My name is Rose Strickland, Rosalyn to my parents. But I’ll answer to Miss, Waitress, or Hey You I Need More Coffee.

After I kissed my overbearing parents’ wealth and status goodbye, I realized I had very few skills other than shopping, texting, and the ability to spot a Gucci knock off at ten paces. But Ma, owner and proprietor of Ma’s Diner, was kind enough to give me a job. When she hired me, I didn’t know how to turn on a coffee pot, let alone wait tables. Now, five years later, I sling hash like a pro along side my bestie, Roxy Block.

Roxy has a unique fashion sense. And by unique, I mean she looks like she stepped out of an anime, complete with bright blue hair and platform Mary Janes. Together we work the small dining room, plying our customers with pancakes and eggs, while Ma works the counter and chats up the customers.

Ma’s is open from six a.m. to one p.m. and we only serve breakfast. If you want a burger, you’re going to be disappointed, but I suggest the ham and cheese omelet. You’ll thank me, I swear. And if your thanks take the form of a sizable tip, I’m all right with that.

The schedule at the diner works for me because I attend night school at Huntingford City College. I’ve been taking random classes to try and figure out where my interests lie. What I learned from Sex Throughout the Ages? Being a prostitute in Pompeii wasn’t a great gig. A cautionary tale against hooking as a career choice—you might wind up buried in volcanic ash.

I’ve also taken things like Spanish, Botany, and Russian Literature. Consequently, I can ask to use the restroom in Español, know not to stick a plant in the closet, and discovered that I would rather clean my toilet than read War and Peace. As you can see, I’m still trying to figure things out.

My buddy, Axton, has been my rock throughout the journey from carefree rich girl to struggling waitress. Ax is on the outs with his wealthy family, too. But he’s always there for me with words of encouragement and a goofy, sometimes pot-induced grin. He stops by the diner most days, to eat donuts and discuss important topics like which is better, the Starship Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon.

At least twice a week I visit my nephew, Scotty. My parents and I agree on one thing—Scotty is the best thing that’s happened to our family. My sister, Jacks, lucked out with that kid. Smart and adorable, with the sweetest smile ever. And I’m not saying he’s a genius or anything, but he was the first one in his Kindergarten class to learn to tie his shoes. Okay, yes I am, the kid’s a freaking genius. But maybe I’m biased.

So that’s my life. Work, friends, and school. It’s a life I’ve carved out for myself, one day at a time. I learned it all the hard way and worked for everything I have. It may not seem like much, but it’s mine.

When Axton disappears, Rose will do whatever it takes to find him in DINERS, DIVES AND DEAD ENDS, the first in the Rose Strickland Mystery series released through Henery Press, July 17th.

** Terri is having a drawing at the end of her blog tour for a chance to win DINERS, DIVES AND DEAD ENDS. The winner will receive a paperback copy of the book. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends August 31. Leave a valid email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the author
When Terri L. Austin isn’t writing, she enjoys eating breakfast at her local diner, watching really bad movies, and hanging out with her kids when they’re home from college. She lives in Missouri with her funny, handsome husband and her high maintenance peekapoo. Her debut novel, Diners, Dives & Dead Ends, was a 2011 Get Your Stiletto in the Door finalist. Stop by her website and see what’s new or drop her an email to say hello. She loves to hear from readers at

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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