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Summaries of Short Stories in Happy Homicides 4: Fall IntoCrime
- Joanna Campbell Slan / Vendetta: A Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery – The House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar is known for its 150-year history as a way station for shipwrecked sailors. But when Cara Mia visits, the museum becomes the scene of acrime.
- Linda Gordon Hengerer / Dying for School Tea: A Beach Tea Shop Novella – Chelsea Powell and her sisters are providing treats for Citrus Beach High School’s freshman orientation. Can they solve the murder of the beloved softball coach before someone else dies?
- Carole W. Price / The Glass Birdhouse – Will Bella find clues to Fawn Daniel’s death in her unfinished glass birdhouse?
- Lesley Diehl / Bobbing for Murder – A visit from Darcie’s family is always chaotic, and this time the relatives bamboozle Darcie into having a Halloween party. Will that decision come back to haunt her?
- Nancy Jill Thames / Raven House – When reporter Karla Wilson is murdered after the Raven House Ball, will Jillian Bradley and her Yorkie Teddy uncover the killer and unleash Karla’s secrets?
- Teresa Trent / Falling for Murder – Helpful hints columnist Betsy Livingston is an expert at household organization but her skills are put to the test when she’s called upon to conduct an efficiency review for a haunted house.
- Maggie Toussaint / Dead Men Tell Tales – In this third installment of the Lindsey & Ike romantic mystery novella series, things don’t add up after a suspicious hunting accident. The more Sheriff Ike Harper and newspaper editor Lindsey McKay dig, the more questions they find. Will a dead man tell tales?
- Anna Celeste Burke / All Hallow’s Eve Heist – When a shooter decides to pick off patrons at Marvelous Marley World, publicist Georgie Shaw gets stuck mopping up the mess. Can she also track down the culprit?
- Randy Rawls / Accident, Suicide, or Murder – Retired policeman Jonathan Boykin’s primary interest is improving his golf game. Aaron Dunniker, his golfing partner, refers him to Homer Whittaker to investigate the death of Whittaker’s son. Young Whittaker died after a fall from an eleventh floor balcony during a Halloween party. The police investigated, but could not determine the cause: Accident, Suicide, or Murder. Are Jonathan’s detecting skills par for the course or will he miss the cut?
- Nancy J. Cohen / Haunted Hair Nights – As the new stepmother to a teenage Brianna, hairstylist Marla hopes to win brownie points by helping out her daughter with a haunted house project. Marla has her work cut out for her when she stumbles over a corpse.
- Terry Ambrose / Spirit in the Rock – Wilson McKenna dreams that Kimu, his ghost-advisor, is trapped in a museum display case. Kimu was McKenna’s best friend’s great-grandfather, dead now for over a decade. The only way McKenna can save him is to find a killer and solve the mystery of who stole the Spirit in the Rock.
- Deborah Sharp / Haunting in Himmarshee – When a ghost comes to call, Mace must sort out the haunted from the homicidal in Himmarshee, Florida.
Q: Aloha Joanna, and welcome back to Island Confidential. Congratulations on the new collection! Can you tell us a little about the protagonist of Vendetta?
A: Cara Mia Delgatto has been a “good girl” most of her life, except for when it comes to love—and for those, she’s paid a high price. When her parents die within six months of each other and her son goes away to college, Cara decides it’s time to get a life…a real life of her own. A road trip gone wrong leads her to impulsively snatch up an abandoned building in Central Florida. Except it isn’t exactly abandoned. It comes with a fresh corpse. Despite that bump in the carpet, or perhaps because of it, Cara manages to open a business, The Treasure Chest, a store that features upcycled, recycled, and repurposed home décor items with a coastal vibe. And of course, you can’t run a retail business alone, so Cara gathers around her a cast of interesting women who become her best friends.
Q: How much of you is in Cara? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?
A: I would adore Cara. She and I have a lot in common. We both love to turn trash into treasure, and we both love the Florida coast. Like Cara, I get by with a lot of help from my girlfriends. They comfort, nurture, and occasionally slap me up the side of the head.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: Yes. In the first book Tear Down and Die, which is free at a variety of sources, see http://bit.ly/teardownanddie), Cara is struggling to find herself. Although she’s always been crafty, she doesn’t recognize her talents. She’s far too sure of her business mind, and not nearly trusting enough of her creative self. Also, she has come to believe she’ll never find the right man.
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: I do that all the time. Really, that’s half the fun, isn’t it? I often say, “People who kill people—on paper—are the happiest people in the world.”
Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: Unfortunately, too realistic. I chose to use my home area, The Treasure Coast. That occasionally means I need to do heavy research or modulate what I write. The pay-off is that readers tell me they’ve traveled to the area and checked out the restaurants and spots in my books. That’s very gratifying, because it allows me to share what I love. I happen to live on a very exclusive island, home to Tiger Woods, Celine Dion, and many billionaires. My Florida readers get a peek at this unusual spot.
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: The worst was a book doctor who told me ordinary people are boring. They aren’t. The best was when Wendy Corsi Staub told me that the best marketing tool was another book. What she didn’t say, but I now know, is that the more you write the better you get.
National bestselling and award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan welcomes your emails! You can contact her at JCSlan@JoannaSlan.com with your comments and questions.
National bestselling and award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan has written 30 books, including both fiction and non-fiction works. Her first non-fiction book, Using Stories and Humor: Grab Your Audience, was endorsed by Toastmasters International and lauded by Benjamin Netanyahu’s speechwriter. She’s the author of three mystery series. Her first novel—Paper, Scissors, Death (Kiki Lowenstein Mystery #1) –was shortlisted for the Agatha Award. Recently she released Glue, Baby, Gone (Kiki Lowenstein Mystery #12). Her first historical mystery—Death of a Schoolgirl: The Jane Eyre Chronicles—won the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. Her contemporary series set in Florida continues this year with All Washed Up (Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery #3). In addition to writing fiction, she edits the Happy Homicides Anthologies and has begun the Dollhouse Décor & More series of “how to” books for dollhouse miniaturists. Recently, one of her short stories was accepted for inclusion in the prestigious Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology. When she isn’t banging away at the keyboard, Joanna keeps busy walking her Havanese puppy Jax and watching her family’s League of Legends Team Apex on Twitch. Her husband, David, owns Steinway Piano Gallery-DC, so he provides the class in the family while she figures out how to turn trash into treasure.
In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida.