A Day in the Life of Rory Anderson by Sybil Johnson

Fatal BrushstrokeI love the city I live in, but it doesn’t always love me back. Vista Beach is a beautiful place, no doubt about it. From my house, it’s a short walk to the ocean. I try to get down there once a week or so and spend a little time just staring at the waves. It’s very therapeutic.

My parents and my best friend, Liz, are the most important people in my life. My dad’s a lawyer and my mom owns a store that sells tole painting and scrapbooking supplies.

Crime wise the town I live in is pretty quiet, mostly car thefts and burglaries, though there was that arson spree eons ago—the one my birth parents were responsible for. I don’t know why I mentioned that. I guess it’s been on my mind a lot lately. And then there’s the murder, of course…

You wanted to know about my day. People hire me to create websites, produce apps for their business, stuff like that. Most people would find what I do boring, but to me programming is fun and satisfying. There’s an art to it. Writing an elegant piece of code is a beautiful thing.

Since I work for myself, I make my own schedule. On the average day, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, writing code, calling and e-mailing clients. Sometimes, I’ll take a break and head downtown to my mother’s store or have lunch with Liz. She’s a top producer in the local real estate market and knows everyone, and I mean everyone, in town.

Like me, she enjoys decorative painting. We’ve gone to conventions together, taken classes together and solved a murder together. I told that story to a woman who wrote a book about it. She seemed nice; I think I can trust her. Still, I can’t bring myself to read it. You do it for me, okay?

Oh, I’ve got to go. My mom’s calling. She probably needs my help at her store.


You can read more about Rory in Fatal Brushstroke, the first book in the “Aurora Anderson” mystery series, published by Henery Press.

Meet the author
Sybil Johnson writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery series. Sybil’s love affair with reading began in kindergarten with “The Three Little Pigs.” Visits to the library introduced her to Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and a host of other characters. Fast forward to college where she continued reading while studying Computer Science. After a rewarding career in the computer industry, Sybil decided to try her hand at writing mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mysterical-E and Spinetingler Magazine, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Sybil now lives in Southern California where she enjoys tole painting, studying ancient languages and spending time with friends and family. Visit her at www.authorsybiljohnson.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sybiljohnsonauthor.

December 2014 Books

Dec2014

December 1
Bones on the Bayou by Carolyn Haines – Sarah Booth Delaney short story
Blue Avenue by Michael Wiley – Daniel Turner #1 *new series*

December 2
Murder, Served Simply by Isabella Alan – Amish Quilt Shop #3
Keeper of the Castle by Juliet Blackwell – Haunted Home Renovation #5
Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown – Cycle Path #1 *new series*
Death With All the Trimmings by Lucy Burdette – Key West Food Critic #5
Scorched Eggs by Laura Childs – Cackleberry Club #6

Blood Rubies by Jane K. Cleland – Josie Prescott Antiques #9
Inspector Specter by E.J. Copperman – Haunted Guesthouse #6
Once Upon a Grind by Cleo Coyle – Coffee house #14
The Chihuahua Always Sniffs Twice by Waverly Curtis – Barking Detective #4
The Ghost and Mrs Mewer by Krista Davis – Paws and Claws #2
Aground on St. Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale – Mystery in the Islands #3

Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris – Sarah Winston Garage Sale #1 *new series*
Spell Booked by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Retired Witches #1 *new series*
Meow If It’s Murder by T.C. LoTempio – Nick and Nora #1 *new series*
Suspicion at Seven by Ann Purser – Lois Meade #7
If You’ve Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey – Haunted Vintage #1 *new series*
Shadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman – Carol Childs #1 *new series*

Week of December 7
The Red Queen’s Run by Bourne Morris – Red Solaris #1 *new series*

Week of December 14
Kill ‘Em with Cayenne by Gail Oust – Spice Shop #2
A Nip of Murder by Carol Miller – Moonshine #2

Week of December 21

Week of December 28
Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander – Bakeshop #1 *new series*
Die Again by Tess Gerritsen – Rizzoli & Isles #11
Paw and Order by Diane Kelly – Paw Enforcement #2
Wedding Cake by Josi S. Kilpack – Culinary #12
Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King – Book Group #1 *new series*


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Lottawatah Repossessed by Evelyn David

Lottawatah RepossessedLottawatah Repossessed by Evelyn David is the 12th book in the “Brianna Sullivan” mystery series. Publisher: Evelyn David, November 2014

Home Sweet Home turns deadly when the ghost of a murder victim takes up residence in the house psychic Brianna Sullivan and fiancé Cooper Jackson have just purchased. Up to their eyeballs in mortgage debt, the last thing they need is an unwanted permanent visitor who doesn’t pay rent. But the specter refuses to move towards the light unless Brianna can solve his murder. It would help if she even knew the ghost’s identity, but that proves more complicated than she ever imagined. At the same time, Police Chief Cooper has the entire department searching for the young teenaged son of Reverend Saunders, a man who insists that Brianna is the devil’s disciple. Is there a connection between the missing teen and an anonymous ghost who refuses to reveal his name? As Brianna gets closer to figuring out who is behind the murder, a life-altering accident upends all previous theories. With Cooper in the hospital, it’s up to the reluctant psychic to stop a determined killer before more blood is shed on her new bedroom carpet.

Join Brianna, Cooper, bulldog Leon, and all the gang in Lottawatah for a roller coaster ride through home ownership, love, wedding planning (think hoop-skirted bridesmaids), and the effects of too many sausage links on the cutest bulldog with the wonkiest digestive tract in the state of Oklahoma.

This was an enjoyable read from beginning to end. Once again, Brianna is confronted by a ghostly spirit and his request is find his killer and that puts Brianna on a road that reaps with danger. This fast-paced drama was executed nicely and I loved how the mystery was set up with a nice flow that was easy to follow. The author did a great job in building up the suspect list which kept me guessing and what a fine job it was when the killer was revealed. All the main players were around for this thrilling ride in Lottawatah, OK.

Another Day in the Life of Martha Rose by Mary Marks

Knot in My BackyardHonestly, when you get to be my age, losing weight is not so easy. I’ve tried everything high protein (ack! Give me some fruit!) to vegan (I’d kill for some protein.). Now I’m trying Weight Watchers for the eighth time. I figure a balanced approach is more sustainable in the long run. And when I get down to my goal weight I’m going to splurge on a slice of coconut cake.

So I went to my local Weight Watchers meeting one afternoon and noticed a few familiar faces behind the counter. “Hi. I’m here to enroll.” I didn’t say I’m new, because I wasn’t. I was just back for a fresh start.

A fifty year old I recognized stretched her crimson lips in a smile and said a little too brightly, “Good for you!” But I could tell she was really thinking, You again?

I stared at the color of her lipstick and thought she was brave to wear such a bright color with all the creases around her mouth. If you looked closely you could see little red threads beginning to migrate up the folds.

With a fistful of glossy instruction booklets and papers, I sat on a hard folding chair in the back of the meeting room. The well-dressed lecturer stood in the front next to a flip chart. Charlissa wore a bow clipped to the side of her hair. “Welcome everybody,” she shouted over the noise. The voices stopped chattering and everyone shifted in their seats. Clearly they liked the thin woman in the front of the room.

“We have some new people today. Will you please raise your hand and tell us your name?” Oh no! I already knew half the people in this room, and most of them were a lot smaller than when I last saw them.

An obese young mother rocked a sleeping infant in her arms. “I’m Heather, and I want to lose my baby weight.”

Charlissa smiled. “You are going to lose that weight so good, you’ll never find it again!” everyone laughed and clapped enthusiastically. Then she nodded at me, my cue to humiliate myself.

“My name is Martha. This isn’t my first time at Weight Watchers. But I’m hoping to get it right this time.”

One dieter turned around in her seat and whispered, “Hi. Martha. I’m Sheila. Recognize me?” Oh my god. This woman must have lost 100 pounds, because the only thing I recognized about her was her voice.

“Holy cow. You look great, Sheila.” I whispered back.

“Keep at it, sweetie. You can do it, too.”

Right then and there I decided if Sheila can do it, so can I. Besides, I had more incentive now than the other times I tried. I was dating a really hunky police detective named Arlo Beavers, and I wanted to be able to turn the light on at night without being embarrassed.

After the meeting I went straight to the supermarket and bought bags full of healthy fruits, veggies, lean meats, egg whites, and whole grains. I stayed away from the middle isles of the store, because that’s where all the forbidden food was. I knew the drill. Then I went straight home and filled three garbage bags with all the bad food from my kitchen. My poor bubbie would never have approved of such waste. But then Bubbie abhorred a skinny body. “You need to put some meat on your bones,” she’d say.

Charlissa stressed to all the new members that we should make an effort to walk every day. So I drove to the nearby Skechers Store in Encino and bought a pair of nice white athletic shoes. Even though the pain and stiffness of fibromyalgia made moving around difficult on some days, I was determined to take her advice. I’d start out walking short distances and work my way up.

The next morning I got up bright and early and had a breakfast of egg whites cooked in a teaspoon of olive oil. Then I put on my Skechers and went for my first walk of my new life. Little did I know how much trouble I was heading for, because a few minutes later I discovered a dead body.


You can read more about Martha in Knot In My Backyard, the second book in the “Quilting” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Forget Me Knot.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 20 for the chance to win a copy of KNOT IN MY BACKYARD. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, writer Mary Marks earned a BA in Anthropology from MaryMUCLA and an MA in Public Administration from the American Jewish University.

Marks became an award winning quilter after her retirement from UCLA administration. Writing about her quilts led her in a new creative direction, writing cozy mysteries. Knot In My Backyard, the second novel in her Quilting Mystery series has just been released.

Marks lives in Camarillo, California with her dog Ginger and her cat Louie.

Visit Mary at her website or on Facebook

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: No. 46

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

This week on dru’s book musings
Nov 17: Martha Rose from Knot In My Backyard by Mary Marks
Nov 18: Rory Anderson from Fatal Brushstroke by Sybil Johnson
Nov 19: Molly Pink from Knot Guilty by Betty Hechtman
Nov 20: Queensville Emporium from No Mallets Intended by Victoria Hamilton
Nov 21: Jill Gardner from If the Shoe Kills by Lynn Cahoon
Nov 22: Celeste Farmington from The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper by Sally Carpenter

Last week on dru’s book musings
Tai Randolph from Deeper Than the Grave by Tina Whittle
Hayden Kent from Death by Blue Water by Kait Carson
Eli Marks from The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard
Mary Catherine Roberts from Dae’s Christmas Past by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Lauren Rousseau from Bluffing is Murder by Tace Baker
Alex Noziak from Invisible Secrets by Mary Buckham

Recent contest winners
A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle – Shannon R.
By Cook or by Crook by Maya Corrigan – Connie R.
Deeper Than the Grave by Tina Whittle – Kari C.
Death by Blue Water by Kait Carson – Jan J.


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A Day in the Life of Alex Noziak by Mary Buckham

Invisible MagicAlex, can you introduce yourself?

I’m Alex Noziak, part-witch, part-shaman, total magic-wielding screw up with an uncanny ability to make things worse. I’m also part of a fledgling covert Agency called the Invisible Recruits. Six women recruited to fight preternatural bad guys and keep the world safe from humans who didn’t even know the stuff of nightmares is as close as the next stranger, the dark alley ahead, the cashier whose smile is forced.

Was it only a few months ago I thought being in prison sucked? That was a piece of cake compared to what I’m dealing with now—deranged, power-hungry druids, demons with plans to annihilate all humans and a sexy, arrogant, warlock.

Okay, that last one isn’t that bad. Most days. Even if Bran, my lover, sometime friend, is still one of the biggest complications in a complicated life.

What about your childhood? Any favorite memories?

I grew up in Mud Lake, Idaho, the youngest of five, with the four older being all boys. They all happened to be wolf shifters, like my dad. He was part-shifter, full Shoshone shaman. My mom was the one who gifted, or cursed me, with magic. She was a born-to-the-blood Celtic witch. She also abandoned the family when I was five. As for good memories, I was blessed with the best brothers in the world, unless I was doing something they didn’t want me to do. Then they became pains in the backside. But they did teach me everything I know about hardscrabble fighting, how to keep going when I really, really wanted to give up and curl into a fetal position, and what honor, courage and responsibility really mean. Doing the hard thing when it needs to be done.

Can you tell us a little more about Bran?

Bran looks like a cross between a Halleluiah prayer answered and one’s best wet dream. Thick dark hair, killer sky-blue eyes, cheekbones that make my own Shoshone facial structure look flat.

Danger. Seduction. And trouble with a capital ‘T’. Woman trouble. My trouble.

Have I mentioned that warlocks and witches are sworn enemies? Plus warlocks are an iffy bunch. Arrogant. Egotistical. Selfish. And that’s on their good days.

Right. Anything you want to share about your Agency missions?

Let’s see. First mission happened before we were even out of training. A traitor had joined the ranks of new recruits and I had to figure out who, and what, she was, before she sabotaged the Agency before we’d had our first mission. Then I was tasked to enter the world of the rich and hoity toity—Bran’s world—looking for someone behind a series of worldwide thefts. But the problem was bigger than secrets stolen. Bigger and more deadly. Good news was I met Bran. Bad news, I met his conniving cousin who turned out to be a Grimple. Nasty creatures. From there the missions start to blur. We went after the Weres holding my oldest brother captive while they were experimenting to find a way to drug and control preternatural beings. Just about died, more than once, but we did get Van, my brother, back. Just in time to go after a druid who wasn’t afraid to use anyone, human and non-human, in his quest to free a two thousand year old demon. Oh, and I forgot the crazy djinn we crossed paths with in Africa. It’s been a really busy few months.

Sounds like it. Any plans for the near future?

Is staying alive a plan? I’m actually off on a suicide mission to the Underworld with my best friend and fellow teammate, Kelly McAllister. Mandy Reyes, another teammate, is also along on the assignment, which doesn’t bode well for any of us. Mandy has hot Latin blood, a mouth like a stevedore, the patience of a gnat and is a spirit walker. Spirit-walkers have no souls so can cross that thin line between the human world and the spirit world, but do so at their peril. It’s one thing to be able to communicate with spirits from the human side, a whole other thing to cross into their playing field. All the spirits had to do was catch a spirit-walker unaware and they could hijack their human shells. One second, long dead, the next, back among the land of the living.

We’re going after an ancient demon with no idea if we can find him, find him in time to stop his plans to unleash havoc on the world, or find a way back.

Wish us luck.


You can read more about Alex Noziak, and the other members of the Invisible Recruit Agency in any of the first six novels and two novellas published by Cantwell Publishing. The first story in the series Invisible Prison is currently free on all online book retailers. Watch for the next novel in the series, Invisible Secrets, in late November.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 19 for the chance to win a copy of INVISIBLE MAGIC, the novel where Alex meets Bran and life gets complicated, very quickly. A hardback copy giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, an e-copy to anyone.

About the author
USA Today bestselling author Mary Buckham writes Urban Fantasy with attitude. Love romance, danger & kick-ass heroines? Find it in her Invisible Recruits series! She also writes the Amazon best selling WRITING ACTIVE series for writers WRITING ACTIVE SETTING and WRITING ACTIVE HOOKS Find more info here: www.MaryBuckham.com or www.InvisibleRecruits.com. Or friend her on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle

A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle is the first book in the new “Fixer-Upper” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, November 2014

In the seaside town of Lighthouse Cove in northern California, everyone knows the best man for the job is actually a woman—contractor Shannon Hammer. But while Shannon can do wonders with a power drill and a little elbow grease, she’s about to discover that some problems aren’t so easily fixed.

Shannon’s home-renovation and repair business is booming, but her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.

Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure.

This was a good read that was delightfully entertaining. The author did a great job in presenting this drama where everyone could be a suspect but only one is the killer. The clues were there to decipher and as the story progressed, the suspense heighten as the killer upped the ante in her pursuit of not being exposed. A lovable cast, engaging conversations and a small town setting adds to the allure of this charming new series and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Lighthouse Cove.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog