the-cupcake-caperWell, I see they’ve gotten my name wrong. It’s not Watson, it’s Mayfield-Watson. (My parents are to blame for that one!) And while my Ph.D. in chemistry technically makes me a doctor, I rarely use the title. Honestly, just call me Bree.

All-in-all, I’m pretty average, except that I’m trying to make it in a male dominated field. So far, I haven’t made time for stuff like boyfriends—despite grandma’s prodding—or much of a social life. Heck, until recently I couldn’t even commit to a pet.

But more on that later. You wanted to know what my typical day is like. . . The answer depends—do you mean before I discovered my boss’s dead body? Or after?

Not too long ago, I was perfectly happy in my lab doing research. A typical day in the lab has a lot more in common with a 5th grade science project than an episode of CSI or a Bones rerun. Remember creating volcanos out of baking soda and vinegar? Research is like that. Except to find how to make the best volcano, I’d test different conditions—such as the ratio of baking soda to vinegar—while I measured each to determine the volume and speed of the “lava” flow. Then I’d repeat the experiments at several different temperatures. And with different brands of baking soda and vinegar. After twenty or even fifty measurements, I’d analyze the results to determine the best volcano conditions. Science was a perfect puzzle for an introvert like me.

Over the years, I’ve used science to help customers do everything from milling paper to producing canned vegetables. I’ve learned a little about a lot of things—which would make for good small talk at cocktail parties, if I were the party type. But I’m not. Like I said, I’m an introvert, with limited social skills to boot.

I prefer staying in and figuring out the science behind how things work—especially when it comes to cooking. My favorite experiments involve baking. Cupcakes. brownies, bread, cookies—I’ve put my twist on dozens of recipes. Recently, some of my lab friends challenged me to make a “periodic table of cupcakes” and I’m working my way through the combinations whenever I need to relax.

Since the day I discovered my boss dead in his office, I’ve needed to relax a lot.

After I discovered the body, two things happened: (1) the company temporarily promoted me to fill his role and (2) the police accused me of killing him. Or was it the other way around? Either way, my typical days flew out the window. The new normal consisted of pretending to do research while subtly trying to figure out who wanted the boss dead (turns out he had a lot of enemies), and how they managed to slip him poison from my lab.

I’m also fending off more attention from potential boyfriends than I have since. . . well, ever. To say my life has changed is an understatement.

catI look forward to quiet nights of baking for relaxation and curling up with my adopted cat, Sherlock. To be honest, I didn’t plan to get a pet. Sherlock had belonged to my boss and, even though I wasn’t a cat person at the time, I couldn’t let him go to the pound. Now I can’t imagine life without him. His contented purr sooths me after a long day of interviewing suspects. For a woman who doesn’t frequent cocktail parties, I made a lot of small talk as I tried to unravel the hows and whys behind the boss’s murder. Maybe I’m not so inept at the social interactions as I’d always thought.

Eventually, the killer was caught and everything was sorted out. But things didn’t go back to normal. It turns out my skill at solving crimes attracted the attention of some pretty interesting people. I’ve been offered a new job and I’m still weighing the pros and cons. But either way, my definition of a typical day is about to change again.

So come back in a month and ask me what a typical day is like. The answers might surprise you.


The Cupcake Caper is the first book in the New UNDERCOVER CAT mystery series, published by Curtis Brown Unlimited, September 2016.

Science is about solving puzzles. Why should solving a murder be any different?

Dr. Bree Watson (aka Gabriella Catherine Mayfield-Watson) is comfortable solving chemistry problems. She isn’t comfortable finding her boss dead and being a suspect in his poisoning. Now she’s juggling:

  • A sexy marketing manager—who may, or may not—be a contract killer.
  • A handsome lead detective whose interest goes beyond the case.
  • The dead man’s cranky cat.
  • A goose-chasing dog in hot water with an animal rights group.
  • The search for the perfect cupcake recipe.
  • And, of course, someone who wants her out of the picture.

And she thought getting a Ph.D. was hard.

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Meet the author
Kelle Z. Riley, writer, speaker, global traveler, Ph.D. chemist and safety/martial arts expert has been featured in public forums that range from local Newspapers to National television. In addition to her works of fiction, a kellepersonal story was included in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias.” Her other publications include a romantic suspense (Dangerous Affairs), multiple short stories, a self-published memoir in honor of her father, and the recently released Cupcake Caper (Undercover Cat Series) which features a scientist-turned-sleuth. A former Golden Heart Finalist, Kelle resides in Chattanooga, TN.

She is the past program chair and popular speaker for the Chattanooga Writer’s Guild, a member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers’ of America and various local chapters. When not writing, she can be found pursuing passions such as being a self-defense instructor, a Master Gardener Intern and a full time chemist with numerous professional publications and U. S. patents. Kelle can be reached on Facebook, on Twitter, and at www.kellezriley.net.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Cupcake Caper. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 25, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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