Death by Pins and Needles by Susie Black

About the Book

Set in the heart of the competitive Los Angeles Apparel Industry, Death by Pins and Needles is the story of one ruthless woman who didn’t care who she had to step on to get to the top. 

Lissa Charney is the showroom manager of a ladies’ swimwear line in the California Apparel Mart. Since Lissa didn’t think any of the rules applied to her, she had no problem breaking them all. From job stealing to dumping a boyfriend when he needed her the most, selfish and self-centered Lissa’s list of enemies rivaled those of Al Capone. So, when Lissa is murdered, no one on the swimwear aisle was particularly surprised…the only surprise was what had taken so long.

Who wanted Lissa Charney dead? The list was as long as your arm….but which one actually killed her? The last thing Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected to find when she opened the closet door was nasty competitor Lissa Charney’s battered corpse nailed to the wall. When Holly’s colleague is wrongly arrested for Lissa’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth sticks her nose everywhere it doesn’t belong to sniff out the real killer.

Amazon ~~ Barnes & Noble ~~ Apple Books ~~ Kobo ~~ Google Play



I came to with a splitting headache, trussed up the same as a rodeo calf, and tied to one of the cutting tables with a gag in my mouth. Was I out long? Maybe a few minutes; but long enough for Roddy to wrap me tight as a mummy. Remarkably, I appeared still alone, but not for long. Curious to be lashed to a cutting table and not in his truck on my way to certain death by now? Maybe he stopped to get a sample crate to stuff my body into? That must be the reason. I inhaled a deep breath through my nose and a piercing pain encircled my ribcage as the oxygen filled my lungs. My head pounded with the strength of a jackhammer while I tried to wriggle out of my bonds. The wounded shoulder ballooned to the size of a small boulder and stars flashed in front of my eyes from the pain. Roddy wrapped me from my shoulders to my shins and used strips of swimwear fabric to lash me to the cutting table. But swimwear fabric is made of spandex and nylon. It stretches if it's pulled and easily manipulated. All I needed were two free hands.

A pair of cutting shears lay tantalizingly close, but out of reach. An experienced boater same as me, Roddy used a reliable bowline knot to lash me to the cutting table. Fortunately, I honed the skills of a master knotter. To live on a houseboat safely and securely, it was a necessity. Roddy’s bowline knot was virtually impossible for an amateur to undo, but an easy one to untie, even one-handed if you knew the trick. Unfortunately, a complication arose that the nautical knotting instruction book failed to cover. The blood oozing from my wound traveled the length of my arm to my hand. My blood-sticky fingers slicked slippery as an oil patch, preventing a good enough grip on the shiny fabric to work the knot out. I stretched my fingers as far as they’d go and wiped them dry on my jeans, and worked fast before more blood leaked onto my hand. 

My head hurt too much to lift high enough to see my progress as I worked the knots. I depended on a sense of touch and memorization of the way the knots formed to untie them. I twisted my wrists inward as far as they turned and worked the knots with my index fingers and thumbs to loosen them from the centers outward. The left hand popped free in thirty seconds. I untied the right hand with my left. I sat up and ignored the pain and the stars flashing behind my eyes. I used the cutting shears to slit the ties binding my torso.

I craned my neck in an arc to get an updated lie of the land. Loud voices came from the direction of Annette’s office. Roddy and Annette. Arguing. Preoccupied and not concerned with me. Good news, but for how long? With some luck, a few minutes tops.

I pulled the gag out of my mouth, and as I slid off the cutting table, I nicked my wound on the sharp corner. The stars flashed again behind my eyes. Drenched in the red stuff and in agony from the pain, the throbbing wound oozed, making me woozy from the loss of blood. I shuddered, remembering Snip’s lecture on the impact on the body if it loses too much blood. I needed to staunch the bleeding and fast. I cut three-wide pieces of fabric and wrapped them tightly for maximum pressure and stretched them around the wound. I used the strips Roddy bound me to the table with to secure the bandages. Not exactly the primo first aid, but it would do for the time being. After a few minutes, the throbbing subsided noticeably. I moved without seeing stars, but taking a deep breath? Still out of the question.

Anyone with a brain runs out of the building and ditches this deadly popsicle stand. But a Mensa, I’m not. I grabbed one of the anvils by the handle off the cutting table and crept across the room. I hid behind a metal set of shelves filled with sewing supplies outside of Annette’s office. I leaned around the shelves and peered into her open door.


About the Author

Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.

She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.

Website ~~ Facebook ~~ Instagram ~~ Twitter ~~ Goodreads ~~ BookBub ~~ LinkedIn


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He’ll Be Waiting by Liz Alterman

About the Book

What would you do to remember? What would you give to forget?

When Tess Porter agrees to pick up her boyfriend's college pal at the airport on a snowy December night, she has no idea she's about to embark on the most dangerous ride of her life. Two days later, the 17-year-old wakes up in a hospital with broken bones, unable to remember how she got there. Her parents are acting strange, and neither James, her boyfriend, nor her best friend, Izzy, has visited. As she struggles to physically recover, Tess wrestles with haunting questions: What happened? Will her memory ever return? And what if she's better off not recalling any of it?

Amazon ~~ Barnes & Noble ~~ Audible



Saturday, December 16, mid-afternoon

“The forecast is ominous,” Mom says, slipping her arms inside the sleeves of the coat Dad holds out for her. “Promise me you won’t go anywhere. The roads will be treacherous.”

“What if I run out of beer or biscotti?” I ask without turning around to see her reaction.

I’m watching The Great British Baking Show and wishing they’d leave already. My heart beats so hard and fast with anticipation, I’m surprised they can’t hear it above the television and the snowplows, which seem to scrape the street every thirty seconds making that irritating krrrrrrr, krrrrrr, krrrrrrr sound. But nothing can bother me today—and I need those roads clear, or at least passable.

James should be here by seven—eight o’clock at the latest. I have a ton to do between now and then. It’s already 3 p.m. the clock on the mantel tells me. I’ve waited for this day for months, each minute stretching out like a decade. But now that it’s here, everything seems sped up, and I want more time to get ready.

“I’m serious, Tess. If your father hadn’t bought these tickets for I-don’t-want-to-know-how-much money, I’d be right there curled up on the couch with you,” she says, knotting the belt of her coat.

No doubt with a glass of wine in your hand, I want to say, but I’ve been snarky enough lately, so I keep this one to myself.

“Tess, listen to your mother,” Dad adds, like the puppet he’s become over the last few months. He’ll say and do anything in an attempt to raise her spirits, make her normal again—if such a state still exists for her. “We’re taking the train in and leaving the car at the station.”

“We’re having an early dinner somewhere on the Upper West Side,” Mom says as if I haven’t heard this information ten times already this week.

“It’s a surprise!” Dad raises his eyebrows and puts on his coat with an exaggerated flourish like he’s a master magician and not a middle-aged man with a dinner reservation and hopefully-not-fake Hamilton tickets.

“Our cell phones will be on the whole time, or at least until the show starts at eight,” Mom says. “Then we’ll be at the hotel after that if you need us. Call us—Tess, are you listening? Call us if you need anything.”

“She’ll be fine, Carolyn.”

Dad lifts their overnight bags. I know without turning around that Mom’s is twice the size of his.

Since Mr. Miller’s accident back in September, Dad will do anything—including buying overpriced seats to a Broadway musical on some third-party vendor site—to make Mom smile. He’s trying so hard. If there were an Olympic event dedicated to willing someone else to be happy, he’d medal in it. I don’t have the heart to tell him it’s a lost cause.

“What time is Izzy coming over?” Mom asks. “I hate to think of you sitting here all alone."

“I think she said around four o’clock,” I lie. Izzy isn’t coming. She’s been my best friend since fourth grade, but we’ve barely spoken this week. It’s Izzy’s birthday. Not that Mom, in her distracted state, will remember.

“The temperature is supposed to keep dropping, so turn up the heat if you get chilly. And, please, Tess, don’t fool around with the fireplace. You know what happened last time,” Mom says. Her tone has lost all its old playfulness. She’s forty percent stress and sixty percent worry now. Twenty-four-seven.

And, okay, I’ll admit it. There was a small “episode” last month when Izzy and I tried to make s’mores in the fireplace, and I forgot to open the flue. Smoke filled the entire downstairs and scared the crap out of Mom, who came home to the fire alarms shrieking. She’d been out for one of her “walks” again. The smell’s nearly gone, but it’s taken weeks.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I won’t touch it,” I lie again. I’m totally starting a fire. I sound like a total sap, but, honestly, is there anything more romantic than a roaring fire?

“We love you,” Dad says, kissing the top of my head.

“Can I get a hug?” Mom asks. Her neediness is spectacularly unattractive, but I know she won’t leave until I get up and give her one.


About the Author

Liz Alterman is the author of a domestic suspense novel, The Perfect Neighborhood, a young adult thriller, He’ll Be Waiting, and a memoir, Sad Sacked. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, and other outlets. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three sons, and two cats, and spends most days microwaving the same cup of coffee and looking up synonyms. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading.

Website ~~ Facebook ~~ Instagram ~~ Twitter ~~ Goodreads ~~ BookBub ~~ TikTok


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Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder (Chocolate Martini Sisters Mystery) by Brenda Whiteside and Joyce Proell

About the Book

It’s a birthday weekend with the gift of murder.

Recently widowed, Emma Banefield looks forward to a getaway birthday weekend with her free-wheeling sister, Nicole Earp, sipping chocolate martinis at the peaceful, historic Dulce Inn. When a rude stranger, a nasty food critic, and a madhouse of temperamental artists greet them, all hope for a tranquil weekend evaporates faster than dew on a hot desert morning.

Overlooking the riotous atmosphere is doubly hard after Em discovers the body of a hotel guest, and a second murder affects Nic personally. Now, entrenched in a caper that pits them against a surly detective, they cozy up to a hotel staff hiding dangerous secrets to uncover clues to the killer.

Using their smarts and love of all-things mystery, will the Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime ahead of the obstinate Chief Detective or find themselves trapped in the middle of a third murder?

Amazon ~~ Goodreads


Sounds like a case for the Chocolate Martini Sisters. The silly moniker lifted the heavy weight on her chest, and she smiled. In spite of it all, life was good. With closed eyes, she breathed deeply what she’d expected to be fresh air. Instead, the stink of cigarette smoke made her noise twitch. What dummy had the gall to clog up paradise? One eye popped open in search of the culprit.

The offender, a woman sporting bleached blonde hair with sprigs of azure and pink, propped against the hotel, one scuffed sneaker planted on the brick façade. A white apron, the sort preferred by cooking staff, wrapped about her slender waist. She sucked another puff. A cross tattoo on her wrist stained the pale skin blue. Acting as though she didn’t see her sitting there, she blew the offending smoke across her shoulder, away from her.

Thanks loads. Lips pursed and her privacy interrupted, she sat upright and faced the hard-edged employee. The aroma of sautéed garlic and onions mingled with the smoke of her cigarette. “You must work in the kitchen,” Emma said by way of making conversation. A series of gold hoops pierced the rounded helix of the woman’s left ear.

“Yup.” She crossed her arm over her waist, propping her elbow on her opposite hand and looked away, blowing more pollution into the air.

“So, you work with the famous Chef Grayson.”

The woman snorted. “Yeah. I guess you could say that.”

Evidently, Miss Rainbow-Colored Hair didn’t think much of him.

“Are you his assistant?”


So this was Charlotte Wilson. The very woman Joe had mentioned to Nic and who coveted Payne’s job.

“Chef Payne has built up quite a prestigious reputation.”

“Oh, yeah,” she snarled. “He’s the best.” Her acid tone dripped with sarcasm.

Emma chose to avoid further comment about their contentious work relationship.

“Are you familiar with the man who died?”

She grunted and picked tobacco from her tongue. “You mean who was murdered?”

“Shocking, isn’t it?” As suspected, word of the death had spread throughout the hotel.

The sous-chef didn’t answer. Instead, she ground the last bit of her cigarette into the paver with her shoe, then flashed the most chilling smile. “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.” Without a parting word, she disappeared through the hotel door.

She reclined against the supportive lounge chair, not certain what to make of the woman. Hostile was a certainty, and the cold smile was downright creepy. Could Nic’s proposed theory at breakfast suggesting the sous-chef committed murder to frame Payne for personal advancement be viable? Could a person successfully lead a kitchen crew with so much anger licking at her heels? Was she driven enough to kill?

About the Authors

Joyce Proell is the award-winning author of Amaryllis, Eliza and the Cady Delafield mysteries: A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and A Wicked Truth. Along with her husband and little dog, Nellie, she lives in Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie. She loves to hear from readers.

Website ~~ Facebook ~~ Amazon Author Page ~~ Goodreads Author Page


Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

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The Secrets of the Mysterious Mansion by Barry Forbes

About the Book

A wholesome family mystery series for tweens and teens, 10-15 years

“Heidi, are you serious? You want us to visit a hidden mansion—a deserted one, deep in the forest, shrouded by trees—at midnight!”

It is freezing in Arizona’s high country, but something seriously weird is happening. . . something that draws the Jackson twins into a bitter cold night. Wait! Are those lights?” Intruders! Who are they? What do they want? Why are they there?

And most intriguing. . . what happened to the former residents? They walked away decades earlier and left everything behind. It’s a time capsule, lost for decades. And then there’s the garage.

The mystery searchers deploy high-tech solutions in a search for answers, but they’re running up against the clock. Danger alert! What happens if the midnight intruders realize they aren’t alone. . . that someone is spying on them?

Amazon ~~ Bakken Books

Interview with the author

Q - What makes The Mystery Searchers Series so special?

It’s a mix of things, really. When I started the series, I wanted to integrate the things that I liked as a 10-15 year-old—from the 4th or 5th grade, all the way into junior high school. I loved mystery books which lead, often, to mystery solving, crime and detective stories, and action and adventure. So I would devour books like the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, or Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series. I quickly realized that clean, wholesome books were important too, and I’ve integrated that concept in every Mystery Searchers installment.

Q - What order should I read the books in?

I’ve written the series so that you can read them in any order. By the time you finish any one of the books, all the threads will come together.

Q – Are there more installments coming in the series?

Yes! Currently I’m releasing three books every year.


It was a frigid winter night in the high country of Prescott, Arizona. A dusting of snow, whipped by howling winds, swirled around the Chevy. The reading on the dashboard thermometer continued to drop. Poor driving conditions became worse as the car—buffeted all the way down Route 69—made slow progress. Its windshield wipers beat a rhythmic tune in a vain struggle at visibility.

Heidi Hoover sat in the backseat, peering into the churning darkness, searching for a hidden turnoff. “There!” she cried out, pointing through the window on the driver’s side. “We almost missed it. There it is.”

Tom Jackson—quiet, thoughtful, and steady as a rock—gripped the steering wheel with both hands and cranked a sudden left. The Chevy bumped and bounced over frozen ruts onto a rough dirt road.

“You’re sure?” Tom’s twin sister, Suzanne, asked. She tightened her front passenger seat belt, staring hard at the bleak scene before her.

Heidi laughed. “Don’t worry, Suzie. I drove out here before. Half a mile of this, and then we’ll go for a nice walk.” The way she said it didn’t sound nice at all.

About the Author

Your mystery writer is a former award-winning industrial film and video writer/producer, and newspaper editorialist. He is the author of a dozen clean, wholesome mystery books for kids, 10-15 years of age. Four high-school students use technology to solve mysteries and fight crime in the mountain city of Prescott, Arizona. The first volume of a second family book series will be released June, 2023.

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Purls Before Swine (Clear Creek Mysteries) by Rebecca McKinnon

About the Book

Autumn has arrived in the Rocky Mountains. The resort that was almost the death of the small town of Clear Creek is trying to mend relations by hosting a local artisan show.

Jemma has been asked to create a display showing beginner projects all the way up to expert. Hoping to knit up attention for the shops in Clear Creek, she agrees. The last thing she expects is to trip over a body in the middle of the exhibits.

Curiosity piqued, she wants to know how someone was killed under the watchful eyes of the resort’s security staff — headed by the man she loves.

Even though her past experiences have taught Jemma she doesn’t want to be anywhere near a killer, when Deputy Chase surprises everyone by asking for her help she can’t bring herself to say no. Because if the killer isn’t bound off before the resort guests leave, someone will get away with murder.

Amazon ~~ Goodreads


About the Author

Rebecca McKinnon enjoys playing with her imaginary friends and introducing them to others through her writing. She dreams of living in the middle of nowhere, but has been unable to find an acceptable location that wouldn’t require crossing an ocean.

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On the Sly by Wendy L. Koenig

About the Book

Sylvia Wilson, a bar owner in St. Louis, Missouri, arrives at work to discover the body of an ex-police officer in her locked bar. The police focus on her as their primary suspect, so she decides to launch her own investigation into the dead man and his accomplices. But when the killer sends her clear messages that she and her loved ones are on his radar, she knows it’s just a matter of time before someone ends up dead.

Amazon ~~ Goodreads


Reaching the door, I leaned into it, listening. Silent as a ball of cotton. The key slid smoothly into the lock and turned. I eased open the door. Watched and listened for any movement or noise. Nothing. I slipped my arm in and turned on my lights. The alarm was already off.

Mayhem erupted from my backyard as my dogs snarled and threw themselves at the sliding glass door with angsted fervor. I hadn’t let them out there. Maybe Aaron had stopped by. But the dogs were clearly upset, and they wouldn’t be if it had been my brother who’d visited.

Even if there was a noise, I wouldn't hear it over the violent ruckus. I sidled into the room. Nothing but my blue furniture and beige carpet. Through the glass door, I saw Ruffles was foaming and standing stock still. When he moved, it was with the stiff-legged, high-toed, movements of a mechanical being. His upper lip was curled completely over his nose and the resulting sound came through the glass like an outboard motor. I'd never seen him so livid, and I honestly wondered how he could breathe like that.

Satan was throwing herself at the door again and again, as if she were a small missile that would weaken and eventually punch through the glass. I could picture the trauma her body experienced every time she made contact. If I didn’t do something fast, she would be covered in bruises, maybe even broken bones.

Something had upset them so much that even my presence didn’t calm them. Moving quickly through my home, I cleared all the rooms; no one was hidden anywhere. Then, I put the safety back on the gun, set it down, and went to focus on my poor dogs. I pulled out the rod I kept in the track. That's when I noticed the dark brown handprint on the sliding door.

Unless I missed my guess, that was dried blood.

I pulled my cellphone and dialed Eccheli. It took him a long time to answer, and he didn't sound too happy, but his sleep-cracked voice got animated the moment I explained what had happened.

He said, "Don't touch anything. We'll be right there."

"My dogs might be injured. I need to go out there and check them." Satan had calmed a little, but she still paced the window in agitation. Ruffles was standing stock still, growling.

He hesitated. "Do you have kitchen gloves?"

"I have painter's gloves." Actually, I didn't. But I did have some of the gloves the police left behind at the bar. Close enough.

"Perfect. Go out to them, don't let them in. We'll get there right away." He disconnected.

I probably was working my way back up Johnson's 'person of interest' list with this middle of the night phone call. Nothing to be done about it.

When he'd said they'd get there right away, he wasn’t kidding. I'd managed to find my gloves, put them on, and had only been outside a few minutes. I was sitting in the soaked grass, trying to calm a frantic Satan so I could inspect her for injuries when my cellphone vibrated against my thigh.

Eccheli asked, "We good to come in?"

"Yeah, we're out back."

The minute the front door opened, Satan became all claws and teeth and twisted out of my arms. She threw herself at the glass door, ballistic missile at work again. As for Ruffles, I was used to his snarls, but the intensity of the one he gave at that moment scared me.

I watched Eccheli and Johnson as they entered my house. Saw how he noticed my Colt Python on the counter, pointed it out to Johnson, and how she nodded and pocketed it. I certainly hoped she was going to give that back; it had cost me a pretty penny.

As the two detectives cleared the house, again, flashing lights of an arriving squad car ricocheted off the back fence of the yard. I would probably be as popular in my neighborhood as a scorpion. At least there was no siren.

About the Author

Wendy Koenig is a published author living in New Brunswick, Canada. Her first piece to be printed was a short children’s fiction, Jet’s Stormy Adventure, serialized in The Illinois Horse Network. She attended University of Iowa, honing her craft in their famed summer workshops and writing programs. Since that time, she has published and co-authored numerous books and has won several international awards.

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Saturday Quote

This week's Saturday quote is from Murder at the Bookstore by Sue Minix available on Amazon.

Star Tangled Murder by Nancy J. Cohen

About the Book

Hairstylist Marla Vail and her husband get tangled up in murder when their Fourth of July visit to a living history village ends with a bang—and a body.

Salon owner Marla Vail and her detective husband Dalton are having a blast visiting a Florida living history village over Fourth of July weekend. But when a Seminole battle reenactment turns up a real dead body, it sets off fireworks among the villagers. One of the cast members has gone off script to murder the town marshal with a tomahawk in his head.

As Dalton gets involved in the investigation, Marla determines to help him solve the case. Her flare for uncovering secrets reveals that everyone in the village is a suspect. Instead of celebrating the holiday with red, white, and barbecues, she discovers secrets, lies, and false avenues. Did the marshal’s murder have anything to do with a lost Confederate payroll, or did his plans to renovate the park light a fuse that he couldn’t snuff out?

In a place where history comes alive, the dead bodies are piling up. Marla would rather be chilling and grilling, but somebody’s mind is on killing. If she’s not careful, her sleuthing might blow up in her face like a faulty firecracker and she’ll become the next victim.

Recipes Included!



Marla and Dalton, already on the edge of the woods, rushed toward the bait and tackle shed from
where the screams seemed to originate. She hoped someone had merely spotted an alligator on
the grounds.
They approached the derelict wooden shack with its tilted sign and barged inside. Through
a rear window, Marla spotted a deck that extended over a pond to a covered landing. A woman
stood frozen on the planks, her horrified gaze fixed on a man lying face-up at her feet.
Dalton headed that way. As Marla followed him outdoors and got a closer look, she
swallowed a surge of bile in her throat. The man down had an axe planted in his forehead. Blood
pooled behind his head and seeped through cracks in the boardwalk.
Her heart jolted. The dead guy was the missing marshal.
Oh. My. God. We just met him. This can’t be happening.
As she grappled with reality, bystanders crowded onto the deck to gawk at the scene.
“Folks, stand back,” Dalton said, taking command. “I’m with the Palm Haven Police
Department. We need to secure this area. Please wait over by the shed.” He yanked out his
phone, presumably to call for backup, while Marla wondered if this fell under his jurisdiction.
A couple of guests led the witness to a bench, while Marla gave one more glance at the
body. She knew she’d wrack her brain later for clues, especially if Dalton took over the case.
Her gaze zeroed in on the swirls of paint and colorful feathers decorating the weapon’s handle.
Wait, was that an axe or a tomahawk? It did share certain similarities to the ones in the
battle scene, although those had to be fakes. The Seminoles had brandished tomahawks along
with rifles, clubs, and spears.
A brackish scent from the pond invaded her nose and made her stomach churn. Good thing
Phil hadn’t ended up in there, or he’d be alligator meat.
They’d only spoken to him a short while ago, and he’d sounded strong during his narration.
How could this have happened to him?

About the Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and the RONE Award, placed first in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third in the Arizona Literary Awards. Her nonfiction titles, Writing the Cozy Mystery and A Bad Hair Day Cookbook, have won the FAPA President’s Book Award, the Royal Palm Literary Award, and IAN Book of the Year. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising, and visiting Disney World.

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March 22 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – Baroness Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 24 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 24 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT

What the Walls Know by Skye Alexander

About the Book

In October 1925, four New York City jazz musicians known as The Troubadours travel to the neo-Gothic Halcyon Castle near Gloucester, MA, home of occultist Duncan Fox, to perform a week-long series of entertainments. Halloween is Fox's fiftieth birthday and he's invited twelve family members and friends--including an astrologer, a tarot card reader, and a wizard--to celebrate with him.

The activities at Halcyon Castle, however, prove to be anything but what its name suggests. On the first night a Ouija board predicts the death of Fox's longtime friend Natalie Talbot from a heroin overdose. Her husband insists she never used drugs and suspects foul play.

Lizzie Crane, The Troubadours' beautiful and talented chanteuse, begins snooping into the unexplained death after local police place her and her colleagues under house arrest. She learns the deceased was a medium, who swindled many grieving people by pretending to communicate with their departed loved ones on the Other Side. Natalie Talbot also made enemies among some of the guests gathered at the castle. Soon the list of suspects grows to include the medium's lover, her cuckolded husband, and several others with vendettas to settle.

Natalie's death isn't the only mystery at Halcyon. The castle also has eerie voices emanating from its walls, a resident ghost, peculiar blinking lights, and secret passageways. As Lizzie pursues her quest into the strange goings-on, she discovers a plot to reap vengeance--and risks her own life in the process.

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October 1925, Gloucester, Massachusetts 

“Are you sure Dracula doesn’t live here?” Melody asked as they approached Halcyon Castle. The pretty blond musician peered nervously out the window of Sidney’s Buick, like a child watching a horror movie through her fingers.

“Don’t be a silly goose,” Lizzie chided her nineteen-year-old friend. “That’s just stuff and nonsense, designed to keep you awake all night. Bram Stoker has made a bundle scaring girls like you with his wicked tales.”

But she had to admit the Gothic Revival castle, perched on a rocky bluff overlooking the ocean, exuded doom and gloom. The estate sat on an isolated promontory that jutted into the north Atlantic, with only a single, winding driveway leading in and out. Two ferocious-looking metal dragons guarded the entry gate. The chilly drizzle and drifting fog made the place seem even more eerie. Lizzie stared up at the castle’s turrets with their slit-like windows, while thoughts of Anne Boleyn and other imprisoned ladies rose in her mind.

“I think it’s exciting,” said Bert, the young horn player who’d joined their group only a month ago, after the death of their previous saxophonist.

Melody hugged her arms across her chest and scrunched down in the backseat. “I think it’s creepy.”

“Well I think it’s quite dramatic and theatrical, don’t you, Sidney?” Lizzie asked her longtime friend, who sat beside her gripping the steering wheel as he assessed the situation.

“It’s a job, and a high-paying one at that,” he said flatly.

The dragon-guarded gate swung open to admit them. No sooner had they crossed through than it shut behind them with a loud clang. How could the gate operate on its own like that? Lizzie wondered. Despite her appreciation of drama, she felt apprehension rise in her chest. As Sidney shifted his prized 1925 Buick convertible into second gear, she realized they were cut off now from the mainland, trapped on the peninsula.

Beneath them, waves broke on the rocky neck. Sidney drove another fifty yards until he came to a moat of foaming seawater, spanned by a narrow wooden bridge. Fog slithered around them, veiling the way. Cautiously, he inched across the wet planks, into the castle’s granite-paved parking area where gas lamps struggled to cut through the thick evening mist.

Waving her hand dismissively, Lizzie said with more confidence than she felt, “Anyway, Stoker wrote all that Dracula stuff more than twenty-five years ago and no one’s produced a vampire yet. There’s nothing to worry about, Mel.”

Leaving the motorcar’s engine running, Sidney grabbed his umbrella and stepped out into the drizzle. “Wait here while I find out what’s what.”

“I’m coming with you,” Lizzie said. She pulled her cloche hat tight over her bobbed hair and turned up the collar of her rubber slicker.

They picked their way carefully across the slippery paving stones to a portico lit by a dim yellow lamp. Sidney grabbed a doorknocker shaped like a gargoyle and banged on an oak door studded with hand-cut iron nails. After waiting a minute or so, he knocked again. This time a panel the size of a sheet of writing paper slid open behind a metal grate, and someone eyed them from within.

“Good evening. I’m Sidney Somerset and this is Elizabeth Crane. We’re with The Troubadours from New York City.”

When the person behind the grate didn’t respond, he said, “We’re entertainers. Mr. Duncan Fox invited us here to perform for his guests this week.”

The panel slammed shut.

They waited a bit longer, then Sidney hammered on the door again.

“Do you think we’re in the wrong place?” Lizzie asked.

“There couldn’t possibly be two places like this in Gloucester, Massachusetts. But it is rather odd. I telephoned Mr. Fox yesterday to let him know when to expect us.”

“Well, no sense standing out here in the damp.” She brushed at the wet sleeves of her raincoat and turned to go back to the auto.

Just then the door creaked open on its iron hinges. A man with frazzled gray hair, a cardigan sweater buttoned haphazardly over his ample belly, stood staring out at them with intense dark eyes. A crimson scarf circled his neck and wire-rimmed spectacles perched on his nose. As he stepped back to let them enter, a broad smile lit up his face.

Entrez-vous,” he said heartily and held out his hand. “I’m Duncan Fox, your delighted host. So good of you to come. You must forgive my sister’s manners. Frances is the skeptical sort. Doesn’t trust anyone, not even me.”

About the Author

Skye Alexander is the author of nearly 50 fiction and nonfiction books. Her stories have appeared in anthologies internationally, and her work has been translated in more than a dozen languages. In 2003, she cofounded Level Best Books with fellow crime writers Kate Flora and Susan Oleksiw. The first novel in Skye’s Lizzie Crane mystery series, Never Try to Catch a Falling Knife, set in 1925, was published in 2021; the second, What the Walls Know, was released in November 2022; the third, The Goddess of Shipwrecked Sailors, is scheduled for 2023.

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Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard

Cold Light of Day

by Elizabeth Goddard

February 20 - March 17, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard

Police Chief Autumn Long is fighting to keep her job in the quiet Alaska town of Shadow Gap when an unexpected string of criminal activity leaves her with a wounded officer, unexplained murders, and even an attack on her own father. Despite her mistrust of outsiders, she turns to Grier Brenner, a newcomer who seems to have the skills and training Autumn needs to face this threat to her community.

Grier is in Alaska for the same reason so many others are--to disappear--when Chief Long enlists his help. He emerges from the shadows and proves his mettle, but his presence in her life could be a deadly trap for them both. If his secret is exposed, all will be lost. And he's not sure even Autumn could save him.

As the stakes rise and the dangers increase, Autumn and Grier must rely on each other to extinguish the deadly threats.

Praise for Cold Light of Day:


DiAnn Mills, author of Concrete Evidence

"An exhilarating, page-turning race to the finish!"

Carrie Stuart Parks, bestselling author of Relative Silence

"Gripping and hard-hitting."

James R. Hannibal, award-winning author of Elysium Tide

"Elizabeth Goddard has created a novel that immerses the reader in small-town Alaska. From the first page, it's a race to stay alive and solve a number of ever-spiraling mysteries. I highly recommend this novel."

Cara Putman, award-winning author of Flight Risk and Lethal Intent

"A simmering romantic suspense with an explosive ending. Once more Goddard proves she is a master storyteller and deserving of her place as one of the best Christian romantic suspense authors of our time."

Mary Alford, author of Among the Innocent

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Revell
Publication Date: February 2023
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780800742041 (ISBN10: 0800742044)
Series: Missing in Alaska, 1
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Goodreads | Baker Book House


Southeast Alaska


I never should have come.

What was he even doing here? What had he been thinking? I’m an idiot!

He wasn’t so stupid that he couldn’t admit he was lost. Dusk was almost on him, and if he didn’t find his way back to civilization soon, he could very well die.

Kenny thought back to his uncle’s open invitation to find refuge at his place in the mountains. The man often bragged about “wild” Alaska. Eagles. Bears. Bigfoot. Spawning salmon. Whatever. Kenny wasn’t much of a fisherman, but he could learn to fish. What better place than Alaska? Or he could hike on a glacier. Take up dog mushing.

“You can escape what holds you back, son. Here in Alaska—the world is at your feet,” his uncle had said.

And like the proverbial fool on an errand, Kenny had finally decided to take his uncle up on that offer and purchased a one-way ticket to surprise him. With its record-breaking snowfall, his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula couldn’t be that different than Southeast Alaska. Could it?

And since Kenny had spent half his life on a snowmobile, he could make his way around the snow-covered Tongass National Forest, a temperate rain forest, the same way.

He’d worked up a sweat hiking, and the cold wind whipped around him, cutting between the layers of his fleece-lined winter jacket. With the lush evergreens covered in fresh snow, early May seemed like winter. The frosted forest closed in around him as he hiked on the snowshoes he’d brought from Michigan.

He’d taken the snowmobile up the road and thought he could continue up the trail, but the vehicle had gotten stuck.


Of all the stupid things to happen. He couldn’t believe it. That was on him. He shivered and glanced at his cell phone. No signal, but he hadn’t expected one.

Still . . . he should have made it to his uncle’s by now. Had he missed an important marker? The man had sketched him a map, for crying out loud. Kenny pulled the drawing out of his pocket and clumsily held it in his gloved hands. All he’d had to do was follow the trail. And that was the problem. The path had kind of disappeared with the heavy snowfall today. Another blast of wind whipped over him along with huge flakes, reminding him that his life was in jeopardy if he didn’t find his way back—and soon.

A sliver of fear slid through him, cutting deep.

If he backtracked down the mountain, he might run into the main road again. And if he died out here?

Mom is going to kill me.

Now, too late, he could easily see the big mistake he’d made. He’d allowed emotions to drive his decision to come to Alaska, but this wasn’t the first time he’d been impulsive.

A gunshot cracked the air.

He stopped in his tracks. That sounded close. Heart pounding, he stood perfectly still. A hunter out looking for dinner? He started hiking again and picked up his pace, hoping he’d run into someone who could help.

Then, through the trees, he spotted a man in a black ski mask. Nothing unusual about the cold-weather garb . . . except . . . he stood over a woman in a bright-pink parka.

She lay on her back. The man pointed a pistol at her head and shot her point blank. Instantly, her blood turned the white snow crimson.

And Kenny’s blood turned to ice.

Move, move, move.

Panic exploded in Kenny’s chest, the glacial air knifing through his lungs.

I have to get out of here.

Kenny headed away from the killer.

Except . . . oh no! His tracks would give him away if the killer spotted him.

I can do this. I can survive. He willed himself to believe. He picked up the pace, going deeper into the forest. A glance over his shoulder sent dread blasting through him.

The killer was tracking him.

Legs shaking, Kenny powered through the fear before it paralyzed him. Keeping to the thickest trees for protection, he snow jogged. Outlasting the killer, giving him reason to give up the hunt, was the only way to lose him.

Except Kenny had already been out here for too long. His lungs ached. Muscles burned.

Pressing his back against a spruce to rest, he sucked in cold air.

Kenny pulled out his Buck 50th anniversary–edition Ranger knife in case he had to face off with the man who had a long gun as well as a loaded pistol. What did the hunter want with him? Dumb question. Kenny had witnessed him commit murder. But he hadn’t seen the man’s face. He’d just have to do what a lot of people came to Alaska to do—vanish.

Pushing from the tree, he tried to keep up the pace as he jogged through the snow toward higher elevation. Another possible mistake, but he wanted to lose this guy.

He hadn’t gone far before he couldn’t catch his breath, which meant he couldn’t keep going.

Even if his life depended on it.

The temperature was dropping fast. He stumbled forward and out of the tree line . . . just a little farther . . . and spotted the lights shining from the town below.

He should be sitting next to the fire at his uncle’s cabin and eating moose stew instead of running for his life.

A shout brought him around. Standing twenty-five yards away, he spotted the killer. The man aimed his rifle right at Kenny and looked through the scope.

Before Kenny could react, the ground rumbled and shook, and the snow shifted under his feet. He glanced up at the peak above.

A new terror gripped him as realization dawned.

The hunter would kill him to make sure he didn’t climb out from the avalanche racing toward him. Alaska would make him disappear forever.

No one would miss him—no one who cared even knew he was here.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than 50 novels, including Cold Light of Day and the Rocky Mountain Courage and Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold nearly 1.5 million copies. She is a Carol Award and Reader's Choice Award winner and a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry. For more information about her books, visit her website at

Catch Up With Elizabeth Goddard:
BookBub - @ElizabethGoddard
Instagram - @elizabethgoddardauthor
Twitter - @bethgoddard
Facebook - @ElizabethGoddardAuthor 


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