Category Archives: A DAY IN THE LIFE

a place where characters give you a glimpse into their day

A Day in the Life with Calliope Costas by Jenny Kales

on-the-chopping-blockHi, I’m Calliope Costas, owner of “Callie’s Kitchen” in Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. People call me “Callie,” except for my Dad, George. He was born in Greece and he prefers to use my full name, but most people find “Callie” a lot easier to pronounce.

George is. . .well, he’s complicated. First of all, he’s a great father, especially since we lost my mom at a young age. Let’s just say, he has opinions. Lots of them. This is especially tricky, now that my husband, Hugh, and I split up and I’m the single mom of George’s only grandchild, Olivia. She’s 10 and a smart cookie – sometimes too smart for her own good. For example, she’s not really sure about her new stepmom, Raine. Truth be told, neither am I. Luckily, my maternal grandmother, Viv, and my best friend Samantha, know how to make me look on the bright side. And if they can’t, then my loyal Yorkie, Koukla, (which means ‘little doll’ in Greek) can manage it.

Let me tell you about Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, where I live and work. It’s in the Southeast part of the state and a popular tourist destination – and for good reason. For one thing, my charming hometown is situated on the water, giving us great views, plus lots of opportunities for boating and swimming – though with winter here, we’re enjoying ice fishing and skating.

I figured that Garden Street – the main strip that’s filled with shops and eateries – would be the perfect place to open Callie’s Kitchen. My dad finally gave me his blessing, even though he did want me to eventually take over his small business, a diner called “The Olympia.”

If you ever visit Callie’s Kitchen, I hope you’ll understand why this is my dream business. Because I am a busy mom myself, I know that people sometimes just want a healthy, ready-made meal that is NOT fast food. So that’s what I sell — ready-to-eat homemade meals, baked goods and yummy desserts. Callie’s Kitchen is known for traditional Greek comfort foods I grew up eating – things like spanakopita, Greek chicken stew, loukoumades (delicious Greek doughnuts with honey and cinnamon) and more, plus a sprinkling of traditional Midwestern comfort foods. There’s something for everyone at Callie’s Kitchen.

Sweets are one of my favorite things to make. I serve everything from Greek yogurt coffee cake with crumb topping to breakfast breads and decadent cookies loaded with rich Wisconsin butter. Loukoumades are pretty much always on the menu since they’re George’s favorite. Now that Christmas is coming, I’m really having fun baking up my holiday specialties, including Greek biscotti aka “paxemathia” that are spiced with anise-flavored ouzo, and my spicy gingerbread loaves topped with a luscious white icing.

Customers tell me that when they walk by Callie’s Kitchen, the cinnamon, butter and sugar smells alone are enough to draw them in. Or, if it’s dinner time and they’re hungry, the smell of buttery, cheesy spanakopita is usually enough to get them to peek inside my shop.

Life has had its fair share of ups and downs. My new boyfriend, Drew was murdered and I was a prime suspect just a few months ago. Now, things are looking up, though my business still has a long way to go. I’ve got a really nice guy in my life (he just happens to be a detective with a British accent that I love). Callie’s Kitchen seems to have picked up a bit in business, thanks to my new part-time marketing expert – Piper, friend of my cooking assistant, Max.

Right now, I’m on my way to bring some of my famous kourabiethes, aka Greek snowball cookies, to a bridal shower for Lexy Dayton, a regular at Callie’s Kitchen.

Uh-oh. Just got a text from the party planner at the English Country Inn, the waterfront hotel and restaurant where the bridal shower is being held. Natalie Underwood, the party planner, is great to work with but she is a little stressed out about today’s event. I wonder why.

It’s snowing out today and the roads are sure to be treacherous – though Crystal Bay does look especially beautiful in December. The English Country Inn is known for its stunning Christmas décor – I’m looking forward to taking a look. I’d better get a move on!

Wish me luck today – and don’t forget to stop by Callie’s Kitchen when you have time. I’ll keep the loukamades warm for you!

On the Chopping Block is the first book in the NEW Callie’s Kitchen mystery series, May 2016.

Greek-American food business owner and single mom Calliope “Callie” Costas faces Greek tragedy when a murder shakes the picturesque waterfront community of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!

Building a small business has been murder, but Callie Costas didn’t expect to be confronted with an actual body. The 36-year-old Greek-American proprietor of “Callie’s Kitchen,” a meals-from-scratch business in an idyllic small town, has been busy creating a post-divorce life for herself, her young daughter and her pet Yorkie, Koukla. After a lot of hard work (including staving off her father’s continual advice), she’s got the locals and tourists clamoring for her delicious Mediterranean dishes and Midwest comfort food classics. Recently, she’s started a budding romance with a fellow foodie, the wealthy owner and chef of Crystal Bay’s most popular bistro.

However, success is as fleeting as one of Wisconsin’s glorious autumn days. As local businesses begin to shut down due to a slow economy, Callie is struggling not to become another statistic. A contest with a hefty cash prize seems like the perfect chance to fix her financial woes, until a shocking murder threatens not only her livelihood – but her life.

When she’s targeted as a prime suspect by an attractive expat British detective, Callie’s situation becomes more delicate than her Greek egg-lemon soup. She’s got to find the killer and fast if she wants to protect her daughter, save her business and stay alive.

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Meet the author
Jenny Kales is the author of On The Chopping Block, the first in The Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series. Her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie’s Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, “Crystal Bay,” is inspired by a favorite family vacation spot – Wisconsin’s beautiful Geneva Lakes. Look for Book 2, Spiced And Iced, coming in November!

Jenny is an avid reader, cook and baker and she’s addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, she lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier. Keep up with author news for Jenny Kales by following her on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. Visit her website at

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life with Serena Jones by Sandra Orchard

Another Day Another DaliI know some women can’t understand it, but I’d rather chase down art thieves, or even go undercover to ferret out a forger, than spend an afternoon dress shopping.

Never mind that checking out a captured drug dealer’s stash of paintings almost got me blown up earlier this week. After all, it was pretty sweet how Special Agent Tanner Calhoun had refused to leave my side until the bomb was defused, even if he did pretend that it was only because he figured my Aunt Martha would sic her mafia-linked boyfriend on him if he let me die.

Still. . .here I am spending Saturday morning shopping with my best friend. Considering I’m her maid of honor and the wedding is only a couple of months away, I figured I couldn’t put it off any longer. Well that. . .and the fact she’d pounded on my door and dragged me out of bed.

Although I’m pretty sure she started to have second thoughts, when I checked her car’s side mirror for the fourth time, even after I downplayed the cryptic note that someone left on my door last night. Okay, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it, but at least I kept the art forger foray with my apartment superintendent to myself, not to mention the fact that a couple of Russian mobsters might’ve made me during an undercover gig with Tanner.

Did I mention that my friend works as the head of security at the Forest Park Art Museum? So she naturally wants our dresses to have an artistic flare. I’m an art lover myself, so of course, I agree, but it was unbelievable how poorly the dresses’ artistic promises translated on the canvas of our real-world figures. Unless we wanted to look like a couple of fruit that had jumped from a bowl in one of Cezanne’s still lifes.

To be honest, by the time the drive-by shooter came along, I’d been ready to wave the white flag and give the nod to the other bridesmaid’s adored mauve, chiffon number, reminiscent of the French Impressionists. It did absolutely nothing for me, but one day in an unflattering dress—and in a bazillion photographs forever—seemed less torturous than shopping a second longer.

Of course, my friend wasn’t buying that the shooter had nothing to do with me.

“Why on earth would you work a job that makes you enemies like that?” her other bridesmaid asked.

My mind flashed to the note taped to my door last night, but I managed to shrug nonchalantly. “Adrenaline junkie, I guess.” I’d become so used to faking courage since starting the job that somewhere along the line, I actually began to embody the trait, if not quite feel it.

My friend must’ve sensed what I was trying to do because she forced out a chuckle. “More like she adores the hot agent who trained her.”

And wouldn’t you know it. Tanner chose that moment to call.

About Another Day, Another Dali is the second book in the Serena Jones mystery series, published by Revell, October 2016.

The world of art theft can be a deadly game–one that Serena Jones understands all too well.

When a valuable Salvador Dali painting belonging to her grandmother’s friend is mysteriously replaced by a forgery, FBI Special Agent Serena Jones is called in to investigate. Serena hopes finding the thief will also mean finally measuring up to Nana’s expectations. But when the evidence points to members of the owner’s own household, it becomes increasingly clear that Serena won’t be winning any popularity contests.

The Dali isn’t the only painting that’s fallen prey to the forgery-replacing thief, raising the specter of a sophisticated theft ring–one with links to dirty cops, an aspiring young artist, and the unsolved murder of Serena’s grandfather.

With plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments, Another Day, Another Dali gives the plucky Serena Jones–and readers–a new high-stakes case to crack.

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Meet the author
Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, keep-you-guessing mysteries with a dash of sweet romance. Her novels have garnered six Canadian Writing Awards, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, and a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Learn more about Sandra’s novels and bonus features at

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Another Day, Another Dali. The giveaway ends October 23, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Dreamwalker Baxley Powell by Maggie Toussaint

Doggone ItI’m  Baxley Powell, and my days aren’t the usual run of the mill stuff. People usually have two reactions when they find out I’m a dreamwalker. Either they think I’m weird and they avoid me. Or they think I’m weird, and they try to test me. Luckily, I can parse out a lie faster than they can blink, so I always have their numbers.

Friends, true friends at least, are golden. My best friend is reporter Charlotte Ambrose, and she’s never been afraid of me or my family. Through thick and thin, we’ve seen it all, done it all. It’s her fault I got dragged into the haunted house murders. She was the one who came up with the bright idea of writing a newspaper series about all the ghosts around here.

Charlotte made me go with her to June’s Folly, reputed to be haunted by old slaves because of the clanking chains people heard out there. Last time I’d visited, my dad had to come get me because my extra senses short-circuited. This time I kept my mental defenses up because at 28 I was too doggone old to be rescued by my dad.

Soon as we arrived, Charlotte had to sit down on the steps of the crumbling mansion. She couldn’t go any farther. At first I worried her plus size caused her fatigue. Out here in the deep woods we were a long way from any medical facility, so I hoped it wasn’t that.

Much to my surprise she started shivering and freaking out because of clanking chains. Since I was shielded, I heard nothing. I touched her arm, and she felt ghostly cold. I couldn’t believe it. Charlotte found the ghost! And a ghost here meant my earlier mishap wasn’t my fault. I must’ve gotten mugged by the ghost last time.

Charlotte wasn’t thrilled about her new ghost detection ability. She knew what buttons to push, and she pretty much told me I was a wuss if I didn’t help her out. This was a ghost, I spoke to ghosts, and by God, she wanted it gone.

For months, I’d routinely crossed the Veil of Life and communicated with spirits. I wasn’t the same untested teen my dad had to rescue. I had skills, training, and experience.

Okay. I know you’re shaking your head and muttering “don’t do it” by now because I had none of my regular backup team. I already knew this place was trouble. But that’s the thing about peer pressure. It makes you believe you’re Wonder Woman.

As soon as I lowered my guard and raised my senses, I plunged into Otherworld murk and couldn’t get out. I heard Charlotte yelling at me to wake up and to quit rolling my eyes up in my head because it was creeping her out. I saw her trying to make me come around, but I couldn’t move on to the spirit realm and I couldn’t return to Sinclair County, Georgia.

Did I mention my indenture to Rose? She claims she’s an undercover angel, but she’s such a moody, malicious spirit, I have doubts about her true identity. My acute distress caught her attention. Rose showed up and offered to help, for a fee.

You don’t want to know what that cost me, but I took the name she offered. I summoned Oliver, the earthbound spirit that trapped me. Was I scared? Heck, yeah. Did I have any other options? Heck, no. It wasn’t like the fire department could save me, and I didn’t want my dad stuck in this terrible place with me.

I was so cold. Disembodied voices wailed. Chains clanked. My spirit form couldn’t stop trembling, but I kept calling Oliver, and the ghostly stuff intensified. Oliver stayed out of reach, his red beady eyes glowing. It took me a few moments, but I finally realized Oliver was a dog. I’d been trapped by a ghost dog, of all things!

Since I have a pet and plant care business as my day job, I’m a dog expert. I used my softest voice, enticing this Great Dane forward so I could remove the stout collar and clanking chains from his neck. Afterward, Oliver jumped and waggled and frolicked and was so happy that I forgot to be scared.

I showed Oliver the way to the next world, but he stayed put. Apparently, freeing him earned me his everlasting devotion. Now I have a ghost dog attached to me. Just another day in my life as a Dreamwalker.

Doggone It is the third book in the Dreamwalker mystery series, published by Five Star Publishing, October 2016.

Dreamwalker Baxley Powell can’t remember the last time she had such a crappy weekend. A twilight encounter with a ghost dog left her numb and disoriented, her dreamwalker abilities are wiped out, and the sheriff just summoned her to a double homicide.

With no access to the spirit world, Baxley bluffs her way through the crime scene where a movie star’s assistant and a charter boat captain were strung up and bled dry. In a haunted house, no less. Figuring out who killed these people will be a real challenge without her ability to speak to the dead.

Just when Baxley thinks her powers are returning, her dreamwalks malfunction. With the sheriff pushing her to solve the case quickly, Baxley teams up with a dognapping medium to boost her powers.

Suspects include the captain’s good-for-nothing brother, the assistant’s replacement, and, of course, his stalker. All of Sinclair County is on edge, and the media circus isn’t helping. At stake are the movie’s funding, the sheriff’s job, and Baxley’s senses.

Can Baxley safeguard her abilities and solve the case before the killer strikes again?

Haunted houses, lost pirate treasure, conniving in-laws, supernatural baddies, and a determined ghost dog test amateur sleuth Baxley Powell’s mettle in Book Three of Toussaint’s Dreamwalker Series.

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About the author
Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published fifteen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Doggone It, has an October 2016 release date. Maggie serves on the board for Southeast Mystery Writers of America and Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win either a print (U.S. residents only, please) or e-book (open to everyone) of Doggone It. The giveaway will end October 22, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Carrie McCrite by Radine Trees Nehring

A Portrait to Die ForThe man still looked like he was trying to swallow a sour pickle whole.

Carrie watched in silence as he jumped in the moving van, jerked it into gear, and began the winding climb toward the county road.

He hadn’t even smiled when she handed him the cashier’s check. About all he had done through the long afternoon was carry and sweat and swear. Actually, swearing was what she’d heard most from the three people in the moving crew–including the woman, who looked like she could lift a refrigerator by herself. The movers swore at the trees, the rocky, uneven Ozarks ground, the heat, and probably her too, when she was out of earshot.

She hadn’t complained about the swearing. They were, after all, carrying her possessions.

Carrie began turning slowly, looking up into treetops. She was, she decided, performing a symbolic ritual–turning away from Mrs. Amos Anderson McCrite, wife of a city lawyer. She was now Carrie Culpeper McCrite, a widow, independent woman, and Ozarks forest dweller.

She was alone in the remnants of a world that had shattered when a bullet ended every plan Amos had made for both of them. Moving to this land, the place Amos bought for their future, was all she could afford if she wanted to be independent.

She shook her head violently, but now the picture was back. Amos crumpled on the opposite hillside. The darkening blood . . . .

The judge had believed Evan’s story about a tragic hunting accident.

Oh stop, stop! It was time to move on, and this had felt right. A fresh start. She would be independent, her own person for the first time in her life.

Except, except, she wasn’t sure who that person might be.

The sun was heading toward treetops in the west and Carrie stood still as bird calls and cicada droning filled the air. Her new world was even noisier than the city had been, there was life all around her. So, why did she feel–for the first time since she’d decided to move here–so small and frightened? Why did she feel so very much alone?

The grunt of an engine being downshifted for a turn into her lane wiped out every other concern as she realized strangers were coming to this place, where all people would now be strangers.

She wasn’t ready. She needed more time. She needed to make up her bed, and. . .


It was inevitable. Strangers would come. She had to face that, so she might as well do it now. She lifted her chin and looked up the lane, standing firm as a battered grey truck bounced into view. The truck didn’t stop at the bottom of the lane. Carrie backed up, stumbled when her heel hit the front step, and sat down with a thump as the truck’s right front tire rolled to a stop beside her feet.

The driver’s door opened.

The first thing Carrie saw was shoe-polish black hair that frizzed every way but straight up. Then dark eyes in a dried apple doll face peered down at her over the truck’s hood, and a waxed-paper-wrapped sandwich sailed through the air, landing in her lap.

She’s very tall, thought Carrie, who felt frozen in place, incapable of getting up to greet her visitor.

The woman’s words rushed out. “You alone? Thought so, house didn’t look like it was being made ready for two, heard the movers leave, hope you like turkey, we can sit here on the step and eat, y’don’t have to ask me in.”

The stranger was dressed in a faded chambray shirt and jeans tucked into stove-pipe boots. She came around the truck, stepped over Carrie’s feet as if they were obstacles she faced every day, and opened the passenger door to take out two bottles of lemonade and a package of cookies.

The tumble of words began again while she was folding her long legs to sit beside Carrie on the step. “JoAnne Harrington, your nearest neighbor.” A bony finger pointed. “Live that way along the ridge, pleased to meet you, understand from the mail carrier your name is Carrie McSomething?”

The woman’s laugh was surprisingly girlish.

Carrie hadn’t the slightest idea what to say, but in a moment, she began laughing too.

Portrait to Die For is the eighth book in the To Die For mystery series, published by Oak Tree Press, May 2016.

Carrie discovers two versions of a supposedly original portrait in a loan exhibition at Crystal Bridges of American Art, where she does volunteer work. When the reporter who interviewed Carrie at the museum is abducted, Carrie must choose between honoring her promise to stop crime-solving–or work to find the woman who was her son’s college friend.

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Meet the author
For more than twenty years, Radine Trees Nehring’s magazine features, essays, newspaper articles, and radio broadcasts have shared colorful stories about the people, places, events, and natural world near her Arkansas RadineTNehringhome.

In 2002, Radine’s first mystery novel, A Valley To Die For, was published and, in 2003 became a Macavity Award Nominee. Since that time, she has continued to earn writing awards as she enthralls her original fans and attracts new ones with her signature blend of down-home Arkansas sightseeing and cozy amateur sleuthing by active retirees Henry King and Carrie McCrite King. Connect with Radine at, her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

A Day In The Life Of with Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace

the-corpse-with-the-ruby-lipsEmergency surgery is never pleasant – not for the person concerned, nor for those who love them – but I’m pleased to be able to report that Ebba, Bud’s Mum, has come through her operation very well. She took a tumble down some steps about a week ago, and they’ve finally been able to give her the treatment she needed – a replacement hip. Bud’s been brilliant; he’s been with his dad, Leo, at Ebba’s side at the hospital since it happened. The doctors were finally happy enough with her general condition for the surgery to take place yesterday, and they say she’ll be walking about by this evening. Amazing!

I’m delighted she’s looking perkier, and that Bud and Leo have finally been able to sleep in their own beds, but the whole thing has put a bit of a kink in our plans. Bud and I have talked it through and I know he’s right to decide to not accompany me when I leave next week; I’m off to teach for a month at the Hungarian University of Budapest, as part of a “hands across the nations” effort on the part of my school of criminology at the University of Vancouver. Without Bud’s company, I have a feeling it will be a long month.

fishermans_bastion_budapest_amkWe’d planned to do so much: enjoying a trip on the Danube to see all the fabulous architecture, of course; indulging in our favorite pastime of hunting down hole-in-the-wall places to eat and drink, as well as a few swankier spots, too; even taking a bit of time to visit tourist highlights like the Fisherman’s Bastion, which isn’t usually my cup of tea. But now? I dare say I’ll just put my head down and get on with work, and hope Bud’s able to come to join me when my classes are over – just for a week…we think he’ll be able to manage that, so long as Ebba’s recuperation goes well.

I’ve brushed up on my Budapest history – and what a history it is…so bloody and tragic! – so I’m ready for Austro-Hungarian grandeur on the Pest side of the Danube where I’ll be teaching, and the slightly more domestic scale of Buda where the HUB (that’s what they call the Hungarian University of Budapest) has an apartment they retain for visiting professors, which is where I’ll be staying.

I was looking forward to my time there so much more before Ebba’s unfortunate fall. Watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS every week I love seeing the Budapest Parliament Buildings and the Danube they show in those advertisements for Viking River Cruises, and I was excited to think I’d see it all first-hand. But the main thing is that Ebba’s well, and Bud will be the dutiful son for a while supporting his mum and dad when they need hm. I’m sure I’ll be fine on my own – though Bud has mentioned several times that I’m not allowed to go getting myself “mixed up in anything dodgy”. I cannot imagine what he means!

You can find out exactly what Cait Morgan gets mixed up in during her time alone in Budapest, and how Bud has to help her out while he also oversees his mother’s recuperation, when you read The Corpse With The Ruby Lips, due to be published in Canada on October 18th and in the US on November 1st, by TouchWood Editions, and available for pre-order right now.

Quirky criminology professor Cait Morgan is invited to be a guest lecturer at a Budapest university, and although she’s hesitant to go without her husband and trusted sidekick, Bud, who must stay home to care for his aging parents, she decides to make the month-long trip on her own.

Soon after arriving, one of her new students, Zsofia, pleads with Cait to help her uncover any clues about her grandmother’s unsolved murder, which happened decades ago on the campus of Cait’s own home university in Canada. Cait agrees, but when she is repeatedly hassled by an creepy colleague, and as bizarre details about Zsofia’s family members come to light, Cait is beset by uncertainty.

As she gets closer to the truth, Cait’s investigation puts the powers-that-be on high alert, and her instincts tell her she’s in grave danger. Bud races to Budapest to come to Cait’s side, but will it be too late?

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About the author
Cathy Ace’s criminal psychologist, and overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a CathyAceSilver Tongue, a Golden Nose, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair, Sapphire Eyes, a Diamond Hand, a Garnet Face (April 2016) and now Ruby Lips (October 2016) during her globetrotting. Ace’s other series features the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, and one English) who solve quintessentially British cases from their office beside a stately home deep in the Welsh countryside. BC bestselling author Cathy Ace won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery for The Corpse with the Platinum Hair.

You can find out more about Cathy, and Cait, at Cathy’s website: or on Facebook or Twitter: @AceCathy

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Corpse With The Ruby Lips. US and Canadian entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 20, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in The Life with Neil Perry by C. Michele Dorsey

permanent-sunsetWhat’s happens on an average day in the life of a guy who’s crazy about a woman like Sabrina Salter? Harrowing, at best. See, Salty (that’s what I love to call her because it makes her nuts) has what some might call a “checkered past.”

I’m Neil Perry, a former lawyer from L.A., so I know people can get into all kinds of fixes. But my girl Salty, she specializes in them. It’s like she’s walking under a black cloud.

This is the kind of luck Salty has. She finally meets the guy of her dreams, or at least she thinks so, which was before me, of course. He was a big shot sportscaster on the same television station in Boston where Salty was the weather girl. I mean, meteorologist. Calling her that is another thing that ticks her off.

Anyway, Salty marries this guy, even though it was his third trip down the aisle and cheating was his middle name. He told her she was different and Salty believed him. Once you have Sabrina Salter on your side, you have found yourself a forever friend. She is the most loyal person I have ever met.

Of course, hubby, the undeserving slug, cheated on Sabrina. The poor kid was so shocked and devastated at the sight of the girlfriend and her husband at a swank Boston bar, she headed for Logan airport and took a late night flight to Nantucket where they had a summerhouse. In the middle of the winter. Why she didn’t go somewhere like St. John where we both now live, I don’t know. It just goes to show she wasn’t thinking right.

This is how Salty’s life goes. She flees to a frigid island to lick her wounds and to figure out what to do. She’s under the covers in a freezing house where she just cranked the heat up and she hears what she thinks is a burglar coming up the stairs. Lucky for Salty, her hubby kept a gun in the nightstand. Not so lucky for hubby, who had decided a little tryst in the winter in Nantucket with his new squeeze would go undetected. Bam, right in the belly.

The next thing you know, Salty is charged with first degree homicide, which was dumb. The D.A. was greedy. He should have gone for manslaughter, but I digress. Sabrina Salter becomes the nightly pickings on the Faith Chase show, along with her dream team lawyers headed by Justine Mercy. Justine Mercy? Seriously, that can’t be her real name.

But she gets Salty off. Of course, Salty now has no job, no money, and pretty much nowhere to go where she won’t be recognized after being on television daily for the past two years. But my Salty is a survivor. She teamed up with her pal, Henry Whitman, who’d starred in his own debacle with the airlines where he worked as a flight attendant. Henry was heading out of Boston when Salty approached him about starting a villa rental business. They combined the little money they had, worked like dogs, and started Ten Villas, an exceptional little start-up on island. I know because I own the best bar on St. John known as Bar None, which sits on the beach right where the ferry drops off tourists and other misfits coming to find paradise. Sabrina and Henry knew they had to hustle and be all business to be considered credible on island. To their credit, they never sat at the bar until the sun had set and their work was done.

I took to Salty, although I didn’t want to. She seemed to have no interest in me, though. I think her chocolate lab, Girlfriend, liked me more. But I took it slow with Sabrina and we’ve gotten pretty cozy. I had a nice undemanding female friend who had a successful business of her own. My bar was doing well. No more billable hours. The sun was always shining. Life was good.

Until Sabrina found the dead body of a man in a hammock shot through the belly at one of her villas. Naturally, the cops liked her for the job. She managed to get herself out of that one and we rested easy for a couple of months. Then Henry decided he wanted to add the newest luxury villa on St. John to Ten Villas, making it a top-heavy eleventh. Sabrina resisted, but ended up going along with it. The owner’s wedding was scheduled to make a big splash during the opening weekend. Unfortunately, the only thing that splashed was the body of the bride, which was discovered by my girl, Salty. You can guess the rest.

What’s a day like in the life of Neil Perry, Sabrina Salter’s favorite guy, you ask?

You just never know.

Permanent Sunset is the second book in the Sabrina Salter mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books, October 2016.

Former television meteorologist Sabrina Salter’s new life in paradise was idyllic, sprinkled with new friendships, romance and a successful villa rental business, which just landed Villa Nirvana, the newest and most opulent villa in the Virgin Islands. But island life isn’t all sun and sand.

During the villa’s opening weekend, Sabrina discovers the body of a bride murdered on the eve of her wedding to the villa owner. The case gives the police a new reason to scrutinize Sabrina and her business, which they suggest provides inadequate security for its guests and should lose its license. Unless Sabrina can show the bride’s murder was unrelated to her or her business, her life on St. John will be over before sundown.

In order to clear her name and salvage her business, Sabrina dives into the deep end of an investigation riddled with infidelity, fraud, identity theft, and conspiracy in Permanent Sunset, the second in C. Michele Dorsey’s riveting mystery series.

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About the author
cmicheledorseyC. “Michele” Dorsey is the author of No Virgin Island, a Sabrina Salter mystery published in 2015 by Crooked Lane Books set on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands. She is also a lawyer, mediator and adjunct professor of law. Michele finds inspiration and serenity on St. John and on Cape Cod. Permanent Sunset, the second in the series, will be published in October 2016.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Permanent Sunset. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 19, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Deena Rodriguez by Lizbeth Lipperman

rock-around-the-corpseA relaxing weekend in the middle of the Oklahoma backwoods with gourmet food, a masseuse, and no cell phone coverage at a spa that I designed sounds marvelous, right? And did I mention that my four sisters—one of whom is a smart-mouthed ghost—are with me, or that on the first night there, I met a man who looked like he’d just stepped out of GQ magazine? He’d flirted so outrageously with me that before you knew it—well, I’d better give you a little back story before I go any further.

My name is Deena Rodriguez, and I’m the second oldest of four Garcia sisters. All my life I’ve been the “responsible child,” giving up my dream of being an interior designer to come home and help my mother take care of my dying father. I tell myself I had no choice since my oldest sister Maddy was pregnant with her first child and had just received the news that her husband had been killed in Afghanistan, and my three younger sisters were still in high school.

I ended up marrying an old high school flame, despite the many warnings from my siblings and the multitude of red flags that he was a womanizer, and for ten years, I endured the humiliation of verbal abuse and his many affairs. Two years ago, he got mixed up with the wrong crowd and was murdered, leaving me to wonder what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

After several pity parties and much encouragement from my sisters, I went back to college and got that designing degree I’d always wanted. I must’ve done fairly well because news about me spread, and I was approached by a woman who had just inherited a hunting lodge and wanted me to turn it into a first-class spa.

Fast forward to a few weeks before the spa opened when the owner invited several potential investors and me for a preview weekend and graciously allowed me to bring my sisters along for the ride. Tranquility Rock turned out very well, if I have to say so myself, and it even came with a little Cherokee folklore. Seems that the hunting lodge was built on Cherokee land once inhabited by a monster covered in stone, who tracked down and killed the Indian hunters. That is, until they were able to trick him and take him down. (Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to find out how they did it.)

Oh but I digress. Back to the relaxing weekend and the dinner party the first night there. As I sat with my siblings—did I mention that my sister Tessa was dead and that her ghost appears to whichever sister is in trouble? I was horrified that I was the one she graced with her presence but was sure it was a mistake since my life was going so well.

I’d lost some weight, got a new hairdo, and was finally getting my self-confidence back. So, when this really hot guy made a play for me that first night, I decided it was time to reenter the terrifying world of dating again, and I took the plunge.

But not without a lot of alcohol.

Several bottles of wine and a couple of straight shots of Scotch later, and I woke up the next morning next to said hot guy, who was still fully clothed. What kind of reentry into the dating world could that have been?

Anyway, he didn’t look so hot now, covered in blood and my designing scissors protruding from his chest.

Did I do it? Who knows? I can’t remember a thing about that night except seeing the stone clad monster coming at me in a circle of bright colors and calling my name.

Rock Around The Corpse is the fourth book of the Dead Sister Talking / Garcia Girls Mysteries releasing tomorrow, October 17th in both digital and print. Audio to follow soon.

What should have been a nice, relaxing weekend to celebrate the grand opening of a spa in the middle of the remote Oklahoma backwoods ends up with Deena Rodriguez awakening next to a dead man with her designing scissors protruding from his chest. Once again the Garcia girls, including the ghost of their dead sister Tessa, must band together to prove her innocence. But their job is cut out for them this time as the only suspect other than Deena is a stone clad monster from Cherokee folklore.

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About the author
Lizbeth also has a cozy series, written as Liz Lipperman, titled The Clueless Cook/Jordan McAllister series, as well as two stand-alone mystery thrillers. Next up on her agenda is the first in a series of romantic suspense novels titled SWEEPERS centered around a covert Special Ops team. Look for that one early next year. You can find all Liz’s books on her website or at any of the online bookstores or at Barnes and Noble.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win copy of Rock Around The Corpse, either e-book (open to everyone) or paperback (U.S. residents only) – winner’s choice. The giveaway will end October 18, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day In The Life With Laurel Beacham by Ritter Ames

abstract-aliasesGo. . .Be an art recovery expert…Attend exclusive and posh parties. . .See the world. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? And it is—at least when you can duck people tailing you, can get stolen masterpieces back without having to actually steal them again yourself, and you don’t have to attend those fancy fundraising parties with a .38 strapped to your thigh and hidden under your designer evening gown.

Those are the little things that never get into the official job description, but it’s just my average day as Laurel Beacham, premier art recovery expert.

You’d think with the Beacham last name—and the Beacham Foundation on my business cards—I’d have it pretty good. And if Grandfather was still alive this would likely be the case. Though he’d probably put the kibosh to my doing day-to-day tasks that keep my adrenalin in the red zone. But Grandfather passed away more than a dozen years ago, and my shiftless father took over and lost the foundation and the family fortune before skiing to his doom, leaving me trying to pick up the pieces of my life and deal with the fallout of Daddy’s selfish actions. I’ve done pretty well, except I’m still broke most of the time, but that’s another boring story and another lecture from my boss, Max.

My job currently pits me and my team against a master criminal, and I have to stop the art heist of the century. Piece of cake, right? Sure, if we only knew who the criminal was, or had any definitive proof of what the heist entailed, or if I could trust anyone was truly on the level and not out to manipulate circumstance to his own advantage. Well, except my right-hand geek Nico. He manipulates everything his way, but it’s always my way, too, so we’re good.

When people ask what I do for a living, I usually say I liaison with museums and do special work involving the collections. Then, invariably, the questioner will either launch into a semi-long monologue about a favorite artist or Renaissance art or the Impressionist period, or the person will say something like “oh, that’s nice” and walk away. Unless the one asking is a guy who thinks because I’m blonde, attractive and under thirty that I obviously can’t wait to hook up with him. Those guys always stay; I’m the one who says “that’s nice” and leaves.

Very few people press me about what I actually do in my chosen career—thank goodness. While the normal public sees me at the gala balls and fundraisers given to promote art and convince funders to come through with cash to help art-based nonprofit enterprises, my role in the masterpiece game is quite a bit more than looking smashing in a Givenchy gown. Remember the .38 that I might have hidden under the designer couture.

Being an art recovery expert is part acting, part mind reading, and part cat-wrangling. And it constantly changes. Recently, I used hostage negotiation techniques to retrieve a master work by a fifteenth century English painter, so I could return it to the National Gallery in London. Sometimes talking with the thief doesn’t work and I have to…well…re-appropriate the piece on my own. Through various and often stealthy methods.

Correction, not completely on my own. I have a first class team. Nico is my gorgeous Italian geek who can get into anything digital. Cassie is American, like me, and helps run the London office of Beacham Ltd. She’s a genius at art restoration and forgery spotting. And Jack Hawkes. . .Jack Hawkes. . .

Jack is a Brit who started off as a thorn in my side, but has begun growing on me more than I would have ever believed. I still don’t completely trust him, and I’m not sure what his agenda truly encompasses, but while we’re on the hunt for international art masterminds Jack is proving his mettle. His quick mind and reflexes complement my own, even if I haven’t yet learned where he got his training. That’s one of those trust issue things I mentioned. Now, if I can just handle his damned cheeky ego.

However, as this spider web of lies and deceit and murder grows tighter and tighter around us, I’m honestly glad I have someone watching my back. I may still not know as much about Jack as I want to, but I am learning to trust him a little. Given my history with men, that’s saying a lot.

In the meantime, our quarry went deep underground several months ago, but one by one they’re surfacing again. I need to get my electronic gizmos ready to track them and see what I can learn. We really need a break if we’re going to stop this heist before it’s too late.

If you’d like to tag along for the ride, pick up a copy of Abstract Aliases, released this week by Henery Press. I’ll give one signed copy of Abstract Aliases to one lucky poster. To enter, just comment with your favorite work of art. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 17, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Abstract Aliases is the third book in the Bodies of Art mystery series, published by Henery Press, October 2016.

Abstract clues lead to new questions. New leads turn to “dead” ends. A heist plot ties to forgeries. Adversaries resurface twisting an already complicated case. And art recovery expert Laurel Beacham must not only outwit criminals, but keep her wits around Jack Hawkes’s cheeky ego.

Before the criminals they were tracking headed underground, evidence pointed toward two organizations as key to an epic art heist. Despite their best efforts, Laurel and her team haven’t caught a break in months—even Jack’s unofficial intel stuttered to a halt. But on New Year’s, as Big Ben’s bell tolls midnight, the guilty return and nowhere is safe. A source in Rome is killed within hours. Other allies are attacked in Rome and London, and a contact in Germany reports dangerous shadows closing in. The nearer the answers, the higher the stakes. Worse, Jack may not be the only one Laurel must learn to trust to avoid another brush with death.

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About the author
USA Today bestselling author Ritter Ames writes the Bodies of Art Mysteries, her way of coaxing her husband into more European travel for “research.”

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life with Louis Adams by Leslie Budewitz

Killing ThymeI have lived a good life. A long one—I won’t tell you just how long, because a man’s got to keep some things to himself. I miss my wife and my son every minute of every day, but my heart just about bursts when I think of my two girls—they’re past fifty, each of ’em, but they’ll always be my girls. And my granddaughters—well, there aren’t finer young women around.

Cayenne is named for the ingredient that counts in Tabasco sauce. Lordy, did we miss the stuff when we moved from Louisiana out to Seattle in the 1950s, the way you could smell it on the air. Now you can buy it everywhere, and it’s still good, but it’s even better to have my own reminder, right here in the family. That girl can cook just about anything. She’s an even better cook than her grandmama, and that’s saying a lot.

I thought Cayenne ought to cook in a restaurant, but she said no, she’d rather use her knowledge helping people make their own good food at home. She hired on at the Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market, working for Pepper Reece. Cayenne and Pepper—can you believe it?

That Pepper, she’s a fiery one. Smart, thank goodness, because she just can’t seem to keep her nose out of trouble. That’s how I met her—she and her dog, Arf, were nosing around in my neighborhood, after a woman got killed. Arf’s one of them Airedales—they call ’em the King of the Terriers—I heard all about it on that TV show, Planet of the Animals, I think it’s called. Anyway, a woman got killed in one of those artists’ studios across the way, and Pepper knew her from way back, and she—well, I won’t tell you what she did, but she found the killer, I’ll tell you that.

This neighborhood sure has changed a lot since me and my beloved moved in. Raised our three kids here. Lost our boy in the war. Bonnie, the woman what got killed, was a potter. She came over to introduce herself and give me a coffee mug she made. I gave her flowers from my backyard. She saw his picture on the sideboard, with his flag and medals. The sight of him bothered her a lot. I learned some things about her later that weren’t too flattering, but I’ll tell you, the way she looked at his picture and let me go on about him, that meant a lot to me. And it told me she was good in her heart.

I like to think most people are good in their hearts, though sometimes you gotta wonder. Especially these days. Now my wife, she would tell me “Lou, you’re being ornery again,” and shake her finger at me to shape up. If I groused about the kids who hang around outside the bakery across the street, their pants half falling down, she’d point out the young dance students and the artists and talk about all their hard work and passion. And she’d be right.

Cayenne and Pepper and the others who work at the Spice Shop, they remind me that people really is good in their hearts. And when they cook good, too, why that makes me happy I’ve lived this long.

Now pass the Tabasco, would you kindly?

Killing Thyme is the third book in the Seattle Spice Shop mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, October 2016.

In Seattle’s Pike Place Market, Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer in the latest from the national bestselling author of Guilty as Cinnamon.

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun.

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. After Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

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About the author
Leslie Budewitz blends her passion for food, great mysteries, and the Northwest in two national best-selling series. Killing Thyme, her third Spice Shop Mystery, set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, was released on October 4. Death Al Dente, first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. The immediate past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives and cooks in NW Montana.

Find her online at and on Facebook. More about Killing Thyme, including an excerpt here.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Killing Thyme. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 16, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Irene Seligman by Paula Paul

A Killer ClosetI’m told you want to hear about a day in the life of Irene Seligman. Well, I’ll tell you this right off the bat: It’s a lot different than my life a few months ago. Up until then I was an assistant DA in Manhattan and leading a happy life with an upward career path.

Then Adelle called, and I dropped everything, including my job, and headed back home to Santa Fe. Adelle is my mother, but I have never been allowed to call her Mom or Mother. She always said that was simply too bourgeois, and I was to call her Adelle. I think she just didn’t want to be reminded that she had a daughter. She summoned me back to Santa Fe just after the divorce from her fourth husband. No, wait, I think it was her fifth husband. Anyway, she had just passed her seventieth birthday which frightened her somewhat, and she no longer had maids and chauffeurs at her bidding, since that last husband left her with nothing. She said she needed me.

I love my mother even if she is more than a little irascible, so of course I dropped everything and went home to Santa Fe to help her. We’re Jewish. What can I say?

There’s a sizable community of Jewish people in Santa Fe, many of whom arrived via Mexico in the sixteenth century fleeing the Inquisition. My family was one of those. Do I need to add that many intermarried with Spanish colonists? Hence I also have a Hispanic heritage and I was raised mostly by my grandmother, Teresa Maria Josepha Ortega y Silva de Seligman. She was Santa Fe’s grande dame until her death.

When Adelle, a New Yorker, married my father, she became one of Santa Fe’s aristocracy and reveled in it until it became apparent that the Seligmans were all name and no money. All of Adelle’s other husbands have been wealthy, but she didn’t manage to hang on to any of it for herself. She does at least have good taste in clothes and lots of wealthy Santa Fe aristocracy for friends. They provide the stock for my high fashion consignment store on the Santa Fe plaza across the street from the venerable Basilica de San Francisco and just up the street from the oldest house and the oldest church in the United States. I know, I know, St. Augustine, Florida, makes the same claim, and I won’t argue.

I opened the store to make a living for Adelle and me, and because I don’t want to practice law in Santa Fe. At least not yet. I thought a consignment store would be easier, then I found a dead woman in a storage closet the first day the store was open. Since then, a typical day in my life has been anything but typical. The people I’ve met and the things I’ve done since that day are a long way beyond what I expected when I first decided to come back. It’s all in the book. Just have a look for yourself.

A Killer Closet is the first book in the New Irene Seligman mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, October 2016.

In a fashionably cozy short mystery novel, Paula Paul introduces a tenacious heroine who leaves big-city life behind and returns to picturesque Santa Fe, New Mexico—where murder lands on her doorstep.

Irene Seligman loves the warmth and beauty of her Southwest hometown, but only one thing could make her quit her prestigious job as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan to return there: the guilt applied by her demanding mother, Adelle. After Adelle’s most recent husband dies, leaving her with nothing, Irene decides to take a break from prosecuting criminals to move back to Santa Fe and open an upscale consignment store. With Irene’s determination and her mother’s eye for haute couture, they’re sure to make a killing.

But on the day of the grand opening, Irene discovers the body of one of Adelle’s friends in her storeroom. And although the intrigue causes business to boom, when someone else from Adelle’s social circle is murdered, Irene begins to suspect her mother might be in danger too. Ever the protective daughter, Irene investigates her mother’s friends, suspicious that they’re hiding more than designer clothes in their closets. But as she gets closer to uncovering some real skeletons, Irene might not live to regret coming home again.

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Meet the author
Paula Paul is the award-winning author of 30 novels for children and adults. She is best known for her Dr. Alexandra Gladstone Mysteries and for her literary novels Crazy Quilt and Forgetting Tommie, both set in her native Texas. Killer Closet launches a new contemporary mystery series.

Before her career as a novelist, she was a journalist in both Texas and New Mexico and is the recipient of several state and national awards in that field. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her two dogs, Alexandra Gladstone and Wolfgang Mozart. Connect with Paula at

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of For Dead Men Only or A Killer Closet. The giveaway ends October 15, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!