I’m the featured guest today on Pam Thibodeaux’s blog. I talk a bit about Playing at Murder and include an excerpt: https://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com/2022/11/saturdayspotlight-is-in-karen.html
I had fun putting together this little meme for Playing at Murder!
Order Here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFJS9FK9
The whole series (so far):
Now that the Carolina Crimes anthology is out and I’ve launched Playing at Murder, it’s time to tackle the next project. To give my brain a break between novels, I wrote a couple of short stories that will soon be in submission.
Because my brain likes variety, I’m not ready to launch into the next book in the Market Center Mysteries series.
Instead, I’ve started on a new book based on a couple of ideas that have been bouncing around in my brain for a while. At heart it’s a cozy mystery, but not exactly a standard cozy. This one is kind of a paranormal cozy mystery.
It’s set in a house that might be haunted or might be something else entirely. The place is home to an unusual group of people. People with paranormal abilities, kind of like super-heroes. Only their unusual talents don’t help these people. In fact, they almost cripple them. But the house seems to ease their pain and help them cope.
My heroine’s mother owns the house and manages the place and people in it…until she falls down the main staircase in the house and dies. Diane Jackson doesn’t believe her mother’s death was an accident. She sets out to prove it and find out who was responsible.
But that’s not the only responsibility she’ll be called on to accept. The house needs someone to manage it and Diane is her mother’s daughter.
The book doesn’t have a title as yet, though the house itself is named Treadwell House, and that might be what I use.
I’m also working on a couple of Christmas short stories on the side. More on those later if anything pans out.
For me, November is all about preparation for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. Mostly it’s about food.
The baking orgy usually starts the day after Halloween, but this year it was delayed for a day when I didn’t feel well on Tuesday.
However, yesterday I was better, so I got to work. I cut up the Halloween pumpkin and cooked it in the microwave to soften in, then used an immersion blender to reduce it to pumpkin pulp. I roasted the seeds for a healthy snack, too.
I’ll use the puree to make pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins. Most of those get frozen for serving later at Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.
The cookies follow that. I bake lots of cookies. I’m a grandmother, so it’s kind of required, but I also like cookies. A lot. Too much, in truth, but I also put those right in the freezer to preserve them for gifting and serving at Christmas. Cinnamon crisps, molasses cookies, shaped and decorated sugar cookies, chocolate chips, and orange pressed cookies are the family favorites.
Each year I like to try something new. It’s rare that the new effort gets added to the regular rotation, but it can happen. Last year I tried a rolled cookie with dried fruit that proved to be way too much work for the results. They were good, but not good enough to justify the effort that went into them.
The other thing I do in November is work on the gift list. I have a big family that includes eight grandchildren, so I need time to gather suggestions and ideas. I hate leaving things to the last minute. So much so that I sometimes go overboard when it comes to getting ready in advance.
But with rare opportunities to spend time with family around the holidays, I don’t want to waste a minute of it running down gifts or wrapping them.
ImaJinn Books, an imprint of Belle Bridge Books has put the ebook of Witch’s Journey on sale for just $.99 for a limited time!
As a convicted witch, she’s at his mercy.
When Jinissa uses magic to save a child from a bad fall, she reveals herself as both a Calavrian witch and a spy. Jinny is convicted of witchcraft and condemned to torture and death. Before the sentence can be carried out; however, Lord Stephan arrives, announcing that the king wants to question the witch himself.
A long trip over the mountains gives Jinny and Stephan time to get to know each other, and despite Stephan’s well-founded hatred for her people, they begin to fall in love. But Stephan is loyal to his king, and Jinny is determined to escape. She’s sworn to keep her people’s secrets, even though she will never be welcomed back in her own country. And how can they afford to fall in love when it’s certain that if Jinny doesn’t escape, Stephan’s king will be forced to kill her when she won’t give him the information he seeks?
Contains Adult Content!
Late in posting this, but yesterday I visited Anastasia Pollack’s Killer Crafts & Crafty Killer blog to discuss what is a trade show and why it makes a great setting for Market Center Mysteries series, including the most recent release, Playing at Murder. https://anastasiapollack.blogspot.com/
Blurb: She’s attempting to start a new life. He’s roamed for more than a decade. Can they let go of the past and grab hold of the future?
Seven years after the death of her husband, Kyleigh Winters turned their old vacation home into a brand new guest ranch. Not willing to join the ranks of lonely women trolling the bars or online in search of a man, Kyleigh is sure if God wishes her to have another husband, He’ll send the perfect someone in His own time. But will she be open to the possibility of new love when He does?
Searching for a place that calls to his soul, Lance Stevens has been a roaming cowboy for ten years since retiring from the Marines. He finds that sanctuary the moment he drives through the Silver Star’s gate and meeting the lovely owner speaks to more than his soul. Will he open to the healing power of love?
Get Pamela Thibodeaux’s second chance romance novella today and see how love and faith conquers all.
Today though, Lance was ready for a nice, long ride. Alone. Away from people. Having only a couple of guests at the time allowed him the freedom to take a day off and do so.
He stepped out of the bunkhouse and glanced toward Kyleigh’s cabin where she sat on the porch. An easel blocked his view of her pretty face. Maybe I won’t ride alone after all. He headed in her direction.
“Morning.” He hesitated on entering her creative sphere without permission, horror stories of interrupting an artist at work running through his mind. She glanced up, smiled, and his pulse scrambled.
“Morning. How are you today?”
“Great. Just getting ready to head out for a ride. Want to tag along?”
Kyleigh grinned and shrugged with a slight shake of her head. “I’m not much of a rider.”
“What? You own a guest ranch, and you don’t ride? We’re going to have to fix that,” he declared with a chuckle.
“Maybe, but not today.”
“What’cha working on? Or am I allowed to ask?”
She laughed. “I’m not one of those crazy, eccentric artists who doesn’t want her work looked at until it’s perfected. C’mon up and tell me what you think.”
Lance ascended the steps then stopped, awestruck by the images on her canvas. Wildlife grazed on lush green tufts of grass peeking through rocks and dirt. Brightly colored birds flitted from tree to tree. Bees and butterflies feasted on the nectar of Prickly Pear Cactus and Purple Passion flowers. A waterfall fed the rapids rushing over slabs of stone then settled in a soft pool of aqua as smooth as glass. “It’s Pedernales Falls.”
The surprised pleasure on her face sent a horde of butterflies bouncing off his ribcage. “You’ve been there?”
He nodded. “Yeah, I try to visit area state parks as often as I can. Camped there a time or two in between jobs.”
“You’ve lived in the Hill Country for a while now, haven’t you?”
“A few years.”
“And you love it?”
Lance nodded again. “I’ve seen majestic mountains, rolling hills and desert sands but there’s just something intimate and cozy about the Hill Country.”
“You sound like Dennis,” Kyleigh remarked with a sigh. “He loved this area. Looked for years to buy a place and when this one came open, snatched it up.”
“Sounds like your husband was a great guy. Wish I could’ve met him.”
Pleasure lit her ebony eyes so the lighter colors within the irises shone through. “You would have loved him—everyone did, and I’m sure you two would have made great friends.”
Their gazes locked. The air pulsated between them. Desire, sharp and painful stabbed in his blood. Easy boy, he chided himself then tipped his hat. “I’ll take that as a compliment. Guess I’d better head out if I’m going to take that ride. Sure you don’t want to come along?”
“Not this time, but thanks.”
“We’ll take a rain check then.” He turned his horse and left before he did something stupid. Like drag her into his arms and kiss her senseless.
Two days later, glad to see no easel or painting in sight, he rode up with another horse saddled and in tow as Kyleigh settled into the rocking chair on her porch. “I’m calling in your rain check.”
“I told you I’m not much of a rider. I’m not comfortable enough on a horse to tackle these hills.”
Lance dismounted and looped Champ’s reins over the porch rail and held a hand out to her. “We’ll stay on flat land then.”
She blew out a breath. “You’re not going to take no for an answer, are you?”
He grinned. “No, ma’am.”
Kyleigh pushed herself out of the chair with a sigh. “Let me get my boots on and grab a hat.”
Five minutes later he helped her mount and adjusted her stirrups, lingering just a bit when his hand grasped her calf to check the length. “Good?”
She nodded and he handed her the reins. Awareness sizzled from the simple brush of hands in the exchange. Sensing her hesitation and fear, he swung into his saddle, turned Champ alongside her horse and put his hand over hers. “Trust me.”
A smile broke through her tense lips, her shoulders relaxed. “I do.”
Ramona and Robert stared out the lodge window in total shock. “He’s got her on a horse,” Mona whispered.
Robert laughed. “Yeah. That’s a good sign. Right?”
She beamed at him. “The best.”
Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/KyleighsCowboy
Author Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story! http://bit.ly/psthibnewsletter
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Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1268453.Pamela_S_Thibodeaux
Writers of Amateur Sleuth mysteries face the question and problem all the time: why can the hero solve the mystery when the police with all their superior manpower and resources can’t.
Being the creative sorts we are, though, mystery authors have come up with a variety of answers to that issue.
Perhaps the police don’t believe a crime was committed. The death might have been made to look like an accident or suicide and only our hero truly believes it wasn’t. Or perhaps the victim has simply disappeared and no one else but the amateur sleuth suspects the person didn’t just take off on their own.
Or maybe the murder victim wasn’t all that well liked, or even was an out-and-out doofus. Even if the authorities believe he was murdered, they might not be willing to devote any extraordinary resources to get it.
Another option is to give the detective an unusual skill set or background that would make them uniquely capable of figuring things out. If the victim was in a highly specialized field like investment banking, art conservation, or jewel trading, a sleuth with similar skills might have a better chance at solving a murder resulting from a work-related issue.
In writing my Market Center Mysteries series, I went with a variation on that approach. My heroine is officially the assistant to the director, but a lot of her job duties involve trouble-shooting, settling disputes, and soothing ruffled feathers at the trades shows and business exhibitions taking place at the D.C. Commerce and Market Center.
Part of what makes her good at the job is that she’s an excellent listener. People talk to her, so she hears a lot of things the police never would. Most of it is irrelevant to solving the crime at hand, but sometimes there are nuggets of information that, put together, can yield an unexpected solution to the crime. Heather is also a very calm and logical thinker, which helps her sort out the important bits and see how they create a new picture.
Amazon print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFTWFCXG
Other formats: https://books2read.com/u/bpq6Ng
The entire Market Center Mysteries Series:
Late posting this, but a couple of days ago, I visited the Short Mystery Fiction Society blog to talk about one of my biggest writing problems: Restless Brain Syndrome (yes, I made up the term) and how it impacted my writing the book that releases tomorrow, Playing at Murder. Read the post here: https://shortmystery.blogspot.com/2022/10/guest-post-restless-brain-syndrome-or.html