In fact, I look forward to it. After all the months cooped up in the house nothing beats being out in the fresh air and sunshine, listening to the chirps of birds and chatter of frisking squirrels. At this time of year the sugar bush is my favorite place to be.

I like it even more once my great-aunt Hazel arrives for a visit. Every year she shows up in Sugar Grove in time for the annual Maple Festival. The festival is famous all over the region. Unfortunately, Hazel is even more infamous. People in town talk about her in hushed tones, like they don’t want to tempt fate by being overheard saying her name.

Hazel may be in her eighties but she still ends up at the police station and the emergency room at least once every visit. The only place you can count on her not getting into trouble is out in the woods because she’d have to pitch in and be useful there.

Even with Hazel’s visit and the responsibilities I have for my business and for helping to put on the Maple Festival, I wouldn’t trade a day of it with anyone. After all, when you spend your time making maple syrup, life seems very sweet indeed.


You can read more about Dani in A Sticky Situation, the third book in the “Sugar Grove” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first two books in the series are Drizzled with Death and Maple Mayhem.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 30 for the chance to win a print copy of A Sticky Situation. 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
As a nearly lifelong resident of the Granite State, Jessie Crockett naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing frosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. When not working on her next murderous adventure she combs the beach, designs bento lunches ad throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools. Jessie lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small many other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Hearing from readers makes the winters seem shorter so please visit her at www.jessiecrockett.com.

A Conversation with Sophie Medina by Ellen Crosby

Ghost ImageThe Byzantine-style church of Mount St. Sepulchre on the grounds of the old Franciscan monastery in Washington, D.C. always looked to me as if it had been plucked from the Holy Land where it had stood in the shadow of a sacred shrine and set down in Brookland, a working-class neighborhood of Craftsman bungalows and wood-framed houses, the way Dorothy’s house landed in Oz. It was nearly the end of a day of meetings when I parked across the street from the main gates, grabbing my camera bag as I got out of the car.

I was here for an appointment with Senator Ursula Gilberti and her beautiful spoiled-child daughter Yasmin, yet another discussion of what photographs they expected me to take in the monastery’s magnificent gardens when (please God, finally) Yasmin married Austrian Archduke Victor Haupt-von Véssey here in June. Me, I thought he was making a mistake—but it was none of my business.

Let me be clear: I, Sophie Medina, am not a wedding photographer. Whether the bridal gown should be Alençon or Guipure lace or the bouquet an old-fashioned Biedermier arrangement or a nosegay are not my areas of expertise. But here are some things I do know: the difference between a hijab and a shayla because I have worn them both to cover my hair when working in Muslim countries and—this is important—how to distinguish live gunfire from fireworks or merely a car backfiring.

For the last twelve years before I moved home to Washington I lived in London, working for an international news agency that parachuted me into war zones and world hotspots, photographing heads of state, two popes, Cannes movie stars, and assorted royalty, none of whom required as much stage managing as this wedding. But I couldn’t turn down Victor when he asked me to do this favor, especially when Brother Kevin Boyle, a mutual friend who lived here at the monastery, had seconded the request.

Earlier this morning I’d gone to the Tidal Basin to meet Kevin, a controversial environmentalist and bestselling author, where we’d walked along the promenade under the bare branches of Washington’s famous cherry trees. As partial payback for saddling me with Ursula Gilberti’s micromanaging demands, Kevin promised to help me put together a coffee table photo book of D.C. gardens for a charity fundraiser.

But when I arrived he’d looked worried. “Someone has been following me for the past couple of days, Soph,” he said. “Maybe they’re here right now, watching us.”

I shuddered and looked around. Washington in late March can be temperamental and fickle. Some days the weather is glorious and the warm, silky breeze makes you believe it’s finally spring. Or it can be like today, when the wind slices like a knife and the damp chill settles into your bones. Just now there was no one at this memorial except the two of us.

“Kevin,” I said, “first, are you sure? And second, why?”

“I found something while I was doing research for a new book,” he said. “At least, I think I did. If I’m right, it could be worth millions, maybe billions, to the right people.”

I caught my breath. “What is it?”

“Can’t tell you,” he said. “Until I’m positive I’m right.”

And then he was gone.

By the time I spotted the little key near the old stone lantern that had once belonged to a shogun, Kevin was out of sight. Had he dropped it, or did it fall from the pocket of one of the women who’d been inspecting the lantern just before we arrived? Either way, I could show up early for my monastery meeting with Ursula and Yasmin and ask him. But though I saw his car on the street, the security guard at the entrance to the friars’ residence hadn’t seen him and suggested I check the garden and its many shrines.

What made the monastery unique—and because the Franciscans had been caretakers of the Holy Land’s sacred sites ever since the Crusades—was a decision when it was built in the late 1800s to create exact reproductions, down to the last detail, of those same shrines here in Washington. Meaning it is possible to “visit” the grotto at Lourdes, the Tomb of Christ, and the house in Old Cairo where Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in exile, among other places. Some called it Catholic Disneyland; others found peace and serenity in a beautiful garden.

I searched everywhere for Kevin, but the grounds were empty at five o’clock in the afternoon. By the time I found him, he was lying outside the Gethsemane Grotto—where Jesus prayed on his last night—and I was too late.

Now I had his key—and a puzzle. What had been so valuable to someone who had taken a vow of poverty that he needed to hide it, especially living in a house whose only residents were religious men of God?

Before long I had my answer and it led to an international treasure hunt. Because whoever had murdered Kevin was now after me.


You can read more about Sophie in Ghost Image, the second book in the “Sophie Medina” mystery series, published by Scribner. The first book in the series is Multiple Exposure.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 29 for the chance to win a copy of Ghost Image. 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
Ellen Crosby is the author of Multiple Exposure and Ghost Image (Scribner, April 2015), a mystery ECrosbyseries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina. She has also written six books in the Virginia wine country mystery series and Moscow Nights, a standalone mystery published in the UK. Previously she worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Moscow correspondent for ABC News Radio, and as an economist at the U.S. Senate. Learn more about her at www.ellencrosby.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.  Photo credit: Jackie Briggs