New Release Mondays: Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas

Author Names: Lois Winston, Allison Brennan, Laura Griffin, Maggie Toussaint, Jonnie Jacobs, Heather Haven, Vinnie Hansen, Camille Minichino, Mary Kennedy, Judy Alter, Rita Lakin

Book Title: Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas

Book Genre: Mystery (women sleuths)

Release Date: September 5, 2017 (available for pre-order)

Synopsis:  Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas is a collection of ten mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novella is a tie-in to an established multi-book series—a total of nearly 700 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, cozy, and female P.I. mysteries.


Frosted, A Moreno & Hart Novella by Allison Brennan & Laura Griffin—Three years ago LAPD Detective Scarlet Moreno and rookie cop Krista Hart were nearly killed during a botched sting operation. Now, they’re best friends and partners in the Orange County private investigation firm of Moreno & Hart. But their routine assignments are anything but safe.

Crewel Intentions, An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Novella by Lois Winston—Craft editor Anastasia Pollack receives a desperate call for help from former fashion editor Erica Milano, now in Witness Protection. Erica is being stalked and is afraid to notify the authorities. She once saved Anastasia’s life. Will Anastasia be able to return the favor before the stalker strikes?

No Quarter, A Cleopatra Jones Novella by Maggie Toussaint—Amnesia, the doctor says when accountant Cleopatra Jones wakes in a distant hospital. Hours later most of her memory returns. Detective Jack Martinez visits Cleo’s nearby wealthy client, only she’s dead and broke. To Cleo’s horror, she’s a murder suspect. Will she totally recover her memory before the killer returns?

What the Widow Knew, A Kali-O’Brien Novella by Jonnie Jacobs—Attorney Kali O’Brien takes on the case of a young woman accused of murdering her much older, very rich husband. As evidence mounts and other possible suspects are eliminated, Kali’s doubts about her client’s innocence grow. Meanwhile, Kali is also grappling with her feelings for longtime boyfriend Detective Bryce Keating.

The Magnesium Murder, A Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—While freelance embalmer Anastasia Brent prepares the body of a young bride-to-be, she learns the girl’s mother suspects foul play. Once again Anastasia is pressed into service as a sleuth, following a trail of clues in search of a murderer and justice.

Honeymoons Can Be Murder, A Lee Alvarez Novella by Heather Haven— When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?

Smoked Meat, A Carol Sabala Novella by Vinnie Hansen—Baker and wannabe sleuth Carol Sabala visits her mother for a family Christmas get-together. It’s murder, in more ways than one.

A Deadly Fundraiser, A Talk Radio Novella by Mary Kennedy—When radio talk show host Dr. Maggie Walsh and her pals start digging up clues in a scavenger hunt at a glitzy fundraiser, the game suddenly turns deadly. Will Maggie and her team be able to crack the case and solve the crime?

The Color of Fear, A Kelly O’Connell Novella by Judy Alter—Kelly receives a written kidnap threat targeting her infant daughter, Gracie. Kelly’s assistant Keisha narrates as Kelly and her family plot their precautions, but as time passes and the threat still looms, fear takes a toll on the family…and on Keisha.

Papa’s Ghost, A Gladdy Gold Mystery Novella by Rita Lakin—Gladdy and her girls accept an assignment iat a famous resort in Key West, thinking it will combine business with pleasure. Once they arrive, Gladdy suspects something is strange. Not only is their client an unexpected shock, but so is the case of murder they are expected to solve. Can they succeed when a whole city is against them?

Find the books


Poll: What Would You Ask a Reviewer?

Last week, I wrote about my Bouchercon 2017 Panel: Reviewers Recommend. Thanks to all who took the time to respond. I’ve created a poll with some of those suggestions. Please select the top 3 questions YOU would like answered. Poll closes on September 7 at noon EST. And if you can, please share this post on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks!

New Release Mondays: Earthbound by Val Tobin

Author Name: Val Tobin

Book Title: Earthbound

Book Genre: Speculative Fiction

Release Date: April 17, 2017

Synopsis: A spirit refuses to cross over and becomes earthbound when she discovers the shocking details behind her death.

Excerpt: I moved to the machines monitoring my vitals, breathing for me, and pumping fluids into me. I touched the heart monitor.

It beeped.

“Oh, God. Oh, Daddy. Mom! The machine.”

The fear and despair in Silver’s voice forced me away. No time to experiment—not if it made them think there was a problem.

Rory leaned over my bed and put two fingers on my neck.

“Her pulse is steady. Maybe it’s a problem with the machine.”

My invisible touch had affected the heart monitor. I filed the information away for later.

Later. Hah.

Who knew what later would bring? When my body died, would I disappear? Or would that be when the famous tunnel appeared and my dead relatives came to collect me? Where the hell were they, anyway?

At the very least, my grandmother should have shown up to guide me through this. I’m certain I was her favourite—my sisters always told me so. I didn’t want to think about my sisters yet, though, so I pushed them out of my mind.

Another frantic cry from Silver yanked me out of my head. Any of the machines that could make noise were doing so, and my body flopped and twitched like a landed fish.

Richler shot into the room, other medical personnel right behind him. He rushed to the bed and yanked the blanket off me.

“Get these people out of here,” he snapped at a nurse, though she was already ushering my family out.

I can’t say why, but I followed them. The logical thing to do would have been to stay there to see if they succeeded in keeping me alive. But I was conditioned to listen to authority, and when he said get out, I left.

The last thing I heard was Richler shouting, “Clear!”

About the Author: Formerly a software/web developer, Val Tobin now spends her time writing. She is also a Reiki Master/Teacher and Angel Therapy Practitioner® with advanced training, certified by Doreen Virtue in Kona, Hawaii. Val contributed a story to Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue’s book Angel Words, published by Hay House. She has written numerous novels and some short stories available on Amazon and at other retailers. In April 2016, Val received her master’s degree in parapsychology. Find out more about Val on her  website.

Find the Book





Bouchercon 2017 #1: Reviewers Recommend

This post will be the first of several dedicated to Bouchercon 2017 Toronto, which will be held from October 12-15, with some special events starting on the 11th.

Although I now live about 90 minutes northwest of the city, I still consider Toronto my home patch, since I was born and raised there. So I’m pretty excited to be part of this massive celebration of all things mystery.

Today, however, I’m looking for your input. I’ve had the great fortune to be assigned a panel on Sunday, October 15th from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. It will be my first time as a moderator! and the topic is Reviewers Recommend, described as Reviewers Discuss their faves. Here’s the prestigious list of panelists:

Margaret Cannon (Toronto Globe and Mail)
Andrew Gulli (The Strand Magazine)
Erica Ruth Neubauer (Publishers Weekly, Crimespree)
Steve Steinbock (EQMM)

Marsali Taylor (mystery people and Mystery Readers)

Are you nervous for me yet??? Yeah, I thought so!

Now…pretend that you’re in the audience. What question do you want me to ask?



New Release Mondays: The Church of the Holy Child by Patricia Hale

Author Name: Patricia Hale

Book Title: The Church of the Holy Child

Book Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Release Date: August 15, 2017

Synopsis: When a missing woman is found dead, her husband is charged, but when a second body appears showing the same wounds questions arise and what looked like a slam-dunk becomes anyone’s guess. The bodies are piling up, and one person knows where the killer is. Father Francis, a priest at The Church of the Holy Child, listens to the killer’s disturbed account of each murder and wrestles with the vows that bind him to secrecy.

Excerpt: His breath was warm on my neck, his lips hot and dry. His tongue searched the delicate skin below my ear. Heart quickening, back arching, I rose to meet him.

The phone on the nightstand vibrated.

“Shit,” Griff whispered, peeling away from me, our clammy skin reluctant to let go.  He swung his feet over the edge of the bed and flashed me his bad-boy, half-smile. “Cole,” he said into the phone.

At times like this, cell phones rate right alongside other necessary evils like cod liver oil and flu shots. I leaned against his back and caressed his stomach, damp dunes of sculpted muscle. Not bad for a guy north of forty. Griff still measured himself against the hotshots in the field. But in my book he had nothing to worry about; I’d take the stable, wise, worn-in model over a wet behind the ear, swagger every time.

He pried my fingers from his skin and walked toward the bathroom still grunting into the phone.

I slipped into my bathrobe and headed for the kitchen. I have my morning priorities and since the first one was interrupted by Griff’s phone, coffee comes in a close second.

Twenty minutes later he joined me dressed in his usual attire, jeans, boots, tee shirt and sport jacket. Coming up behind me, he nuzzled my neck as I poured Breakfast Blend into a travel mug. Coffee splashed onto the counter top.

“Gotta run,” he said taking the cup from my hand.

“What’s up?”

“Not sure yet. That was John. He said he could use a hand.”

“Sobering up?

Griff flinched like I’d landed one to his gut.

“Sorry,” I said. “Cheap shot.”

“Woman found dead early this morning.”

About the author: Patricia Hale received her MFA degree from Goddard College. Her essays have appeared in literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Revenge, was published in 2013. The Church of the Holy Child is the first book in her PI series featuring the team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan. Patricia is a member of Sister’s in Crime, Mystery Writer’s of America, NH Writer’s Project and Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two dogs. Find her at

Find the Book



Alliston Potato Festival

This past Saturday, I was a vendor at the Alliston Potato Festival, an event that closes off the main (Victoria Street) of Alliston, Ontario, where vendors — selling everything from soap to art to books to jewelry to food — line the street. As a member of the South Simcoe Arts Council, I was invited to share a booth.

This was my first time as a vendor at Potato Festival — the past two years (I moved to Alliston in 2015) I was a curious customer. Unfortunately, afternoon thunderstorms forced us to call it an early day, but I’d definitely do it again next year. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea!

Yours truly before the rain!

Battle of the Brushes! Artists were given 30 minutes to paint a picture with 7 acrylic colors.

Painting in earnest.

The winners!

South Simcoe Arts Council members selling the Spirit of Canada, a collection of short essays and stories.

Jewelry is always popular…

The Carrot Sticks. Find them on Facebook! A terrific Country/Folk/Rock group.

New Release Mondays: Ruined Stones by Eric Reed

Eric Reed is the not-so-secret pen name of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, adopted to distinguish their new WW2 mysteries from their long-running John, Lord Chamberlain Byzantine mystery series, the eleventh entry in which, Murder In Megara, appeared in 2015. They have been writing together since 1992 and also co-author short stories. The most recent, Time’s Revenge, was published in March 2017 in Bound By Mystery, a collection of over thirty stories by Poisoned Pen Press authors celebrating the publishers’ 20th anniversary.

Author Name: Eric Reed

Book Title: Ruined Stones

Book Genre: World War Two mystery

Release Date: July 4, 2017

Synopsis: Women’s Police Auxilliary Corps Constable Grace Baxter moves to Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1941. The city’s bone-numbing cold, fogs, and constant threat of bombing, as well as the peculiar behavior of some residents, test her resolve to be an effective officer. What role do ancient rituals play in murder and what follows? Her investigation must continue despite the blackout, fear, and the hostility of her male colleagues. Will it also endanger her life?

Excerpt: She tried to put doubts out of her mind. She crossed her arms and hunched her shoulders, attempting to keep warm. A chill drizzle, not quite fog, not quite rain, flled the grey metallic air. She might have been back in Noddweir, standing in the middle of the stone circle on the summit of Guardians Hill. The remains of the temple walls, half hidden by tall grass, were like the smaller, overgrown boulders in the circle. The pair of four foot or so high altars resembled the larger stones.

The place gave her the same shivery sensation she received from Noddweir’s stone circle. The ancient rocks still breathed out the past and caught within their compass, like a wasp in amber, was something unthinkably old and powerful. Did everyone feel this? The Romans who built the temple must have. Or was it simply her overactive imagination? As she turned to look around, a cold droplet fell from the brim of her hat and hit the back of her hand, startling her out of her musings. Surely it was only coincidence that her first official investigation should, like her frst unofficial one, involve an ancient pagan ruin. She needed to be concentrating on her new job, not daydreaming about the countryside and her old life. By contrast, fogs here were sulfurous, thick and oppressive, not the white, gentle blankets common to the countryside.

She could imagine the fog was smoke from the fires of a Roman encampment on the furthest border of the empire. Here civilization took its stand against the savagery beyond. Even as today the line was drawn here, Britain standing almost alone against Nazi savagery. For an instant ghostly walls rose around her and she sensed murmurous words she could not understand. She shook herself free of the illusion. Certainly it was nothing but an illusion. She needed to examine the site of what Baines had described as “the incident.”

Mary and Eric’s website is at






New Release Mondays: The Walls by Hollie Overton

Hollie Overton is a TV writer, producer and novelist. She has written for Shadowhunters, Cold Case, and The Client List, Hollie’s debut thriller, BABY DOLL was an international bestseller and published in eleven countries. Hollie lives in Hollywood with her husband and rescue dog.

Book Title: The Walls

Book Genre: Thriller

Release Date: 8/08/2017

Excerpt: Kristy regarded the sign posted at the entrance to the cellblock: NOTE. NO HOSTAGES WILL EXIT THROUGH THIS GATE. This sign served as a reminder that on death row these inmates were not to be trusted, that in here, your life hung in a delicate balance. For some reason, right Kristy glanced over at one of the cells, inexplicably drawn to it. Through the tiny sliver of glass, she spotted an inmate, his body splayed out on the floor beside his state-issued cot. Baby Killer Harris. That’s what the press and some of the guards called him. Kristy knew him as Clifton Harris. He had been sentenced eight years ago for killing his two young children.

Jesus Christ, he’s bleeding,” Kristy said, turning toward the warden. She hated how shrill and high-pitched her voice sounded, like this man had a paper cut and not wrists that were flayed open. The warden stepped forward, looking through the window to confirm that what Kristy was saying was true.

“Get some more officers down here. Now!” Warden Solomon shouted to Bruce, who pressed a button on his radio, the squawking sound echoing down the halls.

“Get back,” the warden yelled at Kristy. The buzzer sounded and the cell door’s lock opened. Unable to wrench her gaze from Clifton’s pale face, his blue lips, his eyes rolling back in his head, Kristy rushed past the warden and pushed the door open, kneeling beside Clifton, touching his neck and searching for a pulse.

“Hold on, Clifton. Just hold on.”

Clifton’s eyes fluttered open, haunted, life slipping from them. A bloodstained hand reached out, grasping Kristy’s wrist.

“Ms. Tucker, I can’t do this no more. I can’t,” he begged, that same hand now reaching up to grab Kristy’s collarbone. “Just let me go,” Clifton begged, his hand starting to squeeze.

In this moment Kristy’s wondered if Ryan had been right all along, that by staying in this job, by accepting what they did here, she had made a fatal mistake.


For more about Hollie visit