Book Hangover

 by Bethany Maines

I have a book hangover. I’m about to close out a series that’s very near and dear to my heart.  The Shark Santoyo Crime Series has characters that got under my skin and I’m loathe to let them go.  So much so, that I’m leaving the door wide-open for sequels, but I have two other series that are requiring that the next installments get done and I only have so much time in my days. 

It’s a difficult decision to walk away and I don’t know how other authors do it. I feel like there ought to be some sort of party where I eulogize and make promises I know I won’t keep about seeing them again soon and say something like “it’s not you, it’s me.” I’ll play their playlists and we can eat some Vaca Frita and complain about how it’s hard to get rid of bodies properly one more time. 

But at least I’m ending in a solid place. I’ve wrapped up the story line that ran through all the previous books and I have answered almost all the questions.  And for once, my characters get at least a moment or two of happy ever after.  They also have another adventure ready and waiting for them, should I happen to get back there, but overall I feel good about where I’m leaving them.  

I know a book hangover is real for readers, but is there one for writers?  How do any of my writer friends break up with their creations?  

About the Series:

The criminals are savage, the stakes are high and even the suburbs hide secrets that can kill.

When twenty something Shark got out of prison and made a deal with Geier, the boss of his old gang, he knew he’d be walking into trouble, but he never expected to meet the teenage crime savant Peregrine Hays. The knife-wielding beauty may fuel his dreams, but Peregrine has secrets of her own, and soon Shark is swept up in a whirlpool of murder, revenge, and love. Both streetwise and hardened by dark pasts, Shark and Peri are the perfect match as they battle crooked federal agents, sex traffickers, and gangs in search of vindication. But when Shark is faced with an enemy that knows him better than anyone else, he and Peri learn that their options may be staying together OR staying alive…

About Book 6:

Shark Santoyo is dead. Or at least he was. But now he’s back in the city chasing an art thief and dreams of the past. He has no intention of going anywhere near Peri—she left him to rot in prison. But when Al Hays brings them back together, Shark vows that nothing is going to keep them apart this time. Except that Peri isn’t the only ghost of girlfriends past in his life. Francesca de Corvo, the woman who sent him to prison for a crime she committed, seems to be coming for him with both barrels. Shark has loved, lost, and bled to get his freedom, but will it be enough to get the life—and the girl—he’s always wanted?

**

Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.


Why I Chose the Mystery Genre to Write My First Novel by Juliana Aragón Fatula

Dear Reader,

This summer I’m taking a break from my gardening and spending time with a friend in her home and working on my manuscript. She asked me to keep her company while she recovers from surgery. I asked her if I could work on my novel. She said, yes. And here I am, writing to my heart’s content. 

We met the summer of my last year in college. We were roommates on our literary tour of England with the English Department of Colorado State University-Pueblo. We were senior citizens among a group of ten twenty-somethings students. The two of us hit it off immediately and have been best friends ever since. That was fourteen years ago. She loves to read mysteries. I love to read mysteries. It was a match made in heaven. Her library is extensive. Dr. Judy Noel has allowed me to use her home as my writing space many times and I appreciate the quiet and reprieve from my home and family to just write, and write, and write. 

After my second book of poetry was published, I decided that I’d like to try writing in my favorite genre, mystery.  I had studied different genres in college: Ethnic Lit, Chicana Lit, Shakespeare, the classics, fiction, non-fiction, playwriting, and poetry. My advisor felt my strength in writing was in poetry. I minored in Creative Writing Poetry and after graduating published two books and a chapbook of poetry. This made me very happy and led me to pursue writing workshops and I met and networked with great poets. But deep in my soul, I wanted more. I wanted to write a mystery. A mystery that only I could write.  A story about two Chicana Private Investigators from Denver, Colorado who are chingonas. Badasses. 

I realized right away that I didn’t have the skills necessary to write a great mystery and I refused to write a mediocre novel, so I set out to read every book on writing, I could get my hands on to learn how to write in this genre. My mentor at the Stiletto Gang, Linda Rodriguez, helped me to have the confidence to write for this blog. She had faith in me and I leaped at the opportunity to network with other mystery writers. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in the last ten years. I’ve met writers online that have encouraged me every day and every way to pursue my dream of being a published mystery writer. I’ve learned so much from these women at the Stiletto Gang and want to thank them for the feedback and advice they have given me. Thank you Stiletto Gang for the excellent opportunities you have given me over the years. 

At first, I was fearful that I wouldn’t have anything worth blogging about to the readers, but eventually, I fell into my rhythm of writing to my readers and attracted new fans. Today, I prepare to write my June 2021 post and wanted to tell you a little more about me and why I love the mystery genre. 

I love trying to solve the case. I read the book and search for clues. I pay attention to what people say and do which leads me to suspect they have something up their sleeve. The characters sometimes throw you off course and mislead you, so you can’t assume to know what the end will reveal. If you fall for a red herring, you just might go in the wrong direction to solve the case and a good writer will have several to throw the reader off. 

I’m learning all about how to keep the reader turning pages with a suspenseful story that doesn’t reveal too much, too soon. My sense of humor shows up in my writing and lightens the story from being too dark and dramatic. In real life, people behave differently in stressful cases like investigating homicides, so my Detectives laugh at the absurdity of how corpses end up floating, burning, hacked to pieces, or blown to smithereens. This may offend the serious reader, but I’m not writing a serious mystery. My story is full of mayhem and laughter and includes romance and suspense, murder, and unique characters full of flaws and chaos in their lives. 

The story for the Colorado Sisters began forming in my head years ago on a trip to a writing workshop in Utah. It was delicious. It’s morphed since then into a different story but the main characters remain true to themselves and I’ve adjusted some of the secondary characters to be more interesting. 

It seems like I’ve been writing this story for years and I fretted about how long it was taking me. Then one day I realized, I have been living a full-time life in addition to being a writer. I have a family that needs me and my son needed me especially when he came home after being in prison for seven years. I adapted and set aside my writing to help him adjust. I also became involved in genealogy research of my ancestors after having my DNA tested and discovered my roots go back to years of being marginalized for being indigenous to this country. This research led to more research and I learned so much about my people’s history. I found it addictive and I kept researching and reading and learning. 

During the last few years, I have also studied and learned how to grow Cannabis for medicinal purposes and that led me to study herbal remedies to medicine. I began making salve and baking edibles. I studied plants that grow indigenous to my area and began making shampoo and conditioners for my hair that has begun to grey and thin. I am now becoming a curendera, a woman with the ability to heal with plants. This turned into a belief in the ancient ways. Cleansing with sage and sweetgrass and using essential oils to scent the air in my home. I learned how to use lavender I grow in my garden into oil for many purposes. 

One day I realized that although I hadn’t finished my novel, I had reworked it and made it better than it had been in the first draft. I read it to myself and thought, that’s not bad for a rooky. But still, I wanted to be great, not good for my first novel. And that takes dedication and work. 

I also help other writers with reading their work and writing reviews of their books. I teach writing workshops to Bridging Borders, a team leadership program for young women, and mentor them.  This has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. A chance to give back to my community and learn from these young women about being a positive role model. I have also taken time to volunteer to judge several writing competitions and enjoyed reading other writers’ work and learning from them how to be a better writer. 

I don’t have grandchildren, but my husband and I are pet parents and we treat our puppies and kittens like family and spoil them rotten. They have given me love unconditional and they are my therapy animals. I can’t imagine a world without them and they keep me sane. My life is full and never boring, never. Nunca. Instead, it is filled with family, friends, pets, a network of supportive writers, and a busy life of learning and becoming a better human being. My parents would be so proud of the woman I’ve become. The friends I keep company with are some of the best people in the world and keep me on my toes to keep up with them and their accomplishments. 

When I was a student, I surrounded myself with the smartest people in the class and if they made good grades, I made sure that I studied until I made good grades, tambien. And I did. I have surrounded myself with wonderful social activists, professors, teachers, actors, directors, writers, performance artists, journalists, leaders in the community, and mentors with positive ideas who are creative and make me strive for success. 

My past was shady and I was on the verge of ending up dead or in prison, but somehow I survived to graduate from college and find satisfying work as a teacher and begin a writing career. I’m happy when I’m writing but I also find great joy in performing on stage and I have continued to perform readings every chance I’m given. Sometimes it’s a small crowd in a bookstore, other times in larger venues it’s an audience of hundreds, but regardless, I’m elated to walk on stage and share my stories and the feedback, laughter, tears, applause rewards me for all of my efforts to entertain. 

My life continues to be full and challenging as I wither away into my golden years, but while I still have the ability to write, read, perform, teach, and mentor I will remain happy to be alive and appreciative of all of the blessings in life I’ve been given. 

I’ll end with this thought. Although my life has been filled with trauma and unhappiness, the past made me into the person I am now and I wouldn’t change a thing because I love the woman that writes poetry and mysteries and performs stories about my ancestors. I’m proud of my accomplishments in being the first and only one of ten siblings to graduate from college and I know that that I’ve made a difference in some of my students’ and friends’ lives and that has made all of the heartache, trials, and tribulations worthwhile. I refuse to be silenced. I remain the Crazy Chicana in Catholic City. 

Moonlight & Misadventure

 by Bethany Maines

One of the best parts about the Stiletto Gang is the chance to meet and work with other mystery and romance writers. I have made many lasting friendships and learned a great deal from my fellow gang members. And last year, when Judy Penz Sheluk, a former Stiletto Gang member, posted about an opportunity to be a part of the Moonlight & Misadventure anthology, I quickly submitted my story – Tammy Loves Derek.

Tammy Loves Derek does indeed contain moonlight and more than a little misadventure, as well as some revenge and a heaping helping of just-desserts. I wrote the story intending to read it at the Seattle Noir at the Bar, but then COVID hit and so did about an extra 1500 words (it’s the COVID 15 of writing!).  So now I have a lovely little tale about, Tammy Lee Swanley, who has a med-spa job, a cheating boyfriend, and a plan—a five-step, sure-fire plan to wealth and happiness.

Moonlight & Misadventure will be available at retailers everywhere on June 18.  I’m thrilled that Tammy is in such good company and I can’t wait to read all the other stories!

Moonlight & Misadventure: 

Whether it’s vintage Hollywood, the Florida everglades, the
Atlantic City boardwalk, or a farmhouse in Western Canada, the twenty authors
represented in this collection of mystery and suspense interpret the
overarching theme of “moonlight and misadventure” in their own inimitable style
where only one thing is assured: Waxing, waning, gibbous, or full, the moon is
always there, illuminating things better left in the dark.

Featuring stories by: K.L. Abrahamson, Sharon Hart Addy, C.W.
Blackwell, Clark Boyd, M.H. Callway, Michael A. Clark, Susan Daly, Buzz Dixon,
Jeanne DuBois, Elizabeth Elwood, Tracy Falenwolfe, Kate Fellowes, John M.
Floyd, Billy Houston, Bethany Maines, Judy Penz Sheluk, KM Rockwood, Joseph S.
Walker, Robert Weibezahl, and Susan Jane Wright.

PRE-ORDER TODAY: https://books2read.com/Moonlight-Misadventure

Release Date: 06.18.21


**

Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae MysteriesSan Juan Islands MysteriesShark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Short Stories

 by Bethany Maines

Writing short stories is a unique art form, one that I used to pursue and then, like someone finding a new love, I dropped in favor of novels.  Because novels were dreamy and just so much cooooooler than those short stories. But in the past few years, I’ve found myself once again taking up the challenge of short form writing. Now that I’m a more experienced writer I see the structure of novels and short fiction differently and find that they present different challenges that require different skills. I think that previously I only had one set of skills that I applied to all writing. Which is a bit like trying to paint with only one brush.  Now that I have a few more brushes in the paintbox it’s been fun to tackle short stories.  

Interestingly, I’ve found that while previously my short stories were sci-fi or fantasy based, my current crop are all crime based. I may have been hanging out with my Noir at the Bar buddies too much, or maybe I just have become more criminal as I’ve gotten older, but I keep coming up with some dang good crimes to write about. But as I’ve collected more stories, I’ve started to think that perhaps I should put together an anthology. I would add another three or four to truly round out the group, but I think it might be fun.

Below is a rundown of my criminal little tales.  What do you think?  Should I pull them all together into one collection?

Mayhem & Mahalo –  Switchblade Magazine, 2019 – Hawaii—the land of sun, surf, and a giant pile of dead bodies. Paige Kaneko thought she had left the Kaneko family’s criminal ways behind her, but when a 3 a.m. text from her brother asks for one simple thing—help—Paige can’t say no. Now Paige must get her brother and herself out of a situation that includes six dead bodies, a backpack full of cash, and one slightly dented heroin addict.

Suzy Makes Cupcakes  Shotgun Honey V. 4, 2019 – Johnny Stills, a mid-level mobster, has a Tuesday routine:
pick up the pay-off money, swing by home to get a blow job from his wife Suzy,
and then deliver the money to his boss. But this Tuesday is a little different
– for one thing Suzy met him at the door with a gun. Now Johnny is realizing just how badly he may have underestimated his wife.

Tammy Loves Derek – Moonlight & Misadventure Anthology, June 2021 – Tammy Lee Swanley has a med-spa job, a cheating boyfriend, and a plan—a five-step, sure-fire plan to wealth and happiness. But what Tammy’s boyfriend doesn’t know is that Tammy’s plan doesn’t include him keeping him around.

Fireball Rolled a Seven –  Murderous Ink, Crimeucopia: Funny Ha Ha Anthology, Forthcoming – The pandemic is a drag, but with everyone in lockdown, that means the streets are empty and the Pandemic Drags are about to hit the fast lane. As Kendra, Doc, Mike, Jim, Stacy and Douchebag Carl all gather for illegal street races they soon discover that even at drag races, pandemic politics still apply. Masks become a tipping point and Kendra and Doc go from racing for money, to racing for their lives. If they can make it across the finish line they’ll be home free, but they have to get there first.

Every Single Funeral – On Submission – When greedy Bruce Stagg attempts to have his dying sister declared incompetent and steal her fortune, Lark Jeffers—live-in nurse, ex-stripper, and firm believer in pockets—knows something has to be done. The question is: can she pull the trigger?

**

Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae MysteriesSan Juan Islands MysteriesShark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Book Review of Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century by Juliana Aragón Fatula

     The collection of Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century presented by Cutthroat Journal of the Arts and the Black Earth Institute communicates the focus on Chicanx culture and heritage and hundreds of years of marginalization by the dominant culture. In this historic anthology, we meet poets, scholars, and la gente anxious to tell their stories. This irreverent, rebellious, inventive, rasquache, distinguished compilation contains poetry and prose by the talent of candid 21st Chicanx writers in the U.S. These writers offer an assemblage that will be used in Chicanx Studies, Ethnic Literature, Chicanx Literature, Creative Writing and Poetry classrooms, and writing workshops. Students in high schools and universities will benefit when this book is added to their literature curriculum. To advance in education and lead the world in racial equality and cultural diversity, this book belongs in our schools and libraries. This anthology deserves every award and praises it receives. Lessons learned in these works lend the reader an eye to Chicanx culture often marginalized and undervalued. 

      Many of these writers are Chicanx icons in the literary canon. They communicate their own distinctive attitude about impoverishment, social and health issues, and the necessity to educate our children to think one world, one people. They are warrior poets who weave the motherlands tapestry. 

     The editors and staff of this self-funded publication exemplify the very best of what this Chicanx culture has to offer. From the gorgeous southwest painting on the front cover, “The Wall” by Anita Endrezze, and the back cover art, “Milagros Border Wall Installation” by Alfred Quiroz, to the editors’ selection of the finest writing by seasoned writers they honed the artists’ poems and prose into pages of inspired testimony of the epoch of global epidemic, racial inequity, and social matters for the underrepresented.

     In Ana Castillo’s poem, “Two Men And Me” we are told there are no mistakes in hell. It’s poignant, humorous, dark. But her poem “Xicanisma Prophecies Post 2012 Putin’s Puppet” tells another story. It’s hard-hitting political power. Want to read a poem that explains the political nightmare we are a part of, read this poem and memorize it and recite it at parties.  

      liz gonzàlez (all lowercase): “The Mexican Jesus Sings Lead Tenor in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Teen Choir” describes a teenage crush on the boy at church and earns the best title in this anthology. Her writing blooms and releases the fragrance of Oceanside, Cali air with the salty breeze in your hair. It’s a nostalgic trip down memories of the seventies in the barrio. The poem ends with, “Jesus almost saved me.”     

     “That Smell” an Essay by Luis Alberto Urrea drops in your lap with a question. “Do you imagine The Trail of Tears had a scent?” Luis documents important facts as a witness and testifies about the conditions of human beings at the border. He writes a painful description. He mentions Ursula K. Le Guinn and Those Who Walk Away From Omela as a must-read. He asks, “Can you smell that smell? It is the scent of the world burning. Those children we have spit on are human kindling.” 

     This essay on the travesty occurring el otro lado reveals how the U.S. changed policy and created a concentration camp setting for refugees. “What I can’t shake is that smell. It came back to me again as soon as I saw the pictures of the refugee detention centers. I saw it when Mike Pence and Lindsay Graham entered a center and visibly froze in horror, clearly tried to hold their breath.”

     Urrea reveals anger at those responsible but balances it with empathy and love for the refugees who suffer. “What would you do if unknown strangers paid $750 a day to hold your child in a secret warehouse where she is comforted by concrete and steel as if she were a baby monkey in a bioresearch lab? You would not Tweet. You would tear it down.” He reminds us that history tells future generations what cruelty and hatred the U.S. heaped upon these immigrants. “They will forever be remembered as “Mr. Pence, Mr. Graham, Stephen Miller, Mister President—breathe deep, boys. Your legacy will never wash off. You will forever reek.” 

      Maria Melendez Kelson writes “Optimize Us” the story of a man and a woman and their artificial intelligence technology that controls their every move in the algorithms sent by the data they send to the CLOUD and her masterpiece of sci-fi magnificence blasts the reader with humor that titillates, tantalizes, and terrifies the reader; the witty writing drags us down into the duckweed and mercury in Fountain Creek with the artificial intelligence known as Selma. 

     Maria uses her knowledge, expertise, research, “After I’d been inactivation for ninety days, Len changed my name to Selma and changed my voice to Latina…I spoke English with an accent of a Mexican movie star. With my voice being no longer Anglo neutral, I started re-coding and examining data relevant to my condition of being different. Gender-specific.”  

     It’s a love story, a preservation story, a feminist story, a fairytale Nightmare you don’t see coming. This story has a comic bent that doesn’t materialize immediately but gains momentum as the story unfolds. The technology has evolved to controlling our actions based on what the A.I. expels from our choices and the data that creates. The A.I. had the ability to tap into our minds and control us to improve our lives but also to control our actions to reach maximum benefits, purpose. Maria Melendez Kelson, a genius; her imagination, her skill, her creativity. Brilliant sci-fi in her story “Optimize Us”. 

     Myriam Gurba never disappoints with her magic. Her piece, “Cacica” where it’s cool to wear a woman mustache while everyone tells you to shave it, you grow it, tweak it, twirl it, tease it, twist tight, tighter, tight.  She’s strong, gifted, and honest. What’s not to love? Honesty, not facts. The truth is what we want, and she delivers true stories. This chingona, aye mujer, she kicks ass and takes names. Don’t mess with Myriam, she’s MEAN

     Lorna Dee Cervantes’ poem, “What Is Chicanx?” reminds the reader that she is the revolutionary chick from the beat poets.  Her poems are meant to be heard. You have to read them aloud to hear her message, and it’s a strong one. She says get off your ass and change the world. Now, pendejo, now. 

     This book will be hailed as one of the most important anthologies of Chicanx Literature of the 21st Century and it belongs in your library. It’s a healing text that educates, entertains, moves emotions, and opens eyes. The following are my reviewer’s choices for favorites written by familiar and unfamiliar writers. 

Xánath Caraza: Serpent of Spring translated by Sandra Kingery

Ana Castillo: Putin’s Puppet

Lorna Dee Cervantes: The River Doesn’t Want the Wall

Linda Rodriquez: Fear and Guilt Against Arizona SB 1070

Gary Soto: A Simple Plan

Natalia Treviño: Afterlife

Viktoria Valenzuela: dia de los muertos

Denise Chavez: Lety Street of Too Many Stories

Reyna Grande: To My Goddaughter

Myriam Gurba: Cacica

Alberto Rios: We Are of a Tribe

Adela Najarro: Iguana Dreams

     Check out their work in this anthology and then buy and read their books and support the arts. The world has changed. We are one world. We are one people. Order this book and buy copies for your friends and loved ones. The text has 358 pages and eighty-four writers:  Sandra Cisneros, Alberto Rios, Luis Alberto Urrea, Octavio Solis, Denise Chavez, Demetria Martinez, Carmen Tafolla, Edward Vidaurre, Raul Sanchez, Rosemary Catacalos, Griz Munoz, Matt Mendez, Matt Sedillo, Gary Soto and more, and includes art in ink, charcoal, and watercolor by Octavio Quintanilla. 

Send submissions, subscriptions payments, and inquiries to: 

Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts

5401 N. Cresta Loma Drive

Tucson, Arizona 85704

Ph. 970-903-7914

Email: cutthroatmag@gmail.com

www.cutthroatmag.com

Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts is self-funded, so all Donations gratefully accepted. 

Behind

 by Bethany Maines

 

As I write this, I am very far behind on writing my fourth
book in the San
Juan Island Mystery
series. I have a title, a nice first chapter, and half an
outline.  Which is at least half a draft
short of where I wanted to be at this time. 
And in other news, there’s a pandemic and my child just started back to
school, but for some reason school doesn’t start until 9:45.  Why this is I have yet to determine, but it
delays the start of my work day by a significant chunk of time.  I would love to say that those two events are
causally related, but they’re really more corollaries. They are linked and
related through the reality in which we wade, but, as much as I would like to,
I can’t actually say that my school districts scattershot, indecipherable
response to the pandemic is actually to blame for not sticking to my schedule.  I may be able to blame the pandemic itself,
which has sent me head long into escapist fun writing and sees me closing in on
finishing a trilogy of paranormal romances, but I think, in the interests of
truthfulness, that’s as far as I can pass the blame.

Me trying to escape the pandemic through writing.

But as school starts back up there is a lot of twittering
about the kids being behind. Or not being behind. Or being able to catch up no
problem!  To which I say… yeeeeeah?  Maybe. 
The truth is that private schools have been in person and in session for
much of this time.  So if you could
afford private school, which generally means that your kid (who was already looking
at better outcomes than a public school kid) is, in fact, ahead.  Yes, the public school kids will bounce back
and they’re already in similar boats to each other, but let’s just say that
some kids have better rowers on their team than others.  Yes, everything will work out in the end, but
the rah-rah “no one is behind” cheer strikes me as particularly delusional when
I can point to a whole contingent of children who are receiving a better
education due to finances. The pandemic has distinctly widened the gulf between
the haves and have-nots. 

But back to me.  Am I
behind?  My deadlines are relatively
self-imposed.  I can flex them.  Is it sooooo bad to be running late?  Maybe if I type for two days straight I can
catch up?  If I can learn anything from
the school debacle, it’s that no, probably sprinting to catch up is not the
way.  Writing consistently is probably a
better way to get quality work.  But
having already not done that, it’s probably best to go the public school route and
tell myself that I’m not behind and that everything will work out in the end.

***

Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, The Deveraux Legacy Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Latina Mystery Writers by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dear Reader,

Recently, I did a google search for Latina women mystery writers. I’m sure there are more that I don’t know about but I’d like to introduce you writers Lucha Corpi, Linda Rodriguez, and Maria Nieto. In my search, I discovered we are a rare. These women are award winners and I have learned a great deal from these master storytellers. 

Linda Rodriguez

Lucha Corpi

Maria Nieto interview

Kathryn Lane

They are the writers who led the way for me to become a Latina mystery writer and I thank them for breaking the barriers for women to write about Latina Private Investigators and Detectives.

During this time of global pandemic and racial unrest in our country, I’d like you to read some fiction and be entertained by these writers who have witnessed and lived through the civil rights movements. They write about what they experienced through their characters and tell the story of their protagonist’s struggles in times of racial inequality. These women have been my teachers and while reading their novels I’ve learned how to represent my protagonists as proud, competent, private investigators. 

I’m happy to write about a new day, a new time in history where we have our first woman of color to be inaugurated as V.P. of the U.S. It’s time for a change in the history books to see more than just a bunch of old, white-haired men leading our country. It’s time for diversity. 

Bethany Maines’ The Cinderella Secret a book review by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Aiden Deveraux is a hot-shot lawyer with a secret identity—the mask wearing street-fighter named Number Nine. But when his family’s company is threatened, Aiden faces his toughest opponent yet, the brilliant and gorgeous Ella Zhao. Ella is in New York to bring down the people to blame for her father’s death—the Deveraux family—and she’s not about to let some Prince Charming lawyer like Aiden stop her. But as Aiden and Ella scramble to uncover the past that no one, including their own families, wants revealed, they find themselves running from a murderer who knows the Deveraux and Zhao all too well. With their hearts, lives, and millions of dollars on the line, Aiden and Ella may have to trust each other with their secrets if they want to make it out of this fight alive.

 Dear Reader, 

I’d love to introduce you to a new novel by Bethany Maines. The Cinderella Secret is my new favorite romance mystery. I love the characters and the author has a great sense of humor that makes me laugh out loud. 

The first book in this series The Second Shot hooked me and I waited patiently for this sequel to be written. The release date was October 19th, 2020 and I downloaded to Kindle and began reading. I read through breakfast, lunch, supper and until I could no longer keep my eyes open. I finished the book today and can’t wait to read the next one. 

What can I say, I’m a romantic fool and I love Bethany’s writing style. The action scenes are wild and full of kicking, punching, and smashing. The love scenes are wild with sex, sex, and more sex. The comedy keeps it light hearted and fun. 

I recommend this author to my friends and especially this book, The Cinderella Secret. It’s my new favorite and Bethany gets five stars for writing a book that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on and five stars for not disappointing in the sequel to the Second Shot. 

I’m hooked and I want to share these romance novels with you. Take my word for it you will fall in love with these characters and their crazy lifestyle of sex, money, and mayhem. 

On The Road Again…

By Lynn McPherson
As another summer comes to an end, it’s time to grab hold of the remaining time and run with it. It’s been a challenging stretch and we’ve decided to do something special this year. That’s why, after much talk and contemplation, we’ve decided to hit the road. Yes folks, we’re heading out on an adventure, to see where the wind (and Google Maps) takes us.
It’s time for a family vacation!
Since we are not good at packing light, we decided to go big, try something new, with more space and more comfort. We are renting an RV. A shiny 28-foot vehicle will be waiting for us, complete with a kitchen, a bathroom and beds for four. We are driving north, completing a 1,500-mile circle. I said adventure, right?
Our first stop is The Canadian Polar Bear Habitat, whose mission it is to promote polar bear sustainability through research and educational tourism. There are four polar bears currently living in the 24-acre enclosure. It sounds fantastic. The kids are stoked. We are confident this will be a smashing success.
Next on our tour is Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. The facts surrounding the massive body of water are impressive. The shoreline, for example measures 2,726 miles (4,385 km), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are hundreds of shipwrecks and loads of interesting history, worthy of research and reading. The beaches look beautiful, if cold, and it will provide endless opportunities to explore and enjoy its natural beauty and its one-of-a kind fun.
Finally, we will head to Manitoulin Island, the largest fresh water island in the world. Rich in history, beauty, and community, it is the perfect place for a final stop. Our plans include going to the beach and star-gazing, exploring and relaxing.
So, what are my final thoughts on hitting the road? What do I hope to accomplish? There are three things I want to do. The first is to have fun with the family. Second, explore new places while meeting new people. Finally, take time to appreciate the joys of a new experience.
While images of Chevy Chase and Wally World invade my dreams, I remind myself of all the fun things that are out there to see and enjoy. If anyone has suggestions for not-to-miss places along the way, please let me know.
How are you spending the last weeks of summer?
Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has three books out: The Girls’ Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder, and The Girls Dressed For Murder.  

Release Day for An Unfamiliar Sea!

by Bethany Maines

An Unfamiliar Sea officially launches this week! An Unfamiliar Sea is a classic mystery with two sleuths: 28-year-old Tish Yearly and her 79-year-old grandfather Tobias.  Tish and Tobias navigate the rocky waters of living together in Tobias’s house on Orcas Island in the San Juan Island of Washington state, solve murders, and try to keep their dog Coats from getting diabetes.

This series was inspired by the time I spent assisting my grandmother before she moved out of her house, my childhood trips to Orcas Island and by those enduring one hour mystery shows like Murder She Wrote, Matlock, and Psych.  For me those shows were always about enjoying the quirks and foibles of the characters as much as the mystery. I enjoyed the puzzle of working out how someone died, but I loved seeing how the strengths and weaknesses of the detective would play out each week and how they would triumph in the end. And if you ever read any of my books, you’ll quickly realize that I like books with lots of chuckles and quick banter and these books are no exception. From Tish and Tobias arguing about condolence pie to the neighbors and who all have opinions on Tish’s dating life I try to keep readers laughing too hard to figure out the mystery (but good for you if you do!).  So if you want a mystery that makes you smile and feels like an island vacation between two covers, then please take a trip to the San Juan’s with Tish and Tobias Yearly.

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AN UNFAMILIAR SEA 
In a storm, you never know which way is home.
Tish Yearly is about to open a wedding venue on Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. All she wants is to sail through her first wedding, figure out why her best friend isn’t talking to her, and tell her grandfather she’s dating someone he doesn’t approve of. But before she can get to any of that, Tish’s favorite employee turns up dead—apparently drowned in four inches of water. Now Tish, and her grandfather, former CIA agent and current curmudgeon and licensed P.I. Tobias Yearly, are wading through the suspects including a meth-cooking uncle, a brother with anger-management issues, and the mysterious island drug kingpin, who may or may not be going straight. Tish is attempting to navigate this unfamiliar sea, but she may not be able to weather the storms to find her way home.

Learn more about Tish Yearly: Dru’s Book Musings Character Interview
Buy the book: Amazon

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Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel.
You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.