Friday, July 19, 2019

Curtains for Romeo




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Coastal Playhouse Mysteries #1
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Archer Mysteries
Date Published: July 9, 2019


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ROMEO, ROMEO, WHEREFORTH ART THOU?
Acting jobs are scarce now for former TV teen detective Antigone Alden. So when a teaching position opens up at Southern Coastal University, Tig packs up her teenage daughter and heads home to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The house she inherited from her mother isn't entirely empty, however. Her mom seems stuck between this life and the next, and now Tig is a local reporter's prime suspect in the murder of the former theater professor. Given his reputation as ladies' man, there are plenty of people with a motive.

Tig isn't a detective. She just played one on TV. Will that be enough to help her find the killer?



MY REVIEW
I thought this was a cute, quick read. While it does have all of the elements of your normal cozy…a handsome cop, a small town, a divorced female, this one has some twists and turns. Don’t get me wrong, I like most cozies, they are fun, and they are what I call “throw-aways”. I love ‘em, they are totally relaxing, I read them quickly, and sometimes don’t remember much about them afterwards. 

However, this one has some unusual items in its plot, and I enjoyed the differences. We have a character whose now “ex” husband was a killer. The small-town cop was her high school sweetheart. She has a daughter and she came back to town to teach at the local college. Oh and, the house she inherited sort of has a visitor. Not bad huh?

The characters were clear and fun. Each had his or her own distinct personalities. I love when an author gives a character a sort of alter ego talking silently in her head. And there are some pretty sarcastic, funny ones that Antigone came up with. Yes, Antigone, a theater prof named Antigone. That in itself, is pretty funny.
This is just a well-written cozy. The kind you read for fun, don’t have to hear about too much blood and guts, and feel like you had a good time when you turn the last page.


Jessa Archer has written other cozies and they all have good reviews.



EXCERPT
The discovery of Amundsen’s body meant that all of my classes were canceled. Lunch with Dean Prendergast was canceled, as well. I was perfectly okay with that since I no longer had the slightest bit of appetite.
Dr. Martin Peele arrived at Muncey Theater just before campus police, about ten minutes after Ben phoned him with the news about his junior colleague. Most of my interviews for the open position had been handled in an online video conference, but I’d met Dr. Peele in person once, when I was on campus with my mother a few years back. A short, squat man with thick eyebrows and an expressive face, he reminded me of a slightly taller and younger Danny DeVito. My first thought when I met him—aside from the fact that he had sweaty palms—was that he was tailor-made for character acting.
As soon as Dr. Peele was inside, campus police turned their questions to him, which made sense, given that I’d never even met Amundsen…well, at least not when he was alive. So I slipped out the side door with a book, in search of someplace quiet, preferably with lots of fresh air. I ducked into the cafeteria to grab coffee from the vending machine and then found an empty bench at a little park between Muncey Auditorium and the main campus. The last inch of the coffee remained in the bottom of the cup as I sat on the bench reading, so that I could bring it up to my nose and breathe it in as needed. Even a half hour later, out in the wide open where the January air carried a hint of the ocean, the awful smell from the theater remained lodged in my nostrils.
The scrappy girl detectives on Private Eye High encountered a corpse in pretty much every episode, and there were even a few cases where they stumbled upon a long-dead body. Given that the makeup department generally did an excellent job of making the bodies look real, I would have sworn that I was fully inoculated against squeamishness. But I’d never really considered the olfactory element. Murder mysteries will be much less popular if anyone ever invents smell-i-vision.
“Well, well, if it isn’t Antigone Alden. How is it that you’re in town less than twenty-four hours and we already have a dead body?”
I hadn’t heard Alicia Brown’s voice in more than twenty years, but the nasal twang was unmistakable. When I left Caratoke High School at the end of my sophomore year, after landing the part in Private Eye High, Alicia was the reigning Queen Bee-with-an-itch. She didn’t like me for one simple reason: Travis Lamm did like me. In fact, he liked me so much that we’d ended up dating for over three years, even keeping the relationship going after I was in California.
Sighing, I snapped shut the technical theater text I’d been thumbing through halfheartedly. “The body’s been in the trap room for way more than twenty-four hours, Leash.”
I didn’t even have to look up to know the expression on Alicia’s face when I pulled out the old nickname, Leash. I could picture the woman’s ferretlike nose twitch perfectly. That’s one good thing about old frenemies. You already know which buttons to push.
“You stepped right into his job,” Alicia said. “That might make some people a little suspicious. Or maybe trouble just follows you around like a bad stink. Can’t believe you’ve decided to come back and live among us commoners. Is California’s cost of living too high for washed-up has-beens?”
At that point I did look up and was surprised that the Alicia in my head didn’t look much like the one standing in front of me. Alicia’s hair was platinum now, rather than her natural brassy blonde. Two decades of tanning booths, Quarter Pounders, and cigarettes had taken a toll. Alicia now looked more like her mother, who’d sat in the bleachers at home games, than the pert and perky head majorette who had strutted across the field at halftime.
Rather than try to cover my surprise, I decided to use it. “Wow. I am so sorry, Mrs. Brown! I could have sworn I was talking to your daughter, Alicia.”
Alicia cocked her head to one side. I could almost hear the hamster wheel spinning away as she tried to dredge up a smart retort.
I decided to spare her the torment, thinking maybe if I just cut to the chase, Alicia would leave. “Did you want something, Alicia?”
“Actually, I do. I’m the lead reporter for The Clarion these days and unfortunately, my editor tasked me with writing a human-interest piece on your move back to Caratoke. Us being old friends and all. I have to get a photo to go with the article, so say cheese.” Alicia held up her phone and snapped the picture before I even had time to smile. She tucked the phone back into her little red handbag and then turned on her heel to walk away.


About the author:

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Jessa Archer writes sweet, funny, warm-hearted cozy mysteries because she loves a good puzzle and can't stand the sight of blood. Her characters are witty, adventurous, and crafty in the nicest way. You'll find her sleuths hand lettering inspirational quotes, trying to lower golf handicaps, enjoying a scone at a favorite teashop, knitting a sweater, or showing off a dramatic side in local theater.

Jessa's done many things in her long career, including a stint as a journalist and practicing law. But her favorite job is spinning mysteries. She loves playing small-town sleuth and transporting readers to a world where the scones are delicious, wine pairs with hand lettering, and justice always prevails.




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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Magic mayhem and murder



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. January Bain will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click ont the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



Book one in Manitoba Tea & Tarot Mysteries series

Charm McCall, armed with a library full of Agatha Christie stories and her unique witchy gifts, knows how to solve a small-town murder…

Charm McCall, the oldest of the McCall triplets by a whole day—or one minute before midnight if one’s being picky—is the designated driver for her whole town. Why, if it wasn’t for her, Snowy Lake would incinerate or fall into Hudson’s Bay. With her unique abilities, she’s all set to keep her family and town safe and on its proper course.

That is, until a hot Mountie moves into town, a busload of strippers breaks down on Main Street and Mrs. Hurst goes and gets herself murdered with poisoned jam. Jam crafted by Charm’s family at the Tea & Tarot café. Now it’s up to her to solve the murders—yes, plural, when another local business owner ends up dead.

Charm knows just what to do. What’s breaking a few laws if she can sleuth out the culprit? She knows the people of Snowy Lake better than any new lawman possibly could. So why can’t he just leave her be to get on with things?

And why does he have to be so darn hot?
My Review...
Cute cozy involving a family owned bakery with a few added items to sell. Items like helping your love life and finding your lost necklace. You got it…this is a magic bakery full of good pastries and good witches too. Or at least one very talented witch with a name like Charm. The name of the bakery is the Tea & Tarot Café. You can get fed and find out when you’ll get the payment you need for your car all in the same “sitting” so to speak. I’m not making light of this. It was a cute, enjoyable read. It did have all of the elements of a cozy, an amateur sleuth determined to save her business, a VERY handsome cop or so the author said, a small town on a body of water, a Festival, a delightful family of nutty characters and a dead body of course.

So, I can’t say there were any surprises but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It was well written, quick to read, and fun. It was one of those books that makes you feel good when you’re finished.

The author, January Bain, has several other books published, even in different genres. All appear to have good reviews.



Read an Excerpt...

There came a loud snapping of branches. Darn it, unwanted company. My fingers grasped at the aerosol spray bottle at my waist. I waited for another sound to alert me to the direction of the intruder. The sun in my eyes, I squinted to survey the landscape, swiveling my head back and forth.

There.

I caught the movement of a humongous upright creature headed straight for me, plowing through the thick undergrowth and overhead canopy as though he had just one intention—to do me harm. I didn’t care if it were a huge black bear or the legendary Bigfoot. Either way, I’d strike first, with the sharp knife hidden in my boot if it came to that. I sprayed the noxious substance from the hip, directing the wide stream from my belt holster.

A loud grunt of surprise sounded. “Aww, why did you do that?” More moans of human agony followed.

Oops.

Out of the bushes stumbled a very large man—not Bigfoot, but darn close. Dressed in a black windbreaker, black jeans and extra-large combat boots, he wore a very nice black Stetson, accompanied by a full-on grimace. And oh my, when he pinned me with a look from his haunting brown eyes under that spectacular bad-boy hat, my insides somersaulted. Wow.

“Oh, my goodness! I’m so sorry! Thought you were a black bear. If I’d known you were—well, you, I’d never have sprayed.”

The tall hunk of a man was too busy flushing his face with a water bottle to give me an answer. I waited, chewing on my lower lip and wishing I could just sink into the ground. But who rumbled through the bushes in such an obvious way? A bear, that was who. A land predator unafraid of humans and wanting to take a bite right out of me.

“Ma’am, I was coming to warn you. There’s been a bear sighted not far from here. I heard you caterwauling and thought you might be in trouble. Didn’t expect to be pepper sprayed for my trouble.”

I looked around warily. Maybe it was time to head back to town and bring a group of people to pick berries another day when I could assign someone to keep a lookout. I had filled four buckets. Not too shabby.

Wait.

What did he just say?

“I do not caterwaul. I was singing. And it sure beats crashing through the bush like Bigfoot.”

“If you say so, darlin’.” Was that a twinkle in his eyes? The rest of his handsome mug remained inscrutable, launching another fussy crop of butterflies into my body, looking to land. He came closer and the acrid stench of the protection spray on his clothes made my eyes water in sympathy. Oh, my.

He caught my grimace. “Not so pleasant an odor to be around, I agree. I’m Constable Ace Collins, by the way.”

“As in RCMP?” My voice came out in a high-pitched squeal. Darn it. Of all the people to mace, how did I manage a lawman?



About the Author:
January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create books that features strong women who live life to the fullest, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope her stories will capture your imagination.


If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with her furry baby, Ling Ling. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.



If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook. Oh, and she loves to talk books…



Blog - http://januarybainjourney.blogspot.ca/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanuaryBain

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/january.bain

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437282.January_Bain

Amazon Author page - https://amzn.to/2NaPYub

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437282.January_Bain

Totally Bound Author Page: https://www.totallybound.com/author/january-bain



Email address for fans - januarybain@xplornet.com




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Power Struggle






Mystery Detective, Police Procedural, Crime, Suspense
Date Published: Between 2011-2019
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.



Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and JD Robb to name a few. This series is also bound to entertain those who enjoy Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.


Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Power Struggle, Shades of Justice, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).



My Review

I do love this Detective Madison (Maddie) Knight character that Carolyn Arnold has created. I’ve said before she is tough and mouthy and as stubborn as can be. And there can be no question I enjoy Carolyn Arnold’s books. I like the sort of nitty-gritty crime fiction feel of them.

Arnold’s books read well, they have a flow to them that makes them easy to read and you are often wishing the last page didn’t come so quickly. I do have to say that the theme of Maddie being honest with Troy and can Maddie make a commitment gets sort of old with me. Still, while I might gripe a little, Arnold has created characters that I know I’d like in person as well as scary bad guys I’d just as soon not meet.

A good book well worth my time to read. 



Watch a Trailer:  CLICK HERE



About the Author




CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario, with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.



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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

On Loving

Romance
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lili Naghdi will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY 





In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora's box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally.


Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, On Loving is the story of one woman's lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.


Read an excerpt...
“It was almost nine when I got back. Kim had fed Layla and put her to sleep. I sent Kim home for the night, kissed Layla’s face good night and went to my room to change for bed.

Siyavash’s letter was still on the floor. I bent down and picked it up.

Inhaling the scent of the dried black rose, I wandered to the window and stared at the thin, even white carpet of snow on the street. Where do I want to be? I asked myself. Somewhere beautiful, calming. Somewhere full of life, with a boundless, vaulted sky above my head, perhaps!

I then closed my eyes and let myself being taken to Siyavash’s majestic rose garden in Isfahan. I could feel the breeze in my hair, could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I remembered how Siyavash had looked at me with love and admiration there. I was blind not to see it then. I couldn’t recall Dean looking at me like that …

I opened my eyes and read Siyavash’s letter again, raking my fingers through my hair. Then, nervously rubbing my neck, I went to the phone next to my bed.

“Good evening,” I said when the other end of the line picked up.

“Rose! Is that … Is that you?” It was Siyavash.

“Yes, it’s me!” I paused and swallowed the lump that had risen in my throat. “Come back home! Just come back to me!”

I quickly hung up and rushed to the window, as if for air. Snowflakes were still dancing their way down to the ground.

My chest felt so constricted that I could hardly breathe.

Am I questioning Dean’s love for me? I wondered. Am I comparing it to Siyavash’s? But that was impossible! I shook my head. I’m just giving Siyavash a chance to redeem himself, a proper second chance. But the reminder to myself was pointless: the truth was something else, and I knew it!

I was at fault here. I was the guilty — guilty of blocking not only my ears but also my soul from hearing Siyavash’s voice, so ignorant indeed that my heart was finally reproaching me for my bigotry and cruelty.

I folded the letter and tucked it away in the drawer next to my bed.

I’ll know soon how I need to deal with him, I told myself. Or I’ll just have to find a way around it!”

READ AN INTERVIEW WITH LILI NAGHDI  HERE


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lili Naghdi is an Iranian Canadian physician who was born and raised in Tehran. She continued her education and research after moving to Canada with her husband and daughter in 1996. Today she practices family medicine in Vaughan, Ontario, with particular interests in women’s and mental health. Being a family physician gives her the privilege of connecting with patients and participating in their care with a deeper understanding of the physical, emotional and social adversities they face. Interacting with people of many different backgrounds has also provided Dr. Naghdi with the opportunity to grow as a person, a physician and an author.

Growing up in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran, Lili became fascinated by the magical realm of literature, poetry and history. She began collecting prized quotations at the young age of eight. Dr. Naghdi has written poetry and short stories in both Farsi and English, but she eventually followed William Wordsworth’s advice to “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” and turned to fiction.

On Loving is her first novel. Inspired by both the ordinary people she has the honor to support and by the great literature of Persia and the world — from Hafez to Forugh Farrokhzad and from John Steinbeck to Margaret Mitchell — Dr. Naghdi passionately agrees with Boris Pasternak, whose Yuri Zhivago is a physician and patriotic poet, when he writes: “Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”

Website:            www.lilinaghdi.com


Instagram:           https://www.instagram.com/naghdil/

Amazon author page URL:    


Barnes and Noble Author URL:


Videos of her book launch: 







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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Marijuana Murders

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark S. Bacon will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY 



Nostalgia City executive Kate Sorensen finds the body of a mechanic crushed under an automobile hoist in the theme park’s garage. Accident or murder? Will it impact Kate’s decision to become an advisor for one of two competing campaigns to legalize marijuana in Arizona?

When the death is ruled a homicide and the DEA stages a surprise raid, park cab driver Lyle Deming is recruited to help solve the murder and find out if the park’s garage is being used to smuggle drugs. The anxiety-ridden ex-cop is soon poking around a Mexican border town looking for a park contractor who might be a drug mule. Or he might be dead.

Meanwhile, Kate, a 6-2 former college basketball star, is in the middle of a heated clash between potential corporate control of pot marketing and a laid-back, grow-your-own approach. As Kate wonders whether she should mediate or advocate, she’s forced to dash for her life. Amid setbacks and threats, she and Lyle must sort through interwoven crimes, a tangle of evidence, and dark suspects.

Then there’s another murder.


The Marijuana Murders is the third novel in this mystery series set in Nostalgia City, a theme park that re-creates—in every detail—a small town from the 1970s.

My Review...
While the setting for this novel is a “theme park” type of place called Nostalgia City, it is nostalgic mostly for those of us who are of the baby boomer era. My first thought as I began to read was whether the subject would limit or narrow the field of readers for the author. While I really enjoyed some of the things I could identify with, I think there might be many things to interest all readers. The cars will be of interest to any reader and are timeless. I smiled many times reading about them. The legalization of marijuana is an ongoing argument in many states today. And of course, there are many twists and turns and murders just as any mystery should contain.  

This story started out slow for me. I think a part of this was getting to know the characters. After I had a better idea of who was “what” so to speak, it seemed to pick up and read easily. I wondered if this could have been because I have not read the previous books in the series and this is not really a stand-alone.

An interesting read and a new subject. Worth my time to read.


Read an excerpt...

From Chapter 26

When they started up the walkway to the neighbor’s house, a double-wide trailer home, they heard a dog growl somewhere within. A large dog. When they stepped up on the home’s wooden deck, a middle-aged woman in jeans and a western blouse cracked the front door open. “What do ya want?”
The growling got louder.

Rey pulled out his badge and identified himself. “I wanted to ask you a few questions about your neighbors.”

“Okay, come on in.” She pulled the door open wide.

A rottweiler slightly smaller than a Bengal tiger sat on the floor near the door. His growl rumbled like a low-rider car stereo.

“Oh, don’t worry about him,” the woman said. She motioned to the dog. “Benji, quiet. Stay.”

Lyle and Rey stepped into the living room. “We’re following up on the car theft next door. Do you know your neighbors to the west very well?”

“Them? Hell no. They come and go. Sometimes late at night. Vanessa, I think that’s the woman what owns it. She says she has a big family that mooches off her. I ain’t stupid. Somethin’s going on over there. Cops were here this morning asking about that car theft.”

Lyle stole a glance at the massive K-9. “Did Benji bark last night?” Benji?

“He did, about two, three o’clock. That’s what I told the other cops. I heard some noises, but I mind my own business.”

“How long has Vanessa lived there?” Rey asked.

“Maybe six months. The Carlsons moved out.”

“You know where she came from?”

“Said Tucson.”

“You ever talk to any of Vanessa’s family,” Lyle asked, “visitors?”

“No, sir. They don’t come ’round wantin’ to talk. ’Course I usually leave Benji out on the porch.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Mark S. Bacon began his career as a Southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

After working for two newspapers, he moved to advertising and marketing when he became a copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm, the large theme park down the road from Disneyland.  Experience working at Knott’s formed part of the inspiration for his creation of Nostalgia City theme park. 

Before turning to fiction, Bacon wrote business books including Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing, printed in four languages and three editions, named best business book of the year by the Library Journal, and selected by the Book of the Month Club and two other book clubs.  His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Orange County (Calif.) Register, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Marijuana Murders is the third book in the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City.  The first book introduced ex-cop turned cab driver Lyle Deming and PR executive Kate Sorensen, a former college basketball star.  Death in Nostalgia City was recommended in February for book clubs by the American Library Association.

Bacon is the author of flash fiction mystery books including, Cops, Crooks and Other Stories in 100 Words.  He taught journalism as a member of the adjunct faculty at Cal Poly University – Pomona, the University of Nevada – Reno, and the University of Redlands.  He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.   He gets many of his ideas while walking his golden retriever, Willow.





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The Best Laid Plans


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21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense
Mystery/Suspense Anthology
Publisher: Superior Shores Press
Date Published: June 18, 2019

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Whether it’s at a subway station in Norway, a ski resort in Vermont, a McMansion in the suburbs, or a trendy art gallery in Toronto, the twenty-one authors represented in this superb collection of mystery and suspense interpret the overarching theme of “the best laid plans” in their own inimitable style. And like many best laid plans, they come with no guarantees.

Stories by Tom Barlow, Susan Daly, Lisa de Nikolits, P.A. De Voe, Peter DiChellis, Lesley A. Diehl, Mary Dutta, C.C. Guthrie, William Kamowski, V.S. Kemanis, Lisa Lieberman, Edward Lodi, Rosemary McCracken, LD Masterson, Edith Maxwell, Judy Penz Sheluk, KM Rockwood, Peggy Rothschild, Johanna Beate Stumpf, Vicki Weisfeld, and Chris Wheatley.


Heirloom by Tom Barlow

Me and my dimwitted brother, a cash withdrawn at gunpoint, make a midnight escape on ATVs through gnarly mountain trails chased by a blizzard. Lucky I’m too smart to fail.

Spirit River Dam by Susan Daly

Imogen doesn’t anticipate surprises at her trendy art gallery, until the day her ex walks in with an intriguing old painting. Is it a Fake? Or a Fortune?

Fire Drill by Lisa de Nikolits

You’ll never know my name, I’m not that important. But I’ll fight for what’s mine. So beware, world, because you’ve got no idea what I’m capable of.

Gambling Against Fate: From Judge Lu’s Ming Dynasty Case Files by P.A. De Voe

As the emperor’s representative in maintaining peace and order, I am challenged daily to ferret out criminals hiding among the innocent.

Callingdon Mountain by Peter DiChellis

I’m a private eye who spends his days investigating a baffling murder case the news media calls an “impossible” crime. The cops sure can’t solve the mystery. Can I?

Lunchbreak by Lesley A. Diehl

Spurred on by his buddy, Ben decides this is the day to shut up his nagging wife for good, but she thwarts his plans with some creative culinary intervention.

Festival Finale by Mary Dutta

My name is Charles Attlee, but of course you know my work. You don’t want to miss my killer book festival appearance.

A Sure Thing by C.C. Guthrie

The hit on an eighty year-old rancher seemed like a sure thing. I left the Buffalo snow behind for sixty-degree days in Oklahoma figuring, what could go wrong?

Last Thoughts by William Kamowski

Timothy, an empathetic techie, takes care of people online—for better or for worse—especially sad young women who need to script their final moments.

Sucker Punch by V.S. Kemanis

I’m Freddy, behind the butcher counter at Food Super. I’ll never look at the meat and bone saw in the same way after my “best friend” Zach roped me into his latest moneymaking scheme.

Better Dead Than Redhead by Lisa Lieberman

I’m Ashley Early. The best thing about being a primatologist? Chimps don’t find themselves accused of murdering their hair model. Unlike Alex, my twin sister.

Oubliette by Edward Lodi

Choose as your target a frail, elderly woman who lives alone, and what could possibly go wrong?

The Sweetheart Scamster by Rosemary McCracken

I’m Pat Tierney, a financial planner. The day my seventy four year-old client Trudy Sullivan said she had a new man in her life, I had questions to ask her.

Deadly Dinner by LD Masterson

I didn’t take this nursing home job to kill someone, I’m just looking for a way to score. But if it means helping some rich old biddy to her just reward…well, that’s okay, too.

The Stonecutter by Edith Maxwell

I’m Eleanor, a middle-aged librarian. A Portuguese stonecutter and I are in love, but it’s bittersweet and attempting to fix things could prove dangerous. I think I’ll try.

Plan D by Judy Penz Sheluk

My name’s Jenny and most of my days center around trying to think of inventive ways I can kill my lazy, job-losing husband, Ted—without getting caught.

Frozen Daiquiris by KM Rockwood  Penelope’s new McMansion doesn’t provide automatic entrée to the upper crust. Maybe if she hosts a society fundraiser in the new house, and everything goes according to plan…

The Cookie Crumbles by Peggy Rothschild

Angry with my mom and jealous of my talented older sister, I’m planning the perfect prank and hoping revenge is sweet.

Thank You For Your Cooperation by Johanna Beate Stumpf

Marsha watches people. As surveillance operator for the subway, this is her job. Lately, a new commuter has appeared on Marsha’s screens. And he’s going to change her life.

Who They Are Now by Vicki Weisfeld

Yolanda and Bill are Delray Beach, Florida, cops investigating the murder of a beloved sportscaster during the chaos of a Category 5 hurricane.

The True Cost of Liberty by Chris Wheatley

I am Gerald Worthington. Life consists of dealing antiques, dining at second-class restaurants, enduring tedious social engagements and wishing my wife’s new husband would drop dead.




About the Author

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Editor Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of the Glass Dolphin Mystery and Marketville Mystery series. Her short stories can be found in several collections. Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at www.judypenzsheluk.com.












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