Monday, December 18, 2017

Take Five and Meet Author M.S. Spencer & The Penhallow Train Incident

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, M. S.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Penhallow Train Incident?

Hi, L.A., thanks for hosting me on your blog.

The first year my family vacationed in the town on which Penhallow is modeled, we took a ride on the Belfast & Moosehead Lake train, which had been built to connect to the Maine Central Railroad. Now reduced to excursions, it traveled alongside the Passagassawaukeag River, ending at the tiny Brooks station. There we were treated to a mock train robbery, complete with cowboys and a sheriff. The kids loved it.  I took it as the starting point of my novel but thoughtfully added a dead body. Were the fake cowboys the culprits? You’d have to read the book to find out.

How do you use setting to further your story?

Actually, the setting is usually the catalyst for my stories. I have books set in Old Town Alexandria, Sarasota, Maine and the Middle East. I’ll want to set a story in a place, then wait for something—an event or fact—to trigger the plot.

Penhallow is based on a town where my family spent its summers. Due to its being off the tourist routes, it has maintained an old Maine feel, mixed rather ingeniously with a large contingent of recovering hippies. The term “laid-back” fits it perfectly. We like it.

A small town can be a microcosm of life. So it is with Penhallow. Most people have lived there for generations, and refer to anyone who moves to Maine from elsewhere as “from away.” Our heroine Rachel Tinker and her hero Griffin Tate are both “from away,” and are unprepared for the complexities of village gossip and scandal.

How do you construct your characters?

Most of the time they don’t let me. As I said, I start with a setting, and the characters tend to arise naturally from that setting. After the first few drafts, they settle down and start to define themselves and their relationships. They don’t even let me name them, preferring to choose their own and then forcing my unwilling fingers to tap out the keys.

In my current WIP Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair, for the first time the hero took over as protagonist. Despite my best efforts, he stuck to his guns and I had to learn to write romance and mystery from a male POV.

How is your main character completely different than you?

She isn’t really. Perhaps a little softer around the edges, but she is an academic like me, a no-nonsense romantic like me, a listener like me. Of course, she has a completely different name.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

I have horrible stage fright. I was asked to do a radio show (I have the face for it) and was too terrified even to let my voice be public. In my undergraduate and even graduate career I deftly managed to choose courses that didn’t require an oral presentation, which is a pretty remarkable achievement if I may say so. Others may disagree.

Also, I have studied but not mastered eight languages, including English.

Give us a brief summary of the Penhallow Train Incident:
The Wild Rose Press
Murder Mystery/Romantic Suspense
334 pp.

In the sleepy coastal Maine town of Penhallow, a stranger dies on a train, drawing Historical Society Director, Rachel Tinker, and curmudgeonly retired professor, Griffin Tate, into a spider’s web of archaeological obsession and greed. 

With the help of the victim’s rival, they set out to locate the Queen of Sheba’s tomb. Their plans are stymied when a war erupts between the sheriff and a state police detective who want to arrest the same man for different crimes. It’s up to Rachel to solve a mystery that includes two more murders before she can unlock the soft heart that beats under Griffin’s hard crust.

To Buy:

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, U. S. Senate committee staff member, speechwriter, Dept. of the Interior staff, copy editor, birdwatcher, non-profit director, and parent. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago.  

All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.
Ms. Spencer has published eleven romantic suspense or murder mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Find M.S.:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Five Secrets from Joss Avaton, A Character in Kayelle Allen's Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

Hi Guys, This post is a bit different, today we learn Five Secrets from a character.  
Sounds fun, can't wait to read on.  

I'm Joss Avaton, and among my people, I'm known as a Master Telepath. They have no idea how truly powerful I am. I could walk around inside anyone's mind as if it were my own house, slamming doors, clomping about opening every cupboard and drawer without them being the wiser.

I also have a finely honed sense of honor which prevents me from doing such a thing. I've never forced my thoughts onto another, although the ability is tempting. I'm not tall by my people's standards, but at 6'10", I tower over humans. I'm two inches shorter than Pietas, whom Kayelle calls the hero of this book. The word fits him. What else... Oh, yes. I have blond hair like Pietas, but mine is yellow-gold and his is platinum white. I have blue eyes. His are turquoise. I love those little button-size candies coated in different colors, and being on a planet without chocolate is one of the worst parts of my exile. Our exile! 

Oh, I should tell you about that. How much space do I have? Let's see. We've been marooned on a planet called Sempervia, which means ever-living and we have no means of leaving. It's a beautiful world, but I miss the comforts of home. There are half a million of us on this planet, but there will never be anymore. We cannot bear children. Although there were two born like human children, Pietas and his twin sister. I'm back to talking about Pietas again. Let's do the secrets part, all right?

Hi, Joss, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire or you, but will after today!

1) I'm the same age as the mother of my hero in Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, which makes me 390 years older than Pietas, my hero. We met when he was only sixteen, but we didn't become lovers until many years later. I'm a master telepath, meaning I can hear anyone's thoughts, including those of humans.

2) The moment I met Pietas, I knew he was destined for greatness. Although I was immediately drawn to him, I maintained a strict distance. He was young and impressionable. There was no way I would ever take advantage of that.

3) His mother, Helia, and I were best friends. When I met Pietas, I hadn't seen her in years and didn't know she'd had children. She'd disappeared, which worried me, since I knew she'd fallen in love with a scientist who had a reputation for conducting experiments on people. Having heard nothing from her for almost twenty years, it was a shock to finally hear her voice. Imagine my surprise at discovering she'd given birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Our kind, Ultras, are unable to conceive. Her husband had discovered a way to circumvent the inability. As far as I know, it only worked once.

4) Though Pietas would later become known as the greatest warrior among Ultras, when I met him, he was a teenager who had never fought on any type of team and he could not find work as a warrior. The Ultra squads wanted people with specialized backgrounds. Pietas had an eidetic memory--he could forget nothing--but that counted for little without experience. Since I designed weapons, I hired him to test them. Over the next few years, I imparted as much of my own skill as I could. His ability with weapons soon made him legendary. By the time he was twenty, warriors were fighting to be hired into his squad.

5) At the beginning of our story, our people had been betrayed and captured, then shipped across the galaxy to the planet Sempervia. During the landing, Pietas was separated from the rest of us. While we were all in cryo-sleep, frozen and un-dreaming, he was being killed by slow degrees, trapped in an unpowered lifepod with no means of escape. Six, the human who had helped capture him, had also been tasked with guarding him during the voyage. 

When he realized Pietas had not been put into cryosleep and was being cruelly confined, he did everything he could to free him. Unfortunately, he was unable to effect a rescue, but he remained at the side of Pietas's pod night and day, singing, whistling, and talking to him. According to Pietas, Six was all that kept him sane. Ironically, Six had been genetically enhanced to enable him to kill Ultras, yet he is probably Pietas's mosted trusted companion. I think that's enough secrets for today, but I'd love to come back some time and tell you more.

Tell us a bit about: Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

What if you were marooned on an undeveloped world?
What if you had no food and few survival tools? What if you'd been genetically engineered and no matter how agonizing the wound, you'd survive. No matter how you died, you'd come back.

It could be worse. You could be here alone. But that's the problem. You're not.

On one hand, there's a tribe of sentient panthers who protect you. Although you hate humans, the one who was dumped on this planet with you has become a trusted friend. The beautiful telepathic warrior you've loved since forever is at your side.

On the other hand, half a million people who depend on you are trapped inside stasis pods, waiting for you to save them. It wouldn't be so bad if you could wake up a few at a time. But the traitors who abandoned you and your followers set the timers to release all half million.
At the same time.

You're facing an ecological disaster and over five hundred thousand hungry, thirsty, homeless immortals.

Worse still, before you can build shelter, figure out how to grow food, or set up a government, you must take back command from a ruthless enemy you've fought for centuries.

Your brutal, merciless father.

Talk about being forged in fire...
Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire has no profanity or explicit content, but lots of angst, a little humor, some sweet romance, and a ton of betrayal with plenty of vengeance. Oh, and let's not forget--one ginormous black "kitty".


Find Kayelle:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Take Five and Meet Valerie Ullmer & Unwrapped (A Unexpected Novella)

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Valerie.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Unwrapped (A Unexpected Novella)?

Thanks for having me on your blog, L.A.

I loved the idea of friends who knew the ins and outs of each-others lives and fell in love but still struggled with their identity and the relationship.  That is where Jack and Adam’s story came from

Have you been a lifelong reader of Romance?  What are some the first books you remember reading?

Yes.  I first started devouring Harlequin Romances.  Diana Palmer was and still is my favorite author.

What do you do to rev your creative juices?

I get excited by developing my ideas into books.  From taking a thought about a character and turning that character into a realistic, relatable person to myself and hopefully my readers.

To you what makes a great romance hero or heroine?

Strength of Character.  I don’t like weak characters for the sake of the story.  I love both heroes and heroines to be strong and their strength comes out in their actions throughout the story.

You’re having a dinner party.  What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up?     Why?

I can’t say that I would exclude any of them.  All of the secondary characters in my book are so different from one another that when they get together, it’s always fun.

Give us a brief summary of  Unwrapped (A Unexpected Novella)
Friends to lovers.

Jack had done what he’d always done to protect himself.  He allowed fear to take over and as a result, he pushed Adam away. When Adam finally left, Jack understood that if he loved Adam as much as he claimed, he needed to change before Adam could risk his heart again.

Lovers to forever.

Adam understood why Jack kept his feelings secret, but after being ignored one too many times, he left. But Jack won’t give up and when he proves to Adam how much he wants their relationship to work, can Adam risk his heart to the one man he’s loved all over again?

Will Jack and Adam find their happily-ever-after during the season of miracles?


Bio:  Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She's addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character-driven romances.

Find Valerie:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Take Five and Meet Author Christine Young & Her New Anthology ~ Once Upon A Christmas Moon


Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Christine.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, Once Upon a Christmas Moon?

This is an Anthology. We are a group of writers who have been writing for almost twenty years. We like to write holiday anthologies and enjoy getting together, planning and focusing on a project.

When you’re brainstorming for a new story, what usually comes first for you, the plot or the characters?

Because there are three of us we focus on a theme. Sometimes we have a common thread we weave through all three stories. Once Upon a Christmas Moon doesn't have a common thread. The three of us plot differently. Personally, my stories are character driven.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

Conflict is the most difficult to write because we want to cut to the chase and write our happy ending.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

Write the first scene. Actually write character arcs, and sometimes when they are chatting away in my head, that's where I keep them.

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

Well there are three of us so it's hard to say. Perhaps a character who has superpowers.

Give us a brief summary of Once Upon a Christmas Moon:

When Archer Steele shows up at Calanthe Durand's failing plantation with an alligator over his shoulder, Cali thinks she's never seen a more handsome man. 

During the war, she had to defend herself and her servants from both union and confederate soldiers. Independent and self-sufficient, she vows to never marry. But Archer Steele has different ideas. 

The first time Archer sees Cali in town, he feels an instant attraction. He decides he will do everything and anything to convince the beautiful Miss Durand he is worthy of her love. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, he gives her twelve gifts in hopes she will fall in love with him.

An ancient evil from the old country has arrived in the high desert of
Oregon. Gnome children are vanishing then re-appearing, showing various
stages of traumatization. Tiamoon, warrior gnome, will put her skills to
use alongside Killian, a handsome warrior, also in need of a cause.

With their world destroyed and their space ship malfunctioning, the
dogizens of Planet Canid have little choice but to crash land on Earth.
They face tortuous experiments at the hands of the Geeks in Green...or
they can trust an eccentric inventor and his zany family to deliver the
Canine Queen's puppies and help them celebrate new lives.


Christine Young
Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. 

Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. Each fall, Christine returns to the classroom as a high school math teacher. 

Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

C. L. Kraemer
C. L. Kraemer is a wanderer, a way of life started when her father served in the U.S. Marine Corp. She’s carried on the tradition seeing most of the continental United States as well as Hawaii and Alaska. 

Three contemporary romance novels written under the nom de plume, Celia Cooper: Old Enough to Know Better; Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Mazatlan; and If Only were gifts from the writing gods. A fourth novel, Cats in the Cradle of Civilization, written as C. L. Kraemer is her first venture into the mystery genre. Wings ePress, Inc. is the publisher of these four offerings.

Healthy Homicide, the October 2008 launch book for a new publishing house, RoguePhoenixPress, picks up the torch again in the mystery world. In February 2010, she contributed writings to two Valentine’s Anthologies at RoguePhoenixPress: A Valentine Anthology, with The Lending Library and A Different Kind of Valentine with The Prize.

She completed the base story in a Dragon fantasy series, Dragons Among Us, for RoguePhoenix Press. The second in the series, Dragons Among the Eagles, was released June 2011.

Meadows of Gold, another faerie story, was released March 2011 as part of A St Patrick’s Day Tale. A novel based on one of the first mass shootings, which took place in Salem, Oregon in 1981, Shattered Tomorrows, was released August 2011. Currently in the works for publication is a commuter book featuring a motorcycle poker run, Joker’s Wild, and the third in the dragon series, Dragons Among the Ice.

Genie Gabriel

I went through the expected motions of marriage, kids, divorce, and career, but usually out of step with most of the human population. This proved to be an advantage in developing an independence and a curiosity about things most people don’t even consider.

A minor health issue led to energy healing and becoming a master level Reiki practitioner. Working at the local animal shelter flipped on the switch to communicating with animals. Each dog I adopted showed miraculous changes most people couldn’t believe.

As a writer, I explored the mysteries of why people behave as they do, and also became fascinated by science, especially quantum physics. But perhaps my favorite way of writing stories is to ask the question, What if?” and dive into those imagined worlds—surrounded by my beloved furbabies, of course!

Find Christine, C.L. and Genie: 
Christine Young
Website | Blog | Facebook |Twitter | Pinterest | BookBub | Instagram |Google+
C. L. Kraemer
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Genie Gabriel

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Five Secrets From Alanna Lucas and Her Latest Book ~ Only A Hero Will Do

A little bit about Alanna before she shares her secrets: Thanks for having me as a guest, L.A.

Hi! I’m Alanna Lucas and I write historical romance. Although I didn’t start writing (at least fun stuff like romance!) until I was an adult, I would make up bedtime stories for myself every evening as a child. Fast forward many years, a couple of career changes, and two kids later, I put pen to paper and wrote my first romance novel (which is tucked under the virtual bed kept company by virtual dust bunnies). Only A Hero Will Do is my 11th book!

Welcome, Alanna, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Only A Hero Will Do or you, but will after today!

1) It’s no secret that Only A Hero Will Do is one of nine books- by nine different authors- in The Heart of a Hero series, but do you know which superhero inspired the hero in my story? I’ll give you a hint- carries a shield and was frozen for 70 years. The research was really tough ;-)

2) When I was five years old I went to a taping of the TV show Happy Days and got a kiss on the cheek from the Fonz! My first kiss :-)

3) I can count on one hand how many guys I’ve dated. I started dating my husband shortly after my 17th birthday and was/still am absolutely smitten.

4) Although I normally write historical romance, an idea for a contemporary romance kept pestering me. So, earlier this year, I gave into the Tessa and Rex, and wrote their story in a month.

5) I am terrible with names! Before I was published I tried a pen name, but I couldn’t remember it!  To keep names straight while writing, I have a cheat sheet with all the names (from dukes to servants, horses to dogs, and even estate names) I’ve ever used. Sometimes that doesn’t even help and I find myself combining two previously used names ;-)

Blurb :
Defender of the realm…and his wary heart…
Captain Grant Alexander is an enigma in London society. Dashing and handsome, he coldly eschews marriage. But the ton knows nothing of his role in the Legion: to bring Typhon, the traitor who seeks to destroy the British monarchy, to justice.

When Grant is thrown together with fellow Legion member Elizabeth Atwell, he’s instantly beguiled yet exasperated by this beautiful viscount’s daughter. She has little interest in combing the marriage mart for a well-bred, well-heeled husband, but is adept at code-breaking and handling a bow and arrow. She also refuses to do as she is told, insisting she accompany Grant on his mission.

As Typhon continues to evade capture and dark forces are at work, Grant realizes he must act, not only to protect the realm but Elizabeth too…not to mention his heart, which is in danger of thawing every time she comes close.


Find Alanna:
Website | Facebook | Amazon Author Page

Friday, December 1, 2017

L.A. Sartor's Bestselling Christmas Series is on Sale For 99¢ Each

I've decided to put my Christmas Series, Star Light ~ Star Bright, set in snowy Boulder, Colorado on sale for 99¢ each. (ebooks)

It's the perfect time to stock up for you, gift to others, or simply slow down with a book and a cup of cocoa.  

Be Mine This Christmas Night is the book that started it all.  Meet Annie, a children's author, Cole, a brilliant scientist along with the cast of characters that show up throughout the series. I can't wait for you to meet them all.
Winner of the International Digital Award

To Buy: 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Forever Yours This New Year's Night is Jennifer and Brice's story. They have one week to complete their assignment. One week to learn to trust each other. One week to fall in love. 

To Buy: 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iBooks | Kobo

Believe In Me This Christmas Morn is Mitch and Belle's story.  You've met Mitch in Book #1 and I couldn't leave him a solitary character. It's the week before Christmas and Belle has won the best gift ever. Mitch also gets the best present by helping Belle with her struggling literacy non-profit. He gets to leave Boulder, and its haunting memories.  Or does he?  

To Buy: 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Take Five and Meet Patricia Hale and her book The Church of the Holy Child

Okay, the title surprised me and then I read Patricia's post. WOW.

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Patricia.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book, The Church of the Holy Child?

Hi, L.A. Thanks for having me as your guest today. I was watching a movie about a serial killer who found his victims through his job as a volunteer for a suicide hot line. I thought that was really horrible and then began thinking of comparable atrocities. I came up with a killer who targets women escaping domestic violence. It’s a terrible irony to be escaping familial violence only to be killed by an outsider. I’m really not as deranged as this makes me sound, but I thought it was an interesting twist. I’ve left out the graphics so readers won’t be turned away. The story takes the reader on a twisted hunt for the killer.

When you’re brainstorming for a new story, what usually comes first for you, the plot or the characters?

Definitely the plot. And then, depending on what the plot entails I imagine who is right for the job. What kind of character traits would the person need to have? What strengths and weaknesses would allow them to confront the issue, but at the same time, I want their own shortcomings to create obstacles and internal struggles as they pursue their goal.

 What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

I enjoy writing a character and getting to know them as the story moves along. Conflict can be very absorbing and intense in a good way. Writing emotions can be challenging because you don’t want to spoon feed the reader what they should feel in any given scene. The characters should bring out emotions in the reader through their behavior, their conflicts, their decisions as well as with their internal and external dialogue. The reader should not be told how to feel. Emotions should be triggered by the behavior of the characters. Making that happen can be challenging.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

I eat. I keep getting up from the computer and going to the kitchen for a snack because I’m nervous and I eat when I’m nervous. It’s those first few lines… I write them and re-write them until I begin to relax and then I get hooked. Once I have the first paragraph on the page, I’m good and I keep writing until I run out of thoughts. Then I leave it and the next morning re-read it and rewrite it again and keep moving forward in that fashion. I’m a pantser.

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

I’ve always wished I’d gone into law enforcement so I would be Jennifer Lopez’s character, Harlee Santos, on Shades of Blue. She’s a mom, a detective, she keeps secrets and she’ll go to any extreme to keep her family safe. In another life, I’d leave my computer behind and live the lives of my characters.

Give us a brief summary of The Church of the Holy Child:
When a missing woman is found dead, her husband is charged, but when a second body appears showing the same wounds questions arise and what looked like a slam-dunk becomes anyone’s guess. The bodies are piling up, and one person knows where the killer is. Father Francis, a priest at The Church of the Holy Child, listens to the killer’s disturbed account of each murder and wrestles with the vows that bind him to secrecy.


Patricia Hale received her MFA degree from Goddard College. Her essays have appeared in literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Revenge, was published in 2013. The Church of the Holy Child is the first book in her PI series featuring the team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan. The second book, Durable Goods, will be released in March 2018. Patricia is a member of Sister’s in Crime, Mystery Writer’s of America, NH Writer’s Project and Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two dogs.

Find Patricia:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Author Spotlight Featuring Nancy Haddock's A Crime of Poison

Nancy Haddock is one of my favorite authors, 
and her Silver Six Crafting Mystery series is funny, warm and clever. 
Thanks, L.A. for hosting me on your blog. It's always a joy to be here.

Do you all like art and craft festivals? I love them, and I’m eagerly awaiting the big November event in St. Augustine!
Whether they are small, intimate fairs with twenty or thirty booths, or large, juried festivals with a hundred vendors, I adore browsing and admiring the creativity and variety of goodies being offered. And, okay, I do more than browse. If the price is right, I buy fun things for family and friends. Everything from jewelry to art prints, to garden stones so ornate I hang them in my house!

My love of arts and crafts came from my mother who was a self-taught artist and craftswoman. I didn’t get all her talent, but if I can spend time at a festival – or an antique show or flea market – I’m there.

Watching my mother and her friends age was one of the inspirations for my Silver Six Crafting mysteries. My mother isn’t one of the Silver Six, per se, but her varied talents and general “get-‘er-done” attitude is reflected in both my group of senior characters and in the 30-year-old character, Nixy.  Another driving inspiration was my love of art and craft forms, so the Silver Six had to be crafty.

In the first book, Basket Case, my characters host an arts and crafts fest on their farmhouse grounds. In A Crime of Poison, they’ve moved the festival to the town square.

So, I wondered ….

What if a despised former resident showed up at the festival? What if he were working for an equally hated town bully? And what if someone wanted those men permanently gone from picturesque Lilyvale?

When Nixy stumbles on a crime scene with Amber the dog and T.C. the cat, she and the Silver Six are sure to be on the case!

Excerpt From A Crime of Poison:
The critters and I were fed and out the door by six forty- five for our morning jaunt. We walked up Fairview, one of our customary routes, but instead of crossing at Troost to loop back, we went another three blocks to cross at Moccasin, and then turned left on McKinley headed for home. Amber sniffed everything in sight. The grass, the sidewalk, the gutter, the dirt, every tree, even the air. Nothing escaped her notice. T.C. batted at and pounced on bugs, a fallen leaf, a rock. Entertaining as they were to watch, the start-stop pace sure wasn’t giving me aerobic exercise.

On McKinley I noticed an older- model sedan parked whopperjawed midblock under one of two oak trees. The front angled into the curb while the back stuck out into the street. Not enough to impede traffic, but nowhere near parallel to the curb. The paint might’ve been a cream color at one time, but now the car had more rust spots than not.

Amber and T.C. lifted their heads and sniffed as we approached. The closer we got, the more my critters fidgeted, whining and meowing, all the while testing the air for scents. When we pulled even with the passenger door, they sat at the edge of the sidewalk. Amber bayed her odd barkaroo, and T.C. screeched a reeoow. All the windows were open a few inches, the back windows more so. They weren’t tinted, and I noticed a man in the passenger seat. He looked to be asleep, his head tilted back, resting partly on the window, partly on the headrest.

I tugged gently on the leashes, planning to walk away, but my pets refused to budge. They gave me the big eyes and pitiful whimpers as if to say, Aren’t you going to do something?
I sighed and carefully stepped nearer to the car window for a closer look inside. I didn’t want to touch anything, but now I saw the man clearly.

A white floppy hat sat off- center over thin graying hair. Bruises colored his face. A split lip. White shirt smudged with dirt and blood droplets, and something else.

In spite of the cool morning, I suddenly felt clammy, and my knees shook. I swallowed and bent lower to see his eyes, then clamped my free hand over my nose and mouth as a foul, sour smell seeped from the window. The man wasn’t sleeping; not unless he slept with his eyes open and fixed on something he could no longer see.

Sure enough, Cornell Lewis was dead.


The Silver Six are known for their arts and crafts—but they’re about to be tested in the art of catching a crafty killer.

It's early October, time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale in Lilyvale, Arkansas. Leslee Stanton Nix, known as "Nixy," is in charge of making the event run smoothly. The festival will benefit the Handcraft Emporium, the store Nixy manages with her aunt and her five sassy housemates, collectively known as the Silver Six. Delicious baked goods, beautiful crafts, and time with friends—Nixy is confident that the festival will be a success.

But things become knotty when local troublemaker Cornell Lewis is found dead with a plate of Snickerdoodles from the bake sale. Two members of the Silver Six are accused of cooking up a murder plot, but Nixy knows that the cookies weren’t literally to die for. With time running out, Nixy and company must catch the actual killer... before the Silver Six find their number permanently reduced to four.

Nancy Haddock is the award-winning and national bestselling author of the Silver Six Crafting Mysteries. Basket Case and Paint the Town Dead are her current books in the series, and A Crime of Poison will be released in December 2017.

Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places and people for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron. You can reach her via

Find Nancy: