If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

What’s in a comma? (or everything old is new again) by Kait Carson

If you are a baby boomer, you grew up in a time of change. We had new math—distinguished in ways I no longer recall from old math. A change of schools meant leaving phonetic spelling behind and entering the world of memorization. I envy people who can spell. The switch muddled my mind. Then there was the Oxford comma. That pesky comma that separates the last item in a series of three or more from the word that follows. It was required usage from my grade school days right though high school. Enter college creative writing courses and Dr. Clasby put red x marks though that last trailing comma. Old school, he scrawled across the top of more than one short story. “We don’t use the Oxford comma in this country,” he said more than once in every class.

It was the 1970s. American youth, and universities, were busy inventing sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Who needed an old-world named comma slowing things down? For years Dr. Clasby’s prolific use of red ink on my papers made me cringe at the sight of the Oxford comma. I worked hard to erase it from my writing life. Those who edit my work suggest I might have gotten too zealous eliminating commas, but hey, what’s a comma among friends? The aversion comes from fear of red ink! When in doubt, leave it out.

The omitted comma, and I got along just fine, thank you, until I started working for law firms. Legalese requires that every word be supported and supportable. Clarity is the rule and the Oxford comma brings clarity. Comma usage became a bone of contention again. This time it was red ink in reverse. My attorney was putting in, not taking out, commas. WHAT WAS UP WITH THAT? Knowing better than to try to beat him, I joined him, but it meant going back over every document searching for the omitted Oxford comma. Each time I hit the comma key at the end of a list, I gritted my teeth and thought, this one’s for you, Richard.

Eventually, the Oxford comma became, dare I say it, rote. I still mess up my other commas, I’m just not good with them, but the Oxford, it shows up even in my creative writing. Danged good thing too. Turns out, there is a price for Oxford commas. $5,000,000. Yep, the lack of an Oxford comma cost a Maine company $5,000,000. I’m glad I wasn’t the paralegal who typed that contract. Proponents of the Oxford comma are vindicated. Use it, or lose big time. As for the rest of my commas, I get by with a lot of help from my friends.

Writers, how do you feel about the Oxford comma?
Readers, does the Oxford comma look out of place or just right to you?

I’m looking forward to your comments, but I gotta go check my last pleadings and agreements. For the want of a comma, the case was lost.

Friday, February 23, 2018

1955 The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: A Review by Warren Bull



Image from Pixabay

1955 The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith:  A Review by Warren Bull

First published in 1955, The Talented Mr. Ripley is considered by most reviewers to be a classic. With her first novel, Strangers on a Train, Highsmith announced her arrival as a writer to be reckoned with.

Highsmith created an air of impending menace from the opening of the novel. The reader is led to expect that something unnamed but dangerous could happen at any moment. The author’s depiction of Ripley’s thoughts is remarkably effective. I felt like someone witnessing a serious accident. I didn’t want to look but I could not pull myself away. Ripley’s self-justification and deflection of responsibility for his actions sound like statements from people I know. Ripley reacts from one moment to the next based on transitory thoughts and feelings. His violence is not planned in advance. He is nearly as surprised by the outbursts as those he attacks.  


This is a classic noir novel.  It is unique and irreplaceable. To understand the concept of noir, read this.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

WHEN DID I START WRITING






I Told My Brother Stories

                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            when we were tucked in bed.
                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            I made up in my head.

                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            after we had said our prayers,
                                                            and our father kissed and left us
                                                            in the room we shared upstairs.

                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            when tell me a story I’d hear.                           
                                                            We should have been asleep but
                                                            he’d beg from his bed so near.
                                                                                                           
                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            Once upon a time, I’d say
                                                            or continue one I’d started
                                                            before sleep took us    

                                                            I told my brothers stories
                                                            in a voice so soft and low
                                                            so our parents couldn’t hear us
                                                            in the living room down below.
                                   
                                                            I told my brother stories
                                                            when we were tucked in bed.
                                                            Now those stories are all gone
                                                            that I made up in my head.

This past week my handyman came to put in a railing on my back steps because of all the ice it was dangerous to go down without anything to grab onto. Usually, he has a helper, but this time he brought his wife to help him carry the boards he had brought and hold things for him. Off and on I looked out the window to see how he was coming. When they were close to be done, I opened the door and asked his wife if she liked to read. I thought of that because I had the first book in my series on the table near the back door waiting for me to take out to my car where I keep at least two copies of all the books I’ve written. She said, yes that she loved to read so I told her I’d give her a copy of the first book I’d written.

When they had finished the job they came in so I could pay him. I signed the book for her and asked her if she wanted to see my library. She told me her husband had told her a lot about me and my house and library. She said her whole family was readers. She was impressed by all my books and when I told her I was working on the tenth in my series she wanted to know when I started writing. All I told her is when I first started writing my series, but it caused me to think about when I did start writing, and realized it was when I was a teenager.

A few years ago I came across a Spiral Composition Book with five short stories written with a pencil and a little hard to read right now, and seven poems, plus something I wrote describing my nine best friends that I didn’t name so I had a hard time figuring out the other night who was who. I know who my nine best friends were, but not sure which description fits who since none of them live anywhere close now and several are no longer alive.

At one of our class reunions a few years ago, one of my fellow graduates had a paper I’d put in the school newspaper (I was the editor of it for a few years) in which I’d written a four line poem for each of our 57 class members. Well, I’m not sure there was one of me in that or not. I don’t have a copy of it.

However, once I graduated, got a job, and started dating the guy I would eventually marry, I didn’t do much writing, nor did I once we got married and eventually had four babies in less than five years. The only writing I did then there were letters to sisters in college or who lived away.
His senior prom with cane he decorated.

A year after my eighteen year old son died of cancer, as I’ve written about here before; I went to college for the first time. I was forty-two years old and I loved it. Unlike the students who were fresh out of high school and mostly sat in the back looking bored, I was that enthusiastic student who laughed at some of the jokes the occasional professor told while the others didn’t have a clue.

Most of all I loved the English, literature and poetry classes I took.  I loved writing essays and poetry and had several printed in the ICON, the college’s literary booklet that came out twice a year. After the first year, I took extra classes in literature and poetry. Because I was close in age to many of those professors, we became friends. I also took summer classes at the main campus in Kent, Ohio.

When I graduated I wasn’t writing much anymore. I was substituting until I got a third grade position at Hiram Elementary School in the small town of Hiram which has a university. In spite of what some people think, teachers have very little free time. Evenings and weekends were often spent grading papers or making up lesson plans.

We all have our own tents. This one is mine.


Summers weren’t much better. I had gardening to do, camping trips with my sisters, and I went to garage sales to find things for prizes when my students managed to accumulate ten funny monies that I’d made and laminated for something special they had done. Also, I bought children’s books and things for my classroom that would go along with whatever units I’d be teaching.

So when did I get back to writing? I went on to get my master’s degree in the evenings while I was teaching which included at least one poetry class so I wrote more essays and poetry then.

I retired in 2006 after teaching twenty years. I didn’t like the way I had to teach in the new school we had moved to and the principal who didn’t really like kids that much. I didn’t like having my students changing classes so I didn’t have them very much each day. Yes, I like teaching science, but not to three different classes. I had less than a half hour to teach English.
I did start substituting in several schools and pretty much enjoyed that except for teaching kindergarten. At that age, they still needed shoes tied and, they didn’t like it that I might be doing something their teacher didn’t do, or I couldn’t remember everyone’s name after I’d taken attendance, or that they had a hard time paying attention and not poking each other when we sat in a circle and I read to them.

Sometime in 2011, my sister Elaine who was teaching seventh and eighth grade social studies in a school close to her home, but fifty miles from me arranged for us to meet at our sister Suzanne’s house that is sort of half way between of us, and proposed that we start writing mysteries in a series so we had money for our retirement. (Laugh everybody) Well that night we came up with some ideas for the first book while Suzanne fixed us coffee and snacks and with the news channel on the TV. So we decided that Elaine and I would work together on writing that first book. It only worked for a few months. Elaine was still teaching and didn’t live close so I sent my chapters to her, and she wrote the next chapter. Sometimes we still got together at Suzanne’s house, but it usually ended up with their watching the news on TV.



It wasn’t long before I took over writing the book. We both have different voices and it was hard finding time to get together anyway. So the first book The Blue Rose came out in December 2012, and I continued writing the series as well as short stories for different contests and poetry, too, which I send to The Ohio Poetry contests each year for those who live in Ohio or did at one time.

After reading those stories and poems I wrote as a teenager, I’ve decided to type them up and save them so they’ll be easier to read, but I don’t intend to send them to contests even though they aren’t that bad.

When did you start writing?
What do you write?




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Krista Davis Interview by E. B. Davis


By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.

When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.
http://www.kristadavis.com/Pen-and-Ink-Mysteries/Color-Me-Murder.html

On February 27th, Kensington will release Color Me Murder, Krista Davis’s new Pen & Ink series. This is Krista’s third series. I loved her Diva and Paws and Claws series, but there was something about this series that really touched me. I went to AU and GWU so I’ve spent many fun hours in Georgetown in D. C., the setting of this series. Although it brought back memories—that wasn’t the attraction—it was the main character, Florrie Fox (even if her mother ticked me off).

Florrie creates coloring books for adults and children. Her acuity and sensibility combined with her artistic talent makes her a smart person with good moral grounds. Her artistic eye for detail, which she uses to recreate scenes and people while on the case, allows her to put the pieces of the mystery together. And although she doesn’t cook or bake for a living, she manages to feed friends and family with her quick recipes, listed in the back pages.

Welcome back to WWK, Krista.                                                                                                         E. B. Davis _________________________________________________________________________________
If not for his dreaded nephew, would Professor Maxwell have offered his carriage house apartment to Florrie anyway?

Probably not. He was in no rush to rent it until his loathsome nephew wanted it. Professor Maxwell’s butler would have been opposed to having almost anyone live there.

You characterized Florrie as “retiring.” Would you elaborate on that aspect of her personality?

Florrie loves to read and draw. She’s perfectly happy to stay home and bake or settle in with a good mystery.  Her mother and sister thrive on being surrounded by people. But Florrie isn’t interested in sports or noisy bars. She’s not antisocial, she’s just very content to do things by herself.

Mr. DuBois, Professor Maxwell’s older butler, is my favorite secondary character. Even though he’s not a cat person, why doesn’t Florrie abide by his request to keep Peaches in her quarters?

Oh, but I think she does. Peaches is only allowed in the private walled garden behind the carriage house. And that’s only when Florrie is with her. Peaches isn’t permitted to roam the mansion or its grounds.

Professor Maxwell and his second wife, mystery writer Jacquie Liebhaber, had a daughter who was abducted and never returned. Would Florrie be about the same age as the missing daughter?

Florrie would be closer to the age of their granddaughter if they had one. Florrie’s mother recalls the drama around the missing child when she was young. Still, they see things in Florrie that they would have liked to see in their own daughter.

Why does Florrie collect clocks? What is an atomic clock?

Florrie is a stickler for being on time. She hates to be late. Since she’s always checking the time, she began to admire interesting clocks and now she collects them. Atomic clocks are among the most accurate. They will actually reset themselves to correct the time if they are even a tiny bit off!

One of Florrie’s mother’s friends keeps trying to set her son, Norman, up with Florrie. Florrie thinks Norman is boring. Here’s how Florrie described him:

“In a world of colored pencils, Norman was walrus pink. In fact, he was shaped somewhat like a walrus now that I thought about it.” (Kindle Loc. 218)

What color would Florrie characterize herself as? What color would her mother be?

LOL! Florrie would say she is flora green or leaf green. A soft gentle color that has presence but blends into the background. Her mother would be hibiscus fuchsia, a color so vibrant that it’s hard to ignore.

At the murder scene, a prohibition hidey-hole at the Professor’s bookstore that Florrie manages, everyone keeps jumping into the hole—even the police. Weren’t they all contaminating the crime scene?

Only two people jumped in. Florrie had to find the courage to jump in to help and comfort someone who was injured. Eric jumped in, too. Since he’s a police officer, one would hope he used good judgment about the crime scene.  The first thing he did was get Florrie out of there!

Even though Florrie is living in the Professor’s carriage house, everyone seems to think she’s “shacked up” with him. I can understand the police perhaps assuming that, but why would her co-worker and sister think that—they know her, and the Professor is at least twenty years older than she is?

I think it speaks to their character, and what they might do. That’s certainly true of her co-worker, Helen.

First Old Towne Alexandria and now Georgetown. What attracts you to these neighborhoods, and how did you conceive this series? This is your first artist MC.

The idea of a mystery with a cover that could be colored was the brainchild of my editor Wendy McCurdy. This was a little out of my normal comfort zone, but it was a lot of fun!

Honestly, I considered placing this series in a small college town. But the more I considered plots, the more I liked it being in Georgetown because of the diverse population. The mix of academics and international diplomats seemed to lend itself to a lot of interesting plots. I do love Old Town and Georgetown, not just for their charm, but because they are so walkable. There aren’t many car chases!

What’s next for Florrie (and I hope Eric, too!)?

Everyone in the Hues, Brews, and Clues coloring club is excited when a member discovers a copy of one of the oldest known adult coloring books. But when she’s killed and the book is stolen, Florrie finds herself sketching clues about another murder!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An Interview with the 2018 Agatha Nominees for Best First Novel by Paula Gail Benson



Malice Domestic’s 2018 Agatha Nominations for Best First Novel:
Adrift: A Mer Cavallo Mystery by Micki Browning (Alibi-Random House)
The Plot is Murder: Mystery Bookshop by V.M. Burns (Kensington)
Hollywood Homicide: A Detective by Day Mystery by Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)
Daughters of Bad Men by Laura Oles (Red Adept Publishing)
Protocol: A Maggie O’Malley Mystery by Kathleen Valenti (Henery Press)

Micki Browning, V.M. Burns (Valerie), Kellye Garrett, Laura Oles, and Kathleen Valenti are enjoying having their debut novels celebrated this year at Malice Domestic. We are so pleased to welcome them to WRITERS WHO KILL to answer a few questions about their work. Thanks so much to Micki, Valerie, Kellye, Laura, and Kathleen, and best wishes!Paula Gail Benson

For many debut novelists, their first published novel may not be the first one they have written. What was your path to your debut published novel?

MICKI: Like many writers I wrote a couple of practice novels. I learned structure by constructing a story that didn’t hold together. I joined Sisters In Crime and took classes through their Guppy chapter. My second novel was better, but still not quite there, and I returned to the classroom. Dialogue classes taught me how to flesh out characters. During a plotting course, I had a structural epiphany that I used while I wrote Adrift. The effort paid off. Adrift garnered both Daphne du Maurier and Royal Palm Literary Awards. I met my agent through the Daphne contest and signed with her shortly after winning.
 

VALERIE: I had two ideas for mystery series when I started my MFA at Seton Hill University. I chose the other idea for my thesis, but finished early and started writing the second one. After graduation, I queried my thesis project and then completed THE PLOT IS MURDER. 

KELLYE: Hollywood Homicide is actually the first novel I wrote. Before you hate me forever, I’ve been a professional writer for over 15 years and have a ton of screenplays in a drawer somewhere. I swear! I got the idea for the book around 2011 when I drove past a Los Angeles Police Department billboard offering a $15,000 for information on a murder. I was dead broke at the time so my first thought was, “I should solve that!” Not the smartest idea—at least in real life. It did turn out to be a pretty cool idea for a book though. I wrote it on and off for a few years before finally finishing a decent draft in 2014. That same year I was lucky enough to be selected for an amazing contest called Pitch Wars, where I found my agent Michelle Richter of Fuse Literary. We sold the book to Midnight Ink in early 2016.

LAURA: I was fortunate in that my day job involved writing for digital photography magazines and publications, so the writing practice and working with editors had been part of my regular routine.  That said, for me, learning to write fiction was very different.  Fiction proved to be a vast universe, so full of options and opportunities.

DAUGHTERS OF BAD MEN is my debut novel but it is my fourth book. I wrote the first three novels as practice, working on character development and structure, plotting and pacing, practicing to become a stronger storyteller. My earlier attempts were done mostly for my own enjoyment, to better understand how a mystery novel works and how I should approach my own vision of it.

KATHLEEN: My path to publication for Protocol started at mile marker forty-something: a mini-midlife crisis in which I woke up one morning and decided that I’d put off my dreams of writing a novel long enough. Armed with books on craft and informed by writing seminars, I dove right in, expecting a smooth journey from concept to manuscript to publication. How hard could it be? I reasoned. I wrote for a living and was an avid reader and former English major. I had this whole novel-writing/book-publishing thing down, right?

Umm…not so much.

Although I had a clear idea of the story I wanted to tell, it took me nearly four years to tell it. After a host of revisions and murdering enough of my darlings to be classified as a linguistic serial killer, I finally had a book I loved and began to shop it around to agents. That’s where the real education began. I had oodles of requests to read, but they all ended in close-but-not-there responses. So I narrowed the gap to “there” and edited again (and again). Finally, success. Jordan at Literary Counsel loved the book as much as I did, took me on as a client and put Protocol out on submission. I got bites right away and said yes to Henery Press, a publisher I not only admired and respected, but that had a team that I knew would be the perfect fit.

Two years—and two-and-a-half books—later and I feel like I’ve arrived at my dream destination. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m so fortunate to have made some great friends along the way, including my fellow nominees for the Agatha Best First. I can’t wait to see where the road leads next.

Do you consider your writing plot-driven, character-driven, neither, or a combination?

MICKI: My writing breakthrough occurred when I learned to plot from the point of view of the antagonist, but write from the perspective of my sleuth. I realize this sounds like I’m a plot-driven writer, the truth is that I find it impossible to suss out the story until I know who my characters are and what motivates them. I’m really a combination writer, because plot springs from the characters and characters drive the plot.

VALERIE: My writing is definitely character-driven. I spend a great deal of time working out my character’s personalities, faults, likes and dislikes and the story and plot flows from that.

KELLYE: Probably a combo. I come from a TV writing background so I live and die by the plot twist. At the same time, the story is driven by the personality of my main character Dayna and her unwavering desire to do anything to save her family’s house from foreclosure. As an amateur detective, she doesn’t make the same investigative decisions that a Kinsey Millhone or Elvis Cole would make—and that was one of my favorite things about writing it. Book Riot featured Hollywood Homicide in their Read or Dead podcast earlier this month and one of the things they said was that if you or I was trying to solve a crime, we’d be bumbling through it like Dayna—which was my goal.


LAURA: I would say it’s a combination, but I lean heavily towards character-driven mysteries. I’m attracted to dialogue and setting, and creating the world where my characters reside has been one of the most enjoyable parts of writing this book.  I’m particularly interested in exploring the dynamics between two characters and how they respond when one is under pressure.  How does that impact their relationship, their ability to work together?  The plot is also incredibly important.  I just believe that understanding the characters well helps me explore the storyline more deeply and make the stakes more personal. Jamie Rush and Cookie Hinojosa lived in my head for a long time before I understood which case they would choose--and why.

KATHLEEN: I’d consider Protocol a plot-driven, character-motivated story. Outside influences start a cascade of events for my protagonist, Maggie O’Malley, but it’s her responses and inner motivators that keep the action—and the energy—going. It’s a system of action and reaction in which the story’s events and Maggie’s responses propel the story (and hopefully the reader) forward. Ultimately, however, it’s Maggie’s story. If the crises had happened to anyone else, Protocol would be a very different book.

What would your protag’s Olympic sport be?

MICKI: Scuba diving isn’t yet an Olympic sport, so that’s out, plus it’s winter. I’m going to guess freestyle skiing. Mer’s never skied before, so anything before she crashed would definitely be freestyle!

VALERIE: If Samantha Washington was in the Olympics, she’d strap her grandmother, Nana Jo to her back and compete in the biathlon. That way Sam could do the cross country skiing and Nana Jo could shoot.

KELLYE: When chasing a suspect, Dayna says, “I always said I could run in four-inch heels. It was good to know I was right on that front.” So her Olympic sport would be the 100 meter dash…in stilettos. She’d get gold for sure.

LAURA: If Texas hold ‘em were an Olympic sport, Jamie Rush might medal.  She’d have a shot at the gold simply for her ability to bluff.

KATHLEEN: Maggie’s Olympic sport would be freestyle skiing. She’s athletic, all about doing her own thing, and ready to leap into action when the occasion calls for it.

Thanks to you all for joining us at WRITERS WHO KILL. Here’s some additional information about these talented writers:

Micki Browning
A retired police captain, Micki Browning writes the Mer Cavallo Mystery series set in the Florida Keys. In addition to the Agatha nomination for Best First Novel, Adrift, has won both the Daphne du Maurier and the Royal Palm Literary Awards. Beached, her second novel, launched January 2018. Micki’s work has appeared in dive magazines, anthologies, mystery magazines, and textbooks. She lives in South Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment she uses for "research." Learn more about Micki at MickiBrowning.com

Summary of Adrift
Marine biologist-turned-divemaster Meredith Cavallo thought adjusting to a laid-back life in the Florida Keys would be a breeze. But when the host of a ghost-hunting documentary crew hires her as a safety diver and then vanishes during the midnight dive, Mer’s caught in a storm of supernatural intrigue.

Determined to find a rational explanation, Mer approaches the man’s disappearance as any scientist would—by asking questions, gathering data, and deducing the truth. But the victim’s life is as shrouded in mystery as his disappearance. Still, something happened under the water and before long, she’s in over her head. When someone tries to kill her, she knows the truth is about to surface. Maybe dead men do tell tales.

V.M. (Valerie) Burns
V.M. (Valerie) Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Receiving the Agatha nomination for Best First Novel has been a dream come true. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com.

Summary of The Plot is Murder
Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning a mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling's charms. When one of Daphne's suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor. But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?

Kellye Garrett
Kellye Garrett writes the Detective by Day mysteries about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective. The first, Hollywood Homicide, was recently nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Barry awards. The second, Hollywood Ending, will be released on August 8, 2018 from Midnight Ink. Prior to writing novels, Kellye spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the TV drama Cold Case. The New Jersey native now works for a leading media company in New York City and serves on the national Board of Directors for Sisters in Crime. You can learn more about her at KellyeGarrett.com and ChicksontheCase.com.

Summary of Hollywood Homicide
Actress Dayna Anderson’s Deadly New Role: Homicide Detective

Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semifamous, mega-broke actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money—she wants justice for the victim. She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it—until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life.

Laura Oles
Laura Oles is a photo industry journalist who spent twenty years covering tech and trends before turning to crime fiction. She served as a columnist for numerous photography magazines and publications. Laura’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including MURDER ON WHEELS, which won the Silver Falchion Award in 2016. Her debut mystery, DAUGHTERS OF BAD MEN, is a Claymore Award Finalist and an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. She is also a Writers’ League of Texas Award Finalist. Laura is a member of Austin Mystery Writers, Sisters in Crime and Writers’ League of Texas. Laura lives on the edge of the Texas Hill Country with her husband, daughter, and twin sons. Visit her online at lauraoles.com.

Summary of Daughters of Bad Men
Jamie Rush understands what it takes to disappear because her parents taught her that long ago. Leveraging her knowledge of why and how people run from their own lives, Jamie has built a business based on bringing those in hiding back to answer for their actions. She takes pride in using her skills to work both inside and outside the law.

When her estranged brother, Brian, calls and says his daughter is missing, Jamie initially turns down the case. Kristen has always been a bit wild, frequently dropping off the grid then showing up a few days later. But Brian swears this time is different, and even though Jamie vowed years ago to keep her conniving sibling at arm’s length, she can’t walk away if Kristen could be in real trouble.

As Jamie begins digging into Kristen’s life, she uncovers her niece’s most guarded secrets. Uncovering the truth will put a target on Jamie’s back and endanger the lives of those she loves.

Kathy Valenti
Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley mystery series. The series’ first book, Agatha- and Lefty-nominated Protocol, introduces us to Maggie, a pharmaceutical researcher with a new job, a used phone and a deadly problem. The series’ second book, 39 Winks, releases May 22. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.

Summary of Protocol
Freshly minted college graduate Maggie O’Malley embarks on a career fueled by professional ambition and a desire to escape the past. As a pharmaceutical researcher, she’s determined to save lives from the shelter of her lab. But on her very first day she’s pulled into a world of uncertainty. Reminders appear on her phone for meetings she’s never scheduled with people she’s never met. People who end up dead.

With help from her best friend, Maggie discovers the victims on her phone are connected to each other and her new employer. She soon unearths a treacherous plot that threatens her mission—and her life. Maggie must unlock deadly secrets to stop horrific abuses of power before death comes calling for her.