Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Day in the Life of Meg Reed by Kate Dyer-Seeley

first-degree-mudderIt had to be mud. Mud—gooey, sticky, oozing mud. Mud squished in the soles of my cute pink kicks that had turned the color of chocolate. Come to think of it, I could go for a pound or two of dark chocolate about now. Instead I huffed and puffed my way up the hill past the haunted old Army hospital and toward the creepy little old lady’s house.

I had no one other than myself to blame. It was entirely my idea to sign-up for my first mud run, aptly named Mud, Sweat and Beers. This is Portland, Oregon after all. You can’t go more than a block without bumping into a pub or artisan coffee shop. Or, worse a team of hipsters. Portland had become a mecca for twenty-somethings, like myself, who were drawn to the city’s laidback vibe, abundant outdoor adventure opportunities, craft beer, and coffee. Unlike me, many of Portland’s newest transplants weren’t interested in building their careers. They were much more focused on hitting the slopes or heading to the coast to catch some killer waves.

I was a serious journalist with a bona fide job writing for Northwest Extreme, one of the country’s leading outdoor magazines. Sure, maybe I wasn’t the most athletic member of our small team, and maybe I wore a tad too much pink, but every time I saw my byline with the words: Meg Reed, reporter, on the magazine’s glossy pages I had to smile. I was living the dream.

Of course at the moment all I could dream about was a double mocha with extra whipping cream. I had to pick up the pace and beat my training mates back to the showers. Let’s just say that I might have taken a bit of a shortcut. It wasn’t cheating. I had been tagging along on the grueling pre-dawn training runs for the past week as an observant journalist, not for the actual workouts. My trainer, Billy the Tank, didn’t see it that way. He pushed me as hard—if not harder—than everyone else. I could almost hear his booming voice and blaring whistle in my head as I hurdled over a waist-high fence and made a beeline for the grassy hill that led to the barracks.

Mud runs had been touted as “fun runs” but in my humble opinion there was nothing fun about slogging through thick, smelly mud, running in wet shoes, and trying to clamber up and over a variety of excruciating obstacles. Where was the fun in that? I’d call my training sessions nothing short of punishment. People actually paid to be tortured like this, I thought as I slid down the wet grass slope.

Fort Vancouver’s historic barracks were in sight. I was almost out of the woods. If all went according to plan I could drown the slimy mud coating every inch of my body in a scalding hot shower and hit the nearest coffee shop before any of my teammates realized I was missing. However not much in my world ends up according to plan. Mud was about to be the least of my worries. I was soon to be in thick of a murder investigation.

First Degree Mudder is the fourth book in the Pacific Northwest mystery series, published by Kensington, November 2016.

When a mud marathon champion bites the dust, Meg Reed has to go the distance to make sure a killer comes clean . . .

Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .

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About the author
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three. Connect with Kate at, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of First Degree Mudder. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 2, 2016 at 11:59  AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Claire Britten by Karen Harper

chasing-shadowsI am forensic psychologist Claire Britten. Although a lot of my work in the past has been helping corporations or individuals ferret out fraud, I am now employed by criminal lawyer Nick Markwood here in Naples, Florida. My new job is one I hope won’t take me too far from home, as I’m a working mom, recently divorced, with a four-year-old daughter. I promised myself and my ex that I wouldn’t take an assignment far from home, but here I am at the other end of the Sunshine State, helping Nick prove whether a death was an accident, murder or suicide.

My motto is “The dead still talk if you know how to listen.” If you don’t know, a forensic psych does not do lab or autopsy work but dissects people’s lives, usually after they are dead. I interview people they left behind—enemies, family—sometimes those are one and the same. I’m a handwriting expert and read body language. The thing is, my work can be dangerous if the person I interview is a so-called person of interest or, worse yet, the murderer.

Nick is totally dedicated not only to his law firm, but to a private endeavor called South Shores. When he was a boy, he found his father dead of an apparent suicide, but has always been certain it was a murder, and by a trusted friend. So, besides his public cases, he is on a covert mission to expose the billionaire who set his father up—and ruined lives.

I don’t know whether it’s good or bad that I’m falling for Nick. The dangers we are in here on this first case are pulling us closer together. Who would think that a beautiful Civil War era plantation would be treacherous? Worse, it’s supposed to be haunted. And what are Nick’s ties to the woman he’s defending who owns it?

A day in my life? Every one is different, and lately, dangerous. Although I’ve promised myself that, if I live through this, I will just return to my little girl and my tame fraud fighting—hopefully, mostly on line through my Clear Path website. But the allure of adventure and Nick makes that hard. I love helping people and families in need, but I know I need to help my own family. If I survive this Chasing Shadows case, there is the Mangrove Murder case looming, a case that may change my life again forever.

Chasing Shadows is the first book in the NEW South Shores romantic suspense series, published by MIRA, November 2016.

The dead still talk if you know how to listen. . .

Every case that Claire Britten cracks is a win, not only professionally but personally. The forensic psychologist has spent a lifetime fighting a neurological disorder, and her ability to conquer it is a testament to her razor-sharp intuition.

Nick Markwood is used to winning in the courtroom, so when his latest case is overthrown by Claire’s expert testimony, he can’t help being impressed by her skill. He needs her on the team of his passion project—investigating unusual cases involving mysterious deaths. Her condition doesn’t deter him, and neither does the attraction that sparks between them. . .even if it should.

As they join forces to investigate a murder in St. Augustine, Florida, Claire is thrust into a situation far more dangerous than she’d anticipated, pushing her disorder to a breaking point. Just when she fears she can’t trust her own mind, she discovers Nick’s personal connection to the case—and wonders whether she can trust anyone at all.

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Meet the author
Karen Harper is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romantic suspense and historical novels about real British women. Winner of the 2006 Mary Higgins Clark Award, Karen and her husband divide their time between Florida and Ohio. Chasing Shadows is the launch book for her new South Shores Series with two more books following in February and May.  Connect with Karen at, on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Chasing Shadows. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 1, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Nicki Valentine by Susan O’Brien

skydiveDoesn’t it seem like just when life gets comfortable, something has to rock the boat? Okay, maybe “comfortable” is an exaggeration. I mean, life as a private investigator, single mom, and girlfriend to an unnervingly hot guy is a lot to juggle. But recently, life has felt “routine”. . .in a good, reliable way. That’s why I don’t know what to do about this letter I got from jail.

Part of me wants to pretend it didn’t arrive—that there isn’t an incarcerated mom desperately worried about her endangered daughter, Kat, who just “aged out” of foster care. The other part of me is an expert at worrying, both as a mom and a P.I. And when my worries feel instinctual, they’re impossible to ignore. Kind of like a screaming child when you just got on the phone with your best friend. (No surprise I’m also an expert at differentiating types of screams. What mom isn’t?)

Speaking of best friends, that’s who I need to call about this whole thing: my BFF Kenna. Sure, she can be startlingly blunt and pushy, but I haven’t walked a mile in her six-inch heels. (I have pole danced in them, however, thanks to her shenanigans.) In fact, Kenna’s the perfect match for my more cautious personality. Also, she just finished her private investigator training, so maybe she’ll want to help me out. Now that would be interesting. . .as long as she doesn’t get us into trouble.

The kids will be home from school soon, which means I better get going. I need to finish some work, make snacks, plan dinner, and shower before heading to the bus stop. Not that the other parents/caregivers would judge my frazzled style. (Elementary school bus stops should be more like mini support groups.) But my boyfriend is coming for dinner, and I’d rather smell like soap than the sweaty soccer uniforms I just threw in the washer, at least at this stage of our relationship. Hm. I can’t help but wonder where that’s going, too.

Things are more peaceful than ever right now, but I have a feeling that’s going to change. I’m not sure if it’ll be for the better (excitement, progress, and making a difference!), for the worse (danger, destruction, and failure!), or a mix both. No matter what, I know it will be an adventure.

Skydive is the third book in the Nicki Valentine mystery series, published by Henery Press, November 2016.

Life is finally settling down for private investigator Nicki Valentine, her kids, and her boyfriend Dean. But when a jailed mom seeks help for her endangered biological daughter, who just “aged out” of foster care, Nicki can’t say no.

With Dean by her side and her free-wheeling BFF eager to investigate too, Nicki braves back alleys, drug dens, and the strip-club scene, all while wondering if any risk is too great when it comes to finding a teen in trouble.

As if navigating the mean streets of King County, Virginia, isn’t enough, Nicki also faces the realities of dating as a single mom, including “sleepover” requests she never anticipated. Ultimately—in both relationships and work—Nicki must decide, “How much am I willing to risk for love?”

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About the author
Susan O’Brien has been passionate about reading and writing since childhood, when she started a neighborhood newspaper and escaped tween stress with mysteries. Since covering her first big story (the birth of gerbils next door), she has worked with USA TODAY, PI Magazine, The Parent Institute and others. Her debut mystery, Finding Sky, was nominated for a Best First Novel Agatha Award. Among Susan’s diverse interests are photography, gardening, loud R&B music, healing prayer and reality TV. She lives with her husband and children in a D.C. suburb and donates part of her earnings to missing children’s organizations. Visit her online at, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Finding Sky. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 30, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!