- Kelley Armstrong's City of the Lost, the debut of her Casey Duncan mystery/thriller series
- Ace Atkins' Slow Burn, the latest in his acclaimed continuation of Robert B Parker's Spenser series
- Jessica Beck's Devil's Food Defense, the 25th in the Donut Shop culinary cozy series
- Heather Blake's Gone With the Witch, the sixth book in her Wishcraft paranormal cozy mystery series
- Larry Bond's Jerry Mitchell thriller, Fatal Thunder
- Zac Brewer's mystery/thriller The Blood Between Us
- Kathleen Bridge's Hearse and Gardens, the second book in her Hamptons Home & Garden cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Jane Casey's After the Fire, the sixth in her series with London detective Maeve Kerrigan
- Barbara Cleverly's Diana's Altar, the latest in her highly praised Joe Sandilands British historical mystery series
- Ted Clifton's Sky High Stakes, the third book in his Pacheco and Chino cozy mystery series
- Peg Cochran's Berry the Hatchet, the second book in her Cranberry Cove cozy series
- Max Allan Collins' Better Dead, a new Nathan Heller historical mystery
- Annette Dashofy's With a Vengeance, the fourth book in her Zoe Chambers mystery series from Henery Press
- Hannah Dennison's A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall, the third book in her Honeychurch Hall British village cozy mystery series
- Claire Donally's Catch as Cat Can, the latest in her Sunny and Shadow cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Susan Gillard's Mint Chip Murder, the sixth book in her Donut Hole cozy series
- Sally Goldenbaum's Murder at Lambswool Farm, the latest in her Seaside Knitters cozy mystery series
- Addison Harper's Pumpkin Carving Disaster, the third book in her Hampton Port cozy series
- Edgar Award winner John Hart's latest, Redemption Road
- Lilly Harper Hart's Ghostly Deceits, the third book in her Haley Harper paranormal cozy series
- Lilly Harper Hart's Ghostly Start, with the first 3 books in her Haley Harper paranormal cozy series
- Betty Hechtman's Seams Like Murder, the tenth book in her Crochet cozy mystery series
- Charlaine Harris' Night Shift, the third book in her Midnight, Texas series
- April Henry's YA mystery/thriller The Girl I Used To Be
- Hazel Holt's Mrs. Malory and Death Is a Word, the latest in her Mrs. Malory British cozy mystery series
- Cynthia Hurst's Uprooted, the 12th book in the R&P Labs series
- Diane Kelly's Against the Paw, the fourth book in her Paw Enforcement humorous cozy mystery series
- Ward Larsen's Assassin's Silence, a David Slaton thriller
- Joyce and Jim Lavene's reissued The Last To Remember, the third book in their Sheriff Sharyn Howard series
- Allison Leotta's legal mystery thriller The Last Good Girl from her Anna Curtis series
- Amanda Lee's Charms and Witchdemeanors, the 8th book in her Wicked Witches of the Midwest paranormal mystery series
- Laura Lippman's standalone mystery/thriller Wilde Lake
- Kylie Logan's Irish Stewed, the debut of her Ethic Eats culinary cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Edgar Award nominee Malcom Mackay's thriller The Night the Rich Men Burned, set in Glasgow
- a reissue of Francine Mathews' Death in the Off-Season, the debut of her Merry Folger Nantucket traditional mystery series from Soho Crime
- Kimberly McCreight's new mystery/thriller The Outliers
- Nancy McGovern's Death of a Deputy, the second in her Murder in Milburn culinary cozy series
- Joe McNally's Wild Horses, the eighth book in his amateur sleuth mystery series with jockey Eddie Malloy
- Carol Miller's southern country house mystery An Old-Fashioned Murder, the third book in her Moonshine mystery series
- Tamar Myers' Tea With Jam and Dread, the latest in her long running Pennsylvania Dutch humorous cozy series
- Nancy J Parra's Newlywed Dead, the third book in her Perfect Proposals cozy series
- James Patterson and Maxine Paetro's 15th Affair, a Women's Murder Club mystery
- JM Poole's Case of the One-Eyed Tiger, the debut of the Corgi Case Files cozy series
- Summer Prescott's Peaches and Creme Killer, the sixth book in her INNcredibly Sweet culinary cozy series
- Cynthia Riggs' Bloodroot, the latest in her Martha's Vineyard cozy mystery series with 92 year old senior sleuth Victoria Trumbull
- Sleuthing Women, a collection of 10 first in series female sleuth cozy mysteries, bargain priced (currently) at only $2.99 for Kindle
- Victoria Thompson's Murder in Morningside Heights, the latest in her Edgar Award nominated Gaslight historical mystery series
- Elaine Viets' The Art of Murder, the 14th book in her Dead-End Job cozy mystery series
- Tracey Jane Jackson and Amanda Washington's Dial L for Lynda, the debut of the Linda and Lynda Detective Agency humorous cozy series
- John Wells' Over Your Dead Body, the latest in his John Wayne Cleaver mystery series
- Darcie Wilde's A Useful Woman, the debut of her Rosalind Thorne historical mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Another first Tuesday of the month is upon us, and this month there is a big batch of over 50 new mystery releases. So let's get right to them:
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
It is once again the first Tuesday of the month, so we are here to run down today's list of over 40 new mystery releases:
- Cathy Ace's The Corpse with the Garnet Face, the seventh book in her Cait Morgan traditional mystery series
- Ellery Adams' Breach of Crust, the fifth Charmed Pie Shoppe cozy mystery
- Susan Wittig Albert's Blood Orange, the latest in her long running China Bayles cozy series
- Connie Archer's A Clue in the Stew, the fifth book in her Soup Lover's culinary cozy mystery series
- Sarah Biglow's novella Forgive and Forget, the second book in her Geeks and Things cozy series
- Duffy Brown's Braking for Bodies, the second book in her Cycle Path cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Lucy Burdette's Killer Takeout, the seventh book in the Key West Food Critic culinary cozy mystery series
- Janet Cantrell's Fat Cat Takes the Cake, the third in her Fat Cat cozy mystery series
- Elizabeth Lynn Casey's Needle and Dread, the 11th in her Southern Sewing Circle cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Mary Higgins Clark's new thriller As Time Goes By
- Kate Collins' Moss Hysteria, the 18th in her Flower Shop cozy mystery series
- Mary Daheim's Here Comes the Bribe, the 30th in her Bed-and-Breakfast cozy mystery series
- Jacqueline Diamond's The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet, the debut of her Safe Harbor Medical Mystery series
- Dawn Eastman's An Unhappy Medium, the fourth book in her Family Fortune cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Amanda Flower's Crime and Poetry, the debut of her Magical Bookshop cozy series
- Susan Furlong's Rest in Peach, the second book in her Georgia Peach cozy mystery series
- Eva Gates' Reading Up a Storm, the third book in her Lighthouse Library cozy series
- Rufus Gilmore's reissued classic tradition mystery The Mystery of the Second Shot, originally published in 1912
- Nell Goddin's Red for Love, the fourth book in her Molly Sutton cozy series
- H Terrell Griffin's Mortal Dilemma, the latest in his Matt Royal mystery/thriller series
- Haley Harper's 3 novella cozy mystery collection The Complete Mayzie Katz Cozy Mystery Series
- Lilly Harper Hart's Deadly Rivalry, the 17th book in her Hardy Brothers Security series
- Tammy Kaehler's Red Flags, the fourth book in her Kate Reilly mystery series
- Diane Kelly's 4 book humorous cozy mystery set Paw Enforcement Mysteries Thus Far
- Killer Confections Volume 2, an inexpensive 8 novel culinary cozy mystery collection
- Laurie King's historical mystery The Murder of Mary Russell, the latest in her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series
- Cynthia Kuhn's The Semester of Our Discontent, the debut of her Lila McLean cozy/academic mystery series from Henery Press
- Miles Lancaster's Murder in the Mountains, the debut of his Rocky Mountain cozy series
- Gillian Larkin's first Julia Blake short cozy, A Lesson in Deceit
- Joyce and Jim Lavene's One Last Goodbye, the reissued second book in their Sheriff Sharyn Howard series
- Janice Law's historical mystery Nights in Berlin, the fourth in her Francis Bacon series
- Amanda Lee's A Solstice Celebration, a Wicked Witches of the Midwest short
- Laura Lebow's historical musical mystery Sent to the Devil, set in Vienna in 1788
- Lisa Q Mathews' Permanently Booked, the second book in her Ladies Smythe and Westin cozy series
- Jenn McKinlay's Vanilla Beaned, the eighth book in her Cupcake Bakery cozy series
- Shamus Award winner Lachlan Smith's Panther's Prey, the fourth in his Leo Maxwell series
- David Taylor's historical mystery Night Work, the second in his series with New York cop Michael Cassidy
- ReGina Welling and Erin Lynn's 3 book cozy mystery collection Ponderosa Pines Series Books 1-3
- Tina Whittle's Reckoning and Ruin, the fifth book in her Tai Randolph series
- Stuart Woods' Family Jewels, the latest in his bestselling Stone Barrington series
- Lynda Wilcox's cozy mystery The Melbourne Medallion, the second book in her Gemini Detectives series
- Robin Yocum's coming of age mystery A Brilliant Death
- Ovidia Yu's Aunty Lee' Chilled Revenge, the third book in her Aunty Lee/Singaporean cozy mystery series
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
The first day of March is full of new mystery releases (over 40 of them!), so lets get right to it:
- Kristi Abbott's Kernel of Truth, the debut of her Popcorn Shop cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Christy Barritt's Thrill Squeaker, the 11th book in her Squeaky Clean cozy mystery series with Gabby St. Claire
- Rhys Bowen's Time of Fog and Fire, the latest in her Molly Murphy historical mystery series
- Laura Bradford's cozy mystery A Churn for the Worse, the fifth book in her Amish mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Simon Brett's British village mystery The Killing Cafe, the latest in his Fethering series
- Emily Brightwell's Mrs. Jeffries Wins the Prize, the 34th book in her British Victorian mystery series with Mrs. Jeffries
- Brittany Cavallero's A Study in Charlotte, the debut of her new trilogy featuring the teen descendants of Holmes and Watson, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson
- Laura Childs' Devonshire Scream, the 17th book in her Tea Shop cozy mystery series
- Clive Cussler and Justin Bell's The Gangster, the ninth book in the Isaac Bell mystery/thriller series
- Kathi Daley's A Tale of Two Tabbies, the seventh book in her Whales and Tails cozy mystery series
- Phoebe Eggli's The Calla Lillies of Murder are Blooming, the debut of her Folly Beach Florist cozy series
- Joe Flanagan's noir historical mystery crime novel Lesser Evils, set in 1957 Cape Cod
- Judith Flanders' British mystery A Bed of Scorpions, the second of her series with London book editor Samantha Clair. From the author of the highly regarded A Murder of Magpies.
- James Grippando's Gone Again, the latest in his bestselling Jack Swyteck legal mystery/thriller series
- CS Harris' When Falcons Fall, the 11th book in the Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery series
- Lily Harper Hart's Wicked Places, the fourth book in her Ivy Morgan paranormal cozy series
- Clare Havens' Tailor Made, the third book in her Constable Country British cozy mystery series
- Lene Kaaberbol and Anget Friis' The Considerate Killer, the fourth and final book in the Nina Borg Scandinavian crime series
- Belle Knudson's Tool Kit Clues, the 9th book in her Mrs. Fix It cozy msytery series
- Belle Knudson's Wrenched in Murder, the 10th book in her Mrs. Fix It cozy msytery series
- Amanda Lee's Grim Reunion, the fourth book in her Aisling Grimlock paranormal cozy mystery series
- Harper Lin's The Scariest Tail, the fourth book in her Wonder Cats cozy mystery series
- Kylie Logan's And Then There Were Nuns, the fourth book in her League of Literary Ladies cozy mystery series
- Lisa Lutz's psychological thriller The Passenger, from the author of the popular Spellman Files series
- Mary Maxwell's A Zest for Murder, the fifth book in her Sky High Pies culinary cozy mystery series
- CT Mitchell's culinary cozy mystery short Cupcakes, Cider and Crime, the third in the Sugar N Spice series
- Tricia O'Malley's Three Tequilas, the third book in her Althea Rose humorous cozy mystery series
- Carlene O'Neil's Ripe for Murder, the second book in her Cypress Cove cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Open Road/Mysterious Press has reissued 9 non series mysteries from Ellis Peters, author of the Brother Cadfael series
- Summer Prescott's Irish Creme Killer, the first book in her INNcredibly Sweet culinary cozy series, continuing the adventures of Missy and Chas from the popular Frosted Love series
- Linda Reilly's Out of the Dying Pan, the second book in her Deep Fried culinary cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- EG Rodford's The Bursar's Wife, the debut of the George Kocharyan traditional British mystery series
- Clea Simon's When Bunnies Go Bad, the sixty in her Pru Marlow Pet Noir mystery series
- Clea Simon's The Ninth Life, the debut of her Blackie and Care Cat mystery series
- Lotta Smith's 3 novella cozy mystery collection Confessions of the Assistant Extraordinaire
- Raven Snow's supernatural cozy mystery Shake Your Green Thing, the second book in her Harper "Foxxy" Beck series
- Denise Swanson's Between a Book and a Hard Place, the fifth book in her Devereaux's Dime Store series from NAL
- Victoria Vickers' Murder at Raven's Cove Marina, the debut of her Ramona Russet cozy mystery series
- Henery Press has reissued all 5 books in Noreen Wald's humorous cozy mystery series with ghostwriter Jake O'Hara
- Auralee Wallace's Skinny Dipping with Murder, the debut of her cozy female amateur sleuth series from St. Martin's
Sunday, February 14, 2016
A Sweet Treat for Valentine’s Day—A Cozy Mystery Anthology
By Joanna Campbell Slan
My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’--Forrest Gump
Growing up, I spent many happy hours parked on a chair in my grandmother’s converted sunporch. There I happily explored her bookshelves that were packed with copies of Reader’s Digest’s Condensed Books. Opening each hefty copy felt gave me the same excitement as opening a box of chocolates. Most of the authors were unknown to me. Often the subject matter was over my head. But always, always I found hours of reading pleasure on those pages.
It’s the same with our new anthology series, Happy Homicides. My friend Linda Gordon Hengerer and I reached out to other cozy authors with an offer to compile and publish our work. In today’s crowded market, getting “found” by new readers has become more and more difficult. We figured that if we could offer a variety of cozy mysteries at a bargain basement price, all of us authors would benefit.
The concept is working! Our first anthology—Happy Homicides (1): Thirteen Cozy Holiday Mysteries became a bestseller in several Amazon categories. It also propelled a few of us into Amazon’s Top 100 Mystery Author list.
Now we’re on to Happy Homicides 2: Thirteen CozyMysteries/Crimes of the Heart. (Release date: Feb. 14, 2016) All of our authors wrote “whodunits” that explore that intersection of love and bad behavior. At only $2.99, it’s a bargain, thanks to 600-plus pages of reading material. As is our habit, we’re also including in the book an email address so readers can send away for a free bonus file of recipes and craft projects. Order your copy today!
And yes, we have more traditional mystery anthologies on the way.
Here’s our line-up of authors and their stories.
Stupid Cupid: A CaraMia Delgatto Novella by Joanna Campbell Slan—Cara Mia’s search for love gets her involved in a star-crossed, homicidal romance.
A Heart for Murder by Teresa Trent—An expensive family heirloom is stolen from a local jewelry store, and Betsy Livingston Fitzpatrick would love to figure out who’s responsible.
For the Love of Dog by Neil Plakcy—A young woman’s death causes a man to consider the many aspects of love. Is it ever a justification for murder?
Wedding Knife by Elaine Viets—A groom learns to take his vow–Till death do we part—very, very seriously.
Death and a DozenRoses by Annie Adams—Plucky florist Rosie McKay is reunited with an old love, thanks to complications that happen when she tries to deliver a dozen roses.
The Sodium Arrow by Camille Minichino—The love of a student for a favorite teacher drives a freelance embalmer to seek out justice.
Sweets, Treats, andMurder by Nancy Jill Thames—Jillian Bradley is a widow with no children, but she still has a keen sense of family. Her love of a good mystery sets her and her canine companion, Teddy, on a quest for justice.
Dying for Valentine’sTea: A Beach Tea Shop Novella by Linda Gordon Hengerer—The three Powell sisters want their friend Thelma to find true love, but they’re having trouble believing her fiancé has her best interests at heart.
The New Normal by Kathi Daley—Even though her own dreams have been shattered, Ellie Davis finds it impossible to quit loving an old friend, even after he’s accused of murder.
Bones and Arrows by Carolyn Haines—Intrepid Sarah Booth Delaney would rather face a gun than a party on Valentine’s Day. Not surprisingly, she’s decided that Cupid is a big phony. But is he a jewel thief, too?
Murder at CatmmandoMountain: Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery 1 by Anna Celeste Burke—Georgina Shaw loves her cat, chocolate, and cooking. When she’s framed for a crime, she’s forced to reconsider her priorities.
The Missing Jacket by Randy Rawls—A golfing buddy offers Jonathan Boykin big money to retrieve a stolen jacket, but Jonathan suspects something else is going on. Jonathan is smart enough to discern the difference between love and lust. But can he also figure out the scam?
Really, Truly Dead by Maggie Toussaint—Lindsey McKay has no desire to return to small town life. But her love for her father brings her back home when he’s accused of murder.
I’m curious. Do you like anthologies? Did you ever read the Reader’s Digest Condensed books? How do you discover new authors?
About the Author
Joanna Campbell Slan is the national bestselling and award-winning author of thirty books, as well as being a contributor to many of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. When she isn’t walking the beach with her Havanese pup, Jax, she’s writing books for one of her three mysteries series and building dollhouses. Joanna and her husband David live on Jupiter Island, Florida. http://www.JoannaSlan.com
at 12:00 AM
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
The past 10 days has seen the release 21 cozy mysteries bargain priced at only 99c for Kindle. In most cases these prices are only good for a limited time, so grab them while you can. Be sure to check first to make sure the price is still 99c. The recent bargain releases include:
- Constance Barker's sixth Sweet Home mystery, Expresso Messo
- MC Beaton's Hamish Macbeth short story Knock, Knock, You're Dead
- Cindy Bell's A Bitter Sweet Murder, the third book in her Chocolate Centered series
- Patti Benning's third Darling Deli mystery Cold Cut Murder
- Morgana Best's Sit for a Spell, the third in the Kitchen Witch series
- Nancy C Davis' sixth Vanessa Abbot Cat Cozy Murder Under the Catwalk
- Leighann Dobbs' A Treacherous Treasure, the third book in her Mooseamuck Island series
- Liz Dodwell's Bird Brain, a Polly Parrett Pet Sitter cozy
- Leona Fox's Tail Wagging Trouble, the debut of her East Pender series
- Mak Han's Barnyard Murder, the second in her Strawberry Shores series
- Dianne Harman's Liz Lucas mystery The Blue Butterfly
- Sheila Hudson's Murder at the Monastary, the third book in her Thursday Club series
- Amelia Morgan's fifth Witches of Enchanted Bay mystery A Riddle of Murder
- debut author Margaret Morse's Murder Casts Its Spell from Gemma Halliday Publishing
- Liv Parker's Mocked, the debut of her Ginger Stevens series
- Laura Pauling's Catered to Death, the sixth in her Holly Hart culinary series
- Summer Prescott's White Chocolate Murder, #31 in the Frosted Love series
- Emma Watts fourth in her Witches of Crystal Cove series, Murder Most Foul
- Anisa Claire West's Murder on the Riviera
- JA Whiting's Sweet Fire and Stone, the seventh in her Sweet Cove series
- Cheryl Zelenka's debut of her Sadie Sunshine series, School Lunch is Murder
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
There is another great batch of new releases this month, so lets get right to them:
- Avery Aames' For Cheddar or Worse, the seventh book in her popular Cheese Shop cozy mystery series
- Cathy Ace's The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer, the second book in her WISE Inquiries Agency series
- Henery Press has reissued Ritter Ames' first two books in her Bodies of Art series, Counterfeit Conspiracies & Marked Masters
- MJ Arlidge's British mystery/thriller The Doll's House, the third in his DI Helen Grace series
- Lucy Arlington's Off the Books, the fifth book in the Novel Idea cozy mystery series
- Stephanie Barron's Regency historical mystery Jane and the Waterloo Map, a Being Jane Austen mystery
- Mike Binder's international political thriller Keep Calm
- Danish author Sara Blaedel's The Killing Forest with DI Loise Rick
- Lynn Cahoon's Murder on Wheels, the sixth book in her Tourist Trap cozy mystery series
- Hope Callaghan's Sweet Southern Sleuths Box Set 2, with stories 5 to 7 in her cozy mystery series
- Maia Chance's Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna, the third book in her Fairy Tale Fatal cozy mystery series
- John Connell's historical mystery/thriller Spoils of Victory, the second book in his Mason Collins series
- Sheila Connolly's A Turn for the Bad, the fourth book in her County Cork cozy mystery series
- Amanda Cooper's The Grim Steeper, the third book in her Teapot Collector cozy mystery series
- Jeanne M Dams' Blood Will Tell, the 16th book in the Dorothy Martin cozy mystery series
- Liz Dodwell's cozy mystery novella Bird Brain, the third book in her Polly Parrett Pet Sitter series
- Dee Ernst's A Founders' Day Death, the second book in her Mt. Abrams cozy mystery series
- Lily Harper Hart's Deadly Arrival, the 16th book in her Hardy Brothers Security series
- BB Haywood's Town in a Cinnamon Toast, the seventh book in the Candy Holliday cozy mystery series
- Barry Eisler's espionage/political thriller The God's Eye View
- Neal Griffin's thriller A Voice from the Field
- Mary Ellen Hughes Scene of the Brine, the third book in her Pickled and Preserved cozy mystery series
- Delia James' A Familiar Tail, the debut of her Witch's Cat paranormal cozy mystery series
- Robert Knott's western thriller Robert B Parker's Blackjack, a Cole and Hitch novel
- Micheal Kurland's The Girl in the High-Heeled Shoes, the second book in his Alexander Brass 1930s historical mystery series
- Jill Marie Landis' Hawaii Five Uh-Oh, the fifth book in her Tikki Goddess humorous cozy mystery series
- Edgar Award winner Joe Lansdale's Honky Tonk Samurai, the latest in his Hap and Leonard humorous hardboiled mystery series
- Joyce and Jim Lavene's cozy mystery short story collection Gone by Midnight
- Amanda Lee's Bewitched, a Wicked Witches of the Midwest paranormal cozy mystery short
- Dixie Lyle's A Deadly Tail, the fourth book in her Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot cozy mystery series
- JD Robb's Brotherhood in Death, the latest in her bestselling In Death series
- Claire Robyns' Worst Laid Plans, the debut of her Maddox Storm small town cozy mystery series
- Karen Rose's romantic thriller Alone in the Dark, the latest in her Cincinnati series
- Sofie Ryan's A Whisker of Trouble, the third book in her Second Chance Cat cozy mystery series
- Michael Sears' thriller Saving Jason, the fourth book in his Jason Stafford series
- Julie Seedorf's The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors, the debut of her Brilliance Minnesota cozy mystery series from Cozy Cat Press
- Diane Vallere's A Disguise to Die For, the debut of her Costume Shop cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime
- Teresa Watson's Who Invited the Ghost to Dinner, the second book in her Ghost Writer cozy mystery series
- Christine Wenger's It's a Wonderful Knife, the fifth book in her Comfort Food culinary cozy mystery series
- Josephine Wiggle's A Deadly Parade, the third book in her Sweet Senses culinary cozy series
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Congratulations to Lauren Carr on the release of the latest Mac Faraday Mystery, Cancelled Vows! Thank you, Lauren, for sharing an excerpt of the new release with us and our readers!
Meet Dallas Walker of Lauren Carr’s CANCELLED VOWS
By Lauren Carr
Today, January 28, 2016, marks the release of Cancelled Vows, the eleventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, and fans of my Deep Creek Lake mysteries are in for a treat!
For Cancelled Vows, mystery fans are going on a field trip to the Big Apple. Days before his wedding to Chelsea Adams, David O’Callaghan discovers he’s already married to an old girlfriend. So, David, Mac, and Gnarly rush off to New York City to get David’s wife to sign the divorce papers so he can marry Chelsea that weekend. Of course, murder shoots a bullet into their plans—quite literally. (Lesson to be Learned: Never go through a drive-thru in Las Vegas when you’re drunk.)
There’s an added treat in Cancelled Vows: Fans are going to meet a new character—and a character she is!
Readers may wonder why I would be adding a new character to a series that is already established. The answer is simple really. A series that stays the same book after book tends to go stale, not just for readers, but for the writer as well.
In many ways, mystery writers are like movie directors. After coming up with the basic storyline for our murder mysteries, we “cast” the parts to characters. Luckily, we don’t have to deal with agents, lawyers, or actors unions. If a character doesn’t work out—the writer can simply kick a character to the curb and create another character to fill the role.
If the writer is lucky, the character will come completely to life and take the mystery in a whole new and exciting direction.
When putting together the plotline for Cancelled Vows, I needed an investigative journalist who would stand out in New York City, which in itself is the heart of diversity. Not only did she need to be different from the city slickers, but she also needed to be different enough to attract Mac’s and David’s attentions. Who better to stand out than a country girl—but not a sweet Southern flower—a tough Texan thirsting to uncover the truth about her mother’s disappearance.
I was still working on my character’s personality when I started searching for names. Several years ago, I had seen an interview with Elmore Leonard, novelist, short story writer, screenwriter (you name it!), in which he recounted working on a story in which he had a character from New Orleans, who he had given a French name. He said that as he wrote, this character wouldn’t say anything. Then, Elmore Leonard decided to change his name. From that point on, he couldn’t get the character to shut up.
Still in the process of developing this character’s personality and backstory, I was searching for a name when I came upon Dallas.
Okay, I confess! I read an interview with actress Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of director Ron Howard, in which she stated that her middle name (Dallas) was after the city in which she was conceived.
Hmmmmm, I thought. How intriguing. How about the first name of Dallas, named after Dallas, Texas, where she was conceived? A search on the Internet bought up Walker as a popular surname in Texas.
As soon as I gave this character the name of Dallas Walker, she was born. Like the character in the Elmore Leonard book, I couldn’t get her to shut up—she insisted on telling me everything—all with a thick Texan accent, liberally mixed with little euphemisms and sayings are really adding a lot of levity to the case.
Dallas Walker is one sassy character who won my heart, along with the rest of the cast from Deep Creek Lake, the second she shot upon the page. I’m sure you’ll love her, too, as you meet her in this excerpt from Cancelled Vows below.
In this scene from the middle of Cancelled Vows, Dallas Walker has spent the night sleeping on the sofa in Mac and David’s hotel suite after a murder at the news studio where David’s wife worked. Not having time to go home and change, she freshens up in David’s bedroom before returning to the studio the next morning:
David was aware of Dallas’ following him into the bedroom and closing the door, but he didn’t think anything of it. After all, she needed his undershirt and a place to change her clothes.
Taking the white undershirt out of his suitcase, he said, “This may be a little big in the shoulders, but it should do.”
He turned around to find her standing on the other side of the bed. She had taken off the double-breasted top of her pantsuit. Above the waist, she wasn’t wearing anything but a chocolate-brown silk-and-lace bra. The hue of her underwear matched the brown in her eyes. With a toss of her head, she shook her hair back behind her shoulders, letting it spill down her back, and held out her hand to take the shirt.
Stunned by her lack of modesty, David made no move to give it to her.
“Let’s see how this looks.” She snatched the shirt from his hand. After pulling it on over her head, she unzipped her pants to tuck it in. Frowning at her image in the mirror, she put on the stark-white button-down shirt and fastened the bottom buttons. Cocking her head, she studied her reflection. “Whatta ya think?”
She turned to David, who was trying to get the image of her perfectly toned body out of his mind. He swallowed. “Good.”
Turning back to the mirror, she furrowed her brow. “You can see my bra underneath.”
With her calling it to his attention, David had to agree she was right.
“That won’t work.” In one movement, she pulled both white shirts off over her head. While David’s mouth hung open, she undid the bra’s clasp between her breasts and shrugged out of it.
As much as he did not want to take in her beautiful, plump breasts, he couldn’t resist uttering a gasp of surprise. “Obviously, they don’t teach modesty in Texas.”
“I grew up surrounded by rough and burly ranch hands. I would have never survived being prissy and modest.” With a naughty grin, she tossed the bra to David, who caught it with one hand. “Souvenir of your trip to New York,” she said with a wink.
“And all I was looking to take back to Deep Creek Lake was a divorce.” David tossed the bra into his overnight bag.
She had already pulled both shirts back on over her head. “How is it that Yvonne was married to a hunk like you and never told anyone?” While tucking the undershirt into her pants, she turned to David and looked him up and down. “If I was your wife, I’d shout it from the rooftop.”
“Neither of us knew.”
Hands on her hips, she cocked her head at him. “Dude! How do you get married and not know it?” Her tone was filled with doubt.
“Picture it,” David said. “Drunk in Vegas.”
Her hand shot up. “’Nuff said!” She strapped the belt that she had previously worn on her pants around her waist to cinch in the men’s white button-down shirt that hung down low enough to cover her hips. She left the top four buttons undone to show the white undershirt beneath.
With only a few pieces of clothing, she had transformed her look into stylishly casual.
Without asking, she picked up David’s comb and ran it through her thick locks. “Wish I had time to wash my hair. Do you have a rubber band, sugar?”
David went into the bathroom to go through his shaving kit. He returned with an old, worn rubber band to find that she had begun French braiding her hair from the crown. “I have no idea where this came from.” He held out the band to her.
Because she was using both hands to work the braid, she was unable to take it. “Take a tater and wait, sweetie.”
“What?” David asked her.
“It means don’t get your boxers in a wad,” she said to his reflection in the mirror.
He stared back at her reflection for a moment before shaking his head. “I don’t understand half of what you say…but you sound good saying it.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, handsome sir,” she replied to his reflection in the mirror.
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The eleventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Cancelled Vows is scheduled for release on January 28, 2016 and available for pre-order on Amazon.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:
- E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://acornbookservices.com/
- Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
- Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
- Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts
- Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl
- Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie
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