Month: January 2015

Lots of good books. Free to five good homes.

Yesterday, I told you about the Cozy Mystery Story Bundle. Today I’m here to tell you that the good folks at Story Bundle are allowing me to give away some books (and when I say some books, I mean all 14 books in the bundle to 5 lucky readers).

All Covers LargeThe thing is I need a clever idea how to decide who gets the story bundles. Should I have some sort of contest? Should I pick names randomly out of a hat? Not just any hat, of course, my author hat.


So anyway, leave me your suggestions. Perhaps, if I like your idea, I’ll use it to give away the books. Maybe I’ll give books to the first five bloggers who reblog this post. Or maybe I’ll keep this simple and give books to the first five readers who leave a comment. I really don’t have a clue. But when I figure it out, some of you are going to get a lot of great books.

You could receive as a gift from me and from the folks at Story Bundle all of these great books:

Deadly Blessings by Julie Hyzy

After having lost a promising lead on information about her real parents and facing the fallout of a failed relationship, Chicago news researcher Alex St. James is primed to dive into her next investigation interviewing Milla Voight, a Polish immigrant pregnant by a Catholic priest. But when the young woman is found murdered, Alex’s boss plays office politics and rips her off the case.

Risking not only her job, but her life, Alex investigates, making enemies of powerful people in the Chicago Archdiocese. Unless she backs away from the story, the next thing Alex may hear are her own Last Rites.

First in the Alex St. James Mystery series.

The Kewpie Killer by Falafel Jones

It’s hard to be a tough investigative reporter when Mommy owns the paper, you lose your apartment and you have to move back home. There’s also no solace in your social life when you own at least one bridesmaid dress for every friend you have. Just ask rookie reporter, Raquel Flanagan.

The night Raquel covers a carnival opening, a Bearded Lady of questionable gender finds a dead farmer planted next to a Kewpie doll. Both the farmer and the doll sport straw hats and overalls. Anxious to prove herself to Mom, who is a pathological perfectionist, Raquel locates reports of additional victims dead next to dolls that match their occupations.

At first, no one believes Raquel’s theory that a serial Kewpie Killer exists. Then, Raquel meets and falls for Eddie Franklin, a cop working Kewpie Killings in Florida. Eddie can’t leave his job and Raquel’s mom wants her to run the paper in New York. Raquel doesn’t know what to do. She still hasn’t found a place to live and now someone’s sending her Kewpie reporters with tape over the eyes and mouths.

A Minor Case of Murder by Jeff Markowitz

When minor league baseball comes to White Sands Beach, not everyone welcomes the club. Birders are especially upset by the location of Sand Skeeter Ballpark, but will they resort to murder to protect the birds’ nesting areas? When a woman dies at the ballpark, during the final game of the season, tabloid reporter and amateur sleuth Cassie O’Malley finds herself on the case. Tag along as Cassie and her unusual band of cohorts attempt to untangle the clues in A Minor Case of Murder.

The Lexy Baker Cozy Mysteries, Boxed Set 1-4 by Leighann Dobbs

This compilation of four Lexy Baker Cozy Mysteries debuted on the USA Today best seller list on August 14, 2014. Join culinary sleuth Lexy Baker as she and her gang of iPad toting, would-be detective grandmothers solve four mysteries.

In Killer Cupcakes, Lexy finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation headed up by her hunky neighbor detective Jack Perillo who figures her for the killer.

In Dying For Danish, Lexy stumbles over the body of her high paying catering client and finds herself in a race against time to find the killer.

Next, in Murder, Money and Marzipan, Lexy is off to Las Vegas to compete in the prestigious Bakery Battles where, you guess it, she stumbles over another body. But not just any body. Contest judge Amanda Scott Saunders has been strangled with Lexy’s apron. The local police soon discover Lexy had means, motive and opportunity and Lexy must enlist the aid of her grandmother to help clear her name.

In Three Bodies and a Biscotti, murder hits too close to home when people at Lexy’s grandmother’s retirement center start dropping like flies. Lexy’s detective boyfriend, Jack, refuses to believe that foul play is involved, leaving her no choice but to find the killer on her own. Along with Nans and her gang of iPad-toting, mystery-solving grandmas, they use everything from hypnosis to high-tech gadgets to track down the killer.

Murder, Sometimes by Patricia Lee Macomber

Fresh off the NYPD, Jason Callahan has his own detective agency, a nice apartment, and a secretary who doesn’t drive him crazy. Jason is happy with his life. Until he meets Trina Dane, that is. Trina is that crazy lady you always worry about meeting. She’s also psychic. From the minute Jason meets her, he finds himself spiraling downward into a world of ghosts, spells and demons. But Trina is also beautiful and funny and Jason can’t quite force himself to stay away.

Jason and Trina’s first case: The repeated attempted murder of one of the city’s high rollers. Alarms haven’t helped. Even video surveillance can’t seem to detect the would-be assassin. Now, it’s up to Jason and Trina. Can they catch the killer before he succeeds, or is he something beyond human, something beyond capture?

One Dead Dean by Bill Crider

Hartley Gorman College, in Pecan City, Texas, is hardly a bastion of serious scholarship. The little Baptist school is more interested in shielding its students from the evil influence of The World, The Flesh, and The Devil than in turning out future Nobelists. But its staff, by and large, is worthy of a more demanding institution; they are victims of a glutted market in Ph.D.s and they do the best they can. So it is they who are most upset at Dean Elmore’s “secret plan” to award credit hours for “undirected study” by “independent scholars”—in plain words, to turn the school into a diploma mill.

Which may be why Dean Elmore, shortly after unveiling his plan, is found bludgeoned to death at his desk. It is certainly why, at his funeral, there is not a wet eye in the house.

Or so observes Carl Burns, Hartley Gorman professor of English literature, through whose eyes we see both the crime and the larger picture of this wacky denominational Texas school.

The McKinleys Mystery Series Boxed Set 1-3 by Carolyn Arnold

The McKinleys…where mystery and romance meet. From bestselling author, Carolyn Arnold, comes Sean and Sara McKinley. The McKinley Mystery Series combines romance, mystery, humor, and adventure. They are free of foul language and graphic violence. Enjoy this boxed set, which includes the first three McKinley Mysteries: The Day Job is Murder (An introductory short story, approximately 13,000 words.) Vacation is Murder (A novella, approximately 26,000 words.) Money is Murder (A novella, approximately 28,000 words.)

New Improved Murder by Ed Gorman

Jack Dwyer is a former cop who got the acting bug after he was cast in a local public safety commercial. He started acting lessons, quit his job, and applied for his private investigator’s license (in very nearly that order). He also took a security guard job to keep the wolves away. The novel opens with Dwyer on a riverside park murder site. He was called there by a panicked former girlfriend. A girlfriend who left him for another man, and a girlfriend Dwyer isn’t quite over.

The woman is nearly comatose when Dwyer arrives. She is distraught with grief and fear. The man who replaced Dwyer in her life is dead in the grass, and the gun that killed him is in her hand. The police arrive and everything fits neatly into a little package. No real investigation, other than into Jane Branigan—the girlfriend—and the case seems open and shut, but something about it bothers Dwyer. That something may be nothing more than his feelings for Jane, but Dwyer doesn’t think she did it.

New, Improved Murder is a seriously good private eye novel. Jack Dwyer is a likable, compassionate, sometimes self-doubting reluctant good guy, who tends to stand on the outside. He is working class top to bottom, and the world through his eyes is a harsh, troubled place, with just enough hope and romanticism to keep him from the maudlin.

Death is a Cabaret by Deborah Morgan

Since Jeff Talbot left the FBI, he’s been investigating yard sales as a professional antiques picker. From furniture to books, from old clothes to broken toys, nothing escapes his keen eye for appraisal. But there is one item that he always keeps his knowing eyes particularly peeled to find: a one-of-a-kind French cabaret set commissioned by Napoleon for his love, Josephine. It is an item any collector would kill for…

So when it’s about to be auctioned off — and rival collectors start turning up dead — there are plenty of suspects to choose from. Suddenly Jeff finds himself polishing up his old crime-solving skills as the search for a cabaret set becomes the search for a killer. But can he pick out the right clues before the killer adds him to the collection of dead bodies?


Lots of great books. Not a lot of money.

I’m pleased to announce that A Minor Case of Murder has been included in the Cozy Mystery Story Bundle. This a a great collection of mysteries, curated by Patricia Lee Macomber. But it’s a limited time offer. If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries, I encourage you to check it out while it’s still available.

For $5.00, you get 5 books (really you get 8 books because one of the books is a 4-volume boxed set). So for $5.00 you get

  • A Minor Case of Murder by Jeff Markowitz
  • Deadly Blessings by Julie Hyzy
  • The Kewpie Killer by Falafel Jones
  • Lexy Baker Cozy Mysteries Boxed Set 1-4 by Leighann Dobbs
  • Murder, Sometimes by Patricia Lee Macomber

And if you want more, for the price of $14.00, you get all of those books, plus these bonus books

  • One Dead Dean by Bill Crider
  • The McKinleys Mystery Series Boxed Set 1-3 by Carolyn Arnold
  • New Improved Murder by Ed Gorman
  • Death is a Cabaret by Deborah Morgan

Lots of great books. Not a lot of money.

All Covers Large

A good day to blog

It’s snowing outside, not a blizzard, not yet, but it’s surely on its way, the house is stocked with all the essentials, vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, chili peppers, hot sauce and celery and I’m not even supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be in New Hampshire until tomorrow, but we decided to be smart and drive home ahead of the blizzard, so anyway, it’s a good day to update my blog.

There hasn’t been much winter yet in New Jersey, so we drove north to New Hampshire a week ago, looking for winter. We went snow shoeing along the banks of the Swift River and also at Echo Lake-Cathedral Ledge. We went dog sledding in the back woods in Jefferson.

sr3sr1el1el2el6We even found time to explore the ice castle in Lincoln.

ic1ic2 ic3 ic4

But now we’re back in New Jersey, where there wasn’t enough winter, only the snow is getting heavy now and we’ll have a foot of snow by morning, and more by tomorrow afternoon. I’ll spend the day snowshoeing much closer to home and soon I should probably start blogging about my book events coming up in February, but for now, I’m getting thirsty. I’ve got vodka and tomato juice in the kitchen. I’ve got Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, chili peppers, hot sauce and celery. There must be something I can make.

A Chum Cannon, A Bag of Ice, A Box of Wine

There is a place where writing and performance art intersect and that intersection, apparently, is marketing genius. I read a fascinating article in today’s New York Times about first-time author and performance artist, Miranda July.

“The objects for sale on Miranda July’s website seem entirely ordinary and even deliberately random. A pink hairbrush. An envelope. A painted vase. A bag of popcorn. On closer inspection, each item becomes mysterious and potentially meaningful, like a clue in a crime novel. The brush is clotted with blond hair. The vase is in pieces. The envelope holds a secret – the name of an unborn child’s father. The popcorn, bizarrely, is bubble-gum flavored. Each of the 50 objects has a fictional counterpart in Ms. July’s debut novel, ‘The First Bad Man,’ which Scribner will release on Tuesday.” (An Escaping Artist, Unlocking Door After Door, Alexandra Alter, The NY Times, Saturday, January 10, 2015)

It is pure genius and it has me wondering what objects from Death and White Diamonds my readers might want to own. The chum cannon, for sure. But what about one of the bags of ice that Richie uses to prevent certain bodies from “decomposing quietly” in the trunk of his car. Or a box of wine that he uses for purposes too disgusting to share here? And what  about Lorraine’s disembodied buttocks? I don’t want to know which one of you would like to possess Lorraine’s disembodied buttocks. But one of you, perhaps more than one of you, would click on the buy button.

(I’ve updated my Events and Appearances. In the next nine  weeks, I have 6 book events in 6 different states. I hope you’ll come by and say hello.)