Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

a place where characters give you a glimpse into their day

Blog Tour: A Day in the Life of Ruby Wisdom by J.M. Edwards

Handcuff and High HeelsMy love nugget and I had just climbed into bed after a romantic dinner at Bella Napoli when I felt inspired to write this account of my typical day. Clint asked if I could just put it off until tomorrow, but I quieted his grumbling with my standard reply. “You know the rules,” I said. “People first. Then work. Then shopping.”

“But I’m people,” he moaned.

“I know you are,” I said, pinching his gorgeous cheek. “And we just enjoyed a delicious meal and some energetic va-va-va-voom. Now, why don’t you go to sleep, so I can take care of business?”

Clint made a face, rolled over and burrowed under a pile of feather pillows. I gave his rump a little swat and fired up my laptop.

As the only private investigator in the upstate New York town of Wormwood, I’m used to working at all hours of the day and night. Clients call on the phone or stop by my office, located above Smith’s Pharmacy in the downtown business district. They want me to help them with a wide variety of cases, from jewel heists and cheating husbands to stolen wedding gowns, kidnapped artwork and fraudulent heirs.

I start most days at Rolls with Holes. It’s the only place in town to buy fresh bagels. We used to have two bagel shops, but last year during a blinding snowstorm a semi loaded with adult diapers missed the sharp left turn where First Street intersects with Bird Pond Road. The ensuing crash soiled thousands of pristine undergarments and obliterated the Quonset hut that had been home to Shimmel & Sons Bagels for three generations. Anyway, I stop in most mornings at Rolls with Holes to talk with Eunice and buy my usual: a cinnamon raisin bagel and cappuccino.

After breakfast, I’ll tackle whatever is on my list for the day. From telephone interviews, covert surveillance to online research and surreptitious sleuthing, the daily agenda can cover a lot of territory. Since I like to keep my life balanced, I also generally find time during the day for another cup of coffee at Just Java, a little retail therapy at Fashion Forward or a visit to see my ex-husband, Hank Martin, who also happens to be the sheriff of Haverstraw County. Our marriage didn’t make it, but our professional relationship is convivial and positive. Hank and his top two detectives, Lana Krenshaw and Nina Spenser, give me access to important information about cases. They also ask me to assist them every now and then.

Despite the pastoral setting, friendly atmosphere and hospitable temperament, Wormwood seems to be a hotbed for all types of trouble. Between the cheating spouses, business squabbles, kidnappings and robberies, we also have more than our fair share of outsiders who bring their own brand of crime to town.

For example, not too long ago, I worked a case that involved an unidentified body found in the alley behind King Tut’s Donut Hut. When I learned that my name was linked to the deceased, I decided to jump in to identify the victim and track down the killer. Like most of my work, the situation took me on a zigzag tour through Wormwood. Along the way, I met the title character from an Agatha Christie classic, a helpful bus company clerk named Moonflower, an abstract artist obsessed with buttocks and a tight-lipped shop clerk who unwittingly supplied me with an essential clue that helped identify the murderer.

I love my job. Before I became a PI, I tried the big city and a career on Wall Street. But when that opportunity ended in a nightmare, I decided to pursue my childhood dream. To meet the New York State requirements for a licensed PI, I first worked for a well-known sleuth with a large agency in Albany. Once I had my license, I returned to Wormwood, rented an office and launched my new enterprise.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m the only private investigator in town. That makes life incredibly interesting, challenging and rewarding. At the end of most days, after chasing the bad guys and helping the good ones, I like to return home for a quiet dinner with Clint, a glass of wine on the back deck and a chance to reflect on the amazing opportunity I have to unravel mysteries, solve crimes and stop a ragtag bunch of ne’er-do-wells from wreaking havoc on my neck of the woods.


You can read more about Ruby in Handcuffs & High Heels, the first book in the new “Ruby Widsom” mystery series, published by J.M. Edwards. The second book in the series is “Death by Donut, released in September 2014.”

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 5 for the chance to win an e-book copy of HANDCUFFS & HIGH HEELS. The giveaway is open to everyone.

This is the 12th stop on the J.M Edwards Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. For other stops on this tour, click HERE

About the author
J.M. Edwards loves crime. But only when it’s fictional. A lifelong fan of mystery novels, police procedurals and JMEdwardsthrillers, J.M. has worked as a copywriter, bartender, dog walker and newspaper reporter. When it comes to reading, she has a few favorites (Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Dashiell Hammett, Lee Child), but always enjoys learning about new authors to add to the TBR pile. In addition to writing the new Ruby Wisdom cozy mystery series, J.M. spends time gardening, traveling, spoiling a small herd of cats and dogs, doing volunteer work and taking the occasional nap.

A Day in the Life With Thomas O’Shea by John Carenen

A Far Gone NightI sleep hard and well, and, if I do dream, they’re usually pleasant, especially if Olivia Olson makes an appearance. I used to dream about my dead family I buried back in Georgia. Sadly, those dreams are fewer and farther apart and less vivid. And so it goes.

I get up, step around The World’s Best Bulldog, Gotcha, who is asleep on her tuffet on the floor at the foot of my bed. She is usually snoring with her tongue hanging out. She opens one skeptical eye and watches me leave. She does not get up. Depending on the season, I dress for my morning run through the Iowa countryside. This is typically 3-5 miles. I run alone; a good time to clear my head, think about nothing but the beauty of the place, and sprint the last few yards to my home, seven miles outside of Rockbluff, Iowa, a charming village of 5,000 people in the northeast Iowa hill country.

After I run, I let Gotcha out, let her in, medicate her with pills hidden in a tablespoonful of peanut butter, and feed her. After eating, she rests up from her night’s sleep and morning duties by hopping into a recliner, pushing it back, and splaying herself out on her belly so she can prepare for lunch. I set to work on a big breakfast, the most important meal of the day, tied with lunch and dinner. What’s for breakfast? A big Harley Davidson mug half filled with strong coffee and topped off with Bailey’s Irish Creme, a necessary nutritional additive. I consume that cup while I’m fixing my breakfast which is usually prepared from among the following ingredients: hash browns, sausage (patties and links), scrambled eggs made with lots of butter and cheese sometimes, natural peanut butter on a spoon dipped into a jar of Iowa honey, cashews, Pop Tarts, and several gluts of whole milk front he container. A second cup of cafe au Bailey’s is usually consumed while I eat.

I shower, shave sometimes, and get dressed. I watch ESPN to catch up on the Red Sox, read the Iowa newspapers on line to keep up with the Hawkeyes, and attend to emails. Sometimes I actually get one, but only from my friend and former pastor, Ernie Timmons, back in Belue, Georgia, who monitors my behavior by reading the same Iowa papers I read. Sometimes I stumble into trouble and newsworthy activities take place and a reporter shows up and I’m in the news.

I usually take my Bible out on the deck that overlooks two river valleys, the Whitetail River and, beyond that, the Mississippi. I am easily distracted from my reading, I confess.

By late morning, my stomach’s growling, so I leave my house, climb into my mega-engine Ford 150 4-door midnight blue pickup and drive into town to interact with the usual suspects. If I pass Arvid Pendergast’s and he’s playing dead where I can see him, I honk the horn. He does not respond. Arvid sells a lot of life insurance, and he spontaneously collapses as if he’s been struck dead. People who see his “performance art” as he calls it, are reminded of their own mortality. Then they buy Lutheran Brotherhood Insurance. From Arvid.

My usual destination is The Grain o’ Truth Bar & Grill run by my friend, Lunatic Mooning, an Ojibwe Indian. He have deep discussions on life, especially women. I might see Liv Olson if I’m lucky, or Sheriff Harmon Payne. I drive Sheriff Payne crazy because I have developed a habit of solving crimes in the community before he does. Of course, I am not restricted by policies and procedures. Still, we’re friends. My lunch usually consists of one or two Loony Burgers, the specialty of the house, and or two Three Philosophers Belgian Ale to clean my palate. After lunch, I have been known to take a side trip to Shlop’s Roadhouse, a seedy establishment that caters to rednecks, bikers, and aging thugs, so I fit right in. The main attraction there is Bunza Steele, a barmaid who “rassles” on the side and plans to finance her future career as a brain surgeon through monies earned in the squared circle.

If I don’t go by Shlop’s, it’s because I stopped by Christ the King Church to chat with Carl Heisler, a friend and pastor there who helped me out with some key information a while back – information that helped solve a murder and the messy situations that fanned out from that crime. Or I might swing by Whistling Birch Golf & Country Club to seek out Jurgen Clontz, an obsessive acquirer of land who dislikes me. I dislike him, but he can be a good source of information.

Afternoons usually find me at The Earth Vessel Barbell Club & Video Rental, run by Mike Mulehoff, history teacher at Dubuque Senior High School and powerlifter of some repute. I need to stay in shape because people try to beat me up or kill me, so I have a regular routine at the gym with free weights and some machines. Plus, I like the workouts, and after my caloric intake in a typical day, I need to change some of that food into muscle, or just burn it up.

And it seems I always have to keep alert to the inevitable presence of Suzanne Highsmith, former news reporter and now a best-selling author, who constantly bugs me for information (she wants my story on what happens when I nudge up against trouble, and I’m not telling) and romantic attention. Suzanne is beautiful, smart, and sexy. Why do I resist?

The answer to that is Olivia “Liv” Olson, English Teacher at Rockbluff High School and a woman after my own heart. Our relationship has been erratic, I could say. She saved my life once. We ended up together in her bed one night a while ago. But she gets mad at me sometimes just because I am not always truthful with her (for her own protection) and also because trouble seems attracted to me (true). Oh, and I got her shot once. Still, there’s just something there . . .

Inevitably, sooner or later, Liv’s concerns ring true. Somehow, acting innocently and without malice or violence in my heart, I stumble onto problems. I am a curious person, and so I snoop around. I have plenty of money, nothing to do now that my family has been ripped away from me, and I enjoy certain skills from my nebulous past shadowed by SEALS training (although I was never a SEAL) and private securilty missions before I met Karen, married her, and settled down into a beautiful life that was destroyed by a drunken driver in an 18-wheeler south of Atlanta as my girls were returning from Christmas shopping.

I really don’t have much to lose, having lost my family. So, maybe I can be a bit of a smart-ass, maybe I can be edgy in physical confrontations. So what?

Life can be a struggle when you’re Thomas O’Shea. Struggles with my trust in God, struggles with alcohol (I do enjoy a sip now and then), and struggles with a tendency to enjoy violence against bad guys when they start it. It’s a good thing I’m polite and cute, otherwise I’d be in really big trouble.


Would you like to know more? You can read more about Thomas in A Far Gone Night, the second book in the “Thomas O’Shea” mystery series, published by Neverland Publishing Company. The first book in the series is Signs of Struggle.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 4 for the chance to win a copy of A FAR GONE NIGHT. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
John Carenen, a native of Clinton, Iowa, graduated with an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the prestigious University of Iowa Writers Workshop and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared numerous times in Reader’s Digest (including a First Person Award), McCall’s, Dynamic Years, and other periodicals. He has been a featured columnist in newspapers in Morganton, North Carolina and Clinton, South Carolina. His fiction has appeared in regional literary magazines. A novel, Son-up, Son-down, was published by the National Institute of Mental Health.

He is happily married to (long-suffering) Elisabeth, and they have two grown daughters, Caitlin and Rowe. When he isn’t writing, he thinks about getting in shape, cheers for the Iowa Hawkeyes and Boston Red Sox, and takes frequent naps. He has traveled extensively, having visited 43 states and 23 countries. He is a USAF veteran, having served in the Philippines and Massachusetts.

Currently an English professor at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, he is hard at work on another novel.

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A Day in the Life of Eugeena Patterson by Tyora Moody

Deep Fried TroubleHello, there! My name is Eugeena Patterson and I live in a little community called Sugar Creek in Charleston, South Carolina. After thirty years, I finally retired from teaching Social Studies to middle school students. Lawd, those children were starting to be a handful, but I loved them all. Okay, well most of them. It’s nice not having to get up so early in the morning now.

I’m widowed and to be honest, still adjusting to living in an “empty nest.” It doesn’t help I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes due to years and years of not-so-good eating habits. This certified Southern belle is learning a whole new way of eating and taking care of herself. Now there is no need to take pity on me, because I’m full of life as I draw near to my sixties. I like to get in a morning walk around the neighborhood.

After my morning walk, I like to check in with my three adult children. I will never admit it to them, but meddling in my children’s lives kept me on my toes. Children are never too old to hear a word of advice from their mother. I certainly don’t mind sharing what’s on my mind. I also enjoyed spending time with my grandchildren, but I have to make sure my youngest and only daughter understands, Mama has a life too. I don’t want to spend my retirement years as a babysitter.

Now some people, like my matchmaking friend, Louise Hopkins, and childhood buddy, Cora Gibson, think I have this second chance at love. Child, I’m not searching for Mr. Right. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to my neighbor, Amos Jones. He’s certainly not bad looking for an old man. Some mornings we chat on my front porch. I have been known to invite him over for a meal.

Being a retired detective, Amos had been very helpful especially since I’m the head of Sugar Creek’s neighborhood watch. Speaking of the neighborhood, my, my things have changed around here. I recently found myself in Deep Fried Trouble. A retiree has to find something to do with her time, but spending my days solving a murder would’ve never crossed my mind.

It all started the day I went for my morning walk a few months ago. Shedding pounds was on my mind, but then I noticed my neighbor’s beloved Corgi was barking his little self silly. Knowing my neighbor would never let that precious creature out of her sight, I just had to stop walking and go investigate. Who knew finding her deceased body would send me down the amateur sleuth path?

In between keeping up with my grandchildren and blogging (That’s right, I’m a blogger.), I keep my eyes and ears open for any strange happenings. With Amos by my side, I have to say retirement has become a whole new adventure for me.


You can read more about Ms. Eugeena in Deep Fried Trouble, the first book in the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries. The second book in the series, Oven Baked Secrets, will be available November 2014.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 3, 2014 for the chance to win either a print or Kindle copy of DEEP FRIED TROUBLE. Print copy is U.S. residents only; kindle copy open to everyone.

About the Author
Tyora Moody is the author Soul-Searching Suspense novels in the Serena Manchester Series, Victory Gospel Series and the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries. As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC. Popular services include online publicity, social media management, book trailers and book covers. She is also the author of the nonfiction series, The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkits, and the host of The Literary Entrepreneur Podcast.

Visit Tyora at her website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

A Day in the Life of David Lightholler by Karl Bjorn Erickson

The Blood Cries OutOne thing I get a lot in my job as a Seattle Police Detective in the Homicide Unit is deceptive behavior. You could say it comes with the territory. People seldom take accountability for their crimes. Sometimes it’s clear in an interrogation what happened and who did it, but my job as an investigator is to prove it beyond that threshold of reasonable doubt. The judge and jury won’t likely see the behavior that catches my attention in the interrogation room. When a suspect glances down or nervously fidgets during an interview, it not only may signal dishonesty, it also can reveal to the trained investigator what line of questioning makes the suspect really squirm; that can be a useful tool. Homicide interrogations, though, aren’t usually the stuff you see on television shows. As they say, it’s usually prolonged periods of boredom punctuated by brief shots of crazy adrenalin.

Last week’s Johnson interview was a good case in point. It began with what seemed to be a classic case of a burglar shot by homeowner in the middle of the night, but some unanswered questions remained. It all came to a head quickly in Scott Johnson’s second and final interrogation. I remember talking quietly to my partner, Dustin Korman, before we entered the interrogation room.

“The daughter’s testimony,” I began, “it’s really not helping the guy’s credibility.”

“I know,” Dustin replied. “There’s some serious problems, but I still don’t think this is our man. He’s just a single father trying to protect his kid. The pieces will come together and point somewhere else.”

“The daughter had given the young man a key. He wasn’t breaking and entering. He came into the house with the daughter’s permission. Stupid girl.”

“Well, let’s do this,” Dustin sighed, opening the interrogation room door.

Scott Johnson, an overweight middle-aged Caucasian, stood up when we entered. He extended his hand warmly. There was an air of confidence and a hint of something else: superiority? We got the brief pleasantries out of the way, and I took a second look at what he was wearing. He looked like he had just finished a shopping spree at the downtown Nordstroms. Despite being at least fifty pounds overweight, the gray suit fit perfectly, and his tie probably cost as much as the table at which we were seated. Taking my seat across said table, I doubted he was anywhere near as comfortable as he seemed; no one ever is in that room.

“Thanks for coming down on such short notice, Mr. Johnson,” I said.

“Oh, no problem. You’re servants of the people, after all. I just want to do everything I can to clear up this terrible accident.”

“Right,” I replied.

“Why don’t we begin,” Dustin started, “with you telling us what you recall about what happened that evening?”

“Sure, well, I went upstairs to bed around nine that Friday night. I watched some television, then went to sleep probably around ten. Just before I switched off the lights, I checked on Amy in her room down the hall—towards the staircase. She said she was working on a Physics assignment, and she’d go to bed in an hour or two. I reminded her of what we’d talked about over dinner. I didn’t want her seeing Mike, her boyfriend, again. I told her he was nothing but trouble. I reminded her of his arrest record. She nodded, but didn’t really say much. I tried to pat her on her head, but she kind of pulled away. Anyway, I went to bed after that.”

“What happened next?” I asked.

“I woke up to the sound of the front door being opened. It—“

“Was your bedroom door closed?” I questioned.

“Yeah, I think it was,” he replied, licking his lips. “Why do you ask?”

“I opened and closed the front door several times. It’s a good door and new Schlage lock. It didn’t even squeak.”

“Well, I don’t know if you have any children, detective, but, as a parent, you know, your senses get stronger about this sort of thing. I used to be able to hear Amy crying quietly in bed from the downstairs kitchen. I know when something’s wrong in my house, sir.”

“So,” I began, “you heard something when you were in bed. Did you call the police next?”

“No, I grabbed my .357 from the nightstand, and I got up. When I opened the bedroom door, I thought I saw someone coming up the stairs.”

“Were there any lights on?” Dustin asked.

“No, I didn’t switch on any lights. I didn’t want to be silhouetted, if someone had broken into the house, you know. There’s a streetlight from a street over that directs some light through the small window at the end of the hall. There was enough to see the figure climbing the stairs. I took a shooter’s stance and ordered him to stop. He—“

“What did you say?” I asked.

“I told the fucker to show his hands, or I was going to fill him full of lead.”

“You didn’t recognize the intruder,” Dustin interjected.

“No, of course not. I told him to stop. He didn’t. He kept on coming up the stairs. He was heading right towards me, and I was scared. He might have been armed. I had to do something to defend my daughter, and myself you know. I couldn’t place my family at risk, so I opened fire. I shot into his upper chest.”

“What did you do next?” I said, glancing over at the digital recorder to reassure myself it was recording.

“I don’t know. Called the police, I guess.”

I looked down at my case notes a moment. “Did you say anything to the victim?”

“What?” Scott demanded angrily, loosening his tie slightly, and wiping his forehead absentmindedly. “What do you mean?”

“Amy mentioned she heard you say something to him. She didn’t catch it perfectly, but she thought it was something like “stop bleeding so damn loudly.”

“I guess I might have said something. So what? I was mad at this man who broke into my house.”

“I think you would have recognized him when you stood over the guy to whisper in his ear, but you apparently didn’t act shocked or surprised at who it was.”

“That’s crap!” Scott declared, pounding his fist into the table. “I didn’t realize it was that punk kid, Mike, until after I called you cops. My daughter was distraught, so she got some details wrong. I was defending my home!”

“Mr. Johnson,” I began, “can you shed any light on why there was a unfired bullet on the right side of the chair under the hallway window you mentioned earlier? Also, we were wondering…we were wondering why you had been sitting in that chair in the middle of the night? Did you have some problems sleeping maybe?”

Scott’s face drained of color. The bravado disappeared. “I wasn’t sitting in that chair during the night,” he offered weakly. “Why would I be sitting in the hallway in the middle of the night?”

“That’s an excellent question,” Dustin said. “Why were you? The technicians found evidence suggesting you fired from that vantage point. The entry wound was low. The evidence is not supporting your story, Scott.”

Scott looked down at the table and towards his hands. Beads of sweat glistened on his forehead. His tie was pulled away from his neck and reminded me of a noose for some reason.

“He was screwing my daughter, guys. He was doing it in my own house. I couldn’t let it continue.”

“So, you addressed it by lying in wait for him one night? Did you really think you could get away with an ambush of a young man in your own home? Do you think the laws don’t apply to you?” I shook my head and looked over at Dustin. Knowing him for as long as I had, I could recognize the subtle signs of disappointment and sadness in his eyes. Putting away a man Scott, a single father, is not something we take lightly, but, as Seattle Police Detectives, we have no choice in the matter. Scott was arrested for Murder in the First Degree.


You can read more about David in The Blood Cries Out, published by Light Switch Press.

About the author
Karl Erickson lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife and children. He considers himself primarily a writer of fiction. He is the author of two lighthearted children’s books: Toupee Mice and Tristan’s Travels. Both are published by Rafka Press. Kimberly Erickson is the wonderful illustrator. He also recently completed his first mystery novel (for older audiences), The Blood Cries Out.

Besides writing fiction, his articles have appeared in Catholic365.com, America, The National Catholic Weekly, Catholic Answers’ This Rock, Church Music Association of America’s Musica Sacra, Catholicmom.com, Episcopal Church News, Response, TiberRiver Catholic Book Reviews, as well as a guest opinion writer for both the Portland Tribune and Statesman Journal.
 
Karl and Kimberly Erickson enjoy opportunities to speak and share their family’s spiritual journey. Karl is also one of the founding members of the Catholic Writers’ Guild, a new association of Catholic writers and artists engaged in trying to make a difference for God and bring creative renewal to Catholic literature. 



In Karl’s “spare time,” he works for the State of Oregon. When time allows, he loves hiking in the Pacific Northwest forests or along the Pacific Coast, and you will often spot him carrying his trusty Canon EOS Rebel T3 camera. Karl and Kimberly also enjoy playing with their Newfoundland.

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The Quandary of Maggie Grady by Ellie Grant

Treacherous TartIt’s Christmas time at Pie in the Sky pie shop in Durham, North Carolina and I’ve never been so worried in my life. Aunt Clara—my partner in pie—has a new beau, Donald Wickerson. He claims to love her Marvelous Mince pies. But I think he has something else in mind.

My boyfriend Ryan has been writing articles for his newspaper, The Durham Weekly, about this man. He thinks he’s a serial killer. Donald has had several wives in different states who met with unfortunate ‘accidents’ that left him wealthier. Ryan thinks he may be plotting to kill Aunt Clara too.

But what if we’re wrong and we ruin Aunt Clara’s last chance for happiness? Maybe Donald isn’t a killer and Ryan is mistaken. The police haven’t found enough evidence yet to arrest Donald.

Am I willing to take that chance? I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to alienate my aunt who is more like a mother to me. She and my uncle raised me after my parents died when I was a child. I don’t want to see her hurt, and I don’t want to be the one who hurts her either.

There’s only one thing to do. Ryan and I are going to have to find out for sure about this Donald Wickerson. Is he the killer police are looking for or not? We need hard proof. If he is the killer, I’ll find a way to tell Aunt Clara and hope she’ll understand.

If he’s not the killer—then I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut.

Either way, Aunt Clara has always done her best for me and that’s what I plan to do for her too. I’m not going to let Donald Wickerson or anyone else hurt her or spoil our first Christmas together in years. That’s a promise!


You can read more about Maggie in Treacherous Tart, the second book in the “Pie Shop” mystery series, published by Simon and Schuster. The first book in the series is Plum Deadly.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on October 31 for the chance to win a print copy of both TREACHEROUS TART and PLUM DEADLY. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
Ellie Grant writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Joyce and Jim Lavene. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com.

Time on a Christmas Tree Farm with Liss MacCrimmon by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Ho Ho HomicideMy name is Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin and in November in an ordinary year I’m busy getting my shop, Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium in Moosetookalook, Maine, ready for the Christmas season. This year, though, my husband and I were offered the chance to get away for a week before the rush. “A little vacation,” my old friend Gina said.

Hah!

Murders. Mysterious “accidents.” Way too many secrets. But there is one bright spot. The house we’re staying in is located on what was once a commercial Christmas tree farm and I’m helping a new friend re-open it as a cut-your-own operation.

There’s lots to do. Publicity, including signs along the road so folks can find the place. Digging out the hand saws and tarps (to use to drag cut trees back in from the fields) and netters—the two the police didn’t confiscate. A netter puts a net around a tree so it’s easier to tie onto the roof of a car for the trip home from the Christmas tree farm.

Once the tree farm opens on the day after Thanksgiving, business should be brisk. Little kids, in particular, like to pick out their own tree and help cut it down. I can remember doing that myself when I was small. Since there are no lights out in the fields, it will be strictly a daytime operation. Weekends will be the busiest.

There’s no controlling the weather, so we’ll offer a heated office/gift shop with free hot chocolate to warm folks up. Christmas music? Of course. And among the items for sale in the gift shop, there might even be copies of two Christmas mysteries written by that Maine author whose name I can never remember. You know—the one who lives on a Christmas tree farm all year round.


You can read more about Character in Ho-Ho Homicide, the 8th book in the “Liss MacCrimmon” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Kilt Dead.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on October 30 for the chance to win a copy of HO-HO HOMICIDE. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
Kaitlyn Dunnett writes the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish-American Heritage Mysteries featuring former professional Scottish dancer turned shopkeeper Liss MacCrimmon. In the newest entry in the series, Ho-Ho-Homicide, Liss and her husband, Dan Ruskin are looking forward to a peaceful getaway on a friend’s Christmas tree farm. Some vacation! There’s nothing restful about an unsolved murder, a missing person, or a mysterious maze.

Kaitlyn Dunnett really does live on a Christmas tree farm in the mountains of Western Maine. She also writes as Kathy Lynn Emerson (three historical mystery series and numerous other books and short stories) and as Kate Emerson (non-mystery historical novels).

Visit Kaitlyn on her website.

A Day in the Life of Louise Montgomery by Stacy Verdick Case

An Intimate MurderSince Catherine had refused to go to the hospital after she’d been attacked, Louise made sure Catherine made it home safely, before deciding to call it a night and get some dinner. It was the least she could do considering Catherine was the closest thing Louise had ever had to a sister. She felt more than a little guilt ping at the edge of her consciousness for not being there when the attack happened.

Louise stopped at her local café and grabbed a soup and sandwich. When she arrived at her condo, Louise kicked off her shoes, and dropped onto the sofa. She considered staying where she was for the rest of the night but a glass of merlot sounded good, especially considering the day she’d had today. The investigation seemed to be going nowhere fast, and for Detective Louise Montgomery that was more frustrating than a slow internet connection.

She stood and walked into the kitchen, located a bottle of her favorite merlot, opened it, took a large glass from the cabinet, and filled it halfway full. At least she was still an optimist. She went back to the living room and ate her dinner in silence. She considered checking to see what was on her DVR. Most nights when she came home, she was too tired to watch TV, so she was sure it was full. It had been years since Louise had finished a series in real time.

Louise looked around her condo and wished, and not for the first time, that she wasn’t all by herself. She had thought about getting a dog but with her work schedule that wouldn’t be fair. She could get a cat though but then there’d being hair everywhere. Maybe one of those hairless cats that wouldn’t leave fur all over her suits. The thought of a dirty litter box piling up for days made her discard the notion of the cat.

She looked at the clock and decided it was still early enough to call Gavin and check on Catherine. The phone rang and Gavin picked up after the first ring.

“Hello Louise,” he said.

Louise smiled to herself. “Were you expecting my call?”

“Of course,” Gavin said. “You always call.”

It was true. Whenever Catherine had an accident, or had been shot, Louise would call to check on her before going to bed. If she didn’t there would be no way she could get to sleep.

“How’s she doing?” Louise asked.

“She’s asleep. Thanks to those wonder drugs that Doctor Dave gave her. Otherwise she’d be feeling it.”

“God Bless Doctor Dave,” Louise said.

“Yeah.” Gavin didn’t sound happy. “How the hell did this happen, Louise?”

Louise paused for second considering if she should lie to make him feel better, but there was nothing she could do or say to ease this one. His wife had been brutally beaten in her own workplace. A host of Washington spin-doctors couldn’t make that sunny and bright.

Louise must have stayed silent a little too long because Gavin continue, “Jesus Christ if there’s one place she should be safe it should be the precinct. I don’t understand.”

Louise sighed. “You’ve got about fifty officers and detectives wondering the same thing. Everyone is trying to find out how this could happen. Including me, Gavin.”

The line went quiet and Louise felt her heart break for him. Gavin loved Catherine so much that this had to be painful. He couldn’t protect her when she was away, and Louise knew that Catherine and Gavin fought about the danger of her job.

“Well, I don’t think she’ll be in tomorrow,” Gavin said finally.

Louise gave a mirthless laughed. “Do you think you’ll really be able to keep her home?” She waited and when he didn’t answer she said, “You know as well as I do she’s going to want to get back in the saddle as fast as possible.”

Gavin took a deep breath and let it out slow. “I know, but Jesus, she could barely stand.”

“You have my promise,” Louise said. “I won’t leave her side tomorrow not even when she goes to the bathroom.”

“Isn’t that what you girls do anyway,” he asked, sarcasm dripping from the comment.

“Not your wife,” Louise said. “She doesn’t really do the group peeing, girl thing.”

He chuckled and Louise heard some of the tension ebb from his voice. “That’s true,” he said. “She’s not really a group sort of a person.”

“Try to get some sleep,” Louise said. “We’ll figure out who did this.”

“Alright,” he said and hung up.

Louise got ready for bed. As she lay down, she prayed that they would find out who did this to Catherine and soon. She would hate to break her word to Gavin. Louise took the book from her nightstand and read a few chapters before finally feeling tired enough to close her eyes to sleep. An early day lay ahead of her tomorrow and knowing Catherine the way she did, she was going to need every ounce of energy she had just to keep up.


You can read more about Louise in An Intimate Murder, the third book in the “Catherine O’Brien” mystery series, published by Before The Fall Books. The first book in the series is A Grand Murder.

CONTEST: Stacy is holding a Rafflecopter contest on her blog tour where you have a chance to win a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card. Click HERE to enter.

About the author
Stacy Verdick Case was born in Willmar, Minnesota. After a brief stint as a military brat, where she lived in Fort Sill Oklahoma and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, her family moved back to Minnesota.

Stacy has written all her life earning a High School Writer Award and a Daphne Du Mauier Award for excellence in Mainstream Mystery/Suspense.

Stacy currently lives in a suburb of St. Paul with her husband of twenty-years, her five-year-old daughter, and their two cats.

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