Goodreads Giveaway: Win a paperback copy of The Cursed Canoe

Professor Molly investigates a mysterious paddling accident, and discovers it isn’t just business majors who cheat to get what they want. Whether it’s moving up in the college rankings, getting a seat in the big canoe race, or just looking out for themselves, some people will do whatever it takes-including murder.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Cursed Canoe by Frankie Bow

The Cursed Canoe

by Frankie Bow

Giveaway ends April 15, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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New Paramedic Mystery and Guest Post from Annette Dashofy

>>>Enter to win a signed print copy of No Way Home<<<
A relaxing trail ride turns tragic when Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers discovers the body of a popular county commissioner in her Pennsylvania woods.
Inconsistencies surround the horrible accident, but before she can investigate further, she’s pried away by a plea for help from her best friend whose son has been deemed a person of interest in a homicide over a thousand miles away. When he vanishes without a trace, his mother begs Zoe to help clear him and bring him safely home. The task takes Zoe out of her comfort zone in a frantic trip to the desolate canyons and bluffs of New Mexico where she joins forces with the missing boy’s sister and a mysterious young Navajo.
Back at home, Vance Township’s Chief of Police Pete Adams must deal not only with the commissioner’s homicide, but with an influx of meth and a subsequent rash of drug overdoses in his rural community. Bodies keep turning up while suspects keep disappearing. However little else matters when he learns that half a continent away, a brutal killer has Zoe in his sights.

Guest Post: A Fish Out of Water

Last fall, I participated in a library tour as part of a local authors panel. As the only panelist writing a series, one question repeatedly directed to me was, “What would you do differently in book #1 if you could go back?”

While first creating a series character, we authors try to give them a history, some secrets, and a few loveable quirks. These get rewritten many many times over the years it takes to find a publisher. But once the book is in print, you’re locked in. No more changing a name. No more tweaking those loveable quirks, which can—over time—become annoying habits.

Kind of like with spouses.

Wait. Did I say that? Moving on…

First of all, I would not have named the county coroner Franklin Marshall. It’s a great name, except that both names could be first or last. Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers, who’s closer to him personally, thinks of him as Franklin. Chief Pete Adams thinks of him as Marshall. I fear some folks start to wonder if they’re two different guys.

Secondly, I’m not so sure if Zoe’s quirk of being a deputy coroner who can’t stand the smells in autopsy, as well as her whole inner turmoil about that career choice, was a good idea. I’ve gradually transitioned her away from the problem, although I can’t completely ignore her issues. Readers may think her growing competence has to do with her character development (and who am I to argue?), but between you and me, I simply became annoyed by what was becoming less of a quirk and more of a weakness.

The biggest change I would have made is I would have started the series earlier in Pete and Zoe’s relationship. By the time we meet them in Circle of Influence, Pete has been the police chief of rural Vance Township for a number of years, having previously been a city cop in Pittsburgh. I wish I’d shown him as more of a fish out of water playing against Zoe, the lifelong resident and farm girl.

You see, I’m really enamored of the whole fish-out-water scenario. In No Way Home, Zoe finally has a case with the coroner’s office she can dig her investigative teeth into, but her best friend Rose begs her to travel out west, where Rose’s son and his girlfriend are missing. The trip means leaving her case—and Pete—behind and plunging into the unfamiliar badlands of New Mexico where she has no sense of direction and no idea of whom she can trust.

As a lifelong Pennsylvania farmgal myself, I drew on my personal experiences from my first trip out west a few years ago. Like Zoe, I said “wow” about a hundred times, annoying the heck out of my traveling companions. Like Zoe, I had a horrible time with distance and direction. And like Zoe, I fell in love with the wide-open spaces.

Now I’m wondering if Zoe might not someday return to the Land of Enchantment. She could still be that fish out of water. After all, I’ve been out there four times now and still manage to get lost.

About The Author  

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE, published by Henery Press, was afinalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel and for the David Award for Best Mystery of 2014. LOST LEGACY, was released in September 2014 followed in April 2015 by BRIDGES BURNED, which has been nominated for the Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel. BRIDGES was followed by WITH A VENGEANCE. NO WAY HOME is the most recent book in the series.

Keep up with Annette

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New #Cozy with Character Interview and #Giveaway: One Dead, Two to Go (An Eddie Shoes Mystery)

>>Enter to Win a Print Copy of One Dead, Two to Go<<< 

Private Investigator Edwina “Eddie Shoes” Schultz’s most recent job has her parked outside a seedy Bellingham hotel, photographing her quarry as he kisses his mistress goodbye. This is the last anyone will see of the woman… alive. Her body is later found dumped in an abandoned building. Eddie’s client, Kendra Hallings, disappears soon after. Eddie hates to be stiffed for her fee, but she has to wonder if Kendra could be in trouble too. Or is she the killer?

Eddie usually balks at matters requiring a gun, but before she knows it, she is knee-deep in dangerous company, spurred on by her card-counting adrenaline-junkie mother who has shown up on her doorstep fresh from the shenanigans that got her kicked out of Vegas. Chava is only sixteen years older than Eddie and sadly lacking in parenting skills. Her unique areas of expertise, however, prove to be helpful in ways Eddie can’t deny, making it hard to stop Chava from tagging along.

Also investigating the homicide is Detective Chance Parker, new to Bellingham’s Major Crimes unit but no stranger to Eddie. Their history as a couple back in Seattle is one more kink in a chain of complications, making Eddie’s case more frustrating and perilous with each tick of the clock.

Q: Eddie, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something they might not guess?

Edwina “Eddie Shoes” Schultz: I grew up in Spokane, Washington, but live in Bellingham, where I work as a private investigator. I’m used to living alone, but have recently picked up a roommate. My mother, Chava! Can you believe it? I’m thirty-two years old and living with my mother again. Though I have to admit, Chava cooks and cleans, so it’s not as bad as you might think. Something you might not guess about me? I love to read People magazine. I know, I know, that doesn’t really fit with my tough, private eye image. Nor does it fit in with my lack of interest in Twitter, Instagram, or anything “Hollywood,” but I totally enjoy reading about the lives of stars, even when I have no idea what movie they’ve done or what TV show they’re on.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best?

ES: Definitely my best friend Izabelle. Iz is tough and feisty, I love that about her. Plus, she works for the Bellingham Police Department. She’s a civilian, but she still knows everything going on in the department, which helps me out when I’m trying to solve a crime. She can also keep an eye on my ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Chance Parker. Life sure has gotten more complicated now that he’s moved to town.

Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?

ES: The aforementioned Chance Parker. He clearly hasn’t decided where we stand, not that I have either, but I’d sure like it if he’d make up his mind. He still makes my heart race, I just can’t tell if I have the same effect on him. I’m hoping to prove to him, he can trust me. If I can get that far, maybe we can try the whole relationship thing again.

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

ES: I enjoy hanging out with her, though she can be a bit of a loner and hard to get to know. I trust her, she’s got an old-fashioned sense of honor and she lets me do what I think is best, at least most of the time. I also love the fact she travels extensively to help promote me, because I get to go along for the ride. Just this last year we went to several cities, including New York City, Nashville, and New Orleans. Next year we’re going to Hawaii for Left Coast Crime. I’m going to suggest we leave Chava at home and bring Iz along instead. She also knows a lot about animals, so she helps me out now that I have a dog too. She has a golden retriever named Polar, three cats, Luna, Jackson, and Coal Train, and two horses, Jasper and Radar. They keep her very busy when she’s not spending time with me.

Q: What’s next for you?

ES: I’m heading off to Lake Tahoe with Chava for a little vacation. I’ve been working non-stop as a Private Investigator (you can read all about it in book two, Two Heads Are Deader Than One) and while I love my job, I could definitely use a break. What could possibly go wrong on a mother/daughter vacation? (Find out in Three Strikes, You’re Dead).

About The Author

After twenty years in the theater, Elena Hartwell turned her dramatic skills to fiction. Her first novel, One Dead, Two to Go introduces Eddie Shoes, private eye. Called “the most fun detective since Richard Castle stumbled into the 12th precinct,” by author Peter Clines, I’DTale Magazine stated, “this quirky combination of a mother-daughter reunion turned crime-fighting duo will captivate readers.”

In addition to her work as a novelist, Elena teaches playwriting at Bellevue College and tours the country to lead writing workshops.

When she’s not writing or teaching, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their trio of cats, Jackson, Coal Train, and Luna, aka, “the other cat upstairs.” Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Keep up with Elena

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New Pet Mystery with Giveaway and Character Interview: Custom Baked Murder by Liz Mugavero

>>>Get a print copy of Custom Baked Murder<<<

Kristan “Stan” Connor gladly turned tail on her high-flying job and moved to a quaint New England town to sell organic pet treats. But with her nose for solving murders, there’s no such thing as a quiet life…

Summer is winding down in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, but Stan’s love life and career are both heating up nicely. In between planning her new pet patisserie and café, Stan is settling into living-in-bliss with sexy pub owner Jake McGee. Love’s on the menu for Stan’s mom, Patricia, too, who’s engaged to Frog Ledge’s mayor, Tony Falco.

Mayor Falco’s dogged ambition isn’t popular among locals, but it’s his executive coach, Eleanor Chang, who’s inspired a dangerous grudge. When Eleanor is found dead, there’s a whole pack of suspects to choose from. Stan has first-hand experience of Eleanor’s unsavory business tactics. But finding out who forced her to take a fatal plunge off the corporate ladder means unearthing some shady secrets…and a killer who’s too close for comfort.

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

Q: Stan, thanks for dropping by Island Confidential! Why don’t you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Stan Connor: Hi readers! Thanks for stopping by the blog today to get to know me a bit better. I’m Stan Connor, and I live in Frog Ledge, Connecticut. My life was pretty normal until I moved here and started stumbling over dead bodies way too often. But you guys already know that. So, something you might not guess? Well, how about this – I had serious confidence issues until I moved here and found my real purpose in life. Yep, it’s true. Despite the fact that I was a corporate big shot, I had no confidence in myself as a person – it was all about who I was with the suit on. I moved here and learned that yes, I can create new relationships, a new business, and basically an entire new life from scratch and be a much happier person for doing it. It’s been a wonderful lesson.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? 

SC: Oh, that’s a tough one! It’s a toss up between my amazing boyfriend Jake McGee and my lovely friend Izzy Sweet. Jake is simply everything I always wanted in a man but never thought I’d find. He’s kind, funny, attentive, dependable, loyal, and sexy as all get out. And Izzy? She was my first friend here. She’s definitely unique. I met her and felt like I’ve known her for years and could tell her absolutely anything. She listens, she’s not intrusive, and she always gives good advice. Plus, she’s in charge of the town’s best coffee and sweets – of course we get along!

Q:  Which other character do you have a conflict with? 

SC: I think everyone who’s been reading knows that Trooper Jessie Pasquale and I have butted heads a few (hundred) times. She doesn’t approve of my penchant for dead people, and she definitely doesn’t approve of me butting in to help figure out who killed them! At the beginning of our relationship we really struggled with each other. It didn’t help that she’s Jake’s sister. But over time, we’ve…come to an understanding. I mean, we still like to duke it out (figuratively, of course) for the sake of it, but we’ve developed a mutual respect for each other. Although the bickering has become fun, I must admit.

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

SC: My author…well, you promise you won’t tell? She makes me nervous sometimes when we have a deadline and she’s procrastinating! I mean, we have an important story to tell here. This is my life, you know? And sometimes she just wants to watch Gilmore Girls and ignore me. I admit I’m a bit neurotic when we’re in the middle of a mystery, but I just want to make sure everything turns out okay in the end. And that we don’t miss our deadline!

Q: Stan, what’s next for you?

SC: We – my author and me – are working on book six in the series now. It’s a Christmas mystery, and unfortunately Santa ends up dead in his sleigh as he rides up to light the Frog Ledge Christmas tree. As if that’s not enough, there’s a case of mistaken identity, a missing crazy uncle, and a little international intrigue we all have to figure out. It’s going to be a fun ride – if that author of mine ever gets it written!

Thanks for having me! xo, Stan

About the Author

Liz Mugavero has been writing stories since she could hold a pen. Before that, she would tell them to anyone who would listen (not many at the time). After deciding early on she would write books for a living, she practiced by writing bad, angst-filled poems, short stories and even a storyline for a soap opera–all by age 15. She never wavered from her goals despite all the usual questions including, “So are you going to be an English teacher with that degree in English?” or, “That writing thing sounds nice, but how are you REALLY going to make a living?”

She went on to get a master’s in writing and publishing and spent time in journalism, PR, and presently, corporate communications. And she’s confident this writing thing IS the way to make a living.

Aside from writing, she loves animals (has a houseful), the beach, reading other writers’ masterpieces and Starbucks coffee.


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New Cozy, Character Interview, and #Giveaway: Death on Lily Pond Lane by Carrie Doyle

>>>Win a paperback copy of Death on Windmill Way (Book 1) and Death on Lily Pond Lane (Book 2)<<<

Springtime in the Hamptons comes late, but it’s worth it! Brisk walks on the bright chilly beach, cinnamon buns at tea time, blooming forsythia and….murder?

Innkeeper Antonia Bingham has hit her stride as the proprietor of East Hampton’s Windmill Inn. After solving a series of murders, Antonia has taken on more work as an estate manager, giving her entree her into some of the area’s most glamorous homes. Once inside, Antonia checks the heat, looks for leaks or damage, and finds the occasional dead body. As the police can’t be trusted, it’s up to Antonia—a modern day Miss Marple, with an overly enthusiastic adoration of carbs and a kamikaze love-life—to put her skills of deduction to use. Nestle in with a steaming mug of your favorite tea and get ready to peek behind the gates of the mansions of the Hamptons, as Antonia Bingham solves another shocking and devastating murder.

Q: Antonia, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

AB: Although I am exceedingly unfit and possess no discernible athletic prowess I actually ran track in high school, albeit briefly. I think I was pretty good at it for those fleeting years, but then I got shin splits and chucked my racing career (not after lots of daydreams imagining myself running marathons and winning Olympic medals.)

I also have a terrible singing voice, which also held me back on a possible career. Once I was on an airplane with my parents when I was about ten, and we sat next to the casting director of the Broadway Musical “Annie.” She said I would make a terrific orphan (for some reason my mother was offended by that.) I was dying to audition, but the problem was, I can’t sing at all. I’m totally tone-deaf. It was a non-starter.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? 

AB: I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Joseph Fowler, a renowned author of historical fiction, a few years ago. Joseph and I both came into one another’s lives when we were in need of a good friend. I had recently moved to East Hampton and purchased The Windmill Inn and had opened a restaurant. I was wallowing in self-doubt and felt like I was sinking. Joseph was among my first customers at the restaurant. He was recently widowed and was getting used to life on his own. Needless to say, both of our lives had changed dramatically and we needed emotional support and friendship. Joseph is a tremendous cheerleader of mine and has become something of a father figure for me. (The fact that he reminds me so much of my late father also helps!) He is a true gentleman in a world where there are not many gentlemen. He loves my cooking, which always pleases me. He is also a great sounding board and has become something of a partner in crime (crime-stopping, really), assisting me in solving all of the murders that keep popping up around town.

Q:  Which other character do you have a conflict with? 

AB: Larry Lipper and I have a love-hate relationship. He has an incredible ability to fluster me and get on my nerves. Larry is conceited and smug and always inappropriate.  I am constantly amazed at how full of himself he is, and how certain that others feel the same. He is my sparring partner and I usually cannot stand to be in the same room as him. That said, we always sort of end up doing things together. I think because he is the crime reporter for The East Hampton Star and I happen to keep solving crimes. I will concede that at times he is helpful and there is wisdom there. But I would never ever tell him that.

Q:  Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Carrie Doyle?

AB: I think she should stop procrastinating and hop back to work on the third installment of “The Hampton Murder Mystery Series.” I get to solve a cold case, and it’s very interesting because she’s diving back in time to East Hampton twenty-three years ago and there is a lot she had forgotten about that era. I think it’s really interesting how much information she has about ‘The Hamptons’ and I like that she is telling readers about what it is really like, all-year-round and not just in the summertime.

Q: What’s next for you?

AB: I will continue to run the inn and the restaurant. My idol, Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) lives right around the corner from my inn and I am dying to have her stop by for dinner. And maybe I could have a cameo on her cooking show? That would be my ultimate dream come true!

About the Author:


Carrie Doyle was the founding Editor-in- Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire Magazine. She is currently a Contributing Editor of Hamptons Magazine and has written extensively for Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and has also written for Women’s Health and Avenue on the Beach. With Jill Kargman, Carrie co-wrote the film Intern (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), as well as several screenplays sold to Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Films and the Oxygen Network. Carrie and Jill co-wrote five books together, including three teen books for HarperCollins and two bestselling women’s fiction books, The Right Address and Wolves in Chic Clothing (Broadway Books). Carrie also penned the popular novel The Infidelity Pact (Broadway Books). Carrie lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is currently at work on an animated series for broadcast as well as her new series, the Hamptons Murder Mysteries.


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Character Interview and chance to #win: Yankee Tenacity by Jocie McCade

>>>Enter to win a copy of Yankee Tenacity (ebook)<<<

Emme Mayson and Jackie Dickson are pulled into another murder investigation when a man dressed in a kilt falls from the sky onto their truck.

As if a dead body isn’t enough, FBI Special Agent Chris Meechum and sexy caretaker Sam Fender try to rein in their sleuthing, but the sisters are determined to solve this murder. Men in kilts, Renaissance Faires, and a few mobsters in all the wrong places complicate the case.

Emme Mayson is a Southern charmer from Alabama. Jackie Dickson is a straight-forward professional from Boston, they aren’t exactly a match made in heaven. The only thing keeping them from starting another war between the states is the mystery surrounding their parents, and their own lives.

Q: Aloha Emme, and welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something they might not guess?

A: Howdy! I’m Emme Mayson one of the lead characters in Mayson-Dickson. Although my maybe twin sister would disagree with that. I’m from Scrugg’s Corner, Alabama, a little ol’ town just down the road from Talladega. I love NASCAR and I can work on most cars, I like to work on cars. My daddy was a big race fan, and we bonded under the hood of a car. I miss my dad a lot, so I don’t talk about it much.

I’m an architect, and really love old buildings. I worked designing modern buildings, but my heart wants to remodel centuries old landmarks. Now, after being thrown into this new life, that may never be possible. But that’s alright, I’m a optimist and I roll with life. Plus, I discovered a sister. It don’t get much better than that.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? Why?

A: Well, I do have this soft spot for FBI Agent Chris Meechum. We met over a dead body. Not exactly romantic, but it was certainly memorable. He’s cute, strong, thinks my accent is cute and I really, really want to take things to the next level, (she winks) if you know what I mean? But, I’m still not sure if I trust him, or anyone right now. Jackie and I have to find answers to a lot of questions about our parents. The only man with answers was killed right in front of us.

I reckon I’ll have to take some cold showers for now until we get some things resolved. That’s mighty disappointing.

Q:  Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why?

A: Oh honey, that would be my twin sister Jackie Dickson. Whew, when we met she was all power suit and condescending attitude. She makes fun of my accent, hates NASCAR, really? Who hates NASCAR? Plus, she is rude! Jackie doesn’t realize that being a little nice can really help when you’re trying to get information out of people. I don’t mean to say she doesn’t have good traits, they are just buried deep, way deep. But she’s my sister, so we’ll muddle through, maybe.

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

A: Jocie? I think she hates me. Twice, (holds up to well manicured fingers, nails painted hot pink) twice, she dropped a dead body on me. Me! Not Jackie. The last time the body fell on Cleo, my brand now pickup. Grrr! That was not nice. I’m guessing she’s a Yankee.

But she did send in Agent Meechum, and Fender, he has a thing for Jackie, so she’s not all bad. And, she let us live in the most gorgeous beach house. Still that ain’t enough to make up for the dead bodies.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: We end this book–wait, Jocie is shaking her head saying I can’t tell you how the book ends. This is a series, and she’s a reader too and hates cliffhangers. The book ends with a murder solved, but Jackie and I are still searching for the truth about our parents and their secret life that threw us into our weird lives.

In the third book, we will be finding out a lot of details….and she won’t let me say anything else. Hey? Do I get to, you know, with Meechum? What does a raised eyebrow mean? See what I mean? I don’t think she likes me.

Q: Emme, thanks for stopping by. 

A: Thank y’all for hosting me today. I had fun and I hope y’all will stop by and read Yankee Tenacity, Book Two of the Mayson-Dickson Mystery series.

About the Author

Jocie McKade is an award winning, Amazon bestselling author of twelve books and novellas. She writes romantic comedies, and humorous cozy mysteries, and has been accused of making readers laugh out loud at inappropriate moments.

Besides writing fun fiction, Jocie pens articles for national publications. The senior news editor for a reader’s news blog, she is part of an award winning production team where she writes video scripts, press releases, and blog posts.

When not writing, she is plotting military maneuvers against hostile dust bunnies.

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Final day: 32 mysteries and thrillers (including a Professor Molly mystery)!

Should authors give their books away? I don’t know, but I’m doing it today, along with 31 other mystery, thriller, and suspense writers.

Head over to Anne Tan’s blog and load up your e-reader.



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Limited time featured #giveaway: The Case of the Defunct Adjunct

>>>The Case of the Defunct Adjunct featured on Instafreebie for one week only<<<

“Follow your dreams, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Because that field’s not hiring.”


Molly Barda earned her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from a top-ten doctoral program. After a year of fruitless job-hunting, she finally landed a job at chronically underfunded Mahina State University (“Where Your Future Begins Tomorrow!”), in rural Hawaii. Teaching resume-writing. In the Business School.

Molly longs for working air conditioning. She sits on a yoga ball because there is no budget for office furniture. Her dean, unwilling to lose paying customers, won’t let her report cheating students.

Molly’s determined to bloom where she’s planted, enjoy the tropical beauty of her new home, and stay out of trouble until she gets tenure.

But when a serial harasser collapses face-first into his haupia cheesecake at a Student Retention Office retreat, Molly’s summer goes from dull to disastrous. Now Molly has to fight to keep her best friend out of the worst kind of trouble — and herself off the unemployment line.

If you like Dorothy Parker, P.G. Wodehouse, or E.F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia stories, you’ll enjoy The Case of the Defunct Adjunct, a tale of passion, pilferage, and petty politics in the middle of the Pacific.


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#Giveaway: 20 #Free Mysteries? What’s the catch?

Grab The Case of the Defunct Adjunct and 19 more mysteries 

Through September 20. Get them now!

Why are we doing this? We are a group of mystery authors who love writing and reading mysteries. Funny mysteries, cozy mysteries, thrillers, anything that keeps us turning the pages! We want to thank our readers, and share some of our own favorites.  I’m taking this opportunity to feed my e-reader. You should, too. Why not? Come have a look!


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Character Guest Post, book and #GiftCard #Giveaway: Gnarly New Year

>>>Win a set of signed paperbacks and a $20 Amazon gift card. Wow!<<<

The honeymoon’s not over yet!

Kim and Brien’s excellent adventure at the swanky Sanctuary Resort & Spa continues when an unwelcome visitor drops in on New Year’s Eve.


An elusive marine GPS device found and lost again, unleashes another wave of murder and mayhem in Corsario Cove! What is it about that thing? Will the secret be revealed when they visit the chamber of heinousness? Stooges, Krugerrands, and monks—oh my! Is it going to be a Gnarly New Year for Kim and Brien?

Character Guest Post: Truth or Chore? 

Brien and Kim are back from their honeymoon. They’re not in Corsario Cove but out in the California desert where they met. It’s a balmy evening in January on the patio of the condo they rent. The moon is shining, the palm trees are swaying, and they’re lingering over a cold beer and a platter of nachos.


Brien: “These are awesome nachos, even without the beef.”

Kim: “Gracias, Dude. I’ve been getting tips from St. Bernadette so I can better perform my wifely cooking chores.”

Brien: “Too bad you don’t cook every night. You’re way better at it than I am, even without Bernadette’s tips. Maybe I should ask her for help, too.”

Kim: “Sure, you could do that. Nachos aren’t that hard to fix. Heck, it’s hardly even cooking. Especially if you leave out the barbacoa or carne asada you carnivores love so much.”

Brien: “Like the ones we had that night we met. Those were epic nachos.”

Kim: “That’s what you remember about the night we met—the nachos?”

Brien: “Not just the nachos. It’s my turn to ask you questions, though. Truth or chore: what do you remember?”

Kim: “It was an evening a lot like this one—gorgeous lounging on the Huntington’s patio overlooking the swimming pool and golf course. I remember being nearly knocked out by that house Jessica’s dad had designed and built. It’s a work of art. When I worked for Mr. P, he had an enormous house up in the Hollywood Hills. That one was dark and sinister—like a holdover from a gothic horror movie set. He was so impressed that it had once been owned by a dead monster movie mogul. Complete with secret rooms and passage ways. Creepy. How did I get on this topic?”

Brien: “Uh, you were talking about meeting me for the first time. My memories of nachos are way better than your memories of creeps!”

Kim: “Jessica’s house triggered those memories, not you. Give me a break. It’s still a little hard for me to open up about mushy stuff like feelings, Brien. You must know that about me.”

Brien: “I do.”

Kim: “So, truth—no chore. I wasn’t just knocked about by that house. You wowed me, too, Moondoggie.”

Brien: “I thought you were a knockout, too. I tried not to stare at you in front of the Cat Pack but whoa, that tattoo of yours was so hot!”

Kim: “My tattoo? That’s what grabbed you about me—my Saraswati tattoo?”

Brien: “I didn’t know she was Saraswati, or that she was a goddess. She was beautiful, like you. Your face and that smokin’ hot body of yours. What did you like about me? Truth or chore.”

Kim: “Okay, truth. You do have a bodacious body, as you surfer dudes like to say. I was totally in awe. I’m not even sure I could hear what you were saying, Brien. You didn’t say much did you?”

Brien: “Nah, I was tongue-twisted.”

Kim: “Tongue-tied is what you mean, right?”

Brien: “Probably. You were quiet that night, too.”

Kim: “I still am, but not like then. I didn’t like being around a lot of people. All those awful parties I had to go to working for Mr. P.  At least I didn’t run off to a corner and hide that night at Jessica’s house.”

Bien: “I wouldn’t have let you go off by yourself, Kim. Truth or chore: was it love at first sight?”

Kim: “Truth. I don’t believe in love at first sight. Let’s just say I felt a strong attraction to you.”

Brien: “That’s fair. I’d have to say it was hard to figure out if it was love or not with all that animal magnetism between us.”

Kim: “Yes, that’s a perfect way of putting it. You also made me nervous—maybe because I was fighting off that attraction. Besides, I didn’t want to get involved with anyone.”

Brien: “Yeah, I could tell that, Kim. That’s why I didn’t push it. From what you and Jessica went through with Mr. P and the Doc, it couldn’t have been good hanging with those bogus guys—and you did that for years. I felt bad for you. Sometimes, though, I thought it was me you didn’t like.”

Kim: “You irritated me. I didn’t understand that when you’re nervous instead of hiding in a corner or clamming up like me, you talk. The more anxious you get the more you say, and that’s when you make mistakes. Truth: that drove me up the wall at first.”

Brien: “Malapropisms—you told me all about that. What changed?”

Kim: “Later one night when you drove me home. We were alone and you were quiet, except for a question or two. Something simple, like how are you doing? The way you said it—the way you often say things—was so sincere. I remember feeling safe answering you honestly. That surprised me.”

Brien: “That night changed things for me, too, Kim. We were friends after that.”

Kim: “Yes, friends. And I wanted to see you again. Just you, without that crowd around. That’s why I said yes right away when you asked me to go with you to the 60’s beach movie film festival.”

Brien: “Truth or chore: when did you realize it was love?”

Kim: “Soon. You became my dream date—my very own Moondoggie. Was that ever a shock. It took me a while longer to deal with it. Then one night you called me Gidget. That’s when I knew you were on to me.”

Brien: “I was—at least I hoped I was since I was in deep by then.”

Kim: “Me too, even though I still couldn’t say I love you.”

Brien: “You had to hear it from me first. Not quite love at first sight, huh?”

Kim: “Close enough, Moondoggie.”

Brien: “One more question. Truth or chore: Do you want me to take that job and move with me to Corsario Cove or not?”

Kim: “Um, it’s going to have to be a chore.”

Brien: “You won’t tell me the truth?”

Kim: “I can’t, because I haven’t figured what that the truth is yet. Maybe we should take that second honeymoon, then make a decision.”


Will Kim & Brien leave Palm Springs, their friends and their jobs behind? Stay tuned for their next adventure to find out.  


About The Author

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning and bestselling author who enjoys snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! Her books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark that take place in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at


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