Book Blast–Bells & Bombshells

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Trixie Silvertale will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other hosts on the tour.

A pattern of murder. A threadbare case. Can our psychic sleuth pick out the guilty before time spools out?

Mitzy Moon is finally tying the knot. And she’s loving the whole town’s excitement for their upcoming big day. But when their tailor is found buttons up behind a jazz lounge, the almost-newlyweds will have to hem in a murderer before their dreams rip apart at the seams.

Knowing they’ll get no help from the new sheriff in town, the couple embarks on a tightly woven undercover assignment. But Mitzy fails to heed ominous warnings from her mentor, Ghost-ma, and her entitled feline. When another body drops, she could be the next target erased by the mounting powers in the darkness…

Can Mitzy and Erick unravel the twisted clues, or will their wedding be eclipsed by a funeral?

Bells and Bombshells is the first book in a hilarious new paranormal cozy mystery series, Harper and Moon Investigations. If you like snarky heroines, supernatural intrigue, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s wedded whodunit.

Buy Bells and Bombshells to stitch up a killer today!

Read an Excerpt

Dear Diary, in less than a week I’ll be married! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Sheriff Erick Harper is the kindest, handsomest man in all the land.

“Oh, Mitzy! You’re such a hoot!” The ghost of my not as dearly departed as everyone thinks grandmother pops into the visual spectrum directly above my bed.

“Grams! Get out of my head! How many times do I have to tell you, thought-dropping is against the rules? If these lips —”

“Spare me the lecture, sweetie. It’s the only way I can get your attention lately. For weeks, you’ve been acting like a girl trapped in a, what do you call it, Rom-Com?” The ethereal specter crosses her bejeweled arms over her burgundy silk-and-tulle Marchesa burial gown.

“Don’t play innocent with me, Myrtle Isadora. I was in my safe space. Snuggled under the comforter of my cozy bed, enjoying my own personal thoughts. No invitation was extended.”

“Reow.” Can confirm.

“See, even Pyewacket agrees with me.” It’s not as though my half wild tan caracal can actually speak, but the longer I live in Pin Cherry Harbor the more I understand the subtle variations of his intonations.

The glowing apparition scoffs. “You know I don’t approve of you two ganging up on me. I simply came in to see if you needed help selecting the right outfit for this morning’s breakfast.”

“Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” I fling my legs toward the floor and attempt to leap out of bed. Bad idea.

If you know me, you know what happens next. If you’re new in town, let me cut to the chase. My legs do not spring clear of the bedding, and I tumble into a puzzle of reindeer onesie pajamas and mortification on the floor beneath.

About the Author:
USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and obsesses about all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Harper and Moon Investigations series, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

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Book Tour–Falling into Magic

Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic, Book 1

Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 11-12-2020


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An accidental journey through a magic mirror. A portal to an enchanted land. A mysterious family she never knew she had. Hayden’s life is upended with the wonder of Destiny Falls. But it is tainted by the danger that brought her here and that threatens her newfound family. Can Hayden and her sassy sidekick remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical new life in this captivating world?

About the Author

Elizabeth Pantley says that writing the Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of the series say her joy is evident through the engaging stories she tells. Elizabeth is also the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the beautiful inspiration for the enchanted Destiny Falls world.


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Late for the Wedding


The Senior Sleuths don’t mind a little peace now and then, but after a long bout of nothing out of the ordinary, they’re eager for some excitement.
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No one could’ve imagined it would arrive with such a bang.

A mysterious explosion has rocked the assisted living community, disrupting life for everyone.

Despite the stern warnings from authorities, one of the Senior Sleuths can’t help but get involved. This is their home, after all.
Herman, always eager to root out the truth, ignores the warnings and hunts for answers. He’s convinced the explosion was a rouse to cover up something far more sinister. But the other seniors aren’t as eager to get involved. They’re focused on Marcy and Lance’s upcoming wedding.

Without his usual sidekicks, can Herman track down the bomber and a missing veteran who no one else remembers?

Excerpt One:

 A loud boom erupted behind Herman, resulting in him jumping to his feet, placing a hand on his racing heart, then turning toward the center as bits of wood, shingles, and drywall showered him and the lawn. Gus lay prone on the ground with his hands covering his head. Not thinking twice about the noise and its origin, Herman dashed as much as his stiff knees would allow to his friend’s side. “Are you okay?” He gasped the words as he lowered himself beside his friend.

Gus lifted his head, shaking off a shingle particle, and asked. “Are we being bombed?”

Using his flattened hand as a sun-shield, Herman peered up at the sky. “No planes in sight.”

No word of reproach for his friend who automatically assumed enemy fire. Complacency delivered many a soldier to an early grave. The words uttered years ago by his drill sergeant returned. Observe the area and check for the slightest thing awry. Herman stared at the single-story rambling building with the gabled roof.

Herman offered his hand to help up Gus, who took it. They both stood, hugged tightly, patting each other on the back. After a few seconds, they separated then delivered half-hearted shoulder punches to each other.

“I don’t know what got into me,” Herman muttered, running a hand over his face. “I saw you on the ground, then I thought…” He paused and shook his head. “Oh, never mind.”

Gus inhaled deeply, then said, “Me, too.”

A Bit about the Authors

K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind the cozy mystery series, The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries, The Talking Dog Detective Agency, The Way Over mk-scott-author-pic2_origthe Hill Gang, and Cupid’s Catering Company.

Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities.

The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands on approach. Morgan’s daughter, who manages a hotel, provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Jane, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. 

All the series are full of quirky characters, humorous shenanigans, along with the occasional murder.

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Virtual Book Tour–War of the Squirrels

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kirsten Weiss will be awarding a signed, paperback copy of War of the Squirrels, an “Ever Vigilant” squirrel notepad, a squirrel wish bracelet, and a squirrel baseball cap (black) (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Helicopter parents, suspicious squirrels… and murder.

All Susan wants is to get through this visit from her controlling parents without tumbling down a black hole of despair. But galactic forces are colliding at her whimsical B&B, Wits’ End, and her parents have plans of their own.

When two men die on the same day, both mysterious deaths are tied to her mom and dad. Meanwhile, a squirrel scofflaw is riling up the tiny mountain town of Doyle, and Susan realizes she’s the only person who can stop the madness. And if this B&B owner can’t put these crimes to rest fast, her carefully organized life may come crashing to earth.

This fast-paced and funny cozy mystery is book four in the Wits’ End series. Packed with quirky characters, small town charm, and murder, it’s perfect for fans of Jana Deleon, Tricia O’Malley, and Charlaine Harris.

Buy War of the Squirrels and start this hilarious caper today.

Read an Excerpt

As if my fingers were far, far away, I felt my hands loosen. I dimly heard my cleaning bucket of brushes and other supplies thud to the carpet in room seven.

Bailey howled and raced from the room, his ears flapping. And who could blame him? The room itself seemed to revolt at the scene. Even the faked pie-tin UFO photo hung at an awkward angle above the rumpled bed.

Early evening shadows knifed across my mother’s sensible shoes. She sat in a vintage wing chair in one corner of the room. “Shut the door,” she commanded and removed the clip from a Russian pistol.

Automatically, I obeyed.

Mouth slack, I backed against the door. “You… That’s…” My breath came in quick gasps. Dots swam in front of my eyes. This wasn’t my first body in the B&B. But…

The leg slipped in my father’s grip, the shoe inching closer to his shoulder.

Briefly, I wondered if this was what lost time felt like, this sense of being out of phase, outside ordinary reality. Unthinking, I groped for my day planner. But of course it wasn’t there. I didn’t carry it around when I cleaned.

Should I?

About the Author: Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.

Now based in Colorado Springs, CO, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.

If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town –, Tea and Tarot – , Paranormal Museum – and Wits’ End – books.

If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle –, Riga Hayworth – and Rocky Bridges – books a try.

And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey – series might be for you.

Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at

Feel free to follow her on Pinterest at KirstenWeiss, or on Bookbub –, get in touch on Facebook –, post a picture of this book to Instagram – and tag her @kirstenweissauthor, or send her an email. She’ll answer you personally…which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.



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Book Blitz–A Deadly Inside Scoop


Cozy Mystery

Date Published: May 12, 2020

Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.

To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…

About the Author

Abby L. Vandiver, also writing as Abby Collette, is a hybrid author who has penned more than twenty-five books and short stories. She has hit both the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller list. Her latest cozy series, An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery, published by Penguin Berkley, is out now, with the second book, A Game of Thrones, coming in March 2021.

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Release Blitz–Marybeth, Hollister and Jane


Woman’s Fiction, Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 9/28/20

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Some secrets draw people closer………after they tear them apart.

Marybeth and Hollister moved to rural New York to escape—both the city life and a checkered past. Their lives were unassuming, until they bought a grandfather clock. They just wanted something to fill the space under their stairs, but they got much more than they bargained for. What secrets could the clock possibly hold?

Jane was sent to Callicoon to find the Eagle diamond, which was stolen from the Museum of Natural History in the ‘60s and never recovered. Convinced she won’t find what she’s looking for, she grudgingly takes the assignment. When she arrives, things aren’t what they seem and Jane finds more than she ever expected.


    Brenda Loring was far too small for the overstuffed capacious couch. She appeared uncomfortably absorbed by the cushions, hardly consoled. At first glance, she looked swallowed by the plush off-white arms. It could be assumed that her body had found a semblance of solace, but the truth was, there really weren’t any sacred places to turn for comfort; the fluffed-up cotton squares were far too affectionate and they consumed her behind their good intentions, providing only a pretense of succor.

     Brenda sat up straight and reached for her glass; next was the cigarette. Comfort was better found in a nicotine binge and a scotch devoid of ice or water.

     Brock was still not sure if he should believe her, even though she’d been insisting for months. “I’m not hallucinating,” she kept repeating. “I know what the hell I’m talking about. It’s all going to hell.”

     His thoughts raced ahead as he watched her light the tip of her cigarette with a lit butt from an old dish with more ash than a crematory.

     Brenda was birdlike but hardly unattractive, just sticky and twiggy, unlike his wife, who was a full hug, an eye level kiss. Brenda took a deep drag and looked at him through smoke.

     “What a fuck,” she said. “Both of them. They are both fucks. I’m telling you, Devon has bought Glen off, paid him well to screw us over, though I don’t know why he would, disloyal asshole.” 

     He shrugged his shoulders. “It’s hard to believe, can’t wrap my head around it, that’s all.”

     Brenda leaned forward and crossed her tiny legs, shapely but thin. Her fingers seemed long as arms, her elbows stuck out like wayward bones.

     “Peter has lost control of his people. He’s too old to run the organization. That’s what I think. I have my spies, you know, people who hate Devon and will tell me the truth when I ask for it. You think he’s above screwing his brother?

     “Why let the organization go to shit now?”

     “Why not now? I heard Peter was sick; maybe that’s why he’s losing control. Maybe it’s serious. Maybe Devon doesn’t want anything going to Peter’s idiot wife if he should die. Imagine Delilah in charge of the LVAJ? Ha!”

     “I don’t think Delilah would want it. Advising Peter in business is not quite the same as running the entire organization. That’s a mammoth job.”

     “Ha!” Brenda took a sip of scotch. “I wouldn’t underestimate her, Brock. She has a degree in art, after all. You sound like a misogynist, just because she’s blonde and beautiful. She’s far from stupid.”

     “I didn’t say she was stupid.”

     “Didn’t say she wasn’t either.”

     “Look, you think we ought to go to Peter with this?” he asked, “he should know about our suspicions.”

     “No, I don’t think we should go to Peter.”

     Brock took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “So, you’re saying the Prince was a phony, but what if he wasn’t?”

     Brenda threw back her head and laughed loudly. He noticed that her hair didn’t move, so stiff it seemed to stand at attention. Her hair is obedient, he thought.

     “Oh, come on,” she said. “The whole thing was a scam. I’ll bet my ass that the Yellow Diamond is sitting behind some asshole’s velvet pull in Saudi Arabia and nowhere near that little turd that calls himself ‘Prince Vizueta.’ She drew out the syllables of the prince’s name and made a face. “Prince of bullshit.”

     Brock thought for a moment. “So, if the Yellow Diamond buy was a scam, what’s next?”

     Brenda did all three things at once. It was quite impressive. She laughed and took a drag off her cigarette as she put the scotch glass to her lips and drank.

     “I wish I knew.”

     Brock stood up and looked at his watch. He hadn’t called home. It was after ten p.m. in San Francisco. Jane would be angry. One should make a point of calling home when one is suspected of having an affair.

     “It’s getting late,” he said.

     He’d spent months on the phone with Brenda, ever since she first uncovered what she believed to be a conspiracy. He wasn’t quite so sure. He thought she was a bit hysterical over nothing. Besides, he was cautious. He liked absolute proof. But with their constant phone calls, he couldn’t blame his wife for suspecting him of infidelity. Once Brenda got to Philadelphia for the Yellow Diamond Buy, she called him several times a day so she could give him the scenario of treachery; so she could share her anxiety as she nervously sucked on her cigarette and drew him into her fears like the nightmare fairy.

     “Why don’t we wait for Devon’s next move, see where he’s going with this,” Brock said, putting Jane out of his thoughts, he’d deal with it in his own way. “No sense making a big deal out of something that could just be gossip,” he added. “Or paranoia.” He stared at her.

     “Well, it’s been months since this phony prince put out a bid on the Yellow Diamond and went back to his phony country with it.”

     “Right, and there hasn’t been anything since, no bids out on any precious stones at all.”

     “But it doesn’t mean there won’t be,” she said. “I sense it in my bones that we’re being screwed with.”

     “Look, if someone out there really has the Yellow Diamond other than the Prince, wouldn’t they have contacted Peter and told him he was being made an ass of, that you can’t purchase what someone else owns?”

     “Why should they say anything? Anonymity is what matters to us, not friendship, you know that.”

     Brenda stood up tall but barely reached his chest. She went to a wall of windows and looked out from her thirty-second-floor Manhattan condominium. The night was dark, but the city shone against the sky. It seemed like a false movie set, almost too perfect to be real.

     She turned to face him. “Let’s confront Glen, find out what the hell is going on. If he knows we’re aware he’s a turncoat, he’ll tell us everything. When it comes right down to it, he’s a wimp and he’ll play both sides. Glen has no loyalty. “

     Brock raised his eyebrow. “And you think Glen is going to admit he has his own agenda?” he said. “Just like that?”

     “Where is it going to leave us if Devon takes over the American operation?”

     “Under Devon’s employ, that’s where.” He realized Brenda was being too emotional; one of them had to be rational.

     Brenda sat and puffed; taking deep drags and pushed the smoke out through her teeth.

     Brock paced a bit around the room. “So, according to you, Devon paid the commission out of his own pocket? To make it all look legit?”

     Brenda moved her head, barely a nod but he knew that’s what she’d intended.

     “Right. He has a plan,” she said. “I just don’t know what it is. I mean, a phony bid? A phony buy? I don’t get it.”

     Brock sat on the arm of a chair so thin it hurt his backside and he moved quickly onto the couch with false substance.

     “It has to have something to do with discrediting Peter, that’s what I would guess. What else could it be? Devon has finally gotten sick and tired of sharing his customers.”

     Brenda squashed her cigarette out. He was relived she didn’t relight. His throat felt raw from her smoke, and the nicotine stunk.

     “Devon has thought this whole thing up, a fake prince, a ludicrous bid ─ and he sent it all to Peter on a silver platter. I watched Glen go through the motions of recovering the Yellow Diamond; it was clear bullshit.” She looked back out at her seven-million-dollar view. “I never saw the diamond with my own eyes; I never watched any money exchange hands. He had me answering the phone and reporting back to Peter all day while he said he was doing business.”

     Brock wet his lips with his tongue. “Why would Devon approach Glen and not me, or not you, for that matter, if he’s plotting against Peter? I mean, why Glen?”

     Brenda rocked her body just a bit. She was flirting, which was always her way, her constant affectation around men. Brock smiled, but only to himself. He’d never wanted any other woman but Jane from the moment they’d met. It was absurd that she now thought he did, especially Brenda, whose scantily fleshed out body reminded him of an adolescent boy. He wanted to flip open his cell phone and call his wife, just to tell her that her father was a bastard and the only thing he wanted from Brenda was assurance. If all this were real, it changed everything.

     “Because you’re married to Jane and Peter was always more of a father to his daughter than he was. Jane would never let you betray Peter. And me?” Brenda winked at him. “My few one-night stands with Peter could be interpreted as loyalty, though God knows, I have none.”

     Brock stood up. He towered over her and nearly reached her eight-foot ceiling.

     “Listen, if what you’re saying is true, I want a takeover. I want no part of this war between Peter and Devon. Let them chew each other up. You and I together have enough contacts to go on our own.”

     He stared at her. He was surprised at his own words, but he meant it. If he had wanted to work with Devon, he would have stayed in England. Devon was a mean bastard. He was also greedy; his split had been an absurd five percent.

     “I was hoping you’d say that.” Brenda lit another cigarette without leaving his gaze.”

     “That would make us partners,” he said, “just you and me, I’m not opening this up to anyone else.”

     “I’m yours,” she said, sending him smoke rings. “Peter is getting too old for this and Devon is a creep; we can’t trust him. This idiot ploy of his is going to splinter the whole operation, so let’s take our contacts and run.”

     Brock slipped on his jacket. “Let me think this through,” he said. “I’ll be back in touch. Id this is real we’re bound to hear of another false buy very soon. If this is Devon’s plan, to discredit Peter, he won’t wait very long to send him more bullshit about a precious stone that’s surfaced.”

     “Maybe art this time, who knows? What about Jane, will you tell her?” she asked.

     “Of course, I tell her everything,” he said and paused at the door. “Not right away though, she might not like it.”


About the Author

I am an award-winning hybrid author of southern and women’s Fiction, including Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Pleasant Day, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane and Lies a River Deep. As my alter ego, Olivia Hardy Ray my books include Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem, Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau, and Pharaoh’s Star. The first novel I ever wrote, Dancing Backward In Paradise, won an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and an Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction, 2007. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater and Dancing Backward in Paradise received 5 Star ForeWord Clarion Reviews and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater has been named a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. I have published in ESL Magazine, Christopher Street Magazine and I have also written early childhood curriculum for Weekly Reader and McGraw Hill.


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One Author’s Voice

Voice. Voice is essential, the budding author is told. Agents and publishers are looking for fresh new voices that stand out from the crowd, stories that are different and new. And, heck yes, they must sell.

Mission Impossible here we come?

I’m not saying it’s easy to find your voice. Nor is it easy to be different and still mainstream enough to get your novel to market. Apropos, if you don’t care about sales figures, that’s perfectly fine. If you do, maybe this post can help.

 I write cozy mysteries, a vastly popular genre with clear reader expectations. To sell, my novel needs to tick certain boxes. If you care about sales, always be sure of your genre and what your readers want to read – and do it in a non-standard, non-cliché way.

And here, voice comes into play.

What is voice?

It’s basically the tone you choose (humoristic, matter of fact, sweet etc.), your choice of words, the narrative perspective, the topics you feature. A distinctive voice stands out, sometimes so much people read a small section of your work and go “Ah.”

My Magical Misfits mysteries are written in a first-person perspective, which already helps with voice, makes it more intimate. We are deep in the protagonist’s head, and it shows through the vernacular. At the same time, I use a lot of humor, laced at times with a dash of sarcasm, mixed in with a snappy, witty style of writing. Stir, let simmer – and there you go – here’s your voice.

Well, not quite. Another crucial part of the ingredient is missing – choice of subject. Now, we all use similar building blocks for our novels. That’s fine, as the readers expect to read something they can identify with (see above). At the same time, your unique voice is also shaped by the way you use these building blocks.

Tropes come into play here. Readers love tropes. A lot of readers even prefer to read the same old trope all over again. Others prefer to have them dished up with a twist. How you do that becomes part of your voice.

Take the Magical Misfits as an example. They’re witch cozies, as trope as you can get. However, the protagonist probably classifies as a “reluctant” if not “sucky” witch. And that you get to read a lot less often, if at all. I also chucked in a lot more tropes typical of the genre and twisted every single one of them: Small village setting – but there are Neolithic standing stones. The cops are involved – but we’re not talking a hunky sheriff, but a young female officer. Yes, there’s a cat (must have cats or dogs in cozy mysteries) – but there’s also a zombie primula, which I haven’t seen in fiction yet.

The combination of tone and subject choice makes up YOUR voice. Dare to be different – but do it wisely.

Magical Misfits Mystery, Book 1
(Cozy) Mystery
Date Published: 1 July 2020
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust, Denver, Colorado

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Myrtle’s aunt is dead—murdered—and she has inherited the Witch’s Retreat, a Bed and Breakfast in the idyllic village of Avebury. Filled with outrageous characters, the old house hides a mystery under its eaves. Everybody is a suspect: Alan, the blue-eyed police constable; Chris, the proverbial dark and handsome stranger; Myrtle’s curvy cousin Daisy; and even Tiddles, the flatulent cat. As Myrtle takes on the mantle of amateur sleuth, she bumbles along in search of answers, digging deeper and deeper among the tangled roots of her family’s history. The secrets she uncovers are more shocking than death: a hidden magical relic, a coven of amateur witches eager to gather her into the fold, and modern witch hunters on the prowl.

About the Author

LINA HANSEN has been a freelance travel journalist, teacher, bellydancer, postal clerk and science communication specialist stranded in the space sector. Numbed by factoid technical texts, she set out to write the stories she loves to read— cozy and romantic mysteries with a dollop of humour and a magical twist. After living and working in the UK, Lina, her husband, and their feline companion now share a home in the foothills of Castle Frankenstein. Lina is a double Watty Award Winner, Featured Author, and a Wattpad Star.

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A Taste of the Story


My aunt lay dead and I was lost in her life. It came complete with auntie’s beloved bed and breakfast fully booked and brimming with guests. Too bad, since I slung a mean tea bag but was a hopeless cook. Instead, I was a murderess. Well, okay, call it guilty of failing to render assistance, but it felt worse.

Yesterday, Aunt Eve had rung me, panic vibrating in her voice.

“Myrtle, I need your help. This is getting out of hand.”

“What is? Listen, I’m so sorry, but there’s a faculty meeting in two minutes and—”

“I can’t do this on my own.”


“Not for this. I need you. I won’t let him win.” The last bit came out as a wail and triggered my monumental mistake. Aunt Eve was the most rational person on Earth, though she had her wild moments. I decided this was one of them, made soothing noises and promised to ring back.

I never made that call.

Now, on a deceptively pleasant Tuesday afternoon, I found myself standing in the kitchen of my aunt’s bed and breakfast, caught in a haze of loss and anguish, assaulted by the lingering aromas of fry-ups gone by. To make matters worse, the Witch’s Retreat was also overrun by the police in their size elevens.

Bang on cue, a copper tramped in from the corridor and pushed his way through the saloon-style swing doors, his helmet under his arm.

He beamed at me. “Hi there, any chance of a cuppa?”

Such a simple request. Aunt Eve would have had the kettle boiling in no time. Why was I still standing there, the strap of my purse cutting into my shoulder, the industrial-sized fridge humming away in indifference?

“Give me a moment.” I dumped my suitcase onto terracotta tiles as immaculate as the cupboards with their glossy eggshell finish.

Illuminated by ceiling spots so bright they out-dazzled the watery April sunlight, the doors of the cabinets reflected my haggard face, colorless and distorted as if I were a specter haunting auntie’s world.

Everything looked like it did in November when I visited this place for the last, and first, time. My scruples had nothing to do with the old house. The renovations did the Georgian elephant proud. The village it stood in was a different matter.

Don’t be such a Moaning Myrtle,  my inner voice scolded.

True, this mawkishness was not my style. I heaved a shuddering breath and searched my surroundings. In a corner, close to the steel double sink, I spotted a toaster and the kettle. Tea bags were nowhere in sight, but then the blasted tears were once more blurring my vision. I searched my pockets for a tissue, wiped my eyes and blew my nose. All the time, my uniformed companion was tactful enough not to comment.

Trying to calm my breathing, I focused on the flowerpots lining the windowsill from the back entrance to the sink, their occupants the only sign something was amiss and must have been for a while. Aunt Eve took good care of her green boarders. These plants, primulas from what I could make out, were as shriveled and dried as last autumn’s leaves.

Fabric rubbing on fabric reminded me of the young police officer still waiting, his helmet now parked on the quartz countertop. His eyes narrowed and he cleared his throat. “Uh, I’m sorry. You’re Mrs.

Coldron’s older daughter, correct? Or would that be niece?”

The bloke was as well informed as he was nosy. “Take your pick,” I said.

“Ah. Put my foot right in it, then. Thought you might be another helper. My apologies. The ladies who do the cooking are ever so good with the drinks and sandwiches.”

Had this place turned into a police canteen?

“You seem to be familiar with the arrangements, officer.”

Policeman Plod snapped his heels together in a mock salute and bowed. “Constable Alan Hunter, at your service. Actually, I’m one of the houseguests. Just transferred to Swindon. I’m still looking for a flat, so I booked a room here for the time being. It’s a great place.”

His gaze slipped aside. “Well, it was.”

The bloke was easy on the eyes in his natty uniform, and his voice sounded genuinely contrite and well educated, so I forgave him.

When he spoke again, he addressed his helmet rather than me.

“I’m sorry about…what happened. You must be in shock.”

Polite despite the thing with the helmet, “shock” was not the word I would have used. One moment all I had to worry about was a mountain of essays for English Lit and A-grade German that needed correcting, wondering what the girls might be commenting on. It didn’t sound at all like the set novels. Moments later, the headmistress had called me in, the lines in her sourpuss’s face distorted by what I only afterward identified as concern. She had passed me the phone and my world went black.

“I’m afraid Mrs. Coldron met with a fatal accident,” the female voice on the other end of the line said. “In fact, we are treating this as a suspicious death. Can you come?”

I packed my case in a daze and spent a tortured hour in the teachers’ wing, the headmistress having stopped me from belting up the motorway to Avebury. Instead, a colleague was to drive me in my car and return by train. The headmistress had been surprisingly compassionate; she granted me a week’s leave and had given me tea and a pat on the back before I set out. I understood this to mean the job that meant so much to me—despite the crappy essays—might still be waiting once I escaped from this nightmare.

Auntie was my anchor, the one person who had always been there for me. She took me in when my parents died in an awful accident.

Now I was grieving for her.

My vision wobbled, and I sagged onto the rubber gymnastic ball auntie used instead of a kitchen chair. She insisted it did wonders for her spine and, whenever excited, bounced up and down on it like a toddler. Tears burned the back of my throat.

No more bouncing.

“You all right?” The copper’s voice dragged me back to the present.

“Need some tea?” That was the UK for you. If in distress, stay calm and switch the kettle on. To tell the truth, I was thirsty. And hungry.

My body craved sustenance, no matter what was going on and whether or not I liked it.

“No, thank you. If you don’t mind, I’ll unpack in Number Seven and then…”

No idea what to do then. My aunt was gone. Neither tea nor tears could bring her back.

“Room Number Seven?” my police officer asked. “I thought it stood empty?”

“It’s a spare, for emergencies,” I said. “It suits me.”

That had been an odd thing to say, so I changed the subject. “Any suggestions where my cousin might be?”

The constable shook his head. “The other Ms. Coldron suffered a breakdown when she heard the news, and the doctor gave her a sedative. She’s not in the house for sure.”

Yup, that sounded like something Daisy would do. If she was not at my aunt’s place, she had most likely returned to her room in the pub where she tended the bar. Running a B&B was beyond her, coping with emergencies was beyond her—in a way, life was beyond her.

As usual, it was all up to me. Not that she would appreciate my efforts.

The ball hurt the small of my back, and I dragged myself up. “Can I talk to your superior? I still don’t understand what happened. Is he around somewhere?”

Constable Hunter pushed the blond fringe from his face and twinkled his baby blues at a point somewhere over my right shoulder, which was an improvement over the helmet.

“She,” he said. “The Sarge is upstairs with the SOCO. They should be done soon. I’ll tell her you’ve arrived.” He bounced a smile in my general direction and trooped off, the doors swinging shut behind him.

Upstairs with the what? SOCO sounded ominous. And where upstairs? At least he didn’t mention pathologists. That was the last thing I needed now. What I needed was a porter, but even if the Witch’s Retreat was reasonably upmarket, it was no five-star hotel.

With every step I took up treads carpeted in midnight blue, my battered suitcase got heavier. The big three-oh was recent, so I shouldn’t wheeze like this. Not that I did, usually. Back at the school,

I bounced up and down stairs along with the girls. Here, I felt like I was climbing Mount Everest without a Sherpa.

The first landing gave me an excuse to let go of my luggage and catch my breath. The silent corridor, with the pine doors mirroring each other on both sides, seemed to have slipped out of the time stream and I with it. No creaks, no groans, none of the noises old buildings tended to make. Even the guests remained mum. The result was an oddly appropriate otherworldly stillness. Aunt Eve’s brilliant mind had created this place. Here, her memory would live on. I could almost see her smiling, her tall figure striding along the passage.

The phone at reception downstairs rang once, twice, then stopped.

The spell was broken, and I loosened my death grip on the blond wood of the handrail.

Something, probably a window, banged shut in the bedroom closest to the stairs, telling me the guests were awake after all.

Perhaps the police had forced them to stay, and those innocent-looking doors hid a killer.

Despite the plushy comfort offered by my favorite moss-green fleece jacket, a breeze sneaked along my spine. I was overwhelmed by an urge to scamper back down and keep running. Instead, I forced my unwilling legs to hoist myself and my luggage to the top floor.

Whoever had so diligently vacuumed below had capitulated here.

Footprints marred the dark blue of the carpet leading up the steps and into the upper corridor.

The cold spread from my spine to my arms and drew goosebumps.

I must be close to the crime scene. No sooner had the thought chilled my brain than I heard voices on the draft coming from the door at the end of the corridor. It led to a little landing with Aunt Eve’s room on the left and Daisy’s on the right. Both door and landing were half-hidden by a curtain featuring tiny mauve roses. Where the furnishings chosen by my parents had been all about angles and squares, Aunt Eve’s taste in interior decoration had leaned toward the floral, although she restrained herself to her private sphere. Her Wiccan spleen she had vented openly when she chose this village, of all places, for her business, naming the bed and breakfast “Witch’s Retreat” and hanging kitschy ceramic tiles displaying the room number and a witch motif on the doors to the rooms.

When I reached for the brass knob of Number Seven, featuring a teal-colored seven and a broomstick, I caught movement from the corner of my eye. A blue and white plastic band, unnecessarily labeled “POLICE,” barred access to the private part of the corridor.

Had my aunt been killed in her bed?

The carpet was even dirtier up here, showing the evidence of many a booted foot trudging to and from the makeshift but ominous barricade. For a moment, I considered searching for another place to stay. Unfortunately, apart from the Witch’s Retreat, Avebury offered little choice of accommodation. Next on the list was the Crystal Dawn, a quixotic New Age B&B down the road, a flat over the Magic Mushroom Café, available only during the summer months, and the few rooms at the Whacky Bramble, the pub where my cousin worked.

If I had any home in this village, this would be it, crime scene or not.

At least my aunt’s remains had been removed. The disembodied voice on this morning’s phone call had told me that much.

When I entered Number Seven, the room welcomed me with the sweet perfume lilies release into the summer skies. Aunt Eve must have refreshed the potpourri before she died. Sobs tickled the back of my throat, but I slammed the door before they escaped. I dumped my luggage to fumble for a box of tissues on the nightstand of the nearest twin bed.

Several sniffles later, I opened the suitcase. My packing had been hurried, and it showed. I could only hope the motley collection of charity rejects would yield some useful items of clothing. First things first: I needed a shower before confronting Constable Hunter’s sergeant.

The moment I entered the bathroom, a knock sounded on the door to Number Seven. I cracked it open and beheld the same lantern-jawed face and roving gaze I had encountered earlier.

“Sergeant Widdlethorpe can talk to you now if you like. She’s got to leave soon to attend the—eh, never mind. She’ll be back tomorrow.

You can meet her then if you prefer.” He looked at my ear expectantly. We were making progress.

I opened the door farther. “For how much longer will I have the pleasure of a police presence?”

“You mean the on-site investigation? They’re almost done, don’t you worry.”

The urge to talk to Constable Hunter’s superior became overwhelming, so I stepped into the corridor. “If your sergeant is ready, I wouldn’t mind having a word with her now.”

Hunter nodded and led the way. Ever the helpful neighborhood bobby, he lifted the plastic strip for me to bend under and pushed the curtain aside so I could enter the landing. Fluorescent lamps threw their glare into what used to be such a cozy place, illuminating a figure in a white hooded suit next to an aluminum stepladder lying on its side. A young woman in street clothes leaned against the wall opposite the entrance, her neck craning toward a trapdoor in the ceiling. The tips of her shoes rested inches away from the chalked outline of a person with one arm reaching out, knees pulled up.

My stomach lurched.

Dried red rose petals lay strewn about the grisly smear, flattened and crumpled in places. They clustered in the part marking the splayed fingers.

Bile rose in my throat. Those dark splotches half-hidden by the wilted and crushed petals could only be blood.

My aunt had not died in her bed.

She had plummeted from the attic.

Killed by a bouquet of roses?

Book Tour– R.I.P. in Reykjavik

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A.R. Kennedy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Traveling with your family can be murder.

One wedding party + one estranged mother = another vacation that goes array for Naomi.

Naomi is off on another international vacation. She thinks traveling with her mother will be the most difficult part of her trip until she meets the rest of the tour group—a wedding party. It only gets worse when she finds the groom dead. Everyone’s a suspect on her Icelandic tour of this stunning country.

Read an Excerpt

He looked at me pointedly. Mistakes made from a previous vacation, I had listened closely to Sigi’s instructions. I wondered if my mother had warned him I had a tendency to not listen.

He stepped off the platform, camera at the ready, and waved me in. I adjusted my face mask and took one last deep breath before putting the snorkel in my mouth. I lay prone on the water and took in the breathtaking sight the underwater view held for us. From above, you could not see the mesmerizing colors and depth.

The blue-green water was crystal clear. The jagged sides were lined with dark volcanic rocks. There was nothing but water and rocks to view. No fish. No coral. Nothing other snorkeling adventures would entail. And yet it was captivating. It held a range of blues and greens with occasional golden brown glistening off the rocks. The bottom seemed miles away.

The gentle current took me away. In a Superman-like pose, I floated in the glacial water between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. I didn’t even know such a thing existed before booking the trip.

I felt nothing. The water was the clearest I’d ever seen. The depth infinite.

As the depths along the edge varied, so did the colors. Some tans, some blues, some greens colored my vision. I looked back and saw the others starting to get in the water.

Sigi swam around them snapping photos.

I occasionally kicked when the current slowed. Sigi glided toward me and took a few photos. He took his head out of the water. Though muffled, I heard him say that the turn was coming up. Not wanting to miss any of the view, I didn’t look up. I gave him a thumbs-up.

Moments later, the crosscurrent hit me as the guide had warned. It was with more force than I had expected.

Visions of being swept away into some lake ran through my mind. I gently kicked, trying to fight it. It seemed to do little and I was farther from the left lava rock wall that I’d been instructed to stay close to. I thought I heard Sigi shout my name. I kicked harder and fought the current and, finally, I won.

As I made the turn, the crosscurrent eased and I returned to a relaxing float on the crystal-clear water. The depth was far more shallow after the turn but its beauty didn’t wane.

The sunlight glinted on the surface ahead of me, tinting the water with an orange hue. I hoped Sigi’s photos captured a portion of this beauty.

I saw the ending spot, the stairs ahead. I took a few more mental pictures before gently kicking my legs to propel me there.

As I got to the upright staircase, I grabbed the rails and climbed the stairs out of the water. I realized my face was frozen. Distracted by the beauty of the Silfra, I hadn’t noticed until I removed the face mask and snorkel.

I looked back at the water. I was first out of the water. Seven bodies, clad in black wet suits, lay along the water surface. I could only identify Sigi because of the camera. He often held his head out of the water and took note of his group.

My mother took more photos of me in my dry suit. I only wanted pictures of the Silfra fissure, not me in the unflattering suit. She reviewed her photos. “This may be the picture I use for the Christmas letter.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled.

The chill of the water hit me and my body began to shake.

I took off the gloves. It only made the chill worse.

Becca got out of the water next. “That was neat,” she said.

Jed was next. “So cool!”

I watched as, one by one, the group headed to the stairs. Except one, who didn’t seem to be making progress. He, or she, lay prone on the water. I couldn’t tell who it was. Everyone looked the same in their dry suits.

Callie, followed by her mother, then father, got out of the water. The wedding group huddled around each other, retelling their experiences.

I was the only one to see Milo wasn’t moving. I ran up to the guide, who had made it to the stairs, and pointed at Milo. “He’s not moving,” I told Sigi.

“We always get one straggler. Probably just enjoying the view. It’s spectacular, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Definitely.” I looked back at Milo. I had taken a few moments before getting out too. “Yeah, you’re probably right,” I conceded.

But it didn’t feel right. Flashbacks from my safari hit me. I wiped them from my mind. Just because I found a dead body on the last trip did not mean I’d find one on this trip.

It was implausible really. Who goes on vacation and finds a dead body? Twice?

The guide looked at his watch and called out. “Milo, time to come in!”

No response.

He swam out to him. I saw him wave his hand underwater in front of Milo’s prone face.

The group had finally noticed one of them was missing.

“What’s Milo doing?” Frank asked.

“Joking around probably,” Jed answered.

Teresa looked at her watch. “It’s time to get back to the hotel. We have reservations at five.”

“We were already running late. I told you not to make that reservation so early,” Callie told her mother.

The guide poked Milo. There was no response. He poked him again, this time with more force, and Milo’s body flipped over. Sigi screamed.

“Stop joking around, Milo!” Jed yelled.

“Call 112,” Sigi yelled toward us.

Only my mother had her cell phone on her.

She fumbled with it and dialed 911.

“No!” I yelled. “Give it to me.” I dialed 112. I hesitated as the number rang. I couldn’t pronounce where we were. Would “Thing-something” be enough to locate us?

The wedding group started screaming and Jed jumped back in the water to help Sigi bring Milo to the stairs. The commotion brought others to the area.

Another guide ran up and took the phone from me. He spoke in Icelandic to the operator.

Frank ran to the ladder and helped Sigi and Jed pull Milo out of the water.

They started CPR. My mother and I stood helpless off to the side.

Callie screamed when Sigi announced, “He’s dead.”

About the Author:

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.


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RABT Cover Reveal–In My Attic

A Magical Misfits Mystery, Book 1
(Cozy) Mystery
Date Published: 1 July 2020
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust, Denver, Colorado
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Myrtle’s aunt is dead—murdered—and she has inherited the Witch’s Retreat, a Bed and Breakfast in the idyllic village of Avebury. Filled with outrageous characters, the old house hides a mystery under its eaves. Everybody is a suspect: Alan, the blue-eyed police constable; Chris, the proverbial dark and handsome stranger; Myrtle’s curvy cousin Daisy; and even Tiddles, the flatulent cat. As Myrtle takes on the mantle of amateur sleuth, she bumbles along in search of answers, digging deeper and deeper among the tangled roots of her family’s history. The secrets she uncovers are more shocking than death: a hidden magical relic, a coven of amateur witches eager to gather her into the fold, and modern witch hunters on the prowl.
About the Author

LINA HANSEN has been a freelance travel journalist, teacher, bellydancer, postal clerk and science communication specialist stranded in the space sector. Numbed by factoid technical texts, she set out to write the stories she loves to read— cozy and romantic mysteries with a dollop of humour and a magical twist. After living and working in the UK, Lina, her husband, and their feline companion now share a home in the foothills of Castle Frankenstein. Lina is a double Watty Award Winner, Featured Author, and a Wattpad Star.
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Virtual Book Tour–Raspberry Chocolate Murder

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leena Clover will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Brand new cozy mystery series from the creator of Pelican Cove

**Enraged Baseball Star Murders College Sweetheart**

The past two years have been tough for Anna Butler. Widowed at fifty five and diagnosed with a dreaded illness soon after, she is struggling to keep it all together. Then the license for her dream café is rejected. Anna feels she can’t get a break.

Cassie Butler dropped a glitzy Hollywood life and came home to nurse her mother. Penniless after being duped by her crooked manager, she isn’t striving too hard to rebuild her flagging career. Living with her estranged mother after twenty years is proving to be a challenge.

When a young college girl is found dead in the woods, her boyfriend becomes the top suspect.

Anna agrees to go sleuthing to help her friend’s son, a bright young kid she has watched grow up. As Anna uncovers one clue after another, her faith in the boy begins to waver. Is he really as innocent as he claims to be?

Raspberry Chocolate Murder is the first juicy mystery in a brand new cozy mystery series from international Amazon bestselling author Leena Clover. Set in the small seaside town of Dolphin Bay on the California coast, this is a fast pageturner with plenty of twists and turns and luscious food.

If you love strong heroines, small town life, friendships that endure and yummy food that makes your mouth water, you will love Dolphin Bay.

Grab this beach cozy today and start reading.

Read an Excerpt:

Life had dealt Cassie a few hard blows. She was still reeling from the last one. Her crooked manager had absconded with most of her hard earned money, leaving her with a big tax bill. The coveted golden knight otherwise called an Oscar award lay forgotten at the back of her sock drawer. When she won the award at 21, it had been her crowning glory. At 36, it looked like it was going to be her swan song. Cassie wasn’t sure if she cared much either way.

She stepped out of the pool and settled into her favorite cabana, letting the sun dry her. Her phone chirped and her face lit up as her best bud’s face flashed on the screen.

“It’s about time,” she said with a pout, activating the video feature on the phone.

A buff, bare-chested man blew a kiss at her and laughed. It was hard to tell he was ten years younger.

“Don’t sulk, Cassie. It will give you wrinkles.”

Cassie straightened her mouth immediately and smiled. “So when are you getting here, Bobby? I have great plans for us.”

About the Author: Leena Clover is the international bestselling author of the popular Pelican Cove cozy mystery series.

An avid reader herself, Leena grew up reading mystery books. Some of her favorite authors are Agatha Christie and M C Beaton. Now she is trying her hand at writing whodunnits, making them as nail biting as possible while keeping them cozy.

Her love for food is evident in all her books. Readers can find yummy treats in the pages of her books, along with friends that last a lifetime.

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