Hokey Pokey Shakespeare

  by Gay Yellen

I was a shy child who spent a lot of time reading. At twelve, I fell in love with Shakespeare. I dove deep into the leather-bound tomes that lived on a bookshelf in our den. Comedies, tragedies, history plays. They fascinated me.

My favorite was Romeo and Juliet. I read Juliet’s balcony speech so many times, I had it memorized. Alone in my room, I would act it out over and over again.

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

Fast forward to college, when I needed one more requirement to graduate: a semester of Shakespeare. Rather than take it during the school year at my alma mater, I opted for a summer course offered by a university in my home town.

That decision almost ruined Shakespeare for me forever.

Instead of teaching us about Shakespeare’s gift with language, or the political tenor of the times, or the nature of tragedy, etc., the professor went on for hours interpreting his characters through an extreme Freudian lens. In every play, he’d point out that a dagger or sword represented the male sexual apparatus, poison stood for the biological exchange of body fluids, and so on. (Please don’t ask me about Desdemona’s handkerchief.)

Of course, Shakespeare plays can be bawdy, sensual, and full of innuendo. But that professor made everything icky. A summer (and tuition) was wasted. At least I got the credit, and I’ve learned a lot more since then, like this:

Shakespeare never meant for Juliet’s “balcony” speech to be delivered from a balcony.

According to a recent article in The Atlantic, that particular architectural construct did not exist in England when the play was written. Nor did the word “balcony” exist in the English language at the time.

Well over a decade after the play was first performed, a British diarist in Italy marveled at something he’d never seen in England: “a very pleasant little tarrasse, that jutteth or butteth out from the maine building, the edge whereof is decked with many prety litle turned pillers, either of marble or free stone to leane over… that people may from that place… view the parts of the City.”

If my old professor had known his history, I’m almost sure he wouldn’t have missed the chance to mention the thing that “jutteth” and “butteth.”

It’s okay to reinvent Shakespeare’s works with spoofs and spinoffs. Many writers have done it, and still do. Shakespeare borrowed from other writers, too.

The other day, I accidentally came across Shakespearean Hokey Pokey, in which punsters attempt to set their own Elizabethan-style lyrics to the tune of the popular children’s dance.

Hokey Pokey Shakespeare could also describe my bizarre Midsummer Night’s Dream experience in that weird professor’s classroom. But if you love The Bard, that’s not what it’s all about.

How do you feel about Shakespeare?

 

Gay Yellen writes the award-winning Samantha Newman Mystery SeriesThe Body Business, The Body Next Door. Coming soon, The Body in the News.

 

Do You Wordle?

By Lois Winston

A few years ago, I got hooked on crossword puzzles. I attribute this addiction to my dear friend Janice. She passed away in 2019 after an eight-month battle with Stage 4 cancer. I spent much of that time taking her to doctor appointments and chemo treatments and visiting with her during several hospitalizations. Janice always carried around crossword puzzles. As a retired R.N., she knew the importance of keeping her mind sharp, and she did so by exercising her brain in two ways: She was a voracious reader of mysteries and romances and a diehard crossword puzzle fan.

Having sat with her during hours of chemo, I know how difficult it is to concentrate on a book during these sessions, given the constant chatter from fifteen other chemo patients, their accompanying friends or family members, the nursing staff, and a TV always blaring in the background. So Janice passed the time working crossword puzzles when she tired of conversation.

I worked my first crossword puzzle after returning from her memorial service. It had been an extremely emotional day, especially since, as her oldest friend, I was one of the speakers. Perhaps she was somehow sending me a subliminal message from Heaven that day. She had always believed in angels, ghosts, and premonitions. I’ve always pooh-poohed the supernatural. Was this her way of telling me she was right, and I was wrong? Maybe. Because ever since that day, I’ve worked the online crossword puzzle in my daily newspaper as a way of honoring her memory and our lifelong friendship.

A few months ago, that newspaper purchased Wordle. I’d heard about Wordle, but I’m not someone who spends time playing games on my phone or computer. I have books to write, and contrary to my reluctant amateur sleuth’s hopes, I have no intention of refraining from dumping dead bodies at her feet.

I also have a staggering number of unread books piling up on my bookshelves and in my Kindle. I’ll need to live well past the century mark before I get to them all. And yet, I keep buying more books! Then there’s life in general, including family responsibilities, and of course, the need to sleep at least several hours a night.

Yet, there it was—Wordle, the word game taking the world by storm. Wordle beckoned like a Siren. Of course, I got hooked. I even learned a secret for helping solve the puzzle in the allotted six attempts: always begin with “adieu.” The word contains all but one of the five vowels. My next word will always include a word using the green letters from “adieu,” plus an “o.”

My mornings now begin with a cup of coffee, the daily crossword puzzle, and the daily Wordle. How about you? Do you start your day with a word puzzle, work one while taking a break, or reward yourself with one at the end of the day?

~*~

USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Her latest book in the series is Guilty as Framed, currently available for pre-order. Learn more about Lois and her books at her website www.loiswinston.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter and follow her on various social media sites.

An Interview with Saul Golubcow

by Paula Gail Benson

Last Monday, I introduced you to Saul Golubcow, whose Frank Wolf and Joel Gordon mysteries have just been compiled in The Cost of Living and Other Mysteries, available through Amazon and the publisher Wildside Press. As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve enjoyed reading each new story and been bold enough to ask Saul for more! I think you’ll find his characters and situations so intriguing it’s difficult to put a story down until the end. Saul’s been gracious enough to answer some questions about his life and how he found his way to writing fiction.

Thank you, Saul, for agreeing to be with us.

If you haven’t already been reading his work, now is a great time to start!

(1)        What made you decide to write fiction? 

Hard question as it suggests a definable or rational causality. But here goes. I think when I was much younger, feeling inside a pulse and rhythm of the English language and resonating viscerally to so much of what I read, I thought perhaps I could bring forth life through a fictional rendering. And perhaps I thought if others can do it, why can’t I? But in the same way I try to present Joel in my stories, I was immature not so much from an impulsive or know-it-all perspective, but rather as Joni Mitchell may have put it, I couldn’t see “both sides now.” It took decades of growing up to feel comfortable with myself writing fiction. Writing non-fiction opinion pieces demands much less in its two-dimensional approach to a subject. But I realized if I wanted to really depict Holocaust survivors, I had to devise a multi-dimensional way which could only be done through a fictional world of relationships, tensions, nobility, hypocrisy, loss, and vindication. I thought I was finally ready to create lives.

(2)        How did you create the characters of Frank Wolf and his grandson Joel Gordon? 

An easier question. As I mention in the “Acknowledgments” section, for one of my drawer-kept projected stories, I thought about the life and personality of my father-in-law. He had lost his first family during the Holocaust, and he arrived in the United States in later middle age following the Hungarian Revolution. He was well versed in religious practice, history, arts, the sciences, and the technologies of his time. I was also struck by his various observations of the human condition. Although he never attempted private detective work, he often spoke of “critical analyses” as an imperative for reining in impulsive and rash decision-making, the core skill of a good detective. I back then wondered, might I create a Holocaust survivor character who becomes a private detective in Brooklyn?

But also, Frank Wolf represents that spirit of Holocaust survivors that has insisted that while they suffered horrible victimization, they would not succumb to victimhood. Even before I met my father-in-law, this response to suffering was bred in my bones. I also saw it in my own family. My parents also lost whole families in the Holocaust. Grateful for the opportunity to make a living as poultry farmers in South Jersey even though they knew nothing of farming, nor later of being hotel managers in Atlantic City, they demonstrated a resilience in the midst of enduring pain, building a new life in which my sister and I were protected and a path into our future developed. My father often insisted, “I can’t give up.” These traits are infused into my Holocaust survivors’ characters, regardless of their individual and differing personalities.

As for Joel, I think my wife and I are the models for his character. Young, sometimes over-confident, sometimes self-doubting, sometimes respectful, sometimes imperious, we wrestled with our “Frank Wolf” and learned a good deal about love, trust, and respect as we did so.

(3)        Tell us a little about Frank’s background, which is unique. How did you develop it? 

As mentioned above, I took my father-in-law’s real-life background as the blueprint for Frank Wolf’s character. Before the War, though not a university professor, he was well educated in both secular and religious studies. He may have become a professor or a Rabbi or both had he, as the eldest male in the family, not been forced to take over the family business after the early death of his father. Frank Wolf before the Holocaust was the easiest task for me. The challenge was conceptualizing his life after, and seeing him as a private detective the way I present it in the stories seemed the right way to go.

(4)      How do you determine the length of a story? What length do you feel most comfortable writing? 

Intriguing question. When I am in short story conceptualization mode, I must deal with the constraints of forums accepting just so many words. So I go into “less is more” mode, and that’s ok for that particular genre. But as it occurred for me with “The Cost of Living” which was originally published as a short story, I wanted to say so much more about Frank’s background and life story that turned it into novella length. I gave myself the same leeway with the other stories (especially “The Dorm Murder”) because I wanted the reader to understand so much more about psyche, feeling, and crime solving method that I couldn’t advance in a word limited short story. I am comfortable novella length, but it’s possible my next mystery will be even longer.

Saul Golubcow

Saul’s Bio:

When he is not immersed in the New York of the 1970s with his detective Frank Wolf, Saul Golubcow lives in Potomac, Maryland with his wife, Hedy Teglasi. His Jewish themed fiction centers on the complexity of and challenges Holocaust survivors in the United States have faced. His stories have appeared in Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Weekly, and Jewish Fiction.NetThe Cost of Living and Other Mysteries is his first book-length publication featuring Frank Wolf, a Holocaust survivor. In addition, his commentary on American Jewish culture and politics appear in various publications.  

The Cow Jumped Over the Moon by Lynn Chandler Willis

Back when my now-adult daughter was in kindergarten, I excitedly attended her first parent-teacher conference, anxious to hear the teacher’s impression of how hard I’d worked––um, I mean, how hard my daughter had worked at kindergarten preparation. She could spell, write, and read her first and last name, address, phone number, mom’s name, where her mom worked, etc…She knew her colors and shapes. She recognized the alphabet letters and numbers to 1000. Out of sequence. Okay, I might have exaggerated the numbers a little bit. I was not expecting her teacher to tell me my daughter was having trouble recognizing her farm animal sounds.

I smiled politely and said in my pearl-wearing, sweet tea drinking best southern drawl, “Oh my goodness! Well, we’ll work on that tonight.”

I left that elementary school seething. How dare that teacher say my child couldn’t recognize an oink from a moo and the animal it went with. My child. She knew her farm animal sounds as well as she knew her numbers. We had a See-N-Say at home.

A few days later, I was driving home from somewhere with my daughter strapped into her booster in the back seat. We passed a couple of farms along the way and I spotted some horses grazing in a pasture. I seized the teaching moment, or at least the moment to prove the teacher wrong, and said, “Look, Nina––what does the horsey say?”

My daughter happily waved to the horses and said a big ‘ol “Mooooo.”

Flash forward a few years and my now married daughter had her own baby. I had offered to babysit one day while Nina had to work and she was going to drop him off at my house on her way. All is fine until about 5:30 in the morning and I get that phone call no parent wants to get at that hour. I spring up in bed and grab the phone and Nina’s on the other line, crying, screaming, nearly hysterical and she shouts, “Mom, I had a wreck!”

My heart racing, I jump out of bed and quickly get dressed with the phone in the crook of shoulder and neck. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she cries.

“What about the baby?”

“He’s fine, too.” More sniffles and gasps for breath, then, “We’re both ok but I think the cow’s dead.”

It took me a minute. I bit my tongue. I would not ask her if she was sure it was a cow.

I asked her where she was and told her that her brother and I would be there in a minute. We got to her about the same time the Highway Patrol did. In her defense, she was not speeding. It was still dark outside, rainy and cold and she was on a curvy, rural road and we don’t have street lights on rural roads around here. It turns out that one of the local farmer’s fence had fallen into disrepair and the bovine trekked across the street to greener pastures.

Except it wasn’t just one cow. It was a HERD of cows. A herd. A follow-the-leader line of cows crossing the road on a rainy, dark morning.

After she gave her report to the trooper, she turned to me, still crying, and said, “It was awful, momma. Cows were flying through the air like bowling pins.”

The trooper walked away at that point. I suspect he might have been laughing.

The School of Always Learning

By Donnell Ann Bell

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ― George Eliot “

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” ― Andy Warhol

I didn’t go to Harvard. I write a character that enjoys a sterling curriculum vitae, but unlike him I didn’t have what I would call a crowning education. Growing up in a small town, I received the basics, doing well in English and science, things that interested me. But when it came to advanced math, I was lost. I knew it early on in Algebra class and certainly by the time I enrolled in Geometry.  It never occurred to me to seek out a guidance counselor, nor was it ever offered.

While my plight may sound pathetic, I was bright. I liked to write. I also made good grades. I enjoyed my humanities and sociology classes, and a favorite of mine was (forgive the age-old stereotype) Secretary Office Practice. I particularly loved Shorthand. I reached 120-words-per-minute and won awards, and to this day I use Greg shorthand to write my stories. After college, I became an administrative assistant in the Land Department, and when my boss, the Division Land Manager, was offered employment elsewhere, he invited me to join him. By doing so, I earned a substantial raise and more education. When he retired, I stayed at the company and became a supervisor in the division.

The reason I make this deep dark confession about my education is because I am reading repeatedly how the pandemic has set our children back and how public education is failing. I cannot argue either point. We are facing a crisis. According to the World Bank, literacy is trending backwards.

Still, I remain ever hopeful.

Years ago, a young woman came to my house with her two small boys. During our visit, she lamented the boys’ teacher had not taught her children to read. I was rather stunned that she felt she should leave such an important task up to one person. One of my greatest joys as a parent was reading to my children. As my kids grew older, I’d take one page, they’d take the next. It was solid gold, not only in spending time with my children but in educating them as well. A teacher is merely one cog in the learning machine.

Here’s another lesson I learned about education. It’s not stagnant. As human beings, we have the ability to learn and grow throughout our lifetimes.

My husband is a chemical engineer and enjoys giving back. He’s tutored students in math, and when my children were small, he became involved in Junior Achievement and a program called Math Counts. My children attended a small Catholic grade school, kindergarten through eighth grade. Les worked with the seventh and eighth graders on Math Counts and discovered the students in the upper grades were behind. He insisted we move our children, stating, “If a child falls behind in reading, they can catch up. In math, not so much.” We moved our kids to a more affluent school system. They did well. My son is a CPA. My daughter graduated with a B.S. in Business, emphasis in supply chain management. She now works in IT.

Was my husband correct in his assumption that those children who stayed behind could never catch up?  One student in his former Math Count’s program is a medical doctor in Denver and heads up her department, so you tell me.

I have a friend who barely graduated high school. At one time, he was so down on his luck, he missed car payments. His dad invited him to help him build a small golf course in Montana. My friend had never played golf in his life. His response? “I don’t know, Dad. Let me go play a round, and I’ll get back to you.” A long success story considerably shortened, that invitation led to my friend building and working for celebrated golf-course designers in the U.S. and internationally.

Back to me, after college and as a working adult, I used my love of shorthand to go to court reporting school. I learned English, anatomy, and, of course, medical, and legal terminology–courses that admittedly fascinated me.  Although I achieved speeds of 245 wpm and passed my state boards, my career was cut short by a hand injury. A window opened, however, and I left that career and went to work for a weekly business newspaper. My role as topic submission editor and in writing spotlight articles led to my fiction career.

Yes, 2020 and the Pandemic have put us behind. But while traditional K-12 education is a vital steppingstone to college, it’s not the only avenue for additional learning. There are numerous outreach organizations that support advancement, particularly in literacy. http://literacyoutreach.org/   The situation is bleak and for now that’s where the focus and headlines remain.

However, as parents, grandparents, and other caring individuals, I cannot believe all is lost. That opinion is bolstered each time I start a new book and am astounded by the additional knowledge I obtain in researching a novel.

How about you? Are you a member of The School of Always Learning? Do you have a story to share, and are you enrolled in my school?

About the Author:  Leaving international thrillers to world travelers, Donnell Ann Bell concentrates on suspense that might happen in her neck of the woods – writing SUSPENSE TOO CLOSE TO HOME. Traditionally published with Bell Bridge Books, she has written four Amazon single-title bestsellers, with her most current release Black Pearl, a Cold Case Suspense, book one of a series, and Until Dead, a Cold Case Suspense, book two, which was released May 31, 2022.

Donnell has won or been nominated for The Colorado Book Award, The Epic Award for Best Thriller Suspense, Greater Detroit’s Booksellers Best for Best First Book and Best Single Title, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the Holt Medallion, among others. She co-owns Crimescenewriter, an online group, in which law enforcement, forensic experts, and a multitude of related professionals assist authors in getting those pesky facts right in our novels.

To learn more about her books, sign up for her newsletter or follow her on social media, check out www.donnellannbell.com

 

 

New Website

Welcome to the brand new website for the Stiletto Gang!

The Stiletto Gang is excited to announce our new website. We think you’re going to love it!

In fact, you are the reason we moved from Blogger to WordPress and created our new website. Readers were frustrated that they couldn’t get digest emails (sign up in the upper right corner!) And with more features, easier navigation, more info about each Gang member and our books, the new website is a breath of fresh air for our writers and readers alike.

We’ve moved the majority of our old posts over, so you can still find (and search) the old content and comment on the new posts.  In fact you check out all our posts in the Archives, read more about our author Gang, and check out our fabulous Books.

The gang is excited to be moving into this more technologically advanced era and we hope you are too!  Thank you to all of our past readers and welcome to any new ones.  We value your support and hope that we can provide entertaining and informative content.

Happy reading!

Welcome to the Holidays!

We here at the Stiletto Gang love our readers and hope that you’re all healthy and happy this holiday season. We’ve put together a list of our recent works to inspire you during the gift shopping free-for-all of Black Friday.  Aside from some fantastic sales many of the gang are offering giveaways and free books. So do a little shopping, but don’t feel guilty if you snag a few presents for yourself as well!


Thank you for being our friend! 





Julie Mulhern

CONNECT AT: www.juliemulhernauthor.com

Fields’ Guide to Abduction
Poppy Fields is a Hollywood IT girl with big problems. Bodies are popping up like daisies, the Mexican police have taken her passport, and, when she runs for the border, a cartel makes her their unwilling guest. Surrounded by trained killers, Poppy will need charm, intelligence, and a killer Chihuahua if she hopes to escape. #FREE on your favorite e-reader
GET NOW: Amazon

Paula Gail Benson

CONNECT AT: www.paulagailbenson.com
Love in the Lowcountry
These 14 tales by members of the Lowcountry Romance Writers take place in Charleston, S.C., during the winter holiday season. My story, “Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest,” is about Mel, an English graduate student who is better at literature than life. She is unexpectedly thrown back in time to 1936, where she meets the subjects of her thesis, Dorothy and DuBose Heyward. What she doesn’t anticipate is for her fellow grad student Will to follow her. Can Mel and Will make it back to present day Charleston in time to spend Thanksgiving with Will’s young daughter?
BUY NOW: Amazon

J.M. Phillippe

CONNECT AT: www.jmphillippe.com

The Christmas Spirit
Charlene Dickenson didn’t think that some minor stalking of her ex-boyfriend would lead to her untimely death. And she really didn’t think that because she died in a Christmas-related accident, she would end up in the Hall of Christmas Spirits. But a Christmas death means that Charlene must discover if she has what it takes to be a Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, or Future—helping mortals transform their lives like Ebenezer Scrooge—or end up like Jacob Marley and spend the rest of her existence in chains.  Only Charlene has no intention of letting unknown forces control her life…death… after-life.  Charlene figures that with a little ingenuity and pluck, she can surely figure a way out of this situation.  But finding out how to win may just mean giving up everything she loves.  Stuck in a place where the Christmas music never ends and the holiday treats will never make you full, Charlene is going to have to figure out how to let go of her mortal life and embrace the Christmas Spirit.
BUY NOW: all locations

Barbara Plum

CONNECT AT: www.barbaraplumauthor.com





Crazy Daze & a Knight
Hop off the fast track. Buy a boat. Write the great American novel.
Forty-four-year old Susanna Walker knows about taking risks and dreaming big. Mother of two grown kids. Former CEO of a Silicon Valley PR firm. Ex-wife of a still present, former compulsive gambler, Susanna ignores their objections to her life and refuses to accept she may be perimenopausal. As with all well-laid plans, hers quickly derail when the hunk from the boat next door drops by and invites her to supper on his vessel, Camelot. The boat’s name, his boyish appearance, and the medieval armor leave Susanna a bit dazed.
Against all reason, she agrees to inspect the armor more closely whle he puts the touches on fresh pasta, shrimp, and a cheeky Chardonnay. When she wakes the next morning, her clothes neatly folded on the chair next to her bed, she’s butt naked. And mad. He suckered her with his knight-in-shining armor disguise. But does he think he can steal her underwear without consequences? Unfortunately, the Bold Knight rejects the consequences and issues his own challenge.
BUY NOW: Amazon

Bethany Maines

CONNECT AT: Goodreads

The Second Shot
A drunken mistake in college cost US Marshal Maxwell Ames the affection of Dominique Deveraux and six years later, he’s determined to fix the slip-up. But there’s just one tiny problem—someone wants the Deveraux family dead. Dominique Deveraux never expected Max to reappear in her life, let alone apologize, but as Dominique investigates the mysterious attacks on her wealthy family Max quickly becomes far more than her one time college classmate. Now, Max and Dominique must dodge mercenaries and bullets as they try to make sure that they’re the only ones who get a second shot.
BUY NOW: all locations

GIVEAWAY: Get a free Christmas ebook at…
http://bethanymaines.com/free-e-book/

Kay Kendall

CONNECT AT: www.AustinStarr.com

After You’ve Gone During
Prohibition a small Texas town’s deadly secrets are revealed by a sheltered, yet enterprising young woman. Plus puzzling disappearances and lethal grudges, twenty-three-year-old Wallie MacGregor uncovers it all. Evils of the outside world change her life when her father’s rum-running brother Rory lands on the MacGregors’ doorstep. Absent for decades, Rory says he’s fleeing enraged bootleggers. His tales of adventure—and the natural charisma of a born ladies’ man—charm Wallie. Yet, this long-lost brother appalls her father, a respected judge. Soon a family tragedy gets deemed an accident by the local sheriff. Yet Wallie believes she sees a crime scene showing foul play. Annoyed that no one agrees with her, she sets out to prove her theory. She snoops into her family’s past and finds gangsters, flappers and floozies. When her daring lands her in danger, she wonders if she’s really meant to be a female version of Sherlock Holmes, her literary hero. Then again, she knows she must persist.
BUY NOW: Amazon

GIVEAWAY: Win either a paperback or E-book copy of After You’ve Gone.
Enter to win by commenting on & liking the author’s page at
www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor

Sparkle Abbey

 CONNECT AT:  www.Sparkleabbey.com and www.MaryLeeAshford.com

Two #Giveaways – Latest Books – The Dogfather (Sparkle Abbey) and Risky Biscuits (Mary Lee Ashford)

Who knew the world of designer purses could be such a dog-eat-dog business?

When a local, designer handbags store owner is found dead, the police first believe it’s an unfortunate accident. But the evidence doesn’t lie. Before you can say “wiseguy,” Bow Wow Boutique owner, Melinda Langston’s, former fiancé and undercover FBI agent, Grey Donovan, is the prime suspect. Now the two are working side-by-side to prove Grey’s innocence— nothing personal, just business. Or is it? Suspects are piling up, family secrets are exposed, and no one is who they appear to be, including Mel’s newest employee. Time’s running out. Mel better sniff out the killer before she and Grey end up sleeping with the fishes.
The Dogfather BUY NOW: Amazon
Risky Biscuits BUY NOW: Amazon

GIVEAWAY: Winner’s choice of any print or e-book Sparkle Abbey book AND a Mary Lee Ashford book.  To enter simply sign up for either Sparkle Abbey OR Mary Lee Ashford’s newsletters.
www.Sparkleabbey.com and www.MaryLeeAshford.com

Cathy Perkins

CONNECT AT: www.cperkinswrites.com
In It For The Money
Holly Price traded professional goals for personal plans when she agreed to leave her high-flying position with the Seattle mergers and acquisition team and take over the family accounting practice. Reunited with JC Dimitrak, her former fiancé, she’s already questioning whether she’s ready to flip her condo for marriage and a house in the ‘burbs.       

When her cousin, Tate, needs investors for his innovative car suspension, Holly works her business matchmaking skills and connects him with a client. The Rockcrawler showcasing the new part crashes at its debut event, however, and the driver dies. Framed for the sabotage, Tate turns to Holly when the local cops—including JC—are ready to haul him to jail. Holly soon finds her cousin and client embroiled in multiple criminal schemes. She’s drawn into the investigation, a position that threatens her life, her family and her increasingly shaky relationship with JC.

Debra H. Goldstein

CONNECT AT: www.debrahgoldstein.com
 

Two Bites Too Many
Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce.  Settled into a cozy carriage house with her sassy Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her law firm receptionist job and – if befriending strays at the local animal shelter counts – lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end…

 When the president of the town bank and city council is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands – the twins’ sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle.  Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block.
BUY NOWAmazon • Barnes & Noble

One Taste Too Many

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair knew starting over would be messy, but things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by her twin sister’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah, her Siamese cat, wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and her sister wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!
BUY NOW: Amazon • Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY: a print copy of One Taste Too Many to U.S. readers sign up for my blog via www.debrahgoldstein.com

Shari Randall

CONNECT AT: Facebook
Drawn and Buttered is the third book in a wonderfully satisfying cozy mystery series set at the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack in coastal New England.

The Lazy Mermaid’s business has slowed to a snail’s pace—until a monster lobster claws his way onto the scene…

With high season behind them, ballerina on-the-mend Allie Larkin and Aunt Gully are finally lying low. But then an unexpected guest arrives at the lobster shack: a crustacean so huge he’s dubbed Lobzilla around Mystic Bay and on social media. Soon, with everyone showing up for a peek in their tank, Allie and Aunt Gully have more on their plate than they can handle. Meanwhile, another local establishment finds itself in hot water. In exclusive Rabb’s Point, a strange burglary breaches the elegant home of Royal Parrish. Allie takes it upon herself to help with the investigation but, before she can get to the bottom of the case, another alarm sounds: the Lazy Mermaid’s Lobzilla has gone missing and is on the loose! And bodies are beginning to pile up. . .

“Delightful…Full of New England coastal charm…and clever sleuthing [that] will keep you turning the pages.”—Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva mysteries
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T.K. Thorne

CONNECT AT: www.tkthorne.com
House of Rose
When rookie patrol officer Rose Brighton chases a suspect down an alley, she finds herself in the middle of every cop’s nightmare—staring down at a dead body with two bullet holes from her gun . . . in his back.

He’s dead and now she has to explain it, which is going to be a problem because what happened was so strange, she doesn’t understand it herself. Rose must unravel the mystery of what happened and who she really is—a witch of the House of Rose. If she doesn’t figure it out fast, there will be more bodies, including her own.
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