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Friday, October 19, 2018

Cozy Mystery 99 Cent Ebook Sale


Thirty-three books on sale for Kindle.

Including my book and:


  • Halloween Candy with a Side of Murder
  • Pain in the Neck
  • Heaven to Betsy
  • Halloween Witch Cozy Boxed Set
  • The Long Paw of the Law 4
  • The Deadly Restaurant Affair
  • Wisteria Witches
  • Organized for Murder
  • State of the Art Heist
  • Love Under Fire
  • The Wedding Crasher
  • Kiss and Makeup
  • The Case of the Missing Hero
  • A Sticky Inheritance
  • ICED
  • Murder in Whistler
  • Hazelnuts and Halloween
  • Forever Mine
  • Ghostly Fright
  • Filigrees, Fortune, and Foul Play
  • Weeping Moon
  • Once Upon a Crime
  • All Hallows Eve Heist
  • Whispered Voices
  • Christmas Heartwarmers & Holiday Smiles (10 Novellas)
  • Along Came a Ghost
  • Cherish
  • 15 Minutes
  • The Stone House Secret
  • Spell Maven from Spell Haven
  • A MacKenzie Witch Collection


To find out more please check out the promotion page (click here).


Here is a Halloween Hack that is fun. 
Buy vinyl gloves non-powdered and fill them with candies, use Tootsie rolls or Smarties for the fingers.  You can add an inexpensive Halloween themed ring on a finger too.  








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Monday, October 15, 2018

Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop 2018

If you are joining us as part of the Spooktacular Giveaway Blog hop, look around and stay for awhile.  We celebrate everything mystery and suspense here - no doubt you can find something of interest!




GIVEAWAY PRIZES:

We are celebrating Halloween here at Mysteries and My Musings with a giveaway for the seventh year!  One combination prize to a winner, 6 winners!

1)  Iced (Resort to Murder #1) by Avery Daniels and Nailed (Resort to Murder #2) by Avery Daniels  -- 2 winners

2)  Marigold For Malice by Bailey Cattrell and A Date with Murder (Murder She Wrote) by Donald Bain

3)  Live and Let Fly by Clover Tate and A Room with a Brew by Joyce Tremel

4)  Haunted Hayride with Murder by Auralee Wallace and The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle

5)   City of Lies (Counterfeit Lady #1) by Victoria Thompson and Hollywood Homicide (Detective by Day #1) by Kellye Garrett


Entry for giveaway lasts until October 31 6:00 p.m. (MST).  U.S.  entries only please.  

I will be shipping the books to the winners.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be a member (follower) of this blog.***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.  ALL ENTRIES WITHOUT AN EMAIL ADDRESS ARE DISQUALIFIED.

I will accept entries for this giveaway until 6:00 p.m (MST) on  Oct 31, 2017.    I shall notify each winner via the email address you provide to get your mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.  If I don't hear from you in 3 days, I will select another winner and notify them.

IF you are a member (or email subscriber) of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.

BECOME a member (or email subscriber) of this blog if you aren't already and enjoy the celebration of all things mystery and suspense.

Other participating Blogs:



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Friday, September 7, 2018

Review - This Side of Murder

From the author of the fantastic Lardy Darby Mysteries comes this new historical mystery series set just after WWI.  I admit I was drawn to the book because I love the Lady Darby books and wanted to find out if this new series was as engrossing.


Author: Anna Lee Huber

Copyright: Sept 2017 (Kensington) 304 pgs

Series: 1st in Verity Kent Mystery series

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Cozy / Amateur Sleuth

Main Character: Verity Kent, widow of WWI Officer 

Setting: 1919, Umbersea Island England

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

"England, 1919. Verity Kent’s grief over the loss of her husband pierces  anew when she receives a cryptic letter, suggesting her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. Determined to dull  her pain with revelry, Verity’s first impulse is to dismiss the derogatory claim. But the mystery sender knows too much—including the fact that during the war, Verity worked for the Secret Service, something not even Sidney knew.  

Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney’s fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside, and discovers dark secrets—along with a murder clearly meant to conceal them. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was. It’s a truth that could set her free—or draw her ever deeper into his deception . . ."  It appears the surviving members of the suspiciously disastrous Thirtieth are being killed off during the weekend.

Verity starts out rather reserved and too timid but finally finds her spunk and voice amid the social pariahs of the engagement party.   Max Westfield, Earl of Ryde, was briefly Sidney's commanding officer and takes a shine to Verity.  But can she trust him to help her with the growing questions surrounding Sidney's death and the growing question of the unit having a traitor?  Sidney or his memory, ever present as Verity mingles with his fellow officers and her grieving is just below the  surface, seems rather bland and lacked much fire in their relationship before he shipped off to war.  Walter Ponsonby and Beatrice are the engaged couple throwing the party.  Walter wants to please Beatrice and is absent-minded and put out by the murders while Beatrice seems to want to throw a successful society party to show she can.  The rest of the guests range between prickly and blatantly hostile.  Thus the suspects are plentiful.

The island setting and time period are faithfully recreated and provide a delicious backdrop for a weekend of murder and mayhem.  The plot grows more twisted as the story progresses and there are only a few slow moments (the beginning seems slow, but warms up after a little while).  The climax was a mixture of daring action and tense moments.  The wrap-up answered all the questions and left a new beginning for Verity so readers want to read the next book.  

There is a significant twist towards the end that I honestly wasn't happy with.  It was a whooper, but changed the story in a way I didn't appreciate.  I can't say more without spoilers.  I have to say that there were a few instances that Verity as the main character lost my interest, but was regained after a few pages.  I hope the romantic direction will be corrected in the next book (Treacherous is the Night due Sept 25th).  .  

Rating: Between Good and Excellent - a solid mystery with suspense and a few minor flaws in my way of seeing things :-)

Here is a short video with 10 Remarkable Facts about WWI


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2CgUIrBHoo







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Monday, September 3, 2018

National Read a Book Day

Its September already!  Dang the year seems to be flying past.  For U.S. readers, have a fantastic Labor Day, honoring the American labor movement.  Are you ready for some Pumpkin Spice everything, cooler temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and the display of fall colors?  I love fall.  It also means its time for the National Read a Book Day.


National Read a Book Day Sept 6, 2018

Incredible, but a Pew Research study says that 1 in 4 Americans hasn't a read a book in the past year.  The study can be found here (click here.)  

"The share of Americans who report not reading any books in the past 12 months has bounced around a bit since 2011, when Pew Research Center first began conducting surveys about book-reading habits. That year, 19% of adults reported not reading any books. The share of non-book readers hit a high point of 27% in 2015.

The same demographic traits that characterize non-book readers also often apply to those who have never been to a library."

Which makes National Read a Book Day so very important to encourage reading, share the joy of reading, and overall do the nation a good dead.  A well read populace is a healthier, better educated populace.


Jimmy Kimmel does his own investigation asking people 
on the street to name a book... any book.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJdNrCeUdhc

ACTIVITIES to take part in the day

1. Read a book
"Maybe reading's not your thing. Maybe the last time you read a book was in school. (Maybe you didn't even read books in school.) But for National Read a Book Day, you can make an exception and thumb through a handbook about something that interests you. If you're a less reluctant reader, pick up that book you've been meaning to read and get to it! Whether you like print books you can hold in your hands or digital books you swipe across the screen, decide on something and read it. You'll be glad you did."

2. Donate books to your library
"Chances are you have a local public library, and chances are your library could use a helping hand. Though books have lost popularity of late, libraries do a lot of important work for their communities. Most libraries take donations and some will enlist volunteers to help with special events, community programs, and even daily library tasks. Donating books to your local library is a great way to share knowledge with your community, and book donations often help libraries flesh out their shelves."

3. Read to someone else
"As humans, we were meant to tell stories. Cultures around the world have storytelling traditions that date back centuries. When you get together with your friends, you likely share stories about what you've experienced since the last time you saw each other. We all use stories as our main method of communicating with the world. But whether you're telling a personal anecdote or you're reading a book aloud, sharing a story with someone else is known to reinforce bonds and strengthen relationships overall. For National Read a Book Day, you could read to your children, your parents, grandparents, or volunteer at a school, library, or senior center." 

4.  Post on FB, Twitter, Instagram, or do a Youtube video about the day and share what you are reading for the day.

5.  If you have a blog, do a post on the day and it's importance.

6.  Buy a book (whether print, ebook, or audio) and give it to a friend, or two - hopefully one you think they will enjoy and get hooked on reading.  

7.  Support literacy programs in your town.  You can often find one at your local library.

8.  Find out if your library or school system has a "Paws to Read" program where dogs (and in some cases cats) are used to listen to children read aloud.  It provides practice without the risk of ridicule or embarrassment for the child.  If so, see if you can bring a dog or support in another way.

WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY

A. Books are troves of knowledge
"Before the internet, books were the main means of storing, accessing, and spreading knowledge. And while the internet is amazing and efficient and better than books in a lot of ways, there are some compelling reasons to keep books around. First off, books don't require a battery and you can access their data during a power outage. There is no server providing books with their information, so it is always ready, right at your fingertips. Books travel without cords or adapters, and while storage of books requires a lot more space than digital storage, a lot of people still prefer to read books in print rather than ebooks on a screen."

B. Reading makes you healthier
"Studies show that people who read frequently show less signs of stress and higher problem solving abilities than people who don't. Reading also improves your language comprehension, critical thinking, and communication skills. Frequent readers tend to be more aware of cultural differences and social issues, and they also tend to be more compassionate and understanding. While reading a good book is no substitute for a trip to the doctor, National Read a Book Day promotes awareness for all the physical and mental benefits to reading."

C. It reminds us to keep reading
"We're not really a society of readers, but reading is important. In our high-speed era of video clips and SnapChat, books can start to seem kind of irrelevant. But National Read a Book Day is all about keeping that good thing going. Books are a great art form that we can enjoy now more than ever. We've got more access to books than past generations, and our technology makes text-based communications an intrinsic part of our lives. Why not keep reading?"

D. Reading Improves our Capacity for Empathy
Back in 2013 "Emanuele Castano, a social psychologist, along with PhD candidate David Kidd conducted five studies...The results suggest that reading fiction is a valuable socializing influence. The study data could inform debates over how much fiction should be included in educational curricula and whether reading programs should be implemented in prisons, where reading literary fiction might improve inmates’ social functioning and empathy. Castano also hopes the finding will encourage autistic people to engage in more literary fiction, in the hope it could improve their ability to empathize without the side effects of medication."  Julianne Chiaet, Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy, Scientific American, October 4, 2013

I am currently reading Daniel Silva's The Black Widow.  What are you reading for National Read a Book Day?

Please post any activities you are partaking in for the day or how you are honoring the day.  I'm doing 2, 4, and 5 so far.

Share your favorite place to read (I typically read in bed or on my couch, but a luxurious treat is reading in the bath.)







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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Review - Single Malt Murder

I have had a particularly hard time in posting reviews.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but I have this one for you.  A new series based in Scotland (always fun) and based primarily at a whiskey distillery.  I can't remember where I heard about this one, but I came across it and purchased it.  


Author: Melinda Mullet

Copyright: March 21, 2017 (Alibi) 278 pgs

Series: 1st in Whisky Business Mystery series

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Abigail Logan, photojournalist who inherited Abbey Glen distillery

Setting: Modern day, Scotland

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

Cover blurb: "When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide."

Abigail is a stubborn, gutsy character with lots of potential filled with regrets as she comes to town to check out the distillery her uncle left her.  Since she has received threats and there has been a murder, she doesn't trust anybody, even the long time employees.  Deceased Uncle Ben has a definite presence throughout the book and I love his character.  Best friend Patrick Cooke is great and the Terrier dog named Liam is perfection. 

This book is written by an American who clearly hasn't lived in Scotland from the various mistakes in details on Scottish life (crime scene tape isn't yellow but blue and white and village would have High Street rather than Main Street and such details from what I hear.) But, if that doesn't bother you, then consider the book further.  

I had one bone to pick regarding the threats that start immediately - before she has done anything but inherit the place, and continues getting threats seemingly without waiting to see if she will leave etc.  Otherwise, I enjoyed the book and found it a fun escape with an interesting mystery.  I am looking to getting the second in the series.

Rating: Good - A fun entertaining lite read 


Here is a short video about the Scotch Whiskey making process featuring Glen Fiddich distillery:




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlhzV0Vx7FM







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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Spotlight - A Stewed Observation

Please welcome Karen C. Whalen to the blog.  She is the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” Her books are similar to those written by authors Jessica Beck, Joanne Fluke, Leslie Meier, Cindy Bell and Laura Childs. 

Fans of mysteries centering around food – donuts, cakes, cookies, coffee shops, bakeries, and gourmet cuisine - and add in a western setting in Denver, Colorado - will enjoy Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, No Grater Evil, and A Stewed Observation.

Everything Bundt the Truth tied for FIRST PLACE in the Suspense Novel category of the 2017 IDA Contest. The IDA is sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America, but is open to all works of fiction in digital format. 

She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She believes that it's never to late too try something new. She loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.


A Stewed Observation A Dinner Club Murder Mysteries Book 4  Karen C Whalen

The Gourmet Dinner Club travels to Ireland to enjoy Irish cuisine while staying at a medieval, ivy-covered castle. Jane Marsh hopes Dale Capricorn will ask her to marry him at this romantic dream destination. But her plans are put on hold when the elderly castle owner becomes violent, a club member restrains him, and he collapses and dies. 

The police believe the mysterious death is murder and begin to suspect one of the club’s members. Dale leaves for home on a business emergency, and as the lone single gal in the club full of couples, Jane is thrown into the company of Griffin O’Doherty, the handsome Irishman who stands to inherit the castle.

Jane must prove her friend’s innocence by solving the crime. Which of the sweet-tempered Irish could be a callous killer?

The dinner club murder mystery series - a culinary cozy - is set in Denver, Colorado.

Amateur sleuth Jane Marsh is always game to try new things now that she’s in the empty nest stage of her life, including joining an exclusive dinner club. Stumbling across dead bodies has also developed into one of her hobbies. Using paralegal skills honed at her job in a downtown law firm, she knows how to conduct an investigation. But her suspicious mind collides with her trusting nature as she stirs up trouble while serving up one dinner party after another.

Visit her webpage at: http://www.karencwhalen.com/

Purchase Links:




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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Book Spotlight: Marquesa's Necklace

Please welcome author P.J. MacLayne as we feature her book.


The truth is, I didn't set out to write a cozy mystery series. This book was supposed to be a romance. My characters, especially Harmony Duprie, the main character, convinced me otherwise, but did allow me to keep the romance as a sub-plot.

By the end of the book, I'd fallen in love with Harmony, and knew what was intended to be a stand-alone story would be a series. I've written three books in the series so far, and am currently working on the fourth. But I have great fondness for the story that started it all.

Book Blurb

Harmony Duprie enjoyed her well-ordered life in the quiet little town of Oak Grove—until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she wants nothing more than to return to the uneventful lifestyle of a historical researcher she once savored.

But when her beloved old car “George” is stolen and explodes into a ball of flames, it sets off a series of events that throws her plans into turmoil. Toss in a police detective that may or may not be interested in her, an attractive but mysterious stranger on her trail, and an ex-boyfriend doing time, and Harmony’s life freefalls into a downward spiral of chaos.

Now she has to use her research skills to figure out who is behind the sinister incidents plaguing her, and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.

     Because it might.

Excerpt:

By the time Janine and Sarah arrived in the morning, Luke, Joe and I had already wrestled the easy chair out to the curb. Joe was straightening up the kitchen while Luke and I restored order to the explosion of books and put them back on the shelves. Being an ex-librarian, I’m picky in how my books go, so the job was taking longer than Luke liked. When they knocked, Joe, who had self-appointed himself as my bodyguard, rushed to be the one to open it. I didn’t know what he had planned if it was an intruder—would an intruder knock? —but since he was a retired Marine, I wasn’t going to argue. Sarah and Janine stood there with their mouths hanging open, shocked by the scene. Janine gathered her wits and said, “What can we do to help?”

Joe answered for me. “One of you can tackle the bathroom. The other can haul a load of clothes to the basement and wash them.” The defiled lingerie already sat in the garbage can next to the garage.

An hour or so later Detective Thomason arrived. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor in the spots the mop didn’t reach, when we heard a knock on the door. Joe just glared at me when I started to get up, so I let him do the honors, and returned to my cleaning.

“What do you want?” Joe said, rather gruffly and I figured I better check it out for myself.

Detective Thomason held a vase with a bouquet of supermarket flowers. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt instead of a suit. Tight jeans, I might add, and the shirt did him favors that his suits never could. I thanked him and put the flowers in the middle of the kitchen table. Luke steered him towards the bedroom to figure out how to get the shredded mattress out of the apartment without knocking everything else over again. The bouquet proved to be a beacon of peace in the midst of the chaos that ruled for the rest of the day, and earned him back the name of Fred. He still didn’t rank being Freddie in my mind—not yet, anyhow.

I spent the night with Janine. I had to stay somewhere else because Luke, Joe, and I decided we would clean the carpet in the apartment before I replaced my furniture. The soil from the African Violets was ground into the rug. And there had been more foot-traffic through my place than normal for the past year.

The violets were wilted, but would survive. The footprints on the Grateful Dead tapestry vanished with a good beating and repeated vacuuming. Several of my books had their spines broken or their pages torn, but none of my first edition books were hurt. I had to go shopping for a new mattress, but Luke and Joe were going to give me an old loveseat they didn’t want anymore. Nothing seemed to have been taken. I got off lucky. Again.

A not-so-tiny voice in the back of my brain told me I’d better start worrying about my luck running out.

The Marquesa's Necklace is on sale for 99¢

Buy Links


Author Bio: Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she's not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

P.J. MacLayne can be reached on:  
Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Amazon | Blog | BookBub

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Thank you P.J. for joining us today!



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Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Spotlight - Tatia's Tattoo

We are spotlighting a book by Christian author Linda Brendle today.  Linda first began to write during her years as a caregiver. After two memoirs, A Long and Winding Road and Mom’s Long Good-Bye, she ventured into the world of fiction. Tatia’s Tattoo will be followed soon by Fallen Angel Salvage, the continuing story of Tatia, her family, and Eric ten years later.

In semi-retirement from the business world, Linda holds a part-time job as secretary for her church and an on-line position as an accounting specialist for BookPros. She also writes a column for the weekly newspaper in the tiny East Texas town where she and her husband David live with their feral cat Kitty.

This book is more Christian fiction and not a mystery.

Tatia’s Tattoo by Linda Brendle – A #MysteryExchange Post

Tatia’s Tattoo begins on a Friday morning as Tatia Robins, a successful D.C. attorney, awakens from a nightmare that has tormented her for over a decade, a replay of her twelfth birthday when Eric stole her innocence and then sold her for the first time. After spending some time in prayer, she finishes packing and leaves for Royal Children’s Camp, a Christian camp for foster children where she first met Jesse and Mrs. G and now serves as a counselor every summer.

The journey to camp each year stirs up memories of her journey from a happy child in the arms of loving parents to one more statistic in the sex-trafficking industry in a small Texas town. She also remembers her day in court when she stood up to Eric, the man who was supposed to love her but instead branded her like a slave.

She is met at the airport by Mrs. G, the woman who recognized her as one of the least of these in spite of her skin-tight mini dress and the prisoner’s band around her wrist. Throughout the weekend, she looks forward to a reunion with other members of the Grochowsky Rescue Academy and with Jesse, the Christian tattoo artist and biker who waits patiently for Tatia to feel safe enough to tear down the protective walls she has built around herself. Will the love of her new family and Jesse’s surprise gift be enough to help her reclaim the power that Eric stole from her?

Where to find the author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads 





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Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Spotlight - Lethal Spectre

Today we feature a historical mystery by Donna Fletcher Crow.   Donna is a lifelong Anglophile with a special love for the Victorians, especially their energy, confidence and creativity. She is a former English teacher and the author of 50 books, mostly novels of British history, including the award-winning Arthurian epic, Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She currently authors three mystery series: The Monastery Murders; Elizabeth and Richard Literary Suspense; and Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime.


A Lethal Spectre on #Mystery Exchange


A Lethal Spectre, Lord Danvers Investigates, Book 5, a Victorian True-crime mystery The elegance of a London season and the atrocities of an Indian mutiny woven into an intricate tapestry Antonia and Charles are swept up in the glittering swirl of a London season as they present Aunt Aelfrida’s ward to society. In India Antonia’s closest girlhood friend is caught in the most brutal massacre ‘in the book of time’. What could these disparate events have to do with murders in London and Brighton? This  engrossing story comes to life with all the vivid historical detail readers expect from Donna Fletcher Crow.

“A stunning contrast between the dramas and machinations of fashionable London life and the unfurling of an unthinkable tragedy. A story of lights and shadows, all impeccably well researched and realised.”
~Linda Stratmann, author of The Frances Doughty Mysteries

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

It was only midmorning and already the heat was stifling. Hot wind seared and scorching sun radiated from the walls of the barracks behind them. The acrid smell of the buildings of the cantonment beyond, now reduced to black smoldering rubble—all their homes and possessions—stung every nose. Emilia Landry stood among the women and children who had been called from their homes in the civilian cantonment and gathered into the military entrenchment on the orders of General Wheeler.

They had been here a week now, hoping for the best; but fearing the worst. No attack had come on the entrenchment, but mutinous sepoys and vandals had ransacked the city, burned the officers’ bungalows in the new cantonment, and, disastrously, seized the magazine where the army treasury, ammunitions and heavy guns were stored.

Emilia closed her eyes against the sight of the black smoke, and saw in her mind the pleasant bungalow she had occupied with her friend Louisa Chalwin and Louisa’s veterinarian husband Edwin. Louisa had planted a lovely garden, complete with English roses that bloomed undaunted in the Indian summer. A magnificent old banyan tree shaded a summer house where Emilia loved to sit and read in the mornings and take tea in the afternoons. All a blackened rubble now.

They had been hearing dire reports for weeks. Revolt of the native troops at Meerut. Then at Delhi. And riots at Lucknow, only some sixty miles to the northeast. But no apprehension had been felt of treachery on the part of their own troops at Cawnpore.  This morning, however, Sunday morning, the seventh of June, Sir Hugh Wheeler, commanding general at Cawnpore, had received a letter from the Nana Sahib, declaring his intention of attacking.

Now everyone on the verandah of the barracks held their breath, as all in the entrenchment seemed to do. The tension of the soldiers, posted with leveled rifles around the circumference of the barricading mud wall, communicated itself to every person. The mewling of a baby born only a few hours before vibrated on the air. The cry was cut off by the boom of a cannon. Women shrieked; children wailed as the ball struck the barrack behind them.

A bugle call split the air, sounding above the mayhem. The crack of shot was deafening as hundreds of rifles responded. The mutiny had come to Cawnpore.

A moan tore from deep in her throat and Lady Antonia Danvers sat up sharply. She was drenched in sweat, even though the early June night was cold in London. Tonia reached for the carafe of water by her bed and filled a glass to relieve her parched throat. What had she dreamed? How could such vivid horror have come from her own imagination?

She crossed the room and, pushing the heavy drapery aside, raised the sash on her window, letting a fresh breeze bathe her face. She breathed deeply of the blessed, moist air. Still unsettled from the terrors of her dream, Antonia returned to bed. The sky had lightened to silver, however, and the first notes of the dawn chorus rang in the garden before Tonia returned to an uneasy sleep.

She wakened far too late to share her morning tea with her husband as was their custom.  When she inquired of her maid she was informed that her lord would be out for the day, involved with his man of business and taking dinner at his club. She would have no opportunity to discuss the nightmare with Charles, although the phantom spectre continued to follow her.

Available on Amazon (click here)

Website 
Facebook
Twitter



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Friday, July 13, 2018

Author Guest Post - Kris Bock

#MysteryExchange - The Murder That Inspired a Romantic #Mystery Novel, with @Kris_Bock

Many writers are inspired by real events or people in their
lives. This makes difficult situations a form of research. “This stinks, but maybe I can use it in a book!” I write romantic suspense for adults as Kris Bock and middle grade novels (for ages 9 to 12) as Chris Eboch. In most of these
books, the connection to real-life experiences isn’t obvious. 

In my romantic
suspense Whispers in the Dark, my
heroine is an archaeology Masters student working at the fictional “Lost
Valley” monument, which is closely based on Hovenweep National Monument, where I once spent a week camping. In Counterfeits, the heroine inherits a children’s art camp, which I based on a camp near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, where I’ve attended many writing retreats. Using real locations helps me bring the settings to life even if I did not, for example,
fall into a ravine while fleeing from a bad guy.

But What We Found was inspired by helping to uncover a true case of murder.

Lest you think that makes me some kind of amateur detective, my involvement was purely accidental. Two friends and I were exploring the mountains, looking for some suitable gravel to try gold panning (because, why not?). We found a likely spot and were about to take a sample when the guys smelled something horrible. A glance in the right direction showed them a dead body hidden just out of sight of the path.

The next hour passed in a surreal blur. We'd left our phones
in another vehicle, at the base of the mountain. Once we retrieved them, we still had to find a place with cell reception. We called 911, waited for the police, and led them to the body. Later that night we were interviewed by
detectives.

By the following day, they had identified the body as a
woman who had been missing. Her estranged ex-boyfriend was already a suspect in her disappearance, but without her body they'd have trouble prosecuting him.  Seeing her picture on TV and learning about her family made the situation real in a new way. We wanted justice for someone we’d never met.

It’s All Research

As a writer, I knew I was getting rare first-hand experience
into something powerful. I took pages of notes during that first week, even though I didn’t know how or when I might use them. I was fortunate to be with two men who talked openly about their experiences: the nightmares, the guilt over violence against women, the anxiety that came from now wondering what you might see in the bushes.

Three things struck me most strongly.

First, we all felt deeply invested in the case, even though
we’d never met the woman in life and didn’t know anyone else involved. We followed the news stories, even though they made us anxious. When the murderer was finally sentenced … well, we weren't happy (the sentence of less than 20 years of less than 20 years was not, in our opinion, nearly long enough), but we were relieved that it was over.

Second, it affected every aspect of our lives for weeks.
Even though the likelihood of finding another body, or even witnessing a different crime, was extremely slim, we were on high alert at all times. It was a struggle to put it behind us while still honoring the memory of the victim and holding on to what we had learned.

And finally, someone in law enforcement said that often
people don’t report crime scenes like these. How could someone walk away from that? I started thinking about all the reasons someone might want to cover up their discovery, even if they had nothing to do with the crime. And that inspired What We Found.

Turning Truth into
Fiction

Several years passed before I felt distant enough from the
experience to fictionalize it, but I still had all those notes and memories to draw on. Some elements of What We Found, mainly the emotional ones, are taken directly from that experience. Most character and plot elements are fictional, although some are loosely inspired by the real events.

This isn’t an experience I would wish on anyone, but we’re
glad we helped bring a crime to light and a murderer to justice. And it led to what I consider my most powerful and personal novel to date. After all, one benefit to being a writer is that the worst experiences are still valuable as
research.

That’s the truth behind What We Found.


When Audra goes back to her small hometown after college, she simply wants to fit in, work hard, and protect her 12-year-old brother from their overbearing mother. Finding a dead body in the woods changes everything.

Her former crush, Jay, insists they don’t report the body.  But the dead woman was murdered, and someone starts targeting Audra. She has to
stand up for herself in order to stand up for the murder victim. It’s a risk, and so is reaching out to the mysterious young man who works with deadly birds of prey. But with danger all around, some risks are worth taking.

“Another action-packed suspense novel by Kris Bock, perhaps her best to-date. The author weaves an intriguing tale with appealing characters. Watching Audra, the main character, evolve into an emotionally-mature and independent young woman is gratifying.” Reader Ellen
Rippe.
This title stands alone and is not part of a series.

Excerpt:

An engine started.
The battered old truck stood out like a janitor at the prom. It was dark blue, splattered with mud and probably decades old, with a cap on the bed. The evening sun glared off the side window, but as I walked slowly past the front I saw a figure inside – the one-handed man. He had his hand on the wheel but his head back, eyes closed.

 I paused, studying his face. I guessed he was in his twenties, with short, light brown hair and pleasant features in a mask as still as death.

 He opened his eyes and looked straight into mine.

 I couldn’t move as he held my gaze. My heart thumped against my ribs. He studied me without expression, no smile, no frown, nothing in his face but weariness.

 Finally I had to blink, and once the eye contact was broken, I jerked my gaze away and kept moving. I quickly turned between the next two cars, to get out of his view. I’d have to cross behind his truck to reach my car, which might look odd if he was still watching, but I didn’t care so long as I got out of there, fast.

 I noticed the rusty screeching again. It was coming from his truck. I stumbled to a stop, staring at the back of the truck.
What could be making that sound? The tailgate and back window on the cap were closed, hiding the sight inside, but the screech came again and again like someone – something – screaming.

 The screams seemed to echo in my head. I couldn’t take any more. I turned away with a hand over my mouth to hold back my own scream and hurried to my car.


Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. All ebooks are .99c to $3.99 or free with Kindle Unliminted.

The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

To learn more about her latest work, visit www.krisbock.com or her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock’s newsletter
for announcements of new books, sales, and more.


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THANK You Kris Bock for joining us today.  



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