A day in the life of Matt Jorgenson by Michele Drier

The day my dad’s caregiver called and told me my dad couldn’t remember how to button his shirt was the day I had to make one of the hardest decisions.

He’d developed Alzheimer’s gradually and over the past three years had been able to live in his home with a caregiver. The disease was too great now and he needed to be moved into a Memory Care facility. Locked doors, twenty-four-hour care.

This meant he’d be abandoning the home in Bakersfield that I’d grown up in, the home that my dad built for his family, my mother and me. I moved away better than a decade ago, heading for law school and a career in San Francisco, shaking the dust of the Central Valley off my shoes and not looking back. As much as I loved him, I couldn’t give up my life in the Bay Area, particularly now that I’d met Jennifer.

Alzheimer’s, the concern for my father and the gnawing fear that I may be headed for the same diagnosis, terrified me. When I heard about a memory chip that could augment your memory, maybe bring back forgotten parts of your life, I jumped at it. Now, I’m thinking it may have unintended consequences.

The other night, I was out in a North Beach bar with some friends when a woman smiled at me. I smiled back and asked the waitress to bring her a drink. As I went over to talk to her, another guy, a drunk from the end of the bar came over. I said, “Leave the lady alone. She’s not interested.”

“And who are you? Her guardian?” The guy took a step towards me and raised his hand.

I pushed the hand away and twisted the guy’s arm up behind him. “What part of leave her alone didn’t you understand?” I poked him in the ribs. Not a hard punch, just enough that he whooshed out a breath and staggered.

Now Brian, Stan and Artie were up, surrounding me to keep the other drinkers and the bartender from seeing anything. “Come on, pal, let’s get some air.” Artie put an arm around the guy’s shoulder and he and Stan walked him to the door, talking all the time about how he’d had too much to drink.

“What was that all about?” Brian watched me, an odd expression on his face. “I’ve never seen you make any moves like that. You’re a lover, not a fighter.”

“I don’t know, man. I had this feeling, this anger, come up from my gut.” I sucked in a deep breath. “Something about that guy and his cheezy moves made me see red.”

I turned to the woman, stuck out my hand. “I’m sorry if I frightened you. I don’t usually meet a woman like this. I’m Matt and this is Brian.”

The blond didn’t take it. She turned to her friend, said, “Let’s go,” picked up her purse and went out the door.

Not a night to remember, and I have strange dreams now, violent dreams of hitting people, breaking things, lashing out with anger I can’t control.

With my dad on his way to a facility that he’ll never leave, and me with dark and dangerous dreams, I worry that Alzheimer’s isn’t the only thing I have to fear.


You can read more about Matt in Ashes of Memories, a psychological thriller.

Getting what you wish for can bring unintended circumstances. Jennifer in New York and Matt in San Francisco worry that they’re losing their memories. Jennifer from an earlier trauma and Matt while watching his father succumb to Alzheimer’s. After finding a new medical technology designed to help people with cognitive disorders, they independently track down a grey-market supply, but when they meet they find unknown terrors.

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About the author
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.

She is the president of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the co-chair of Bouchercon 2020.

Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death, and a stand-alone thriller, Ashes of Memories, published in 2017.

Her paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014 from the Paranormal Romance Guild. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, and SNAP: I, Vampire.

Visit her Facebook page, her website www.micheledrier.com or her Amazon author page,

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Lizzie Jones by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens

It’s been said Lizzie Jones is the very definition of an animal lover. My being a veterinary science student, a pet sitter, and volunteering at the vet clinic have made that accurate.

I’d taken extra time getting ready before heading to the clinic because my boyfriend, Tino Morales, was picking me up for lunch to celebrate his mamá’s birthday at the Lobster Pot. For the occasion, I’d worn my best and newest jeans and favorite blue sweater.

I was in the clinic’s back room, just about to put on a smock, when an agitated cry came over the intercom. “Lizzie, come quick!”

I bolted to the front. Holly, the receptionist, held the door open as Peter Buckley rushed in carrying Horatio, his German short-haired pointer.

“Lizzie,”—Peter thrust the big dog at me like the sixty-pound brute weighed no more than a sack of potatoes—“he’s hurt.”

Peter’s momentum and the weight of the dog staggered me, but I managed to stay upright, stumbling sideways like a drunken sailor before heading to an exam room.

“What happened?” I asked.

Peter fell in step beside me. His voice quivered. “We were out hunting. He went into the pond after a bird and came out bleeding—tree branch or something else cut him.”

Horatio was sopping wet and covered in mud from his nose to the tip of his tail, and since he was now plastered up against me, I was sopping wet and covered in mud too. His injured and bloody hind leg was up against my belly.

The dog shook and panted, whimpering deep in his throat. He tried to lick my face. Poor guy. My heart went out to him and Peter too.

Peter helped me lay Horatio gently on the table.

Horatio began to scrabble, trying to gain purchase on the slick stainless steel. I could see the gash on his right hind leg—trying to clot but still oozing.

Peter’s hands trembled as he tried to calm his dog.

“Doc Whitaker will take care of him.” I laid my hand on his, barely finishing before the door opened and Dr. Adam Whitaker, blond and movie-star handsome, rushed in.

He took a brief moment to question how the injury had been sustained then bent low over the dog. “Hold him for me, Lizzie.”

Poor Horatio went crazy trying to get up, like maybe he’d make a break for it. I spread myself over him. Adam examined the cut.

Now I was covered in mud and slime, and as I struggled with the terrified squirming dog, I caught a whiff of myself. I reeked of stagnant pond scum and wet dog.

Eventually Horatio’s leg was stitched up, and he was settled into a kennel until the anesthesia wore off.

I was heading to clean up the exam room when Tino walked in.

I couldn’t help noticing he looked great—hair perfect, face smooth and clean-shaven. He wore a pair of black jeans and a crisp white-collared shirt under a khaki blazer.

I spread my arms to display my favorite blue sweater and newest, best-fitting jeans in all their mud, blood, and dog hair and saliva glory.

“There was an emergency,” I said simply. “I. . .I. . .I’m so sorry. I know this day is important to you, and I feel like I’ve let you down.”

I was stone cold crazy about Tino Morales, my hot as a chili pepper, gentle as a Buddhist monk Latino, and the idea of disappointing him stung.

There was no way I could join Tino and his family. In my smelly, sorry state, I didn’t figure he’d even want me riding in his car.

“Let me down?” Tino stood blinking his beautiful brown eyes at me, his smile never wavering. “How can you think that? How’s the animal?”

“He’s doing well.”

“That’s good.”

Doc Whitaker walked out, quickly sizing things up. “Peter came in before you could change?”

I nodded.

“And you had plans for lunch?”

I nodded again.

Tino started to speak, but Doc Whitaker beat him to the punch. “Tino, how would you feel about escorting a woman dressed in scrubs to lunch?”

Tino grinned. “Scrubs? Lizzie’s beautiful no matter what she’s wearing, even mud and dog hair.”

My heart swelled.

“Lizzie,” Adam said, “why don’t you go in the back for a quick shower and pick out one of the newer sets of scrubs. That way Tino can show you off for the kind-hearted woman you are.”

“Do we have time?” I asked Tino.

“Of course,” he said.

Later when we walked into the Lobster Pot, Tino’s family was already there. No one seemed to notice the scrubs with puppies all over them—no one but the waiter.

He asked, “And what can I get for you, Doctor?”

I began. “Not doctor.”

Tino finished. “Not yet, but soon she’ll be the best veterinarian in the state.”

I leaned over, kissing him.

“Nice,” he said. “BTW, you look adorable in those scrubs.”

“Well,” I said, “at least I smell better.”


You can read more about Lizzie in Divas, Diamonds & Death, the 15th book in the “Danger Cove” (Pet Sitter) mystery series.

This little piggy may not be coming home.

This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. And this little piggy got kidnapped, and her diamond collar was swiped, and then there was a murder and false accusations. . .and. . ..and. . .oh my goodness!

Pet Sitter turned sleuth, Lizzie Jones is excited about the upcoming Second Chance Animal Rescue fundraiser. The celebrity draw, Sabrina Ramirez, is a pet psychic famous for her TV show The Critter Communicator. Sabrina arrives with her entourage that includes Rosie, an adorable teacup pig that Sabrina treats like royalty, Sabrina’s buff bodyguard, her devoted nephew, and unexpectedly, her estranged ex-husband.

When Sabrina needs a pet sitter Lizzie is thrilled to take on the job. That is until the little piglet is pignapped on Lizzie’s watch—along with her diamond collar! But things go from bad to worse when the fundraiser turns deadly and Lizzie’s granddad is high on the murder suspect list. Lizzie jumps headlong into clearing her granddad’s name and finding the pignapper and the killer. Are they one and the same, or is she looking for two separate types of swine? And will she find them first. . .or will the killer be the one frying Lizzie’s bacon?

Buy Link

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Giveaway: Two readers selected at random will receive their choice of any of Jean and Sally’s books (e-book, everywhere or print, US only). Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends August 21, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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Meet the author
Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.

Connect with them at smithandsteffens.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Keisha Thornberry by Judy Alter

José, my husband of less than a year, and I start the day at seven by going to breakfast at the Old Neighborhood Grill and catchin’ up on local news with Peter, the owner. If I didn’t have that breakfast with José, I couldn’t face what I do these days.

Today it’s jeans and an electric pink top that’s like a shortened muumuu—big, loose, and flowing. Last night I colored the tips of my spike-cut hair the same pink and painted my nails. A pair of pink stiletto heels, and I’m all set. José frowns at me. He doesn’t like the heels, ‘cause then I’m taller than he is. He’s tall and thin. I’m tall and big. We look like Jack Sprat and his wife—you know, “Jack Sprat could eat no fat/his wife could eat no lean/So between the two of them/They licked the platter clean.”

We’re still newlyweds, but my dream is well on its way. I set myself certain goals—gonna be married by the time I’m twenty-six. Made that. Gonna have my own home by twenty-seven, made that. We got a cute two-bedroom Craftsman. Got it at a steal, because, you see, I’m in the real estate business. That is, I work for Kelly O’Connell. She owns O’Connell and Spencer Real Estate agency where my official title is office manager, but it’s just her and me, and these days she’s barely interested in real estate, busy playing mama to her new baby, Cynthia Grace Shandy. That Gracie has brought more joy than I can tell you to Kelly, her husband Mike, and her two girls from a previous disaster with Tim Spencer, Maggie and Em.

I love my job, but these days it’s less real estate than it is taking care of Kelly and her family. You see, I got the sixth sense, so I know when something bad’s on the way, and I’ve saved Kelly more than once. Even Mike, a jaded police by-the-book police officer, is beginning to believe in my sixth sense. This time, it tells me real trouble is right around the corner—or across the street.

When we eat at the Old Neighborhood Grill, Peter greets me by asking how Kelly’s holding up. He’s one of the few that knows the secret fear we’re hiding.

You see, Kelly and Mike got two, not one but two kidnapping threats against sweet little Gracie, and they’re devastated. And scared. We live in an armed camp—security alarms, inside bars across the doors, a dog that José swears is a guard dog. And we wait—that’s the worst of it. Nothing’s happened, and yet fear rules our lives like a storm cloud hanging over us.

Oh, yeah, we think we know who sent the notes. My sixth sense helps there. But it ain’t telling me what’s goin’ to happen next, and I’m as frightened as everyone else. Not for me, but for that sweet little Gracie. Who would hurt an innocent baby?

About my goals. I’m gonna have a baby by the time I’m thirty. Guess I should tell José pretty soon.


You can read more about Keisha in Color of Fear, the seventh book in the “Kelly O’Connell” mystery series.

The Color of Fear marks Judy Alter’s return to mystery fiction and the Kelly O’Connell series after an absence of more than a year. This time, the indomitable Keisha narrates the short tale wherein Kelly and her family live under the threat of infant Gracie’s kidnapping. The story serves as a reprise of many of the previous novels in the series, as Keisha, in her search for the kidnapper, recalls Kelly’s earlier adventures.

Keisha remains outspoken and independent as she balances her need to protect Kelly and her family with her love for new husband, José Thornberry. Some but not all of Kelly’s friends and foes from previous stories appear here, along with such new characters as Clyde, the guard dog, and Cowboy, the homeless guy with a soft heart.

Buy link

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About the author
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West. In The Gilded Cage she has turned her attention to the late nineteenth century in her home town, Chicago, to tell the story of the lives of Potter and Cissy Palmer, a high society couple with differing views on philanthropy and workers’ right. She is also the author of six books in the “Kelly O’Connell” Mystery series and three books in the “Blue Plate Café” Mystery series. With the 2014 publication of The Perfect Coed, she introduced the “Oak Grove” Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame.

Connect with Judy at judyalter.com, on her blog and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

A negotiation between Summer and Dorothy by Lisa Q. Mathews

The following exchange between Summer Smythe, 26, and Dorothy Westin, 78, takes place at 12:23 pm. Monique’s Boutique, Milano, Florida. Also present: Monique Belleek, designer dress shop owner.

S: Come on out, Dorothy. Let’s see what you’ve got.

D: None of these outfits seem quite right for the Majesty Holiday Fashion Show. Or right for me, anyway. Is my choice of wardrobe really that important?

S: Yep. Remember, we need to blend in with the other guests, and they’ll be dressed to kill. I mean. . .they’ll be super dressed up.

D: Well, all of this fuss seems silly. Our focus should be on finding Angelica’s killer.

S: You can’t go wrong with a little black dress.

D: Emphasis on the little. It’s frightfully short.

S: You’re just not used to that length. It looks really nice on you. You’ve got great legs, Dorothy. You need to flaunt them every once in a while.

D: Mhmm.

S: Try the sparkly blue one. That’s going to be my favorite, I bet.

D: I’m not sure beading is my style. I was perfectly comfortable in that coral seater and skirt set I wore to the last show.

S: Yeah, but that’s what you had on when Angelica disappeared and we found her stuffed in a garment bag. It’s bad luck. Besides, it’s a formal event and you cannot be an outfit repeater.

M: How are we doing in there, Mrs. Westin? I’ve brought a few more dresses you’ll just love. They’re a bit more high-couture.

D: (Sighs.) Wonderful.

S: You know what, Monique? Dorothy will take the black dress. And maybe some accessories, too. Could you please bring us all the jewelry you’ve got?

M: I’ll be right back.

S: (Glances at phone) Oh no.

D: What’s wrong, Summer? Not more bad news, I hope.

S: It’s practically the worst thing ever. I just got a text from the booker at PAGE Models. They want me to fill in for Angelica at the Majesty show, can you believe it? A lot of the regular models have been dropping out because of what happened to her at Waterman’s.

D: It sounds like a perfect opportunity for our investigation.

S: You’re kidding, right? I’m not a model. It’d be, like, a joke.

D: Don’t worry, you’ll do a fabulous job.

S: But I don’t want that kind of job. Even if it pays more than being Aquatics Director at the Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community pool. And Detective Donovan’s going to be there, with his grandma who hates me.  Very. Bad. Idea.

D: Ah. Well, sometimes we have to put our personal preferences aside for the sake of a case. (Nods toward black dress.) Don’t you agree, dear?


Dress to impress (or just to relax) and join Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin on the case in Fashionably Late, the third title in Lisa Q. Mathews’s lighthearted mystery series “The Ladies Smythe & Westin” from Carina Press/Harlequin. Don’t forget your sunhat!

It’s murder, she wore. . .

Sporting a chic Florida outfit and designer baubles, seasoned model Angelica Downs belonged on the runway. . .not in the morgue. Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin are determined to retrace her final moments—right up to her desperate plea for help.

The Ladies pin their suspects down to just a few questionable characters. But why would anyone target such a seemingly sweet, lovely woman?

To lure the murderer—and perhaps some accessories of the criminal kind—the Ladies hit Milano Fashion Week, even organizing their own charity event at Hibiscus Pointe. Killer fashion may be this season’s drop-dead look, but Summer and Dorothy will be wearing little black funeral dresses if they don’t flatiron the culprit soon.

Don’t miss Cardiac Arrest, The Ladies Smythe & Westin’s first case, and Book #2: Permanently Booked!

Praise for The Ladies Smythe & Westin Mysteries

“An absolutely delightful series that readers will be thrilled to discover. . .a thoroughly entertaining experience that should not be missed.” ~ Kings River Life

“Sweet, sassy, and smart. Senior sleuth Dorothy Westin and impetuous young Summer Smythe make an endearing team in this sparkling debut. Lisa Q. Mathews is a terrific new voice in cozy mysteries.” ~ Cleo Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (Kindle or Nook) of Fashionably Late. The giveaway will end August 18, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before she started writing cozy mysteries. She also authored kids’ series such as Mary-Kate and Ashley and The Lizzie McGuire Mysteries and she was Creative Director at Random House Children’s Books. Mom to three grown kids, Lisa lives in New Hampshire with her husband, a lucky black cat, and a crazy Golden Retriever named Farley. Like her odd-couple co-sleuths in The Ladies Smythe & Westin series from Carina Press, she loves swimming, rich desserts, romantic comedies, and above all a good mystery. Please visit Lisa at lisaqmathews.com and join her on Twitter, group blog Chicks on the Case, Facebook, and Goodreads.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Kay Powell by E.J. Copperman

I don’t have a “typical” day. There’s just no such thing. Most days I have a client or two to see, potential clients to consider and sometimes I accompany a client to an audition. I do spend some time walking and cleaning up after my clients as well.

I’m Kay Powell of Powell and Associates (my only associate is actually my office manager Consuelo). I’m a theatrical agent whose clients are all animals. Not the Hollywood kind; the four-legged (usually) kind.

The story of how I got into this business is told elsewhere so I won’t take up your time. Suffice it to say I come from a showbiz family, didn’t want to perform on stage—anymore—and had a law degree with no desire to practice law. So the natural jump was to representing dogs, cats, birds and the occasional snake in movies, TV and theater, right?

Right?

I know it’s a little unusual, but the fact is most of my conflicts in business are with my clients’ human owners, not the animals themselves. Most of the clients—even the snake—are just as sweet as can be. It’s the people who can be problems.

For example, I had this client Bruno, the nicest big shaggy dog you ever met. Well okay, so you never met him, but I did and he was a gentleman and a terrific actor. But his owners, Trent and Louis Barclay, were a little less than charming. In fact, the director Les McMaster (yes, that Les McMaster!) was ready to give Bruno the role of Sandy in his hit revival of Annie on Broadway—but he insisted it be written into the contract that Trent especially could not be in the theater for rehearsals or have any contact at all with Les while Bruno was working in the show.

That became somewhat moot when they found Trent with a knife in his back and his face in Bruno’s water dish.

And that’s when my life started getting interesting. More interesting. No, I’ll go back to it: Interesting.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t that upset about what happened to Trent. But if anybody comes after Bruno, they’re going to have to go through me first.

Perhaps I should rephrase that.

It’s a long story, told elsewhere. Suffice it to say it wasn’t a typical day. Because I haven’t had one of those yet.


You can read more about Kay in Dog Dish of Doom, the first book in the NEW “Agent to the Paws” mystery series.

Cozy fans and animal lovers alike won’t be able to keep their paws off Dog Dish of Doom. Laugh-out-loud funny, E.J. Copperman’s series debut is “lots of fun” (Library Journal, starred).

Kay Powell wants to find that break-out client who will become a star. And she thinks she’s found him: His name is Bruno, and he has to be walked three times a day.

Kay is the Agent to the Paws, representing showbiz clients who aren’t exactly people. In fact: they’re dogs. Bruno’s humans, Trent and Louise, are pains in the you-know-what, and Les McMaster, the famous director mounting a revival of Annie, might not hire Bruno just because he can’t stand them.

This becomes less of an issue when Trent is discovered face down in Bruno’s water dish, with a kitchen knife in his back. Kay’s perfectly fine to let the NYPD handle the murder, but when the whole plot seems to center on Bruno, her protective instincts come into play. You can kill any people you want, but you’d better leave Kay’s clients alone.

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About the author
Kay Powell debuts in the Agent to the Paws mystery series with Dog Dish of Doom from Minotaur on August 15. E.J. Copperman is the author of the Agent to the Paws series, the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series, the Mysterious Detective mystery series and, with Jeff Cohen, the Asperger’s mystery series. E.J. has a beagle named Gizmo who does not perform on camera or onstage. But he does a heck of an act when he wants some chicken from your plate. Connect with E.J. at ejcopperman.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A scene from THE PARIS SPY by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Paris Spy is the newest installment in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling series by Susan Elia MacNeal. The brilliant mathematician and codebreaker extraordinaire, Maggie Hope, continues her work in the Special Operations Executive. This time, she must secretly navigate Nazi-occupied France to find two women during the darkest days of World War II.

It’s springtime in Paris, 1942. The Nazis have captured one of England’s most intrepid spies, who soon discovers that the Germans have a mole working deep in the British SOE. From Paris, Maggie Hope must unmask that traitor—before the enemy learns WWII’s deadliest secret: the site of the planned Allied invasion in Normandy.

The Paris Spy is MacNeal’s most captivating story to date in her award-winning series. Blending thoroughly researched WW II historical facts with one-of-a-kind storytelling and a resourceful, daring heroine, this is an unforgettable read that will transport you straight to Paris.

An Excerpt

“The Rue Cambon entrance didn’t have anything for me, André,” a woman’s voice interrupted. The newcomer was enveloped in a cloud of jasmine and cigarette smoke. “But I’m expecting an envelope with ballet tickets. Would you be a darling and check for me?”

She waggled bony shoulders in exasperation, glancing at Maggie. “Sometimes things for the Rue Cambon side are left here and vice versa—one really must be careful of that.”

The woman was petite, slender, and somewhere in her fifties, Maggie guessed, although her gamine appearance defied age. Her skin was deeply tanned, her hair dyed black, and her cheeks rouged. She wore a simple black suit, but ropes of pearl and gold necklaces and bracelets rattled as she moved. She regarded Maggie with a basilisk gaze. “Nice dress,” she said finally.

Maggie suddenly realized who the woman was. “Th—thank you, Mademoiselle,” she managed, glad she had chosen to wear the Chanel.

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, known by her nickname “Coco,” was one of the most famous couturieres and perfumers in the world. She was renowned for taking women out of huge and heavy frilly hats and fussy corsets, and dressing them instead in boyish toppers and creations of tailored streamlined jersey. She’d also created costumes for stage and film, alongside Cocteau, Diaghilev, and Picasso, in addition to creating the world’s most famous perfume, Chanel No. 5, named for her lucky number. She was, in short, a living legend.

“They’ve put you up on the top floor, I suspect?” Chanel asked, her gold chain bracelets jangling as the receptionist looked through cubbyholes for any stray envelopes for her. Maggie nodded. “That’s where I am now as well. I used to have a suite, overlooking the Place Vendôme. However, as you may have noticed,” the couturier continued, her voice hard, “times have changed.”

“As always, you’re correct, Mademoiselle,” André said, handing her an envelope with her name written in beautiful calligraphy.

Chanel took it and opened it, pulling out two tickets. “Excellent,” she said. Then, as she unfolded the accompanying note, her crimson-painted lips pursed.

“Everything all right, Mademoiselle?” asked André.

“Fine, fine.” She waved a hand, brushing off his concern. “André here is the best in the business,” she told Maggie. “Whatever you need he’ll procure—an abortionist, a drug dealer, even a hit man. Anything goes at the Ritz.” Maggie looked shocked, which seemed to please the designer. “And what brings you to Paris?” Chanel continued, tucking everything into her quilted lambskin handbag.

Maggie fixed a smile on her face. “I’m pleased to say I’m in town for fashion, Mademoiselle. My trousseau, to be specific. And a wedding dress.”

“Ah ha! And whose ateliers will you be visiting?”

“Nina Ricci,” Maggie answered, glad she had memorized the designers who still had shops open. “Jacques Fath, Germaine Leconte, Jean Pateau, Lanvin … and, of course, Schiaparelli—”

Chanel rolled her black eyes. “L’Italienne.” Maggie could tell it wasn’t a compliment. “Don’t go to that one. Besides, she’s left Paris for New York, the traitor.”

“But I’m going to them only because your atelier is not open, Mademoiselle Chanel.” Maggie had done her homework. Coco Chanel had closed hers in 1940, when the Occupation had begun, proclaiming it was “no time for fashion.” However, she’d kept her perfume boutique across the street from the Hôtel Ritz open and had made a wartime fortune selling Chanel No. 5 to eager Germans wanting a fragrant souvenir of their Paris sojourn to take home to their wives and sweethearts. From all reports, she was doing a brisk business.

“A response to the times,” was all Chanel said. “You speak French well. But you’re not French or else you would be using the Rue Cambon entrance.” She grazed Maggie’s cheek with an immaculately manicured scarlet-painted fingertip. “And not German, either. Swiss?”

“Irish.”

One tweezed eyebrow rose. “Irish?”

Maggie nodded. “Born there. But raised in America for most of my life, shuttling between the two countries. I’m living in Lisbon at present.”

“Lisbon, yes—I’m thinking of opening a shop there. Madrid, too. Perfume only, of course—at least for now. Yes, Irish,” she said, appraising Maggie, like a jeweler inspecting a diamond under a loupe. “I should have guessed with that red hair…”

“Your room is ready, Mademoiselle,” the receptionist said to Maggie, gesturing to a groom in buttoned uniform, white gloves, and cap, waiting with her key.

Maggie smiled. “Thank you.”


You can read more about Maggie in The Paris Spy, the seventh book in the “Maggie Hope” mystery series.

Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners. Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.

But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her—that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown. Maggie must risk her life to penetrate powerful circles and employ all her talents for deception and spycraft to root out a traitor, find her sister, and locate the reports crucial to planning D-Day in a deadly game of wits with the Nazi intelligence elite.

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Advance praise for The Paris Spy

“With its riveting plot and cliff-hanger finish, this is a solid addition to a series as well researche as it is entertaining” —Booklist

“A fast-paced climax leads to an ending that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment” —Publishers Weekly

“You will grieve with Paris. You will be outraged by the destruction. You will be terrified for all the heroes, be there with them every step, and care desperately that they succeed and survive. And perhaps above all, like me, you will be overwhelmed with their sacrifice for the freedom we still enjoy.” —Anne Perry, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series and the William Monk series

“This has to be Maggie Hope’s most exciting adventure yet. Vivid and fast-paced, crammed with authentic detail, The Paris Spy is an extraordinary trip through the edgy drama of wartime Paris, skillfully plotted and studded with cameos by real historical figures.” —Jane Thynne, author of the Clara Vine series

“The Paris Spy is a mystery you won’t put down until the absolutely stunning conclusion. Only Susan Elia MacNeal—and the extraordinary Maggie Hope—could wrap such a tale of courage and betrayal around a secret that will cost lives and honor to protect.” —Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge series and the Bess Crawford series

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About the author
Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times– and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

The next book in the series, The Paris Spy, was released on August 8, 2017.

Her previous books include: Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, and Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante. The Maggie Hope novels have been nominated for the Edgar, the Macavity, the ITW Thriller, the Dilys, the Sue Feder Historical Fiction, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Fiction Awards.

A former book and magazine editor whose first job was assistant to novelist John Irving, she graduated cum laude and with departmental honors from Wellesley College, cross-registered for courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

Susan is married and lives with her husband, Noel MacNeal, a television performer, writer and director—who works with Sesame Street, the Muppets, and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver—and their son in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Connect with Susan at susaneliamacneal.com, on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

August 15, 2017 ~ New Releases

Home Stretch by Jenna Bennett

Dog Dish of Doom by E.J. Copperman

I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes by David Handler

Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Author Showcase ~ Diamonds Aren’t Forever by Connie Shelton

New Caper Mystery Series Debuts from USA Today bestselling author Connie Shelton

Release: August 14 2017
Series: Heist Ladies #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Secret Staircase Books

A bold museum robbery. A missing million-dollar necklace, a stalled police investigation. For the victim of the crime, the situation calls for desperate measures.

Albuquerque, NM, July 26, 2017 – Penelope Fitzpatrick wasn’t born to wealth. Her grandfather fed the family by selling his small stash of gemstones smuggled from tsarist Russia when the monarchy fell. Now, Pen has done well for herself as a successful novelist living in Scottsdale, Arizona. But when the final jewel in her family legacy becomes the target of a cunning band of thieves, and the priceless piece is stolen from the museum where it was on loan, the police have many excuses why they can’t solve the crime. Not one to accept defeat, Pen does the only thing she can do—gather a group of friends to help catch the crooks and steal back the necklace.

It becomes apparent the thief is a master con man who is likely working with an international theft ring. The chase takes the Ladies far from home and into elegant European enclaves as they attempt to face him down. Close calls and near misses—it’s never quite certain whether the women will be able to pull their own spectacular heist and see justice done.

“The entire Heist Ladies series came to me during a long car trip, where I jotted notes for five books with five female protagonists. Each book will feature one of the women and an crime done against her,” said author Connie Shelton. “For the first story, Diamonds Aren’t Forever, I drew upon two of my interests. I’ve always been fascinated with con men and the ways they work. And I love beautiful jewelry. The chance to develop a plot weaving them together proved irresistible. After studying the methods con men use, I knew I had to pit the man in this story against a woman who would not, as many victims do, hide away from the crime and let him win. Penelope Fitzpatrick had the perfect attitude. All she needed was a team of friends with the necessary skills, and—voila—the Heist Ladies came together.”

Part caper, part heist, this fast-paced story of a team of contemporary women brings a sense of adventure and fun as Penelope, the woman who has lost a very valuable piece of heirloom jewelry, pursues the thief. Fans of Janet Evanovich and Jana DeLeon will love this daring and spunky group of women friends in their first mystery caper, Diamonds Aren’t Forever.

“I write mysteries from many levels,” says Shelton. “Yes, there’s a crime (or two or three) and, yes, my protagonists are out to solve that crime. But I also like to include a look at the people behind the actions, and I want to do it with a touch of humor and often a lot of food! Fans often comment on those aspects of my stories. To my readers, my lead characters feel like friends. Knowing that people relate to my protagonists and the extended cast of characters on such a personal level is what makes this so much fun for me.”

Meet Connie Shelton and her characters from all three of her series at connieshelton.com, and be sure to check out the Food page which includes recipes from New Mexico, Connie’s home state, a sampling of the great dishes which have been featured in her books. Subscribe to Connie’s email newsletter to receive the latest news and have a chance to win prizes each month.

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy (Kindle or Nook) of Diamonds Aren’t Forever. The giveaway will end August 15, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Meet the author
Connie Shelton is the USA Today bestselling author of two mystery series set in her home state, New Mexico, in addition to the Heist Ladies international series. She read her first non-picture book at age seven and has not stopped reading since. She has been involved with books as an editor, publisher, teacher, bookseller, reader and writer. She has taught writing courses and was a contributor to Chicken Soup For the Writer’s Soul. Many of her previous books have achieved mystery bestseller status on Amazon and Kobo. She and her husband reside in New Mexico with their two dogs. Contact her through her website at connieshelton.com.

All comments are welcomed.

August 14, 2017 ~ New Releases

Trouble in Dixie by Rebecca Barrett

Review to a Kill by Laura Durham

Diamonds Aren’t Forever by Connie Shelton