Marked Masters – Ritter Ames

This week, I’m hosting author, Ritter Ames



Ritter Ames is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Organized Mysteries and the Bodies of Art Mysteries. She lives atop a very green hill with her husband and Labrador retriever, and spends each day globetrotting the art world from her laptop with Pandora blasting into her earbuds. Often with the dog snoring at her feet. She’s been known to plan trips after researching new books, and keeps a list of “can’t miss” foods to taste along the way.

Marked Masters

Laurel Beacham made working solo a personal success story and is known for her nerve, instincts, and ability to do whatever necessary to return each priceless masterpiece safely intact. As the world’s leading art recovery expert, she’s thwarted more heists than the average law enforcement professional. Museums applaud her skills. Thieves admire the cunning way she operates.

Her last job landed her the head position over the London branch of Beacham Foundation, but bringing one case to a close only opened a bigger one. More importantly, the new case inextricably ties her to Jack Hawkes, a man smart enough to be her equal but who keeps her trust meter firmly in the red zone. Trying to stop a rumored heist of the century, the pair leap headlong into a plot that gets more dangerous and illusive by the minute. The clock counts down as the bodies and forgeries stack up.

Here is an excerpt from, Marked Masters:

Two black and whites screamed to the curb, paralleling each other and blocking off any possibility of retreat. Brakes screeched. Sirens blared. My blood pressure ratcheted up a notch. The flashing lights alone set my heart pounding so hard I could swear the beats showed through my black Lycra.

One step and I bled back into the shadows of the house’s side wall.

A simple pickup on a limited time frame. That’s what the job had been. My objective was a medium-sized nude, which had reclined over the headboard of a blackmailer’s bed for decades. A painting and headboard currently residing inside the townhouse that was the focal point of this Orlando PD team.

“He’s been extorting money from my mother since before I was born,” Kat Gleeson had explained earlier in the afternoon. “The blackmailer picked up the portrait at a sale after the artist died, playing a hunch it would be worth bigger bucks later. Mother received the first demand as soon as my father started in political life. Laurel, you have to help us.”

Marked Masters (1)


“Ames, with her great writing and brilliant story, has created a masterpiece of her own in Marked Masters. She leaves her readers doing their own research between the pages. Like Laurel, Ritter keeps the story with its rightful owner—the reader.” – Crimespree Magazine

“Boasting a great cast of characters, good conversations and the global background, this was a very enjoyable read and I look forward to the third book in this exciting series.” – Dru’s Book Musing

Visit Ritter Ames at

Facebook Author Page:

Follow her on Twitter: @RitterAmes

Ritter uses her Pinterest boards at to capture great places and ideas she wants to use in both series.

We’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.


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The Quirky Quiz Caper – Sally Carpenter

This week, I’m welcoming back author, Sally Carpenter.

 Carpenter photo

Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.

She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition

Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.

She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

She writes the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series: “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper” (2012 Eureka! Award finalist), “The Sinister Sitcom Caper,” “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper” and “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.”

She has short stories in two anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in “Last Exit to Murder” and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in “Plan B: Omnibus.”

She blogs at and

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles.

The Quirky Quiz Show Caper

Former teen idol Sandy Fairfax is a guest panelist on a TV game show—and the first category is murder! When his kid brother, Warren, is framed for killing a college student, Sandy makes it his duty to track down the thug before the police move in. After all, Sandy did play a detective once on a hit TV show. Sandy will get right on the case—right after he visits his kids; fights with his ex; woos his hoped-to-be girlfriend, Cinnamon; and convinces his parents he should be the special entertainment at a black tie gala designed to raise funds for his father’s faltering orchestra. All this while he and his biggest fan attempt to “Raise The Stakes” on a rigged quiz show where––wonder of wonders––the murder victim had recently been a contestant. Sandy’s ready to pull out some of his long blond hair as the game points and the suspects pile up.

Here’s an excerpt from, The Quirky Quiz Show Caper:

I said, “Besides, if Warren wanted kill Dwight, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to use a knife with his name on it.”

Warren shouted, “Ernest! You are not helping!”

The detective gave a small smile. “Thank you, that brings me to my next point. Dr. Farmington, I understand that you own a rather unusual knife.”

“She means your letter opener,” I said.

She gave me a nasty look. So did Warren.

“I assumed that’s what she meant,” Warren said, “Yes, in the past I have used it as a letter opener. A few years ago I had a frame custom made so I could display it. It was a gift from my piano mentor. He called me one of his star pupils. He gave me the knife because he said I had a sharp mind and he wanted me to continue to honed my talents.”

“Where is this knife?”

“Here in the office, right where it’s always been.” He swiveled around in his chair so he could face the wall behind the desk.

Amid the myriad of decorations on the wall hung a silver frame holding a large, black, empty backboard. For a moment Warren stared at the frame and then at us, his face ashen and eyes filled with fear.

“It’s gone.”

QQSC front coverCarpenter photo

Purchase link:



Sally and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.


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Something So Divine – John Lindermuth

This week I’m hosting author, John Lindermuth.


A native of Pennsylvania, J. R. Lindermuth is a retired newspaper editor. He has published 14 novels and a regional history. His articles and short stories appear regularly in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is currently vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Something So Divine

When a young girl is found murdered in a Pennsylvania rye field in the autumn of 1897, Ned Gebhardt, a feeble-minded youth known to have stalked the victim, is the prime suspect. Incidents involving another girl and gossip stir emotions to a frenzy, nearly leading to a lynching.

Evidence against Ned is circumstantial and there are other suspects. Influenced by the opinions of Ned’s stepsister and Ellen, a woman who has attracted his interest, Simon Roth, the investigator, is inclined to give Ned benefit of the doubt. Then he discovers damaging evidence.

Still unwilling to view Ned as a cold-blooded killer, Roth puts his job and reputation in jeopardy as he seeks to assure a fair trial for the accused.

Here is an excerpt from, Something So Divine

The sound startled Jane Felty. The woman rose from the table where she’d been sorting clothes to iron and went to the door. She stepped out on the porch and looked down the lot to where her husband was chopping a fallen tree into kindling. The tree had toppled weeks earlier in a storm, and Elwood wanted to get the yard cleared of the debris and the wood stored before bad weather. He noticed her now, halted his work, and came up to the porch, ax held loosely at his side. “Something wrong?”

“I thought I heard a shot.”

Elwood shrugged. “Nothing unusual about that. Especially not at this time of year.”

She nodded. “I know. It just startled me is all.”

He gazed fondly at her swollen belly and smiled. The baby was due in another month. They had other children (though this one was an unexpected blessing), and he knew pregnancy did things to women’s emotions. “Nothin’ to worry about.”

Jane returned his smile. “I know. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

“Didn’t. I was due for a break.”

She jerked her chin in the direction of the tree. “How’s it coming?”

“Slowly. It’s a big tree. Should last us a good ways into the winter.”

“Would you like something to drink?”

“A cold tumbler of buttermilk would be nice.”

“I’ll bring it. Some fresh-baked cookies, too.” Jane turned and went back in the house.

Elwood started back to his project. A drink, a snack, and maybe a smoke before he went back to work. I’m a fortunate man to have such a good wife. The thought brought a smile to his lips. A peripheral movement caught his attention then. He looked up the hillside to his right as a twig snapped. Something moved through fallen leaves. Elwood stared but couldn’t make out what it might be for the thickness of the foliage. A deer, he surmised, swinging the ax over his shoulder and seating himself on the tree trunk to await Jane and his refreshments.

Minutes later, George Wynn, another neighbor, saw lanky, stoop-shouldered Ned Gebhardt come out of the woods and stalk across his pasture toward the town road. The boy carried a shotgun in one hand and was accompanied by his old cur dog. Wynn shook his head. Boy is bound to get in trouble and too dumb to know it. How many times has Schaeffer warned him about hunting on his land? Well, none of my business, George told himself and went back to digging potatoes in his yard.


Something So Divine can be purchased here:





John and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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F. M. Meredith – A Crushing Death

I’m delighted to welcome back one of my favorite mystery authors, F. M. Meredith.

Me at Wok meeting

F. M. Meredith, who is also known as Marilyn Meredith, is nearing the number of 40 published books. Besides being an author she is a wife, mother , grandma and great-grandmother. Though the Rocky Bluff she writes about is fictional, she lived for over twenty-years in a similar small beach town. Besides having many law enforcement officers in her family she is counts many as friends. She teaches writing, loves to give presentations to writing and other groups, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Public Safety Writers Association.

A Crushing Death

A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Detective Milligan’s teenage daughter has a problem.

An F.M. Meredith Giveaway

A copy of any book in the Rocky Bluff mystery series except for the latest—either for Kindle or an autographed paper copy—will be given away to one of the commenters on this final blog of this tour.

A Crushing Death, Excerpt from Chapter 1

It never failed. On a holiday or a scheduled day off, or right in the middle of a great night’s sleep, the phone rang, like it just did.

Without opening his eyes, Detective Doug Milligan reached for his phone and answered. “Milligan.”

“You’re needed at the old pier.” The voice belonged to Sergeant Abel Navarro. “Homicide. Zachary will meet you there.” Then he was gone.

His wife, Stacey, rolled over to face him. “What is it?”

“Homicide. Got to go.” He leaned over and kissed her.

Her face registered curiosity.

“All I know is that a body was found at the old pier.” He grabbed his clothes from a chair and went into the bathroom.

Because Rocky Bluff P.D. was small, underfunded and understaffed, Doug and his partner Felix Zachary investigated all major crimes including homicides and other crime scenes.

When Doug drove onto the broken up asphalt of the parking lot, he parked next to Felix Zachary’s new Escalade. A RBPD blue-and-white  patrol car was beside it. Nearer the chained- off steps leading to the dilapidated wooden pier, a young couple huddled against a white Chevy truck.

A flashlight beam bobbed around underneath the pier.

When Doug got out of his own van, he immediately felt the damp air, smelled the ocean, and heard the waves pounding the beach. He opened his trunk and brought out his portable evidence kit.

Weeds sprouted through the cracked asphalt of the lot, some standing many inches high. Doug hurried across, but when he reached the sand, walking became more of an effort.

Though condemned for years, the city fathers had yet to make plans to tear down the battered pier. The last major damage done to it was in 1995 when a winter storm with 18 foot  high waves ripped off the end of the pier, including some of the wooden footings.  The recent earthquake shook more boards and railings loose.

When Doug reached Felix and the uniformed officer on the scene, he asked, “What have we got?”

Officer Vaughn Aragon, much shorter than Doug or Felix, played the beam of his flashlight over what looked like a pile of large stones stacked on the chest of a body. “Those kids back there found this.”

Doug pulled on latex gloves and squatted close to the head. “Either of you recognize the victim?” From what he could see, the corpse was male, light brown hair, close to 6 feet tall, and possibly 180 pounds or more. There were no visible signs of decomposition. He touched the body. Cold.

“I think I know who it is,” Aragon said. “His wife reported him missing yesterday.  I saw his photo at the station. If I’m right, it’s Martin Tivazian.”

Doug recognized the name. “That’s the high school teacher accused of improper actions with one of his students.”

“Yes. I’m sure it’s him.”

“Have you called the medical examiner’s office yet?”

“Did it soon as I arrived.” Detective Felix Zachary towered over the much shorter Aragon. Except for the new chief, he was the only African-American officer on the RBPD. “It’ll be awhile before someone gets here from Ventura.”

Being too small and too poor to have a coroner of its own, Rocky Bluff P.D. used the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office for any deaths suspected of foul play. Obviously this one met the criteria.

Doug turned to Officer Aragon “While we’re waiting for them, interview the young couple who found the body. Ask them the usual questions and get their contact information.”

Aragon trotted off.

“Felix, did you get a chance to look around at all?” Doug played his flashlight beam in a widening arc around the body.  He spotted a few partial footprints in the dry sand, but nothing that looked like it would hold up in a cast. It wouldn’t be easy to discern between those of the kids who found the body, Aragon’s and their own, let alone whoever deposited the body under the pier.

“I didn’t get here much before you. What I did see was what looks like drag marks over there.” Felix pointed his flashlight toward an approximately two-foot wide depression that came from the direction of the parking lot and ended at the corpse.

“Maybe the victim was brought here unconscious and then the stones piled on.” Doug played the beam of the flashlight over what he could see of the victim. He had a long face and thick dark hair. He wore khaki slacks and what looked like expensive loafers.

“Or he was killed somewhere else and the stones are some kind of a statement.”

Doug grimaced.

Felix turned toward the ocean. “Hope someone from the medical examiner’s office gets here soon, I think the tide is coming in.”

A Crushing Death Final

 My  ✰✰✰✰✰ Review

I haven’t read all of the books in the Rocky Bluff Mystery series, but I have read quite a few, and I have to admit that each one was totally enjoyable and a delight to read. They’re kind of a cross between cozy mysteries and police procedurals. All of Marilyn’s novels are timely. This book is about the murder of a high school teacher who’s been accused of inappropriate behavior by a love-struck student—and the Rocky Bluff police chief being stalked by a former convict she helped to put away. The characters are well-developed and believable, and the story is so interesting that when you get to the final page, you don’t want it to end. I’m already looking forward to reading the next book in the Rocky Bluff Mystery series. I highly recommend them all. And what’s nice is that each book can be also read as a stand-alone.  

A Crushing Death can be purchased here:



Facebook: Marilyn Meredith

Twitter: @MarilynMeredith

Contest: Once again, the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour, can have a character named after them in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery.

This is the last of the blogs in this tour. I will be in touch with the winner of the character naming contest.

Marilyn aka F. M.Meredith

On May 26th, I’ll be summing up this blog tour on Jackie King’s blog:

Marilyn and I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment and be entered to win an autographed print copy of this wonderful novel.

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Betty Jean Craige – Fairfield’s Auction

This week, I’m welcoming back, scholar, translator, teacher, and novelist,

Betty Jean Craige.

BJ Craige

Betty Jean Craige is University Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and Director Emerita of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia.

She received her B.A. in Spanish Literature from Pomona College (1968) and her M.A. (1970) and Ph.D. (1974) in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington.  She taught at the University of Georgia from 1973 to 2011.

Dr. Craige has published books in the fields of Spanish poetry, modern literature, history of ideas, politics, ecology, and art.  She is a scholar, a translator, a teacher, and a novelist.

In 2010, Dr. Craige published in both hardback and audiobook Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot. In 2011 and 2012 she published a weekly Sunday column in the Athens Banner-Herald titled “Cosmo Talks.”

Dr. Craige’s essays have appeared in PMLAThe Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution, andThe Athens Banner Herald.

Dr. Craige has received the University of Georgia Alumni Society Faculty Service Award (1994), the Albert Christ-Janer Award for Creativity in Research (2003), the Blue Key Service Award (2010), and the Women’s Studies Faculty Award (2011).  She has also received awards for teaching, including the Honoratus Medal from the Honors Program.  The title “University Professor” was granted to her in 1995 as “highest recognition for significant impact on The University of Georgia.” On May 13, 2004, she received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities.

On December 20, 2003, Dr. Craige delivered the graduate and professional schools’ commencement address at the University of Georgia. On January 27, 2012, she gave the University’s Founders Day Lecture. On September 17, 2013, she accepted the Jeannette Rankin Fund Founders’ Award. In March of 2014, UGA’s Comparative Literature Department honored her by establishing an annual lecture in her name.

Dr. Craige was Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Delta Prize for Global Understanding. Most recently she has written a murder mystery titled Downstream, published by Black Opal Books on November 26, 2014.

         Her latest mystery is:

Fairfield’s Auction

A Witherston Murder Mystery

Things were always dangerous in a blizzard, but his was beyond the normal—something strange was definitely going on…

On a cold winter evening in the small mountain town of Witherston, Georgia, antique dealer Hempton Fairfield auctions off rare Cherokee artifacts, Appalachian antiques, and a young African Grey parrot. Late that night, a blizzard stops traffic for a three-mile stretch of the Witherston Highway, prohibiting anyone’s arrival or departure and stranding an eighteen-wheel semi full of chickens. The next morning two bodies are discovered in the snow, the chickens are running free, and the parrot is missing, leaving a number of unanswered questions. What happened? Where’s the parrot? How did the chickens escape the stranded truck? Who rightfully owns the remnants of the thousand-year-old Cherokee civilization? Who killed the two men? And, most importantly, how many more bodies will turn up before the killer is caught?


Visit Betty Jean at:

Amazon Link:

 Betty Jean and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.

Other works by BJ:

Lorca’s Poet in New York: The Fall into Consciousness.  Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1977

Literary Relativity.  Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1982

Reconnection: Dualism to Holism in Literary Study.  Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988  (cloth and paper)  Winner of Frederic W. Ness Award

Laying the Ladder Down: The Emergence of Cultural Holism.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.  (cloth and paper) Winner of Georgia Author of the Year for Non-fiction

American Patriotism in a Global Society.  SUNY Series in Global Politics.  Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996 (cloth and paper)

Eugene Odum: Ecosystem Ecologist and Environmentalist.  Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001. (paper edition, 2002)

Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot. Santa Fe: Sherman Asher Publishing, 2010. Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Silver Award (Category Pets) (2011)

            Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot. Red Planet Audiobooks, 2010

Parola di Papagallo (Italian translation of Conversations with Cosmo). Mediterranee, 2013


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Radine Trees Nehring – A Portrait to Die For

On my blog this week, I’m welcoming author, Radine Trees Nehring.


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

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

What is it about the Ozarks?

    When John and I bought acres of Ozarks hills and hollows in 1978, there were no houses along our road. We wanted a country location and this was definitely it. Camping in wooded areas in New England, Oregon, and across Canada during our August vacations had awakened something amazing inside both of us. We were a city-dwelling-career-oriented couple from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who had fallen in love with sparsely populated country locations. The city? Careers? We wanted out!
In 1988 we left the city and moved to our Ozarks land and the weekend cabin we had built there. John and friends went to work expanding the cabin into a full-time home while I discovered an interest in writing about what I had fallen in love with–the Arkansas Ozarks. In a surprisingly short time my essays and articles featuring the natural world where we now lived began selling to newspapers and magazines in the United States and some other countries. The Ozarks area, it seemed, was peculiar enough that stories arising there were of interest in many places.
Therefore, you know me to be honest when I say that my love for the Arkansas Ozarks can be credited for the development of my writing career.
After my non-fiction book, “Dear Earth: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow,” was published in 1995, I decided to try writing the type of fiction I enjoyed reading–the cozy mystery novel.
This month “A Portrait to Die For,” the newest novel in my on-going mystery series featuring Carrie McCrite, Henry King, and their unique family and friends, will appear.
Have I left the Ozarks to write these stories?
Not on your life. Every Carrie and Henry adventure is set in a well-known and loved Arkansas location. Together, readers and I have attended a wedding in a haunted hotel in Eureka Springs, been prisoners in a historic bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park, explored collapsing abandoned mines along Buffalo National River, and “enjoyed” many other special places popular with Arkansans and tourists.
This year we’re visiting a location that combines my love of art and of the Ozarks. “A Portrait to Die For” is set in and around Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Art Crime? Yes. A cast of characters pulled into danger after Carrie McCrite discovers peculiarities in a pair of paintings on loan to Crystal Bridges? Oh, yes. Add family troubles, an agitated Iraq vet, inept hit men, and a talented forger, and you’ve got high adventure in one more exciting and real Ozarks location.
Okay, Crystal Bridges is not in the country. But it is set in a large, mostly untouched park.
Join me there?

A Portrait to Die For

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

FC 300- A Portrait to Die For. - A

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Twitter:   @RTNehring


Buy link for Portrait to Die For

Nadine and I would enjoy hearing from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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Kait Carson – Death by Sunken Treasure

This week, I’m hosting author, Kait Carson

KaitCarsonNo Regulator

Kait learned to read at the age of two. Had to, her father wouldn’t read her Prince Valiant in the Sunday comics. Her two favorite books are still Dr. Seuss’s A Fly Went By and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Dr. Seuss was the first book she remembers reading, and the Alcott introduced her to Jo March, and exclamation points. Both changed her life.

Kait’s working life proved just as varied. A seasonal job selling fine china and glassware in the Washington, DC area soon morphed into a move to New York City and a job with a high-end Italian gold jewelry import company. The call of the tropics took her back to Miami and a job working for one of Miami’s most colorful characters as he and his Dallas Cowboy owning partner developed a national restaurant chain. A stint with the fledgling Miami City Ballet provided more grist for the journals. That led to years working with estate planning law firms and lessons learned in the front lines of litigation. She wrote five novels during this time, honing voice and characterization, learning scene and setting. The books, some masterpieces of head hopping, live under her bed. She loved them all.

Today she’s combined her love of scuba diving with her love of writing to create a new series, the second book releasing this month: Death by Sunken Treasure.

My name is not Kait.

Nope, I’m not going to share my real name. There’s a reason I don’t use it in my writing. Oh, I’m nobody famous. That’s what most people think. If an author uses a pen name, either she writes in multiple genres (think JD Robb/Nora Roberts) or she’s famous and trying to hide her identity (think JK Rowling). Wait, that’s a lot of initials. Hum, maybe I should opt for a new pen name. KD Carson? Nah.

Kait Carson is legacy of my first book, Zoned for Murder. Shakespeare knew his stuff when he wrote the famous line in Henry VI, ”The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Or as I tell my boss, there’s a reason for all those lawyer jokes. In Zoned, the first victim was a lawyer. And I work for a, what do you call a group of lawyers? A murder would be appropriate, but that’s reserved for crows. Passel? Not sinister enough, but it will have to do. I work for a passel of lawyers. Now I’ve written a book where I’ve killed one. My beta readers spent more time trying to figure out who the cast might be in real life then giving me feedback on the book. It turned into a cottage industry.

The truth is the book is fiction. I killed no lawyers I knew, had heard or, or read about. I killed a figment of my imagination. And that corrupt law firm he worked for? Well, that wasn’t the same firm I worked for, or any firm I’d ever heard of, but an awful lot of people thought it was. When my boss read the book, he took me aside and said, “Kait, they’re going to think this is me. So, to protect my boss, and my firm, and to stop the questions…I became Kait Carson. Now I can slay lawyers with impunity.

In addition to giving me the freedom to write about lawyers, and the legal system as I do in my Hayden Kent books, Death by Blue Water and Death by Sunken Treasure, I made another discovery about having a pen name. This one quite useful. Kait and I have a similar resume. What you read about Kait in the bio section of my books and on social media is true and correct. Except, Kait’s younger. I like that. And she’s brave. I am a jellyfish coward when it comes to personal appearances, putting myself forward, marketing, the bugaboo of authorship in the twenty-first century, scares the heck out of me.

Kait loves to talk. She likes nothing better than standing before a group of people fielding questions and talking about her books. We share dyslexia so neither of us like to read at these events, but public speaking. Piece of cake. Give her a microphone and she’ll go all day. Radio shows, no problem. She’ll charm the host and have him eating out of her hand in no time.  Kait is not me. While I like public speaking, it better be about a topic other than me. I’m useless when it comes to thinking on my feet. Mine is the way of the plodder, I’m not witty, fun, or particularly sparkly. Kait is.

Since Kait and I also happen to share a body, and are relatively sane, none of this makes a lot of sense. As Dolly Parton famously said, “People think I’m a dumb blonde. I know I’m not dumb, and I also know that I’m not blonde.” Well, in my case, I know I’m not Kait, and I also know that she doesn’t exist. Not in the birth certificate sense of exist. Except…When I have go out on the road, appear at bookstores or conferences, meet book clubs in libraries, I slip behind the façade and become Kait. I gave her all the qualities I wish I had and the wishing made it so.

It’s fun to tap into another part of your personality. To be able to set your fears aside and have a great time without second guessing yourself. In that sense, Kait exists. Really, she does, but…

I am not Kait.

Death by Sunken Treasure

When Hayden Kent’s mentor and friend discovers her son Mike’s dead body, dressed in full scuba attire, washed up on Pigeon Key, she needs Hayden. Her paralegal and dive skills may help unravel the tragedy of Mike’s last days. He’d recently discovered a sunken Spanish galleon and rumors that he hit the mother lode ran through the Keys like wild fire.

Hayden’s dive on the treasure site uncovers gold, and clues that Mike’s death was something far more sinister than an accident. When two different wills, both signed the day Mike died, are delivered to the courthouse, the suspect list grows, as do the treats against her. The danger escalates as she tries to save herself, discover the motive, and find the killer.


Website URL:

Blog URL: two: (Currently 1st) and

               (Currently 4th Saturday)

Facebook URL: (main page)

               (author page)

Twitter:            @kaitcarson



Barnes and Noble:

Kait and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a message.

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Channing Whitaker – Until the Sun Rises – One Night in Drake Mansion

This week, it’s my pleasure to host screenwriter, filmmaker, and novelist,

 Channing Whitaker.


Channing Whitaker is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker originally hailing from Centerville, Iowa. An alum of Indian Hills Community College, Channing went on to study cinema, screenwriting, literature, and mathematics at the University of Iowa.

Post graduation, Channing began his career in the production of television news, independent films, and commercial videos, as well as to write for websites, corporate media, and advertising. His 10-year career in writing has taken Channing from Iowa, to Alaska, Oklahoma, and currently to Texas.

Channing has written five feature-length screenplays, co-written another feature screenplay, and penned a novel. In that time, Channing has also written and directed over 50 short films.

The April 2015 publication of Channing’s debut novel, “Until the Sun Rises – One Night in Drake Mansion,” comes in tandem with the first production of one of Channing’s feature screenplays, “KILD TV” – a horror mystery. “KILD TV” has already filmed, and will premier in March 2016 release.

Until the Sun Rises – One Night in Drake Mansion

Eighty years ago, a wealthy Midwest family returned home from a magic show, after which neither they, nor the magician, Malvern Kamrar, were ever heard from again. When several bystanders died in their mansion, the house was sealed. After nearly a century of rumors and haunted stories, for a live TV event the mansion will be opened, allowing five contestants to spend one night and win their share of a million dollars. The contestants: a psychic, a high-tech ghost hunter, a Hollywood scream queen, a local woman, and a skeptic, fuel excitement as each tries to solve the mystery. Upon entering, the journal of the family patriarch, Vinton Drake, is discovered, illuminating the mystery, rooted all the way back to Vinton’s service as a medic in WWI, when he first met the magician. Departing from the familiar haunted house tale, this story explores the very nature of belief in the supernatural, with consequences more frightening than any ghost story. Intensity sours when the contestants discover their lives, and thousands more, are in genuine peril. Is the mansion haunted? What fate befell Malvern and the Drake family? And will the contestants uncover the truth in time to save themselves?

Excerpt: Until the Sun Rises – One Night in Drake Mansion

Taken from the 3rd chapter.

In the last row, Vieve struck pay dirt—boxes and boxes of candlesticks. “You were right. There are hundreds of candles here, plenty to light the whole house.” She waited, expecting Harlan to show up, or at least reply with praises for her discovery, but she heard nothing. Concerned, she took care to be perfectly quiet. She didn’t even hear Harlan checking boxes or shuffling items across the way.

She stepped out of the isle and anxiously scanned the third row across the way. Panic mounted as she checked the other isles. The small light cast from her helmet and basic flashlight hardly lit the room, but Harlan was nowhere to be found. As she double-checked the isles on both sides, she shrieked his name again and again. Finally, she dashed to the kitchen doorway where she was abruptly grabbed from behind.

Vieve screamed primally. She instinctively brought her arms up to protect her face and midsection, ready to fight for her life.

“I’m here, I’m here,” Harlan said. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

Vieve shoved him away. “Where were you? You scared the hell out of me! I was worried you’d—”

Harlan drew closer and grasped her trembling hands. “Calm down. Everything’s OK. I’m sorry. There was another door in the corner, obscured by the shelves. I stepped in, just for a minute, but it seems we couldn’t hear each other.” Vieve was slowly calming. “Let me show you.” He released her flashlight hand and took his own light out from under his arm. Still grasping her with one hand, he led her down the end isle on his side. At the very back, blocked by the shelving sides, was a small section where racks were omitted. Behind it, a narrow door was sunk into the brick wall. The door was peculiar compared to the rest of the house. With a half dozen vertically running planks, it was rough, had no finish, and looked more like a makeshift fence gate than a door in a mansion. They opened the door and stepped through.

Harlan pointed his light to the ceiling. It was completely glass, though all that could be seen were piles of leaves and accumulated debris outside. The walls of the room were windowless and lined with rugged, unfinished benches and cabinets. Harlan opened one, showing Vieve it was filled with tools. He pulled out a chisel. “I think this was a wood shop. Maybe Vinton was a woodworking hobbyist.”

“Or someone in the house was. They had more help than just the nanny.”

“Look down here at the end.” He escorted her to the far end of the room, where a hodgepodge office was arranged. Papers were pinned on the wall, a desk was cluttered with documents, a file cabinet was jammed so full it couldn’t close, and there was a small couch and record player in the corner. “I bet the office up front was for show, and well-kept, and this is where Vinton really did his work.” Vieve agreed as she skimmed through the loose papers. Harlan shined his light on a large hand-drawn map on the wall. At the bottom, “Entrance” was marked, then a narrow hall or shaft began with long rooms extending off it, both left and right. Immediately after, another pair of chambers started, and so on and so on for ten rooms.

Vieve looked up to see what had caught Harlan’s eye. “It’s a coal mine. Room-and-pillar format. They mine out all of these long chambers, but they leave enough material between each room to support the ceiling. If you go too wide, they collapse. If you go too narrow, then you lose out on the mineral resources you didn’t mine out.”

“Must have been one of the Drakes’ properties.” Harlan panned the wall with his light. There were dozens of smaller maps throughout. Then Harlan looked down at Vieve and the desk. “Anything interesting?”

“Business contracts, state permits, progress reports, nothing unexpected.”

Harlan scanned the desk then made a very audible “Hmm” sound. Vieve turned, waiting for his thoughts. “This desk looks hand made.”

“Wasn’t everything back then?”

“True, but the Drakes could have afforded a master craftsman’s piece. This seems to have a number of little flaws, like the work of a novice. If Vinton dabbled in woodworking, I have to wonder if he made it.”

“Could be.”

“When I was a kid my father loved to woodwork, and I always helped. I still do when I get home to visit.” Vieve smiled. “I’ve always planned to take it up myself once I’m out of school for good, and actually have free time.” Harlan saw Vieve was growing impatient. “Whenever we made a piece of furniture like this, we always added a secret compartment, a drawer with a false bottom or something similar, for fun mainly, but something only the builder would know about. My parents’ house has several dozen hiding spots.”

“So you think Vinton might have put something like that in this desk?”

“A secret second office through a concealed door in the pantry—there’s no reason not to check.” Harlan handed Vieve his flashlight. All lights shone on the desk. There were three drawers along the side. Harlan pulled the top drawer completely out. He sifted through its contents briefly and then upended it, scattering objects and notes everywhere. Vieve jumped. Harlan shot her an apologetic smile as he knocked on the bottom of the drawer both from inside and outside. He repeated this inspection with the second and third drawers but found nothing.

Next, Harlan pulled out the pen tray just under the top of the desk, the last drawer in the piece, but found nothing of interest there either. Finally, Harlan cleared the jumble from the desk surface, placed one ear down on the desktop, and proceeded to knock on it gently, moving his knuckles steadily to span the entire surface.

“A-ha.” Harlan ceased knocking. “Let’s see.” He slid his hands inside the cavity where the pen tray had sat. They barely fit. He had to strain to press them in far enough, but after a few moments a mechanical click sounded. Vieve looked on curiously as Harlan grinned with satisfaction and a hatch swung down, up underneath the desk where one’s legs would fit. It was hinged at the back and folded up flush with the bottom of the pen tray. When hanging down it had a file compartment, open on top and positioned at the very back, against the wall. “It wouldn’t be much of a haunted mansion without hidden rooms and secret hiding places, huh?”

Harlan leaned down on his knees and beckoned for light. He reached back to the compartment and came out with a leather-bound volume. Both of their minds raced with anticipation. Harlan started to open it, but paused. “I hope it’s not just an accounting ledger.”

“Will you open it already?” When he turned the cover, a slip of paper fell to the floor. It was jagged along one side like a page torn from a small-bound pad. Harlan thumbed through the first few pages, each filled with handwritten paragraphs, as Vieve retrieved the scrap.

“It looks like a journal of sorts.” Harlan looked to Vieve, but she didn’t respond. Her focus was locked on the note. “Vieve?” She finally looked up with wide eyes and handed Harlan the slip.

No one heard my voice. Panicked screams had filled the air. I stood and declared, “Dead. He’s dead.” When I released his wrist, it too sounded the drum as it landed on the stage floor. “That’s the second time he has died in my hands.

 They looked at one another, both drunk with excitement. Harlan grabbed Vieve’s hand and pulled her to sit on the small couch. With both helmets and flashlights compounded, the pages of the journal lit up brightly. The first page had a title in all caps:


A byline below read: “By Vinton Drake.” They both leaned in eagerly as Harlan turned the page.

Until the Sun Rises

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J.J. White – Deviant Acts

This week I’m hosting author, J.J. White

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White is an award winning novelist and short story writer who has been published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review, Bacopa Review, and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Adventures of the Nine Hole League, was recently published in The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, #13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.

I Can’t Type—Don’t Ask Me

I can’t type. It’s true. But I’m not the first author to write all his works in longhand. Nabokov wrote Lolita on index cards, boxes of them, I imagine, unless he wrote in tiny little letters. Capote was more traditional, writing on a pad, usually while in bed smoking a cigarette and sipping coffee. Joyce Carol Oates used a pencil for her prose and probably still does. I use a pen, which is easier on the fingers than a pencil, but the difference between me and the aforementioned, other than they’ve had a bit more success than I have, is that I don’t type it up afterward. My lovely wife, Pamela, tackles that chore. That could be the reason I married her. She was attractive, intelligent, single, had a three-year-old car, two hundred dollars in her savings account, and she could type. I was attending college at the time and had just paid a secretary a dollar per page to type my twenty page report on an IBM Selectric. (Okay—I’m old)  So, I couldn’t lose by proposing marriage to Pamela, who was practically perfect in every way and had the ability to read my writing.

I hated typing from an early age. Six to be exact. I analyzed my mother’s Underwood and concluded some idiot must have designed the thing, since none of the keys seemed to be in any logical order. I remedied that by writing the alphabet on a sheet of white construction paper and cutting each letter into a circle the size of a typewriter key. Then I glued them to the keys, this time in their proper order. No more ridiculous QWERTY. ABCDEF made more sense to me. It took me to “H” before I figured out gluing different letters to the keys didn’t change the letter the keys typed.

I have written ten novels, three hundred short stores, many magazine articles, several golf columns, bad checks, a hurried last will and testament on a 737 during a thunderstorm, and all in longhand. Sadly, I have never looked at a computer monitor and typed a word on the keyboard at the same time.

Here is how I write. I bullet a chapter outline, let it fester in my head the rest of the day, and then, when the words seem ready to burst out of me, I write them down on a pad of college-ruled paper. I’m pretty much done at that point. My next step is to staple the handwritten pages together, meekly hand them over to Pamela and ask her nicely to interrupt her viewing of Downton Abbey to type them up and then email them back to me so I can do a first edit. She frowns, hits pause on the DVR (thank God for DVRs) and reluctantly transforms my horrible, handwritten twenty pages into twelve or so neatly typed pages.

 My friends call her a saint and I have to agree. My handwriting has been described as looking like a chicken stepped in a puddle of ink and had a seizure on a pad of paper. Yes—a saint.

At this point, I mark up the hard copy, just like Nabokov and Capote did, except I change pretty much everything. And that’s just the first draft.

Still, I believe writing in longhand is my only option. My brain and my pen have found some kind of equilibrium and if I tried to change, it might alter the space-time continuum and annihilate the universe.

By the way, my agent and publisher complain I don’t promote my books properly and spend too much time writing guest blogs. So, to appease them, I’ll now do a shout-out for my latest book, Deviant Acts, a cool crime fiction tale on sale for less than the cost of a large popcorn at the movies.

But don’t buy my book because I said to, buy it as kudos to my poor wife, Saint Pam, who must suffer my apoplectic scribbling and make sense of the chaos.

DeviantActs cover

His crime fiction book, Deviant Acts, was released by Black Opal books in November, and will be followed by his Historical Fiction book, Nisei, in 2016. He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece, Tour Bus. He lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife and editor, Pamela.

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Deviant Acts on Amazon

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Lorraine Nelson – Daydreams and Night Scenes

On my blog this week, I’m welcoming author, Lorraine Nelson

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Lorraine Nelson is a multi-published, award-winning author of romantic suspense who lives in rural New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada. Always a bookworm, she’s read many novels of romance and mystery over the years, finally deciding to put her pen to work at writing one.

“To write romance and romantic suspense is my dream come true, although my mom says I was born with an avid imagination and pencil in hand, crafting stories from an early age. Now my children have grown and have lives of their own, I have time to indulge my passion for writing.”

Lorraine enjoys spending time with her three sons and six grandchildren. When not at the computer, you can find her spending time with family, gardening, baking and, of course, reading.

Daydreams and Night Scenes

A night of love. Fantasy or Fateful Alliance?

Miranda Stuart is lushly built, hauntingly beautiful, career-oriented, and extremely intelligent, but thanks to a teenage crush on Alex Denning, a man who was way out of her league, she acts out of character when they meet up years later at a posh resort. She determines to have her fantasy night in his arms. When the night’s magic should have begun (unbeknownst to him) our dashing, billionaire playboy enters the scene with bright lights blaring and another woman in tow. Had she just set herself up for blackmail?

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Daydreams and Night Scenes

Miranda Stuart (Randi to her friends) sidled up to the bar and ordered her favorite predinner drink, a Long Island Iced Tea. She’d taken a much-needed break from the convention activities ongoing at the posh luxury resort. She hadn’t drawn a complete breath since arriving, hence the need for a touch of liquid refreshment.

Randi perched on a padded stool and sipped her drink while facing a mirror that spanned the full width of the bar. She didn’t pay much attention to the reflection of clientele in the popular nightclub until he came into focus.

Her eyes zeroed in on absolute power and raw sexuality radiating from the drop-dead gorgeous man. Stopping now and then to engage in conversation, he towered over everyone as he circled the room drawing inexplicably closer to where she sat.

This couldn’t be happening. Randi couldn’t believe billionaire playboy, Alexander Denning, had casually straddled the stool beside her. He was the only chink in her armor of collective cool. Alex had been her first real crush and he didn’t even know she existed.

Averting her eyes, she caught a look at herself in the mirror. She, who had fought her way to the top in a man’s world, who had perfected a calm, efficient, and sophisticated façade, was looking as giddy and star struck as a teenager on her first date…and all he had done was sit beside her.

Taking a sip of her drink to cure her dry throat, she swallowed too quickly and began sputtering and choking. When he handed her a napkin and patted her back for good measure she felt the touch of his large, gentle hand all the way to the tips of her toes.

“Better now?” Alexander asked as she came up for air.

“Yes, much better. Thank you,” she stammered in embarrassment.

“No thanks necessary. My name is Alex,” he offered, giving her time to compose herself. “You made quite an entrance earlier,” he remarked.

“Me? Make an entrance? You’ve must be joking.”

“Not at all. Every eye in the room followed the sway of your hips and those endless, long legs as you strutted toward the bar. The women in envy, I suspect, and the men with their tongues hanging out.”

“Now I know you’re poking fun at me. Does this line of flattery actually work on the women you connect with?” “It’s not flattery. It’s fact. And this is the first time I’ve tried this approach so, you tell me,” he responded with an engaging grin, “is it working?”

Daydreams and Night Scenes cover_TAKE 4

Lorraine’s books are listed on her website. You’ll find blurbs, excerpts, reviews, and purchase links there.

She loves to hear from readers. You can keep up with Lorraine’s releases by visiting her at the following locations:

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