Tag Archives: Camel Press

Baxley Powell’s typical day in her life – Ha ha! by Maggie Toussaint

Occupation: amateur sleuth and dreamwalker

You want a typical day? Walking two families-worth of pets for folks on vacation, managing a landscaping job where the client keeps changing her mind, and praying none of my friends and neighbors wake up dead. That’s the regular run-of-the-mill day for me in coastal Georgia.

Most days are similar to a live Variety Show because of the personalities involved, especially if there’s a homicide (I’m often called in by my sheriff to help figure out what happened to the newly deceased and sometimes the long-deceased).

Take recent events, if you will. For vacation, my family drove to the north Georgia Mountains. It’s so beautiful and peaceful here, or that’s what we thought until a young man turned up dead for no apparent reason.

Heck, I’m getting ahead of myself. Our first night here was interrupted by a vigilante. He’s not quite right in the head and he approached us with a loaded weapon saying we had no right to be on this property. When our response didn’t satisfy him, I worried about our survival. I was barely able to remember what the property owner said about this guy. The code words he needed to hear. Once I remembered the safe phrases and said them, he lowered his weapon.

I didn’t know what else to do, so I invited him to share our campfire. He declined and marched into the woods on the other side of us. If I’d had any sense, I should’ve turned around right then and gone home.

The next day, a young man is dead, and a pair of local officers pull their guns on me because I was carrying. The cops search my identity in their database, and suddenly I’m smack dab in the middle of a homicide investigation. I’ve seen some weird stuff before, but this innocent-looking young man appeared to have lay down by the lake and willed himself to the Other Side.

The answer was less straightforward than that. Someone stole his energy. Drained him to the point of death. Why would anyone allow an energy vampire access to their life force? Through my dreamwalk with his body, I learn the victim’s name. Haney was an orphan who lived in this area.

Things go from bad to worse when we visit the group home where Haney lived. The place is messy with crusty dishes and filth, and the young man who answers the door is quite odd. Within a minute of meeting him, the sheriff and Mayes, the Native American deputy who is her second in command, agree with everything the man says. Only when I shield them with my senses do they think clearly.

We neutralize the guy, and by that I mean handcuff him so we can work. The sheriff guards him from a safe distance. Upstairs, the beds are full of unresponsive people. While Mayes and I determine their health status, the young man frees himself and kidnaps the sheriff. Good grief. Whatever happened to routine homicides?

Worse, a group of locals pressure me into producing Rose, my Other World spirit guide and mentor. This is the toughest case I’ve ever had. I don’t know these people so I have to totally rely on my extrasensory talents. But each lead takes me deeper and deeper into the killer’s snare.


To find out if Baxley meets her match in the Georgia Mountains, check out Dadgummit, the fourth book in the “Dreamwalker” mystery series.

Amateur sleuth Baxley Powell is on vacation at Stony Creek Lake in the north Georgia mountains. Her parents, best friend, and ten-year-old daughter are camping with her. Almost immediately, a young man’s body is found beside the lake. Strangely, there’s no apparent cause of death. The local police have heard about Baxley’s skill at closing unusual cases, and at their urging she agrees to help.

Her psychic sleuthing leads the police to a halfway house. There they encounter eight comatose victims and an odd man named Jonas, who also has supernatural abilities. Baxley senses Jonas cruelly drained their life force energy. Jonas escapes, taking the sheriff as a hostage. Deputy Sam Mayes, a Native American, leads the manhunt, and he keeps Baxley close, knowing she’s the key to capturing this powerful criminal.

Baxley’s paranormal talent of dreamwalking, which she uses to traverse the veil of life, draws the unwanted attention of beings believed to be Cherokee folklore. Jonas stole a treasured artifact from them, and they want it back. They hold Baxley’s best friend and two others because they know Baxley can help them. As the clock ticks, Jonas taunts this crime-fighting duo and proves to be a wily adversary.

With the body count rising, Baxley and Mayes realize they are up against an entity who appears to be invincible. Do they have the power to subdue an energy vampire, turn the tide of evil, and save the day?

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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. Under her name and her pen name of Rigel Carson, she’s published sixteen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The latest book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, released August 1, 2017. Maggie serves as Chapter President for Southeast Mystery Writers of America and as Vice-President for Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at www.maggietoussaint.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Dadgummit by Maggie Toussaint

Dadgummit by Maggie Toussaint is the fourth book in the “Dreamwalker” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, coming August 1, 2017

Amateur sleuth Baxley Powell is on vacation at Stony Creek Lake in the north Georgia mountains. Her parents, best friend, and ten-year-old daughter are camping with her. Almost immediately, a young man’s body is found beside the lake. Strangely, there’s no apparent cause of death. The local police have heard about Baxley’s skill at closing unusual cases, and at their urging she agrees to help.

Her psychic sleuthing leads the police to a halfway house. There they encounter eight comatose victims and an odd man named Jonas, who also has supernatural abilities. Baxley senses Jonas cruelly drained their life force energy. Jonas escapes, taking the sheriff as a hostage. Deputy Sam Mayes, a Native American, leads the manhunt, and he keeps Baxley close, knowing she’s the key to capturing this powerful criminal.

Baxley’s paranormal talent of dreamwalking, which she uses to traverse the veil of life, draws the unwanted attention of beings believed to be Cherokee folklore. Jonas stole a treasured artifact from them, and they want it back. They hold Baxley’s best friend and two others because they know Baxley can help them. As the clock ticks, Jonas taunts this crime-fighting duo and proves to be a wily adversary.

With the body count rising, Baxley and Mayes realize they are up against an entity who appears to be invincible. Do they have the power to subdue an energy vampire, turn the tide of evil, and save the day?

I love this series. Once again, Baxley is called upon to use her abilities to solve a complex case which took this reader on a mystifying ride that was hard to put down.

The mystery was well-developed giving me a chance to escape into the world of dream walking, little people and the cosmic universe. The narrative was visually descriptive that grabbed me immediately and I felt like I was there with Baxley as she tackled the mysteries of the untried. I like how this story was staged where it was more about finding a way to stop the demon and the steps and collaborative efforts of the newcomer and an unlikely ally to apprehend this vicious entity which was done with great aplomb. The main characters all played pivotal roles that added to my reading enjoyment and I especially enjoyed the scenes with Charlotte and the deputy.

Boasting a wonderful cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a supernatural atmosphere, this is one of the best book in the terrific series and I look forward to more adventures with Baxley and her friends.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

My Musing ~ The Bell Tolls by R. Franklin James

The Bell Tolls by R. Franklin James is the fifth book in the “Hollis Morgan” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, June 2017

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon, and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it becomes apparent that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects. Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar, she knows a liar when she sees one. A lot of people in this case are lying, and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancé and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll. Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.

Book 5 in the Hollis Morgan Mystery series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club.

Hollis goes above and beyond her duties when she finds herself yet involved in another murder investigation. And this is where her skills of detection shines as she pursues a killer who wants to remain hidden.

I love the writing style and the ease in how this multi-plot drama moves the story forward where every scene is an important element in the telling of this tale. The author did a great job in staging this mystery where the suspect list was small, but it was the clues that helped narrow down the field and boy, what an industrious group of suspects. The narrative was done with great aplomb and kept me engaged in all that was happening with this great cast of characters who played pivotal roles that led to the apprehension of the killer, which was a nice little twist. The subplot is what really drove this story for me, especially the heartbreak that Hollis faced and helping her estranged mother. After it was all said and done, the author pulled a good one with a surprising twist that I did not see coming and I can’t wait to how this will play out. This was the best book in the series thus far and I look forward to the next book in this entertaining series.

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A day in the life of Hollis Morgan by R. Franklin James

My name is Hollis Morgan, and I’ve visited Dru Ann before.

The last time she heard from me I was trying to get my act together as a senior attorney with a focus on probate law. In theory, probate should be a pretty tame legal area, but I guess not the way I practice it. It would appear that I haven’t gotten the hang of how to avoid dangerous situations and murder cases.

For example, today I wake up ready to go to work at this great law firm in Oakland, California. It’s small, and the oldest firm in the East Bay. It took a chance and hired me when I was on parole, and I’ve been loyal to it ever since.

John Faber, my live-in “live-in”, is packing to go on an undercover mission with his fellow agents from Homeland Security. He loves his new job, and I love him too much to let him see me worry. So, I don’t. This time, he leaves me with a check-in system of throw-away cell phones to let me know he’s okay— without the bad guys tracking him.

I send him off with a kiss, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this assignment.

At the office, my secretary greets me with the file for a new client. I take it happily. It’s still hard for me to realize that just eight years ago I was serving time in a state prison for insurance fraud, a setup by my guilty ex-husband. Even though it was a crime I didn’t commit, I couldn’t prove it. Eventually, I got out early for good behavior, and received a judicial pardon which allowed me to finish law school and take the California Bar.

From then to now, I relied on my friends from the Fallen Angles Book Club. Membership requirements are simple: white collar ex-felons who love to read. We are definitely a niche group. The club has come through for me many times, and I like to think that I’ve helped one or two members—particularly when we were suspects in a murder.

That’s why I love the law.

Take my latest case. I never liked Mattias Bell. He was mean, cheap, narrow-minded and filthy rich. He was also my client. When he died, he made me executor of his estate and gave me a strange directive, one I never would have thought came from him. I found it telling that his staff had little liking for him, and his closest relatives didn’t want to change their vacation plans to attend his funeral. The other beneficiaries of Bell’s estate seemed unusually satisfied, almost joyous about his death. And, while I don’t want to question their reactions, something is not right and I’m going to find out what.

It’s not even lunchtime and my assistant brings in a message from another client, Kiki Turner. If she sounds like a strip dancer, it’s because she is, or was, before she married the twenty-third richest man in California. Kiki wants her rights explained. Mr. Turner has died and she is sole beneficiary of his estate. She wants to formalize her own estate and give all her money to her granddaughter, skipping her daughter and her controlling son-in-law. It’s pretty straightforward but Kiki isn’t telling the whole truth and lies on both sides are flying fast and furious.

Well, it’s almost time to go home when I get a call from my older sister. She wants me to come home. Home, in this case, is to my parents’ house in Palo Alto. On the face, this isn’t a big deal, except I haven’t seen my family since I left them behind in the courtroom at my sentencing. My father had tears in his eyes and my mother gave me a look of such disappointment and disgust, it was easily the worst day of my life.

She said she never wanted to see me again. She’s been true to her word these past eight years.

But now I’m called home. Why?

It’s just another day in my life – and it’s only Monday.


You can read more about Hollis in The Bell Tolls, the fifth book in the “Hollis Morgan” mystery series.

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon, and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it becomes apparent that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects. Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar, she knows a liar when she sees one. A lot of people in this case are lying, and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancé and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll. Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.

Book 5 in the Hollis Morgan Mystery series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club.

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About the author
R. Franklin James, a University of California/Berkeley grad, followed a career of political advocacy with writing mysteries. In 2013 her debut novel, The Fallen Angels Book Club, was published by Camel Press. This was her first book in the Hollis Morgan Mystery Series followed by Sticks & Stones, The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club, and book four, The Trade List. Her fifth book, The Bell Tolls was released June 1, 2017. James resides in northern California. She can be reached on Facebook and Twitter. Her website is: www.rfranklinjames.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of The Bell Tolls. The giveaway ends June 3, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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A day in the life with Chava Ester Schultz by Elena Hartwell

two-heads-are-deader-than-oneLet me tell you about my daughter. First off, she calls herself Eddie Shoes. Can you imagine? Okay, I get it. Edwina Zapata Schultz is a bit of a mouthful, but seriously, Eddie Shoes? What kind of name is that? Of course she ended up being a private investigator, what else would a girl who calls herself Eddie Shoes do for a living?

That wouldn’t be so bad, if she investigated important things, like murders. But no, she does background checks on nannies and home healthcare workers. Mostly sits at a desk all day. What fun is that? Sam Spade is turning over in his grave and Philip Marlowe says she should give up her PI license.

Yes, I know, those are fictional characters and my daughter is a living breathing, licensed, insured and bonded PI, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a reputation to live up to. A few shoulders to stand on, fictional or not. What she hasn’t realized is I can help her do that.

She’s just lucky I decided to move to Bellingham and spice her life up a little bit. Granted, Western Washington isn’t exactly my cup of tea, it’s always raining here! But still, what would she do without me? Not only did I help her solve that murder she got entangled in last year, but I’ve just helped her out again. On an even trickier case. Bodies piling up everywhere. She’s lucky I can’t move back to Las Vegas any time soon, who knows when she might need me next.

Speaking of Las Vegas, did I mention I’m a professional poker player? That’s right. I’m one of those rare few who can actually play the game at a profit, not a loss. Want to know why? Because I understand the game better than everyone I play against. Like a shark going after minnows, I know who to sit down with. If you want to succeed at poker, and by that I mean win more money than you lose, a big part of the battle is who you pit yourself against. Ego will kill you. Play against the best and statistically, your profit goes down. Why would you do that? Play to win. That’s my strategy for life. Play to win. At any cost.

That’s how my daughter should think about her career. Take a few risks. Be a shark, not a minnow.

Of course, she does have a Colt .45 and knows how to use it. I’ve seen that firsthand. She’s also pretty levelheaded when things get dicey. She doesn’t panic when the chips are down or bullets start flying around in abandoned buildings. She’s also not too bad in a car chase or when someone gets kidnapped. Not that I would know anything about that.

So I guess Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe might actually be impressed with her. She’s tough. Smart. And just ethical enough to keep from getting thrown into jail. But don’t tell her I said those things. I like to keep her on her toes. That always felt like the right thing to do as a single parent. I had to be both mother and father to her, so it was my job to make her self-reliant.

I was just sixteen when she was born. What did I know about raising a kid? I lost my own parents young too, so it was just the two of us. She had to learn how to take care of herself, because that’s how the world works. No one else is looking out for you.

Although, now that I’m living with her, I have noticed she’s got some other people who have her back. Her best friend Iz is a no-nonsense girl if I’ve ever met one. She’s been looking out for Eddie ever since Eddie moved to Bellingham from Seattle. It doesn’t hurt she works for the Police Department and has access to all sorts of interesting information. Then there’s her friend Debbie Buse. Now that is a woman with a good head on her shoulders. I’m sure she would have done a better job raising Eddie than I did . . . Eddie thinks I’m jealous of Debbie, but the truth is, I’m glad she has her to turn to. As a first time dog owner my daughter needs all the help she can get and Debbie is like Cesar Millan the dog whisperer, in a dress. Then there’s Franklin. I love that dog like he’s my own. Eddie says he’s hers, but I know he’s really mine. Franklin knows that too.

I guess all in all, Eddie is doing okay. I must have done something right.


You can read more about Chava in Two Heads are Deader Than One, the second book in the “Eddie Shoes” mystery series.

Private Investigator Eddie Shoes is enjoying a rare period of calm. She’s less lonely now that Chava, her card-counting mom from Vegas, is sharing her home. She also has a new companion, Franklin, a giant dog of curious ancestry.

Hoping for a lucrative new case, Eddie instead finds herself taking on a less promising client: her best friend from her childhood in Spokane. Dakota has turned up in Bellingham in jail, where she is being held on a weapons charge. Eddie reluctantly agrees not only to lend her friend money for bail but to also investigate who is stalking her. Soon after Dakota is freed, she disappears again, leaving Eddie to answer to the local cops, including her ex-boyfriend Chance Parker. Has Dakota been kidnapped? If not, why did she jump bail? What are Eddie’s business cards doing on the bodies of two murder victims?

The key to these mysteries lies in Dakota and Eddie’s shared history, which ended when Eddie left home after high school. As a person of interest in both murder cases, Eddie is forced to go in search of the truth, digging into the past and facing her own demons.

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About the author
Elena Hartwell spent years in the theater before turning her dramatic skills to fiction. She writes the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series. One Dead, Two to Go, Two Heads Are Deader Than One, and Three Strikes, You’re Dead (launching April 15, 2018). According to Peter Clines, Eddie Shoes is “the most fun detective since Richard Castle stumbled into the 12th precinct.”

Elena lives in Twin Peaks, called North Bend, Washington in the real world. The perfect place for a writer, especially one who kills people for a living.

For more information and cute pictures of her animals visit: elenahartwell.com and arcofawriter.com or follow her on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Two Heads are Deader Than One is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

My Musing ~ Two Heads are Deader Than One by Elena Hartwell

Two Heads are Deader Than One by Elena Hartwell is the second book in the “Eddie Shoes” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, April 2017

Private Investigator Eddie Shoes is enjoying a rare period of calm. She’s less lonely now that Chava, her card-counting mom from Vegas, is sharing her home. She also has a new companion, Franklin, a giant dog of curious ancestry.

Hoping for a lucrative new case, Eddie instead finds herself taking on a less promising client: her best friend from her childhood in Spokane. Dakota has turned up in Bellingham in jail, where she is being held on a weapons charge. Eddie reluctantly agrees not only to lend her friend money for bail but to also investigate who is stalking her. Soon after Dakota is freed, she disappears again, leaving Eddie to answer to the local cops, including her ex-boyfriend Chance Parker. Has Dakota been kidnapped? If not, why did she jump bail? What are Eddie’s business cards doing on the bodies of two murder victims?

The key to these mysteries lies in Dakota and Eddie’s shared history, which ended when Eddie left home after high school. As a person of interest in both murder cases, Eddie is forced to go in search of the truth, digging into the past and facing her own demons.

This book grabbed me immediately quickly becoming a page-turner that was hard to put down. The author did a great job in setting up this story where a friend comes back and it’s up to Eddie to decipher whether what she is being told is the truth or not. The narrative kept me engaged in all that was happening in this fast-paced drama. The mystery was nicely done with scene after scene putting me a bit closer to what was going on with the one main player that had her hand in how this was going to end. There were some key elements that when it was said and done, made sense of the whys and I have to applaud the author on a job well done. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters that included Eddie and her delightfully charming mother, this was a great read and I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

Eve Appel and the Bride Without a Wedding Gown by Lesley A. Diehl

Mud Bog MurderIt was Sunday, the day our consignment business was closed. Madeleine, my business partner and I were in the shop inventorying our merchandise and reminiscing about our move to Sabal Bay, a small city on the edge of the Big Lake in rural Florida.

There was a rap on the front door of the shop. I went to the door to explain that we were closed today, but when I looked through the window, I could see the face of a young woman, tears streaming down her face. I unlocked the door, and she rushed through throwing her arms around me.

“You’ve got to help me. I’m getting married today, and I don’t have a dress.”

Well that was poor planning, I thought to myself, trying to pry her arms from around my neck.

“I mean, I did have a dress. My maid of honor offered to press it for me, but she set the iron too hot and burned the front of the gown. The ceremony is this afternoon. Help me.”

She was in a pickle.

“I know you’re friends with a mob boss. Do you think he might be willing to break into a shop, and I could find a gown. I’d pay him, and I’d leave money for the gown, too.”

In a pickle and desperate, too.

“Don’t be silly, “ I said. “Even if you paid for the dress, the shop probably would call the cops, and you’d be charged with breaking and entering.”

“I don’t care. By then I’ll be on my honeymoon and out of reach of the cops. They can jail me when I get back from my honeymoon cruise.”

As distraught as the woman was, I was beginning to get miffed at her assumption that I could and would get a friend, regardless of his “Family” connections, to break the law so she could wrap herself in tulle and lace for her wedding day.

Madeleine, who had always maintained reservations about my friendship with mobster Nappi, tugged on my sleeve and whispered in my ear. “This is what befriending a mob boss will get you,” she said. “Aiding and abetting.”

It wasn’t as if Nappi hadn’t done favors for me over the years, favors I preferred the authorities not know about, but Madeleine had a point. No one should know about these peccadillos, and I should nip any suggestion of illegality on my or Nappi’s part in the bud.

I shook my head. “You come here asking for help and expect me to engage in illegal activities to come to your aid?”

My gruff tone of voice brought on renewed crying now increased in loudness and in the volume of tears pouring from her eyes.

“I’m sorry. How rude and thoughtless of me. I’ll just wear my jeans and a clean shirt.” She turned to go.

“You don’t have a nice dress you could wear?” Madeleine asked.

The young woman looked at Madeleine in disbelief. “I’m a ranch gal. I don’t own anything but jeans. I even wear them to church, a clean pair, I mean. I only expose my legs to the sun when I put on my bikini and go to the beach. And you can’t expect me to wear that to my wedding, can you?”

I could. It was something I might have done when I was younger, but her willingness to engage in thievery underlined how desperate she was, and I was, after all, the owner of a shop specializing in women’s designer fashions.

“We have no wedding dresses in right now, but I do have a negligee in beige with ecru lace trim that might pass as a wedding dress. It’ll reveal a bit more skin that you might like, but I think it will fit you. If not, there are only navy blue and black cocktail dresses.”

“I can’t wear black on my wedding day. Let’s see the nightgown.”

I held it up for her and she nodded. We hustled her off to the dressing room and held out breath.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“Revealing,” said Madeleine.

“You should have seen my wedding gown if you think this is revealing.” She looked at her bare back in the mirror and appeared delighted with what she saw.

“You won’t have to change from your wedding dress into your negligee on your wedding night,” I observed. Very efficient, I thought .

“You don’t need shoes, do you? Because I don’t think we have anything that would work,” said Madeleine.

“Don’t be silly. I’m wearing a new pair of blue cowboy boots, and I borrowed a matching cowboy hat from a friend.” She dried her eyes and checked her watch. “I’m late.” She didn’t bother to change back into her street clothes but dashed out of the store.

“She didn’t pay us for the gown,” said Madeleine.

“No, but she’s got everything covered now: something borrowed, something blue and something stolen. What more could a bride want?” I asked.


Mud Bog Murder is the fourth book in the Eve Appel mystery series, published by Camel Press, September 2016.

When Jenny McCleary leases her property to be ravaged by the annual mud bog races, the small rural town of Sabal Bay, Florida, is divided into warring camps: environmental activists versus monster truck fans. Jenny, who frequents the consignment store owned by Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, doesn’t seem to mind when Eve and Madeleine join the protesters the day of the races.

During the race, Eve catches Jenny’s airborne head after it is tossed into the air by the wheels of a truck. Now every protester is a suspect in Jenny’s murder. What’s left of her alligator-gnawed body is found near the airboat business of Eve’s Miccosukee Indian friends, Sammy Egret and his grandfather. When more evidence turns up nearby, Grandfather is arrested.

Even without the disembodied head, Eve has her hands full. The town resents her role in the protests and is boycotting the consignment shop on wheels. She is torn between two men–GQ-handsome, devoted PI Alex and tall, dark, and exotic Sammy. Jenny’s sweet and needy teenage daughter is dating a petty criminal. Will Eve and Madeleine ever be able to move into their new digs? Not unless the town forgives them. And not if whoever decapitated Jenny gets to Eve before she and her sleuthing buddies solve the mystery.

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About the author
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. Mud Bog Murder follows the first three books in the Eve Appel mystery series, A Secondhand Murder, Dead in the Water and A Sporting Murder.  Connect with Lesley at www.lesleyadiehl.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Mud Bog Murder. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 3, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ The Trade List by R. Franklin James

The Trade List by R. Franklin James is the fourth book in the “Hollis Morgan” mystery series. Publisher: Camel Press, June 2016

The Trade ListHollis Morgan has come a long way since serving time for her ex-husband’s white-collar crimes. After receiving a state pardon, she is now a probate attorney at the Bay Area firm where she began as a paralegal. In a case close to home, her manager, George Ravel, inherits a fortune from his newly found birth mother, but her dead husband’s heirs are overcome with greed, not grief. They are determined to discredit her will and deny her natural son even one cent of the millions they believe should belong to their father’s estate.

George asks Hollis to handle the case, but her attention is divided. A dead woman has been discovered with Hollis’s business card—one that dates back to Hollis’s years on parole. The police don’t believe Hollis’s claim that she never met Olivia Shur. As it turns out, she did know the woman, only under another name. At the time of her death, Olivia Shur possessed a list that could end the careers and lives of several public officials and prominent businessmen. Copies of the list exist. Someone believes Hollis has one of them and will go to any extreme to obtain it.

To protect her friends and stay alive, Hollis turns to her ex-con buddies from the Fallen Angels Book Club. In this case, there are too many people on both sides of the law who are determined to see her stopped.

When Hollis receives a message from a past acquaintance, little does she know the hornet’s nest that would open for both her professional and personal life. Who should she trust? When the chips are down, Hollis is a survivor with a little help from her friends.

I love it when a story captivates and has me completely engrossed in all that are bound by the pages of a book. What a way to start with a tease here and there and then bam, the plot thickens into a fast-paced and action-packed drama that quickly became a page turner. I liked the tone of the narrative and how each scene blends from one chapter to the other taking me deeper into all the facets in the storytelling. With skilled resources, the author does a great job of taking me along on this ride with enough suspense and intrigue to keep me moving forwards as I had to know what was happening in the mysteries that were unfolding before my eyes. I like Hollis and what she has accomplished in her life and it’s always interesting to see how she handles her role when her personal life invades her professional life. I enjoyed the latest in the series and I hope there are more adventures yet to come in this engagingly appealing series.

It’s All In A Day With Hollis Morgan by R. Franklin James

The Trade ListWaking up to the clang of the BART light rail train, took me back years ago when the sound of the bell was meant to wake me up and signal the start of another day in prison.

But that’s been awhile, and since then I’ve turned my life around, and except for a random memory, I could almost forget the year and a half I spent in California’s forced accommodations. However, nothing could make me forget the betrayal of my now ex-husband, who set me up to take the fall for his criminality. He swore that I would get off, because I’d never had a run in with the law, but we weren’t counting on a tough-on-crime judge who gave me three years for insurance fraud.

My immediate family would be considered dysfunctional on a good day, but the day I looked into my father’s eyes as they took me away, was the worst of my life. The fact that my mother ignored me and kept muttering :”. . .this is so embarrassing. . . to my sister and brother hurt me but then I’d never been able to count on her support.

So I served my time and got off in eighteen months for good behavior. I got out physically, but I still carried my cell with me. It has taken years for me to compartmentalize those months and put them behind me—not far behind, because I never want to completely forget how I lost myself.

It took some doing but I received a judicial pardon, graduated from law school, passed the California bar and now I’m working as a probate attorney for a small but respected law firm in the Bay Area.

Enough reminiscing.

Before I go out the door, I give a kiss on the forehead to my sleeping significant other, John Faber, without whom I’d be even more ensconced in the shell I started building for myself. He keeps me—hopeful.

Which reminds me, I’m going to be late for my meeting with George.

George Ravel is my managing attorney, not my boss but a mentor type I can bounce things off of, except that day before yesterday he surprises me with the fact that his newly discovered birth mother (I didn’t even know he was adopted) left him a fortune and he wants me to process the will.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that I’ll have to tell him that not only did he inherit millions from his birth mother, he also inherited a bounty of the most obnoxious, greedy and desperate step-relations I have ever come across. They are determined to contest the will and do whatever they can to invalidate his share.

But it’s not in my nature to pass on a wrong that I can make right. This morning I plan to tell him that I’ve discovered a few key pieces of information that completely changes the outlook—and not all for the good.

This brings me to another case that’s making me crazy, yesterday I was contacted by the county sheriff. Evidently my business card was discovered on the car seat of a woman who was murdered. I didn’t recognize her name or description, but trying telling that to law enforcement when you’re an ex-con.

Supposedly, she’s known to have an incriminating list of names that many will pay—and kill, to keep from seeing the light of day. It’s just my luck that everyone thinks that she gave me a copy of the list—except she didn’t.

And that’s just today.


The Trade List is the fourth book in the Hollis Morgan mystery series, published by Camel Press, June 2016.

Hollis Morgan has come a long way since serving time for her ex-husband’s white-collar crimes. After receiving a state pardon, she is now a probate attorney at the Bay Area firm where she began as a paralegal. In a case close to home, her manager, George Ravel, inherits a fortune from his newly found birth mother, but her dead husband’s heirs are overcome with greed, not grief. They are determined to discredit her will and deny her natural son even one cent of the millions they believe should belong to their father’s estate.

George asks Hollis to handle the case, but her attention is divided. A dead woman has been discovered with Hollis’s business card–one that dates back to Hollis’s years on parole. The police don’t believe Hollis’s claim that she never met Olivia Shur. As it turns out, she did know the woman, only under another name. At the time of her death, Olivia Shur possessed a list that could end the careers and lives of several public officials and prominent businessmen. Copies of the list exist. Someone believes Hollis has one of them and will go to any extreme to obtain it.

To protect her friends and stay alive, Hollis turns to her ex-con buddies from the Fallen Angels Book Club. In this case, there are too many people on both sides of the law who are determined to see her stopped.

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About the author
R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and flourished in a career of public policy and political advocacy. In 2013 the first book in her fan starred Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, The Fallen Angels Book Club, was released, and followed by Sticks & Stones, in 2014. The third book in the series: The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club came out in 2015. Book four, The Trade List, is scheduled for release in June 2016. James resides in northern California.

For more information please visit: www.rfranklinjames.com.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Trade List. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end June 7, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.