Tag Archives: Carolyn Haines

A day in the life of Trouble, the black cat detective by Carolyn Haines

When you’re given the name Trouble, you have a lot to live up to. Add to that the fact that my dad is a super feline detective, and you can see I carry a heavy burden. If you throw in the fact that I speak with a British accent—even though I was raised in Wetumpka, Alabama–you can easily see how that would leave a bloke knackered.

Because I was raised in the South, let’s get the genealogy out of the way. Who your people are is a very important thing where I come from, so I want to get my pedigree out in the open. I am Trouble, son of Familiar the black cat detective. My mother was a lovely feral cat on the streets of Washington D.C. She gave birth to me and my siblings after a rousing encounter with Dad, and then she was hit by a car. It was touch and go if we would survive for a few days, but Dad brought his humanoid, Eleanor, to save us. And so she did. She scooped us up and took us home and nurtured us until she could find the perfect home for each of us.

It was a harsh beginning, but life has taken a positive turn. Now I rely on Tammy Lynn, a bookseller in middle Alabama. Forsooth, my conversational train has derailed and I pride myself on logic—we were talking about my lineage.

My dad had quite a reputation as a private dick. I inherited his ability to see clues that the humanoids (bless their hearts) overlook. And I have studied the tactics of the most brilliant of all fictional sleuths, Sherlock Holmes. I prefer the television series featuring that hunk of humanity, Benedict Cumberbatch—a cat lover if ever I saw one. He is quite feline in his nuanced expressions and sharp movements. Hours of studying the brilliance of Cumberbatch as Sherlock has honed my sleuthing skills and influenced my diction. Such is life.

Back in the day, when Dad was traveling the world solving cases, I was just a wee sprog. Now I am sleek, agile, and ready to take on villains of all stripes. Let me add that the bipeds desperately need my help. Humanoids are not the most logical species (with the exception of Sherlock Holmes). They easily fall victim to the base impulses of crime—lust, greed, revenge. Of course, there are fabulous specimens like my Tammy Lynn, a woman with a heart of gold and a functioning brain. Like Tammy, they sometimes need a shove in the romance lane as well as crime solving. I’m very accomplished as Cupid’s assistant, too. In fact, there are few things I’m not truly good at. As you, dear reader, will see if you venture into one of my tales.

My first documented case is Familiar Trouble, a little nod at my dad’s accomplishments as well as my own new life. The story features my very own Tammy Lynn. Her obsession with folklore and stargazing takes her out to the high ridge of an impact crater in her own backyard of Wetumpka. While she is scoping out the stars for a glimpse of a configuration the Choctaw Indians predicted, she unwittingly stumbles into what may be a serial killer and a body dump.

Tammy is a plucky young woman who loves her community—but she also yearns for something more in her life. She’s reluctant to risk her heart again, but I can clearly see what’s best for her. Even when she doesn’t want to look. As Tammy is pulled deeper into the nightmare reality of a maniac known as the Silk Stocking Killer, she works with Deputy Aiden Waters, who has a host of personal secrets he’s not sharing.

One thing I’ve learned in my short career as a gumshoe is that humans eat terrible food—not exactly applicable to crime solving, but a fact that may speak to their highly emotional behavior at times—and they lie. Most interesting is that they lie to themselves. Felines, the more superior species, own their nature. We are cats. Elegant, watchful, discriminating, and courageous. We can also be quick and brutal. We own that. Humans struggle against accepting their true selves.

But enough comparing apples to inferior apples, it’s time to solve a mystery. Join me and the Familiar Legacy writers to bring the adventures of Trouble, son of Familiar, to life. First on the schedule is Familiar Trouble, July; then Trouble in Dixie (Rebecca Barrett) in August; and Trouble in Tallahassee (Claire Matturro) in September. And on and on as the cases and tales unfold.

Take a word of advice from a sage black cat, and join us for some fun and tall tales! (I’m also excellent at puns!) Yours in crime solving, Trouble.


You can read more about Trouble and Tammy in Familiar Trouble, the first book in the NEW “Familiar Legacy” mystery series.

BLOOD IS THICKER. . . Sometimes a unique talent is inherited—and such is the case for Trouble, son of Familiar the black cat detective. Trouble’s rather indolent life in the sleepy town of Wetumpka, Alabama is upended when a serial killer arrives on the scene. Trouble begins to apply the skills he learned from his dad and his hero, Sherlock Holmes.

When local bookseller Tammy Lynn is attacked at the site of an impact crater, Trouble realizes he must protect his human and solve the mystery of the Silk Stocking Killer.

Aiden Waters, a local deputy, has tracked the SSK to Wetumpka. Since his wife’s murder, Aiden won’t risk romance, but when Tammy is endangered, everything changes. Especially their hearts.

Buy Link

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of the Familiar, black cat detective series. Familiar Trouble is the first book in the Legacy series. Haines is also the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney humorous mystery series and the Pluto’s Snitch mystery series. She does see ghosts—but runs away because she’s afraid. And she operates an animal rescue on her Alabama farm. You can learn more about her at the following links. Connect with Carolyn at carolynhaines.com, on Twitter, on Instagram, on her Amazon Author page, on BookBub, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Reginald Proctor by Carolyn Haines

When I found myself working with Madam Petalungra, world famous medium, in the cosmopolitan Louisiana city of New Orleans, I discovered a world hidden to most people. And I began to realize many things about my chosen line of work. The first is that I have no real ability to see spirits. Madam, who is a true talent in the spirit world, said I might eventually learn sensitivity to the specters trapped between realms, but that nonetheless I was her ablest assistant because while I could not see the dead, I do have an ability to read the living. Madam, who is a true talent in the spirit world, said I might eventually learn sensitivity to the specters trapped between realms. Nonetheless I was her ablest assistant because, while I could not see the dead, I have an uncanny ability to read the living. My years of working with Madam were the beginning of a very strange path.

Not so long ago, I was attending Madam at one of her regular séances. Her New Orleans home is a frequent stopping place for the famous and wealthy, including Mr. Doyle, the English writer of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. But on this particular night, it was a young female writer who caught my eye. Raissa James was in the company of her uncle and two friends and they’d arranged to attend Madame’s session. The rest, as they say, is history.

I returned to Mobile, Alabama with Raissa and her uncle to investigate a series of unexplained incidents in the magnificent Caoin House. The mystery we uncovered was far more complex and devious than I’d ever anticipated. But I also discovered in Raissa a young woman who doesn’t judge my lifestyle and who also keeps my secrets. Now we’re business partners in the gumshoe agency, Pluto’s Snitch. Our specialty is solving mysteries with a supernatural influence. And in our second case, we’re working for none other than the most modern woman in America, Zelda Fitzgerald.

Our adventure will take us to Montgomery, Alabama where Mrs. Fitzgerald’s childhood friend is suffering from what she calls a possession. Camilla Granger has been institutionalized in the state mental hospital, a voluntary commitment. Described as a sweet, meek young woman, Camilla has twice tried to kill her fiancé, a man she claims to love. She is either mentally ill, in which case we won’t be able to help, or some entity is deviling her. If her erratic and dangerous behavior is the result of some kind of haunting, perhaps Raissa and I can intervene.

We’ll travel up the Alabama river on one of her uncle’s steamboats. I hope to get some gambling in along the journey and replenish my threadbare finances. As I mentioned, I’m pretty good at reading people and in my past life, I’ve learned how to survive. Gambling is generally easy money. Raissa has never traveled by river, and the trip will give her time to work on the stories she wants to write and publish. She is quite talented. This slow pace traveling up-river will allow us time to put the finishing touches on our approach to this case.

If we complete this case successfully, then I see a bright future for Pluto’s Snitch. For those who aren’t familiar with the slang of the day, snitch mean private investigator, and for those who enjoy mythology, Pluto was the god who ruled the land of the dead. Hence our clever name!

Madam has a number of clients who will hire us to resolve hauntings, strange phenomena, and resolve crimes that have no apparent explanation. Raissa and I are both single. She is widowed and my lifestyle doesn’t allow for a marriage, so we are free to travel to various locations. Resolving hauntings requires that we be on-scene. I may not see spirits but I am sensitive to gut feelings, and I believe Pluto’s Snitch will be a service much in demand.


Come and share the mystery of the haunting of Camilla Granger with us in The House of Memory, the second book in the “Pluto’s Snitch” mystery series, coming June 27, 2017.

Raissa James not only sees the dead but she’s caught the ears of the living—especially now that she’s solved her first case. Word of Pluto’s Snitch, her private-investigation agency specializing in the occult, has spread far and wide. It’s even come to the notice of Zelda Fitzgerald, the nation’s most celebrated flapper. And Zelda’s in need of its services.

Along with Reginald Proctor, her partner in detection, Raissa travels to Montgomery, Alabama, where Zelda’s friend Camilla has suddenly become prone to violent fits and delusions. Has Camilla gone mad. . .or has she been possessed?

Raissa and Reginald soon discover that Camilla’s not the only young lady in the area to fall victim to something unnatural. Now it’s up to the Snitches to follow the clues and save Camilla, locked away behind the walls of the formidable Bryce Hospital asylum. But the key to her rescue might not lie among the living at all. Because Raissa knows that the dead have their secrets, too.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of The Pluto’s Snitch mystery series set in 1920. The Book of Beloved is the first book in the series. Haines is also the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney humorous mystery series and the Familiar, black cat detective series. She does see ghosts—but runs away because she’s afraid. And she operates an animal rescue on her Alabama farm. You can learn more about her at the following links. Connect with Carolyn at carolynhaines.com, on Twitter, on Instagram, on her Amazon Author page, on BookBub, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Buy Link

My Musing ~ Sticks and Bone by Carolyn Haines

Sticks and Bones is the 17th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2017

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.

Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye―or is told in Sister’s memoir―and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.

Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

I love, love, love Sticks and Bones. This book kept me engrossed and enthralled in all aspects in the telling of this tale. The mystery was enjoyable and the interaction with the main cast and the visitors kept me glued to the pages. The narrative was visually appealing, putting me smack dab in the middle of that was happening in this fast-paced drama that oozes southern charm. All the major characters play pivotal roles and one of my favorite scenes featured Sarah Booth, Coleman and Tinkie. Yes, I’m still smiling at the remembrance. With an eccentrically quirky cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this is the best book in the series thus far and I can’t wait for the next one in this delightfully endearing series.

A day in the life of Frangelica “Sister” McFee by Carolyn Haines

My days are always extraordinarily busy and filled with exciting events and people, smart and beautiful people not dullards and ugly people. As a very famous author, I’m always in demand. Before we go any further, I want to be sure you’re pronouncing my name correctly. No one in Zinnia calls me Frangelica. They call me Sista. Not Sister. Sis-ta! Sis-ta McFee.

My daddy is running for the U.S. Senate seat from Mississippi and he’s going to win big. People adore him. He’s almost as popular as I am, and even though he’s married to that gold-digger Susan Simpson McFee—who has gotten herself pregnant just to be sure she gets a share of the McFee fortune—he’s going to make the best senator ever. I hope he leaves Susan in Memphis to raise her spawn of Satan child. My daddy will be so much more effective if she isn’t hanging on his coattails.

I told you I was a wealthy novelist. I write fiery romances that capture the hearts and minds of millions of women. I’m really a household name. More of a brand really. Say my name to any woman who’s ever read a romance, and she’ll tell you how wonderful I am. A lot of writers would be satisfied to have cornered the romance market and become a beloved figure of fiction, but I know I have so much more to give my public. I’ve recently published a memoir about my family.

I’m a child of tragedy. Which makes it even more remarkable that I’ve accomplished all I have. Yes, it’s true that I had the best private schools and more money than Midas could spend, but I have suffered. I’ve suffered bigly. My daddy loves me but sometimes he forgets I even exist. My mother and brother, Daryl, mostly called Son, died in a tragic automobile accident several years ago. It was my brother’s fault. He was high and drove off into the Sunflower River during a terrible flood. They both died, but Son’s body was never found. Which at least saved us the cost of a funeral. That may sound bitter to you, but think about it. My mother could never see Son for what he was—a common addict. He was always the golden child, the star athlete, the business genius. I was just a plump, dumpy girl, emphasis on the gender part. The McFee family has great pride in the male children and heirs, but not so much with the girls.

Strange as it may seem, I’m going to be the only McFee heir now. There are no males, unless that contortionist Susan Simpson McFee shoots out a male brat. But it will be too late by then. I’ll already have taken control of Great-Grandfather Jamie’s trust. And it will all be mine. The Delta mansion, the stocks, the bonds, the land, the utilities—the whole she-bang.

And if that’s not enough, they’ll be filming the movie based on my tell-all book about my family. The movie crew is already in town scouting for locations. It’s going to be wonderful. Really wonderful. And I can tell the whole world how worthless Son was and how I have finally become the real winner in my family. Except for Daddy, of course. He’s going to be a U.S. Senator. He’ll have power and I’ll have money. What a combo!

The only flies in the ointment are Stinky Tinkie Richmond and her sidekick, that awful Sarah Booth Delaney. They think they’re private investigators or some such idiocy. And they are everywhere I turn. They’re at my home, they’re in town, they’re stuffing their faces at the local café. They are intolerable, and Stinky Tinkie had better watch out or I’ll tell all about her college days. You know, it’s really special to come home and realize how far superior I am to all of the people I grew up with. They just can’t hold a candle to me. I shine like an LED super lantern to their Triple A battery light.

But enough about them and back to me, a far more worthy subject. When I inherit everything, I’m going to write a new series of young adult fantasy books. I have the perfect idea. I just have to get this movie behind me and make sure my daddy gets his heart’s desire and is elected. Maybe I’ll buy my own Hollywood studio and make movies from all of my books. Now that would be a great cause. The world needs more romance and adventure, and I’m just the woman to give it to them.

So much to do; so little time. I’m off to tackle the winds of war. Be sure and learn all about me in Sticks and Bones. I really am worth your time.


You can read more about Sis-ta McFee in Sticks and Bones, the 17th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series.

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.

Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye―or is told in Sister’s memoir―and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.

Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries. She is the recipient of both the Harper Lee Distinguished Writing Award and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Semmes, Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of.

Connect with Carolyn at carolynhaines.com, on Twitter, on Instagram, on her Amazon Author page, on BookBub, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Halloween with Mystery Characters by LynDee Walker

midnight-mysteriesHalloween ranks among favorite holidays for many a mystery reader—so we gathered some of our favorite characters from the anthology MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES around the fire pit tonight to share tales of their favorite Halloweens, past and present. Grab a mug of cocoa or cider and pull up an adirondack chair—we’ll start with our favorite talkative ghost. . .

Marmaduke Dodsworth (It Takes a Ghost/Karen Cantwell): My favorite Halloween story, you say? Well, yes, that is a most fascinating question to ask a ghost, now isn’t it? First, let me introduce myself: My name is Marmaduke Dodsworth. I was born in Dartford, England in the year eighteen hundred and eighty-four. I lived a mostly content life until 1915 when I traveled to the United States of America where I was struck by a car and killed. I would not say it was a good death, but oh well, as you Americans say. One Halloween, not so long ago, I joined my living friend, Sophie on a haunted house tour. There, I met a fellow spirit by the name of Myrtle May. Myrtle tutored me in the fine art of moving objects through space. Some may consider that this is a feat which comes easily to ghosts, but I assure you, this is not the case. Myrtle, ah, fair Myrtle. She had a gift and she taught me well. In no time at all she had me levitating tea pots, tea cups, spoons, and even a lamp. Why, you should have seen the faces on the tour patrons! Wide eyes, fallen jaws. We had them trembling in their boots! Yes, it was a fine Halloween indeed.

* * * * * * * *

Cherry Tucker (Vigilante Vignette/Larissa Reinhart): My favorite Halloween memories are not from childhood since I was the sole kid wearing a handmade costume. Not that my third grade Chiquita Banana suit wasn’t brilliant—although it did cause a bit of a mess—but you have to understand when I was growing up, Pinterest didn’t exist so homemade costumes were not in vogue.

But even after Shawna Branson played Monkey in the Middle with my bananas (literally), I grew to love making costumes. And now handmade costumes are in vogue. I even get paid for them. When you’re an artist, you hustle for any kind of job.

My particular favorite was a recent Halloween party at Red’s County Line Tap. Painted a Renaissance landscape backdrop in ochres and siennas, cut a big hole in the canvas, inserted my head, and went as the Mona Lisa. Luke wore a dusty pair of Wranglers, boots, and a western shirt. In the crowded bar, Luke’s cowboy had found my Mona Lisa smile and pulled me into the gents’ bathroom before our friends and family could notice. We’re the Romeo and Juliet of Halo, if you didn’t know.

Actually more like Hatfields and McCoys.

Before we could talk, my brother-in-law Nik had kicked in the bathroom door.

His kick alerted my brother, Cody. Who, misinterpreting our bathroom cluster, threatened to kill Luke.

Which led to my sister, Casey, pitching a fit for all to hear.

And then Red booted us all from the party.

But I’ve had worse happen. I just may reprise that Mona Lisa costume yet.

* * * * * * * *

Jackson Bell (Salad Days, Halloween Nights/Eleanor Cawood Jones): I don’t talk about it much, but a big part of the reason I love dressing up for Halloween as an adult is because there were a couple of years as a kid when I didn’t get to put on a costume or even enjoy any candy. My foster parents were good to me, but strict, and Halloween wasn’t on their radar.

So when I became Chef Jackson Bell, opened my own restaurant, and Halloween rolled around, I couldn’t wait to decorate, dress up, and throw a party for new customers and their kids on Halloween eve. It started small, but now we sell out every year. We carve pumpkins, admire costumes, eat treats and pumpkin pie, and laugh a lot.

My favorite Halloween was five years ago, when I first invited all the kids in foster care in our little city to come to their own party at the restaurant. It’s an annual event now. We provide costumes and masks, and the kids trick or treat at the tables and in the kitchen, enjoy Halloween lunch, and take home a bag of treats and a little pumpkin apiece. I love it!

* * * * * * * *

Nichelle Clarke (Frightening Features/LynDee Walker): I haven’t had much luck with Halloween the past couple of years—my late Octobers seem to be stuck in a “recovering from a life-threatening injury” rut that leaves me parked on the sofa with a bag of Oreos and Anderson Cooper on my TV. But sometimes, that’s not as bad as it sounds.

I’ve always loved this holiday—costumes and spooky stories are such fun, and my mom had the only “Halloween Tree” in our neighborhood when I was a kid (we got an old Christmas tree from Goodwill and spray-painted it black. If only we’d decided to sell them, we’d be holiday millionaires today.) These days, I have a teeny one that sits on the table behind the sofa, and this year, my boyfriend (still pinching myself a little on that one) camped out to play nurse/entertainment director, and it turns out he’s pretty good at it. He even dug out my spooky light up witch and the “Munchies for Monsters” candy bowl, slicked his dark hair back and popped in some vampire teeth for the trick or treaters. And, when he wasn’t manning the door, he gave a wicked foot massage. It may just be my favorite Halloween yet, healing surgical wound and all.

* * * * * * * *

The Black Cat (Weeping Moon/Maria Grazia Swan): Halloween is a canine conspiracy. The word Halloween is a dead giveaway. Try saying it slow and with a high pitch. . .get it? It’s the sound of a dog howling. . .

Ghosts, witches and goblins is what makes the day fun they say. Ah! Is what they aren’t mentioning that matters. Black cats. . .yes, black cats.

Every witch has a black cat. I’m not saying that Lella, my human personal assistant, is a witch, although there are days—but in general she pays attention to my needs and I heard her say a firm no to some neighbor kid who wanted to ‘borrow’ me, Flash, for Halloween.

Borrow. Is that even legal? And tonight is Halloween. I get to sit and watch the parade of loud kids wearing silly costumes that will be obsolete in the morning. And what for? So they can go door to door to beg for cheap candies? Take the costume money and buy your own candies I say. So everyone would stay home and my human could rub my belly instead of wasting time opening and closing the front door.

* * * * * * * *

Samantha Sweet (Spellbound Sweets/Connie Shelton): Prior to one very special Halloween, Samantha Sweet was a 50-something woman who broke into houses for a living. Covering the bills was a stretch and she baked pastries at home to fill in the gaps. Early one autumn, she encountered a dead body in one of her break-in houses, clashed with the very handsome deputy sheriff, and was handed a magical artifact. Those three events set her life on a new course and led to the first mystery she ever solved.

Halloween will always hold a special place in Samantha’s heart because October was the month in which she finally realized her dream of opening her own pastry shop, Sweet’s Sweets, and Halloween was the first crazy-busy holiday for her new business. Each year, as autumn rolls around, the witches come out of the woodwork and when costumed kids stop by Sweet’s Sweets for decorated cookies, Sam readies for the holiday with her best baked goodies of the season.

* * * * * * * *

The Kitchen Witch (No Time to Witch/Morgana Best): “You’re kidding me, right?” I asked.

Thyme, my closest friend, shook her head. “Every Halloween, an evil demon, repelled only by pumpkins, manifests the very worst fears of the townspeople.”

I wasn’t sure if she was pranking me. “Worst fears, like snakes, spiders, being buried alive, getting peanut butter stuck on the roof of your mouth?”

“All that, and more.”

I disabled the smoke alarm and threw the burned remains of my latest attempt at baking into the sink in one fluid motion. “Mine is that my cupcakes make someone spontaneously combust.”

“I can understand that. Anyway, last year, a man forgot to place a pumpkin, and he. . .” Thyme paused to wipe a tear from her eye. “Amelia, do you have a pumpkin outside your house?”

“No!” I exclaimed, as I heard a knock at the door. “Be right back.” I opened the door, using one of my charred cupcakes as a doorstop.

The hideous demon standing there struck terror into my very soul. As he stretched out a gnarled black hand to my throat, I threw my cupcake at him. He dissolved into flames.

Thyme gasped behind me. “How did you kill the demon?”

I shrugged. “It was a piece of cake.”


You can catch up with these characters plus other favorites in the limited-edition anthology MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES, which includes all-new stories by Ritter Ames, Carolyn Haines, LynDee Walker, Larissa Reinhart, Karen Cantwell, Maria Grazia Swan, Morgana Best, Connie Shelton, and Eleanor Cawood Jones. Tell us about your favorite Halloween below, and you could win one of two kindle copies! The giveaway ends November 6, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Thanks so much for having us today, Dru!

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the life of Raissa James by Carolyn Haines

The Book of BelovedA Woman Of Words

Before World War I, my life stretched before me like the neat and orderly rows of marigolds in my neighbor’s garden. I’d married the man I loved, a young lawyer. We’d rented the perfect cottage in Savannah, Georgia, a city filled with grace and beauty. The pattern of my days made sense. I woke up in my husband’s arms. I cooked breakfast and sent him to his office with a smile. I maintained our home and cooked and cleaned and met him at the door with a kiss. In the evenings, we sat on the porch or before a fire, reading our books, talking, as close as we could get to one another. I’d found my safe harbor, the life I loved, the man who led me into marriage with humor and strength.

And then the war came and everything changed.

When Alex was killed on a European battlefield—a hero who saved the lives of his fellow soldiers–I clung to the new routine I’d developed in his absence. I’d become a schoolteacher. English literature and grammar, at the local high school. Stunned by my husband’s death, I continued with the solitary life I’d built, and had thought was only temporary. Never had I anticipated I would live without Alex.

When my Uncle Brett Airlie invited me to spend the summer on his Mobile, Alabama, estate, Caoin House, I almost declined. He’d planned a weekend party in my honor, and the thought of staying in Savannah alone with no students to teach for the summer finally convinced me to board the train to Mobile. I was prone to depression when I was alone.

My uncle’s estate is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Acres and acres of pecan groves, gardens, live oak trees, forests, and swamps. Coain House is the crown—a vast house with porches, balconies, and a gracious charm that epitomizes the Southern way of life.

Uncle Brett is an inventor—and a very social man. He loves a good party, dancing, drinking (even though it’s illegal), and spending time with friends. He’s a bachelor, but he has a lovely friend, Isabel. She’s smart, kind, and social, a perfect companion for his parties and occasional mischief. Uncle Brett is after me to stay at Caoin House, permanently. He’s a man with modern views, and he supports my ambition to become a writer of ghost stories. I want to be the female M.R. James or Sheridan Le Fanu or Henry James. That’s my secret ambition, one I’m almost afraid o speak aloud.

Some people think that writing is not a profession for a woman. Especially not stories of ghosts and ghouls and the dead. That terrain is the fertile ground of Mr. Poe and other men. While I love their stories, I believe I, too, can spin a tale of mystery with a bit of a chill. I want to try, and Uncle Brett encourages me. I’m proud to say my uncle is a modern man, one who believes a woman deserves the vote and the right to own property and determine her own fate. He is not averse to the current fashions and finds the flapper to be a “charming invention.” As I said earlier, he loves inventions. Most of his have been applied to powering steamboats.

As much as I love staying at Caoin House, there is something amiss her. My uncle sees the spirit of a beautiful woman. It must be none other than Eva Whitehead, the first mistress of Caoin House.

And late at night, the ghostly image of a handsome Confederate cavalry officer wanders the oak grove in front of Caoin House. He wants something from me, and I’m almost afraid to find out what.

If I’m to be a writer, I need to determine what these restless spirits want. That’s my mission at Caoin House. I want to explore the spirit world by whatever means possible, including a visit with the famous medium, Madam Petalungro, in New Orleans.

Perhaps I’ll stay the summer in Mobile with Uncle Brett. Maybe longer. And while I’m here, maybe my heart will start the long process of letting go of Alex.

Maybe if I can put the ghosts of Caoin House to rest, I can help my own ghosts settle into the long sleep of the grave.


The Book Of Beloved is the first book in the Pluto’s Snitch mystery series, published by Thomas and Mercer, August 2016.

Murder, Mystery, Ghosts And All That Jazz

As a young woman widowed by World War I, Raissa James is no stranger to ghosts. But when an invitation arrives from Caoin House, her uncle’s estate in Mobile, Alabama, she’s finally ready to cast off the shadows of her past. And what better way to do so than with a grand party in her honor? An aspiring authoress, Raissa’s eager to soak up more of life—and immerse herself in the dark history that haunts the estate.

But the revelries come to an abrupt end when one of her uncle’s guests takes a deadly plunge. And when a ghost from the property’s past, a Confederate soldier, reveals himself to Raissa, she’s more determined than ever to get to the heart of the mysterious deaths that plague Caoin House. Enlisting the help of Reginald Proctor, a self-proclaimed medium, she holds a séance to shed light on old secrets. But she discovers that some secrets, even those long dead, still have a startling hold on the living…

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
USA TODAY bestselling author Carolyn Haines is the author of over 70 books. The Book Of Beloved is the first book in a new series published by Thomas & Mercer. She is also the author of the popular Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. Haines is the founder of Good Fortune Farm Refuge, a 501c3 animal rescue. Learn more about her books and animals at www.carolynhaines.com and sign up for her newsletter. We invite you to follow the author on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life with Millie Roberts by Carolyn Haines

Rock-a-Bye BonesAnyone will tell you the restaurant business is one of the hardest in the world. Long hours and lots of physical endurance are required to keep customers happy. And always, always a smile. Folks in Zinnia, Mississippi tell me the town wouldn’t be the same without Millie’s Café, and they prove that every day by walking in the door and eating my home-cooked food.

It’s funny how a person finds her place in a community. I’ve always enjoyed the farmers and planters who come in at seven for coffee and breakfast, and the bankers and businessmen who gather later in the morning. I love the ladies who lunch and then the afternoon teenagers who want a burger and fries or a country fried steak and a milkshake. Lord, those young boys can pack away the calories and never show it. Each part of the day brings new customers and for me, great joy in seeing the people of my town going about their daily routine.

When I became friends with Sarah Booth, back when she first came home to Zinnia, I didn’t predict that she’d be in partnership with Tinkie Bellcase Richmond in a detective agency. I never saw how much I’d love those two women, or how they’d bring so many of my special friends together to find out the truth.

And I never saw how much I’d worry about them. I have to confess, when I look at Tinkie with that little orphan baby she named Libby, going down the street with her credit card about to melt with all those baby clothes she’s buying, I see a heavy price hanging over her head.

What happened is that someone left that baby on Sarah Booth’s doorstep, and Tinkie offered to take care of it until they could find the mother. I’m not saying this was a good or bad decision. No one could have predicted how a carrot-topped baby could insinuate herself into Tinkie’s heart. All I know is that one look at Tinkie’s face whenever she glances down at the baby is enough to tell me trouble is coming down the road at a fast, fast clip.

Something you may not know about Tinkie is that while she is the chief Daddy’s Girl and society queen bee, she’s a lot more than that. She projects a façade of the fashionista—and that woman does love clothes and jewelry—but she has a hole in her life. I don’t even think she knows how much she wants a child, but I can see.

This little abandoned baby has fit perfectly into that hole, and when the mother is found. . .my heart just breaks at the thought.

From what I’ve learned from Sarah Booth, the infant was left on the front porch of Dahlia House in the dead of night. The person who left her rang the bell and didn’t leave until Sarah Booth opened the door and saw the baby.

And a pool of blood.

Since the baby wasn’t bleeding, it makes sense that the person who left her was. If that was the mother, she could be in dire circumstances.

But the one thing I know is that Sarah Booth will turn heaven and earth to find the missing mother. And until she does, little Libby will be loved and provided for. I only hope, for Tinkie’s sake, that Sarah Booth finds the missing mother quickly. And I hope the mother is not injured or hurt. In a perfect world, every baby would have happy, healthy parents to love it. I hope this turns out just like that.

Now the meringue on my coconut cream pies is a perfect shade of brown. Time to pull them out and get on with the lemon pound cakes for today’s lunch menu. Busy is good, and I’m blessed with hungry customers and loyal friends.

If you’re in Zinnia, stop by the café and maybe Tinkie will drop in with that little redheaded love bug and you can judge for yourself. And if you know anything about who her mama might be, please let Sarah Booth know. Before Tinkie gets her big, generous heart broken.


Rock-a-Bye-Bones is the 16th book in the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series, published by Minotaur Books, May 2016.

Sarah Booth Delaney knows the perfect way to begin recovering from both the recent attack on Scott Hampton’s blues club and her broken heart. She’s going to host a Thanksgiving feast for all of her friends at her ancestral home in Zinnia, Mississippi. But one bitterly cold night with the holiday just around the corner, Sarah Booth awakens to the insistent ring of her doorbell. She opens the door to find a newborn baby in a basket sitting on her front porch. . .and a pool of blood slowly seeping out from the basket. Before she can respond, an engine guns and a dark vehicle takes off.

After the police and a doctor ensure the baby is otherwise safe and healthy, Sarah Booth calls Tinkie Richmond, her partner at the Delaney Detective Agency. They know they need to do everything they can to find the baby’s mother. . .even if they are starting to fall in love with the baby themselves. But as they track the baby’s mother, Sarah Booth soon begins to suspect the woman might have been in danger; in fact, she might have been running for her life. And following in the woman’s footsteps, Sarah Booth might find her own life on the line next.

USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines will once again delight readers with the next sparkling Sarah Booth Delaney mystery.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Rock-a-Bye Bones is the 16th Sarah Booth Delaney mystery. USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines is a native of Mississippi. She’s published over 70 books in a number of genres. She lives on a small farm and runs an animal rescue where she takes care of cats, dogs, and horses. You can learn more about her at www.carolynhaines.com. We invite you to join her newsletter and to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Rock-a-Bye-Bones. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 23, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Rock-a-Bye Bones by Carolyn Haines

Rock-a-Bye Bones by Carolyn Haines is the 16th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2016

Rock-a-Bye BonesSarah Booth Delaney knows the perfect way to begin recovering from both the recent attack on Scott Hampton’s blues club and her broken heart. She’s going to host a Thanksgiving feast for all of her friends at her ancestral home in Zinnia, Mississippi. But one bitterly cold night with the holiday just around the corner, Sarah Booth awakens to the insistent ring of her doorbell. She opens the door to find a newborn baby in a basket sitting on her front porch. . .and a pool of blood slowly seeping out from the basket. Before she can respond, an engine guns and a dark vehicle takes off.

After the police and a doctor ensure the baby is otherwise safe and healthy, Sarah Booth calls Tinkie Richmond, her partner at the Delaney Detective Agency. They know they need to do everything they can to find the baby’s mother. . .even if they are starting to fall in love with the baby themselves. But as they track the baby’s mother, Sarah Booth soon begins to suspect the woman might have been in danger; in fact, she might have been running for her life. And following in the woman’s footsteps, Sarah Booth might find her own life on the line next.

Carolyn once again delivers an exceptionally delightful drama where all emotions were evoked in the telling of this story. A mother’s love is tested when Tinkie becomes a surrogate, this while trying to find the birth mother and the woman that is bent on destroying Sarah Booth. The author did a great job in pulling in all the characters who played pivotal roles throughout this tale. The narrative was so powerful, I could not put this book down until I knew how this was going to end and as always we learn more and more about the strength of these two women who simply steal every scene in which they take part in. This was an awesome read and I can’t wait to see where we go next. I know what I want. . .Sarah Booth to pick Coleman and Tinkie and Oscar to adopt.

Interview with Mystery Characters by Ritter Ames

Cozy Holiday EscapesInterviewer: Hello readers! Welcome to our Christmas issue of Cozy Sleuths Magazine.

I’m interviewing several interesting characters today who play roles in several of the yuletide-themed stories in the new Cozy Holiday Escapes anthology available now at a special price, with eight stories in all. We’re thrilled to have characters from four of those tales here today to talk about how their lives took a turn toward mystery.

Amanda, let’s start with you. Tell us how you began in the pet sitting profession. I understand you feel it started with your name.

Amanda: I often asked myself how I ended up with this name, Amanda. Hardly a family name. My mamma was Italian and my father American, maybe they figured that was a good compromise, easy to spell and pronounce on both side of the ocean. Then I found out it means lovable, worthy of love, and it all made sense. In my opinion, every creature is worthy of love, even Cheech and Chong the two mischievous cats or Sam, the friendly dog I’m pet sitting at the moment.

Interviewer: And I understand you have a very distinctive pet you’re currently caring for—

Amanda: Matilda. A desert tortoise. Hard to miss, due to her size. She is very quiet and of course slow moving, here, see? That’s her compound, in the yard. Wait a minute…Matilda? OMG!!! Where is Matilda?

Interviewer: Well, Amanda needed to run find Matilda, so let’s move on to Barbara Marr. Barbara, how did a movie blogger’s life turn into mystery solving?

Barbara: I’m just an ordinary mom living in the ordinary suburbs. I have three beautiful daughters, a super sexy husband who looks like George Clooney, a dog, two cats, and a duck.

Interviewer: Come on…I’ve heard there’s more to it than that—

Barbara: Yes, I also find myself in dangerous situations every once in a while. You know, situations with guns and killers and such. Once there was a hand grenade. But deadly weapons and personal peril aside, it’s been a good life.

Interviewer: And this Christmas?

Barbara: This Christmas, something felt wrong. My heart wasn’t in it. Then I heard that those Finches were up to no good, and well, I couldn’t help myself. I pulled another Barbara Marr.

Interviewer: Readers, you’ll love reading this new adventure. Shuffling my notes here, next we have Sheriff Coleman Peters. We understand you’ve had to keep an eye on Sarah Booth Delaney again. Both professionally and romantically, I hear.

Sheriff Peters: Sarah Booth works hard to end up on the “nice” list each Christmas, but to be honest, I’d like to see her name on the “naughty” side. But only if she’s naughty with me. Sarah Booth and I have shared a few kisses, and she’s one special lady.

Interviewer: Once the mysteries are solved, Sarah Booth is out of trouble, and bad guys are locked up, do you have any special plans, Sheriff?

Sheriff Peters: I’ve planned a private Christmas Eve complete with eggnog, a gift or two, and some mistletoe. I’m ready to take my relationship with Sarah Booth to the next level, and that’s what I’m hoping Santa will bring me. Merry Christmas!

Interviewer: Sounds promising. We wrap up with our final guest, Kate McKenzie. Kate, I understand this is your first Christmas in your new Vermont hometown.

Kate: It is, and I’m really enjoying the whole Currier and Ives feeling of Hazelton’s hometown festivities. My best friend and neighbor, Meg Berman, is making sure I see and do everything this season. She even believes she’s going to get me to eat fruitcake.

Interviewer: So all your organizing tasks are done, and the mysteries are solved this year?

Kate: Not exactly. Some puzzling things are happening around Hazelton. They might all be coincidences, but I’m getting the feeling there’s more to it. Meg is always ready to investigate. But I’m trying to be good since I promised my husband to stay out of trouble this Christmas. I hope I can keep my promise.

Interviewer: It sounds like everyone is trying to stay on Santa’s Good List. Readers, to hear what happens to these four sleuths, as well as stories featuring four more sleuths from other bestselling mystery series, get a copy of Cozy Holiday Escapes.

Besides these stories by Maria Grazia Swan, Karen Cantwell, Carolyn Haines and Ritter Ames, there is a Kiki Lowenstein story and a Cara Mia Delgatto tale by Joanna Campbell Slan, Leslie O’Kane included an Allie Babcock story, and there’s a new Bodies of Art short by Ritter Ames.

All of us at Cozy Sleuths Magazine give the collection our highest critical review—five magnifying glasses. It’s specially priced at 99 cents, but get it quick—just like Santa, this anthology disappears after the holidays!

About Cozy Holiday Escapes

Eight light holiday short stories by six bestselling mystery authors–

  • “How the Finches Stole Christmas” by Karen Cantwell, a new story in the popular Barbara Marr series. When a new couple moves down the block and Christmas decorations begin disappearing, Barbara investigates in her own humorous way.
  • “Organized for Christmas Wishes” by Ritter Ames is a Kate McKenzie Organized Mysteries short story. Kate and Meg sign up for a cookie exchange, and find a new mystery to solve.
  • “Cara Mia Delgatto’s White Christmas” by Joanna Campbell Slan, a short story in the Cara Mia Delgatto series. Cara spends Christmas with her new friends in Florida and learns what a recycled, upcycled, repurposed Christmas can mean.
  • “Bones on the Bayou” by Carolyn Haines, a Sarah Booth Delaney short story. A hometown Christmas event is tarnished by a practical joke, and Sarah Booth Delaney investigates after a foreign visitor goes missing.
  • “Christmas in Venice” by Maria Grazia Swan. Amanda finds she has to do more than pet-sitting over the Christmas holidays when Matilda the tortoise goes missing.
  • “A Dog-Gone Christmas” by Leslie O’Kane, an Allie Babcock short mystery. Allie Babcock and her mom are at the airport, heading for a holiday away from home, when Allie notices a dog-switch and has to find a celebrity’s canine.
  • “Kiki Lowenstein and the Secret Santa” by Joanna Campbell Slan, a Kiki Lowenstein scrapbook story. Kiki and her scrapbook pals think they’re just having fun with a holiday scrapping party, but there’s more to the Christmas story.
  • “Seasonal Switches” by Ritter Ames, a brand new Bodies of Art Mysteries story. Laurel Beacham stops a Christmas crime, and may be gifted something she’s wanted for months–and almost given up on receiving.

cozy

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on December 11 for your chance to win a Kindle or Nook edition of Cozy Holiday Escapes. Five lucky commenters will be randomly selected. Good luck everyone!