Sharon Love Cook – A Deadly Christmas Carol

This week, I’m pleased host cartoonist and author of the Granite Cove mysteries, Sharon Love Cook.


I am a writer and cartoonist living north of Boston. At my first writing job, I got to combine the two: At seventeen, I was a correspondent for the Gloucester Daily Times‘ (MA) supplement the Cape Ann Summer Sun, where I wrote about jelly fish invasions and volleyball tournaments. More recently, I’ve gotten to illustrate the covers of my Granite Cove mysteries: A Nose for Hanky Panky and A Deadly Christmas Carol. Currently I’m working on book #3: Laugh ’til You Die.

“Nose” was recently translated into German by Amazon Crossing, the company’s international department. As a result, I was given 25 complimentary copies. I’d be happy to send a free copy to anyone who reads German.

A Deadly Christmas Carol

When sultry Dionne Dunbar is run down in the street one winter’s night, Granite Cove Gazette reporter Rose McNichols is the only witness. Amid Christmas preparations in the New England fishing village, Rose alone is determined to discover Dionne’s secrets. Who wanted the woman dead? Was it a member of her mediums circle . . .  or one of her black book clients?

Here is an excerpt:

She pressed her foot on the gas and, at the same time, shifted into reverse. The Jetta roared back, slamming into the barrel with a loud BAM. In the rearview mirror, she saw it topple into the street. Rose swore out loud.

At least her car was freed, she thought, driving a few yards into the road. She got out to check the damage. The barrel was on its side, papers strewn all around it. She felt for the handles and attempted to right it, but the thing was too heavy. What was it filled with—bricks?

She dropped to her knees and rolled it toward the curb. Not only was the barrel heavy but it was tall. Panting in the cold night air, she gave a final shove. The barrel rolled and at the same time dislodged a large, dark mass.

She struggled to her feet. Had she dumped a pile of clothes on the street, along with all that paper? Worse, what if it was garbage? Peering into the dark, she remembered the LED flashlight in her glove compartment. She stumbled to her car and found it among a jumble of odds and ends.

She returned and pressed the switch, aiming the tiny beam at the barrel. The light reflected off a pair of high-heeled black boots silhouetted against the snow. She moved the beam southward and discovered that the boots were attached to a body.

This time, Rose was not reluctant to wake the Chitwicks. In fact, her screams woke the entire street.


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BOOK GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and enter to win a print copy or an eBook of Sharon’s latest Granite Cove mystery, A Deadly Christmas Carol.




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Kevin Richardson – What If?

This week I’m pleased to host fellow Wings author, Kevin Richardson.

Kev Richardson - photo

A retired Australian journalist, Kev spent many years touring the world, writing travel articles for airline magazines. His many adventures and misadventures became the bases for his several Action/Adventure novels.

Several biographies of significant people have also come from Kev’s busy pen.

Two works have been finalists in the International EPIC Awards and all twenty-three novels have been awarded by professional reviewers, either 5 Stars or 5+ or 5++ Stars. Two, however, received from Conger Book Reviews USA, its first and only 10 Stars out of 5 reviews!!!

All works are available in Paperback or eBook.

Kev is twice married and now enjoys single life, writing on his experiences and studies, relaxing in the Himalayan foothills of exotic Thailand.

What If? 

Had Hitler not stabbed Russia in the back by attacking it in 1941, the face of the entire world could, today, be markedly different. Surely he would have been the stronger had he continued using the support of Russia’s millions working with him, than against him.

In that year, Britain was helplessly unable to further defend itself against the blitzkrieg that had already sacked Europe. Leaving Britain to maintain its manufacturing power, deliberately creating an eastern front as well as his western, was a dreadful mistake.

Without Britain, there could have been no D-Day and no US forces in Europe. Instead of shooting itself in the foot, denying itself the ability to back-up its ally Japan, in the Pacific, today’s world could be an entirely different place. Both the USA and Australia could be experiencing a vastly different life.

 Here is an excerpt:

Britain in mid 1941 was already helplessly staggering.

Factories had hurriedly converted manufacture of non-military goods to defensive armaments, and while German bombers rapidly reduced Britain’s manufacturing abilities, its agricultural produce was directed first to the military, leaving the civilian population suffering hunger pains. Its colonies began shipping tons of food and supplies, yet German U-boats sent increasing numbers of supply ships to the Atlantic Ocean’s sea bed, along with America’s shipments of desperately needed armaments.

Why Hitler, with all France’s northern seaports at his disposal, didn’t invade, has remained a quandary. Had his astoundingly easy successes in subjugating even more of Europe than had the Romans two thousand years prior, made him overconfident? It seems history proved that possibility, right.

So what would have been the war’s course had he not turned on Russia at that time but invaded defenceless Britain? Can we imagine what the combined might of the Axis Bloc’s multi-millions have done once Britain was out of the war? There could have been no D-Day and no US troop forces in Europe.

And could the United States as readily have outmatched Japan’s manufacturing if Germany had then, been supporting Japan against it?



Kev Richardson… historian, novelist, biographer
Read synopses, awards and reviews on

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

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Snoop To Nuts – Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

My first guest author of the new year is, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli.

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Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli moved to the shores of a little lake in northwest northern Michigan and never looked back. She lives, sometimes uncomfortably, with the crows and bears and turtles and finds her material in the villages and forests that surround her. With degrees from Macomb County Community College, Oakland University, and the University of Michigan, she now teaches creative writing at Northwestern Michigan College and at writers’ conferences around the country.

Her novels include: Gift of Evil (Bantam), Dead Dancing Women, Dead Floating Lovers, Dead Sleeping Shaman, and Dead Dogs and Englishmen (Midnight Ink), Dead Little Dolly, and A Tough Nut to Kill (writing as Elizabeth Lee), Berkley Publishers.

Elizabeth is also fascinated with the craft of the short story and hers have appeared in The Creative Woman, The Driftwood Review, Passages North,The MacGuffin, Quality Women’s Fiction (Great Britain), and elsewhere. With a grant from the State of Michigan she also created short stories that have been produced onstage as well as being read on NPR.
For many years she taught in the International Women’s Guild summer program at Skidmore College and appeared as a moderator and panelist at writing conferences. Her fascination with all things murderous began with a love for puzzles of all sorts, which was handed down to her by a mother who devoured mysteries. Sometimes playful, sometimes deadly serious, her books reflect a wide interest in women’s lives and futures.

Mystery writer and journalist with 7 published novels including her latest, the first in a series: A Tough Nut to Kill from Berkley Publishers/Penguin Group.

She teaches fiction writing at Northern Michigan College, was a reporter for the ROMEO OBSERVER, and has written for the DETROIT NEWS, Traverse Magazine, the British Literary Journal: Women’s Quality Fiction, and many others.

Her fourth novel in the Emily Kincaid series, DEAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN, was chosen one of the best mysteries of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews and the Christian Science Monitor.  Writing as Elizabeth Lee, the first in her Texas series: A TOUGH NUT TO KILL, is in stores and online now.  The second in the series is:

Snoop To Nuts

In this second installment of the Nut House Series, SNOOP TO NUTS, I’m afraid Lindy Blanchard and her grandmother, Miss Amelia, of the Nuthouse Store in Riverville, Texas, just got themselves and their whole family in trouble again.  For some reason people have the bad taste to die around the Blanchards.  This time it is Pastor Jenkins, the poor man only new to Riverville.

At the biggest pecan recipe contest of the year, held at the end of the state fair, the new pastor (a judge in the contest) dies, poisoned, with suspicion falling on Miss Amelia, this kind, motherly woman with claws of steel when it comes to her family, her pecan recipes, or anybody who would do harm to either one.

Clearing Miss Amelia takes Lindy and the family into some terrible dark dealings  and a lot of upheaval in the usually quiet town of Riverville.  Lindy wades through the town’s characters  and  a whole host of evil people to clear her grandmother and fix a few other problems bedeviling the Blanchards.

From the loose hog running the midway at the state fair to a triumphant celebration at the nuthouse—where Miss Amelia serves ironic treats like Cyanide Mini Cinnies—the Blanchards stand tall, and victorious, together.

Here is an excerpt:

The judging of the best pecan recipe has begun.  The contestants are stiff with fear and hope.  The judges make a slow entrance to the room to begin tasting the proffered dishes:

Miss Amelia stood tall, her pale eyes following the slow procession of the judges.  Her hands were clutched in front of her, one wringing the other.  From time to time, she turned to look around at the crowd, as if expecting to see someone, then she would turn back to smile nervously at me and Bethany and Mama, then back to the judges as they made their way toward her. Next to where Miss Amelia and the rest of us Blanchards waited, The Reverend Jenkins tasted Ethelred’s Pecan Surprise Tomato Puff and smacked his lips.  He smiled at the pale, almost fainting, woman, perspiration standing out on her high forehead, hands clutched at her breast. She tried to smile but ended by giving the man an unattractive grimace.

The pastor reached out to rest a hand on her shoulder for reassurance then moved on, throwing his plastic spoon and plate and napkin in the small garbage can under the tasting station.

“Miss Amelia,” the Reverend Millroy Jenkins nodded to Meemaw.  “Hear you’re the one to beat here.”

The pastor stuck his plastic spoon into Miss Amelia’s bowl then stuck the spoon in his mouth so that his lips closed right up to the spoon handle.  He hesitated a minute, standing with the spoon sticking from between his lips, then pulled the spoon back out, still half loaded with the Texas caviar.

He wiped his mouth with his paper napkin, cleared his throat, and gave Miss Amelia a half-hearted smile.   He dipped his head toward the rest of the family, wadded the paper napkin in his hand, ran it slowly across his mouth again, then threw spoon, napkin, and unused dish away.

As the pastor walked on to Suzy Queens’ Blessed Pecan Dip, the other two judges stepped up.  Eloise Dorrance, dipped her spoon into the glass bowl of Texas caviar and put it directly into her mouth.

For a moment her head came up and her eyes grew wide.  I took the woman’s reaction for wonderment but soon saw she was grasping for a napkin, sending a shower of paper to the floor.  She brought the napkin to her mouth and spit out the caviar.

I could feel my family stiffen around me.

 Miss Amelia said nothing.

When Eloise had passed, Mama, outraged, whispered, “What the heck’s wrong with these people?”


Miss Amelia wanted to lighten the dark mood in town after the murderer was caught so threw a party at the Nuthouse and served dishes named for poisons and such.  All sure to lighten the day though a few of the townsfolk didn’t get the joke as fast as others.

                              NIGHTSHADE NUGGETS.  

A nice touch of orange and pecans in an easy to make cookie.

1 cp. Shortening

½ cp. White sugar

½ cp. Brown sugar

1 egg, well beaten

2 tbsp Garrison Brothers Straight Texas Bourbon

1 tbsp grated orange rind

2¾ cp. flour

¼ tsp soda

¼ tsp salt

½ cp. Pecans, finely chopped

Cream together shortening, sugars, egg, the fine Texas bourbon, and orange rind.  Sift flour with soda and salt.  Add to creamed mix.  Stir in pecans.  Shape into a roll about 1½ inches around.  Chill.  Cut into thin slices, place on a greased cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Yields about 5 dozen cookies.

Writing under the name, Elizabeth Lee, Snoop To Nuts is available on Amazon and other book retailers.

Visit her website at:

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

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End Of The Year Thank You


2014 was an interesting year for me as an author and as a blogger.

 As an author, my new mystery, Once Upon a Crime, was released by Wings ePress in September. I was on two authors panels at the Love Is Murder Writers Conference, and did some virtual book tours and several successful book signings. Along with that, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m a character in M. F. Meredith’s mystery, Murder in the Worst Degree.

 As a blogger, I introduced many new and talented writers, and welcomed back some old friends. I’ve read and reviewed many of the novels that were featured on my blog, and would’ve loved to have read them all. Unfortunately, because of time constraints, they had to go on my TBR list.

 I’d like to give all my guest authors a heartfelt thank you for being on my blog. As a bonus, I’m going to “tweet” each of your blog posts every day until the end of the year.

 If you haven’t had a chance read my blog, here is a list of the awesome authors, and their wonderful novels, who appeared in 2014:

 Evelyn David – Murder Doubles Back

Stefanie Stolinsky – Counterfeit Lottery

Christa Nardi – Murder at Cold Creek College

Madison Johns – Trouble in Tawas

Alyssa Maxwell – Murder at The Breakers

Ann McGinnis – Scarlet Revenge

Jeanne Roppolo – Grandma Goes to the Alaskan Wilderness

Anna Celeste Burke – A Dead Husband

D.M. Pirrone – No Less in Blood

Rita Monette – The Legend of Ghost Dog Island

Michele May – Ensconced

Marcia Meara – Wake-Robin Ridge

Penny Clover Petersen – Daisy&Rose Mystery Series

Sue Myers – Deception

F. M. Meredith – Murder in the Worst Degree

Patricia Gligor – Desperate Deeds

Jeanne Meeks – Rim To Rim

Skye Taylor – Falling for Zoe

PJ. Nunn – Private Spies

Deborah Garner – The Moonglow Cafe

Lynn Cahoon – Guidebook to Murder

Larissa Reinhart – Death in Perspective

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli – Dead Little Dolly

Marja McGraw – What Are The Odds?

Lynette Hall Hampton – The Island

Christina Larmer – Words Can Kill

Diana Febry – Bells On Her Toes

Liz Mugavero – A Biscuit, A Casket

Sylvia Selfman – Murder She Typed

Evelyn Cullet – Once Upon a Crime

Lydia Ponczak – Reenee on the Run

Linda S. Reilly – Some Enchanted Murder

A.J. McGuire – Sedition

Laurinda Wallace – Family Matters

Marilyn Meredith – River Spirits

Marilyn Levinson – Murder the Tey Way

David K. Bryant – Tread Carefully on the Sea

Mary Jean Kelso – One Family’s Christmas

Nancy G. West – Dang Near Dead

Left of the Rising Sun – John Holland

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


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Left of the Rising Sun – John Holland


On this festive Christmas week, I’m hosting author, John Holland.


John Holland grew up in the Australian outback.  He has been a stockman, miner, roadworker, professional hunter, newspaper columnist and media officer for a politician.

His poetry and fiction are about life and the question of where we fit into an uncertain universe.

Left of the Rising Sun

~ Ten-year-old Buck Brown is the sole survivor of a plane crash in the interior of Australia’s Northern Territory. Watching the plane sink into the murky water of a remote outback billabong, he remembers the pilot saying they had been flying off-course for hours. Search parties will never find Buck, he decides. There is only one way out, to walk several hundred kilometres home.

With grim resolve, Buck sets out on a trek that will require resolve, knowledge, and ingenuity, a journey that will test his strength to the limit. He will be a participant in the elemental struggle for life and survival.

Buck’s gruelling trial will also teach him surprising lessons about friendship and loyalty. If he is successful it will be a trek that leads not only back to his family and home but also to a maturity not always achieved in a full lifetime. ~

Here is an excerpt:

~Buck took inventory. He was wearing a light shirt and drill shorts. The nights        shouldn’t be cold, though, so he wouldn’t freeze. He also wore new sandshoes and short socks. All he had in his pockets were a handkerchief, which might come in handy, and his beloved “army knife—” a Christmas present from his family. It wasn’t really an army knife, but it might be even handier. It was a folding knife with two cutting blades of different lengths, a serrated blade you could saw with, a tiny pair of scissors, and a tiny magnifying glass. The magnifying glass interested him the most. He should be able to use it to start a fire!

It was early afternoon, and the sun was still high. With the sun where it was, he could work out the direction he should take. Well…pretty closely anyway. Buck pointed himself along his chosen path and aimed for what looked like a gap between hills in the far distance. He knew enough to pick out a landmark and adhere to that direction.

Each morning he would have to pick out a new landmark to aim for that day. Home should be roughly east north-east. If he faced the first light of the rising sun each day and spread his arms directly outwards, his left hand should be pointing north, and his right hand pointing south. Bring his left hand around halfway to the sun, and that should be north-east. Bring it from north-east halfway to the sun again and that should be east north-east. Maybe that wasn’t the exact direction to head, but it would be pretty close. To make it easier he would just steer each day’s walk to a landmark picked out on the horizon not too far to the left of the rising sun.

Fortunately he would be travelling through mostly savannah country with quite a few hills. These would make good landmarks to steer towards if the hills were close enough to his chosen direction.

Daylight dimmed as Buck neared the first hills. He started looking for shelter and found a small waterhole near the foot of a hill. Time to stop before darkness made it impossible to keep to his path.

The water tasted like washing-up water, but it would do. He drank thirstily and then picked up some wood and grass as well as dried leaves, which he took up to a spot where the rock of the hill was slightly undercut and gave some overhead protection.

The afternoon sun was low and sluggish, but he might still have time for a fire. After crushing dry leaves and dead grass to a powder with his hands, he focused the beam from the magnifying glass on them. He concentrated hard to make sure he held the glass the exact distance from the powdered grass and leaves. When smoke started to curl from the powder, his heart lifted. After a few tries, and by using his breath to fan the smouldering pile of powder, he was rewarded by a small lick of flame. Quickly he fed it with dry leaves, grass, and twigs until it caught, and he could use the bigger sticks of wood he had gathered. Success! He could make fire!~

New Left Cover Smaller



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





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Nancy G. West – Dang Near Dead

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On this third week of December, I’m hosting author, Nancy G. West


Nancy studied business administration and English lit and is ambidexterous, which explains a lot. While writing her serious suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, character Aggie Mundeen popped up and demanded that Nancy write a book about her…or maybe a series. Thus, the Aggie Mundeen mystery series was born. Aggie and Nancy still clash brains, but they’ve enjoyed every minute. Detective Sam, Aggie’s love interest, is a little nervous….Anyone who dreads aging, tries to stay fit or has loved the wrong man should appreciate Aggie Mundeen.

Dang Near Dead

Aggie and friends frolic on a dude ranch vacation with cowboys, dudes, heat, snakes, poison ivy, buried secrets and dangerous wranglers. When an expert rider flies off a horse and lies in a coma, Aggie believes it was no accident. Despite Sam’s warnings, Aggie probes secrets of the ranch, her ingenious methods strain her dicey relationship with Sam, and they discover that Home on the Range means murder.

Here is an excerpt.

They see the ranch:

                “We topped the hill and saw the entrance gate, bracketed on both sides by an eight-strand wire fence.  A four-by-eight-foot wood plank sign hung between wide gateposts.  BVSBar Ranch was scorched into the wood.  When our front wheels bumped over the first iron pipe of the cattle guard, the gate swung open.  A winding ranch road curved ahead.  Sun sparkling on limestone crushed into dirt beckoned us toward whatever lurked around the next bend….”

                Aggie and Meredith meet their cabin mates at the ranch:

                Chubby arms jingling with charm bracelets protruding from a floating tent of gauzy iridescent orange swept into the room.  Bleached hair tied high in a pom-pom bounced above crinkly, kohl-rimmed eyes and fire engine red lips.

                “Well, hellooo,” the apparition said. “We thought our suite mates would never come. I’m Jan Meisner, ‘Jangles’ for short.”

                A glow of southwestern turquoise flashed into the  room hanging on one of Jangles’ roommates.

                “I told Jangles not to wear those floatin’ hostess pajamas,”  she barked.  “This is a ranch. If she gets near brush, she’ll get snagged and leave half herself in the bushes.  I’m Rhonda Stone. They call me Stoney.  If we’re going to fit in at this ranch, we need to dress like it. We don’t want these ranchers to think we’re dudes.”  Stoney shook our hands like she was pumping a well.

                We heard a shriek from their cabin and rushed in to find their third roommate cringing on top of the wood table, clasping her knees.

                “There are bugs on my mattress! I’m sure they bite.  How can I possibly sleep on that foul pallet?”

                “Get over it, Mildred,”  Stoney said.  “We’ll knock ’em off your bed.”  Stoney turned to us and spiked her thumb toward the agitated woman.  “This is Millie Dietert.  She’s never been outside Dallas.”

DANG NEAR DEAD front.jpg

DANG NEAR DEAD, Aggie Mundeen Mystery #2                                                                                      Must Read.” Southern Writers’ Magazine November/December 2014

DANG NEAR DEAD release  video:

Henery Press Interview:

Henery Press:

Amazon purchase link:

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble purchase link:


Nancy’s Website: 

Nancy G. West and Her Characters:

                       (Nancy & Aggie Clash Brains)

Amazon Author Page –



Las Mysteristas Interview:

UniversalCreativity 14, Book Review:

Get Lost in a Story, Interview: 

FIT TO BE DEAD, Aggie Mundeen Mystery #1

RELEASE video:

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


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Mary Jean Kelso – One Family’s Christmas

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This second week of December, I’m hosting author, Mary Jean Kelso

mjkel bio photo

Mary Jean Kelso is a multi-genre’ author. Her children’s books include a dozen or more titles. She is, also, the author of four young adult novels and several adult novels. Her only factual book is, A Visual History Record of Alamo Defender Gordon Cartwright Jennings’ Family (co-authored with her daughter, Wendy Whiteman).

Several of her children’s books are available in braille through Xavier Society for the Blind ( and The Anna B. Repicky Foundation (

Mary Jean contributes to National newspapers and magazines and was an Asst. Editor prior to concentrating on fiction. She has  received awards from The Nevada Press Assn. and The National Press Assn. She is a member of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, The Alamo Society and Made in Nevada —

One Family’s Christmas

After a family’s star for their Christmas tree is destroyed they search for another ornament to top the tree. They resurrect the treetop angel carried across The Oregon Trail by a young pioneer and bring the story of The Christmas Angel full circle. Suggested age for readers: 4-12.


Fernley Author, Mary Jean Kelso, recently received word that two of her books were now in English Braille. A copy of the translation into braille of her children’s book, Andy and the Albino Horse arrived this week. One Familys Christmas is also available in braille.

 Kelso who writes for children, tweens, young adults and adults has been published in  many formats including ebooks, hardbacks, paperbacks and audio. These are the first braille editions. The books will be used to teach blind children how to read.

 “I am very excited to know that my writing is touching sightless children and adults,” Kelso said. “I hope the books bring them much joy!”

  The New York City organization, Xavier Society for the Blind (, has been serving the blind since 1900. The data for the books is stored in “the mind of the computer,” according to a spokesperson at Xavier. The books are produced when a client orders a book listed in their library.

Xavier also works with the Talking Books for the Blind and does inter-library loan. They are listed in the National Library Service.

Kelso’s books are also available through The Anna B. Repicky Foundation. The Foundation is based on the idea that “children become readers on the laps of their parents,” according to a quote by Emilie Buchwald on their website (

The goal of the Anna B. Repicky Foundation is to provide a print book and a braille copy to clients so the sighted and non-sighted in families and classrooms can read together.

The two organizations have teamed up to expand the number of books available through their libraries. The books are provided to the clients to keep without charge.

 “One of my uncles was blind. My best friend of many years is blind. I have seen the struggles the blind have to live a fulfilled life. If even one child learns to read because he or she enjoys one of my books, I am very happy about that,” Kelso said.

Visit Mary Jean on the Web at,,!/pages/Mary-Jean-Kelso-Author/197511410282689, or

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




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David K. Bryant – Tread Carefully on the Sea


This first week of December, I’m hosting author, David K. Bryant.


I started writing fiction after retiring from journalism and public relations. I suppose the books waited their turn during all the years I wrote articles, features, speeches and promotional material for other people. My career included running a district office for a daily newspaper, helping to introduce professional PR into the British police service and promoting a major parliamentary Bill for Margaret Thatcher’s government.


I live in Somerset, one of the nicest counties in England, and am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Stephanie and I have been married for forty years. We are proud of our two children Matthew and Melanie, grandson Henry, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Fleur.

Tread Carefully on the Sea

The Governor of Jamaica organised a splendid 21st birthday party for his adopted daughter, Jessica. However, the best surprise for her came the following day when her admirer, Captain Michael Townsend of the Royal Navy, asked her to marry him.

Meanwhile, Captain Flint, one of the most successful buccaneers of the colonial era, decided to take the fortune he had made from twenty years of piracy and retire to a secret place where he would be out of the reach of justice.

That’s what should have happened.

But Flint was persuaded to raise yet more money through one last crime; a crime more daring and dangerous than any he had previously committed. His men would kidnap Jessica and add her ransom to their pensions.

The kidnap leads to a desperate chase across the Caribbean and all the horrors of 18th Century life at sea for Jessica and those who try to help her, while Captain Flint himself must face the threat of both the hangman and those within his own crew who plot against him.

Here is an excerpt:

Flint had made use of his time at Jamaica to stock a generous table. In its center was a bowl of ackee, otaheite apple and hog plum. Already waiting on the china were servings of crayfish curried with garlic. Side plates held hard dough bread. The drink was inevitably rum, even at this early hour. There were, however, jugs of water at intervals along the table.

Jessica bit a little piece off a breadfruit. She had been silenced by Flint but she looked straight at him to convey without words that she was still waiting for her answers.

Townsend took up her cause: “Captain Flint, you obviously have the power to do with us what you will and I don’t doubt we’ll soon find out what that is. There are, however, two issues that are going to overshadow this meeting until we have the answers: Why did you take us aboard your ship and what has become of the governor and his nephew?”

“That’s a better way of putting it,” said Flint. “It shows we can deal with matters in a civilized fashion. I’m not surprised at your initiative, Captain Townsend. I’d heard of you before all this because of the ripples you have made in these waters for some of my buccaneering counterparts. You are an educated man. Indeed, I think we went to the same school, Harrow.”

O’Hara, sitting opposite Townsend, noticed his captain wince at the mention of his school. Any reference to the past seemed to make Townsend recoil. If O’Hara had been able to use telepathy, he would have asked Flint not to open up that matter too much. But Flint was still talking: “So did Harrow teach you anything except Latin and archery?” he asked Townsend. “I’ve forgotten the Latin but perhaps we should have an archery contest at some time. Isn’t it interesting that we also followed the same career, except that you chose the Royal Navy and I chose independence?”

“And which is the richer man?” interjected the first mate Billy Bones. He grinned and the face that looked like parchment now went into deep grooves just like real parchment which had been repeatedly folded. He took the Skull and Crossbones napkin from his collar and wiped a fragment of food off his face. The grin disappeared as well.

“A good point, Billy,” said Flint.

O’Hara, however, had a response of his own: “And who is the honest man?” he asked.

Flint coughed. It was not clear whether a piece of food had stuck in his throat or something had caught in his craw. The manservant, Darby, was quick to serve him water.

“I’ll tell you all about honesty,” Flint retorted, his words coming in jerks as the water went down. He was looking again at Jessica. “I have a little story to tell on that point and it will lead me nicely to this matter of the governor and your brother, Madam.

“Like the Spanish, the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese, Britain came to this part of the world to find riches. It was very successful in doing so but it had a major problem. It was shipping around so many slaves and so much merchandise that it didn’t have sufficient military resources to protect its new-found wealth. So what did it do about the policing of its trade routes and the protection of places like Jamaica? It found it convenient to encourage the people you would call pirates. Mind you they weren’t denigrated with that vulgar name then. Oh no, the euphemism was privateers. That made them sound much more like they were on legitimate business. It was all very official. They were given Letters of Marque by the British government, which meant ‘attack whoever you like so long as it isn’t the British’.

“The English monarchy was a bit distracted by its domestic affairs and didn’t much care how those privateers went about their work. Their Majesties were euphoric that the job was being done for them. In fact, they were so grateful that a privateer of whom you will have heard, Henry Morgan, was appointed lieutenant governor of your beloved island of Jamaica. Yes, Madam, one of the previous occupants of your mansion was the kind of man I am.

“Later, of course, the King became able to look after his own affairs through the offices of men like Mr. O’Hara here, who espouse honesty. When that happened, people like me acquired a new status, that of criminal, to be hunted down by naval captains in frigates and taken to Execution Dock for hanging.”

Flint looked towards Townsend, tapped the back of his fork on his forehead and continued: “You had better hope that the King never turns against the Royal Navy in the same way that he turned against the privateers.”

Tread Carefully on the Sea cover picture


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Laurinda Wallace – Family Matters


This Thanksgiving week,  I’m  hosting author, Laurinda Wallace.


Growing up in rural Western New York where cows outnumber people gave me a love for the great outdoors and the magical world of books. A good book for me usually had a horse or a dog as the main character, or even better, a mystery to unravel. Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, Call of the Wild, Lad, A Dog, along with Paul Hutchens’ Sugar Creek Gang mystery series, Sherlock Holmes, and Christie’s Poirot were all favorite reads. These books inspired writing my own tales of adventure in notebooks stashed under my bed.

Now fast forward quite a few years and I’m raising two daughters, working on a career, and driving our mini-van all over the countryside. Writing was a distant dream.

But once our nest was empty, my husband, David and I left New York for sunnier skies and warmer weather in southeast Arizona. The high desert with its beautiful mountain views, awe-inspiring night skies, and independent spirit brought back the old desire to write. Since 2005, I’ve been writing for a variety of publications. Throwing caution to the wind, the real fun began when the Gracie Andersen mystery series was conceived. With plenty of canine antics and a good mystery in the quirky town of Deer Creek, there’s something for everyone. Family Matters, By the Book, and Fly by Night are all available.  A couple of other books got written along the way as well.

Family Matters- The First Grace Anderson Mystery

Think your family’s dysfunctional? Meet Gracie Andersen’s and the peaceful farming community of Deer Creek. Gracie has her hands full–a new business and trying to get her life on track after the loss of her husband and unborn child. When an odd gift from her troubled uncle thrusts her into an investigation of a cousin’s tragic death 20 years ago, Gracie meets with opposition from family and friends. What really happened that rainy, October night when her cousin was killed by a hit-and-run driver? As pieces of the truth are wrenched from the past, her new business, Milky Way Kennels teeters on the edge of disaster. And then death strikes again. Someone is determined Gracie won’t find the truth. With Haley, her black Labrador by her side, Gracie doggedly pursues the trail of clues to unravel the mystery of her cousin Charlotte’s untimely death.

 Here is an excerpt:

It was over. Reverend Minders had pronounced the final “amen,” and the mourners drifted away from the artificial grass carpet draped against the sides of the open grave, an oak casket suspended above it. White roses, already wilting lay across the top of the casket. Gracie, more than eager to leave the cemetery, hurried over the thick, spongy grass toward her SUV. The rain shower that had pummeled the stained glass windows of the church during the funeral had cleared, but the trees still dripped, the light breeze spattering leftover raindrops on her face. She kept her eyes down, determined not to look in the direction of the gravestone that had her husband’s name carved deep into the granite. The small stone next to it with the white lamb on top only doubled her determination. Gracie had parked under the shade of an ancient maple tree at the edge of the cemetery. Now that the sun had finally burnt away the remnants of storm clouds, it was a perfect July day. Punching the unlock button on the key ring, the familiar click was silenced by the unmistakable grating voice of her cousin Isabelle.

“Gracie, wait. Aren’t you coming back to the house?” Isabelle’s tone indicated it was more of an imperative than a question.

“I don’t think so, Isabelle. I need to get back to work. It’s pretty busy right now.” She pulled on the door handle of the red RAV4.

“What are you talking about? Of course you’re coming back to the house for the meal. The family should be together. Mother would have wanted all of us to be together. Your mother’s not here, so…”

Gracie saw the look in her cousin’s eyes and knew she wasn’t getting out of town any time soon. She had no valid reason to skip out anyway. Work was merely an excuse.

“Well, I guess I could come for a few minutes.”

Family duty is a powerful force. It makes one do the most uncomfortable and inconvenient things. But she was her family’s official representative today, and she needed to hold it together no matter how she felt.

“Good. I’ll meet you at the house in a few minutes. I must catch up with Reverend Minders and make sure Tim gave him a check.” Isabelle, in her tailored navy blue silk suit and perfectly coifed blond hair, walked quickly to where her husband was talking to the silver-haired, slightly paunchy Reverend Minders.

The rest of the funeral group straggled toward their respective vehicles. She saw Greg and Anna, Isabelle’s teenage children, shuffling toward the family Lexus with their heads down. They looked as uncomfortable as she felt.

“At least I’m not the only one,” Gracie muttered to herself, turning the key in the ignition.

Family Matters 2 (533x800)

There are always new books percolating. Gracie’s next adventure will take place in Arizona and a brand new mystery is in development. The disappearance of school teacher in the Genesee River Valley during the 1930s will introduce a possible new series.

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Laurinda is gifting three Kindle copies of Family Matters, so please feel free to leave a comment and you will be entered to win. 


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Marilyn Meredith – River Spirits

This week I’m pleased to host multi-published mystery author, Marilyn Meredith.


Lori and us

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty-five published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest River Spirits from Mundania Press. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at and her blog at

River Spirits

While filming a movie on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation, the film crew trespasses on sacred ground, threats are made against the female stars, a missing woman is found by the Hairy Man, an actor is murdered and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has no idea who is guilty. Once again, the elusive and legendary Hairy Man plays an important role in this newest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

 “Delia is nuts. She makes me so angry I could kill her.” The shrill outburst came from a slender woman not much out of her teens stomping into the dining room of the Bear Creek Inn.

The diners turned to stare at her, including Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband, Pastor Hutch Hutchinson.  He leaned closer to Tempe and asked, “Who is that?”

“She’s probably one of the movie people who are filming on the reservation,” Tempe said.

“She doesn’t look like a star.”

Hutch was right. The woman in question had a puff of short, curly red hair. Freckles polka-dotted a plain but animated face. She wore cutoff jeans and an oversize pale blue shirt that hung off one bony shoulder.

Claudia, the owner of the inn, came rushing after her. “Excuse me, dear, what can I do to help you?”  Claudia appeared to know the girl, or at least who she was.

She whirled around to face Claudia, but didn’t lower her voice. “Delia doesn’t like the food she ordered. She wants something else and she wants it right now.”

“Come with me to the kitchen. We’ll see what we can do for her.” While casting apologetic looks to the many other patrons as she passed, Claudia took the girl’s arm and led her away.

Hutch returned his attention to his dinner. “I wonder what that’s about.”

“I’m guessing she is Delia West’s personal assistant. It sounds like she has a difficult job.” Ever since the movie company invaded Bear Creek, Tempe had been hearing rumors about the problems they caused. Thankfully, nothing she had to take care of in her capacity as resident deputy of the mountain area surrounding the small town of Bear Creek—at least not yet.

Hutch finished the last of his steak and pushed the plate aside.  He focused his gaze on Tempe. “I’m still surprised the Tribal Council gave them permission to film on the reservation.”

“Me too. But from what I’ve heard, the production company promised the movie would promote a positive image of the tribe and bring tourists to the casino.  That weighed heavily on the decision. Not everyone is enthusiastic about the project.”

“Did they have an opportunity to read the script?”

Tempe admired her husband before answering. The wire-framed glasses perched on his nose helped his pastoral image, but contrasted with the twinkle in his eyes and his tousled auburn hair. “I don’t know, but I would think so or they wouldn’t have agreed.” Tempe glanced around the room. “Some of the other people connected with the filmmaking are having dinner here. I suspect the assistant’s remarks will get back to Ms. West.”

“I figured that’s who these strangers are. They kind of stick out.”

Besides being strangers, the extra people didn’t dress like the citizens of Bear Creek. Some of them wore what they might have thought mountain people might wear: brand new shorts and slacks, crisp shirts, and boots, looking like they stepped out of a Land’s End, J. Crew or L.L. Bean catalog.

“I hope that young woman doesn’t get into trouble.” Hutch pushed his empty plate aside. “This is one time I’d like to have Nick Two John fill us in.”

Nick Two John was Claudia’s partner in life, the main chef at the inn, and a good friend of Tempe and Hutch. Over the years, Nick educated Tempe about her Indian heritage and culture. Hutch didn’t always approve, but despite some disagreements their friendship grew.

Almost as though he’d heard Hutch, Nick stepped out of the kitchen following Claudia. She continued on to the front desk, but Nick pulled a chair up to their table. “Claudia told me you were out here.” His long black braids hung down over his white shirt, tucked neatly into worn Levis.

Hutch obviously couldn’t contain his curiosity. “We couldn’t help but wonder about that young woman. Where did she go, by the way?”

“Her name is Kate Eileen Shannon and she is the personal assistant to Delia West, the movie star.”

“She doesn’t sound too happy about her job,” Tempe said.

“Ms. West is difficult. I cooked a special meal at her request, but it didn’t suit her. She blamed Kate Eileen and ordered her to fetch something else. I fixed up a plate of tonight’s special and sent her out through the kitchen.”

“I take it that monstrosity out back belongs to Ms. West,” Hutch said. He referred to the 40-foot silver and black luxury motor home taking up a quarter of the parking lot.

“I think the studio provided it for her. She expected it to be set up on the Bear Creek Reservation, but the Tribal Council wouldn’t allow it. Supposedly it’s because they don’t have hookups for RVs, but I suspect they had other reasons too.”

“So you let it be parked here.”

“Ms. West wouldn’t agree to any of the campgrounds. I doubt any of the local ones have room for such a big rig. The production company offered enough money to make Claudia agree to have it here.”

“What’s it like having a famous movie star around?” Tempe asked.

“Do you want the truth?” Nick glanced around as if to make sure no one was listening and lowered his voice. “She’s not a nice person.  The gossip is she’s not at happy being in this movie, but it’s the only part she’s been offered in three years. I have no interest in such things so I don’t know whether this is true or not.”

River Spirits is number fourteen in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. It isn’t necessary to read them in order because though things do change in Tempe’s life from book to book, each one is written as a stand-alone.


 The winner will be the person who comments on the most blog posts during the tour. He or she can either have a character in my next book named after them, or choose an earlier book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series—either a paper book or e-book.

 River Spirits

Now I’m headed over to Marja McGraw’s and I’ll be discussing the author’s life, mine.

To purchase River Spirits from the publisher, all formats:

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Amazon paperback:

For Nook

 Visit Marilyn at



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