Category Archives: Friends

It’s my #BookBirthday Let’s #celebrate with a #99centsale

It’s really amazing to think that 4 years ago TODAY my very first romance book SKATER’S WALTZ was released by The Wild Rose Press. Those of you who know me have heard the story of how this book came to be published more times than you probably ever wanted to hear. But mine truly is a Cinderella publishing story. I wasn’t relegated to sweeping, dusting, cooking, and being a house-maid, and I didn’t have a magical fairy godmother (just a wonderful editor-godmom), but my road to publication started with a contest and ended with a contract.

In the end of 2014 I entered the first romance writing contest of my life. I’d written my first romance novel and wanted to see if it had any chance of being published traditionally. I loved the book but I wasn’t sure anyone else would and I entered the contest, basically, for feedback. The contest called for the first three chapters, so that’s what I sent. And then, I simply forgot about it. I was still working full time, menopause was kicking my chubby tush, and I was uber busy in my personal life.

Four months after entering, I received an email from the contest chairperson telling me I’d won my division. Included in the email were my scores by the various judges and comments they’d made. Once the shock at winning wore off, I read all the comments and felt like I had a shot a getting published. A day later another email arrived from Rhonda Penders, the publisher of the Wild Rose Press. She was the final judge for my entry. She wrote that she’d liked what she’d read and asked if I had a completed manuscript. Boy, did I! Could I send it along to her? Boy, could I! So I did.

Two months after that I received another email from the editor Ms. Penders had assigned the book to, to be read. Condensed version here of the story : they were offering me a contract to publish.

When I scraped myself off the floor and stopped crying, I said YES.

And 4 years later, I’ve never looked back.

So, come celebrate my book baby’s birthday with me with a sale. The ecopy is only 99 cents now until March 15. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s the perfect time. It’s available at these online retailers at the sale price right now:

Amazon // Nook // Apple(iTunes) 

I’ll be out celebrating and birthday-partying today, but if you’re looking for me, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Friends, MacQuire Women, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Welcome to #Walmart

In this never ending quagmire of publishing, I discovered today that my ebooks are all available at WALMART.Com

So, if you shop Walmart on line and are looking for some bargains on my books, here you go. These titles are currently available.

Skater’s Waltz 

There’s No Place like Home

First Impressions 

The VOices of Angels

Passion’s Palette

A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights

3 Wishes

Cooking with Kandy

A Shot at love

CAn’t Stand the Heat

SO, in addition to Amazon, WRP, Nook, Kobo, Apple and Google +, I’m really just everywhere these days! hahaha

FInd me here, too:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Candy Hearts, Family Saga, First Impressions, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Hope's Dream, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, WIld Rose Press AUthor, Writing

#goddessfishtour Day 14. #Readeropolis and me…

Have you been keeping up with the tour? Got your rafflecopter chance? Left a comment on any of the stops? YOu still have some chances for that and to “see” me. I’ve got another 7 days of stops and today I am over on Readeropolis with an excerpt from the book. Stop by. Leave me some love.

And if you missed any stops along the way, click on them here: ( you might have to scroll thru 1 02 of them to find my post because it’s been a minute, you know!

March 19: Romance Novel Giveaways
March 20: BooksChatter 
March 20: Sharing Links and Wisdom
March 21: Edgar’s Books
March 21: Christine Young
March 22: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
March 22: Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters
March 23: Unabridged Andra
March 23: BooksChatter – review
March 26: Welcome to My World of Dreams
March 27: Sorchia’s Universe
March 27: Rachel Brimble Romance
March 28: Nana Prah’s Blog
March 29: Fabulous and Brunette
March 29: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin’
March 30: It’s Raining Books
April 2: Book Magic – Under a spell with every page – review only
April 2: K.T. Castle
April 3: Read Your Writes Book Reviews
April 4: The Avid Reader
April 4: The Pen and Muse Book Reviews

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Character Interview: At Last in Laguna by Claire Marti #WildRosePressAuthor

Today I’ve got a real treat for you all. Another one of my favorite Wild Rose Press sistahs, Claire Marti, has a brand new book out, AT LAST IN LAGUNA, and today, she’s brought along her uber-hot hero, Brandt Dempsey, for a sit down chat. Grab a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy hearing about At Last In Laguna and a special someone there….

Brandt Dempsey where are you from? Laguna Beach, California

Tell us a bit about AT LAST IN LAGUNA:

It’s the story of how my best friend Nick’s little sister Alyssa jolted me out of my resolve to treat her like a surrogate baby sister. Little did she know that I avoided her not just because Nick’s the closest thing I’ve got to a family, but I come from a rough past and simply didn’t deserve a beautiful, intelligent, perfect woman like her.

What did you think the first time you saw Alyssa Morgan?

It was more than a decade ago and she was only seventeen years old. She wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous like she is today. She was tall and painfully skinny, with these thick coke-bottle glasses that obscured her striking gray-blue eyes. Almost. I remember making an extra effort to be kind to her because of her shyness and nervousness around me.

What was your second thought?

Once she felt more comfortable around me, I was surprised at her sarcastic sense of humor.

Did you feel it was love at first sight?

I don’t know if I believe in love at first sight. When I saw her again when she returned to Laguna after college, my jaw dropped. The awkward teenager blossomed into an elegant woman. A red alarm sounded in my head: stay away! Her brother Nick is my closest friend and I couldn’t jeopardize our relationship. He’s like an over-protective father from the 1950’s, probably because they lost their parents when Alyssa was only fourteen and he’s her only family. So, I did my best to ignore her.

What do you like most about Alyssa?

That’s a tough one. Her compassion and warmth draw me to her. Her kisses. Well, let’s just say I wish I was kissing her right now.

How would you describe her?

She’s incredible. Her independence and wit impress me and her natural beauty and warmth blow me away. She’s a creative, talented interior designer with an intuitive sense in all she does. I feel like she “gets” me, if that makes sense.

How would she describe you?

The best-looking guy in Laguna. Kidding. More likely she’d say I was a stubborn pain in the butt.

Why are you building Tearmann House?

There’s a whole demographic of people who the system fails. I want to help the women and children who have nowhere to go and/or need a short refuge to get back on their feet again after tough times.

What is your biggest fear?

You’ll have to read AT LAST IN LAGUNA to find out.

Blurb:

Alyssa Morgan has secretly been in love with her older brother Nick’s best friend, Brandt Dempsey, since she was an awkward, lonely teenager. When she catches the bouquet at Nick’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and propositions Brandt to a two-week fling. He’s tried to ignore how Alyssa has blossomed into a strong, talented, gorgeous woman because as his best friend’s baby sister, she’s off limits.

 

After they share a mind-blowing kiss, Brandt struggles to fight their undeniable chemistry. His tragic childhood scarred him, but he pushes it deep inside, only allowing the world to see a wealthy, carefree entrepreneur. Forced to work together on Brandt’s latest charitable venture, Brandt and Alyssa’s passion cannot be denied. Alyssa knows he’s the one. Can she convince him they belong together?

Excerpt:

What was his deal this morning?

She’d give him the cold shoulder if it killed her.

And it just might.

He’d rejected her, so why was he opening doors, hovering, and acting like a pest? Practically breathing down her neck. She could swear he’d sniffed her. Sniffed her. He couldn’t conceal his awareness. If he were so attracted to her, he would’ve agreed to her proposition, right? Since he’d shot her down in flames, he could at least have the decency to ignore her today. Rude, infuriating man.

Inhaling a deep cleansing breath, she forced herself to concentrate on the center. Sunlight streamed through the abundance of windows and along with the high ceilings imparted a feeling of freedom and space, perfect for the planned occupants. Because they’d decided to wait to obtain her input for the more specific room layout, the building’s interior remained a shell. She’d add to her brother’s amazing design and ensure Tearmann House’s beauty and serenity.

Serenity. What a concept. Ha.

Buy Links:

amazon //  Wild Rose Press // Barnes & Nobel // Kobo // ibooks

A little about Claire…

Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. At Last in Laguna is the second book in her Finding Forever in Laguna series from The Wild Rose Press.

You can find out more, and connect with, Claire here:

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads //

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Friends, love, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Week 2 of the #BookTour wrap-up

Just in case you missed any of the tour stops for week 2, here’s a listing with links. Be sure to drop by, leave some love, and be entered for a chance to win an Amazon GC at the end of the tour.

Monday, October 2 Danita Minnis

Tuesday, October 3 Up ’til Dawn Book Blog

Wednesday, October 4 Hearts and Scribbles and Nickie’s Reviews and Interviews

Thursday, October 5 Nancy Fraser

Friday, October 6  Fabulous, and Brunette   and Two Ends of the Pen

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#Release day and more of my #GoddessFishBlog tour


Pardon me, but I’m a little giddy today! A SHOT OF LOVE is out in the book reading world and the reviews have been amazing so far!!!!

I’m on Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog today talking about my favorite movie scenes. This was a fun blog to write, so stop by and tell me yours!

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Filed under Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

I miss Jerry…

and Elaine, George, and even krazy Kramer.

The Seinfeld show went off the air in 1998, but there are still so many ways the show impacts our society to this day.  Let me explain the history behind this blog piece.

Yesterday morning at the Gym I got into a discussion with the lovely Planet Fitness worker I see every morning when I check in, about watching television. We both stated how much we like Seinfeld. Now, this young lady is a good 25 -30 years younger than I am. She watches reruns of Seinfeld. I watched it when it actually ran, from 1989-1998. Yeah…I know. I feel a little old too.

But I digress…

We talked about how that show had so many relevant and timely sayings and situations that still hold up today and are even used in today’s vernacular. For example, Seinfeld introduced us to the annoying and embarrassing fact of “shrinkage.” 

Remember that one?
How often do you use the phrase “yada yada yada?” Well, it came from a Seinfeld episode.

 

Ever heard of the forgotten and wildly misrepresented holiday Festivus? 

And speaking of holidays, have you ever Re-gifted? Or ever been accused of being a re-gifter? Thank Elaine for that one.

 

And remember the first time you ever heard of the “BRO?”

Would you consider yourself Spongeworthy?

Have you ever double dipped?

 

God, there were so many words, phrases, holidays, expressions that show made popular, it’s a wonder Jerry Seinfeld and the writers didn’t get royalties from Webster’s dictionary for all the new words they made trendy.

In addition to Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, the other wacky neighbor – Jerry’s archenemy Neumann

 

– also had some tidy tidbits and knew how to turn a phrase. 

The true test of classic work of art- be it music, a television show, a powerful book – is how it plays to future generations and how they can see its relevance in their lives. I can watch an old episode of I Love Lucy and quote the entire thing from beginning to end. Lucy still makes me laugh out loud almost 70 years after her show went on the air! Seinfeld in almost 20 years out of the box but an entirely new generation is enjoying it and understands the lexicon the show invented.

And you know what? THAT’S what I want to do with my writing. I want to be relevant in the future. Being relevant right now would be nice, too, I have to say! But I want to – in some small way- have an impact on the people who discover my books in years to come. A positive impact, for sure, but an impact all the same. I want them, when they read the words I’ve written, to get it.  Just like we still get Jerry…and Lucy…and Abbot and Costello, and all the greats that came before.

When I’m not -yada yada yada – (you know the drill!)

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, Friends, Strong Women

A day in my life….is not for sissies!!

I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time  – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.

I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)

That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day. Made bed.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. )  Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.

But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.

So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Books are my thing…

I can go in so many directions with this blog choice. My favorite books to read over and over; the type of books I like to read; my favorite genres and subgenres. So many avenues to explore. Sooooo, I guess I’ll tackle them all and see what happens.

I. My favorite books to read over and over. I’ve read Gone with Wind 42 times.

I know…I’m a little obsessive. But every time I’ve read it as an adult I find something fresh or a connection I didn’t see before.

I’ve read Pride and Prejudice 27 times.

In fact, I’m re-reading it right now!

I”ve read the Thorn Birds 16 times. I only saw the miniseries once, so that tells you how much more I like the book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve read each Harry Potter book twice. The first time along with my daughter, the second time on my own.

And because I find reading the JD Robb IN DEATH series is like taking a master class in writing a series, I’ve read each of the 45 books at least 3 times. You do the math on that one!

II. The types of books I like to read. Well romances, of course! Duh! I’m such a sucker for that whole Happily Ever After thing. I love a heroine who’s snarky and a little obsessive; a hard worker, and a strong believer in family. Give me a hero who’s part alpha/part beta; one who can be a leader or a follower or both at the same time! He has to be committed on every level to the heroine – emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Once he meets her there’s no one else he can envision himself with EVER! The same goes for the heroine. I love to cook and I love to laugh, so witty, engaging characters who eat like normal people and not super models getting ready for a photo shoot are my favorite people! I want to read about folks I could see myself being friends with. Make me laugh, make my cry, and feed my soul and I’m your reader for life.

III. MY favorite genre and subgenre books. This is gonna look a little like an Amazon key-word line! Stick with me here, folks: Romance-contemporary romance- foodie-humor -strong heroine- family. Let me esplan it, Lucy, in better terms.

Favorite genre: romance. Favorite subgenre of romance: contemporary romance. Elements of contemporary romance books – humorous stories about families with strong women. Add a dash of cooking into the mix and serve!

And just for full disclosure here, I also like the erotic contemporary romances of Jennifer Probst and Christina Lauren

   

and Regency romances ala Lisa Kleypas and Elizabeth Hoyt.

   

So, there you have it. My reading pleasures.

And because this is blog hop, click on over to these other romance writers to see what they consider their favorite books. You just might find a new author or series you’ll enjoy.


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Historical Romance, Literary characters, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

A little something new…Guest Hostess Karen C. Whalen

Today, something a little different. I’m turning my blog over to one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karen C. Whalen, for the day. Karen has new book out in her culinary cozy mystery series, the dinner club murder mysteries, titled  NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN. As a writer, Karen is going to talk to you today about that wonderful thing every writer needs to establish in their stories and between their characters: CONFLICT.

She’s also giving you a litte sumthin’ sumthin from her book, so stayed tuned to the end!

Please welcome, Karen C. Whalen.

Conflict has been called the most important element in fiction, an essential crafting tool every writer must master. Novels demand conflict and tension to compel readers to keep turning the pages.

Adding conflict was the subject of a writing exercise in a workshop I attended a few years ago. The first step was to jump to the middle of our WIP (work in progress). My middle was at page one-hundred. Then, we were instructed to add conflict on that very page by having the characters argue. They were not to have a nice, gentlemanly disagreement, no. The characters had to insult each other and call one another names. The instructor required a knock-down fight of the blow-out variety, not a puny squabble. When I started the assignment I wondered how in the world my main characters could argue. They were friends in a cozy gourmet dinner club in a cozy murder mystery. How was I going to toss in the kind of verbal exchange that would endure to a final draft?

I started reading the scene on page one hundred. Even before I finished the page, an argument popped into my corrupt and depraved mind. I let it all hang out, the taunting and the mud-slinging, all of it. The scene was much improved. The conflict added depth to the dialogue, enhanced the theme of the book, and brought the characters to life. Even I wanted to read to the end to see how the characters resolved their issues.

Why? Because in real life friends do not talk to each other that way. Friends don’t insult each other; they don’t call each other names. Friendships, in reality, are fragile. But friends think those angry thoughts, they just don’t say them out loud. Not if they want to stay friends. Admit it, you’ve played such an argument out on the pages of your imagination many times. The reader’s fantasy is fulfilled in the conflict on the written page.

Not only do readers crave the conflict, they need a satisfactory resolution as well. End results are impossible to control in real life, but the creator of the characters can control the outcome. At the end of my new and improved scene, the first character apologized to the second character who said, “No, I totally see your point of view.” Not every clash of character is going to resolve this way, nor would we want it to. At least not every time. But, hey, wouldn’t our lives be wonderful if we could resolve our arguments so happily?

That’s not reality. That’s why it’s called fiction.

Like everybody else I had a best friend growing up. We were best buds from grade school to high school to college. We swore we’d always be best friends. And you can guess what happened. She said I said something that hurt her feelings. I don’t even remember saying what she said I said. As I said, friendships are fragile. And how I would like to rewrite that dialogue!

And I can.

I can create my own comfy world in my own cozy murder mysteries. My characters are friends, good friends. When they argue, they kiss and make up (usually) and the reader keeps turning those pages to make sure.

In the last part of the writing exercise, we were instructed to examine every page of our WIP, every single page, not just every scene, and add conflict to each page, to create a page-turner, can’t-put-it-down novel.

When I heard that, I wanted to punch out that instructor. Not really, because he was so right. And besides, I live in reality where people restrain themselves most of the time. But in fiction, there are endless opportunities for confrontation and clash…and conflict.

Blurb: NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN

Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane’s dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man—a gourmet chef—enters her life. But, things turn sour when, on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends—or maybe even her old ones—might be a murderer?

Excerpt :

Slam! Chink. The brown packing box fell off the dolly with the tinkling sound of glass on glass. Jane sighed as the mover stacked the box labeled “kitchen” back on the dolly and thumped down the basement stairs with it.

Never mind. She’d sort it out later. She slipped outside into the warmth of the early September, blue-sky, Colorado day to check on her puppies sniffing around their new territory in the backyard. Leaning over the deck railing facing the lot to the east, she gazed into the bottom of an open excavation where a basement was being poured. Someone had parked a tractor down in the dirt, and near it a white cowboy hat lay on the ground. A man’s hand stretched toward the hat’s brim. Had someone fallen into the pit?

Jane bounded down the deck stairs and out the wooden gate, only stopping for a moment to secure the latch. She rounded the corner of her new house and rushed to the adjoining lot, pausing near the edge of the concrete that formed the basement’s foundation.

A man was shoved against the corner of the foundation wall. His torso and legs were partly covered with dirt. The cowboy hat concealed the top of his head. His left hand almost touched the brim, as if he were about to take off his hat and say “Howdy do.” A large manila envelope lay a foot or so away from his other outstretched hand.

On the envelope tall, block letters spelled out: “Jane Marsh—welcome to your new home.”

Jane’s hands flew to her throat. “Ethan,” she breathed.

Her eyes took in the three cement walls rising out of the dirt floor and at the rear, a crumbling slope of dirt spilling into the pit. Starting toward the back slope, she hesitated. The soil might not be stable. She lifted two planks, plunked the long ends of the boards into the pit, and climbed down.

The smell of turned earth filled her nose as she skirted the tractor, a small, front-end loader. Falling to her knees, she lifted the cowboy hat, then dropped it. She felt the man’s wrist for a pulse. It wasn’t there. Then her hand moved toward the envelope with her name on it, but she drew back.

After yanking a cell phone out of the back pocket of her worn jeans, she punched in 9-1-1. “A man fell into a construction pit… I’m pretty sure he’s dead…no, he’s beyond help.” The dispatcher asked for the address, and she gave it to him in a shaky voice. “Yes, I’ll stay on the line.” The makeshift bridge was harder to get back up than it was to get down. After making it to the top, she crossed the lot and rushed through her front door.

“Caleb!”

“Yeah? Whatzup, Mom?” Her grown son appeared from the kitchen. He was almost a foot taller than she, but with the same slim build and a cap of the same rich brown hair.

“Ethan Valrod. The construction manager for the builder. He fell into the basement pit next door. He’s dead.” Breathless, she took a deeper breath to stop her ears buzzing and her heart pounding.

“What the?” Caleb’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

“Ethan Valrod’s dead. I’ve called 9-1-1 already and they told me to stay on the line.” Jane lifted the phone to her ear, but the operator was silent. Legs shaking, she led the way, and Caleb followed her out the door.

Her son stationed himself on top of the foundation, hands clenched to his sides, while taking in the sight below. She plucked at his sleeve. “Are you going down to look?”

He nodded his head and descended the plank. In only a few moments he was back, dragging her by the elbow over to the concrete curb where they sat together facing the street.

After hearing a voice spluttering from the phone, Jane spoke into it. “I’m all right. I’ve got my son here with me now. We’ll wait together.” She hit the mute button and shifted the phone from her right hand to her left.

Caleb slid a folded piece of paper out of his tight jean pocket and handed it to her. “I forgot to give you this.”

In a tremulous voice, she read out loud, “Mrs. Marsh, I stopped by to give you a welcome packet with the keys. I’ll come back later.” Ethan Valrod’s signature was scrawled across the bottom. She gazed into the distance for a moment.

Caleb lifted his hands, palms up. “It was on the counter when I got here. The movers set a box on top of the note, and I didn’t want it to get lost, so I put it in my pocket.”

“Okay, thanks.” Swallowing hard, she darted a quick glance over her shoulder, but no one else was around. “It looked like someone used the tractor to cover the body with dirt.”

“I noticed. And there were marks on the ground, like someone rolled his body into the corner first.”

“Did you see the blood on the tractor bucket?”

“Yeah.” Caleb gave his mother a pop-eyed stare and she returned the look.

Her ears seemed sharper than usual. The dogs barked from the other side of the fence. A plane’s engine droned from overhead. Police sirens approached from the next block.

Buy links:

Book 1: Everything Bundt the Truth

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N 

Book 2: Not According to Flan

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N

A little about Karen:

Karen C. Whalen is the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” The first three in the series are: Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, and No Grater Evil. Her books are similar to those written by cozy authors Jessica Beck and Joanne Fluke. She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She believes that it’s never too late to try something new. She loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.

You can connect with Karen here:

Facebook // Website // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon

 

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