Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

a place where characters give you a glimpse into their day

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

A Day in the Life with Jamie Taylor by Peg Brantley

Red TideMy phone rings at 4:20 a.m.

Whenever I get a call that early it usually involves a hiker in the Colorado high country who hasn’t returned when expected. I push through my sleep-fog and begin to mentally review the contents of the Search and Rescue ready-pack that sits in my mudroom—which is only a technique to get my brain cells functioning because my ready-packs are always, well. . . ready. Socrates, my S&R dog, will be excited. He loves finding lost people.

“Hey, Jamie. Sorry to wake you. We have a suspicious fire with a death.” The dispatcher rattles off an address near The Coffee Pod, one of my favorite hangouts.

Not Socrates then. Damn. A victim. This will be a hard one. It will be up to Kaji and me to either point to the possibility of arson or make it doubtful. The sad truth is we’ve helped uncover more than one murder where fire was employed as a cover-up.

“Has the scene been cleared?”

“Wake up, Jamie. I wouldn’t have called you unless that was the case. How soon can you get here?”

“On our way.”

Kaji is my accelerant detection dog. His name is Japanese for fire. It fits, right? I sometimes call him an arson dog because a) people are used to that description; and b) it sounds a lot sexier than accelerant detection dog. The truth is, Kaji can find signs of accelerant in a flash (so to speak), but it’s up to the investigators to tie that accelerant to arson.

My first priority is coffee. The Pod won’t be open by the time I get there and I can use some juice, caffeine-style. I pad into the kitchen and hit the button on the Cuisinart.

Ten minutes later I have a travel mug, my arson ready-pack, and Kaji, all settled into my Jeep.

“Let’s do this.”

Two Katie Malua tunes later and we’re at the fireground. While Kaji is ready to take on whatever he finds, I need a moment to mentally prepare. Arson fires are one thing. Arson fires that include human remains are something else entirely. There’s always an odor and a special horror unlike any other scene. Whether life is taken by fire or something beforehand, it’s irrelevant to me. I always smell the flesh, I always sense the person, and I always feel a heavy loss.

Human beings can really suck. I learned that a while ago when my mom was kidnapped and buried alive by some bastard who wanted to get even with my dad. What makes me able to breathe after doing what me and my dogs do today is knowing that in some small way we help put things right. Okay, not right, but righter. Without us, the bad guys could win. With us, the good guys have a chance.

You can read more about Jamie in Red Tide, the first book in the “Aspen Falls” thriller series, published by Bark Publishing. The second book in the series is The Missings.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 29 for the chance to win either a print or a kindle copy of Red Tide–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
A Colorado native, Peg Brantley lives with her husband southeast of Denver. At this very minute she’s busy turning her standalone books into two separate series because that’s what her readers want.

Peg’s third book, The Sacrifice, was a finalist for two 2014 Colorado literary awards, and will become the first book in the Mex and Cade series (yet to be named).

You can learn more about Peg at or meet up with her on Facebook or follow her blog, Suspense Novelist.

It’s all better with friends.

A Day in the Life of Mavis Loomis by Karin Gillespie

Dollar DazeMy name is Mavis Loomis, and I’m the owner of The Bottom Dollar Emporium which is an old- fashioned general store in Cayboo Creek, South Carolina that stocks everything from ribbon candy to courting candles to long underwear. It has a soda fountain, manned by my best friend Attalee Gaines.

I’m a widow. My husband Arnold died about ten years ago and since then my love life has been about as sparky as a wet firecracker. For years I didn’t mind being a single woman. I have my girlfriends (known collectively as the Bottom Dollar Girls because we like to gather at the store for coffee and gossip) and my work. In fact I was as content as a clam at high tide until my dearest friends started falling in love.

It began improbably enough with Attalee, who’s on the downhill side of eighty. She got engaged to Dooley Pritchard , the owner of a flea market, and ever since then she’s been acting like a teenager hopped up on hormones. Those two are constantly kissing. (They sound like suction cups of a rubber mat being pried from a tub.)

After Attalee fell in love, my other bosom buddy, Gracie Tobias, the doyenne of Cayboo Creek, started keeping company with Rusty Williams. She was told he was a doctor, which impressed her. (Gracie can be a little uppity.) Then it turned out he was a duct doctor, meaning he cleans out dirty ducts.

Too late. She was already smitten and now she’s off doing all of kind of crazy things with him like playing pool and going laser bowling. It’s hard to imagine a fussy fashion plate like Gracie wearing a pair of used bowling shoes, but I guess love makes people do strange things.

When an old high school classmate named Brewster Clark breezed into town I thought it might finally be my turn to fall in love. I bought a new aqua bra and whipped up some chicken divan to take over to him. Wouldn’t you know it that my friend Birdie was already there, plying him with peach cobbler? Honestly I saw him first (he came into the Bottom Dollar Emporium looking for overalls) but Birdie seems determined to win his affections.

If Birdie’s not going to play fair neither am I. That aqua bra of mine has three levels of uplifts and the next time I see Brewster I just might jack it up to highest level. Maybe that’ll make him forgot about Birdie’s peach cobbler.

In the mean time, the Bottom Dollar Girls are busy planning Attalee’s wedding. If you think she has in mind a sedate, tasteful affair, think again. She wants to kick things off with a bachelorette party (complete with limo, and a trip to see those nekkid male dancers the Chip and Dales.) And then she wants an elaborate wedding with all us Bottom Dollar girls garbed in purple bride maid dresses that’ll make us look like oversized eggplants. Finally she wants her honeymoon to take place at South of the Border in one of their “heir-conditioned” suites.

Cupid is definitely prowling around Cayboo Creek, and I really don’t know how it’s going to wash out. Will my friendship with Birdie survive the Brewster Clark debacle? What’s going to happen with Gracie and Rusty? Will their love cancel out their class differences?

Goodness gracious! I almost forgot to mention Elizabeth, our youngest Bottom Dollar girl. She’s a new mother and is getting stir-crazy, wanting to go back to work. Her husband, on the other hand, insists she stay home, and it’s causing trouble in paradise. Will a road trip to Myrtle Beach help them work out their differences?

I guess it’s up to the fates to decide, but in the meantime, pull up a chair, relax with a cup of Joe and see what’s going to unfold in the lives of the Bottom Dollar Girls.

You can read more about Mavis in Dollar Daze, the third book in the “Bottom Dollar” mystery series, published by Publisher. The first two books in the series are Bet Your Bottom Dollar and A Dollar Short.

About the author
Karin Gillespie is a national bestselling novelist and a Midwestern girl who, after forty years in Georgia, is still trying to get the hang of being Southern. Visit her at

Blog Tour: Introducing Carrie Kennersly by Linda O. Johnston

Bite the BiscuitHello. I’m Carrie Kennersly. If you’ve been to the town of Knobcone Heights, California, in the San Bernardino Mountains and brought your pet along, you may have met me–although I hope the circumstances were good. I’m a veterinary technician at the Knobcone Veterinary Clinic.

But that’s not why I’m here. I wanted to tell you today that I recently opened my own shops, too! You see, my good friend Brenda Anesco, who had to move down the mountains to take care of her ailing mother, sold me her existing bakery, Icing on the Cake. She gave me permission to divide Icing into two shops, so half remains Icing and the other is now Barkery and Biscuits, my very special shop where I sell hand-baked dog treats–healthy treats I developed as a vet tech. They’re so good that even people who have tasted them enjoy them.

So now I spend seven days a week at my shops, since I can’t afford a lot of help yet. I also remain a part-time vet tech. I’m able to bring my own dog Biscuit, a golden toy poodle-terrier mix, with me all the time while I’m at my new businesses since she’s permitted to stay in the Barkery, although not in Icing or in the joint kitchen. We’re both happy about that.

But as difficult as it is to talk about it, some people here aren’t particularly happy about what I’m doing, especially a couple of the Ethmans, one of the town’s most elite families. Some of their members are nice–but not all of them, particularly Myra and Harris Ethman. We’ve been arguing partly because those two own a local pet store that they think Barkery competes with. It doesn’t, though–not really, since their place doesn’t sell hand-made treats, just regular, though good quality, dog food. Even so, when Myra is found murdered with part of a Barkery biscuit near her. . . well, unfortunately, I’m considered to be a suspect and have to prove I didn’t harm her.

What happens is memorialized in a book, Bite the Biscuit, which was just published. I suppose my working so hard to clear myself of murder means I have three careers–at least for a while. But I can handle it.

And be sure, if you visit Knobcone Heights, to stop in at my shops, especially if you have your dog along. I often give free samples of both doggy and human treats.

You can read more about Carrie in Bite The Biscuit, the first book in the NEW “Barkery & Biscuits” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 28 for the chance to win a copy of Bite The Biscuit. 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.

This is the last stop on the Bite The Biscuit Great Escapes Tour. More stops on the tour can be found here.

About the author
Linda O. Johnston writes the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink as well as the Superstition Mysteries. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mysteries and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mystery series, for Berkley Prime Crime. In addition, she writes the Alpha Force miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne, about a covert military unit of shapeshifters, as well as novels for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Visit Linda at or friend her on Facebook.

News from the Outer Banks with Fire Chief Colleen McCabe by Kathryn O’Sullivan

Neighing With FireThank you for inviting me back, Dru Ann. Much has happened since we chatted a year ago. The summer tourist season in our little beach village of Corolla, North Carolina started quietly enough until Tropical Storm Ana unearthed a body buried under a vacation home boardwalk, local developer Denny Custis died in a suspicious fire, and I got pressured into being a bridesmaid for the “spiritual union ceremony” of one of my firefighters.

Maybe I should go back a bit. Over the last few months, there has been a string of arsons of abandoned properties on the mainland. Jimmy Bartlett, my veteran captain, and I had been keeping a close eye on those developments and hoping that whoever was responsible didn’t decide to cross Currituck Sound and continue his crime spree on the Outer Banks. My heart sank when land developer Denny Custis ended up dead in a fire set to a beach house under construction – not that I’m a fan of Denny’s after the way he teased my border collie Sparky, but it’s always devastating for firefighters when we can’t save a life. During the course of the homicide investigation, Bill and I have discovered that virtually everyone has had a beef or run-in with Denny and a motive for killing him. Right now Antonio “Pinky” Salvatore, Denny’s business rival, is Bill’s chief suspect but I have serious doubts that Pinky is our man. Bill thinks I’m letting Pinky off the hook because I have a soft spot for him. Ridiculous. I just don’t think Pinky would jeopardize the business he’s worked so hard to build. . . although I do think he’s hiding something.

To complicate matters and our investigation, we’ve also learned that Myrtle Crepe, the head of the Lighthouse Wild Horse Preservation Society and my cranky former third grade teacher, has been embroiled in several battles: one with Denny about Corolla’s wild Spanish mustangs, a second with the Tour-zilla tour company for destroying the dunes in the sanctuary where the horses live, and a third with the folks at the endangered piping plover shore bird protection society – although why the horse and bird folks are feuding I have yet to figure out.

What’s that? You want to know about my relationship with Bill? Okay, okay, I admit that maybe we’re a bit more than friends now. When he was away during the winter I realized how important he was to me. I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder. But don’t get any ideas. The upcoming sunrise wedding is definitely not ours.

All of this might give you the impression that Corolla is a dangerous place to visit, but let me reassure you and your readers that our community is perfectly safe. Tens of thousands of people visit every year without a single incident – unless you count being stung by a jellyfish in August an incident. If you do make it to Corolla, Myrtle will happily take you on a four-wheel drive tour of Carova where you’ll see the beautiful wild horses, the Outer Banks’ second largest living dune, the maritime woods, and the ancient cedar and oak stumps dotting the long, wide beach. And if you survive a morning with Myrtle, I’ll treat you to a famous homemade doughnut from Lighthouse Bagels or a cool delight at Ned’s Ice Cream!

You can read more about Colleen in Neighing With Fire, the third book in the “Colleen McCabe” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first two books in the series are Foal Play and Murder On The Hoof.

Check out the trailer below

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 27 for the chance to win a signed copy of Neighing With Fire. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Two lucky commenters will be randomly selected. 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
Kathryn O’Sullivan is a winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Competition. Neighing with Fire is the third in the Colleen McCabe series. She is also an award-winning playwright, creator and writer of the Web series Thurston, and a theatre professor at Northern Virginia Community College. She lives with her husband, a film director and cinematographer, and their rescue cat Oscar in Reston, Virginia.

For more information, visit Kathryn at

A Day in the Life of Elizabeth Hartley by Sally Goldenbaum

A Finely Knit MurderIt was a wonderful day. Until it wasn’t.

But as head mistress of an amazing girls’ school in Sea Harbor—an old stone mansion that overlooked the sea—one had to expect some bumps, right? But all bumps aren’t created equal, I discovered one day.

My office overlooks the ocean, and it almost always brings peace and comfort to my life. Almost always.

But this day I had just fired a teacher—a good teacher, but one who had offended a powerful board member. The art teacher took losing his job badly.

After Josh left, slamming my office door so hard the framed photo of the captain who used to live in the mansion that now housed my school, almost fell on his stern, bearded face, I walked to my window, seeking the view that usually brought peace to my soul.

But today, this is what I saw instead:

My fired artist strolling across the rolling green lawn, spraying the grass with canary yellow paint—the color of crime scene tape—in wild flying circles. And in the center of one of the fuzzy circles he added a unique and frightening touch—it reminded me of a road sign—a stick figure of a woman with a line slashed through her.

I should have seen the omen that day for what it was: a harbinger of the days that would follow. Some of the most difficult of my life. Days that were a roller coaster ride that dipped down to its lowest the evening of a magnificent party on the lawns and terraces of my school, an evening that ended with a body being found near our old boathouse—the body of a person who hated me.

Walking away would have been an option, but I had been gifted with my dream job, working every day in a magnificent mansion straight out of Jane Eyre. One filled with the high chatter and spinning laughter of young girls with bright inquisitive minds.

Somehow that omen would lift me up again, I knew it had to.

And with the help of four amazing women who taught my students the gifts that knitting brings to one’s soul, and, on the side, taught a headmistress how to live and fall in love with a tiny seaside town—it did.

You can read more about Elizabeth in A Finely Knit Murder, the 10th book in the “Seaside Knitters” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Death by Cashmere.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 26 for the chance to win a copy of A Finely Knit Murder. 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
Sally Goldenbaum is the author of three dozen novels, most recently the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series, set in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. A Finely Knit Murder, the newest in the series, is now available in hardcover, and the 9th book, Murder in Merino is now available for the first time in paperback. Sally lives in Prairie Village, Kansas, but spends as much time as possible on Cape Ann, MA, cavorting with the seaside knitters (and her family). Visit Sally at

A Day in the Life with Iris Stanford by Hannah Dennison

Deadly Desires at Honeychurch HallThey say that life begins at 40—or perhaps it’s 50? Anyway, I don’t care. For me, life begins at 69! Don’t get me wrong, I adored my Frank (bless his cotton socks) and considering his profession working for HM Customs & Excise, he had a good sense of humor despite only knowing one joke about a goat and a banana. Every time he told it, he made me laugh. I still miss him.

Being married for fifty years is quite an accomplishment in this day and age. Take my poor daughter Katherine. She’ll be forty on her next birthday and she’s no closer to walking up the aisle or having a family—not that I’m pressuring her to do any of those things, you understand. And frankly, I’m glad she didn’t end up with David. He was so stuffy. Sometimes I can’t help wondering if I might have had something to do with her disastrous choices in men.

It’s true—I wasn’t always emotionally available (as they say in America) as a mother. I did spend a lot of time writing my romance novels and pretending I had migraines, but would either Frank or Katherine have supported my dreams if they’d known what I was really up to? Of course not! But it’s too late for all that sort of thing now. What’s past is past. It’s time to seize the day! Live life to the fullest—and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Despite what Katherine says, buying that old carriage house on the grounds of the magnificent Honeychurch Hall estate in Devon was the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s filled with such happy memories of my childhood—life on the road, sleeping under the stars, working the sideshows for the traveling boxing emporium—all the things I gave up when I fell in love with Frank. I’m not saying I regret anything. I don’t—but as you get older, priorities change. It’s time for ME!

Of course, there are drawbacks to living in such close quarters to the gentry. They’re nice enough—although his lordship walks around as if England still has an Empire and his wife, Lavinia, is such a cold fish, it’s no wonder that he has a wandering eye. Then there’s the dowager countess, Lady Edith Honeychurch. I would still do anything for her. She was always good to me back in the day despite the tragedy. But I don’t want to talk about that. As I say, there’s no point in looking back.

Speaking of the past, Honeychurch Hall has been around for six hundred years. Even King Charles I paid a visit. So when I found out that the government planned to build a high-speed railway line right through the estate as well as the neighboring village of Little Dipperton, I knew they would have to be stopped. The English countryside must be preserved! Our heritage must be saved!

Fortunately, we’ll soon have some help from someone who is rather good at organizing protests and riots and that kind of thing. I haven’t told Katherine about our visitor yet because she can be such a killjoy. But I’m sure once she meets him she’ll love him just as much as me. After all, family is family.

Gosh, it’s nearly six and that means it’s gin and tonic time. I must pour myself a glass. Until next time . . . bottoms up!

You can read more about Iris in Deadly Desire at Honeychurch Hall, the second book in the “Honeychurch Hall” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first book in the series is Murder at Honeychurch Hall.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 25 for the chance to win a copy of Deadly Desire at Honeychurch Hall. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Two lucky commenters will be randomly selected. 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
British born, Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA Extension and still works for a west coast advertising agency. Hannah writes the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur) and the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) both set in the wilds of the English countryside.

For more information, visit Hannah’s website and on Facebook.