Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


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REVIEW: Obsession by Patricia Bradley

Wow! I can breathe again. I’m reading (well, listening to) this series in a mixed-up order, but each book has been so full, with a riveting story, twisted plot, and engaging characters.

Set near the Mississippi River, the story involves likable characters amplified by an amazing vocal performance by Rachel Dulude. I’ve been listening to books more often nowadays. Some, like this one, are SO well done! (Seriously, I’ve listened to a few that I’d rather hear a computer voice than the narrator.) Rachel Dulude’s performance enhances the book like cream cheese icing on a red velvet cake.

And this book is already that scrumptious. The story amps up from chapter 1 and only gives a few chances to breathe as it progresses. I teared up and even laughed out loud, but mostly, I just braced myself as Emma and Sam tracked through confusing clues while dodging stalkers and even bullets.

Speaking of the characters, I really liked Emma. At first meet, I got the impression of a little slip of a thing ill-equipped to step beyond her safe haven of documenting historical details and leading tours. Boy, was I wrong! Sure, she has a passion for history, but she enjoys archeology and investigating it as much as sharing it. And the stubborn streak in this gal can substitute for a Glock anytime a weapon is needed.

Her counterpart, Sam, isn’t quite as stubborn, but really close. He’s a little kinder about it, but resolute, especially when it comes to trying to keep Emma safe. . . Safe being a relative term.

Romantic suspense and mystery lovers will love this winning story!

Here’s a little more about it:

Natchez Trace Ranger and historian Emma Winters hoped never to see Sam Ryker again after she broke off her engagement to him. But when shots are fired at her at a historical landmark just off the Natchez Trace, she’s forced to work alongside Sam as the Natchez Trace law enforcement district ranger in the ensuing investigation. To complicate matters, Emma has acquired a delusional secret admirer who is determined to have her as his own. Sam is merely an obstruction, one which must be removed. 

Sam knows that he has failed Emma in the past and he doesn’t intend to let her down again. Especially since her life is on the line. As the threads of the investigation cross and tangle with their own personal history, Sam and Emma have a chance to discover the truth, not only about the victim but about what went wrong in their relationship.

Get a copy of Book 2 of the Natchez Trace Suspense series.


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New Christian Fiction for May

May 2022 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Contemporary Romance:

Anchored Hearts by Julie Arduini — Can two go-getters surrender their need to control and find a happily-ever-after? Jordyn Bell Hart succeeds in everything she does. Her promotion to morning show co-anchor blossoms her career in the same way her mother’s work had. Jordyn keeps tabs on her family and enjoys helping them grow. When life around her starts to change, can she surrender her desire to control? Spencer Collins knows how to balance a busy life. He has his work as a reporter, his time caregiving for his grieving father, and looking out for his little brother. When he learns he’s the new co-anchor of a morning show with Jordyn Hart, can he handle working with a celebrity who brings a lot of challenges to life on and off the set? (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)

 

Finding Love in San Antonio by Miralee Ferrell and Kimberley Rose Johnson — For TV chef Adela Romero, the lights of LA have lost their luster. The grief of her husband’s death three years ago still hangs heavy over her and her daughter, Fabi. When Adela returns to San Antonio for a summer break with her daughter, she learns her mother-in-law’s Mexican diner is struggling. Adela wants to help, but her career is tugging her in another direction.Local food critic David Agraponte has a history with Adela. A history he’d like to rekindle. When he interviews Adela, sparks fly—both good and bad. In Adela’s struggle to put her past behind her, she’s tentative about a new relationship, but David hopes she’ll stay at Romero’s long enough to give him a chance. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

 

From Shore to Shore by Tabitha Bouldin — Bree Jamison comes to Sparrow Island for one reason: to study coral reefs. She’s not interested in happily-ever-after and certainly won’t allow her handsome boat captain to sway her into believing these islands are different from any others. But when she finds an old shipwreck and learns the history of pirates and treasure, Bree finds herself searching for something that always feels just out of reach. Cooper Carmichael takes the job as boat captain for the enigmatic Bree to further his career. He never expected her to be so driven—or so painfully opposed to God. All Cooper wants is his happy island life. He wants for nothing. In fact, he’s made it his mission to be content. In every aspect of his life. Bree throws a wrench in his plan as her presence pushes Cooper to want for things he deems unnecessary. A man striving for contentment. A woman who believes God is picking on her. (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit Publishing)

 

Home Where She Belongs by Penny Frost McGinnis — Small-town romance with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope. Tired of being a pawn for her father and an emotional punching bag for her ex-boyfriend, Sadie Stewart escapes to Abbott Island where she spent summers with her grandparents. Would the love and faith she learned from them be enough to fuel her new life? She wants to believe God’s promises, yet broken trust holds her back. Joel Grayson left the island long enough to train at the Police Academy. The community trusts him, even though he’s failed. When he finds Sadie at her grandparents’ cottages, his heart skips a beat. He’d love to get to know her again, but no one needs to share the hurt he harbors. When Sadie discovers someone is sabotaging her future, she seeks Joel’s help. As they are drawn together, will Joel let down his guard and let her in? Will Sadie trust the man who loves her and the Father Who cares? (Contemporary Romance from Mt. Zion Ridge Press)

 

If You Rescue Me by Jerusha Agen — Can his love set her free? Not all prisons have bars. Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in a prison of abuse for years. When her abuser goes too far and threatens her ten-year-old daughter, Charlotte runs to the stranger her mother believed would save her. She hopes to find answers and escape, but she doesn’t expect to meet a man who’s everything she fears yet everything she could love. Police Sergeant Gabe Kelly can tell Charlotte’s hiding something and doesn’t trust cops. But despite his better judgment, his heart is drawn toward Charlotte and her little girl. What begins as kindness threatens to turn into something riskier if Gabe doesn’t get ahold of his feelings. When Charlotte’s secrets catch up with her, Gabe’s badge puts them on opposite sides of the bars between them. Will God’s redemption be enough to set them free to love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

Love in Second Bloom by Sandra Ardoin — She’s searching for direction. He’s trying to change his. Are they beyond renewing the dream of a future they once believed in? At a crossroads in her career, Erin Ward works as a groundskeeper in a small town filled with precious, romantic memories. With Shaun Hadley’s surprise arrival, Erin dreams of a second chance at romance with the guy she broke up with in college. But Shaun isn’t the same man she once loved, and she blames herself. As an easygoing college computer geek, Shaun let Erin’s rejection light a determined fire under him. Today, he’s a successful businessman seeking to relax. Letting go of his workaholic ways is harder than he’d imagined, even when it threatens both his health and a renewed relationship with the love of his life. What hope do they have when Shaun can’t slow down, and Erin refuses to stand up for herself and their future…again? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

A Mother for His Son by Betty Woods — Back in the little town of Sunrise, Texas, to help her grandmother, Dallas chef Rachel Landry plans to use the time to heal her broken heart. She has no need to help handsome neighbor Mac Greer with his guest ranch. But her growing affection for his little boy could be just the push she needs to once again see the possibility of something more. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))

 

Not Since You by Dulcie Dameron — When Claudia Clark was involved in a tragic accident in high school, it set her on a devastating path toward heartbreak. For the past eight years, she’s carefully guarded her heart. With her business now thriving, she doesn’t have time for any unwanted distractions. She’s learned from her mistakes. But when the biggest one of all comes face to face with her again, she starts to question the belief she’s desperately clung to for so long. Dorian Vance can’t get over his past—or the girl that it’s wrapped up in. So when a family emergency brings him back to the small town of River Hollow, he decides it’s time to accept the truth and confront the girl he left behind. Unfortunately for him, she’s dead set on making him pay for his sins. As sparks start flying and well-meaning townsfolk meddle in their affairs, Dorian and Claudia are forced to resurrect old ghosts that lay buried in a mire of guilt and shame. But as they find themselves in the center of a vengeful scheme, the hope and forgiveness they seek seem impossible to obtain. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

Royally Married by Jill Boyce — Dr. Claire Thomson, queen of Amorley, has banished all the dragons in her life—or so she hopes. Her wedding to Ethan Kane, the love of her life, looms on the horizon, yet unwelcome houseguests of her stepmother, Lord Chicanery of Maltenstein and his son, Hans, threaten her upcoming wedding with new obstacles. New questions abound about the integrity of the crown and the necessity of its future. If Claire cannot prove her loyalty to Amorley and disavow her involvement in a nefarious plot to defraud the country’s coffers for personal gain, then she may have to postpone more than just her wedding. She may have to leave the life she’s come to love in her father’s homeland as Parliament calls the monarchy into question. Dangers lurk in the castle, and if Claire’s not careful, she will lose more than her crown; she will lose her life. If she survives, will Claire and Ethan finally make it to the altar and solidify her position as queen? Can she protect the monarchy and those she loves from the evil plans of her enemies? Has time finally run out for Claire on her quest for her happily ever after? (Contemporary Romance from Winged Publications)

 

Short and Sweet: 13 Sweet, Romantic Stories by Susan Page Davis — This collection of short stories is perfect for quick reads. Fall in love with a firefighter, a florist, a soldier, or a church usher. Join Kelly at a wedding, Sam at a charity box social, and Kara at a date she’s looked forward to for ten years. Whether it’s an office romance or a chance meeting on a railroad platform, join the fun and soak up the romance. (Contemporary Romance from Tea Tin Press)

 

The Road Home by Cathe Swanson — Christopher Wright came home from Afghanistan a changed man. He’s found peace as an over-the-road trucker, but he’s never forgotten the woman he grew close to overseas – or the promises they made to each other. But when a newspaper article leads him to the Unity Plenkiss Community Center, the elusive Tally isn’t happy to be found – and she’s definitely not interested in picking up where they left off.
After two years on the streets, Tally Zemmer has found a home and begun to heal, building a new life for herself. Christopher’s reappearance is a reminder of her scars and the ghosts that followed her home from Afghanistan. But he’s the one man who knows her secrets and still cares for her. They have a special connection, shared faith, and experiences no one else can claim. Can they find a new road home together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

 

What Remains True by Nancy Naigle — Working at a little shop on Main Street in a small town is exactly the break that executive Merry Anna Foster needs following her divorce. She’s made a bet with her ex-husband that she can live on the amount of money she’s giving him in alimony. If she can do it, then Kevin will have to stop complaining and leave her alone. But after three months of this new life, will she even want to leave Antler Creek? (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House))

 

Historical Romance:

A Promise Engraved by Liz Tolsma — Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years? Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and forbidden love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love? Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hernandez takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Shuman, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to Kayleigh’s work end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

 

When the Meadow Blooms by Ann H. Gabhart — If any place on God’s earth was designed to help one heal, it is Meadowland. Surely here, at her brother-in-law’s Kentucky farm, Rose and her daughters can recover from the events of the recent past—the loss of her husband during the 1918 influenza epidemic, her struggle with tuberculosis that required a stay at a sanatorium, and her girls’ experience in an orphanage during her illness. At Meadowland, past troubles become rich soil in which faith can grow. Dirk Meadows may have opened his home to his late brother’s widow and her girls, but he keeps his heart tightly closed. The roots of his pain run deep, and the evidence of it is written across his face. Badly scarred by a fire and abandoned by the woman he loved, Dirk fiercely guards his heart from being hurt again. But it may be that his visitors will bring light back into his world and unlock the secret to true healing. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

 

Speculative Fiction:

Celestial by Hannah Mae — For millenniums, angels like Captain Jediah had waged war against their former brethren: the demons. As Keeper of the Abyss, it’s his duty to ensure Appolyon’s army remains imprisoned until the end of the age. Unfortunately, despite all that God had entrusted him with, Jediah is plagued by an unceasing guilt. It drives him to thirst for Christ’s redemptive power, but there’s one glaring problem. He’s not human. God’s gift of salvation is meant for mankind alone. When God appoints him to lead a task force of five wildly different angels to capture two dangerous demons, Jediah ponders if his return to earth might be his only chance to learn what the core of human salvation truly is. however, one of Jediah’s angels hides a secret agenda, and Jediah’s dark past is hellbent on hunting him down too. Can Jediah risk everything for the relief he’s desperate for? Or should he even bother chasing what he cannot have at all? What does living redeemed mean? (Speculative Fiction, Independently Published)

 

This Dreamer by Sara Watterson — When Evie, an immortal Watcher turned reluctant assassin, finds herself captivated by her intended target, Adan the Dreamer, is it worth the cost to prevent his untimely end? Evie grows restless observing mortals from the safety of her desk in the Control Room. When the promotion for the only job she’s ever wanted—Guardian among humans in Sector Five—is canceled, a friend offers to smuggle her by portal into a booming metropolis called Shura. Evie jumps at the chance to see the world with mortal eyes. Secretly, though, she also hopes to observe Adan, a human Dreamer, in his natural habitat. Only a glimpse, she promises herself. All seems well until she returns to the Control Room, where she has landed in a heap of trouble. Not only did she take an unsanctioned trip to the ground, but the boy, the Dreamer, is missing. And all blame is placed squarely at Evie’s feet. This Dreamer is a clean fantasy romance adventure inspired by Joseph and the coat of many colors. (Speculative Fiction, Independently Published)

 

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

The Rancher’s Want Ad Mix-Up by Megan Besing, A mail-order mistake…Or a made-to-be match? (Historical Romance)

Saving Grace by Candee Fick, Not all heroes wear a uniform. (Contemporary Romance)

Magi Journey: Babylonia by Terry Phillip Garner, Magi Journey – Babylonia – continues the sweeping saga as the Magi continue their journey from Assyria in 734 BC to Bethlehem in the year -0-. (General Historical)

Brides of Seattle by Kimberly Rose Johnson, Three strong women discover love where they least expect it. (Contemporary Romance)

Puppy Ciao: Novel Companion and Study Guide by Annette Ohare, An All in One Devotional and Inspirational Novel Study Guide. (Children’s)

The Bookseller’s Promise by Beth Wiseman, The book leads the trio deep into mysterious questions about life and death, love and loss, and the impenetrable purposes of God. (General Contemporary)


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I’m not sure how I missed this the first time around …

Cute covers, too!

But I’m sure not going to miss it this time as I’m beginning a series of reviews called Digging Through the Backlists

First up ar the Squeaky Clean Mysteries by Christy Barritt. 

What a delight! These mysteries feature a crime scene cleaner as the amateur detective. I can’t tell you that’s why I missed these the first time around. I heard about Christy’s series when I was finishing up my Grime Fighter series which also has a crime scene cleaner as the main character. I didn’t want to read hers until I was completely finished, but now that I am . . .

And her character is so much fun. Straight-talking and a little coarse, Gabby St. Claire is a character to truly love. She’s authentic and sincere if a little rough around the edge. She has a genuine desire to do her best, so it’s easy to like her. 

The first story, HAZARDOUS DUTY, jumps into action immediately. Gabby cleans up from what is assumed to be a robbery gone wrong, leaving the homeowner with a bullet in his leg and the man’s wife dead. Gabby imagines all sorts of duplicity as she works, but she isn’t alone for long before her suspicions are confirmed in a heart-pounding way.

The action has a good rhythm throughout the book. Add to that the bud of a romantic triangle, some quirky neighbors that add to her trouble, and her cleaning assistant who is blamed for the crimes that occur, and Gabby is in more than the muck from her crime scenes. 

This is a fun story, and the characters have all sorts of potential. I enjoyed Book 2 as well (SUSPICIOUS MINDS) and I’m now well on my way through Book 3, ORGANIZED GRIME

If you, like me, missed this series when it was new, don’t miss it now! 


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I KNEW I was in Trouble!

I remember when I was a kid. I grew up in a Dallas suburb and we played until the streetlights came on. Then I checked in with my mom, and sometimes went out and played some more. The worst tension came when I had two shows that I wanted to watch coming on at the same time on different channels.

But I always knew when I was really in trouble.

“Margaret Elaine …” There was never an ending to the sentence. Only my name, but that was all that was needed. I think the fact that there was no verb collaborating with my name made my mom’s call all the more frightening. Threatening. And the ellipsis that shows up after my name? Let me tell you, it was real. Like palpable. I knew there was something that would follow, and I wasn’t going to like it.

My mom named me after one of her best friends. I always hated the name Margaret because it was twisted into the most awful nicknames. And no, I am not going to share them with you. Yikes! But she chose the word Elaine because it went well with Margaret and rolled off the tongue.

So, drawing conclusions here, she knew, before I was born, that I was going to be a handful, and she chose my names so that she could call them out easily together. Clearly, she knew she’d be doing that a lot.

BTW, my brother has the same type of name. I can still hear my mom calling out to him: “Randell Loyd!” Seems I didn’t hear that name nearly as much as I heard my own though.

When hubby and I chose names for our kids, we were very careful to pick names that would roll like that with my son. And let me tell you, he wore it out! But when my redhead was born – now you’d think I would be even more careful with a redhead, right? – we chose a name for her that really doesn’t sound like her nickname. We call her Katie, but her name is Kathryn. I don’t think, even now, that I have it in me to call her Kathryn. She’s too much of a Katie. So forget about even trying to add the middle name. With my twins, we didn’t even attempt to make their names yell-able. And it was okay with them anyway because they were always really good. 

So now I’m having a grandbaby. Yea! He’s a boy! Woohoo! His parents (Katie and her hubby Matt) have named him Caleb after the great man of faith and strength in the Old Testament. And they’ve given him the middle name of Dean after my hubby. Katie even wrote a letter to her baby to the effect that he is named after two of the most godly and faithful men she knows. Yes, sweet hubby teared up at that one.

And I can’t help but notice how Caleb Dean just rolls off the tongue! Is that in preparation? LOL!


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Guess What I Did?

I was so honored to be a finalist for the Chrisitan Literary Awards, but then I won! Yea! So excited!


Can You Dig It?

This trip was becoming more and more disorienting. How could they ever get to Chicago, let alone the Empire Theater? They didn’t even seem to be in the 1920s anymore.

This time when the train stopped, Freida Tilley was the first off. Her brother Hans had about smothered her with his protection, hardly even letting her see anything at the last stop. She clutched her beaded necklace in her right hand and scampered toward an empty building. Where were the people waiting for the train?

“Freida, wait.” Hans had caught up with her.

Eleanor followed him down the steps. “Where are we?”

Frieda halted on the other side of the empty train station, staring out at an endless expanse of ocean. “Well, we aren’t in Chicago.” She stepped off the platform and into sand. The gold sequins and fringe of her costume shown in the bright sunlight and she reached down and slipped off her shoes. Holding them in one hand and securing the beaded headband that held her short blond bob in place, she scanned the area around her as the others joined her on the sand.

“Dis is baloney, dis is.” Ivan Moss, already in his clown costume and make up came up beside her, though he stood almost a foot shorter. “And lookie that.” He pointed to a lot full of… were those cars? Bright colors and most of them without lids.

Back toward the ocean, a large group of people were gathering near a little stage. “Let’s find out where we are.” Eleanor passed her, trotting off toward the group.

Frieda ignored another protective call from Hans and followed Eleanor. This place was strange. If nothing else, the costumes were… well, she thought her costume was a little on the racy side. It didn’t touch what the women around her were wearing, or rather not wearing. Little bitty… unmentionables? Is that what they wore?

A man bumped into her. “Whoa there, Chickie.” A very muscular, very shirtless man, and his britches were rather small as well.

She averted her eyes, but the man turned back to her gave her a strange look, his gaze traveling from her face to the hose rolled down past her knees and back again. She was used to men looking at her, but not with such open bewilderment.

He cocked his head to the side. “Hey, sweet cheeks, you look a little bummed out. You here with the band?”

She recognized the word band, but it didn’t register. “Uh . . .”

Eleanor stepped alongside her. “What did he say?”

Frieda had no idea, but the man pointed up at the stage. A group of men with shaggy, sun-bleached hair made their way onto it, some of them carrying various guitars. One sat behind a Jazz-er-up drum system, and all of them were barefooted and almost as unclothed as the rest of the people on the beach. Though they did have the sense to wear short jackets over their bare chests.

“Let’s get a groove on,” one of the men near her called up to the stage.

The men strummed their guitars and started singing. Not like the crooners she was used to, and even though they had harmonies, they weren’t at all like the barbershop that her old man had sung in. She hadn’t expected such loud drumming or the fast-paced, rollicking music. The men sang about things she didn’t understand, but she caught the words hamburger, library, and radio. What that all had to do with some bird that got taken away, she had no idea.

A woman next to her shouted at them. “I can dig it.”

In this sand, it wouldn’t be that hard, but Frieda had no intention of joining her in that effort.

The people around her started jumping around, bobbing, and jiggling. She caught Eleanor’s eye and they traded smiles. Nobody jiggled or shook as well as the two of them did in their fringed gowns. Grabbing her friend’s hand, she jumped up onto the stage and began matching the odd dance that the people around them were doing. Not like the Charleston in that it didn’t seem to have any regular steps, but she recognized the hip action. And she shook her fringe for all it was worth.

“That’s a gas,” the guitar player next to her called out.

“It’s a gas, gas, gas,” replied the other one.

Frieda didn’t have time to try to muddle through their need for petroleum. Hans and a few of the others had reached them on the stage. Her brother took her hand. “We’re already behind the eight-ball. We have to get back on the train.”

The moment of uninhibited freedom had passed. Frieda glanced back at the man who had bumped into her. He lifted two fingers spread out. She copied the symbol back in his direction.

Is that where they were, someplace called, Two?

* * *

The troubles with the Ever After mysteries continue! This time it’s Cathe Swanson’s Murder At The Empire. Here’s a little about the book:

Gayle Wells is a killer organist, but does a killer have her in his sights?

They call him the Emperor.  John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees.

Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky.

Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next?

Murder at the Empire brings the Nightingale into an elegant movie palace in the roaring 20’s – but the real excitement is all off-screen.

You can get your copy here!

Lost in Time!

Can the before-show acts get to the Empire on time to perform? Follow along this week and find out which decade they are found. And play along for your chance to win a giveaway.

Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra cost to you.

ENTER INTO THE GIVEAWAY

Where, or maybe the better question is… WHEN, did Freida and the others land? Enter for my giveaway

HERE!


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What?

People ask me all the time where I get the ideas for my books. Well, since I write about murders, I make sure they know that I don’t “write what I know”! LOL!

Most of the time, I’m inspired by things I’ve seen. My grown daughters laugh at me when I point to something and commet on how it would be a perfect place to hide a body.

Seriously, I’ve scared a grocery clerk with on of those conversations once.

I saw this funny image the other day and I had to show it to you. What does it make you think? In case you can’t read the little sign, it says, “Not a body – I promise.” Then, “Broken pool liner.”

Really? Sounds to me like the perfect way to cover up a murder.

But what do you think? What sort of situation might this be if it isn’t JUST a broken pool liner? What’s inside the roll, how did it get there, and why was it left to be discarded?

Most everyone who ventures onto this blog are either writers or readers, and both can stir up a story from a scene like this. Leave a comment – what sort of story does this image create in your mind?

Share in the comments your story thoughts for an opportunity to win a free book from me. Don’t forget to leave your email address in your comment!


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Who Spilled the Beans?

It’s day two of the celebration for the launch of A GIANT MURDER, my new release through Celebrate Lit Publishing. Want the scoop from Day #1? Head over to Liz Tolsma’s blog to learn how it all began.

***

The heat can be unbearable, and my daylilies know it very well. They just suck up the water. That’s what I was doing—watering them with the sprinkle attachment on my hose—when I felt an ominous presence behind me.

“I suppose you’ve heard the rumor.”

I spun, sprinkler still in hand, and almost head-butted my neighbor, Mrs. Myers. Jerking the sprinkler away from her sneakers, now well-watered, I tried my most innocent smile. “I . . . uh. What was it you were saying?”

“Don’t play coy with me, Marji Laine. I know you have the inside information on all of this. The news is spreading like wildfire.”

“News?” I stretched my eyebrows up as far as possible. They had to be reaching my hairline.

“News. I know you’ve heard about it.” She frowned. “You probably created most of it, but that’s beside the point. I want to know what you know. Spill.”

Playing innocent wasn’t working. Yes, I knew all about the rumor, and I did indeed have inside information. Deep, deep inside, but there was a precedent here. I wasn’t about to go gabbing the details of the villains to the chief grape on the neighborhood vine. “Huh, uh. No way I’m spilling the beans. You’ll get nothing out of me.”

The hurt face she turned toward me pinched my determination a bit. She wasn’t really a bad sort, just a nosy one. I turned off the hose and gave her shoulder a pat. “Listen, why don’t you talk to Cathe Swanson? She might have something to share.”

If nothing else, the lady needed to go dry off her tennis shoes.

She pursed her lips and pointed two fingers at her eyes and then at me.

I smiled. “Have a nice day.”

***

I’m not the bean spiller – nope, nope, nope!

But speaking of beans, they play a part in my newest book, A GIANT MURDER. Here’s the low-down:

An exclusive party with the socially elite of Dallas.

   An elaborate venue high atop the downtown Adolphus Hotel.

      A host who is one of the richest men in 1926 . . .

         Also, one of the deadest.

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving the food giant everything except his eternal “parting shot.” With the Century Ballroom literally full of suspects, why has she been pinpointed for shooting TG Taggert? Especially since there are plenty of motives for his death:

   The theft of Chef Ganderson’s “magic” beans,

   TG’s tryst with and mistreatment of songstress Harper Davis,

   And then there’s the thief in the family, TG’s son Jack.

With her long-time friend, Officer Porter O’Brien, Josie attempts to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

You can get your own copy of A GIANT MURDER HERE!

And don’t forget to check in with Cathe Swanson tomorrow. I have a feeling she might have something to share.

And don’t forget to join the giveaway!

https://promosimple.com/ps/1137a/a-giant-murder-marji


Spotlight #5

This was to be our final day of our WE LOVE OUR READERS sale and sweepstakes, but our prize is such a great one, we’re extending the giveaway for a week to make sure everyone who wants to enter gets the chance! So today, I’m spotlighting some ladies who have become dear friends. They cowrite the Glimpses of God devotional series and have a brand new book coming out in three weeks (August 13 to be exact).

Shirley Crowder and Harriet E. Michael grew up together on the grounds of a medical mission in Nigeria. Though the live several states apart, they have stayed good friends. When Harriet wrote her outstanding Bible study on prayer, PRAYER: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, Shirley used it for a unit in a small group. To help dig deeply into the book and into Scripture, Shirley created a STUDY GUIDE ON PRAYER for it. After that, they collaborated together to complete the Prayer Project with a devotional and an anthology.

Shirley is passionate about disciple-making. She is Biblical counselor commissioned by, and serving on the national Advisory Team for, The Addiction Connection. Several of her articles have appeared in “Paper Pulpit” in The Gadsden Times’ Faith section, and in a David C. Cook publication. She also writes articles for Life Bible Study, Woman’s Missionary Union, and InspiredPrompt.com. She has authored or co-authored six books.

Harriet is a wife and mother to four grown children, grandmother to two precious grandchildren, and an award-winning author. She has authored a growing number of books, including “Prayer: It’s Not About You,” a finalist in the 2011 “Women of Faith” manuscript contest. She is also a freelance writer with numerous published pieces, including more than a hundred devotions in various magazines.

Collaborating on devotionals was a perfect fit for the lifelong friends. With the launch of their coming book, GLIMPSES OF GOD: an autumn devotional for women, they will complete their second series of books with our company.

Sadly, GLIMPSES – AUTUMN isn’t available yet, but their anthology, PRAYER WARRIOR CONFESSIONS, is not only available, it’s only 99¢ today! Here’s a little about this great collection:

True accounts of prayer in action.

Read the stories of warriors. Prayer warriors. Those who have struggled with the enemy, fighting on their knees through tragedy and triumph. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Learn the insight they have learned about prayer. About themselves. About God.

Experience the reality of prayer in a new and deeper way with the true and candid stories of experiences from the battle.

Get your copy of PRAYER WARRIOR CONFESSIONS HERE!

Don’t forget to take advantage of the final day of our sale HERE!

And sign up to win our great giveaway HERE!

https://www.writeintegrity.com/sweepstakesHappy dog running through a meadow


Spotlight 4

We’re almost done with our We Love Our Readers week at my publisher, Write Integrity Press, but if you haven’t entered our Sweepstakes for a $50 Amazon card, a new Kindle Fire, and a bunch of books, read on to find the link!

An amazing group of authors sponsored this giveaway, and I’m giving them the spotlight on my blog this week. They so inspire me.

One of the most inspirational is Joan Deneve. Her book, LOVING BROCK made it to my top ten list a few years ago when it first released, even though it isn’t a mystery, and is still there! Here’s what Joan says:

“I am one blessed woman. I’ve had the privilege to share my life with Rene’, my best friend and husband of more than forty years. We live in a small town in Alabama and together, we have a son and a daughter, seven phenomenal grandchildren, and two very spoiled dogs. I teach in a Christian school, and my passion is to help young people fall in love with Jesus and then equip them to become all God wants them to be. My other passion is writing. I love to show how God changes and restores broken people and relationships through His amazing, transforming grace.”

Learn more about Joan at her website: JoanDeneve.com

Her award-winning book Saving Eric started her “Redeemed Side of Broken” series. Here are the details:

Templetons don’t break down. Even when their worlds are falling apart.

Eric Templeton’s well-ordered life as a top CIA agent is shattered when a traitor within the agency plots to have him eliminated. Sent on a bogus mission to Africa, Eric is ambushed and critically wounded. A helicopter pilot flies him to a remote mission hospital where Dr. Brock Whitfield and his daughter, Ellie, work to save his life.

If Eric survives, his life may never be the same, and he still has to deal with the traitor who wants him dead. Eric wants justice, but Brock and Ellie know that Eric’s survival is the least of his worries. What he needs most is mercy and truth.

The completed, three-book series is on sale right now for only 99¢ per book because WE LOVE OUR READERS!

Cynthia T. Toney is another inspiring author, and she makes me laugh! She writes fiction with hope and humor that addresses issues important to tweens or teens and contains elements of mystery and romance. She says, “I love writing for tweens and teens, particularly those who speak without thinking, make poor decisions, and have love to give but don’t always know where to direct it. Young people I’ve encountered over the years inspired me to write novels that show them how wonderful, powerful, and valuable they are. Today’s tweens and teens can identify with the emotions, needs, desires, and challenges of characters in my historical as well as contemporary novels.”

You can contact Cynthia through her website: CynthiaTToney.com.

Her completed “Bird Face” series contains books that won multiple awards. Book one is called 8 Notes to a Nobody. Here is a description:

Anonymous sticky-notes, a scheming bully, and a ruined summer send fourteen-year-old Wendy down a trail of secrets and self-discovery.

“Funny how you can live your days as a clueless little kid, believing you look just fine … until someone knocks you in the heart with it.”

Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the spring program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. And the more Wendy discovers about the people around her, the more there is to learn.

When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer after eighth grade, who will be around to support her as high school starts in the fall?

You can reach the purchase link by clicking the cover or HERE! All of the Bird Face series as well as Cynthia’s historical THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM are only 99¢ each because WE LOVE OUR READERS!

And don’t forget to enter the WE LOVE OUR READERS sweepstakes by clicking HERE!