Tag Archives: mystery

New Release Mondays: A Short Time to Die by Susan Alice Bickford

Author Name: Susan Alice Bickford


Book Genre: Crime / Suspense

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Synopsis: Walking home on a foggy night, Marly Shaw stops in the glare of approaching headlights. Two men step out of a pickup truck. One of them is her stepfather. A sudden, desperate chase erupts in gunshots. Both men are left dead. And a terrified girl is on the run—for the rest of her life . . .

Excerpt: Marly Shaw peered into the night fog that crept in and settled around the Rock. She could see no sign of her stepfather’s truck in the parking lot.

Charon Springs might be a tiny town, but as the only drinking establishment within ten or more miles in any direction, the Rock easily qualified as its most thriving business. Pickled from the inside out by beer, booze, and nicotine, the sagging two-story structure oozed a sour stench that permeated the car, even with the windows closed.

“What do you want to do?” Claire asked.

Marly studied the mist outside, tinged alternating shades of red and blue by the blinking neon lights.

“I should drop you home,” Claire said with a sheepish glance at her passenger. “But we’re already late. I’m supposed to be home by ten thirty and it’s after eleven already. Straight to the dance, straight home.”

And no detours into Harris territory. In this town, nice people like Claire’s family avoided Marly’s family as much as possible.

“Not to worry,” Marly said. “Let me out down the road. It’s Friday night, so the bar is packed. He might have parked in the woods. If he’s not there, I can walk home. It’s not cold. Hard to believe it’s the end of October. Maybe global warming is a good thing for Central New York.”

“Yeah. A couple of times I had to trick-or-treat in a parka.”

“Kids these days have it easy,” Marly said. They both chuckled.

Marly rummaged in her large bag and pulled out a small flashlight and her tattered running shoes. She always came prepared to tramp across fields and down dirt roads, day or night.

“Great dance tonight,” Claire said. “I can’t believe we’ll never go to another Halloween Gala. Next year we’ll be in college.”

“Some of us will be.”

“You’re a really good student and everyone says you’ll do great. You might even get into one of the good New York state schools. That’s what my mom says.”

“Sure. Well, I hope so.”

About the author: Susan Alice Bickford was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Central New York. After she discovered computer graphics and animation her passion for technology pulled her to Silicon Valley, where she became an executive at a leading technology company. She now works as an independent consultant, and continues to be fascinated by all things high tech. She splits her time between Silicon Valley and Vermont. A Short Time to Die is her first novel. Find out more about Susan at www.susanalicebickford.com

Find A SHORT TIME TO DIE at all the usual suspects, including Amazon



New Release Mondays: Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz

Author Name: Mary Feliz

Book Title: Scheduled to Death

Book Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Synopsis: Professional organizer Maggie McDonald has a knack for cleaning up other people’s messes. So when the fiancée of her latest client turns up dead, it’s up to her to sort through the untidy list of suspects and identify the real killer. To do so, she’ll have to outmaneuver the suspicious, obnoxious police investigator she’s nicknamed “Detective Awful” before a shadowy figure can check off the first item on their personal to-do list—Kill Maggie McDonald.

Excerpt: Linc shifted from one foot to another, took off his glasses, and cleaned them with his shirttail. He looked around the room, blinking as if surprised to find he was no longer in his Stanford University lab. I flicked the light switch but the room remained dim. Last week I’d brought over a supply of bulbs to replace several that I’d found burnt out. I must have missed this one.

“Did you lose power in the storm?” I asked Linc.

He answered with a shrug. “I’m not sure. Maybe? I was at my lab working on my project.”

“Let’s get started upstairs,” I said. “I want to show Tess how much progress you’ve made.”

Linc turned toward the staircase that divided the kitchen and living room. I started up the steps behind him then stopped and called over my shoulder. “Tess, I’m going to show you Linc’s workroom first. He’s been working in there while I’ve been tackling the other rooms.” Linc hadn’t, actually, made all that much progress, but he had agreed on broad-based guidelines for culling the equipment and organizing some of his papers.

Newton nudged past us to lead the way up the stairs. When I reached the hall landing, it was dark. Right, I thought. The storm. No electricity.

Newton growled, low in his throat, then whimpered. Linc moved down the hall toward his office and workroom. In the doorway, he gasped and froze. His mouth dropped open. His eyes grew wide. He stepped back but leaned forward with his arm outstretched.

“Whatever it is, we can fix it,” I said, rushing toward him, terrified I’d tossed out something of great value. “Everything we moved out of here is still in the garage.”

Peering over Linc’s shaking shoulders, I bit my lip, swallowed hard, and grasped his arm as he tried to move forward into the room. We couldn’t fix it. Not this.

About the author: Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. Visit Mary on Facebook at Mary Feliz Books or on her website at: maryfeliz.com

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New Release Mondays: Adrift by Micki Browning

Author Name: Micki Browning

Book Title: Adrift

Book Genre: Mystery & Suspense

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Synopsis: Marine scientist Meredith Cavallo thought adjusting to a laid-back life in the Florida Keys would be a breeze after life in the Arctic, but when a ghost-hunting documentary leader vanishes during a midnight dive, she’s caught in a storm of supernatural intrigue.

Determined to debunk paranormal explanations and salvage her reputation, Mer launches her own investigation. When someone tries to kill her, she knows the truth is about to surface. Maybe dead men do tell tales.

Excerpt: Mer fought to keep the unconscious diver on the surface, and they bobbed in the water just beyond the back of the LunaSea. She’d get only one chance to get him on the boat without injury.

She imagined carrying him like a sleepy child, his arms draped over her shoulders. Only she had to grab the ladder, find her footing and wedge her leg between his, or the force of the rocking boat would slam them back into the ocean.

“Here it comes, Cavallo,” Leroy, the captain, said. “Get ready.”

Mer inhaled and felt the power of the water swell beneath her. As the wave ebbed, she swam toward the boat, planted her foot, and drew her arms in to pin the diver against the ladder. Another wave hit, raising the LunaSea’s stern into the air. Gravity pulled at Mer, doing its best to drag her back into the sea. She gripped the ladder. Her biceps strained until Leroy seized the diver under the armpits and hauled him onto the deck like a gaffed fish.

Before Mer could readjust, the swim step plummeted and hit the water with a teeth-jarring thud. She held tight as the boat righted itself, and then clambered up the ladder.

Emergency equipment littered the deck like flotsam. Mer dropped her gear on the bench.

Leroy leaned over the now conscious diver. His tense face made Mer’s pulse race.

The diver clawed at the oxygen mask on his face. “Tell her!”

Mer brushed the man’s hand aside and resettled the mask. “Tell me what?” she asked her captain.

“He says he was diving the Spiegel Grove shipwreck.”

“Impossible,” she said. “We’re five miles away, and the current’s going in the wrong direction.”

“That he was diving the Spiegel and there was a—” Leroy struggled to find the right word. “Presence.”

“A presence? You mean like a ghost? Please.” She pursed her lips.

He shook his head. “I know. Except just after you went in the Sea Dragon radioed they’re missing a diver off the Spiegel.” He nodded toward the diver. “This one.”

About the author: Award-winning author Micki Browning worked in municipal law enforcement for over two decades and is an FBI National Academy graduate. She retired as a division commander – wonderful fodder for her current career as a full-time writer.

Her mystery, Adrift, set in the Florida Keys, won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for best unpublished mystery and unpublished book of the year.

Micki resides in Southern Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment. She’s currently working on Beached, the second Mer Cavallo Mystery. Learn more at www.MickiBrowning.com.

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Book Sale! Skeletons in the Attic

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If you’ve been wanting to download Skeletons in the Attic, there’s no time like the present. My publisher, Imajin Books, has the Kindle version on sale for .99US from December 1 to December 15. The regular price is $4.99US.

Just click on the book cover to be directed  to the Amazon page for your country.

If you’ve already read Skeletons in the Attic, there are plenty of great titles at Imajin Books on sale from $ .99 to $1.99.


New Release Mondays: Marry in Haste by Susan Van Kirk

marryinhastefrontAuthor Name: Susan Van Kirk

Book Title: Marry in Haste: An Endurance Mystery

Book Genre: Mystery/Amateur Sleuth

Release Date: November 16, 2016

Synopsis: In 2012, wealthy Endurance banker, Conrad Folger, is murdered and his wife arrested. Grace Kimball, retired teacher, joins Detective TJ Sweeney to investigate the murder and uncovers a dark secret.

In 1893, Olivia Havelock, age seventeen, moves to Endurance to seek a husband. She finds one in Charles Lockwood, powerful and wealthy judge, but her diary reveals a terrifying story.

Two wives—two murders a century apart—and a shocking secret connects them.

Excerpt: Detective Jake Williams looked at his notebook and shuffled back a few pages. “The housekeeper, Ms. Simmons, worked here last night helping get food ready with a caterer, and then she left. The Folgers had dinner guests and, afterwards, a poker game. Anyway, the housekeeper left and came back to clean up this morning. Came in the kitchen door. It was locked, by the way, and the alarm was on.” He glanced up at TJ Sweeney, proffering a significant look. “So she shut off the alarm, unlocked the door, came in, and started some coffee for Emily and Conrad. Just as she began picking up dirty dishes, she heard screams from upstairs. She rushed up the back stairs, saw the blood on the carpet, and followed it into Emily’s room, thinking she was there. But she wasn’t. The housekeeper then saw blood on the floor of Emily’s room and on the bed.

“So Ms. Simmons—that’s her name—followed the blood to Conrad’s room, and saw Emily, in full hysteria, rocking back and forth on the floor behind the bed. She rushed in and grabbed Emily by the shoulders and hugged her, lifting her up off the floor. When she saw what was left of Conrad, she was shocked, but had the fortitude to hang on to Emily, keep their backs to Conrad, and grab the bedside phone to call 9-1-1. Amazing woman. She heard sirens very quickly.

“By the way, Emily is not even close to coherent. Officer Collier was the first one in. He moved the two of them out of the murder room and over to Emily’s bedroom. Made the necessary calls. I was on my way in to work, so I just turned around.”

“Who’s with Emily now? We’ll need to get a warrant for her clothes.”

“I sent Collier with her, and a policewoman, Eileen Randall, is meeting them at the ER. Ms. Folger’s in really bad shape. Shock. I couldn’t get much coherent out of her except for one thing.”

“What was that?”

“She repeated over and over, ‘I killed him.’ ”

img_0032About the Author: Susan Van Kirk grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and received degrees from Knox College and the University of Illinois. She taught high school English for thirty-four years, with an additional ten years at Monmouth College. Her short story, “War and Remembrance” (Teacher Magazine), became one of the chapters in her creative nonfiction memoir, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks).

Susan’s first Endurance mystery novel, Three May Keep a Secret, was published in 2014 by Five Star Publishing/Cengage. In April, 2016, she published an Endurance e-book novella titled The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney.

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New Release Mondays: The Whole She-Bang 3


I am very proud to have 2 stories included in this collection: Saturday with Bronwyn and Goulaigans. All submissions were blind-judged, making inclusion all the more special.

Author Names: Edited by Janet Costello Cathy Ace
Jayne Barnard
Anne Barton
Miriam Clavir
Susan Daly
Lisa de Nikolits
Alice Fitzpatrick
Valerie Hauch
Elizabeth Hosang
Heather MacDonald-Archer
J. A. Menzies
Lynne Murphy
Helen Nelson
Ed Piwowarczyk
Andre Ramshaw
Darlene Ryan
Judy Penz Sheluk
Coleen Steele

Book Title: The Whole She-Bang 3

Book Genre: Crime Fiction Anthology

Release Date: November 17, 2016

Synopsis: This is the third installment in the Toronto Sisters in Crime Whole She-Bang crime short story anthologies. We include 22 stories by 18 members of Sisters in Crime in Canada.  The authors include frequent She-Bang Contributors, previously published authors, and a few who are being published here for the first time. Stories include a wide range of sub-genres — from light to dark.

Excerpt: Since there are 22 stories, I’m sharing one-liners, one from each story, to whet your appetite!

“Zoom in on Rod’s hands and see if you can catch him with his fingers crossed.”

Annie’s ears picked up the ugly words and she strained to hear more.

Bronwyn had a motto, “Never tell a lie when a half-truth will do.”

Fluellen felt the silence build like prison walls.

No one wanted to talk about my mother’s disappearance.

“Well, Mother. I hope you’re enjoying Hell,” Maureen said at last.

“My girls will be haunted by … the dubious distinction of being labelled the daughters of a murderess.”

Steve found the kind words and sympathetic glances bestowed upon him while he sat shiva for his father a lot tougher to stomach than bashing in the old man’s skull with a crowbar.

Then all was darkness.

Too late for any blossoms. Maybe ragged remnants.

She allowed herself the luxury of indulging in her favourite fantasy…how she could rid herself of Leo.

Change the way women who report abuse are treated.

Chuckling out loud he noticed the lady across the aisle giving him a look that could curdle milk.

Perchkin returned the gesture with a smile as thin as the Mona Lisa on downers.

So, what, you left your bullwhip at home?

Remembering Bud’s performances with me, I figured that I had about three minutes to get out of the house.

The Empress and The Dork together at 9 a.m. in a back hallway would be only hearsay, not evidence

Without really thinking about it, he flexed and clenched his left hand

It would have been so easy to fall forward against the handle and push the knife into his soft stomach.

And Toronto, I figured, was close enough to New York.

And then I spotted the canoe.

“Do you think a publisher will take it if you leave the readers up in the air like that?”

If you’re in the Toronto area:

Sunday, November 27th: Starting at 2:00PM, the Sleuth of Baker Street will be hosting the second launch for The Whole She-Bang 3! Wine, nibblies, and readings by the story authors will be on hand.

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Interview with an Author: Wendy Tyson

bitterharvest-frontWendy Tyson is an author, lawyer, and former therapist whose background inspires her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes two series, the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series. The first book in the Campbell Series, Killer Image, was named a 2014 best mystery for book clubs by Examiner.com. A Muddied Murder (March 2016, Henery Press), the first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series, was called a “Charming and entertaining cozy series debut” by Library Journal. The second Greenhouse mystery, Bitter Harvest, comes out on March 7, 2017. Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, and she is a contributing editor forThe Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy and her husband are avid organic gardeners and live on a micro-farm outside of Philadelphia.

Judy: Tell me a bit about your first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series.

a-muddied-murder-front-cover-tysonWendy: Hi, Judy. Thank you for having me on your blog today. A Muddied Murder is the first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series. The book introduces Megan Sawyer, an environmental attorney who leaves her Chicago law firm to return to her roots in the fictional small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Megan, with the help of her grandmother, is determined to turn her family’s failing farm and storefront into a thriving organic farm and cafe. But obstacles abound—and most of them come from the town’s overzealous zoning commissioner. When the zoning commissioner is found bludgeoned to death in Megan’s barn, Megan must dig through small-town secrets and local politics to clear her name and find a killer.

Judy: It sounds great, Wendy. I love small-town secrets! Can you share your writing process and/or a typical day in your life?

Wendy: I split my time between Pennsylvania and Vermont. In Pennsylvania, I usually write on a laptop at my kitchen island. I don’t like silence when I write, so the kitchen/family room is perfect. It’s a hub of activity. My three boys are usually darting in and out, my three dogs lounge near my feet or on the nearby couch. If my family’s chatter is too much, I wear headphones and listen to music. When I’m in Vermont, I also write at the kitchen table, but there I have a wonderful view of the woods and mountains beyond.

In terms of time, I generally write early in the morning. I work full-time, so I need to be flexible with my writing schedule. I’ve learned to write anywhere and at any time. During my lunch hour, between lacrosse games, in the car…I write whenever I have the chance.

Judy: I envy that. I can’t seem tor write “wherever,” but I do need to learn that skill! What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?

dying-brandWendy: Read, especially novels by authors you admire. Read like a writer—not simply for entertainment. Take notes. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work—and consider why. And write every single day. No excuses. In terms of resources, I love Natalie Goldberg’s books, especially Writing Down the Bones.

Judy: I agree that reading is the best teacher. How many books, on average, do you read in a month, and do you read your genre when writing?

Wendy: I read about four to six books a month. I always intend to read more, but there is just not enough time. I read mostly at night, in bed, before going to sleep. I wear a headlamp (my husband doesn’t share my passion for late-night reading), and I prefer paperbacks to e-books. Inevitably I fall asleep a few chapters in. And yes, I read books in my genre. They are my “comfort food.”

Judy: What’s next for Wendy?

Wendy: Next year will be a busy one. I have three novels coming out in 2017: Bitter Harvest (Greenhouse Mystery no. 2—March 7), Fatal Façade (Allison Campbell Mystery no. 4—June 13), and Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse Mystery no. 3—November).

Judy: Wow…and I thought my schedule was crazy. Good luck to you, Wendy, and thanks for sharing your stories on my blog.





Find Wendy on her website, on Amazon and on Twitter.



New Release Mondays: The Corpse with the Ruby Lips by Cathy Ace

ruby-lips-2Author Name: Cathy Ace

Book Title: The Corpse with the Ruby Lips

Book Genre: Traditional mystery

Release Date: October 18th 2016 (Canada) November 1st 2016 (USA)

Synopsis: A trip to teach at the Hungarian University of Budapest without her beloved husband, Bud, means criminology professor Cait Morgan is supposed to concentrate on work. Instead she’s drawn into investigating a cold case connected to one of her students, which certainly involved her own campus back in Canada, and might have links to the Cold War. Caught in a web of secrecy and lies, Cait finds herself in more danger than she thought possible.

Excerpt: “I’d like you to help me find out who murdered my grandmother,” said Zsófia.

I was so taken aback by this that I didn’t speak for at least five seconds, which is a long time for me.

“Your grandmother was murdered?” She nodded. “I’m terribly sorry to hear it, Zsófia, but I don’t think that’s something I can help with. Surely it’s a matter for the police.” I was puzzled. “It’s not something I should, or could, become involved with. An ongoing murder inquiry is—”

“It’s not a current inquiry,” whispered Zsófia. “The case was dropped back in the 1970s. And I know you can’t help right now, while you’re here in Hungary. I am asking you to help when you get back to Canada. That’s where it happened, you see. It is a cold case now, but I need to know what happened. My mother, she will not speak to me about it.” She furtively glanced around the grand room. “There are eyes and ears everywhere, I cannot say more.”

I, too, glanced about—but couldn’t see anything except a pretty normal-looking smattering of restaurant patrons. I was having trouble piecing together the information she was giving me in a way that made sense. “Your grandmother was murdered in Canada?” She nodded. “And the case has been shelved since the seventies?” More nodding. “So why do you want me to look into it, now? Wouldn’t it be easier to sit down with your family and speak to them about it?”

The girl’s eyes filled with tears. “Mama can’t speak of it. It hurts her so much. And there’s no one else I can really speak to about it. Uncle was there too, but he—he can’t be relied upon.”

“In what way can’t he be relied upon?”

“His recollection of those times is not good. And poor Mama is not capable of doing it. Please help me? You are a professional in criminology. You teach where my grandmother was killed. When you return to Canada you will be on the spot where it happened.”

1610884_639339149521629_3791092845543988135_nAbout the author:  Cathy Ace’s criminal psychologist, and overindulgent-foodie sleuth, Cait Morgan, has stumbled upon Corpses with a Silver Tongue, Golden Nose, an Emerald Thumb, Platinum Hair, Sapphire Eyes, a Diamond Hand, a Garnet Face and Ruby Lips during her globetrotting. Ace’s other series features the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, and one English) who solve quintessentially British cases from their stately home-based office in rural Wales. BC bestselling author Cathy Ace won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery for The Corpse with the Platinum Hair. Find out more about Cathy on her website.

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