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Archive for July, 2018

A Tale of Kitty’s Tail (and Video)| by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 31, 2018:

Kitty plays favorites – she’s definitely partial to David and spends much more time with him than she does with me. That’s not really news, but it continues to be a source of disappointment to me – most of the time.

In the last several months, she has begun to warm up to me more. She sometimes rubs against my legs and then stands with her left rear foot on top of my left foot. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but she does it to David frequently, and it seems to imply some sort of ownership. She’s also allowing me to pet her more, and she sometimes asks me for attention, especially when we first get home in the afternoon. If she’s awake when we arrive, she greets us from the chair by the front door, pushing her head against any part of us she can reach, especially if it’s a hand. She used to save this kind of affection for David, but now I’m included as well.

Another new bid for attention involves my rolling computer stand and the TV table that has become one of her favorite napping places. Because of spatial limitations, the tables are close to each other, and the “mouse ledge” of the computer stand overlaps the edge of the TV table by several inches. When Kitty is lying on her TV table, she rests her head on the computer stand. This is no problem at all except when I’m using my mouse, and Kitty decides she needs my attention. Sometimes she tries to take the mouse out of my hand, and since she doesn’t always remember to sheath her claws, this can be painful for me. Other times she will put her paw on my hand and give that I-know-you-want-to-pet-me look. My typical response is to rub just above her eyes with one finger. She likes that until she doesn’t, and then she bites me.

For quite some time, one of Kitty’s favorite places to lie has been the back of the sofa where David usually sits. It’s high enough to allow her to look down on her loyal subjects, and it’s close to David. It’s also fun to dig between the cushions and the back of the couch unless, of course, David has the spray bottle close at hand to give her a squirt for scratching the furniture. Lately, she has been spending some time on the back of the love seat where I sit. Her favorite place is right behind me. That puts her in the perfect spot to swish her tail and whop me upside my head. Who knew a fluffy tail could pack such a wallop.

Occasionally, instead of lying lengthwise along the back, she lies across it so she can look out the window better. She scoots her backside down until she’s sitting on my shoulder. It’s nice and cozy, and she allows me to lay my head against her like a pillow from time to time. Thankfully, she chooses the left shoulder instead of the sore one, and I enjoy the closeness – until, that is, she swishes her tail. Then, instead of hitting me in the ear, she gets me in the face. Oh well. I guess since I’m number two in her affections, I have to take what I can get, even if it seems like I’m getting the bad end of the deal.

Blessings,

Linda

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#MysteryExchange Treasure Hunters #Romance + #Suspense by @Kris_Bock

Kris Bock’s Southwest Treasure Hunters novels mix action and adventure with romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico. Each novel stands alone, with a new main couple, and is complete, with no cliffhangers.

The Mad Monk’s Treasure

“Smart romance with an ‘Indiana Jones’ feel.”Twitter-MadMonk (2)

A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic – and deadly – New Mexico desert…. Reviewers give it a 4.6 star average. Get this romantic adventure for only 99 cents or FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

 The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends – a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider. When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

“The story has it all – action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship….”

Get The Mad Monk’s Treasure on Amazon.

 

The Dead Man’s Treasure

The Dead Man’s Treasure is fast-paced and a perfect read for the weekend. I highly Twitter-DeadMans-smallrecommend this one.”

Rebecca Westin is shocked to learn the grandfather she never knew has left her a bona fide buried treasure – but only if she can decipher a complex series of clues leading to it. The hunt would be challenging enough without interference from her half-siblings, who are determined to find the treasure first and keep it for themselves. Good thing Rebecca has recruited some help.

Sam is determined to show Rebecca that a desert adventure can be sexy and fun. But there’s a treacherous wildcard in the mix, a man willing to do anything to get that treasure – and revenge.

Action and romance combine in this lively Southwestern adventure, complete with riddles the reader is invited to solve to identify historical and cultural sites around New Mexico.

“I can’t say enough how much I loved this book! It has mystery, adventure, danger, romance, and above it all family remains a huge theme.”

Get The Dead Man’s Treasure on Amazon – free with KU.

 

The Skeleton Canyon Treasure

“A wonderfully suspenseful light romantic read filled with the old Southwest, treasure, Twitter-SkeletonCanyoncharacters you’ll love and an amazing cat.”

Camille Dagneau – beautiful, brilliant, and prickly – isn’t quick to trust, especially when a strange man has broken into her machine shop at night. But Ryan MacAllister insists he’s merely looking for his missing uncle, who has disappeared while hunting for a lost treasure. He believes Camie is the key to finding the treasure, and his uncle. Camie can ignore the attraction she feels, but she won’t pass up the chance for an adventure.

The pair set off with Camie’s feisty cat Tiger to track down the clues in the missing man’s journal. Graveyards, steep cliffs, and creepy caves don’t intimidate Camie, but she’ll need to trust Ryan to overcome all the challenges that stand in their way. A man’s life is on the line and time is running out, but her heart may be the one thing Camie is not willing to risk.

“If you like strong women and adventure, you’re going to love this.”

“The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is a light, breezy action/adventure/romance that’s perfect for summer reading.”

Get The Skeleton Canyon Treasure on Amazon – free with KU.

 

Excerpt from The Mad Monk’s Treasure:

Among all the legends, all the fact and fiction, one story stood out. The Victorio Peak legend had it all. A Franciscan priest and a swindler. Torture, murder, a government cover-up. Where was the truth, among all the stories? Erin wanted to find out. Over time, and with Camie’s encouragement, she’d started to take the treasure hunt more seriously. It wasn’t so much for the treasure itself—that would most likely belong to the government or the landowners. But it would make her reputation, open up new job opportunities—change her life in ways she hardly dared dream.

She touched the book gently. The pages were falling out; she didn’t want to risk carrying it around. Instead, Erin snapped a picture of the petroglyphs with her phone. That would be enough to show Camie for now.

The timing was perfect; she just had to turn in grades and field a few tearful last-minute requests for extensions, and she’d be done for the semester. What better way to spend the summer, than hunting for buried treasure?

Erin shook her head. Who would’ve thought that she, the quiet, studious girl who’d spent her entire adult life in academia in one way or another, would be planning such an adventure?

Erin wheeled the bike around the front of her house and mounted. At the corner, she paused and looked both ways. The long frontage road was dangerously narrow, with a cement wall on one side and a ditch on the other. Fortunately, traffic was normally light, and at this time of day the road lay empty. Erin pushed off, still grinning from her find. She rode on the right side, by the ditch, instead of facing traffic, because it was just too frightening to ride alongside the wall when a car passed.

She’d gone a block when she heard the hum of a car engine as it pulled out from a side street behind her. She rode along the very edge of the pavement, even though the car would have plenty of room to pass her without oncoming traffic.

Erin glanced over her shoulder. The black SUV 20 feet behind her hadn’t bothered to pull out into the road at all. Jerk. When would drivers learn to share the road with bicyclists? Erin pulled onto the two-foot wide gravel strip between the pavement and the ditch. She couldn’t stop without risking a skid, but she slowed so the SUV could pass.

The engine roared. Erin glanced back again.

Black metal bore down on her. Her heart lurched and the bike wobbled. This guy was crazy! She whipped her gaze forward, rose up in the seat, and pumped the pedals with all her power, skimming along inches from the ditch. He was just trying to scare her. She’d get his license plate and—

She felt the bumper hit her back tire. The bike seemed to leap into the air, and she went flying. The dried mud and weeds of the ditch seemed to rise up to meet her.

She didn’t even have time to scream.

 

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Kris Bock hikingSouthwestern landscapes. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

Fans of Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

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Kris, thank you for a quick tour through your Southwest Treasure Hunters novels. I know many of my readers have added them to their to-be-read lists. Best of luck with them, and thanks again for stopping by.

Blessings,

Linda

 

Book Review: Mildred in Disguise: With Diamonds (Mildred Unchained Book 1) by Toni Kief

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About the book:

Toni Kief, author of Old Baggage, is excited to introduce a new work of fiction – and another feisty older woman, Mildred Petrie.

Mildred Petrie expected a comfortable retirement.

Except her husband died and his secrets changed everything.

Desperate, she takes the only job available at the local gambling palace – undercover cop. Drug deals, armed robbery and a mole catapult her into excitement, danger and disguise.

Only Mildred can find the truth!

A breathless, page turner, in sensible shoes.

My review:

I love Mildred. Instead of a young, sexy main character, Toni Kief writes about a spirited septuagenarian who loves life, rock and roll, and desserts and is curious enough to get herself into all sorts of trouble. Walmart greeter? Not this lady! She gets a job as an undercover detective at a Las Vegas casino. She adopts several disguises to protect her identity, and her alter-egos are so believable that she finds herself in some very interesting situations and a few dangerous ones. Her life gets really complicated, and the story gets very entertaining. Toward the end, in order to tie up all the loose ends, the author does a bit too much telling instead of showing; however, I still look forward to reading another Mildred story in the near future.

About the author:

Toni Kief Head ShotToni Kief, a child of the 60s, Midwestern by birth, Northwestern by choice, Toni challenges the boundaries for women of a certain age. After a long career as an insurance adjuster, she fell into writing through a challenge from a friend. She has released her first book, Old Baggage, and recently followed with Mildred in Disguise: With Diamonds. There are three more in the grinder. Toni never dated Mick Jagger, but marched for civil rights, shared bread with icons of politics and art. She is spending her retirement, gathering stories prime for embellishment. Writing has taught her inspiration without perspiration is just a good idea.

Find the author at:

Amazon Author Page

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Buy it at Amazon

Blessings,

Linda

Gumshoe Girl by Andi Ramos – A #MysteryExchange Blog Hop Post

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My guest today is Andi Ramos with her debut mystery novel, Gumshoe Girl. First we’ll share a little about the book and about Andi. Then, we’ll share a little question and answer session followed by an excerpt from the book.

GumshoeGirl Cover

About the book:

Sheagan O’Hare got more than she bargained for when her newly inherited detective agency lands its first case; a missing person, embezzlement, and murder. Sheagan’s out to prove she can hang with the pro’s, despite the constant reminder of her amateur status from an annoyingly attractive FBI agent, Colin ‘Mac’ MacEvine, who’s forced himself into her life.

How does she feel when an old high school friend hopes to ignite a new romance?

Will she be able to discover if detective work and love can mingle before someone gets hurt?

Buy Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Apple

Smashwords

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Author Bio: 

 Andi Ramos Head ShotAndi Ramos is a debut author from central Massachusetts where she lives with her family, goat, and Boston Terriers. Her love for reading grew into a passion for writing. She dabbled with pen and paper for a long time and eventually stopped pushing her amusements aside and started developing those stories into novels. One of her favorite things to do is to hop into her motorhome with her family and write while traveling down the road as they journey to various destinations.

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Blog

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Interview:

Good morning, Andi! I’m so glad you could take time to chat for a few minutes about some things I think my readers would be interested to know about you. Your bio says you dabbled for a long time before getting serious about your writing. What pushed you over the line?

As far back as I remember I would make up scenes with fictitious characters. Sometimes I would jot them down, but I never took them seriously. I would collect them, but they would always end up in the circular file – Gasp! I never did anything with my writing until I started Gumshoe Girl, my debut novel that was just released May 30th. I had this involved story running through my brain. It didn’t stop at just a scene. It just kept going, so I went with it. I finally compiled all the scenes together into a short draft to see what I had. Holy mackerel! Before I knew it, I had over 30,000 words. It wasn’t something I could ignore anymore. I made a decision, and I had to tie the random scenes together into something that made sense and finish it. Well, I no longer waste the story ideas that come to me. I cultivate them to see if they are substantial enough to work with.

I’m glad to hear that, Andi. It’s a shame to waste ideas or words. What inspired you to focus on mysteries?

 I love to be entertained, mysteries definitely fit the bill. I especially love a mystery that is paired with romance and has a humorous element to the story. My book is a very self indulgent novel. It’s something I would love to read.

Now that you’ve found your niche, I’m curious about how you develop your ideas. Do you plans out your story ahead of time (a plotter), or do you let the story develop as you go along (a pantser)?

I am definitely a plotter! I use a program called Trello to help plot my books, however I am not married to the outline when I plot it. If the story takes me in a different direction I go with it and adjust later. What is great about a plotting a story is it ensures that I don’t get too far off course and write myself into a box, I always have a path to where the story is heading, it just may take a different route than originally intended to get there.

That sounds like a great way to write. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly that organized. Now that you’ve taken the next step as an author, what would you tell a young writer who came to you for advice?

Grow tough skin and don’t give up! To be a writer you must have thick skin for all the rejection you will receive…not might receive…will receive. It doesn’t stop with a publisher offering you a contract, you must endure tough critiques and bad reviews, even the best, most well-written novels get criticized – it’s simply part of the business.

That’s very true. What are you working on now?

I have a couple of works in progress including the second in the Gumshoe Girl Series. Sheagan will really have her work cut out for her as she tries to discover the truth behind alleged serial murders. I also have a new series I am working on called the Escape Series. The first book will be called The Pina Colada Catastrophe. I intended this new manuscript to be a contemporary romance, but as I write, I can’t help but weave elements of suspense throughout the story.

One more question. I understand Boston Terriers, but why a goat?

Hahaha, we live on a small farm in central Massachusetts, we have had cows, goats, chickens, and ducks when my kids were small. My husband and I would like to travel more, and it’s hard when you have a farm back home. So we just have Will the goat left besides my Boston Terriers, but I will tell you the goat thinks he’s a dog so it really makes no difference, lol.

Thanks again for your time, Andi. Now let’s give my readers a sneak peek at Gumshoe Girl.

 Excerpt:

 Sheagan blinked back the sting in her eyes as sweat drizzled from her forehead. Her shoulders and forearms cried out as determination inched her body forward through the tin walls that framed her slender figure. The narrow shaft rendered her legs useless as they dragged behind her like dead weight. She made a vow to start working out as she approached her destination, the metal grate that looked down into the sweetheart suite of the Eliot Hotel.

She shimmied her binoculars out of her bag and clutched them in her sweaty palms as she readied herself to delve into the world of private investigating. The friction of her movements caused her mahogany mane to cling to all the surfaces of her temporary confinement. Perched behind the filigree frame, peering like a caged animal, she was a mere 20 feet from her target. Her target? The Rat Bastard, who up until this very moment she’d called boyfriend.

She wasn’t there to kill him, even though the thought had crossed her mind; no, she was there to catch him in the act. She suspected he had been cheating on her for some time, so proof would end her suspicion or the relationship. Spying on her significant other through an air-vent of a swanky hotel room was hardly a promising start to her so-called glamorous career as a private detective. But it snapped her back into the reality that her new chosen profession would often be messy and difficult.

She peered through the grate and envied the spacious room below, but her viewing angle was no good for the task at hand. She could feel the heat in her cheeks rise along with her anger as she scanned the room and soaked in the extravagance–the hardwood tables, the Italian marble fireplace, the opulent sheen of the fabric on the overstuffed furniture that glimmered in the soft candlelight. The Rat Bastard was not known to overindulge on frivolous expenses, unless it was on her dime. Thoughts of killing him resurfaced.

What is wrong with me? Why did I wait so long?

She immediately regretted the fleeting question. She knew why. The answer brought back the pain and significance of her father’s sudden death. He had been the only family she had left, and he was gone. All that was left behind was his detective agency. She had thought about giving it up, but she couldn’t; it was her only connection to him, to her family.

She closed her eyes briefly, realizing that now she was facing more loss–even if he was a lying, cheating Rat Bastard.

No! Its better this way, stay focused.

She choked in a breath and turned her attention back to the room. His secret love nest was finished with soothing tones on the walls and thick, plush carpeting.

What is that on the end table?

Her gaze was drawn to the bottle label as it bobbed upside down in the melting ice. She sharpened the focus of her binoculars, and her eyes widened in recognition.

Her cheeks flushed. Cristal, she scoffed. Who is this Bimbo, anyway?

As if she had room to criticize this girl’s intelligence, when Sheagan was the one sweating her makeup off in a four-by-four-foot air-duct.

Yeah, whos the stupid one?

She heard passionate sounds coming from the right of the room and recognized his tone. Leaning sideways, Sheagan pressed her face to the grate, but her limited view revealed only a portion of the bed and unable to make out major details, like faces.

Crap, I cant see anything. Damn!

 She needed to get a better look. As she shifted her weight, the metal walls started to reverberate and Sheagan stifled a gasp, willing the rumbling to cease. Her breathing became labored as the musty air stole the aroma of the sweet perfume wafting up waft from the suite below. She stilled her movements and did the only thing she could think of… nothing. Nothing but stare at the heap of blankets and wait.

Come on, bimbo, come up for air. I know he doesnt last that long.

Her discomfort increased as the noise from their passion became more intense.

Ugh, thats it, Ive had it!

She mashed her cheek and upper body against the grate.

I just need a peek to confirm.

She pressed harder, ogling the bed. Finally, she caught a tiny glimpse.

Just a little further.

She pushed and heard a chirring sound, then a scraping. She froze in place, but the grate gave way with a creaking groan and crashed to the ground. Time stood still as Sheagan realized there was nothing between her and the floor except air.

Can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Blessings,

Linda

 

 

 

 

A Lethal Spectre by Donna Fletcher Crow – A #MysteryExchange Post

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About the book:

A Lethal Spectre, Lord Danvers Investigates, Book 5, a Victorian True-crime mystery

The elegance of a London season and the atrocities of an Indian mutiny woven into an intricate tapestry

Antonia and Charles are swept up in the glittering swirl of a London season as they present Aunt Aelfrida’s ward to society. In India Antonia’s closest girlhood friend is caught in the most brutal massacre ‘in the book of time’. What could these disparate events have to do with murders in London and Brighton? This engrossing story comes to life with all the vivid historical detail readers expect from Donna Fletcher Crow.

“A stunning contrast between the dramas and machinations of fashionable London life and the unfurling of an unthinkable tragedy. A story of lights and shadows, all impeccably well researched and realised.”

~Linda Stratmann, author of The Frances Doughty Mysteries

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

It was only midmorning and already the heat was stifling. Hot wind seared and scorching sun radiated from the walls of the barracks behind them. The acrid smell of the buildings of the cantonment beyond, now reduced to black smoldering rubble—all their homes and possessions—stung every nose. Emilia Landry stood among the women and children who had been called from their homes in the civilian cantonment and gathered into the military entrenchment on the orders of General Wheeler.

They had been here a week now, hoping for the best; but fearing the worst. No attack had come on the entrenchment, but mutinous sepoys and vandals had ransacked the city, burned the officers’ bungalows in the new cantonment, and, disastrously, seized the magazine where the army treasury, ammunitions and heavy guns were stored.

Emilia closed her eyes against the sight of the black smoke, and saw in her mind the pleasant bungalow she had occupied with her friend Louisa Chalwin and Louisa’s veterinarian husband Edwin. Louisa had planted a lovely garden, complete with English roses that bloomed undaunted in the Indian summer. A magnificent old banyan tree shaded a summer house where Emilia loved to sit and read in the mornings and take tea in the afternoons. All a blackened rubble now.

They had been hearing dire reports for weeks. Revolt of the native troops at Meerut. Then at Delhi. And riots at Lucknow, only some sixty miles to the northeast. But no apprehension had been felt of treachery on the part of their own troops at Cawnpore.

This morning, however, Sunday morning, the seventh of June, Sir Hugh Wheeler, commanding general at Cawnpore, had received a letter from the Nana Sahib, declaring his intention of attacking.

Now everyone on the verandah of the barracks held their breath, as all in the entrenchment seemed to do. The tension of the soldiers, posted with leveled rifles around the circumference of the barricading mud wall, communicated itself to every person.

The mewling of a baby born only a few hours before vibrated on the air.  The cry was cut off by the boom of a cannon. Women shrieked; children wailed as the ball struck the barrack behind them.

A bugle call split the air, sounding above the mayhem. The crack of shot was deafening as hundreds of rifles responded. The mutiny had come to Cawnpore.

 A moan tore from deep in her throat and Lady Antonia Danvers sat up sharply. She was drenched in sweat, even though the early June night was cold in London. Tonia reached for the carafe of water by her bed and filled a glass to relieve her parched throat. What had she dreamed? How could such vivid horror have come from her own imagination?

She crossed the room and, pushing the heavy drapery aside, raised the sash on her window, letting a fresh breeze bathe her face. She breathed deeply of the blessed, moist air. Still unsettled from the terrors of her dream, Antonia returned to bed. The sky had lightened to silver, however, and the first notes of the dawn chorus rang in the garden before Tonia returned to an uneasy sleep.

She wakened far too late to share her morning tea with her husband as was their custom. When she inquired of her maid she was informed that her lord would be out for the day, involved with his man of business and taking dinner at his club. She would have no opportunity to discuss the nightmare with Charles, although the phantom spectrecontinued to follow her.

Available on Amazon 

About the author:

 Donna Fletcher Crow Head ShotDonna Fletcher Crow is a lifelong Anglophile with a special love for the Victorians, especially their energy, confidence and creativity. She is a former English teacher and the author of 50 books, mostly novels of British history, including the award-winning Arthurian epic, Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She currently authors three mystery series: The Monastery Murders; Elizabeth and Richard Literary Suspense; and Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime.

 

 

Find the author:

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Blessings,

Linda

Buying the motor home | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 24, 2018:

IMG_1717Several times lately I’ve written about our motor home, and since this was one of those “I-got-nothin” weeks, I thought I’d share a short excerpt from my memoir about how we came to own it. If you don’t recognize some of the location references, that’s because this happened in 2007, and we were living in Florida at the time.

About two months ago, David and I bought our first RV. We tried not to buy it—we really did! We spent weeks shopping and developing an extensive wish list: diesel pusher, side radiator, light wood interior, double-door refrigerator, computer desk, and then some.

Then, our salesman called.

“I know you’re not ready to buy yet,” he said, “but I have a trade-in that sounds perfect. Another customer has first right of refusal, but I’d like to email you some pictures. Would that be okay?” (more…)

Guest Author Avery Daniels with a #MysteryExchange Post

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 Today my Mystery Exchange guest is Avery Daniels, author of the romantic mystery series called Resort to Murder. She has done a lot or research in preparation for this series, and she shares some of the research before she tells us about the first two offerings in the series.

The Romance of Resorts by Avery Daniels

I’m Avery Daniels, author of the Resort to Murder mystery series.  My amateur sleuth, Julienne, works in a luxury resort and the plan is to have each book based in or around a resort.  In my researching of resorts, the romantic appeal is apparent whether you are single, dating, or hitched.

Many, or most, of you have seen an episode of a reality show about finding love.  Whether it’s the Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Average Joe, Joe Millionaire, or the Cougar the courtship is done in luxury locations and homes.  There is something about being in a resort style setting that sparks romance.  Many have even suggested that the reality shows create this illusion because of the locations that won’t hold up to normal life after the show.

I found many people talking about how romantic a resort is mention how they feel totally away from the ordinary and focused on each other.  The top romantic resorts make that sense of a couple’s getaway a priority in the staff.  Otherwise the setting varies based on the couple’s taste.

Are you into beaches with water activities, then you might like an indoor/outdoor villa complete with private infinity pool, private sand beach, champagne picnic for two, private excursions on the resort’s yacht, and torch or candle lit sea-side dinner under the stars.

Maybe you enjoy traveling Europe, then you might swoon over canopy beds with a sunken hot-tub before a large fireplace, walking around a medieval town with historic ruins, touring centuries old olive groves and vineyards, strolling ancient forests criss-crossed by walking paths where you come across deer and pheasant.  There are even a few historic manor houses or castles turned into luxury accommodations to immerse yourself in history.

Maybe a mountain oasis is more your speed with horseback riding around a lake, bicycling around mountain towns, skiing or snowboarding, hay rides, canoeing, swimming, and hiking.  If you’re really adventurous you can white water raft, try some hot springs (even some clothing optional ones), spa and massage treatments, outdoor hot tubs, and enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores around communal fire pits.  Or maybe order room service to enjoy with a sunken hot tub before a large fireplace in your room.  There are even luxury tent-cabins (called Glamping for glamour camping) that still have resort level amenities.

Then there is the safari resort experience to really get away from the ordinary.  Wildlife viewing with excursions and day trips to wildlife preserves and learning about the native cultures are the draw for these resorts.  Or maybe the theme park resort is more your style so you can play and be a kid again with all the adult luxuries.

There are many types that can even have a combination of the classifications in one resort.  Here is a quick listing of the types or classifications of resorts around the world to consider:  Beach Resorts, Golf Resorts, Island Resorts, Luxury Resorts, Lake, Mountain, Ski, Spa, Pet-Friendly, Theme Park, Historical, Dude Ranch, Singles, Couples, Adult-Only, Family, Eco-Tourism, Clothing-Optional, Casino and All Inclusive Resorts.  Often times one resort will fall into a few categories.

Whatever your style, there is a resort to help you with your inner romantic.  Even as a single person, I love the romance of resorts.  Sometimes it is the beauty around the resorts that nurture a romantic mindset.

What would be the elements of your romantic getaway?

About the author:

 promo-headshotAvery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

 Where to find the author:

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About the book – Iced : A Resort to Murder Mystery

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Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Buy links for Iced:

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About the book – Nailed: Resort to Murder Mystery II

Nailed cover

Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.

Julienne LaMere gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains.  What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.

In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping – and increasingly tense – guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken.  As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship.  Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?

Buy links for Nailed:

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Thanks for stopping by today, Avery. I’m looking forward to reading about Julienne’s adventures.

 Blessings,

 Linda

Sink or Swim by Stacy Juba – A #MysteryExchange Post

How do you call for SOS Twitter

Personal trainer Cassidy sails into the public eye while competing on a TV game show set aboard a Tall Ship. After she returns home and catches the attention of a stalker, her well-ordered life turns topsy-turvy. As Cassidy’s competitors disappear one by one, she teams up with Zach, the charming photographer tasked to record her personal moments for the newspaper.

Is Zach trustworthy? He shadows her as easily as the stalker. Despite the chemistry simmering between them, Cassidy fears he has a secret to hide.

She hates the bizarre rules in this guessing game, but when her stalker forces a showdown, Cassidy plays to win. . .this time for her life.

If you’re in the mood for a fun mystery that keeps you glued to the pages, then pick up your copy of Sink or Swim today.

Excerpt:

Cassidy straightened as Detective Sean Pierce returned with a Styrofoam cup of coffee and a Coke. He popped open the can and handed it to her. Nondescript in his gray striped button-down shirt and khakis, Detective Pierce scraped up a plastic chair beside her. From his retracting brown hair and the crinkles under his dark eyes, he looked as if he was in his early forties, but he had the trim build of a thirty-year-old athlete.

He shot her a curious glance. “You were on that game show. I recognize you from the newspaper. Must have been quite an experience.”

“That’s an understatement,” Cassidy said.

Detective Pierce emptied a packet of sugar into his coffee and stirred it. If he was attempting to help her relax, he wasn’t succeeding. Her mind wouldn’t shut off. “The dispatcher tells me you have an unwanted admirer.”

“Yes. I feel a little silly coming here when this person hasn’t even approached me yet, but he gives me a bad vibe. He’s really persistent, and if you read his letters, he’s not all there if you know what I mean.” Cassidy passed over the pile of envelopes and picked up Raggedy Ann from the floor beside her feet.

“He calls himself Miles,” she said. “He sent this doll to the studio in New York, then a letter came to my apartment. I found a half-dozen others in my fan mail from the network.”

Detective Pierce unfolded one of the letters and held it between his fingers. He read a few lines and frowned.

“What do you think?” Cassidy asked, dropping the doll onto his desk and leaning forward.

“Why Raggedy Ann? She doesn’t exactly symbolize romance.”

“On the show, I mentioned that I had one when I was a kid. My father gave it to me.”

He nodded and flipped the page. “This guy sounds like a real winner. He sure rambles. You don’t know anyone named Miles?”

“No.”

“Did he threaten you in any of these letters?”

“No, I’d call them obsessive, not threatening. But that doesn’t always matter, does it? Isn’t it true that stalkers can start out flattering and turn violent?”

“Yes, but I’m glad to hear you haven’t gotten any threats yet. How about ex-boyfriends? Could any of them be hung up on you and hiding behind this Miles persona?”

Cassidy pulled herself erect, balancing the soda can on her knee. She’d been the one to end most of her short-term relationships, but none of the guys had seemed overly distressed. They’d taken the hint and stopped calling. Unfortunately, the one man who made her toes tingle was engaged. “I don’t think so. It’s someone who saw me on TV. It has to be.”

“Give me the names anyway. I’ll run a background check.”

She scribbled a list of all her dates since high school, a deep flush coloring her cheeks. Four names, only one in the past year. Working her way through college hadn’t left much time for a social life and she’d turned down several dates at the gym to avoid awkward situations when the relationship soured. Cassidy had even less girlfriends – most of her high school pals had moved away, either getting married or accepting jobs out-of-state.

She reviewed the list before handing it to the detective. “This is a dead end. These guys would contact me directly, not use an alias.”

Detective Pierce trailed his finger down the short list of names. “You’re sure about that?”

“Yeah, and besides, none of them were serious. I dated them all a handful of times. They weren’t lunatics. I’m telling you, this guy is a stranger.”

Retailers:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sink-or-Swim-ebook/dp/B004GHN6CW/ref

Audible:

http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_5?asin=B00CO9M4J0&qid=1367976480&sr=1-5

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/sink-or-swim-unabridged/id646216223

Also available in Kindle Unlimited as part of the Young Ladies of Mystery Boxed Set

Author Bio:

Author PhotoStacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers) or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. Visit her website to get your free Mystery Lovers Sampler.

http://stacyjuba.com/blog/mystery-lovers-sampler/

Website: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stacy-Juba-100155471301/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba

Blessings,

Linda

The Marquesa’s Necklace (The Oak Grove Mysteries, Book 1) by P.J.MacLayne – A #MysteryExchange Post

At the suggestion of Kris Bock at The Southwest Armchair Traveler, several authors are participating in a Mystery Exchange Blog Hop. Today I am welcoming P.J. MacLayne here at Life After Caregiving, and she is hosting me on her blog, Mountain Musings. Ms. MacLayne has written a cozy mystery series called The Oak Grove Mysteries. Today we’re highlighting Book 1, The Marquesa’s Necklace. I just finished reading it on Monday, and I loved it. I’ll post a review of it soon, but for now, I’ll let the author speak for herself. Welcome, P.J.

MarquesasNecklaceCover

From the author:

When I started writing the book that became The Marquesa’s Necklace, it wasn’t supposed to be a cozy mystery. It was meant to be a paranormal romance, with a ghost at the romantic lead. In fact, the original title was The Ghost Who Loved Me.

Well, Harmony, the main character, wasn’t having it. And I’m glad I listened to her. I’m still listening to what she has to say as I write the fourth book in the series.

Book Blurb

Harmony Duprie enjoyed her well-ordered life in the quiet little town of Oak Grove—until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she wants nothing more than to return to the uneventful lifestyle of a historical researcher she once savored.

But when her beloved old car “George” is stolen and explodes into a ball of flames, it sets off a series of events that throws her plans into turmoil. Toss in a police detective that may or may not be interested in her, an attractive but mysterious stranger on her trail, and an ex-boyfriend doing time, and Harmony’s life freefalls into a downward spiral of chaos.

Now she has to use her research skills to figure out who is behind the sinister incidents plaguing her, and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.

Because it might.

Excerpt:

By the time Janine and Sarah arrived in the morning, Luke, Joe and I had already wrestled the easy chair out to the curb. Joe was straightening up the kitchen while Luke and I restored order to the explosion of books and put them back on the shelves. Being an ex-librarian, I’m picky in how my books go, so the job was taking longer than Luke liked. When they knocked, Joe, who had self-appointed himself as my bodyguard, rushed to be the one to open it. I didn’t know what he had planned if it was an intruder—would an intruder knock? —but since he was a retired Marine, I wasn’t going to argue. Sarah and Janine stood there with their mouths hanging open, shocked by the scene. Janine gathered her wits and said, “What can we do to help?”

Joe answered for me. “One of you can tackle the bathroom. The other can haul a load of clothes to the basement and wash them.” The defiled lingerie already sat in the garbage can next to the garage.

An hour or so later Detective Thomason arrived. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor in the spots the mop didn’t reach, when we heard a knock on the door. Joe just glared at me when I started to get up, so I let him do the honors, and returned to my cleaning.

“What do you want?” Joe said, rather gruffly and I figured I better check it out for myself.

Detective Thomason held a vase with a bouquet of supermarket flowers. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt instead of a suit. Tight jeans, I might add, and the shirt did him favors that his suits never could. I thanked him and put the flowers in the middle of the kitchen table. Luke steered him towards the bedroom to figure out how to get the shredded mattress out of the apartment without knocking everything else over again. The bouquet proved to be a beacon of peace in the midst of the chaos that ruled for the rest of the day, and earned him back the name of Fred. He still didn’t rank being Freddie in my mind—not yet, anyhow.

I spent the night with Janine. I had to stay somewhere else because Luke, Joe, and I decided we would clean the carpet in the apartment before I replaced my furniture. The soil from the African Violets was ground into the rug. And there had been more foot-traffic through my place than normal for the past year.

The violets were wilted, but would survive. The footprints on the Grateful Dead tapestry vanished with a good beating and repeated vacuuming. Several of my books had their spines broken or their pages torn, but none of my first edition books were hurt. I had to go shopping for a new mattress, but Luke and Joe were going to give me an old loveseat they didn’t want anymore. Nothing seemed to have been taken. I got off lucky. Again

A not-so-tiny voice in the back of my brain told me I’d better start worrying about my luck running out.

The Marquesa’s Necklace is currently on sale for 99¢

Buy Links:

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Author Bio:

pjmaclayne head shotBorn and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

P.J. MacLayne can be reached on:

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Blessings,

Linda

It isn’t easy being green – or left-handed | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 17, 2018:

Its-not-easy-bein-green-w-KermitAt the church where I work, there’s a twelve-month calendar on the wall behind my desk along with a multi-colored collection of dry-erase markers. The idea is that each staff member and each ministry uses a different color so it’s easy to see at a glance what’s happening on any given day. The problem is that we have no color key on the calendar, so we don’t always use the correct marker. One day last week, Pastor Jason came into my office to make note of a few days he is taking off in August. He stared at the calendar for a few minutes.

“I don’t remember what color I am,” he said. “I think I’m green.”

“It isn’t easy being green,” I quipped. When he looked confused, I continued, “You know – Sesame Street – Kermit the Frog.” (more…)

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