Tag Archives: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

My Musing ~ Death, Taxes, and Pecan Pie by Diane Kelly

Death, Taxes, and Pecan Pie by Diane Kelly is the latest novella in the “Tara Holloway” romantic mystery series. Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, October 2017

People are going a little nutty in this new case for IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway!

Tara is looking for a fun, relaxing time with her family at Pecan Palooza: a full-day festival dedicated to celebrating the nut that put the tiny town of Pecan Crossing on the map. Between a parade, carnival games, rides, the Pecan Princess pageant, and several pecan bake-offs, Tara wants quality time with her fiancé Nick before their upcoming nuptials.

But when a mysterious woman in a hat shows some suspicious behavior and the bake-off winners don’t look that surprised when they win…could the competitions be rigged? Despite the lack of evidence, Tara is determined to dethrone the cheaters and make sure the actual winners can have their pie and eat it too.

A quick glance turns into more when Tara suspects something nefarious with the judging of several food contest, especially when it was clear who should have won. Needing evidence, Tara with help from her family are on a mission and of course once you get Tara involved, there will be a whole lot of action. This was a fun read that had me laughing at some of the antics in this delightfully humorous tale. The author does a great job in presenting this light whodunit with great play-by-play action and dialogue to keep me engaged in all that was happening. This is a prelude to the next full-length novel in the Tara Holloway series.

A day at sea with Jules Capshaw by Ellie Alexander

If it weren’t for my very persistent and equally charming husband, Carlos, I would have been safe and sound in my hometown of Ashland, Oregon whipping up batches of decadent cakes and cookies in preparation for the new season of the Shakespeare festival. Instead I was packing my bags and getting ready to set sail for a week in the tropics.

My training as a pastry chef had taken place on the azure waters of the Caribbean where I had mastered the art of making a perfect macaron and expanded my palate at each port of call. However, it had been almost a year since I had left the Amour of the Seas, Carlos, and my vagabond lifestyle behind. Nerves welled in my stomach at the thought of returning to the ship. I might have chickened out and said no when Carlos called and begged to come fill in temporarily—apparently, the ship’s pastry chef had left in a huff—except that he sweetened his offer by inviting Mom and her paramour the Professor to come along. Mom’s eyes had brightened at the mention of sandy beaches and sunny skies.

So I found myself back on the ship in its massive pastry kitchen. Unlike our family bakeshop, Torte, the Amour of the Seas boasted a state-of-the-art kitchen with every tool and gadget imaginable. I would be overseeing a large staff as we cranked out elegant pineapple tarts, tiered crepes filled with layers of mascarpone and fresh strawberries, and rum-soaked Bundt cakes drizzled with dark chocolate ganache for hundreds of passengers. Running a kitchen this size was more about organization and less about baking. I had grown accustom to getting my hands messy in bread dough at Torte. Being in the industrial kitchen was a firm reminder of why I had decided to plant roots in Ashland.

However, I was so busy putting the finishing touches on the platters for the send-off party that I didn’t have time to dwell on anything other than the task in front of me. My team assembled chocolate and marshmallow skewers, citrus shortbread, and kiwi tarts. The Amour of the Seas was a boutique cruise ship that catered to foodies. Guests opted to sail with us over some of the bigger ships with more amenities because of our dedication to the craft of food. Everything had to be top-notch and my staff didn’t disappoint. I popped a piece of tangy shortbread into my mouth and swooned at the buttery flavor with bright hints of apricot and tangerine. Giving the team my seal of approval, I picked up the platter and headed for the pool deck.

The atmosphere was electric when I arrived on the top deck. Waiters circulated between yellow and navy teak lounge chairs with spicy, grilled, beef kabobs. Sunlight glistened off the brilliant blue pool. Passengers waved goodbye as the ship’s horn sounded and we pulled away from the dock. I spotted Mom and the Professor wearing matching flower leis and dancing to the beat of the steel drum band. Maybe a week at sea would be just what the doctor ordered, I thought as I squeezed through the happy crowd.

Mom wrapped me in a hug. “Juliet, this is wonderful.” She beamed with delight.

The Professor, who had abandoned his typical tweed jacket in favor of a tropical shirt with palm trees, nodded in agreement. “As the bard says in Macbeth,” he paused and held up a fruity cocktail with a paper umbrella. “I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table.”

“I’m glad you’re both enjoying yourselves,” I replied, offering them slices of the citrus shortbread.

“I think this is going to be a wonderful week and the best vacation ever,” Mom said with a grin as she took a bite of the cookie.

Unfortunately, her sentiment was short lived. When I woke early the next morning to get in a quick walk before a day of frenzy in the pastry kitchen, I strolled past the crystal blue pool where I discovered a young woman floating face-down in the salt water. Suddenly in addition to managing a busy kitchen and fending off Carlos’s attempts to convince me to make my return permanent, I found myself in the middle of murder investigation.


You can read more about Jules in A Crime of Passion Fruit, the sixth book in the “Bakeshop” mystery series.

Torte―everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop―is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .

Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary.

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

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About the author
Ellie Alexander writes the Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw.

Ellie is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

You can find her online on Facebook, Twitter, on Instagram and at www.elliealexander.co.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of A Crime of Passion Fruit along with a tropical baking mix. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends July 3, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Buy Link

A day in the life with Bel McGrath by Maggie McConnon

bel-of-the-brawlWe were supposed to go back to normal here at Shamrock Manor after a wedding guest found himself upside down over a balcony but as my mother likes to say “You plan, God laughs.” Why, oh why, did I have to find that dead groom in the ladies room after our latest wedding? That, coupled with the disappearance of one of our long-time servers, Pauline, and a ten-thousand dollar tip, drags me back into a new mystery.

The good news? I’m back on track with the adorable Brendan Joyce, the only eligible bachelor in Foster’s Landing but a guy for whom the greatest mystery he’ll ever ponder is “Who shot J.R.?” The bad news? My sleuthing has put a damper on our relationship in that I’m not what you would call “available” a lot of time both physically or emotionally.

I do get to spend some time with my brother, Cargan, though, and that’s a positive. Turns out he has a nose for this mystery stuff as well as an unrequited crush on the gorgeous Pauline; that makes him a perfect partner for my almost-daily and nightly excursions to uncover the truth.

I didn’t bank on running around town chasing after gangsters or driving a speeding car but when life hands you lemons, well, put the pedal to the metal and hope for the best, as the old saying definitely does not go.

I’m still missing my best friend, Amy, gone from Foster’s Landing after our high-school graduation, never to be seen again. In my bones, I feel as if I’m getting closer to finding out the truth about her but I wonder: What does that mean? If she’s alive and I can find her, who will she be all these years later and all this life lived? I know I’m different. Will she be?

I don’t know where I’m going but I hope along the way, I find the truth.


You can read more about Bel in Bel of the Brawl, the second book in the “Belfast McGrath” mystery series.

Bel McGrath loves her work as a wedding chef. But with her latest event set to take place at Shamrock Manor, she just can’t seem to catch a break. The Casey wedding has left her with ten thousand greenbacks in the hole, a missing staff member, and a dead groom. Now, in between Guinness beers and pub brawls, Bel must find a way to crack the case―even though what she should be cracking are eggs into the batter of the wedding cake. A good Irish girl’s work is never done. . .

What begins as local town fodder for an episode of “Wedding Gone Wild” is turning into “Gangsters with Guns.” With the Casey family spiraling out of control, and billable McGrath hours being lost by the minute, Bel is definitely in too deep. With all these shenanigans, she barely has time to obsess over her new boyfriend and her own unsolved mystery from years ago! Time is running out on getting the next couple down the aisle before the so-called luck of the Irish takes a deadly turn. . . Bel of the Brawl will keep Maggie McConnon’s fans, new and old, guessing.

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About the author
Maggie McConnon grew up in New York immersed in Irish culture and tradition. A former Irish step dancer, she was surrounded by a family of Irish musicians who still play at family gatherings. She credits her Irish grandparents with providing the stories of their homeland and their extended families as the basis for the stories she tells in her Belfast McGrath novels. Maggie also writes two series under the name Maggie Barbieri – The Murder 101 series and the Maeve Conlon series.

All comments are welcomed.

Bel of the Brawl is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Three people (US entries only, please) selected at random will receive an advance-reader-copy of Bel of the Brawl. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends March 11, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Erica Bloom by Auralee Wallace

snowed-in-with-murderHi, I’m Erica Bloom, and I hate March.

That probably sounds weird, but let me explain. Most of the year, my small hometown, Otter Lake, New Hampshire, is postcard-perfect. There are sparkling lakes in the summer, rich colorful trees in the fall, and fluffy snow in the winter. But in early spring? Well, there’s mud. Lots and lots of cold mud. Nope, there’s nothing really fun about this time of year, other than maybe snuggling under a blanket with a hot, hot sheriff waiting for better weather to come.

Yeah, that might be nice.

Too bad mine dumped me.

That’s why I’ve spent the last twenty plus hours on planes, trains, and automobiles battling March-breakers and dodging a superstorm to get home to Otter Lake. I need to convince my ex that I am serious about our relationship, and that I am really, truly, for-reals considering moving home. The timing’s perfect. My mother is away downward-dogging in the Grand Canyon, and her island retreat is closed for the season. That means we can have the place to ourselves to reconnect without the entire town watching our every move. Nope, nothing’s going wrong this trip. No family butting in at the wrong times. No friends making judgments about our relationship. No interruptions.

Oh, and absolutely no turning up dead bodies. Yeah, I know, that sounds weird too, but they don’t call me Erica Doom for nothing.


You can read more about Erica in SNOWED IN WITH MURDER, the third book in the Otter Lake mystery series.

There’s no retreat and no surrender when Erica Bloom finds herself stuck in a snow storm with a stone-cold killer. . .

Erica has returned to Otter Lake, New Hampshire, to rekindle romance with Sheriff Grady Forrester at her mom’s island retreat, currently closed for the off season. Just ahead of a rapidly advancing storm front, Erica arrives to discover Mom has rented the lodge to a reality TV show. They’re filming the wealthy but awful Boatright brood, who’ve been summoned here by their patriarch because—so he says—one of them wants to kill him.

SNOWED IN WITH MURDER
Great television, terrible timing. Not only are Erica’s romantic hopes snuffed out like a candle flame, the nasty Nor’easter just became a superstorm…and no one is getting off the island ’til it blows over. When the power fails, it’s lights out for the patriarch. Now, marooned with a murdered millionaire and his feuding family, it’s up to Erica to take the killer by storm and get back to the business of reuniting with Grady—until death do they part!

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About the author
Auralee Wallace has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collections agent. When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing humorous novels about quirky characters, she can often be found pontificating about the Golden Age of soap operas or warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. She can also be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her blog at auraleewallace.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Two people (United States and Canadian residents only) selected at random will receive a print copy of Snowed in with Murder. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends February 15, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Snowed In With Murder is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

A day in the life with IRS Special Agent Eddie Bardin by Diane Kelly

death-taxes-and-sweet-potato-friesHello, taxpayers. I’m Eddie Bardin, a Senior Special Agent for the IRS Criminal Investigations Division in Dallas, Texas. We’re the feds who go after tax cheats. Our boss is retiring in just a few weeks, and I’ll be stepping up to the position of co-director of the department. Bigger paycheck. Bigger office. Bigger headaches. But you’ve got to take the bad with the good, right?

What’s my typical day like? Well, that depends. When I’m not working alongside Special Agent Tara Holloway, things are pretty routine. Reviewing spreadsheets and financial records. Interviewing tax evaders and witnesses. Tracking down money trails. But when I’m partnered with Tara? Heck. That’s a whole ‘nother story.

I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to say that Tara is bad luck. But I will say trouble always finds her. Unfortunately, I’ve been along for the ride on more than one occasion when trouble showed up. On one of our early cases I ended up in the ER with a bullet in my skull. Another time Tara and I were nearly blown up by an improvised bomb. Needless to say, I stay on my toes whenever I’m working with her. And I always make sure I’ve got my gun at the ready.

This time around, Tara is helping the Border Patrol track Salvador Hidalgo, a human smuggler or “coyote” who’s abandoned desperate people in the west Texas desert. The Border Patrol agents have found several corpses in Big Bend, a rugged national park that lies just north of the Rio Grande river. There’s also evidence implicating Hidalgo in kidnappings for ransom. Three sisters are missing as we speak, their ransom due in mere days. I can tell the case is eating Tara alive. Tara, in turn, has been eating sweet potato fries by the truckload. If she’s not careful, she won’t be able to fit into her wedding dress come October. That’s when she and Special Agent Nick Pratt will be tying the knot. To make matters more interesting, the case has led her to her ex, Brett, who might have some helpful information. Talk about awkward! Of course I’m trying my hardest not to get in the middle of things.

I’ve also been helping Tara track down an as-yet-unidentified criminal who issued bogus 1099’s to a number of victims, reporting cash prize winnings that were never paid. The scheme has caused confusion at the IRS and angered the victims, so much so that one of them has sic’d a senator on us. Nothing like Congress breathing down your neck to add some pressure.

Come spend some time with me and the rest of the gang at IRS Criminal Investigations. You might be surprised how fun—and dangerous—being a financial detective can be.


You can read more about Eddie in DEATH, TAXES, AND SWEET POTATO FRIES, the 11th book in the Tara Holloway humorous mystery series.

SHE HAS AN APPETITE FOR JUSTICE.
But this time IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway is in over her head—and challenging every dietary law in the book. . .

When the IRS is tasked with assisting the border patrol in pursuing unscrupulous “coyotes” who’ve transported illegal immigrants across the border, Tara finds herself at odds. Not only must she investigate Brett Ellington, her old flame whose landscaping business employs such workers, but now Tara has to convince her new romantic partner in crime, Nick Pratt, that she doesn’t still carry a torch for Brett.

Now, in addition to proving her love to her own fiancé, Tara is on the hunt for a trail of bogus 1099s in the Dallas area. Someone, somewhere is using the IRS as a pawn in a cunning game of revenge. Will Tara be able to identify the culprit making the false tax reports—before her sweet-potato-fry addiction forces her to get her engagement ring resized? That is, if jealousy doesn’t get the best of Nick first.

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About the author
A former Assistant Attorney General and tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals. Lest she end up in jail, Diane decided self-employment was a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series. Sign up for Diane’s newsletter at www.dianekelly.com, find her on Facebook, and on Twitter @dianekellybooks.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Five people selected at random will win a copy of Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries, either Kindle/Nook (open to everyone) or paperback (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends February 5, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries is available at retail and online booksellers.

A day in the life with Juliet Montague Capshaw by Ellie Alexander

fudge-and-juryBeing a pastry chef is a pretty fabulous job, despite the early morning hours and long days spent on my feet and in front of a hot oven. As is life in my charming and somewhat quirky hometown of Ashland, Oregon. Since Shakespeare and the theater company play a starring role in our English-style village tucked into the southernmost corner of Oregon there’s always something going on around town. From productions of Hamlet to jugglers and musicians busking on the sidewalk Ashland is alive with creative types and festive energy.

Lately the excitement hadn’t centered around the theater though. Instead everyone was talking about chocolate. That’s right chocolate. Ashland hosts one of the Northwest’s largest and most decadent chocolate festivals every year and locals were buzzing with preparations for this year’s fest. The chocolate festival ran for a long weekend and featured every kind of chocolate you could imagine including chocolate slushies, a seven-course chocolate dinner, chocolate beer, chocolate and sea salt pairings, and of course plenty of chocolate fudge, truffles, cakes, and cookies. Guests could sample and taste their way through the event and take in demonstrations and workshops offered by some of the most revered chocolatiers this side of the Mississippi.

Torte, our family bakeshop, had been named one of the festival’s showcase vendors which meant that in addition to providing hundreds of samples to chocolate lovers would we also be responsible for a variety of technical demonstrations, like cake decorating and chocolate modeling. Our team had been working around the clock baking Mom’s world famous chocolate spice cake with mocha frosting, chocolate pasta that would be served with white chocolate sauce and topped with chopped pistachios and fresh berries, and an assortment of rich dark chocolate truffles infused with almond extract and orange liqueur and coated in coconut and cocoa powder. Additionally, I was constructing three unique chocolate wedding cakes that would serve as our display at the festival and hopefully attract some new clients.

While Mom and I worked at the festival the rest of the team would stay behind and begin renovations at the bakeshop. We had saved up for shiny new ovens for months and they were finally ready to be installed. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With the festival in full swing everyone in Ashland would be consumed by chocolate.

I never considered that things could go terribly wrong as Mom and I draped our tables at the stunning, historic Ashland Springs Hotel with yards of espresso colored fabric and placed the tiered chocolate wedding cakes that I had meticulously hand-pipped with French buttercream frosting on rustic log slices and adorned them with evergreen branches and blood red winter berries. Our table looked as if it had been dipped in chocolate and like an elaborate sweet feast. As the first guests arrived we offered them tastes of our labor and beamed with pride when they gushed about our cake designs. But then things took a nasty turn.

Evan Rowe, a master chocolatier and owner of Confections Couture, wandered by our booth under the pretense of introducing himself. I had a sneaking suspicion that the self-described chocolate diva was really trying to size-up his competition. He appraised our “homey” display with a sneer and look of condescension. Before I had a chance to come up with a witty response he popped a piece of our signature chocolate cake in his mouth and then seconds later clutched his throat and dropped to the floor. Could someone have tainted our cake, or had one of our fellow chocolate purveyors intentionally bumped off the five-time festival champion? I wasn’t sure, but I did know that I was going to have to figure out who killed Evan in order to save Torte’s reputation and return to my happy place—chocolate.


FUDGE AND JURY is the fifth book in the Bake Shop mystery series published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks, January 2017.

Welcome to Torte―a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious. . .and, now, suspicious.

It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeter―unless murder taints the batter.

Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for―literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead. . .right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?

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About the author
Ellie Alexander writes the Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw.

Ellie is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

You can find her online at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Fudge and Jury. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends January 8, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Detective Audrey Jackson by Diane Kelly

above-the-pawOccupation: Fort Worth Police Department Detective

Hello, there. I’m Audrey Jackson, a seasoned detective with the Fort Worth, Texas Police Department. I sport mocha skin, perky braids, and a don’t-even-think-about-lying-to-me attitude. Like most people in law enforcement, I’ve got much more workload than I’ve got time. Lucky for me, rookie officer Megan Luz aspires to follow in my footsteps and is always willing to help me out. Some of her fellow officers call her a suck-up. I call her a godsend.

We’ve had a rash of college students who’ve ended up in the ER lately after taking “Molly.” You might know the drug as MDMA or ecstasy. It was popular back in the 1980’s and recently made a resurgence. Like clothing and hairdos, drugs tend to go in and out of style. Go figure. One of the victims collapsed at the Panther Pavilion Fourth of July celebration, where senatorial candidates Montgomery Sutton and Esperanza Espinoza had given speeches to the crowd. Drugs and politics. Two dirty businesses, huh?

Who’s selling the drugs is anyone’s guess. But given that several of the victims live in the same dorm at a local university, I figure the best bet for solving this case is to send Megan and her K-9 partner Brigit to the school undercover. Though Megan is in her mid-twenties, with some extra makeup and girlie outfits she’ll be able to pull off her new identity as a college kid. Brigit’s posing as a service dog trained to alert Megan to oncoming epileptic seizures.

As Megan and Brigit feed me the clues, we’ll work together to nail down the culprit. It won’t be easy. The victims don’t want to talk and the dealer has taken pains to remain anonymous. But three determined ladies like me, Megan, and Brigit know nobody is above the law. We won’t stop until the guilty party is behind bars.


Above The Paw is the fifth book in the Paw Enforcement mystery series, published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks, December 2016.

The crime-fighting duo of Megan Luz and her K-9 is back―and on the prowl. . .

WILL THEY DIG UP THE TRUTH?
When a rash of college students falls seriously ill after ingesting Molly, a “club drug” also known as ecstasy, Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit are tasked with tracking down the dealers. Going undercover at the university leads Megan closer and closer to infiltrating the drug trafficking ring. But when the investigation implicates her former partner and workplace nemesis, Officer Derek Mackey, Megan’s powers of discernment are put to the test.

OR ARE THEY BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE?
Thwarted when the Feds seize control of the investigation and frustrated by the lack of attention the DEA is putting into the case, Megan continues her own unofficial investigation with Brigit’s help. But when the trail leads them in an unexpected and dangerous direction, Megan and Brigit find their own lives at risk. Can the K-9 team take down those in power? Or are some criminals simply above the law―and paw?

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About the author
A former tax advisor and assistant attorney general for the state of Texas, Diane Kelly is no stranger to white-collar crime. She realized her experiences would make great fodder for novels and thus began her award-winning Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her city’s Citizens Police Academy, Diane also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series. Find her online at www.dianekelly.com, on Twitter @dianekellybooks, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Five people (USA residents only) selected at random will receive a print copy of Above The Paw. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends December 15, 2016. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Pumpkin Picking with Murder by Auralee Wallace

Pumpkin Picking with Murder by Auralee Wallace is the second book in the “Otter Lake” mystery series. Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, August 2016

Pumpking Picking With MurderWhen murder strikes in the Tunnel of Love, Erica Bloom has to rock the boat to catch a killer. . .

For a small town like Otter Lake, New Hampshire, the annual Fall Festival is a big deal: a Ferris wheel, corn maze, caramel apples, and pumpkin pies―even a Tunnel of Love. Back in her hometown, Erica Bloom is trying to enjoy herself, which includes getting better acquainted with Sheriff Grady Forrester. But when a swan boat sails out of the heart-shaped exit of the tunnel with a dead man slumped over a wing, her own romance will have to take a backseat.

PUMPKIN PICKING WITH MURDER
Speaking of love affairs, the other passenger in the boat―and only witness to the elderly Mr. Masterson’s swan song―is not his wife. It’s Erica’s beloved and feisty “aunt,” Tweety, who quickly becomes the prime suspect. Vowing to clear Tweety, Erica teams up with her sassy BFF and self-appointed security expert Freddie Ng to solve the murder―despite the objections of Grady, who’s convinced the amateurs are going overboard in their investigation. And he just may be right. But as Erica and Freddie start to dredge up long-kept small-town secrets, will they heading straight into troubled waters?

Erica is back home in Otter Lake hoping rekindle her relationship with Grady. Only one thing hinders that…Freddie. He’s made himself a security officer and when Erica’s aunt is implicated in a recent murder…you know what happens and what a hilarious romp that we are witness to as these two amateur sleuths try to solve yet, another murder in this small town.

I love the way the author set-up this whodunit where the key characters all play pivotal roles in the telling of this tale. The antics that the two sleuths finds themselves involved in had me laughing out loud. The mystery was well done with some surprises that added to the enhancement of the multi-plot scenario. With the way this book ended, I’m looking forward to the next book in this amusingly entertaining series.

Going Home Again with Erica Bloom by Auralee Wallace

Pumpking Picking With MurderHow does that old saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice. . .you get the idea.

Too bad I didn’t.

See, I thought it was safe to go home again, but, well, how many dead bodies can a girl turn up before it becomes a thing?

Hi, I’m Erica Bloom, and I’ve been avoiding going home to New Hampshire for years. Sounds ridiculous, but if you knew about the incident that left half the town calling me Boobsie Bloom, you might just understand. That being said, a few months ago, when my nature-loving, vegan mom needed a favor to save her business – a spiritual retreat for women – I finally faced down some of my old demons and made the trip back to Otter Lake.

Turns out, there were a lot of things I’d missed about being home. . .the long docks stretching into the water, the nights with a billion stars, the town sheriff, Grady Forrester. He was my high school crush. Apparently, I had missed him quite a bit. Unfortunately, with all the good of last visit, there was also some bad – yeah, discovering a murdered, high school classmate would have to be at the top of the list.

I figured this trip would be different though. This time of year, home is all about the Otter Lake Fall Festival! Yup, I’d planned to spend my days hiking through the woods, eating deep-fried foods stuffed into other deep-fried foods, maybe reconnecting with a certain sheriff on the Ferris wheel. . . but wouldn’t you know, almost as soon as I stepped foot onto the midway, another dead body came rolling right out of the Tunnel of Love with my “aunt” Tweety. And to think I thought being called Boobsie Bloom was bad.

So with a killer at work in Otter Lake, instead of riding the tea cups and eating some cotton candy, my best friend Freddie and I will have to team up to unearth enough clues to keep Tweety out of the big house. . .even if it means our first case as Otter Lake Security’s official crime-fighting duo becomes our last!


Pumpkin Picking With Murder is the second book in the Otter Lake mystery series, published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks, August 2016.

When murder strikes in the Tunnel of Love, Erica Bloom has to rock the boat to catch a killer. . .
For a small town like Otter Lake, New Hampshire, the annual Fall Festival is a big deal: a Ferris wheel, corn maze, caramel apples, and pumpkin pies―even a Tunnel of Love. Back in her hometown, Erica Bloom is trying to enjoy herself, which includes getting better acquainted with Sheriff Grady Forrester. But when a swan boat sails out of the heart-shaped exit of the tunnel with a dead man slumped over a wing, her own romance will have to take a backseat.

PUMPKIN PICKING WITH MURDER
Speaking of love affairs, the other passenger in the boat―and only witness to the elderly Mr. Masterson’s swan song―is not his wife. It’s Erica’s beloved and feisty “aunt,” Tweety, who quickly becomes the prime suspect. Vowing to clear Tweety, Erica teams up with her sassy BFF and self-appointed security expert Freddie Ng to solve the murder―despite the objections of Grady, who’s convinced the amateurs are going overboard in their investigation. And he just may be right. But as Erica and Freddie start to dredge up long-kept small-town secrets, will they heading straight into troubled waters?

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About the author
Auralee Wallace has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collections agent. When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing humorous novels about quirky characters, she can often be found pontificating about the Golden Age of soap operas or warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. She can also be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her blog at auraleewallace.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Two people (US and Canada only) selected at random will receive a print copy of Pumpkin Picking with Murder. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends August 31, 2016. Good luck everyone!