First in Series Country Music Murder Mystery: Killer Music by Tammy L. Grace (with a guest post)


When private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington meets record label mogul Grayson Taylor at a swank gathering of country music artists and politicians he never imagines he’ll be investigating his brutal murder less than twenty-four hours later.


The suspects are plentiful. More than a handful of people could have wanted him dead. Retained by Taylor’s widow, Coop works alongside his best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben Mason. The investigation leads Coop and Ben to visit the luxurious mansions of recording industry magnates, navigate the murky undercurrents of the political world, and probe complicated family matters. Scandalous indiscretions, secrets, and hints of corruption swirl in the midst of their pursuit of the killer.

Coop’s faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle and his loyal golden retriever, Gus, both lend a hand during the investigation. Even his Aunt Camille mines the local gossip mill to unearth potential killers with motive. Yet the case seems hopeless until a crucial piece of evidence emerges that sends Coop and Ben on a race to catch the killer before someone else dies.

Characters and Setting
Tammy L. Grace

I love to write for the same reasons I read—enjoyment and escape. I’ve been an avid reader all my life and find myself most attracted to characters in novels. Not to say I don’t pay attention to plot, but if push comes to shove, I’ll stick with a character I like over a well-developed plot with mediocre personas. I’m embarrassed to admit, but many times I remember the main character’s name in a book, rather than the author’s name.

I need to relate to the character and more importantly, I need to care about what happens to her. I read a bestselling novel not long ago and despite the rave reviews, hated it because I didn’t care about any of the characters. I thought they were all horrible and frankly didn’t care what happened to any of them…live or die.

When I’m creating my main characters I work hard to make them believable and relatable. The female protagonists in my Hometown Harbor series are all women with whom I’d enjoy spending my free time. I strive to create individuals readers love or sometimes love to hate. I believe central characters should be memorable.

Speaking of villains, they’re rather fun to construct. I take a lot of time with my characters and keep a notebook full of traits and characteristics for each of them. I pay attention when I’m out and about and take note of peculiarities or mannerisms I observe. When it comes to the bad apples, I tend to extract the most detestable traits I’ve seen and concoct an amalgamation to form the perfect evil character. It’s a fun exercise and as an author I enjoy embellishing a minor irritating quality I’ve noticed and turning it into a revolting character. This is especially fun in my mystery series where I get to create lots of suspects.

In my Cooper Harrington series I chose to use a male protagonist with a strong female supporting character in Annabelle. I made this choice because I wanted to differentiate my novels from the typical female amateur sleuth type of story. My mysteries are full of twists, but leave out the gore, sex, and violence associated with many of the typical male detective characters in the genre. Coop is capable, but quirky. Endearing and hardworking. He’s a forty-something bachelor and a chronic insomniac with commitment issues. He’s addicted to caffeine and lives with his wealthy aunt. His relationship with his mother is, uh…complicated and Coop spends more time with his dog than anyone else. He’s loveable and the reader cares about him, but he doesn’t overshadow the whole point of the book—solving the murder.

With Coop I focus mostly on the plot, revealing bits about the main characters, but the overriding theme of the book is the whodunit, not the character relationships. Readers tell me how much they like Coop and Annabelle and I must confess they are two of my favorite characters. But the plot drives the mystery, which is the exact opposite of the Hometown Harbor series where the whole story revolves around the lives of the characters and their emotional journeys.

I chose Nashville for the setting of my mystery series after a trip there a few years ago. I loved the area and while driving around the idea for a mystery series began to form. I found the perfect spot for a murder and the plot started to percolate. From there I built the characters and have since collected more ideas for upcoming cases for Coop. I do extensive research online and incorporate my own observations from my visits to give the reader an authentic experience. I want the reader to feel like they’ve visited Nashville or Friday Harbor after reading my books.

The Hometown Harbor series is my women’s fiction series and each book focuses on a different female protagonist. All of the women are connected through friendship and their lives are intertwined in the small island community of Friday Harbor. Each woman faces struggles that take her on an emotional journey of self-discovery. Complex family relationships and enduring friendships are key elements for the group of women. The choices they often have to make are difficult and risky.

While my mystery series is more of a fast-paced whodunit (on the cozy side), readers find my Hometown Harbor series to be relaxing and often describe them as books that transport them to another place. In this case, the gorgeous San Juan Islands. For me the quaint island community that is the setting almost becomes another character. They are an ideal read for vacations, relaxing breaks, or just an escape from everyday life. I tend to indulge in books as a reward to myself and they are the perfect calorie-free treat.

The female leads are more mature women in their 40’s and 50’s. I made this choice for a few reasons—I don’t relate to the twenty-something crowd and I think women of a certain age are underrepresented in mainstream novels, but have the most to offer readers.

The Cooper Harrington Detective Novels are designed to be stand-alone books, but I think they’re better when read in order, so start with Killer Music—it’s an award-winning mystery. Deadly Connection was released last year and I have plans for the third one to be released in 2018.

The Hometown Harbor Series has to be read in order, so start with Finding Home. I’m finishing up the fifth one now and it will be released in the summer of 2017.

I love to hear from readers and invite you to follow me on Facebook or Amazon or visit my website at to contact me. I’d love to add you to my newsletter and send you some free content just for subscribing. You’ll be the first to know about book news, blog posts, contests, and giveaways.

About The Author  

Tammy L. Grace is the award-winning author of The Hometown Harbor Series of women’s fiction set in the picturesque San Jan Islands in Washington and a mystery series set in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring Cooper Harrington, Private Detective.

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

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“One of the few men in musical history who have ever squeezed big money out of an accordion”

By RICHARD SANDOMIRDick Contino, whose energetic accordion playing and movie-star looks made him a teenage star in the late 1940s, but whose celebrity ebbed after he was imprisoned for evading induction into the draft, died on April 19 in Fresno, Calif. He was 87.His wife, Judy, confirmed his death.

For a time, Mr. Contino was a show business rarity: a heartthrob accordionist who earned up to $4,000 a week in nightclubs.

“Dick Contino is one of the few men in musical history who have ever squeezed big money out of an accordion,” Time magazine wrote in 1951.

Read the whole thing: NYT Arts

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How Music Can Boost Your Mood

Paralyzed by worry.Overcome with regret.

Fraught with rage.

Down in the dumps.

Have you ever felt stuck in an emotional state that you can’t seem to get out of? If you’ve felt this way before, you may have even wished that there was a way to turn these emotions off entirely.

With colder temperatures outside and fewer daylight hours, the winter months can be especially tough to trudge through. Just like the weather outside, we may often feel powerless to change the emotions we feel on the inside. Calling upon our favorite music, however, just might help us to transform the winter blues into a different sounding tune.

While seasons shift gradually, our inner emotional states can change rapidly, like the channels on a radio or a TV. Think of your mind as a radio. There is a vast and constant amount of information to digest and process. Sometimes we might get stuck on a certain song or station, hearing the same thing over and over. If you’ve experienced this kind of rumination or thought-looping before, you know it is an unwelcome and negative cycle. When this happens, anything that helps us to switch to a different channel can provide emotional relief.

Sometimes when we get in these entrenched states, it can be difficult to dig ourselves out. We may start listening to negative messages that have been internalized and deeply ingrained within our minds, (consciously or unconsciously) playing them on repeat. The good news, however, is that we actually have the power to shift our thinking. We have the ability to bring ourselves away from the destructive noise of our own cognitive distortions and into the sweet sounds of serenity.

Music can be a useful tool in helping to turn down volume on the (often irrational) song or story that’s being played incessantly. While muting the unpleasant tracks we’re so accustomed to hearing in our minds and boosting the sound on some uplifting tunes, our favorite music automatically becomes a natural mood enhancer.

  1. Plug back in 
    When we feel disconnected or burnt out, listening music can help us to feel more grounded and aligned — physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. When we feel inspired or uplifted by the sound or the lyrics of a song, it can result in a truly profound experience. When we are moved by the music we hear, we gain a greater understanding about ourselves. With that comes the ability to foster a better sense of connection to other people and the world around us.
  2. Flip the Switch 
    Much like meditation, putting on our favorite song or playlist can take our minds out of the vicious cycle of regret, worry, or fear, and help us to refocus our attention on the sound and rhythm of the song, even if just for a short while. Almost instantaneously, we have the ability to bring our minds away from the trap of its constant mental chatter, and into states of present moment awareness and enlivened being.
  3. Feel the Beat 
    The mind and body are connected. Music often makes us want to move, inspiring us to dance or exercise. This helps release endorphins and serotonin in the brain, so we feel better and adopt a naturally more positive outlook. Combining music with movement is a potent way to improve your mood with the potential for long lasting effects.

Each of us may have different taste in music, but we all crave many of the same things, including happiness and belonging. Music can help us strengthen the bond we have with ourselves, and ultimately, with each other. While listening to our favorite music in solitude may be the perfect antidote, some people find that the energy and vibrations that abound at live music shows are powerfully therapeutic. No matter where you are, it’s important to remember, that if you’re feeling a particular emotion, you are surrounded by human beings everywhere who have felt that same emotion before.

All of these ideas depend on what works best for you and what makes you feel good. Not sure what music to put on? Try checking out Spotify and Soundcloud to explore new artists and songs that might be appealing to you.

Of course there is no magic remedy to alleviate all emotional pain when going through a difficult experience, but we can make small choices that add up over time to contribute to our overall well-being in a big way.

Just like the seasons, our emotions will come and go. If you’re having difficulty shifting out of a particular emotional state, grab that remote and switch the channel on your thoughts. Program your mind just like you would program your favorite radio stations and let the music guide you to a better place.

from World of Psychology

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Can “Extreme Music” Calm You Down?

Tested: Whether Extreme Music Causes Anger or Calms You Down:

Here are a few examples of the song titles, if you need to ‘calm down’ a little:

  • Dawn of Battle by Manowar
  • The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder by Gloryhammer
  • Dark Days by Parkway Drive
  • 11 Ways To Hate by Five Finger Death Punch

By Jeremy Dean at PsyBlog

Unscientific note: Here’s my pick.


THE MUSUBI MURDER August 2015 Amazon / B&N /Powell’s /Audible / iTunes