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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dead in the Water Giveaway from Denise Swanson

We are so excited to bring you a giveaway from Denise Swanson celebrating the release of her new Welcome Back to Scumble River series. We all know and love her Scumble River and Devereaux's Dime Store mysteries, and Dead in the Water is sure to be a hit.  Congratulations, Denise!  Scroll down to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, and head over to Amazon to order!

From Sourcebooks:

The first book in the brand-new Welcome Back to Scumble River series featuring New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson’s beloved setting and characters, Dead in the Water, is a gripping mystery that won’t let you go until you’ve turned the last page.

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd wishes she could click her ruby-red high-tops, chant “There’s no place like home,” and go back to life pre-tornado. With her house destroyed and a baby on the way, the last thing she needs is a dead body among the rubble.

But that’s exactly what she finds.

Zeke Lyon, the town’s mild-mannered bookkeeper, appears to have been a victim of the tornado—but some of the details don’t quite add up. When Skye starts to dig into Zeke’s mysterious death, her police chief husband, Wally, goes missing and she’s sure he’s been kidnapped.

Will she be able to solve the case and find her husband before it’s too late?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River Mystery and Deveraux’s Dime Store Mystery series. She has been nominated for RT Book Review’s Career Achievement Award, the Agatha Award, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Visit her at www.deniseswanson.com.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

1950s Slang: The Way We Talked, a guest post by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Author Janet Elizabeth Lynn joins us on the blog today with a look back at slang in the 1950s.  A knowledge of the "lingo" is important to write the Skylar Drake mystery series she co-writes with husband Will Zeilinger. 

1950s Slang:The Way We Talked

by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

My husband and I write The Skylark Drake Murder Mysteries, a hard boiled 1950s series. To make this as authentic possible, we include the language used during that time period. Yeah, some people actually feel the 1950s is considered historical (Umm!)

It is fun looking up some of the slang that was used by the "younger generation" and for me, remembering some as well. For example:

  • Burn Rubber-when a car accelerates quickly
  • Shocker-a liar or cheat
  • Knuckle sandwich- a punch in the face
  • Get on the horn-to use a phone
  • Dullsville-a boring or dull person
  • Wig out-get agitated

So to make our characters real, we include some of the slang, dress them in period clothes (i.e. gloves and hats) and include current events of the time as a backdrop.

The results? Slivers of GlassStrange MarkingsDesert Ice and Spike Hill (to be released 2/2018)...and yes, we're still married.

For more information, visit www.janetlynnauthor.com or Janet & Will's blog at www.themarriedauthors.blogspot.com.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Excerpt of Room for Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman

Author Nancy Cole Silverman is joining us on the blog today with an excerpt of her newest Carol Childs mystery, Room for Doubt.  Check out the new book, and pick it up for Kindle today!

Nancy Cole Silverman

“Excuse me, miss? Are you a model?”

I was in the cereal aisle at the grocery store with a box of bran
flakes in my hand when I heard the voice behind me. It had been years
since I’d done any modeling, and I wasn’t feeling particularly
glamorous. My hair was in a ponytail, and I was wearing a pair of
sweatpants and a ratty old KCHC t-shirt with a cartoon of a dead
chicken on my chest. The words Radio Road Kill blasted beneath it.
Not exactly the type of thing one wears to make a good first

“Not in years.” I laughed and turned expecting to find a friendly
face. Grocery stores these days topped bars for places to meet men.
Despite the fact the line was an obvious come on, I was, unfortunately,
once again in the market.

Instead, the voice belonged to a nice-looking, well-built gym-rat
with a neatly cropped beard. He was about half my age, and worse yet,
he wasn’t talking to me. Not at all. He had cornered a young girl
directly behind me; a twenty-something darling dressed in a skin-tight
running outfit that looked like it had been painted onto her body.

I smiled apologetically and turned to read the label on the cereal
box. Not that they noticed. Lately, I felt as though I’d become the
invisible woman.

My name is Carol Childs, I’m a single mom, and I work as a
reporter for a talk radio station in Los Angeles. I was one of those
faceless voices on the airwaves people heard every day. Perhaps that,
and the fact I’d recently turned forty, explained why I was beginning to
feel I blended into the background like wallpaper paste. Few of my
listeners could identify me, and in LA, women over forty simply
weren’t on anyone’s radar. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched,
while I listened to their exchange.

Gym-rat, with muscled arms like watermelons bulging from
beneath his t-shirt, pressed a business card into Running-girl’s hand.
“You ever want to get into the club, just call.”

Gym-rat was making a big impression. Running-girl glanced at
the card, hugged it to her chest like she had just won the lottery, then
kissed Gym-rat on the cheek as she tucked the card into her sports bra.

At that point, I tossed the cereal box into my cart and started up
the aisle. I didn’t give it another thought.

Until the next day.

My bedroom was still dark when the phone rang. With my head barely
off the pillow, I squinted at the digital clock next to my bed: 5:55 a.m.
Dammit, Tyler, it’s not even six o’clock. New record. I fumbled for the
bedside phone—a requirement the station demanded of all its
reporters—and knocked it to the floor before grabbing the handle.
Nobody else, not even a phone solicitor, would dare to call before

“Please, Tyler, tell me this isn’t becoming a habit with you.”

“Sorry, Carol. I need you.”

On the other end of the line was my boss, Tyler Hunt, a twentyone-
year-old whiz-kid who referred to me as the world’s oldest cub

“No,” I begged. “Absolutely not. Please, Tyler, not today.”

Tomorrow was my son’s birthday, and Tyler had promised me the
day off to prepare. On Saturday, Charlie, my youngest, would officially
be sixteen, and I had planned a big surprise party to celebrate. My
daughter, Cate, was coming up from San Diego State. My best friend,
Sheri, her son, Clint, and fourteen members of Charlie’s football team
would all be here. Plus, my ex, Robert, planned stop by with the wife
and Charlie’s new step-brother. No way was I about to get caught up in
anything that would distract me.

“I need you to take this, Carol. There’s a body up on the
Hollywood Sign.”

I sat up in bed and pushed the hair out of my face. He had to be
kidding. The Hollywood Sign? Recently a prankster had climbed to the
top of the sign and with tarps and tape lettered it to read Hollyweed. A
pro-cannabis statement for sure.

“Tyler, if there’s a body on the Hollywood Sign, it’s got to be a
publicity stunt. Something one of the studios is doing for a movie

“It’s not a stunt, Carol. The police are reporting a man’s naked
body hanging from the sign. It’s for real. I need you up there. Now.

About the Author

Nancy Cole Silverman credits the fact both she and Edgar Allen Poe share the same birthday, along with her twenty-five years in talk radio, for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. After writing everything from commercial copy to news Silverman retired from radio in 2001 to write fiction. Today, Silverman has written numerous short stories and novelettes some of which have been produced as audio books. Silverman's new series, the Carol Childs Mysteries (Henery Press) takes place inside a busy Los Angles Radio station. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband, four adult children, and thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

Monday, July 24, 2017

HUGE Berkley Prime Crime Sale!!! 7/24/17

Penguin/Random House has just put a bunch of bestselling cozy mysteries on sale for $1.99 or $2.99 for Kindle from the Berkley Prime Crime imprint.  The vast majority of the sale books are first in series titles.  These prices are unlikely to last long, so grab them while you can! Below we have summarized the books in sale alphabetically by author and title.  Be sure to scroll ALL THE WAY down...it is a long list, and we have some additional daily specials below the Berkley list:

Other Daily Deals
  • Libby Howard's The Tell-All, the debut of her Locust Point series 
  • Kathi Daley's Camp Carter, the 25th in her bestselling Zoe Donovan series
  • Holly Plum's Winning the Batchelor, the seventh in her popular Patty Cakes Bake Shop series. The first 2 in the series are also on sale for 99c
  • Zara Keane's To Hatch a Thief, book 1.5 in her Movie Club Mysteries series
  • Rita Mae Brown's Sour Puss, the 14th in her Mrs. Murphy series 
  • Nancy McGovern's Death at a B & B, the ninth in her popular Murder in Milburn series. On sale for pre-order for 99c for Kindle 
  • Each of the 3 books in GM Malliet's Agatha Award winning St. Just traditional British mystery series are on sale for $3.82 for Kindle: Death of a Cozy Writer, Death and the Lit Chick, and Death at the Alma Mater 

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    Co-Writing: A Partnership, a guest post by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

    Author Janet Elizabeth Lynn joins us on the blog today to give us a peek at the intricacies of the co-writing with your spouse.  Check out the Skylar Drake mystery series to see the results of her partnership with husband Will Zeilinger. 

    A Partnership
    by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

    My husband, Will Zeilinger, is also a published author.  We decided to come together and write a 1950s hard-boiled mystery, the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series. 

    When people learned we were going to write together, they insisted it wouldn't work, and they warned that it would ruin our marriage. Concerned, we took a business approach and set rules of professionalism, respect, and patience.

    The first thing we did was set deadlines and stuck to them. We use a calendar starting when the book will be released and work backward. Deadlines included: chapter completion, plotting, character development, public relations... and anything else pertaining to the health and welfare of the manuscript.

    The results? Slivers of Glass, Strange Markings, Desert Ice and Spike Hill (to be released 2/2018)...and yes, we're still married.

    A co-writer's marital bliss

    For more information, visit www.janetlynnauthor.com or Janet & Will's blog at www.themarriedauthors.blogspot.com.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2017

    Prime Day Deals of the Day! 7/11/17

    Today is a big day on Amazon, with huge deals available for Prime Day.  So, SO MANY deals!  Here's a round-up of today's best deals on Amazon devices and for Amazon Kindle.  The special Prime Day deals are only available through 11:59 pm PST on 7/11/17. As always, be aware that when we include prices, they may not last and are subject to change. Please double-check before you buy.

    Special Coupons

    Kindle & Music Unlimited

    • Get up to 40% off 6, 12, and 24-month subscriptions to Kindle Unlimited.  You can use this discount to extend your current subscription, or you can send it as a gift to a friend or family member. 
    • Get 4 months of Music Unlimited for only 99c.  This is a great way to try out this service!  Listen ad free on all your devices, skip those annoying songs you have to suffer through on Pandora, and download songs for offline listening.  If you picked up an Echo or Tap today Music Unlimited would be the perfect companion service!  

    Reading Enabling Devices!  HAHA!

    Amazon Device Deals

    • Fire 7 Tablet:  The standout deal of the day is the Fire 7 tablet priced at only $29.99.  I don't ever remember them being priced so low.  They're available in four colors: yellow, blue, red, and the traditional black. Act fast to take advantage of this deal.  If you need a tablet and accessories, pick up a bundle with cover and screen protector here.
    • Fire HD 8 Tablet: The Fire 8 HD tablet is also available for only $49.99  Another great deal on a reliable, versatile tablet.  Get a 3-pack of the HD 8 Fires for only $119.97 - less than $40 each!
    • The Kids Fire 7 tablet is $30 off on Prime Day and comes with a no-questions asked replacement guarantee.  Buy 2 and save an additional $20 with promo code KIDS2PACK
    • The Kids Fire HD 8 is discounted even more at $40 off with a 12 hour battery and 32 GB of storage
    • Pick up a Kindle e-reader with glare-free touch screen at $30 off
    • The Kindle Paperwhite is also $30 off for Prime Day.  Need a case and a power adapter as well? Pick up the whole discounted package of Paperwhite, case, and power adapter at this link
    • The Kindle Voyage e-reader is a whopping $50 off today
    • Amazon Echo: This hands-free smart speaker connects directly to your Amazon account for playing all of your Amazon music and easy ordering.  It is available now at 50% off.
    • Echo Dot: This low-profile, inexpensive speaker makes it easy to add Alexa capabilities to any room.  Get a discounted case here.
    • Amazon Tap:  The Alexa-enabled portable Bluetooth speaker is 38% off on Prime Day.  Get a discounted sling case here

    Today's Discounted Mysteries

    Monday, July 10, 2017

    Bikinis & Bloodshed by Anne Marie Stoddard Excerpt & Giveaway!

    USA TODAY Bestselling Author Anne Marie Stoddard is joining us on the blog today to celebrate the release of her latest cozy mystery, Bikinis & Bloodshed, available for pre-order now and released for Kindle on July 11th!  Anne Marie is offering up a $15 Starbucks e-gift card to one lucky Must Read Mysteries reader.  Sounds like a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon...a delicious iced coffee and a great read!  

    Update: Congratulations to our winner, Lisa Brown!  Thanks everyone for reading, liking, and sharing!

    Comment below for a chance to win. Share this post and let us know for a second entry. The winner will be chosen by random number generator on Friday, July 14th.

    by Anne Marie Stoddard

    After a quick shower, I dressed for my first day as the Happy Hula Dress Boutique's store manager. I shimmied into the new tunic that I'd bought from the shop the day before. Then I applied a fresh coat of makeup and straightened my hair, carefully clipping it back so that Rikki's spare helmet wouldn't ruin it on the ride to work. Last, I slipped into my new gold sandals and completed the outfit with new gold teardrop earrings and an Alex and Ani bangle bracelet with a pineapple charm. I stepped back and admired my reflection. CuteCheck. Professional? Totally. I grinned into the mirror. Let's do this.

    Rikki was waiting for me in the kitchen with a steaming cup of Kona brew. "Looking good, sweetie," she said. She pushed the Styrofoam coffee cup and a brown paper bag toward me from across the kitchen table. "I brought you breakfast. I jogged over to the Blue Manu Coffee House while you were in the shower."

    My mouth watered as I inhaled the rich aroma of the hot drink. "Thanks." I gripped the to-go cup and brought it to my lips. Mmm. It was heaven. Opening the brown sack, I found a fresh macadamia nut muffin inside. I quickly polished it off before following Rikki out to the driveway. I grudgingly strapped on the helmet and climbed onto the back of the Vespa. I'd have to get a car of my own—hopefully sooner than later. If I sold my wedding band and engagement ring, I was sure I could afford a down payment on something reasonable. Anything but a Vespa, I thought, flinching as we shot down the street on the little scooter.

    A short drive later, we parked in the employee lot of the Aloha Lagoon Resort. When Rikki removed her helmet, I saw that she was frowning. "Louana's car is here." She gestured to a green Corolla a few spaces over. My aunt chewed her lip. "She stormed out without returning her shop key yesterday. I hope she's not here to stir up more trouble."

    My gut tightened as I stared at the little green sedanIt would be just my luck that the angry woman would show up to cause another scene before I could even clock in for my first shift.

    As Rikki had suspected, the front door to Happy Hula was already unlocked when we arrived. She cautiously pushed it open, and we both peered inside. The shop was empty. We did a quick search of the sales floor, and then Rikki checked the cash register. Thankfully, nothing seemed out of place.

    My aunt blew out a breath. "I was half expecting to find the place ransacked," she admitted, sounding relieved.

    “Maybe Louana went to one of the bars on the resort last night," I suggested. "She might have been too toasted to drive and decided to call a cab.”

    “It's possible," Rikki said, but she didn't sound convinced. "If that were the case though, why would the shop be unlocked? You, Sara, and Harmony were all with me when I locked it last night." She stared at the shop door for a few moments, a frown wrinkling her forehead. "I'm going to pay a visit to Summer at the front desk in the lobby. I'm pretty sure she's got the number for the locksmith that the resort uses. It couldn't hurt to change the store locks, just in case.”

    “Good idea," I agreed. "Is there anything I can do while you're gone?”

    Rikki gestured to the wastebasket behind the counter. "If you wouldn't mind collecting all of the trash from the bins around the store, that'd be great. There are bags in the supply closet beside my office. Once you've emptied all the bins, you can carry the bag out to the dumpster behind the store. I'll be back in a few minutes," she called over her shoulder as she started for the door.

    I made my way to the supply closet and retrieved one of the large trash bags. The shop's wastebaskets were located behind the register, in both dressing rooms and bathrooms, in Rikki's office, and in the storage room. I emptied the contents of each bin and then tied the large trash bag closed before heading toward the store's back exit.

    The rear door to the boutique was located through the stockroom and opened to a small alley behind the row of courtyard shops. I carried the bags into the alley, wrinkling my nose as the sour odor of garbage hit me full in the face. I held my breath against the stench emanating from the trash bin and walked toward it as fast as my sandals could carry me. After heaving the bag into the dumpster, I dusted off my hands and turned to hurry back inside.
    Something glittering in the sunlight caught my eye, and I spun on my heel, curiosity drawing my attention downward. A sparkly green blouse lay on the ground near the corner of the dumpster. Frowning, I took a step toward it. I recognized the top from one of the racks near the front of Happy Hula's sales floor. Lying several feet away was another garment: a pair of red and white striped bikini bottoms.

    I crinkled my nose as another wave of the putrid scent of garbage lifted past my nostrils. Holding my breath, I moved toward the clothing, halting when I spied a woman's flip-flop on the ground. It was black with silver rhinestones on the strap. Something about seeing the lone shoe without its owner gave me the creeps. A finger of dread tickled my spine, and I shivered despite the warmth of the June morning. I shook off the weird feeling and stepped around the corner of the dumpster to collect the blouse and bikini.

    A light blue Happy Hula shopping bag was overturned on the ground next to the garbage bin. Several other dresses and sarongs were scattered about, littering the alley. My back stiffened. Who would throw away all these clothes?

    I stooped to retrieve the sparkly green blouse, pinching it between my thumb and forefinger as I lifted it. I immediately dropped the shirt back to the ground. The other black flip-flop was beneath it. The shoe itself didn't startle me—it was the fact that it was still attached to a foot that sent me scuttling back a few steps. Alarm bells went off in my head as my gaze traveled the length of a woman's bare calf and then up toward the side of the dumpster. A horrified scream clawed its way out of my throat.

    Louana Watson's lifeless body was slumped against the garbage bin, a hot pink bikini top wrapped tightly around her throat.

    About the Author

    Anne Marie Stoddard is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author, iBooks Bestseller, Amazon Mover & Shaker, and Amazon Top 100 Author. She writes supernatural thrillers and cozy mysteries with an edge, many of which are based on her experience working in radio and at music festivals across the U.S.

    Aside from writing, Anne Marie loves her dog (Bowie), college football, hula hoops, music, coffee, and anything pumpkin-flavored.

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