First in a new cozy series: Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent

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When Nora Alexander drives into Piney Woods, Texas, to fulfill her dying mother’s last wish, she has no idea what awaits her. First she is run off the road, then the sealed letter she delivers turns out to be a scathing rebuke to the town’s most beloved citizen and favored candidate for Piney Woods Pioneer: Adam Brockwell. Next thing you know, Adam has been murdered in a nasty knife attack.

Suspicion instantly falls on Nora, one of the last people to see him alive. After all, everyone in Piney Woods loved him. Or did they? Nora learns that her mother had a complicated past she never shared with her daughter. Told not to leave town by Tuck the flirty sheriff, Nora finds a job with Tuck’s Aunt Marty trying to get the rundown Tunie Hotel back in the black. The old hotel was Piney Woods’ heart and soul in its heyday as an oil boomtown. Now the secrets it harbors may be the key to getting Nora off the hook. She’s going to need to solve the mystery quickly to avoid arrest, or worse: becoming the killer’s next victim.


Character Interview: Nora Alexander

Nora, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?  

My name is Nora Alexander and I have recently lost my mother. Upon her death I found a letter she had written to a man in Piney Woods, Texas. Texas? Really? Anyway, I took off for a state I had never been to and tracked this man down. From what I could figure, it must have been a love letter, because why else would it concern my mother in her final days?

Who’s your favorite character in Murder of a Good Man?

Luckily, when I hit town, I found a room at the Piney Woods Bed and Breakfast and met Tatty and Ed Tovar. They are the owners of the B&B and Tatty has a wonderful gift of smoothing things over.  Having Tatty and her husband Ed around has provided a home away from home for me.

Anyone you’re not so fond of?

 Tuck Watson is the law around this town and he is determined to arrest me. For what, I can’t tell you right now, but the man is infuriating, and handsome, but infuriating!

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Teresa? 

So, she writes my scenes and then rewrites them and then rewrites them again. Some days I feel like I’m on a loop that can’t stop repeating. I guess I like the scene better when she’s finished, but gee whiz, some days I want her to just give it a rest!

What’s next for you? 

Well, I have some big changes in this book,  and I can’t tell you too much without giving it away…but…it has a lot to do with cats.

 


Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Author Links

FACEBOOK:   https://www.facebook.com/teresatrentmysterywriter

TWITTER:   https://twitter.com/ttrent_cozymys

BLOG:   https://teresatrent.wordpress.com/

WEBSITE:   http://teresatrent.com

 


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Unbridled Murder (A Carson Stables Mystery) by Leigh Hearon

Win a print copyAfter horse trainer and rancher Annie Carson visits a feedlot in eastern Washington, she is determined to save as many horses from slaughter as possible before hightailing it back home—until she discovers the sleazy owner seemingly trampled in his corral. With the fate of the feedlot herd in her hands, Annie must navigate unfamiliar territory while trying to track down a killer and solve an increasingly tangled mystery. But unfortunately for Annie, returning to the Olympic Peninsula alive will be trickier than she ever imagined.


Interview with author Leigh Hearon

Leigh, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?

Annie Carson is a 40-something Western horse trainer and sheep rancher, born and raised in a rural part of the Olympic Peninsula.  She’s good friends with the local Sheriff and several deputies through their shared work in animal rescue missions.  Annie’s a loner, mostly by necessity—taking care of her flock and horse herd consume most of her time.  She sets a high bar for human conduct, and doesn’t tolerate perceived slackers, known liars, or people who cheat.  Her mouth is one of her most dangerous weapons, although she does tote a .30-.30 Winchester with her on occasion.  Annie lives alone, and except for one half-sister who was briefly dumped on her doorstep, she has no other family or truly close friends.  When we meet her, Annie has no love interest.  That aspect of her life soon changes.

Are you and Annie anything alike? 

My husband is convinced I’m the spitting image of Annie.  He’s the first to read what comes off the printer, and when I bring in a sheaf of new chapters and ask him where I left off, his invariable response is, “You were just about to….” Friends say they hear me talking when they read Annie’s dialogue.

For the record, I am not Annie.  For one, she is a far better horsewoman than I am.  Annie also likes single malt, and the stuff just gives me a headache.  However, we probably do share some inherent traits, and I like Annie very much.  If we were to meet, I’d probably be a bit intimidated.  She’s accomplished so much by herself, and has solved more murders in a single year than I’ve cracked in my 25 years as a private investigator.

Do your characters change and evolve as the series progresses?

Absolutely, starting with Annie.  At the start of book 1, Annie would much rather hang out with her horses than almost any other human, and isn’t shy about saying so.  When Marcus Colbert, the prime suspect in the murder of his wife, appears on the scene, she is instantly smitten—and convinced of his innocence, of course.  In this and the next two books, Annie frequently agonizes about the chances of the relationship’s success, given their disparate backgrounds.  The decision to let Marcus into her life forces Annie to fully trust another human being, something she hasn’t done in a very long time.  So far, everything seems to be working.  In fact, in book 4 (out in July 2018), Annie and Marcus have their first fight, a true sign that the relationship is beginning to take root!

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean? 

This is rhetorical, right?  All of my characters are blends of people I’ve met and known over the years, so it’s impossible for me to fictionally slay a specific human being I’ve known in real life.  That being said, there are times when the ability to kill someone off or subject to adverse circumstances on the written page is just too tantalizing to resist.  No honest writer will disagree with that.  In fact, I think having this literary outlet is quite healthy.  Now, when someone really ticks me off, I don’t get mad.  I just make a mental note to include them in my next novel, where I can deal with his or her behavior using my own dangerous weapon—my words.

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

Suwana County is a fairly transparent double for Jefferson County in Washington State, where I live.  A few of my friends think I should have skipped the overlay and just made it true to life.  I have refrained from doing this simply because I need the ability to transform the landscape to suit my literary needs.  My latest book, Unbridled Murder, takes place in Eastern Washington, which I’ve visited and traveled through many times. The environment is the same, but the towns don’t exist, nor the people in them.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Sandra Bullock, Kyra Sedgwick, or Julia Roberts for Annie.  They’re all a few years older than she is, but then, so am I, and I can’t think of three smarter, sassier women to portray Annie Carson than the women I’ve seen so often on the silver screen (or HDTV).

Kyra Sedgwick. Photo credit: Angela George

As far as Marcus, I’m on the proverbial fence.  He’s always been a bit amorphous to me when I picture him in my mind’s eye.  Kind of a Cary Grant humor and good looks, but since Cary is no longer with us, I don’t have another actor in mind.  But I’ll happily accept suggestions!

How about George Clooney? Photo: Public Domain

What’s the best and worst advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

Best advice has been to write what you know and love, without worrying about what the reading public might want, but also to be extremely proactive in promoting your book.  Worst advice?  To think about tabling the writing if you’re not going to be a famous, rich, best-selling author.  That’s not the reason I write.  Although a girl can dream, can’t she?


About The Author  

Leigh Hearon began her own P.I. agency, Leigh Hearon Investigative Services, in 1992. Her cases have appeared on In the Dead of Night, Forensic Files, 48 Hours, Court TV, City Confidential, Unsolved MysteriesAmerica’s Most Wanted, and CBS Evening News with Connie Chung. Hearon was an avid rider of horses throughout her childhood. She currently has a Saddlebred mare, Jolie Jeune Femme, and enjoys watching Jolie and two rescue mares cavort on a fifty-five-acre farm she shares with her husband. Visit her on the Web at leighhearon.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

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A New Pancake House Mystery: Of Spice and Men by Sarah Fox

A Digital Copy of Of Spice and Men: A Pancake House Mystery by Sarah Fox

Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Sarah Fox’s addictive Pancake House Mysteries can be enjoyed together or à la carte:
THE CRÊPES OF WRATH | FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS | OF SPICE AND MEN


About The Author  

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

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A New Keepsake Cove mystery and Author Interview: A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes

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Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.


Mary Ellen, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us about your protagonist, Callie? 

Callie Reed is a young woman in the process of making big changes in her life. She was on the verge of leaving a downward-spiraling relationship and got the push she needed when her aunt died and left her a music box shop and the charming little cottage behind it on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She’s struggling, though, with the official “accident” ruling on her aunt’s death and starts to search for what really happened.

How alike are you and Callie?  

Though I tried my best to create someone totally new, I suspect some of me crept into Callie. Or maybe some of the wishful me. I don’t think I’d be as brave in certain situations as she is. But it’s fun to write and watch the situations from afar.

How would you feel about Callie if you met her in real life?

I think I’d like Callie if I met her. She’s smart, despite the wrong life choices she made when she was younger, and she has a pretty good heart.

Will your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

A Fatal Collection is the first book in the Keepsake Cove series, but I intend to have the characters grow. In my previous series (Pickled and Preserved mysteries and Craft Corner mysteries) the characters’ relationships progressed in a pretty natural way, I’d say.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean? 

I’ve thought of it but have never done it. I don’t put entire, real people into my books. I’ll mix and match various attributes to create someone new who will do what I want them to do.

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

I’ve created a fictional town. Keepsake Cove is a section of Mapleton filled with shops that each carry particular collectible items. Callie’s has collectible music boxes. Then there’s collectible cooking items, vintage toys, jewelry, etc. But the town is on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a real area that I describe accurately as the characters move about.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

From your lips to God’s ears! Hmm. If I had total control (in my dreams!) I’d like Emma Watson for Callie, partly because she seems to have grown up pretty well from her Harry Potter role as Hermione.

Emma Watson

George Clooney, unfortunately is a little too old to play Callie’s potential love interest, Brian, who runs the Keepsake Café across the street from her shop. But, hey, who wouldn’t want George on the set? We could darken his hair a little, right?

Young George Clooney

What’s the best and worst advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

One piece of advice that might be both the worst and the best is “write what you know.” A beginning writer might take that as sticking to what they already know and writing only about things they’ve experienced. That, of course, could be severely limiting and possibly quite boring.

What it really means is to know what you write. In other words, do your research, learn about your subject if you don’t already know about it, or learn a lot more about it if you do so that you can write accurately as well as drop in the little tidbits that flesh out a scene or a character so nicely for the reader.


About the Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.

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Author Links

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A new crafting mystery and author interview: Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston

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Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but “normal” deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.


Interview with Lois Winston

Lois, welcome back to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Anastasia?

Anastasia Pollack, a widowed suburban mom with two teenage sons, is the crafts editor of a woman’s magazine. She lived a blissfully normal life until the day her husband dropped dead at a roulette table in Las Vegas. That’s when she learned the truth about her husband, forever now referred to as Dead Louse of a Spouse. Not only has his secret gambling addiction resulted in Anastasia coping with massive debt, she’s also permanently stuck with her semi-invalid communist mother-in-law. As Anastasia struggles to keep from drowning in bills, she also has to referee the daily battles between her mother-in-law and her mother, a woman who claims to descend from Russian nobility. Then there’s her mother-in-law’s dog, her mother’s cat, and a Shakespeare-quoting parrot. You’d think that would be enough stress for any woman, but then the dead bodies start piling up.

How would you feel about Anastasia if you met her in real life? Do you think you have much in common with her?

If I were to meet Anastasia in real life, I think we’d become very good friends. We both have art backgrounds. I’ve worked for years as a crafts designer and editor for manufacturers, publishers, and magazines. We also both have two sons, although mine are well passed their teen years at this point. We’re both Jersey girls with the same sense of humor that comes from being a Jersey girl. And I did have a communist mother-in-law who was the model for Anastasia’s mother-in-law. That’s where the similarities end. My husband, thankfully, is still very much alive, and his gambling is limited to buying an occasional lottery ticket when the jackpot reaches astronomical heights. Unfortunately, so far we haven’t won more than $2.00.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

When Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, opens, Anastasia has just buried her husband. As a way to save money, she’s decided to rent out the apartment over her garage that she’d used as her studio. Zack Barnes, her new tenant, is a photojournalist looking for a quiet place to live and work. As the series progresses, so does their relationship, moving well beyond landlord and tenant.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

Not only have I thought of it, I’ve done it. More often, though, I make these people the villains in my stories rather than the victims. It’s far more satisfying. However, I never use their real names, and I make enough changes to the character that no one but me would be able to figure out whom they represent. As long as I know, that’s all that matters. Getting even with bullies in print is quite satisfying, and I don’t have to worry about getting caught and winding up in prison.

I like your style! So how realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

I base The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries in an actual New Jersey town, and all scenes in my books take place in real places in New Jersey and New York City.

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Tina Fey would be perfect for Anastasia. Publishers Weekly even compared Anastasia quite favorably to Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon character from 30 Rock in their starred review of the first book in the series. I’d want either Hugh Jackman or Patrick Dempsey to play Zack.

Patrick Dempsey, Tina Fey, Hugh Jackman

What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received as an author?

The best advice I ever heard is that every scene and all dialogue need to do one of two things—either advance the story or tell the reader something she needs to know at that moment about the character. If the scene or dialogue do neither, they’re filler and don’t belong in the book.

The worst advice I ever heard was that all five senses have to be included in every scene. That’s ridiculous. You should only include in any scene what’s important to the scene. Padding scenes kills pacing.


lois-winston-med-res-file

About The Author 

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com

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Interview with Lady Frances Ffolkes and new Edwardian mystery: Death at the Emerald by R.J. Koreto

a print copy of Death at the Emerald: A Lady Frances Ffolkes Mystery (U.S. only)


One-named actress Helen mysteriously vanished 30 years ago. An elderly family friend is unable to bear not knowing any longer and commissions Lady Frances Ffolkes to track her down.

Taking on the role of Lady Sherlock, with her loyal maid Mallow drafted as her Watson, Frances finds herself immersed in the glamorous world of Edwardian theater and London’s latest craze—motion pictures.

As Frances and Mallow make their way through the theaters, they meet colorful figures such as George Bernard Shaw and King Edward II. Tracking the theaters seems like a dead end. That is until one of Helen’s old suitors is suddenly murdered. With the stakes raised, Frances and Mallow work quickly to uncover a box of subtle clues to Helen’s whereabouts. But someone unexpected wants that box just as badly and is willing to kill to keep it shut.

The stage is set for murder and Frances and Mallow are determined to unravel the decades-old conspiracy in Death at the Emerald, R. J. Koreto’s third installment in the captivating Lady Frances Ffolkes mysteries.


Lady Frances, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I, Lady Frances Ffolkes, am the daughter of a marquess, in an aristocratic family that’s been influential for centuries. I am the first woman in my family to receive a university education, which I got at Vassar College, in America. I am fortunate in having enough money so I don’t have to work, or marry for anything but love, so I can devote myself to making the world a better place, including getting the vote for women.
Readers may not know that while at university, I’d join like-minded friends on train trips to New York City for art exhibitions and poetry readings that my father would’ve called “appalling, disgusting, and barbaric.”

Which character in Death at the Emerald do you find you get along with the best?

My maid June Mallow and I are simpatico. We always seem to know what the other is thinking, and that’s a wonderful basis for a relationship. Which doesn’t mean we always agree, of course. Every night I know she’s itching to give my hair a good brushing and she knows that I don’t want to do it. But I don’t want to live my life without her at my side.

Is there anyone whose company you don’t get along with quite so well?   

I love my brother, and I know he loves me, but Charles and I see the world differently. He’s more like our father. He grudgingly supports me but would rather I married a peer of the realm and devoted my life to ladies’ luncheons. He would also rather I stopped visiting Scotland Yard, and don’t even get him started on women’s suffrage. But there are glimmers of hope—he likes my suitor Hal, even though Hal is not of the aristocracy. Our mother used to say I’d so embarrassed myself with my behavior I’d be lucky to land a 50-year-old widower with six children.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?’

For a man, he’s surprisingly sensitive to social nuance and I must admit he does an excellent job in his insights into women and their emotions. However, Mallow finds his habit of wearing nothing but faded jeans and “amusing” tee-shirts rather…disappointing, and gets most upset when he fails to properly trim his beard. We both hope he makes enough money from his books to engage a valet.

What’s next for you?

I’m considering returning to America, to visit with American suffragists, old friends, and my professors at Vassar. I do love New York! Mallow is under the impression there’s a wolf or bear behind every tree, but I will emphasize we’re staying in the East, not the Dakotas. And if I just happen to come across a murder, I look forward to making the acquaintance of New York’s police officers.


About The Author  

R.J. Koreto is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes mystery series, set in Edwardian England, and the Alice Roosevelt mystery series, set in turn-of-the-century New York. His short stories have been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.

In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Like his heroine, Lady Frances Ffolkes, he’s a graduate of Vassar College.

With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

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A new Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery with character interview: Much Ado about Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan

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Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company’s steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner’s secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund’s plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it’s final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan’s third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.


Character Interview

Charlotte Fairfax, costume designer and amateur sleuth, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I began my career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon and found myself in New York about ten years ago when the RSC performed on Broadway. I was engaged to marry the leading actor, but when he broke the engagement, I just couldn’t face going home to the UK with the rest of the Company. So I stayed in the States and eventually made a new life for myself with the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company in upstate New York. While I love living here, I miss quite a few things about Britain, including the quiet beauty of villages, fields of grazing sheep enclosed in stone walls, and shopping at Marks.

I was just starting to think about returning to the UK when I met Ray, the local chief of police here in Walkers Ridge. And then everything changed, for the better. I’m at a good place in my life right now. So if people think I’m stuck in a provincial backwater, yearning for the bright lights of the big city, I’m perfectly content. Besides, the bright lights of Manhattan are just a train ride away.

Who’s your favorite character in Much Ado about Murder?

That’s an easy one. You probably thought my answer would be Ray, but no, it’s the other man in my life. Rupert. He’s my tri-color corgi, and I love him to bits. I’ve had him since he was a pup and anyone who’s ever loved a dog will know why he’s so special to me. If you’ve ever loved a dog, you’ll know what I’m talking about. He’s been such a comfort, and he’s given my life purpose.

Is there anyone you don’ get along with so well? 

There is usually tension between the costume designer and the director. He (and it’s usually a he although thankfully that’s changing) wants things that are difficult to deliver on a tight budget. In our most recent play, Much Ado About Nothing, things got really out of hand and just about everybody was in conflict with the director and he ended up dead! But fortunately that doesn’t happen too often or we’d never get a production up on its legs!

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

As far as the books go, I like Elizabeth J. Duncan. But I’m not sure I trust her personally. I think she wants to steal my dog.

Charlotte, what’s next for you?

As you’re reading this, I’m back in the UK, with Ray. He’s meeting my mum, and we’re planning to get engaged while we’re here. When we return to the Catskills, we’ll start work on our next project, a production of The Merchant of Menace. Did I really say that? Of course I meant The Merchant of Venice.


About The Author  

Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada’s best light mystery and lives in Toronto.

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A New Carol Childs Mystery by Nancy Cole Silverman: Room for Doubt

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When radio reporter Carol Childs is called to a crime scene in the Hollywood Hills at five thirty in the morning, she’s convinced it must be a publicity stunt to promote a new movie. That is, until she sees the body hanging from the center of the Hollywood sign. The police are quick to rule it a suicide, but something doesn’t add up for Carol. Particularly after a mysterious caller named Mustang Sally confesses to the murder on the air and threatens to kill again.

With the help of an incorrigible PI, her best friend, and a kooky psychic, Carol is drawn into the world of contract killers and women scorned. As she races to find the real killer, she finds herself faced with a decision that will challenge everything she thought she knew.


Interview with Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy, welcome to Island Confidential!  Can you tell us how you started writing mysteries? 

I was motivated to start writing fiction after I had a riding accident.  I was thrown by my horse and needed a lot of physical therapy.  It was writing that took me out of my pain and to a new discovery of me and my talents.  I’ll be forever thankful for that accident. If it hadn’t happened, I’d be like that happy little girl at the barn every day after school and would never have left.  

Let’s talk about your protagonist, Carol Childs; who’s the character she gets along with the best?

I would have to say Sheri. Sheri is Carol’s best friend. While they are polar opposites in every way, they are both single moms with sons who are best friends and as a result, very supportive of one another. Sheri is a grounding force for Carol.  She enjoys living vicariously through her, and it is through her we learn a lot about Carol, her vulnerabilities, and desires.

Every great story has conflict.  With whom does Carol have a conflict?

Because Carol is an investigative journalist, I’d have to say her primary antagonist changes with each book.  But in my most recent book, Room for Doubt, I’d have to say, her chief antagonist is Detective Riley, who has covered for a suspected serial killer Carol is intent on finding.  In the end, however, Carol is not so certain if perhaps Riley might have been correct in his wanting to keep things covered up.

What would Carol Childs say about you ?

Speaking as Carol Childs, I like that Nancy put me at a radio station. Life around the station is like Grand Central.  You never know who will walk in the door or what story is about to break.  I like that things happen quickly and there’s never a dull moment.  I sometimes wonder, however, if she’s really just making this all up or if I might be a step ahead if I read the headlines in the morning news.

What’s next for you? 

I’m working on book five of series.  After that?  I’m thinking of a spin off for Misty Dawn. She’s also a favorite character of mine and lately, she’s been on my mind a lot.


About The Author  

Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001, Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction full time. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, was July 2015. The third, Without A Doubtwas released May 24, 2016Room for Doubt was released on July 18, 2017.

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A New Blu Carraway Mystery: In it for the Money by David Burnsworth

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Lowcountry Private Investigator Blu Carraway needs a new client. He’s broke and the tax man is coming for his little slice of paradise. But not everyone appreciates his skills. Some call him a loose cannon. Others say he’s a liability. All the ex-Desert Storm Ranger knows is his phone hasn’t rung in quite a while. Of course, that could be because it was cut off due to delinquent payments.

 

Lucky for him, a client does show up at his doorstep—a distraught mother with a wayward son. She’s rich and her boy’s in danger. Sounds like just the case for Blu. Except nothing about the case is as it seems. The jigsaw pieces—a ransom note, a beat-up minivan, dead strippers, and a missing briefcase filled with money and cocaine—do not make a complete puzzle. The first real case for Blu Carraway Investigations in three years goes off the rails.


Character Interview with Blu Carraway

Blu, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

I guess the first thing that comes to mind is I really wish my marriage hadn’t ended in such a disaster. My daughter Hope deserved better. Unfortunately, it all crashed about the time the planes hit the buildings. My world changed in a big way in 2001.

Is there anyone in In it for the Money you’re especially close to?

Billie, the woman I’m with now, comes to mind, but we’ve been dancing around a relationship for so long we don’t know how to just be. I’d say the character I get along with the best is Patricia Voyels. She owns the Palmetto Pulse news organization. Smart, sexy and successful. She’s got the three S’s.

Anyone you don’t get along with so well? 

Mick Crome is my business partner, and I love him like a brother. We know each other from way back. I’m talking Desert Storm, the early nineties. But he took off on me and only recently returned. I’m glad he’s back, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

He gets me pretty well, I’d say. Gives me freedom to do my thing my way. But sometimes he’s slow on the clues and I have to coach him. I don’t mind. IN IT FOR THE MONEY is our first full length novel together. Before that, we did a novella called BLU HEAT. I personally like that title, but I might be biased. I guess I’m saying we’re a good fit. As long as he listens to what I’m trying to tell him.

What’s next for you?

David and I just finished another book and it hit a little too close to home. I’m talking like some good friends ended up in a really horrific place. If I had to go through all that again, I’m not sure I’d want to. It was that bad. But you only have so many friends in this life. And I’d do anything for mine.


About The Author

David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. He is the author of both the Brack Pelton and the Blu Carraway Mystery Series. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.

 

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Sleuthing Women II: Ten (TEN!) mystery novels by Maggie Toussaint, Camille Minichino, and more!

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Sleuthing Women II: 10 Mystery Novellas is a collection of ten mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novella is a tie-in to an established multi-book series—a total of over 800 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, cozy, and female P.I. mysteries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some explicit language in a few of the stories.


Character interview: Lee Alvarez from Honeymoons Can Be Murder

Lee, welcome back to Island Confidential! Last time we spoke, you had discovered your CEO in a very disadvantageous position (dead in the boardroom in his baby blue boxer shorts), and your ukulele was gathering dust under your bed. Focusing on the important things as we do here at Island Confidential, what’s your progress on the ukulele?

It’s been there for three years. I tried to play it when I first got it, but it’s really hard.  For about two weeks I would practice every day. The tips of my fingers were raw. I asked a musician friend to listen to me and he said if I practiced for the next two years or so, I might move up from ‘horrible’ to ‘amusingly bad’.

So under the bed it went. I don’t know if it’s pride or just the time factor. I mean, I spend the majority of my life investigating cybercrimes, stuff like theft of intellectual property, computer hardware or software. I am the lead in-house investigator for the family-run business, Discretionary Inquiries. Sadly, there are always a few bodies I fall over when I’m not looking.

But here’s the burning question: Do I see myself the same as Sherlock Holmes and his violin?  Hmmmm. First of all, I do like a good hat, but a hounds tooth deerstalker? I think not. Something a little saucier, with a flounce and wide brim. That said, maybe I’ll pick up my uke one of these days and play Tiny Bubbles for all the world to hear. Why not? I’m insured.

Now that you’re a newlywed, how are things with your family? Who’s your main confidant these days?

Here you got me. It’s a three-way tie. Actually, four. Tío, my uncle and an incredible chef, is my strongest confidant. I tell him everything. Wait, wait. I also tell my brother, Richard, everything, too. He really is the best. Wait, wait, wait. My SIL, Richard’s wife, Vicki, gives the Alvarez family large doses of heart. I adore her. But all things are on hold now. I just came back from a honeymoon in Kauai married to the best guy in the world, Gurn Hanson. Not only is he sexy, but he gets me like nobody else does.

Is Gurn okay with your investigating?

He’s happy to be Nick to my Nora Charles. That is, when he’s not going away on a secret mission for the U.S. government.

And how are things going with mom lately? 

Well, I sure hope my mother and CEO of Discretionary Inquiries, Lila Hamilton Alvarez, won’t be reading this. Not that I’m scared of her or anything, but when she speaks, I have been known to roll over with all four in the air and bark. Then I do whatever she says. She is probably the most sophisticated, beautiful, totally in control, and terrifying woman I’ve ever met. It’s ironic that this is the mother fate chose to give me. I love her, anyway.

And your author, Heather: How is she?

Mad as a Hatter. Nice enough, but she gets me into more trouble than I bargain for. Or is that for which I bargain? Anyway, I have been conked on the head, kidnapped, shot at, wounded, waterlogged, left for dead, and we’ve only seen five books! I can’t imagine what’s in store for me next, because Heather says she’s going to keep on writing them! I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way. She keeps my life interesting.

What’s next for you?

Book Six of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, The Culinary Art of Murder, debuts November 2017. I don’t want to give too much away, but I go undercover at a Silicon Valley Culinary Arts School to find a murderer! My getup is pretty awful. I’m disguised as Arbela Einstein, a name given me by my brother Richard. Apparently, I bear a striking resemblance to the discoverer of E = mc 2. However, I see some éclairs in my future, so it can’t be all bad.

Heather Haven’s Honeymoons Can Be Murder, set on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, is one of the amazing stories in Sleuthing Women II. Right now it’s only 99 cents for ten stories!

 


 

About Lois Winston

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

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About Heather Haven

Multi-award winning author, Heather Haven, writes humorous, noir, and romantic mysteries, short stories, and plays. The San Francisco Book Review writes of her Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries set in today’s Silicon Valley, “”I found the strongest part…is Lee Alvarez herself: strong, competent, and witty, in a growing tradition of tough female detectives….. All in all, this is a strong work in the genre of the mystery/thriller.”

Honeymoons Can Be Murder, A Lee Alvarez Mystery and more romantic in nature, is the first spin-off novella from that critically acclaimed series. Ms. Haven and her husband of thirty-five years are allowed to live in the foothills of San Jose with their two adorable but demanding cats.


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