Character Guest Post & Giveaway: DUMPSTER DYING & GRILLED, CHILLED AND KILLED by Lesley A. Diehl

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This Blog Tour, organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, introduces readers to the first two books in the Big Lake Murder Mystery series by Lesley A. Diehl.  In this post, Emily Rhodes, the protagonist in the series, tells us a bit about herself.

Guest Post – Emily Rhodes

When I was younger and working as  preschool teacher, I never thought my retirement would be the way it is. I dreamed of retiring to North Carolina where I could still enjoy the change of seasons. Instead here I am in rural Florida, and I can’t say I’ve retired at all because I’m working nearly full-time as a bartender at the Big Lake Country Club. A bartender! Me! I’m as surprised as anyone that I would trade chasing preschoolers around the playground for slinging beers and Crown Royal to golfers. But I needed the money after the love of my life, Fred, died suddenly of a heart attack. There was the shock of his death followed by grief, of course, but what was totally unexpected was that he had never changed his will, and that will left everything to his ex-wife. I had no legal standing. I was only his live in girlfriend in the eyes of the law. So until I could hire a lawyer, I had to pay the bills. Hence, I have become an expert at mixing martinis and handling the drunks who insist they “just need one more drink.”

The first bartending job I got was in one of my favorite bars, the Burnt Biscuit, but when I denied drinks to a drunken rancher, actually the rancher who owned the biggest spread in the area, I got fired. Rancher, you say? Isn’t this Florida, you ask? Yes, but this is rural Florida, inland, away from the beaches and bikini-clad babes. The is the land of cattle, cowboys and alligators. It reminds me of Texas with palm trees. It’s hot, it’s muggy, and there is a huge lake here, but the color of the water is brown and it is inhabited by hundreds of alligators. You don’t take a dip in those waters. In fact, you have to watch where you’re stepping in your back yard. Some alligators like to get close and friendly especially if some idiot has been feeding them.

I’m making the best of living and working here. After I got fired, I was hired at the country club. The pay is so-so, but I get free greens fees and I manage to fit in a round every now and then. I’ve met some nice people here: my boss Clara, my neighbor Vicki and some gals I play golf with. Clara was kind enough to hook me up with her father who is a lawyer, so I have legal representation for contesting Fred’s old will. You wouldn’t think his ex-wife would be interested in his piddly little estate especially since she has remarried and is richer than anyone has a right to be, but she’s also greedy, and just plain mean. She likes to see me squirm as I struggle to pay the mortgage on the park model trailer Fred and I lived in. I’m not convinced Clara’s father, Hap, is the best choice of a lawyer, but he’s the only one I can afford (he asked for scratch-offs for payment).

TDumpster_cover_smallhere are some other folks I’ve met, but I’m not certain how I feel about them. One is Detective Stanton Lewis, a homicide detective with the local police department. I guess I forgot to mention that that drunken rancher ended up in the country club dumpster where I found him one night when I took out the garbage. Actually, I fell into the dumpster onto his body. So of course, I’m the police’s prime suspect for his murder. Detective Lewis is a steely-eyed, no nonsense detective who asks questions that will make you squirm. He does his homework, too. He knows more about a suspect than the suspect knows about himself, in my case, herself. And there’s something else. He’s about the handsomest man I’ve ever met. Aside from the fact that he’d like me to confess to the murder, I also get the feeling he’s more than a little interested in me personally. All of that makes me nervous because I find him just yummy, and I’m supposed to be grieving for Fred.

I had to hire a part-time bartender at the country club, and the only one I could get on such short notice was an bass fisherman named Donald Green. He is the most unpleasant man, seems to hate winter visitors, especially Yankee women who he views as having too much attitude. He means me, of course. He seems to get along with other women just fine. Some even seem to find him kind of attractive with his lean, muscular body and long silver hair that he wears in a ponytail. But I’ve never seen him smile unless he’s talking about fishing. It’s said he has the fastest bass boat on the lake. He took me out in it once fishing, but all I caught was another dead body. I still wonder if he did that on purpose. I’m conflicted in my feelings about him because sometimes he can be kind and generous like when he helped me with my car.

These two men are unlike any men I’ve encountered before. I think living in the Big Lake area of Florida brings out some primitive aspects of everyone’s character. Maybe I like that I’m more assertive and certain of myself now than I was before. And maybe I like my men a little on the wild side.

About Dumpster Dying

Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.

About Grilled, Chilled and Killed

Grilled_cover_small.jpgIt seems as if Emily is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbecue cook-off dead and covered in barbecue sauce in a beer cooler. She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong. Lewis’ denigration of Emily’s speculations is condescending enough to stimulate her dormant snooping skills. As the two of them go on their separate paths to find the killer, Lewis’ old partner, Toby the dirty, tobacco-spitting cop interferes in the investigation leaving Lewis with the wrong man in jail. Killers, bootleggers, barbecue and feral pigs—it’s a lethal game of hide and seek in the Florida swamp.

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win an e-book and have your name used a a character in the next Emily Rhodes book.

About the Author

LDiehlLesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks, frequents yard sales and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. The third book in the Eve Appel murders (from Camel Press) A Sporting Murder was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Five Star Award and her short story Gator Aid a Sleuthfest (2009) short story first place. She has fired the alligator that served as her literary muse when she is in Florida and is interviewing applicants for the position.

Author Links

Purchase Links

Interview & Giveaway: WAVES OF MURDER by C.S. McDonald

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Today’s post showcases “Waves of Murder,” the latest addition to the Fiona Quinn mystery series by C.S. McDonald.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it sounds like a great beach read.  And it is my pleasure to have C.S. McDonald on my blog today to answer a few questions about her recent release.

An interview with C.S. McDonald

C.S. McDonaldThe Fiona Quinn Mysteries are set in Pittsburgh. Have you ever been there?

I sure have! I was born and raised in Pittsburgh—and yes, I bleed black and gold. In fact, Fiona Quinn (our heroine) is a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school that I attended and she lives at 529 Oxford Street—in the very same house I grew up in. When I describe the house, it is exactly as I remember it. Now, let me be clear—my grandmother never lived in the attic, but isn’t having a ghostly grandma fun? Many Pittsburgh venues are mentioned in the books as well. Example: in book #1 Murder on Pointe the story revolves around the Benedum Center—one of Pittsburgh’s premiere theaters.

In Waves of Murder, you move the stories from Pittsburgh to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania. Why did you take Fiona there?

As a child that is where my family vacationed. It was the only place my parents could afford to take us. I loved the beaches of Presque Isle, and I still visit the area every summer. I knew that Fiona had to visit this terrific beach, but her experiences are less relaxing than mine usually are. Poor Fiona encounters a murder—I’m happy to say this has never happened to me!

If you had to choose an actress to portray Fiona, who would you pick?

Kaley Cuoco hands down! Every time I watch Big Bang Theory I think—Wow! She would make the perfect Fiona!

Do you have another profession besides writing?

No. For twenty-six years I was a professional dancer/choreographer. I retired in 2011 and have not looked back. Whether I am working on my romantic suspense series or the Fiona Quinn books, I love writing! As a child, I used to write stories all the time, and as a child, I danced. Interesting how things come full circle—I was a professional dancer, and now I’m a writer.

Who is your biggest fan?

My husband, Bill, has been such a great supporter of my work for years—both in the dance studio and at the laptop. Unfortunately, I feel the person who would’ve been most proud of my success as a writer would have been my dad. He loved to read, and as proud as he was of my dance career, the man would have burst at the seams with pride when I published my first book in 2011. He would’ve been showing my books to anyone who would look, no doubt. My father passed away very unexpectedly in 2005 so he never got to see my writing career, but I know he is watching from above with a big toothy grin on his face!

About Waves of Murder

Waves of MurderSchool’s out for the summer!
Kindergarten teacher, Fiona Quinn is looking forward to spending some quality time in her yard and with her boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry. However, Fiona’s plans get squelched when her mother volunteers her to edit a manuscript for famous romance author, Wyla Parkes.

What’s so bad about that? The author insists Fiona must work on the manuscript at her beach cottage on Presque Isle–three hours away from her yard and Nathan. Spending six weeks in an adorable cottage on a private beach doesn’t really seem all that bad until people start turning up dead—beginning with the author! Fiona’s summer of sun and sand is instantly transformed into a murder investigation. Can Fiona and Nathan crack the case or will the murderer get away on a wave of deceit?

Join Fiona and the gang for a hot whodunit on the sandy beaches of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania!

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Waves of Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery by C.S. McDonald (open to USA only – 2 winners).

About the Author

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters, and has found that so many adults love them too.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook 

Review & Giveaway: UNCORKING A LIE by Nadine Nettmann

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Free Virtual Book Tours,  I recently read Uncorking a Lie (A Sommelier Mystery) by Nadine Nettmann.

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It was the kind of invitation Katie Stillwell had only dreamed about: a dinner party at the Sonoma mansion of famed wine collector Paul Rafferty to celebrate a rare bottle of wine. Everyone enjoys drinking the $19,000 wine, but Katie realizes it’s not the older vintage listed on the label. When she confides in Mr. Rafferty, he asks her to investigate, and she soon discovers the deception goes beyond money. As Katie falls deeper into the world of counterfeit wine, she learns everything is at stake―even her life.

My Review

Having read the first book in this series, I enjoyed getting reacquainted with Katie.  She is a dedicated wine lover, who seeks to advance to the highest level of sommelier accreditation.  And she is smart and determined in her pursuit of the truth about the wine and the suspicious death of a friend.  At the same time, she is impulsive and somewhat reckless.  The underlying plot is engaging, with multiple suspects and a plot that comes together nicely in the end.  A pleasant read, easily enjoyed by lovers of wine and mystery.

FTC Disclosure:   I received an advance review copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a print copy of Uncorking a Lie.

About the Author

Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has traveled to wine regions around the world including Chile, South Africa, Spain, Germany, and every region in France. When she’s not visiting wine regions or dreaming up new mysteries, her travel articles have appeared in AAA Hawaii, New Mexico Journey, Modern Luxury Hawaii, and Inspirato. Nadine is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in California with her husband.

Author Links 

Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N 

Spotlight: TIME FOR HONESTY by Mette Barfelt

As followers of my Twitter account already know, I love to travel.  Scandinavia was one of my favorite destinations, a factor that influenced my decision to read and spotlight this book.  That and the gorgeous cover.

Recently released in English, Time for Honesty is the first book in a series by Mette Barfelt.  Previously released in Norwegian, the series takes place in scenic Norway.  I have only just started reading, but so far I am enjoying Emmelin’s story.

Description

timeforHonestyWelcome to Solvik — a seemingly cozy little town on the Norwegian coast. It’s an idyllic place with old, white wooden houses, almost a touch of paradise. However, under the surface lays intrigues, jealousy, and rivalry, threatening to destroy friendships.

Emmelin inherits her childhood home and must decide whether to sell it or move back to Solvik. With a husband who can’t stand the country life, and no jobs available, the decision seems like an easy one. Confronted with decisions made in her younger days, she now faces deep remorse and indecisiveness. Trying to justify her actions and make things right, Emmelin discovers she’s far from the only one withholding the truth and hiding dark secrets and lies.

In the midst of accusations, devious intentions, and new love, can Emmelin forgive and forget her father’s betrayal and let go of the family drama from her past? Is she finally ready to embrace the future and trust her second chance at romance and love? 

Time for Honesty is the first book in the Solvik series, a sweet small-town romance series with elements of mystery. 

Time for Honesty is available from Amazon.

About the Author

Mette Barfelt is a Scandinavian author. After 16 years working for travel agents and airlines, she got a degree in Marketing, before she started writing books. 
Naturally, with her background in the travel industry, she has traveled extensively throughout the world and visited numerous countries.
She is now writing novels – sweet small town romances with elements of mystery. She lives with her husband and two teenagers, just outside Oslo in Norway.

Review & Giveaway: A GOOD DAY TO BUY by Sherry Harris

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Free Virtual Book Tours,  I recently had the pleasure of reading A Good Day to Buy,  the fourth book in the Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery series by Sherry Harris.

Description

A-GOOD-DAY-TO-BUYHER BROTHER IS NO BARGAIN
When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town—especially her ex, the chief of police—the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.

BUT IS HE A KILLER?
All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex…

My Review

Sarah is an energetic and independent woman, and she is determined to figure out what happened to the home owner at the garage sale she ran that weekend.  With the unexpected appearance of her brother, she is torn between her loyalty to Luke and unanswered questions about his past, and present for that matter. I liked Sarah. She is relentless in her search for the truth – both regarding Mr. Spencer’s murder and Luke’s connection to him. Military service and veterans, and tales of base life lent a unique aspect to this otherwise typical cozy mystery.  It was an enjoyable read, with plenty of suspects, interesting plot twists and a satisfying resolution.

Note:  Although this is fourth in series, it can be read as a standalone. (I haven’t read the previous books.)

FTC Disclosure:   I received an advance review copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Good Day to Buy from Sherry Harris.

About The Author

Agatha award nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:  Amazon  B&N   IndieBound

Spotlight: TILL DIRT DO US PART by Teresa Trent

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight is turning onto the latest mystery by Teresa Trent – Till Dirt Do Us Part – an addition to the Pecan Bayou mystery series.

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Not everything stays buried. When Betsy, a notorious brown thumb gets roped into a gardening contest sponsored by the Pecan Bayou Gazette, she finds herself digging up more than weeds. She is ridiculed by the garden club ladies, and now her heart breaks for a newly single mom whose world has just collapsed. The Happy Hinter is back so take some time to revisit the cozy little town Pecan Bayou, Texas. Grab a glass of sweet tea before you turn the dirt in the garden and sit a spell with all your favorite characters who dole out heartfelt caring and compassion with a side of humor. Till Dirt Do Us Part includes bonus recipes and helpful hints from Betsy’s column!

NEWS Flash!  Till Dirt Do Us Part will be free to download from Amazon May 1-5th.

About the Author

Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Author Links

Review & Giveaways: DIAL P FOR POISON by Zara Keane

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Dial P for Poison, a fun cozy mystery  by Zara Keane.

Description

1_Movie_Club_Mystery1000x1500Movies. Muffins. Murder.

Maggie Doyle moved to Ireland to escape her cheating ex and crumbling career in the San Francisco PD. When the most hated woman on Whisper Island is poisoned at her aunt’s Movie Theater Café, Maggie and her rock-hard muffins are hurled into the investigation.

With the help of her UFO-enthusiast friend, a nun, and a feral puppy, Maggie is determined to clear her aunt’s name. Can she catch the murderer before they strike again? Or will her terrible baking skills burn down the café first?

Cozy, quirky, and fun, this tongue-in-cheek mystery is a delicious introduction to the Movie Club Mysteries Series. Grab a cocktail and join Maggie as she takes her detective skills across the pond in Dial P For Poison.

My Review

Maggie is a fun character. She has traveled to Ireland for some emotional R&R only to find herself investigating a murder.  Once a cop, always a cop – even if she doesn’t have authority in the lovely Irish town.  She can’t sit by and let her aunt be accused of murder.  She is persistent and smart, and she’s confused about her feelings toward some of the locals she knew as a teen.  The plot is interesting, and the story unfolds at a steady pace with a touch of humor and romantic suspense thrown in for good measure.  All in all, a well-written and enjoyable cozy mystery.

FTC Disclosure:   I received an advance review copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaways

Yes, that’s right. Two separate giveaways.

  1. For a chance to win a box of 4 paperback cozy mysteries, 1 signed copy of Zara Keane’s ‘Dial P For Poison’, and a $100 Amazon.com gift certificate, click here to enter the Movie Club Mysteries Launch Giveaway!
  2. Leave a comment on this blog post for a change to win an  e-copy (Amazon) of Dial P for Poison.

About the Author

zaraUSA Today bestselling author Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and spent her summers in a small town similar to the fictional Smuggler’s Cove, the setting of her new cozy mystery series.

She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries – with occasional success – to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.

Author Links:

Review: DOUBLE WHAMMY by Gretchen Archer

I recently found a new series to add to my favorites list. Well, considering the first in Gretchen Archer’s A Davis Way Crime Caper series came out in 2013, it’s not really a new series – but it was new to me.

I started the series from the first book – Double Whammy.

Description (from Amazon)

51hbymnebmlDavis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex-husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free—in fact, it lands her in the pokey. Buried under a mistaken identity, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

My Review

I loved this book.  It was a fun read that necessitated I suppress my laughter so as not to disturb my husband’s sleep in the early hours of the morning.  The story is told from Davis’s point of view  with a great deal of candor.  She is smart, but she has made a lot of stupid moves in the past, and she knows it.  She gets herself into trouble. A lot. Still she somehow manages to come through unscathed.  And the author leveraged the casino setting to create  quirky characters and absurd situations.  The plot is interesting and the culprits remain a mystery until almost the end.  Is the storyline entirely believable? No. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment one bit.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book free of charge. This has not affected the content of my review.

About the Series

The Davis Way Crime Caper series includes:

Cover Reveal: MRS. TEDESCO’S MISSING COOKBOOK

I am excited to share the finalized cover for Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook – a new addition to the Hannah and Tamar Mystery series for young adults and teens.

Mrs-Tedescos-Missing-Cookbook_cover.jpgDescription

A simple request opens up a savory mystery.

Hannah never imagined her high school service project with the elderly would draw her into another mystery. Mrs. Tedesco, a lonely widow who loves to bake, has just one simple request — that the teen retrieve her cookbook from her old house. Easier said than done. The house has been ransacked and the coveted cookbook is nowhere to be found. Eager to help the woman, Hannah and her sister, Tamar, are driven to locate the cookbook and uncover its secrets. But the teens aren’t the only ones seeking the cookbook’s hidden treasures, and the other side is playing for keeps.

Now available for pre-order at special price of just $0.99.  Soon after release the price will be going up!  Click here to reserve your copy.

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: TREASURE IN PARADISE by Kathi Daley

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight is turned on Treasure in Paradise, a new cozy mystery by Kathi Daley.

TreasureInParadise FRONT 2[15190]Description

Tj Jensen and her family head to Turtle Cove Resort for summer vacation, but their plans for rest and relaxation are thwarted when they find a dead treasure hunter in the attic of the resort’s main house. Initially vowing not to get involved, Tj quickly changes her tune when the Gull Island deputy on the case closes it after a bare bones investigation. All evidence points to foul play, and Tj’s determined to uncover what the deputy wants to keep hidden. With the help of her best friend and a chatty parrot, Tj digs up a centuries old legend, a hidden map, and secrets buried deeper than pirate’s treasure.

Giveaway:

For a chance to win an e-copy of Treasure in Paradise from the author, leave a comment about what your idea of paradise might be. (Winner to be selected at random.)

About the Author

Author of the Zoe Donovan cozy Mystery Series, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series, Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Series, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries, and Seacliff High Teen Cozy Mystery Series.

KathiDaleyCome for the murder, stay for the romance.

Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book.

Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with.

Visit Kathi Daley:

Books in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series:

PUMPKINS IN PARADISE (#1)
SNOWMEN IN PARADISE (#2)
BIKINIS IN PARADISE (#3)
CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE(#4)
PUPPIES IN PARADISE (#5)
HALLOWEEN IN PARADISE (#6)
TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7)

Opening Scene from Treasure in Paradise

There is magic in beginnings. Some beginnings come as a rite of passage, such as a graduation from college, the birth of a child, or a wedding day. Other beginnings start off more subtly, as nothing more than an ordinary moment that evolves into a crucial event that, in the end, helps define who you are and who you will become. And then there are the beginnings that arrive on the heels of change. At times we welcome this change with joyful anticipation, while at others we fight to maintain that which we feel we’ve lost. Change can come in gentle waves that shepherd us into a new reality, or it can come in a tornado of destruction that tears apart everything we hold dear to our hearts.

My own new beginning occurred when I packed up two sisters, a grandpa, two very dear friends, four cats, and three dogs, and traveled across the country to help an old friend of my father’s renovate the oceanfront resort he’d been forced to sell. The resort, which consisted of a resident’s home and twenty cabins nestled artfully on a long stretch of beach on the southeastern corner of Gull Island, had been in Garrett Hanford’s family for four generations. Garrett was an only child who’d never married or had children of his own, so when his health began to fail he’d decided he had no choice other than to sell the property he was no longer capable of managing.

The problem was that the resort had fallen into disrepair, and the only buyers interested in the large slice of oceanfront land were developers who didn’t care about the cabins because they planned to tear them down and build a new infrastructure from the ground up. Garrett didn’t want to sell to those large corporations, so in spite of the fact that he was not likely to recover his investment, he’d decided to put some money into the resort and renovate the buildings prior to looking for a buyer who would maintain the integrity of the property he loved. When I learned Garrett had suffered a stroke and would need someone to oversee the renovations, I jumped at the chance to take a step away from a life that had undergone so many changes in the past few months that I no longer recognized it. What I didn’t expect was that by agreeing to spend the summer on Gull Island, I would be trading one set of problems for another.

“Someone from the sheriff’s office should be here in a few minutes,” my best friend, Kyle Donovan, informed me as he joined me in the attic of the three-story house where the two of us, along with my two half sisters Ashley and Gracie, my Grandpa Ben, and a dear friend, Stan Griffin, planned to live that summer.

I glanced in Kyle’s direction with what I was sure was a look of resignation on my face. “What do you think happened to him?”

Kyle’s sandy blond hair had grown long over the past few months and touched his collar as he shrugged. “I’m sure the deputy who shows up will be able to tell us. It looks like he’s been dead for a while.”

“Two weeks at least,” Stan, more commonly known as Doc, agreed. Doc was not only my grandfather, Ben Jensen’s best friend, but was also a retired coroner, so I imagined he knew what he was talking about. “I can’t say for certain without a closer examination of the remains, but based on the fractures on the man’s left temple, I’m going to say the cause of death was blunt force trauma delivered by a right handed individual facing him.”

I grimaced. I don’t know exactly what I expected to find on my first day in over twenty years at Turtle Cove Resort, but in spite of my reputation as an amateur sleuth, I certainly didn’t think I’d be thrust into a murder investigation before I’d even had a chance to unpack.

“Are you okay?” Kyle asked as Doc slipped on the latex glove he carried in his wallet and took a closer look at the body.

“I’m fine.” I looked around the dusty room. “It’s been such a long time since I was here but everything looks exactly like I remember.”

“You spent a lot of time in the attic as a child?”

“Actually, I did.”