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Archive for 'mystery'

M.S. Spencer: Flotsam and Jetsam — the Amelia Island Affair
Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Thanks for hosting me, Delilah. I love to talk about the inspiration for my new mystery romance, Flotsam and Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair.

Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair is a cozy mystery romance set on a barrier island in north-east Florida. Released December 17, 2018 by Wild Rose Press, it arose out of a visit to the island.

I first visited Amelia Island to attend the Amelia Island Book Festival, and was struck by the crazy quilt of events it had witnessed. Known as the Isle of Eight Flags, it had seen wave after wave of conquering armies, some big—like the Spanish, and some tiny—like the Patriots of Amelia Island, who mustered nine gunboats and maybe a hundred men. Timucuan Indians, French, Spanish, pirates, Scots mercenaries, Confederate and Union soldiers—all occupied the tiny island at one point or another. It also has a sizable Geechee (Gullah) community. Faced with a setting like that, who wouldn’t want to craft a nice little murder mystery?

The main town, Fernandina Beach, contains several historical buildings, a marina, and Fort Clinch. Built in 1847 by the US, the fort sits on the northern corner of the island, protecting the entrance to the Amelia River. South of it is Egan’s Creek, a marshy area.  In Flotsam & Jetsam, four bodies are discovered, ranging from north of the fort all the way to Egan’s Marsh. While Ellie and Simon investigate the deaths, they have to draw on much of Amelia Island’s colorful history. I hope readers find it as fascinating as I do.

Flotsam and Jetsam: The Amelia Island Affair

Who’s littering the park with corpses?

State Park Rangers Simon Ribault and Ellie Ironstone are used to dealing with messy campers and ravaging raccoons, but when three bodies wash up on the beach, they mobilize all their powers of deduction. Who are they and how did they get to the shore of Amelia Island? Are they connected to the secretive League of the Green Cross? Or linked to a mysterious Jamaican drug ring?

Ellie, new to Amelia Island, must penetrate a close-knit community if she wants to find answers to the mystery, all while deciding between two rivals for her affection: Thad, the handsome local idol, and Simon, the clever, quirky bookworm.

Simon, for his part, will have to call on his not-so-well-honed romantic prowess to lure Ellie away from Thad and at the same time use his wide-ranging research skills to solve the case.

 Excerpt: First Kiss


The magic word. He walked the finger up her arm, circled her neck, and brought her lips to his. The kiss lingered, but not enough to satisfy him. He had adored this little creature for so long—since she arrived at the fort in fact, in a crisp new uniform, her campaign hat still unfaded, her expression a mix of terror and determination. He had fallen like a shooting star and could still feel the burn marks. But he had never in his wildest dreams thought she might feel the same way. He sat back, letting his hand fall.

She pulled him toward her and kissed him again. As the kiss wound down, they heard a tapping on the window. Georgia stood on the sidewalk grinning. “There’s a hotel around the corner, you know.”

Simon swiveled to look at Ellie and found himself the butt of a furious, hissing face. “You.”

“Me? What are you talking about?”

“Two-faced, two-timing, two-dollar bill. Or should I say multiple timing. How many other women do you have hidden in island nooks and crannies—this island which you know so well?”

“Huh?” This isn’t going as swimmingly as I thought. “I…uh.”

“Take me home. Now.”



When they rolled up in front of Ellie’s house, a cheery yellow bungalow on Fletcher Avenue with a wide porch and hanging geraniums, a silver sports car sat at the curb. Oh great, the mighty Thad.

Simon’s nemesis disentangled himself from the wheel. Slowly, as if for maximum effect, he unfurled his powerful body, planting his size fourteen shoes solidly on the ground. A beefy hand languidly brushed the sandy hair from his forehead. Strapping shoulders squared, he loped over.

Flotsam and Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair
The Wild Rose Press, December 17, 2018
Imprint: Mainstream Mystery
Rating: Spicy (PG13)
Paper 430 p.; Ebook 97,578 words

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About the Author

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, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. She has two grown children and a perfect granddaughter. Ms. Spencer has published twelve mystery/romantic suspense novels, and currently divides her time between Florida and Maine.

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Lyncee Shillard: All Things Halloween
Friday, October 19th, 2018

Hi everyone!

A big shout out of thanks to Delilah for having me on her blog. This time of year, I’m all about Halloween… and of course murder…and well doughnuts…and vodka. My newest book is a novella about all those things!

Murder and Treats

Lila Maxwell is coaxed into attending All Treats, a Halloween speed dating event by her best friend. Instead of the soul mate promised one Halloween ghoul after another appears at her door until Cowboy Bill.

Jax Carlson has spent the last year focusing all of his attention on starting his own business. Hiring Lila Maxell over the Internet as his project manager was the final piece to his prefect plan. Set to open for business in three days, Jax plans on spending a couple of days on his boat relaxing. However, his friend Erik has a different idea – a speed dating Halloween party.

Jax has spent the night plotting the best revenge possible for Erik until Sally opens the door. The woman dressed in the pale lavender Harem costume ignites a fire that Jax thought was impossible without the aid of his formulated dating list.

After a night of mind-blowing sex, Lila sneaks out before they exchange real names believing it was no more than a one-night stand.

Lila’s first day is full of surprises, the biggest being Cowboy Bill is actually her new boss, Jax Carlson. She thinks keeping her hormones in check while convincing Jax that love doesn’t follow a formula is complication enough until she learns the participants of the All Treats speed dating event are being killed.

My favorite Halloween doughnut trick is…insert vamp teeth into a sugar doughnut. Drizzle red frosting for blood, or have gummy worms crawling out of the mouth, or decorate with gummy boogers. 

My favorite Halloween drink is the wicked witch… it’s caramel vodka, apple vodka, and whip cream vodka all equal parts mixed with apple cider. Sooo good and so wicked.

And just a peek…

Walking into her bedroom, Lila froze mid-stride. On her bed was a knife coated with blood and small plastic number five. The glass slipped from her hand and fell to the floor, spraying her foot and leg with red wine.

Murder and Treats is available at

Come and hang out with me… we will talk about doughnuts and vodka…
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Barbara Brett: All About August
Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Good morning, Delilah, and thanks for having me over on this hot August day. It’s really cool and lovely to spend some time with you and your readers. When I was growing up, I didn’t like August very much. Hot and sultry as it always is here in New York, it meant that summer was winding down and it would soon be time to pack away the swimsuit, shelve those books I loved reading beneath a tree, and get back to the business of school and homework. Even when school was long behind me, the August gloomies lingered.

Then I decided it was time to grow up and shed those gloomies for good. My mother had always said that there was no such thing as a bad day, week, or month. All of them were presents, and it was up to us to make something good of them. So I decided to find out something good about August. How does an author do that? Research, of course!

So, welcome to Admit You’re Happy Month! Isn’t it great to have a month that urges us to sit back, take stock, and think about all the things we have in our lives to make us happy? August is also Family Fun Month, and, certainly, my family is highest on the list of blessings that brighten my days. Thank you, August, for reminding me of that.

August also won’t let us forget to keep admitting we’re happy. Every week is upbeat. Last week was National Simplify Your Life Week. That’s pretty difficult for me to do, with a family to take care of and a new book just out. I may have to save it for next year. This week, though, is National Smile Week. It’s good to remember when life gets a little overwhelming that we still have much to smile about, and so many people in our lives, and even strangers, who deserve our smiles. Next week is Friendship Week—a good time to remember how much our friends mean to us and how they have always been at our side through both good and difficult times. The last week of the month is Be Kind to Humankind Week. If we all celebrated that one, our world would certainly be a better, more peaceful place.

August is packed with important days in history. Some of them sad, but others are events that made our world a better place: On August 1, 1774, Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen. On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Spain. The sixth of August marks the birth of Alexander Flemming, who discovered penicillin. August 14, 1945, is the day World War II ended. On August 22 in 565, the Loch Ness monster was spotted for the first time. Old Nessy is said to still keep making appearances, though not only in August.

One of my favorite dates is August 18, 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment of our Constitution, giving women the right to vote, was ratified. Lucy Stone, who fought so hard to win that right for us was born on August 13, 1818.

August also saw the birth of many famous people. Here are just a few: Herman Melville, P.D. James, Louis Armstrong, Lucille Ball, Neil Armstrong, John Dryden, Cecil B. DeMille, Davy Crockett, Mae West, Alfred Hitchcock, Coco Chanel, Orville Wright, Mother Teresa, Claude Debussy, Dorothy Parker, Michael Jackson, Charlie Parker, and Mary Shelley.

So, happy August, everyone—and happy August 8, which is International Cat Day, as well as Happiness Happens Day. I’m now such an admirer of the month that it opens my new mystery, SECRET AGENDA: Who’s Castrating the Wolves of Wall Street? The villain’s first strike is on a moonless night in August….

Secret Agenda: Who’s Castrating
the Wolves of Wall Street?

They are the most powerful men in America: billionaires born to privilege and linked by their membership in the nation’s most elite fraternity. They have always snatched what they want. From the halls of their ivy-league college to the counting houses of Wall Street, nothing has ever stopped them from reaching their nefarious goals. But as they gear up for their biggest takeover of all—the presidency of the United States—they discover to their horror that someone else has a secret agenda too. One by one, they are being castrated by an unknown attacker….

SECRET AGENDA—a riveting mystery of political ambition set in the glittering heights of New York society and darkest depths of Wall Street depravity!

Buy links:
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About the Author

Until she left to pursue her own writing, Barbara Brett was both a magazine editor and book editor and publisher. Besides Secret Agenda, she is the author of Sizzle, Between Two Eternities, Love After Hours, and, with her husband, Hy Brett, the critically acclaimed mystery, Promises to Keep. You can find out more about Barbara and her books on her website: And you can keep up with her news and her views on writing, reading, and life by following her on her Facebook page:

Stephanie Queen: 5 Favorite Summer Things To Do
Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Like a lot of us, I find I have more leisure time in the summer. Work slows down, days get longer and energy goes up. Maybe it’s all a mirage, but suddenly there’s more time for the fun stuff in life.

Here are my top 5 fun summer leisure loves:

  1. The Beach. Breathing the salt air. Splashing in the ocean waves. Walking I the warm sand. Any of it. All of it! One of my favorite all time beaches is Gay Head Beach on Martha’s Vineyard, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts and top summer vacation mecca. When POTUS vacations there, you know it has to be hot! Speaking of which, POTUS plans a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard in my latest Beachcomber Investigations novel, Beachcomber Danger. The problem is there’s a credible threat to his life. But my hero and heroine, Dane & Shana will do their part to foil the threat. Of course, nothing is that easy and nothing good happens without a cost. Find out the price Dane has to pay when you read the book…
  2. Summer Theater. Maybe I’m a geek, but I love seeing those small productions done in all the vacation spots well off Broadway—mostly in the mountains. Revivals of long ago favorites like South Pacific or My Fair Lady, or my very favorite The Pajama Game. I’m heading up to the mountains in New Hampshire to see whatever they’re showing!
  3. Shopping. I know, I know. This is a great leisure activity any time of year (think Christmas) but it’s extra special when you can cruise the boutiques and shops in a vacation town, especially one that’s on the water, and duck in for specials and AC when the sun gets too hot. My favorite spot is in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, closely followed by Wolfeboro, NH on the shores of Lake Winnepesauki. Or any water front harbor town along the coast of Maine, like York or Kennebunkport.
  4. Ice Cream. I know it’s not an activity. Not strictly speaking, but eating ice cream cones, visiting shops or outdoor stands, especially if they’re along a beach or at a carnival, is classifiably a FUN activity! I enjoy the beach side stands at places like Old Orchard Beach in Maine or Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts among many, many others (closely followed by the stands that sell ‘Beach Pizza’!)
  5. Reading a Beach Book. This is the ultimate leisurely activity in the summer. Laying around with nothing to do but read for hours on end. On the beach or in a hammock or poolside. Or maybe in bed late at night or before you get up in the morning because you have nowhere else to be. The definition of leisure activity.

If you’re looking for a great Beach Read, check out my romantic detective series, Beachcomber Investigations.

About the Author

USA TodayBestselling Author Stephanie Queen is a romantic at heart and a writer by nature. So of course, she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. She writes the romantic detective series, Beachcomber Investigationsset on Martha’s Vineyard and the Small Towncontemporary romance series as well as other series and stand-alone novels. So far she’s published more than 25 novels and novellas and has no plans to stop.

You can check out all her books at

Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U. She lives in New Hampshire with her family and her cat, Kitty.

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Twitter: @StephanieQueen

Kristin Wallace: The Forgotten Heiress, Book 3 of The Heiress Games
Friday, June 8th, 2018

I have written a most unusual series, The Heiress Games. 3 books that all follow the same events, but each one tells the story from the point of view of different characters. Three women who are all competing for the family fortune. Each book in the series follows one of the couples. The third and final book in the series is out this month. THE FORGOTTEN HEIRESS. Here’s the 411.

About the series…

Eccentric heiress, Victoria Armington, has died and left her vast fortune to her pet pig, Matilda. Now three Armington descendants have been chosen to compete for custody of the pig…and control of the money. Then there’s the lawyer in charge of overseeing the competition, and his two best friends, who arrive to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Heiress #3: Bailey Tenant – The Forgotten Heiress

Once upon a time, songwriter Bailey Tenant’s mother was cut off from the Armington family for daring to love the wrong person. Bailey doesn’t want anything to do with them now, but she has a mountain of medical debt, and without that fortune her grandchildren could still be paying it off. When Grammy-winning singer Jackson Stone shows up to escort her to Palm Cove, she agrees to compete. She just never expected the most dangerous aspect of the competition would be losing her heart to Jackson.

Jackson Stone lost the love of his life in a fiery plane crash and then he lost the music. He has to find a way to reawaken the muse, and helping his friend oversee The Heiress Games might work. Soon, Bailey Tenant is reviving his buried heart and tempting him to see forever again. Bailey and Jackson have both vowed to avoid love, but sometimes there’s no choice but to surrender to the promise of a fortune in love.

In the midst of it all, there’s a saboteur at work. Someone who might stop at nothing to make sure no one wins.

NOTE: Unlike the previous 2 books in the series, THE FORGOTTEN HEIRESS finally reveals the winner of Armington fortune (and custody of Matilda the pig) and the identity of the saboteur.

Here’s an excerpt showing how Bailey & Jackson meet…it’s pretty great.

Chapter One

Jackson Stone watched in reluctant fascination as Marilyn Monroe slowly stripped right in front of him. The screen goddess reached up and removed her platinum-blonde wig, revealing a skullcap underneath. He found himself holding his breath as her arm rose again, this time to pluck the cap off her head. A few strategic bobby pins later and a mass of ginger-colored curls spilled across her creamy-white shoulders. It was like watching a curtain of cinnamon rain down on a frothy cappuccino.

Raining cinnamon? 

Where had that come from? He must be out of his mind.

The striptease continued as Marilyn reached under the hem of her iconic white dress. Jackson caught a glimpse of a shapely thigh as she flicked a fastener and began rolling a silk stocking down her leg.

Old-fashioned garters…

He shifted on the couch as a part of him that had mostly been dead for the last year stirred to life. Heat washed over him as a savage want surged through his veins.

Two days ago Jackson’s best friend, Cameron Reed, had asked for a favor. A high-priced lawyer with a large estate to probate, Cam needed help looking after three women who were possible heiresses to an immense fortune. Jackson didn’t know the whole story about the will. He did know there was some kind of competition…and a pig was involved…somehow.

Jackson had been cursing his friend for sending him on this fool’s mission ever since he left Miami, but now he didn’t know whether to be grateful…or run like hell. He hadn’t traveled to the outskirts of New Orleans expecting to take part in a peep show. Then again, he hadn’t expected to find a fake, long-dead actress taking off her clothes, either.

He should alert her to his presence.

Yeah…absolutely, positively should do that.

Then she raised both arms to her chest and Jackson forgot all about being a gentleman. Except, instead of untying the top, she reached inside and removed what looked like two huge, raw chicken breasts.

Jackson’s startled laughter filled the room.

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You can also catch up on the Don’t forget to go back and read the first two books: LEAST LIKELY HEIRESS (Book 1 – Eve & Cam’s story); and NOT QUITE AN HEIRESS (Book 2 – Abby & Killian’s story).

About the Author

Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. She is the author of two other best-selling series, Shellwater Key Tales (sweet contemporary romance) and Covington Falls Chronicles (inspirational romance).

Stephanie Queen: Derby de Mayo
Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Cinqo de Mayo has always sounded like such a fun holiday, a celebration of spring and flowers and margaritas. (I especially love margaritas, yes more than I love flowers and spring weather.) (Myren, my chauffeur is tsk-tsking me right now as if I’m a teenager expressing forbidden desires. I wish.)

Anyway, this year the celebration was extra special because May 5thhappened to also be the same day as the running of the Kentucky Derby. (Forget the mint juleps. Picture ladies in big hats—maybe a few sombreros—sipping big fat icy margaritas with salted rims.) I digress.

It’s not that I go wild every year on May 5th. It isn’t always on a Saturday and sometimes I don’t look up from my computer long enough between May 4thand 6thto notice that Cinqo de Mayo just happened. (Myren, my chauffeur is laughing at me now and I’m not really sure why… so I slap his arm and stare him down until he stops. Politely.)

But this year, this was the year the Derby ran away with the Cinqo and I went to a Derby de Mayo party thrown by an old college friend and had a ball with a dozen or so ex-UConn huskies. I’ve included pictures as proof. We wore hats and bet on the race and there was a prize for the best hat—pictured here. Not a UConn alum, but I feel obliged to illustrate how far some people will go to win a prize. She deserve it.

For me and my friends, the fun had little to do with the derby or the cinqo and everything to do with old friendships still alive and well (Myren pointed out that we ought to be happy that us old people were alive and well never mind the friendships. I slapped his arm again and threatened a punch in the nose. Politely. He offered a smug look in return. Darn chauffeur.)

We became friends forty years ago and have managed to get through the grind of life in the intervening years without losing our zest, or sense of humor and fun and sense of what’s most important. Our people.

Also, we drank lots of beer and sangria and margaritas, not unlike we did forty years ago, and celebrated our friendship and raised a glass to Derby de Mayo for giving us the perfect excuse.

As an author, no celebration would be complete without a new release. Beachcomber Danger is just out and the 8thinstallment in the Beachcomber Investigations romantic detective series is the best yet. (Myren finally shakes his head in agreement, but not because he’s taking my word for it, only because he read it in a review.)

Beachcomber Danger is $.99 for a limited time or free on Kindle Unlimited.

Beachcomber Danger


Elle James: Back from Hawaii, back to work!
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

I just got back from Hawaii and a wonderful writer’s retreat! I spent time with my sister Delilah Devlin, J.M Madden, Susan Stoker and my daughter Megan. We swam, snorkeled, saw a turtle and lot of fish, rode ATVs through Kualoa Ranch where they filmed Jurassic Park, Jumanji, Skull Island and 50 First Dates. We visited the Polynesian Cultural center where many of the Pacific island cultures were represented like Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii and New Zealand. I wrote 24000 words on my 6th book in the Mission Six Series while there. The first one is live today! All in all, I refilled my creative well with ideas. Now to get back to work! Get a copy of ONE INTREPID SEAL and start reading the series!

One Intrepid SEAL

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