Guest Post: GRANNY BRICKS A BANDIT by Julie Seedorf

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Today, as part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to host Julie Seedorf as she celebrates the recent release of  Granny Bricks a Bandit and share her thoughts on the power of words.


Words are Powerful by Julie Seedorf

I am happy to be a guest on this blog. Thank you for having me.

Words are powerful. How we use them is powerful. We also need to be mindful that what we write might influence another’s life whether it be on a blog or in a book.

Do you remember the hurtful things said to you in your life? Or do you remember the positive affirmations more?

IMG_1793.JPGWould you read a book dedicated to making a reader feel worse about themselves, or would you read a book that makes you feel better about yourself?

I would guess you remember the hurtful things more than the positive. I would guess you read a book that makes you feel better not worse. Those are a little at the opposite ends of reason. We read books that make us feel good but we read over in our mind the words from others which make us feel bad.

As a writer, I have to gauge what I want my readers to take away from what I write. Do I want them to walk away feeling as if they have escaped reality for a short time, or do I want to bring them deep into reality?

I choose silliness, making people laugh and writing about fictional communities and characters that are so far off our radar, we can’t imagine we could ever live in the community or be that character. Yet, there are some of my characters I would love to step inside of their bodies and be them for a day, a week or forever.

When my Fuchsia Series first started my readers saw a forgetful, over-the-top Granny whose friends were off-the-wall. That was what I wanted to portray so over the series I could add characteristics we could all identify with. What made Granny the way she is? What makes her hurt? What make her mad? What and who shaped her life?

There is a theme besides the mystery and the silliness I want my readers to get, and that is the theme of friendship. No matter what, no matter why someone acts out, Granny’s group of friends is there for each other. They might not always understand each other or why they do what they do, but their friendship lasts through the trials. It is a given in these books that the trials might be wacky, but there is fun in friendship unconditionally.

If you choose to read this series or my Brilliant, MN Series, take time to find the underlying tone. It is there. I may choose to make light of memory loss but it is out of experience with people in my family that have had Alzheimer’s, and humor was the only way to cope.  I address that in Granny Pins A Pilferer. In Granny Bricks A Bandit, there is a bond of family and friendship.

Words matter and my characters words and banter may not always seem kind, but there is a love speak we don’t always understand. I used to know a couple who were in their 70s and they were constantly harping at one another, but I loved to visit them because you could see the love in those exchanges. To an outsider they might have seemed rough, but the words were never hurtful and that is the way Silas and Granny are. Old woman and old man to them are not derogatory but words of love.

Words matter and beneath the words are emotion which might not match the words. Look for it and it might change your perspective when you interact with another person. Things might not always be fine when you ask. Look underneath the words to find the true emotion and it might change your life.

GrannyforkindleAbout the Book

Granny and her cohorts are at it again! When Granny and her neighbor Mavis, go water-skiing and discover a dead body, Granny’s sleuthing instincts take over! She is determined to identify the corpse and find the killer. But wait! No sooner are Granny and her cohorts on the murderer’s trail, then Mavis’ husband George suddenly disappears! Could he be the killer’s next victim? Or could he be the killer? When the gals take a side trip to the Mall of America, they find a man fell to his death on a climbing wall––and Mavis is certain she spots George nearby! What does it all mean? Will Granny get to the bottom of it, with the help of her entourage of buddies and pets?

About the Author

As human beings, we are always a work in progress. From birth to death we live, hurt, laugh, cry, feel, and with all of those emotions we grow as people, as family members, and as friends. I am a dreamer and feel blessed to have the opportunity in my writing to pass those dreams on to others. I believe you are never too old to dream and to turn those dreams into a creative endeavor. I live in rural Minnesota and I am a wife, mother, and grandmother.

I have worn many hats throughout my life such as working as a waitress, nursing home activities person, office manager and finally a computer repair person eventually owning my own computer sales and repair business. I never forgot my love of writing and quit my computer business in 2012 after signing a contract with Cozy Cat Press for Granny Hooks A Crook, the first book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota Series.  Adding four more books to the Fuchsia Series, adding a new Brilliant, Minnesota Series and writing a column for local newspapers feeds my writing creativity.

I also dabble a bit in watercolor painting and hope to eventually add pictures to my children’s book series, Granny’s In Trouble. Oh, and did I tell you I like to be a little bit silly.

Author Links

Purchase Links

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Review & Giveaway: ALL THE DEADLY LIES by Marion Lanouette

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As part of a book tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours for Marion Lanouette’s Jake Carrington series, I recently had the pleasure of reading All the Deadly Lies, the first  book in the series.

About the Book

Homicide detective Jake Carrington takes murder personally…

01 ALL THE DEADLY LIES_402x600The victim was bludgeoned, stripped, and left for dead. Shanna Wagner deserves justice—and there’s no better cop than Lieutenant Jake Carrington to find her killer. The brutality of the crime reminds Jake of his sister’s murder seventeen years ago, and the remorseless man responsible, now up for parole.

Then another woman is killed—and Jake goes dangerously close to the edge. He’ll have to face his personal demons and focus his formidable skills if he hopes to stop a vicious murderer from striking again—and hold on to his career, and his life . . .

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My Review

Jake Carrington is a likeable and smart detective, but flawed. I liked that he wasn’t perfect. He makes mistakes in both his personal and professional life.  He wants to bring justice to the victims, but sometimes breaks the rules placing himself in difficult situations.

In this book, multiple sub-plots are woven together as Jake and his team tackle two active murder cases. At the same time,  Jake starts to review the files from his sister’s murder in advance of her murderer’s parole hearing, providing further insights into the detective’s past.  The active cases are interesting, with red herrings and twists that keep the pages turning as you attempt to guess the identities of the guilty parties.

Although I am all for romance as part of the storyline (it makes the characters more human), the interjection of a graphic sexual encounter in the middle of the story detracted from the flow of the story and contributed nothing in terms of plot or character development.

Nonetheless, this well written and unpredictable read will likely please fans of thrillers and mysteries.

Content Advisory: If you are offended by strong language and explicit graphic sex, this book might not be for you.

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review. 

About the Series

The Jake Carrington series includes the following thrillers:

All the Hidden Sins  (A Jake Carrington Thriller #2)

When it comes to crime, homicide detective Jake Carrington plays for high stakes . . .

Assigned a missing persons case, Lieutenant Jake Carrington investigates a local Mob boss. The trail goes cold, but the Mafioso isn’t taking any chances, and soon the heat turns up from another quarter. Turns out there’s more than one dangerous suspect . . .

Kyra Russell is drop-dead gorgeous and Jake is only human. But despite their mutual attraction, Jake’s suspicion deepens when he learns about her gambling problem—an addiction that cost her both husband and son. Even more disturbing is Kyra’s day job. She runs a crematorium—and it’s tied to the Mob. Now Jake will have to navigate a firestorm of treachery to get to the truth . . .

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JakeC_series.pngAll the Pretty Brides  (A Jake Carrington Thriller #3)

Homicide detective Jake Carrington has an engagement that can’t wait—with a killer.

Haunted by the murder of his sister, Lieutenant Jake Carrington struggles to control his personal demons as he stands over the brutalized body of a young woman found dead on the railroad tracks. The victim disappeared on July 6th, the fifth woman in as many years to go missing on that date. The fifth happy bride-to-be. The only one whose body has turned up.

Soon the killer is sending personal messages to Jake. They refer to an unidentified brother he believes Jake hates as much as he does. With his partner distracted by turmoil at home, Jake is on his own. Drawn deeper and deeper into a murderous family feud, his mission is to find out who the killer’s brother is—and stop him before another innocent woman’s life is cut tragically short.

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All the Dirty Secrets  (A Jake Carrington Thriller #4)

It’s a shocking blast from the past when homicide detective Jake Carrington finds himself investigating the last woman he’d suspect of murder . . .

Recovering from a stab wound to the gut, and dealing with the news that his sister’s killer might beat the system, Lieutenant Jake Carrington needs some downtime. But that’s cut short by a very sensitive case: the murder of the police commissioner’s wife. The crime scene—a dive hotel, complete with provocative, incriminating photos—suggests the victim was having an affair. But Jake finds that hard to believe—as hard to believe as the #1 suspect . . .

Jake hasn’t seen his high school sweetheart, Melinda Mastrianni, since the day his sister, Eva, died. He’d turned down Eva’s request for a ride so he could go see Melinda, and the guilt has never left him. Now Melinda’s a local photographer, mostly shooting weddings and graduations. Definitely not the kind of pics that led him to her doorstep. But when Melinda disappears, and more prominent women turn up dead, Jake will have to navigate through a twisted blackmailing scheme to find out if the girl he once knew is long gone—or if she’s a killer’s next target . . .

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About the Author

A self-described tough blonde from Brooklyn, Marian Lanouette grew up as one of 10 children. As far back as she can remember, Marian loved to read. She was especially intrigued by the Daily News crime reports. Tragically, someone she knew was murdered. The killer was never found. Her Jake Carrington thrillers are informed by her admiration for police work, her experience in running a crematorium, and her desire to write books where good prevails, even in the darkest times. Marian lives in New England with her husband.

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

http://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/all-the-dirty-secrets-book-tour-and-giveaway

Spotlight: SUMMER SNOOPS UNLEASHED

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They are at it again. Another great collection of cozy mysteries – Summer Snoops Unleashed: 14 Furr-ocious Mysteries and Cozy Crimes – with all of the preorder income going to a great cause – our fine furry friends.

Description

Summertime Murders are RUFF

ALL BRAND NEW STORIES!

Looking for cool cozies for hot summer days? Then you’ll love this purr-fectly paw-some cozy mystery boxed set from fourteen USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon best-selling authors.

We’ve pulled out all the stops with Summer Snoops Unleashed! Enjoy hours of fun sniffing out clues on sandy beaches, shimmering waterways, and at small-town celebrations in these brand-new stories full of wily sleuths, cagey plots, and un-fur-gettable tails!

Fetch your copy now to get these furr-ocious new cozy mysteries and woof it up with us!

They’re howlingly good reads!

All preorders support best lives for pets!

  • Here’s a sampling of stories…
    WSJ and USA Best Selling Author Judith Lucci – The Most Glittery Crime of the Year: The Jewel Heist – An Artzy Chicks Mystery
  • WSJ and USA Today Best Selling Author Anna Celeste Burke ¬- Radical Regatta! Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #4
  • WSJ & USA Today Best Selling Author Colleen Mooney – Fireworks, Forensics & Felonies
  • USA Today Best Selling Author Fiona Quinn – YOURS. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
  • Amazon Best Selling Author Maria Grazia Swan – Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye
  • USA Today Best Selling Author Kelly Hashway – You Can’t Judge a Crime by its Aura
  • WSJ & USA Today Best Selling Author Kim Hunt Harris – Yankee Doodle Deadly: A Trailer Park Princess Novella
  • WSJ & USA Today Best Selling Author Susan Boles – Death in Mercy
  • Best Selling Author Amazon Lisa B. Thomas – Sharpe Pain: A Corpse in the Cabin
  • Amazon Best Selling Author Emily Selby – Death and Taxes on a Cloud
  • Amazon Best Selling Author Joanna Campbell Slan – Ruff Justice: Second Chance Adventure #5
  • WSJ and USA Today Best Selling Author Ava Mallory – High Heel Homicide: A Holly Woods Mystery Novella
  • white-dog-3d-box-setAmazon Best Selling Author Chelsea Thomas – A Knead to Kill
  • WSJ and USA Today Best Selling Author Sam Cheever – Spunky Bumpkin

You can order your copy from AMAZON, KOBOAPPLE , or NOOK , or at https://www.summersnoops.com/

Review: FIELDS’ GUIDE TO ABDUCTION by Julie Mulhern

Surveying my endless TBR pile and looking for something fun to read, I pulled up Fields’ Guide to Abduction – the first book in the Poppy Fields Adventures mystery series by Julie Mulhern.   A fun read.

Description

Poppy Fields is a Holl51kaijvgzmlywood IT girl with big problems. Bodies are popping up like daisies, the Mexican police have taken her passport, and, when she runs for the border, a cartel makes her their unwilling guest.

Surrounded by trained killers, Poppy will need charm, intelligence, and a killer Chihuahua if she hopes to escape.

My Review

An enjoyable read.  Poppy is a spoiled young woman, who mostly wants to have fun, preferably without having to pay for it.  Still she has untapped strengths a feisty side – of which she herself is not entirely aware until she is faced with life or death situations while held captive by a drug cartel.  Add in a bit of family drama and humor, an intimidating Chihuahua,  action and suspense, and you have a fun choice for your next beach read.

Fields’ Guide to Abduction is available on Amazon.   No promises – but last time I checked it was Free to download.

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: FAIR GAME by Annette Dashofy

FAIR-GAME-BANNER-184As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on a the latest Zoe Chambers Mystery from Annette Dashof  – Fair Game.

About the Book

FAIR-GAMEParamedic Zoe Chambers hoped a week at the Monongahela County Fair, showing her horse and manning the ambulance, would provide a much-needed diversion from recent events that continue to haunt her.

An old friend, a bossy nemesis, and a teenage crush from her 4-H days fail to offer the distraction she had in mind. But ever the caregiver, she soon bonds with a troubled teen and a grieving father.

Back in Vance Township, a missing woman turns up dead, leading Police Chief Pete Adams into a journey through her mysterious final hours. With each new clue, the tragic circumstances of her death grow increasingly muddied.

A cryptic phone call leads Pete to join Zoe for an evening at the fairgrounds where the annual school bus demolition derby concludes with a gruesome discovery and a new case that may or may not be connected to the first.

Pete’s quest for the motive behind two homicides—and Zoe’s stubborn determination to reunite a family—thrust them both onto a collision course with a violent and desperate felon.

About the Author

Dashofy-1559-534x800Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2014 and BRIDGES BURNED was nominated for the 2015 Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:   AmazonAmazon Hardcover/PaperbackB&NKoboIndieBound

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway  for a chance to win one of five print copies of Fair Game (U.S only).

For a full list of stops on this tour, click here.

Release Spotlight: THE BODY IN THE WETLANDS by Judi Lynn

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on a new release from Judi Lynn – The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery).

About the Book

THE-BODY-IN-THE-WETLANDSHigh summer in River Bluffs, Indiana, is always sweltering and sweet. But the heat is really on when a decidedly dead body turns up in the neighborhood.

When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

About the Author

JUDI-LYNNJudi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters.  She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes.

Readers can visit her website at www.judithpostswritingmusings.com and her blog writingmusings.com.

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   Google Play

Review: DRONE STRIKE by Joe Giordano

If you enjoy international intrigue and suspense, you will want to check out Drone Strike: An Anthony Provati Thriller (Appointment with ISIL Book 2) by Joe Giordano.  I had reviewed the first book in the series, and was glad when the author offered me a review copy of the sequel.

Description

Drone Strike, an Anthony Provati Thriller. Karim’s family is killed as ‘collateral damage’ by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq. The Islamic State in the Levant exploits his rage, recruiting him for a terrorist attack on the U.S., and only Anthony Provati can stop him. Drone Strike takes you on a fast-paced adventure across the Mediterranean, into Mexico, finally arriving in the States. Drone Strike explores the psychological realities that seduce Karim to commit an act of terror, includes a love story between Moslem Karim and Miriam, a Christian woman he defends in Turkey, and highlights the plight of Middle Eastern and Central American refugees.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. As in Appointment with ISIL, the first book in the series,  the author has created a somewhat disturbing scenario that strikes home given the threat of terror faced around the world today. I enjoyed following the protagonist, Anthony Provati, as he again tries to thwart a terrorist attack.  He is the same loveable, flawed guy who finds it hard to resist the temptation of a beautiful woman.

But before Anthony makes his appearance, the reader is introduced to Karim and is given a glimpse into the events that contributed to his bitterness toward America.  He is a particularly well developed character; an internal debate rages within him, particularly after he meets a Syrian Christian woman who is seeking refuge in Europe.

Clearly, an impressive amount of research went into this book – both with respect to the diverse geographic destinations and the cultures and organizations involved.

An interesting and engrossing read. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

For my review of the first book in this series, click here.
The book is available on Amazon.

Review & Giveaway: DYING ON EDISTO by C. Hope Clark

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As part of a tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading Murder on Edisto by  C. Hope Clark. 

About the Book

DYingOnEdisto-coverOne death. Two detectives. And unexpected backup.

A Callie Morgan and Carolina Slade crossover! (A standalone mystery)

When a renowned—and now dead—travel blogger washes ashore on the banks of Indigo Plantation, Police Chief Callie Morgan of Edisto Beach agrees to head the investigation as a favor to the county sheriff, whose reasons are as questionable as the death itself.

When death turns to murder and a watchdog from the county makes her investigation difficult, Callie reluctantly turns to Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo, vacationing agents with the Department of Agriculture. Because poison is growing on this plantation, and someone knows how to use it well.

“Page-turning…[and] edge-of-your-seat action…crisp writing and compelling storytelling. This is one you don’t want to miss!” —Carolyn Haines, USA Today bestselling author

“Her beloved protagonist, Callie, continues to delight readers as a strong, savvy, and a wee-bit-snarky police chief.”—Julie Cantrell, NY Times and USA Today bestselling author

Goodreads * Amazon

My Review

A dead body is never good for business. And when it is found by vacationing  federal investigators Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo while Police Chief Callie Morgan happens to be visiting the newly opened resort, the potential for conflict is no surprise.  Especially when it is outside their respective jurisdictions and the local detective is not a nice guy.    The author provides the reader with insights into both Callie and Slade, their  motivation, their pasts, and their relationships with others.

The plot was intricate and well developed, with twists and turns leading to a satisfying resolution and vivid descriptions of a picturesque southern community. An enjoyable mystery.

This was my first time reading anything by this author.  I liked this book, though I suspect it might be easier to get into for fans of both series who are already acquainted with the two main characters.  That said, I just might go back and read the earlier books in those series.

FTC Disclosure:  I received a 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 giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

C. Hope Clark_393x400C. Hope Clark has a fascination with the mystery genre and is author of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series as well as the Edisto Island Mysteries, both set in her home state of South Carolina. In her previous federal life, she performed administrative investigations and married the agent she met on a bribery investigation. She enjoys nothing more than editing her books on the back porch with him, overlooking the lake, with bourbons in hand. She can be found either on the banks of Lake Murray or Edisto Beach with one or two dachshunds in her lap. Hope is also editor of the award-winning FundsforWriters.com.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Spotlight: DOGS AND MORE DOGS, ANOTHER MURDER by Christa Nardi

Just over a week ago,  Christa Nardi released the second book in her Sheridan Hendley Mystery Series – if you are a fan of cozy mysteries, you won’t want to miss it.  And if you’re a dog lover, even better.

Description

DogsDogs_ChristaAn abandoned house, an abundance of dogs. And a dead body or two.

Sheridan Hendley’s volunteer position at Pets and Paws takes a new turn when more than twenty malnourished dogs are found at a rundown house on the outskirts of town. When the body of an elderly woman is found amidst mountains of clutter in the house, a search of the property leads to startling revelations. And another body. While Herman Stoneham’s death is deemed natural causes, his wife’s is not. Where did all the dogs come from and who’s responsible for Justine’s untimely death? Are the two connected? With dogs and murder at stake, Sheridan can’t help but get involved in the investigation.

About the Author

Christa Nardi (pen name) is an accomplished writer and an avid reader. Her love of mysteries began with Nancy Drew and other teen mysteries, as well as Perry Mason and similar detective series on television. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery and crime authors over time. Christa has authored the 5-book Cold Creek cozy mystery series with the new spinoff series featuring the protagonist, Sheridan Hendley, a professor and psychologist. When not reading or writing, Christa enjoys travel with her husband, and playing with three dogs and three grand-daughters.

Read an Excerpt

The holiday decorations were packed away, the house no longer festive. I’d procrastinated much longer than any other year and now even New Year’s was a memory. Married to State Police Detective Brett McMann and stepmom to his teenaged daughter, Maddie, about six months now, it was sad to put our first Christmas as a family behind us. Still, I was truly relieved the hustle and bustle was over. Juggling two families had been stressful, though time with my parents and sibs, Kaylie and Kevin, was good. Drinking my never empty coffee, I relished the quiet and uncluttered living area.

“Sheridan, can I go skating with Nedra and Willie? Miss Melina is taking us.”

“Is your room clean? And what time will you be home?” Melina and I both volunteered at the local dog shelter, and her daughter, Nedra was in Maddie’s eight grade class. Little did Maddie know, Melina had texted me already about taking them skating. She knew I was volunteering at Pets and Paws today and this would give Maddie something to do. Winter break is great for a few days and then it gets old.

“Yes, my room is clean. I’ll be home before dinner.”

“Okay. Let’s make sure you have everything and you’re ready when they get here to pick you up.”

I followed her to her room, Charlie and Bella padding behind us. Sometimes Maddie’s teen version of a clean room and mine didn’t quite look the same. At least on the surface, this time we were on the same page. Even Bella’s toys were all assembled in her bed.

“Heavy socks so you don’t get blisters? Extra layers or a coat? It can get cold out there with the wind.” The weather had been pretty mild for Virginia in January so far, with only a few nights of frost, and mostly in the 40s.

The eighth grader made a face. “Jeesh, I’m not a child. Besides extra layers make me look fat.”

“But you’ll be warm. What about the thermals? They’re thin and help retain heat and then you might get by without a jacket.”

“Okay. Okay. Can you get my skates?”

“On it. Skates, gloves, scarf and hat coming up.” I ignored her eye roll and gathered everything together as Melina pulled up.

“Hurry up. They’re here.” She bustled out of the room, grabbed everything and was out the door. I waved to Melina from the door.

Only a few more days and Maddie would be back at school and I’d be back to work at Millicent College teaching on Wednesdays and Fridays. I finished my coffee and cleaned up. After letting Charlie and Bella out, I headed for Pets and Paws.

Smiling, I remembered the way Mrs. Chantilly had all the dogs decked out in bells, bows, and bowties before Christmas. Pets and Paws was in an old colonial home. Mrs. Chantilly lived upstairs and the dogs were downstairs. With Luke’s help, she’d decorated the house, inside and out. She’d always reminded me of Mrs. Claus and for two weeks she dressed the part and bounced around with abundant enthusiasm. More than one of the dogs managed to destroy her holiday trappings around the place from time to time, but she took it in stride.

The house was on the news and people came from all over to view it. She’d go out and invite them in to see the rest of the decorations – and the dogs. Not unintentional by any means, she managed to get many dogs adopted.

I chuckled to myself, recalling when she’d tried singing traditional holiday songs. Unlike me, she had a beautiful voice. The problem was some of the dogs. They tried to sing, too, only the howling was not quite in tune. Sure enough, as I pulled up in front of the house I noticed the decorations were gone from Pets and Paws now, too.

Luke was moving boxes and grunted hello as I arrived. A high school student with some bad habits, like the stray and rescue dogs Mrs. Chantilly collected, Luke was a restoration project. His legal issues led to his “volunteering” at Pets and Paws. When he first started his community service there, he scowled a lot and made me nervous. He was still an entitled beachboy type.

He’d made some attitude adjustments in the past few months and I was glad to see it. I still didn’t quite trust him despite Mrs. Chantilly always singing his praises. Mrs. Chantilly met me at the door, grandmotherly, soft, and light, only without the Mrs. Claus attire. I also noted the bounce in her step was gone. Even though she had to be in her sixties, she always seemed to have energy and a happy face.

“Isn’t this weather just delightful? Sunny, not too, too cold. I heard it’s going to freeze tonight and maybe snow. Those abandoned dogs wouldn’t survive if that happened.”

Now used to her manner of speech, I simply asked, “What abandoned dogs?”

“Over at the Stoneham place of course, near Blake Buchanan’s. Have you ever been to his home? It is beautiful. A mansion fit for a king. His wife, Ava, studied interior decorating you know.”

“No, I didn’t know. Did they find dogs at the Stoneham’s?”

“That’s what I said. Nobody ever bothered the Stoneham’s for many years. Older couple and all, their children grown and gone, they kept to themselves. Justine and Herman didn’t live there when I was growing up here. Someone else did though. Never knew who they were.”

Mrs. Dora Chantilly had left Clover Hill after high school and she’d only returned when her grandmother died and left her the house, now Clover Hill Pets and Paws.  Her grandmother had taken in strays and the place was a mess. I was about to ask again about the dogs, and an SUV pulled up.

“Here they are with more of the dogs. Poor things. Luke and I already fed and bathed the first group Blake brought over. I’m sure glad you’re here to help.”

I followed her as she hurried to the car and greeted Blake Buchanan, former mayor of Clover Hill. He took her in his arms and then seemed to realize I was there. He and Mrs. Chantilly had been an item in high school and they renewed their friendship when she returned.

“Dora, we uncovered a mama and pups.” He shook his head. “One of them didn’t make it. Dane mix. Where’s Luke? Even malnourished, it’ll take two of us to get her and her pups inside.” Mrs. Chantilly rushed to open the door and see to the animals.

“Mr. Buchanan, can you fill me in? Mrs. Chantilly hasn’t had a chance yet.”

He smiled and his eyes twinkled. We both understood that sometimes she was a bit hard to follow. Almost like putting a puzzle together. Me, I prefer things to be in order when someone is telling me a story.

“Last night, I was sitting on the deck and my dog, Bridgit, showed up with a puppy, not in good shape. As soon as I took the pup, she darted in the direction of the Stoneham place. I called to my wife, put the pup in a blanket, and took off after her.”

He paused for effect.

“The house was dark but Bridgit stood at the front porch and dug to get further underneath. I knocked at the door and no one answered. I called Chief Peabody and then with my flashlight got a look at dogs huddled together from the cold under the porch. With help, we extracted six dogs and two more puppies and brought them here.”

He shuddered. “Such bad shape. Bridgit still wasn’t happy, but that was all we could do last night. Four of us have been on the property this morning. Brought four more dogs earlier. Butch and Bridgit, my best dogs, are helping us wade through it.”

“Huh? What do you mean ‘wade through it’ – is the house that much of a mess?”

“That’s a mild description. Stuff stacked on top of stuff on top of stuff, and the smell.” He shuddered again. “This mama and pups were in the kitchen. We could hear yelping from other parts of the house.”

“Here comes Luke. We need to get these dogs  inside. Sheridan, can you start some formula going? These pups are near starved to death. And we’ll have to keep them isolated until the vet can check them out.”

Luke lumbered up and his eyes about popped out as he looked from Blake to the Dane and pups. “Where are we going to put all these dogs?”

Mrs. Chantilly’s face fell. “Mama and pups in the house. The side room on the right is empty now with all the adoptions. We put the first bunch in the room on the left. You were just in the garage. Is there room in there? Grandpa used to work out there so I think there’s electric heat if we need it and a bathroom, too. Blake, how many more dogs?”

He pulled her close. “Remember, we need to keep these dogs separate from your other dogs. Let me check out the garage. We can always pull your car out. Work on getting them some food and water. Luke, come with me.”

They disappeared. I turned to Mrs. Chantilly, “You stay with them. I’ll go get water and start the bottles going.”

As I walked in to the house, I glanced down at the concrete floor, painted blue slate and sealed. At least if the dogs made a mess, there wouldn’t be any damage. It was about an hour later when we finished relocating the Pets and Paws residents to the larger back room. The two new mamas and pups were situated on one side of the kitchen. They’d been bathed and fed and each family rested on a palette.

That left space in the other side room for any smaller dogs that might come in. If the new arrivals were medium to large sized dogs we moved them to the unattached garage. They’d been fed and some had been bathed, now settled into crates. The heat was on and that at least took the chill off. Not exactly warm, but the dogs would all be out of the wind.

Blake hinted there still would be more dogs coming. With Mrs. Chantilly’s blessing, I sent an email out to all the volunteers with a short note about the dogs coming in and needing assistance if they were available. Whatever supplies were needed, starting with towels and blankets, I was confident Blake would take care of them.

Excerpt from Dogs and More Dogs, Another Murder ©2019 Christa Nardi

 

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: WHERE SLEEPING LIES LIE by M. Naidoo

Tourbanner_Where Sleeping Lies Lie

As part of a virtual book blast organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today the spotlight shines on  Where Sleeping Lies Lie, a recently released romantic suspense novel by M. Naidoo.

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“Two men… two worlds… one desperate promise…”

If Anna had only known how the simple push of a button would turn her life upside down, she would never have pressed ‘Play.’

Just 22 seconds into the recording she’s hit by the realization that, if the voice in the thick German accent is right, she has been living with an unthinkable lie for the past thirty years.

There is only one way to find out: Follow the instruction left by a dead person and head back to Germany, to a life Anna has next to no conscious memory of.

To her surprise, she finds an unexpected ally in Peter, an old childhood friend whose law degree and language skills prove to be more than useful. Besides, he has the most gorgeous blue eyes and the uncanny ability to push Anna’s buttons without the slightest effort. At every turn, their search for answers is littered with more lies and revelations.

Anna must ultimately decide whether even the noblest of ends, truly justify the means and whether some secrets should better stay buried.

“Mystery, history, and a twist at every turn. Brilliant characters and prolific storytelling… irresistible!”

Scroll down to read an excerpt.

Giveaway

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway.

About the Author

M. Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs. Born and raised in Germany, she was able to draw on a wealth of memories and passed down stories for Where Sleeping Lies Lie.

When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the shore line and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in her debut novel The Pelican.

“Juggling my life as a writer and a full-time ‘real’ job has its challenges. I don’t get to spend half as much time as I’d like doing what I love, and there are never enough hours in the day. Still, I feel extremely lucky to be following my passion, and I am enjoying every minute of it. Getting here has been one heck of a ride!”

Like and follow M. Naidoo on social media:

For information about the author, her blog, upcoming releases, and more visit www.mnaidoo.com.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NL34N26

Read an excerpt:

“I don’t know if I can do this.” She took a deep breath, ” If I wanna do this…”

“Getting cold feet?”

“Wondering what good could possibly come from this. Does it really matter?” Anna turned to look at Peter, waiting for an answer.

“The truth always matters.”

“Spoken like a lawyer again.”

“I take this as a compliment. No seriously, that’s what you came here for, didn’t you?”

Anna nodded. Why did he always have to be right?

“If you don’t do this now, you’ll kick yourself later. Besides, you can’t invite me to the show and drop the curtain before the main act.”

“You’re right.” Anna hated to admit it.

“I know.”

Damn! Why couldn’t he just accept the fact that she agreed with him? Did he have to rub it in?

“I need to get out,” Anna said flatly. The house suddenly felt as if it had shrunk to half its size, making it hard to breathe. Maybe going for a run would help settle her nerves. She was almost at the door when Peter called after her, “Want me to come?”

“I’m okay, thanks.” Yet, another lie.

Excerpt from Where Sleeping Lies Lie. Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.