featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Note: This site uses Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Friday, April 28, 2023


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Harini Nagendra is a professor of ecology at Azim Premji University. The Bangalore Detectives Club, her debut crime novel, was on the New York Times Notable Books of 2022 list, and nominated for a Lefty and Agatha award. Harini lives in Bangalore with her family, in a home filled with maps. She loves trees, mysteries, and traditional recipes. Learn more about Harini and her books at her website where you can also find links to her other social media.  

Weaving India’s Colonial History into Crime Fiction

My day job as a professor of climate change in an Indian university involves the use of history, to understand how the ecology of Indian cities has changed over time. Surrounded by maps, archival documents, old letters, photographs, and other glimpses of the past – I often feel like a kid in a candy store. There is so much information, some of it hilarious, terrifying, or just plain weird – which I can’t use, because it doesn’t really fit into my research. Rarely, if ever, are the archives boring. When my colleagues stumbled upon the unbelievable adventures of William Edward Ashton James, assistant superintendent in the Mysore Revenue Survey in the late 19th century, I knew we had to write an article about him. James was stoned by local villagers, cheated by cartmen who gave him ‘unserviceable bullocks’ – and then, having completed his survey under very difficult circumstances, harassed by auditors who wanted to know why he spent so much money. 

We came across many other stories, and I itched to write about them all. But I couldn’t - many had nothing to do with ecology. How could I tell people about the inspiring story of Coffeepudi Sakamma, a young widow with an infant son, who took over her husband’s coffee plantations and built a coffee empire, serving the Maharaja of Mysore in the early 20th century? Or about Kalyanamma, a child widow from Bangalore who became one of India’s pioneering women journalists, founding a school for women in 1913?

Writing a historical crime series, set in the 1920s, satisfied my desire to share these incredible stories of inspiring people with the wider world. Through The Bangalore Detectives Club, my first novel – set in colonial Bangalore in 1921 – I was able to explore some of the ways in which Indian women sought to navigate the Golden Age, which was a time of great possibility for them, but also a time in which they faced significant restrictions on their freedom. In Murder Under a Red Moon, book 2 in the series, I paid tribute to Coffeepudi Sakamma, Kalyanamma and other women of those times, who did things that I would not have believed to possible for women living in back then – had I not read about them. 

My grandmother was born over a century ago. She could read and write in at least three languages – Sanskrit, Tamil and English – and could speak many more, including Kannada, Marathi and Telugu. Despite being the daughter of a lawyer and the wife of a schoolteacher, she didn’t get to be this well educated without a struggle. Her elder sister staged a revolt, going to the local school (then attended only by boys) and taking my grandmother with her - when they were between six and eight years old. She fought against societal expectations – and blazed the way for others to follow. Writing about lives of other women of the 1920s, in colonial India, inspires me – it brings hope that society can change, for the better. I’m so glad that I now have a place to embellish and embed these wonderful stories, in historical mysteries.


Murder Under a Red Moon

A Bangalore Detective Mystery, Book 2

When new bride Kaveri Murthy reluctantly agrees to investigate a minor crime to please her domineering mother-in-law—during the blood moon eclipse, no less—she doesn’t expect, once again, to stumble upon a murder.

With anti-British sentiment on the rise, a charismatic religious leader growing in influence, and the fight for women’s suffrage gaining steam, Bangalore is turning out to be a far more dangerous and treacherous place than Kaveri ever imagined—and everyone’s motives are suspect.

Together with the Bangalore Detectives Club—a mixed bag of street urchins, nosy neighbours, an ex-prostitute, and a policeman’s wife—Kaveri once again sleuths in her sari and hunts for clues in her beloved 1920s Ford.

But when her life is suddenly put in danger, Kaveri realizes that she might be getting uncomfortably close to the truth. So she must now draw on her wits and find the killer . . . before they find her.

Buy Links




Wednesday, April 26, 2023


Photo:  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 jeffreyw
Today we sit down for a chat with John “Johnny” Ky Ly, DVM from the Black Orchid Enterprises Mystery Series by M. R. Dimond.

What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?

Directionless. After melting down during my zoo vet residency, I went to live in an ashram in West Texas. There my grandmother found me and asked if I’d like to take over Gregg House, her mansion in Beauchamp, Texas. 


The author became interested in me around the same time, especially after I asked my college roommates JD Thompson and Dianne Cortez to join me in Beauchamp. We live upstairs in the mansion and have offices for a cat vet, lawyer, and accountant on the first floor.


What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?

I take care of cats. Other animals too, like the time a golf course called me in my capacity as assistant animal control officer to remove a snake from their ball dispenser. Not only that, but the snake had swallowed a golf ball, thinking it was an egg. I surgically removed the golf ball and rehomed the snake after it recovered. I can feel compassion and take action, too, which is useful, at least for the cats and snakes.


What do you like least about yourself?

Years ago, I would have said my brain, the brain I’ve learned to call neurodivergent. I’ve now learned it has advantages, and I’ve learned how to optimize its function and choose the best environment for me to flourish. 


Do I have to think of something else I don’t like about myself? My therapist says I shouldn’t dwell on things like that.


What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?

There have been so many! There’s the time she had me remove a wild boar from downtown Beauchamp, though wild boars are normal in Texas. Bobcats are, too, but not usually in the pizza parlor. 


Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?

Mostly I just smile and pretend to agree with her, though if I’ve got a serious complaint, I ask JD to negotiate with her. He’s the lawyer, after all. I do wish she’d pay more attention to the science of detection and cat care and less to people’s emotions, but JD assures me that isn’t going to happen.


What is your greatest fear?

Sometimes when I was a child, school and life became too much for me. My parents would send me to my grandparents’ house in Beauchamp, where I’d go with my grandfather to his restaurant during the day. Now I live in Beauchamp, but life could still become too much, and with my grandfather dead and the restaurant sold, where would I go then?


I’m also afraid that the author and my friends, not to mention my grandmother, are going to throw an enormous bar mitzvah for me after I complete my conversion to Judaism, even though I informed them that spending all the money you have on a party attended by everyone you’ve ever met is not part of the spiritual process. Grandmother said I was wrong. I said that first I have to read the Torah in Hebrew, read the whole Talmud in any translation, and many, many other writings too. I’m not sure how long I can make those excuses hold.


What makes you happy?

Seeing my patients recover after I’ve treated them, especially if they have a loving home to return to. 


Being useful in the community as assistant justice of the peace and assistant animal control officer. 


Cooking for my friends, seeing them enjoy the meal, especially if they have special dietary needs, like Chantal Gaumont, our band leader, who is diabetic. She gets tired of finding that lettuce leaves (no dressing) are all she can eat at a dinner or restaurant.

I always keep something in the freezer for her, like sweet potato brownies, pumpkin waffle mix, or bread. In her treatment program, she counts carbohydrates, so breads can be a challenge. I’ve found alternative flours like coconut flour, but corn bread seemed impossible. What tastes like corn besides corn?


That turned out to be the key question. I’ve discovered two low-carbohydrate foods that taste like corn: corn flavoring and the baby corn used in Asian food.


If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?

I wish my grandfather would have lived long enough to see me here, in his house, serving his community. He died during my zoo vet residency, and I’ve never stopped missing him. 


Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?

Let’s face it: people in general are too much for me. When I first lived with many roommates in college, I took the apartment over the garage, while the rest had bedrooms in the main house. I don’t have a separate apartment in Gregg House, but its 4000 sq. ft. let me avoid people when I need to.


Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?

You know what? I think I’d rather be myself. I used to want to be JD, the blond, six-foot-three All-American hero. But I’ve known JD ten years and I’ve spent the same ten years getting to know myself, and now I’m happy in my own skin. Usually.


Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?

You can find more about M.R. Dimond and her books at her website. The blog is called Thoughts—you can click the Thoughts tab or the slider of the young Regency woman writing—but she hardly ever writes anything. She leaves that to her characters. I’ve recently written about keeping your cat safe during the holidays, Valentine’s Day (which is not my jam at all), and the Vietnamese Year of the Cat.


What's next for you?

I hope it’s not a bar mitzvah. My own plans are to continue my forensic training so that I can be more useful as an assistant justice of the peace, though the sheriff thinks I’m far too useful as it is. He says I wreck his budget every time I ask for an investigation, but I notice that the county hasn’t gone bankrupt yet, and getting to the truth has to be the most important thing.


Johnny’s Semi-Keto Cornbread (a work in progress)

(serves 12)


Note: This recipe still has real corn meal, but I keep trying to reduce the amount. I still haven’t found the perfect ratio of corn meal, corn flavor, and baby corn to imitate corn bread’s texture and taste. Chantal assures me that she’d rather have a whole piece of my ersatz corn bread than a teaspoon of any other kind. We’ve found it works well in cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving too.



6 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1Tablespoon onion powder or 1/4-cup diced onions (optional)

1 teaspoon Kosher salt 

Corn flavoring according to product instructions or to taste

1/4-cup sifted coconut flour

1/2-teaspoon baking powder

1/4-cup coarse-grained corn meal

1/3-cup chopped baby corn

3/4-cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)


For a sweeter cornbread, eliminate the onions and cheese and add 1/2-cup of your favorite sweetener and at least 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


Mix eggs, oil, onion powder (optional), and salt. If you’re making the sweet version, add the sweetener and eliminate the onion powder.


Blend coconut flour, baking powder, and corn meal. If you’re making the sweet version, add the cinnamon.


Grease an 8x8x2 pan and place it into the oven.


Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.


Fold in corn, diced onions (optional), and cheese (optional).


Pour into the hot baking dish. Heating it ahead of time makes a nice crust when you pour the batter into the pan.


Bake 18-20 minutes, until you can insert a knife and pull it out clean. Cool on a rack. 


The Sphynx Who Stole Christmas

A Black Orchid Enterprises Mystery, Book 2


Johnny Ly, Dianne Cortez, and JD Thompson are trying to celebrate their first year in business in a small Central Texas town. The weather outside is frightful, and indoors isn't looking too good either, not when a crazed hairless cat invades their Christmas party and leaves a trail of destruction in his wake.


The murder in the backyard doesn't help, but Johnny and Dianne are more worried about the cat. After the police reduce the suspect list from the entire town of Beauchamp, Texas, to just the Black Orchids' friends and family, Attorney JD Thompson springs into action to clear them all, preferably before Monday night's concert. Life's hard for a veterinarian, accountant, lawyer, and ABBA tribute band.


Buy Links



Monday, April 24, 2023


Today we welcome Michelle Corbier for a return visit. After more than twenty years in clinical medicine, Michelle now works as a medical consultant. Her writing interests cover many genres—mystery, paranormal, and thrillers. When not writing, you can find her outside gardening or bicycling. Learn more about Michelle and her books at her website. 

Creativity in the Simplest Things

In middle school, I published my first book review. Nothing life shattering, but it heralded my interesting in writing. I composed many stories during childhood—none remain—but the concept of publishing would come later. 


I didn’t have a stable childhood. Despite those unpleasant memories, I recall the beauty of libraries. They became peaceful sanctuaries during a chaotic life. A place where I escaped into stories like The Count of Monte Cristo and Anna Karenina. When I discovered the ability to craft my own narratives, the opportunities became endless. Through stories, I ruled kingdoms and traveled the universe.


In the Write Club Mystery series, Dr. Myaisha Douglas’ husband dies. In one moment, she became a single mother and a small business owner. She must redefine who she is and what she desires, acquire a new identity. Once her only child leaves for college, Myaisha discovers the freedom to explore her interests. Mysteries, fictional and real, become her passion. On this journey, she experiences romance and friendship—ignorant of their dark sides. 


However, Myaisha is also a baker. In time, she finds a new purpose for her pastries. They help her obtain useful information about murders from the homicide detectives. 


Creating stories provides an outlet for my passion. Dishing up delectable cakes, scones, and cookies is another aspect of my imagination. Recently, I found an orange cake recipe on the New York Times web page. After a long day working on the computer, measuring heavy cream and sifting flour clears my mind. As the cake rises in the oven, I select a tea. The cake cools and the tea brews. Stretched out on the couch, I munch on orange cake and sip floral tea. But the extent of my ingenuity doesn’t end there. From the orange seeds, I hope to grow a tree and nourish the appetites of future readers—and writers.


Explore your artistic side and find inspiration in simple, everyday items. Don’t throw anything away without considering its possibilities. Open to another perspective? Enter Myaisha’s world. Solve mysteries and experience the lives of the Greensboro Women of Color Writing Group. The second book in the Write Club Mystery series, Murder in Gemini, is available now. Happy reading. 


Murder In Gemini

A Write Club Mystery, Book 2


When she’s not busy practicing medicine, Dr. Myaisha Douglas writes mysteries. She’d like to devote more time to her personal relationships, but murder intervenes. The twin sister of a Greensboro Women of Color Writing Group member dies suddenly. Myaisha suspects murder. Her writing group investigates the homicide, hoping to publish a true crime story. 


But the investigation becomes deadly when Myaisha uncovers an important secret behind a necklace. While juggling a romantic affair, she pursues the case. With the police prepared to arrest her friend, Myaisha enlists the help of the Greensboro Women of Color Writing Group to solve the crime before a third murder occurs.


Buy Links



Friday, April 21, 2023


Grandmother's Green Sweater
DK Coutant was a Cross-Cultural Psychologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo studying people and their cultural differences. But after many happy years, she wanted a challenge and made the move out of academics to write mysteries and forecast geopolitical events. Evil Alice and the Borzoi is her first published work of fiction. Learn more about DK at her website

My protagonist, Cleo Cooper hasn’t discovered the joy of fiber crafts yet. She is more of an outdoorsy type. So today, I’m going to grab the spotlight and write about my love of fiber crafts.


My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a little girl. She was a dedicated knitter, and I still wear sweaters she made for me. But back then, I only knitted when I visited her, to bond with her. When she died while I was in graduate school, I put my knitting away for twenty years.  

But once my career was established and our kids left for college, I picked knitting up again. I’d forgotten most of what my grandmother had taught me, but thanks to Google, I managed long rectangles of beautiful wool yarn, otherwise known as scarves. I lived in Hawaii at the time, so unfortunately, we didn’t have much use for wool scarves. After a couple for me and my husband, I sent them off to our kids. Only one of our  daughters lived in cold weather, and our family soon hit scarf-fatigue. But I found I was semi-addicted to the scarf-knitting. I would get restless watching TV and needed something to do with my hands while I relaxed in the evening. 

Luckily a couple of the girls got married. Yay! Husbands I could foist a scarf upon!


Then babies, more Yays! I could knit my rectangles and crochet them together along the sides and… Voila! Baby blankets. That was fun and kept me busy for months instead of weeks.


The first 3 grandchildren were boys, and wow, I quickly learned those adorable little urchins could be destructive!

As much as I loved my knitting, it seemed wasteful to use all that beautiful yarn for projects that were no longer useful to me or the people I loved. Fortunately, one day I visited a friend with a lovely needlepoint cushion. I asked her about it, and she said her grandmother had made it. That brought back memories of my grandmother. I didn’t think she would mind if I moved from knitting to a different fiber craft. A little more Google-sleuthing and I found wonderful kits with all the yarn and color-coded backing I’d need to complete a project. They were not cheap, but when I compared them to what I used to spend on my luxurious yarn, it wasn’t THAT much more expensive. 

Well, yes, actually it was.


For a week I dithered over whether to spend the money on a needlepoint project. Fortunately (for my crafting project), that same week, I had a mishap on a ski slope and (unfortunately for my ankle), broke a bone. It wasn’t a bad break, but I was told to stay off it for a few months. That night I bought two needlepoint projects. It was a great investment. With all that time on my hands and frustrated with not being able to walk, I slowly but surely put together a lovely needlepoint that could be turned into a pillow. 


Work in Progress
To my delight, needlepoint takes me MUCH longer than knitting, so the floral needle point kept me busy while my broken ankle healed and for almost a year after that. I found a lovely person who would turn it into a pillow for me (Contact me at my website if you want her name) So when I calculated the extra expense for needle point supplies and pillow- assembly- assistance, and divided it by the long, long, loooong time it keeps be busy, and contentedly occupied, it is a bargain.


So I now have a completed pillow to commemorate my broken ankle, and I am still working on the pillow I started at the beginning of Covid (so I guess on the third year now?)

These pillows may make an appearance in a future Cleo Cooper mystery, so keep your eyes out for it!


Evil Alice and the Borzoi

A Cleo Cooper Mystery, Book 1


Evil Alice and the Borzoi is a not-too-dark, but not-too-light mystery set in Hawaii. Cleo Cooper, a cross-cultural psychology professor, is living the dream on the Big Island of Hawaii. With ocean-dipping weekends, she enjoys her dog, her job, and her boyfriend Ben - until the day she’s on a research vessel and a dead body is caught in the dragline. The police determine it is murder and set their sights on a gentle former student, Kai. It doesn’t take much urging from Kai’s auntie for Cleo to investigate.  But Ben grows distant, and Cleo’s dog grows ill. A couple of accidental deaths later and someone makes an attempt on her life. What happened to Cleo’s life in paradise? Can she discover the true killer? Can she stop the killer before the killer stops her?

Buy Links



Wednesday, April 19, 2023


Sarah Bewley writes, climbs rock walls, and takes boxing lessons. She says she was born young, grew old very quickly before entering her second childhood, which she found far more satisfying than her first. She’s worked as a licensed private investigator and now work in utilities security, which is physical protection for critical infrastructure. Learn more about her and her books at her website

My Love Affair with Police Procedurals

I have always loved police procedurals—books, movies, television, it didn’t matter. If it was a police procedural, I wanted to read it or see it. Some of this may have been influenced by things such as seeing the movie Bullittwhen I was fifteen. Who wouldn’t love Steve McQueen chasing down the hills of San Francisco? Television had ColumboThe Mod Squad, and Ironside.


Best of all mystery novels – Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series in the 1960s, Tony Hillerman’s Navajo tribal police in the 1970s, Martin Cruz Smith and his Arkady Renko in the 1980s, and Michael Connelly’s Bosch in the 1990s. Police procedurals have gotten into urban fantasy novels in the 2000s with books such as Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series.


It’s been pretty much a lifetime love affair between me and this genre, so it probably isn’t a big surprise that when I decided to write a mystery novel, that’s where I went.


Burning Eden takes place in a rural North Florida county called Eden. You won’t find it on the map. It’s an amalgamation of several counties in that region. However, it’s based on factual information on how these rural departments are set up, and the fact that North Florida is an entirely different place from the Florida most people picture. It has no tourist attractions, it’s full of rivers and natural springs, it’s forested, and it’s barely populated. The primary jobs are in agriculture, cattle, and forestry. Poverty is rampant.


Sheriff Jim Sheppard is a fourth-generation sheriff of Eden County. In 1998 wildfires burned across North and Central Florida causing small towns to be evacuated and destroying forests and farms as it burned from the east to the west coast. This is the year of Burning Eden, and as if the fires weren’t enough for Jim to deal with, a local Pentecostal preacher has been taken from his home in the middle of the night. A few days later a body is found burned beyond recognition in a wildfire next to the local dairy. This body is too large to be the missing minister, and its neck has been broken.


This starts Jim on the trail of what appears to be serial murders, and somehow they are all connected to the disappearance of the preacher. Serial killers are not common in rural areas, where the population is .05 individuals per square mile. It’s hard to be anonymous in a place where everyone knows everyone, literally.


Jim is assisted by a department that reflects the population of Eden County. From Deputy Bobby Dale who is great at patrolling Highway 27, to Deputy Manny Soto, a former Army Sniper, to Sergeant Dee Jackson, who was Military Police in the Marines and is getting her Masters in Criminal Justice and has her sights set on someday becoming Florida’s first black female Sheriff.


Dr. Ryan Edwards is new to Eden County. He’s been brought in as the partner of Doc Markham, the only physician in the county. He rents the apartment above Jim’s garage and quickly becomes a friend and confidant of Jim and his son Michael. His view of Eden is very much like that of anyone who has never been to this region, and he finds himself falling in love with the place and the people who have offered him the opportunity to continue practicing medicine. 


Ryan Edwards is also a bit of my view point, as I moved to this area in my teens and fell head over heels in love with the beauty of the area. 


My three big loves in life – mysteries, police procedurals, and North Florida have combined into my first novel, Burning Eden.


Burning Eden

An Eden County Mystery, Book 1


It’s 1998. Wildfires are sweeping through North Florida, burning even the peat in the drought-stricken swamps. Sheriff Jim Sheppard has his deputies covering the county, watching for fires and trying to limit the threats to residents. When a Pentecostal preacher disappears during the night from his home, Jim takes the case himself to prevent stretching his department any further.


Dr. Ryan Edwards, formerly a well-respected physician in the George Washington University Hospital’s emergency room, has been hired by the only doctor in Eden County. Suffering from aphasia from an attack in a parking garage in Washington, D.C., he’s no longer able to be an ER physician, but he is able to provide medical care in a rural practice, where his skills are valuable and his halting speech is not an issue.


Jim and Ryan continue to work as the fires burn closer, but dangers neither expected threaten them both.


Buy Link

Monday, April 17, 2023


Today we’re happy to have George Cramer once again spending time with us. Learn more about George and his books at his website and blog.

Lois posed an excellent question to me recently: How do you manage to write in two different genres that appeal to such different readerships?


Wow! The answer is far from simple.


Going back about ten years, I was about a third of the way through what I hoped would be my debut novel. I was struggling because I was writing about a cop, who was supposed to be me—glorified. It wasn't working.


At the same time, I was in an elementary class for beginning writers. One day the instructor passed out photographs in a completely random fashion. Mine was a photograph of two girls looking up at the Mona Lisa. The assignment was to take fifteen minutes and describe the setting. I failed to do as instructed.


You should know I am a pantser, through and through. I had a flash of inspiration about a story. In fifteen minutes, I had an historical novel outlined/plotted on a 3x5 card. Robbers was shelved.


I began writing and realized I was not talented enough to write the story as I envisioned it. I started taking English classes at the local Las Positas Community College and became a straight A student.


When I was a young student living in a beach house with four other young men trying to avoid the draft as long as possible, I was a robust D English student. In our last year together, I never once saw any of us do homework.


The English classes helped, but not enough. I needed fiction writing. I discovered and enrolled in the low-res Master of Fine Arts – Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. My program centered around The Mona Lisa Sisters. I studied with outstanding mentors and a fantastic cohort of fellow students.


I wrote an assignment where my characters met over dinner during a shipboard trip from France to New York. My mentor pointed out that people converse over dinner: Where's the typical dialogue? I rewrote the entire piece and resubmitted it. I may have overdone it. "WTF." He shouted. Then he said something about not everyone at the table talks after every bite. I had overdone it.


Two years later, with my thesis and something like forty-eight great books read, and my MFA under my belt, I returned to Las Positas College for more instruction.


Then I finished The Mona Lisa Sisters, published by Russian Hill Press.

Returning to what was to become Robbers and Cops was easier than I thought. While still an apprentice in the writing world, I wrote the first of twenty or so rewrites. Allowing my bad guys to tell me their life stories, I found that most of what I had learned writing historical women's literature applied to the police procedural with the exception of time, place, subject matter, and readership.


While I doubt I'll ever write something like The Mona Lisa Sisters again, I gained so much in the process I will always have fond memories of the experience.


Robbers and Cops was released last November.


Currently, I am in the midst of a series, The Hector Miguel Navarro Novels. The first book, New Liberty, will be released on May 9, 2023, and is available for pre-order. I will release Book II, New Liberty – Unfinished Business, in the fall.


New Liberty

A Hector Miguel Navarro Novel, Book 1

Outside Phoenix, two gangs rule...

...and one police officer is caught in the middle.

How will he stop them?


Hector's parents, wealthy east coast college professors, raised him to work towards making the world a better place. In New Liberty, Arizona, gangs have ravaged the city. As a young police officer who lost his mentor, he struggles with the question.


Why did his partner kill himself?


Across town, a sickly-looking, small man approaching fifty is about to make a move. DeShawn "The Knife" Galloway has a reputation as a contract assassin who prefers to kill with the Japanese Tanto.


It's time to take control.


The war will start on his terms.


In a world of human trafficking, drugs, and violence, two people's lives are about to be intertwined in a way where only one can survive.


Buy Links (preorder now, available May 9th)



Friday, April 14, 2023


The award-winning author of six Cozy Pet Mysteries and counting, C.B. Wilson’s love of writing was spurred by an early childhood encounter with a Nancy Drew book where she precociously wrote what she felt was a better ending. After studying at the Gemology Institute of America, she developed a passion for researching lost, stolen, and missing diamonds–the big kind. Her fascination with dogs and their passionate owners inspired Barkview, California, the dog friendliest city in America. She admits to chocoholic tendencies and laughing out loud at dog comics. Learn more about her and her books at her website.

A Dog Bed for All

Me, Cat Wright, the lone cat person in a town populated with over-the-top dog lovers, in charge of acquiring dog beds for Barkview’s dog shelter had cat-astrophy written all over it. When the Quilter’s Club offered to help, I should’ve felt relieved. Too bad my go-to hemming technique relied on double-sided tape. Further complicating matters, our local centenarian, Paula “Pawprints” Powell chaired the group.


Don’t get me wrong. I like Paula, but the woman and her Corgi are definitely contrarians. Last month during a live interview when her latest book released, Paula hinted that she intended to share a “big secret”. Of course, I bit. Everybody knows that uncovering secrets is what drives me–the bigger the secret, the better. Unfortunately, after weeks of sniffing around for answers, I’d dug up nothing.


Frustration never makes for a comfortable afternoon, but I take my commitments seriously and arrived at Paula’s hillside, mid-century-modern home to find five vehicles already parked out front.


I took a calming breath as approached the porch. No need to ring the doorbell. A high-pitched bark announced my arrival.


“We’re in the dining room.” Paula’s voice came from somewhere down the hallway. 


I entered the well-lived-in home overflowing with fragrant yellow roses and tripped. Not a catch-yourself-in-the-doorway kind of fall, either. Like a Torrey Pine, I lurched forward, landing with an unceremonious thud on the wood floor, eyelevel with the Corgi. 


With a huff, the dog trotted off, his fluffy butt swinging with all kinds of attitude. Snubbed by an ankle biter?


I shook off that thought as Jennifer Moore, Barkview’s unflappable librarian, assisted me to my feet. One look at her tumbling messy bun and askew Cavalier apron, and concern set in. What was going on here? 


 “We’re way behind completing two hundred dog beds,” Jennifer announced.


“The shelter needs fifty.” I should know. I’d asked.


“Yours is one of many requests. We also supply area rescues and foster homes. The need seems to grow every day,” Jennifer explained.


“How many beds can you make?” This project was way bigger than I’d imagined.


“Depends on the amount of scraps we can gather. We’ve already tapped every local fabric store and sewing group we can find. We’ll need more to keep up.” 


More of what I could only guess. 


“Come see what we do. I’m hoping you can help.” 


“Me?” My craftiness really needed to be limited to financial assistance.


I followed Jennifer into the shabby-chic cottage-style dining room. Two sewing machines hummed a busy-bee tune at each end of the banquet-sized table. In between, mounds of colorful fabric and giant black garbage bags bulging with who knew what waited for attention.


Paula, dressed in a gray smock and wearing a slouchy outback hat, directed the beehive of activity with military precision. “Start stuffing. We’re behind, girl.” She all but tossed me one of those garbage bags, knocking me backward. 


“Geez.” The bag weighed like twenty pounds. 


Jennifer smiled. “It’s filled with the little pieces of fabric leftover when people or companies sew products. Come on, I’ll show you what to do.” 


Jennifer handed me a leopard printed smock that matched my signature neck scarf and led me to the table center where two women already crammed handfuls of those fabric pieces into various sized colorful pillowcases.


“Two sewists stitch the three sides of the bed. Two stuff, then the last two sew the bed closed,” Jennifer explained. “The beds are then bagged by size for delivery.”


“Enough jabbering, ladies. You’re bottlenecking the assembly line.” Paula’s voice worked like a whip. We went to work.


Hours later, my lower back barking and arms aching, I knew exactly how to help. As a reporter, I had a platform to get the word out. More sewists and fabric meant more comfortable dogs.


I looked at the neatly stacked beds and grinned. Two hundred dogs would have a warm place to sleep tonight thanks to the dedication of six special ladies. Who cared if they gossiped a little to pass the time? Every small town needed a story. 

A Note from C.B.: Supporting rehoming animals has always been my thing. I started writing the Barkview Mysteries as a way to help connect the right animal with a loving family. When I met a group of quilters providing new dog beds to local shelters, it was a "what-can-I-do-to-help" moment. If you are interested in helping (sewing not required), please contact me directly at cbwilson@cbwilsonauthor.com. Together we can make a difference.   


Corgied to Death

A Barkview Mystery, Book 5


The hunt for the elusive Douglas Diamond continues when Paula’s murder leads Cat to a tell-all-diary accusing a prominent political family of a cover up that strikes at the foundation of Barkview’s elite. Was the tale of the Douglas Diamond an elaborate hoax to hide an eighty-year-old conspiracy?


Buy Link 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


E. Chris Ambrose writes knowledge inspired adventure fiction including the Bone Guard archaeological thrillers, and interactive superhero novel, Skystrike: Wings of Justice for Choice of Games. In the process of researching her books, Chris learned how to hunt with a falcon, clear a building of possible assailants, and pull traction on a broken limb. Chris's adventures have included rock climbing in Colorado, diving on the Great Barrier Reef, horseback riding in Mongolia, searching for tigers in India, and going behind the scenes at the Papal Palace in Avignon. Who know what could happen next? Learn more about Chris and her books at her website.

Hidden Defenses

While I'm researching for a novel, looking into the historical times and places that will provide the backbone for the modern-day adventure, I keep an eye out for cool coincidences as well as exciting locations that would make great settings for scenes in the novel. For The Fascist Frame, the latest book in my Bone Guard Archaeological Adventure Series, I found both—in the Volkspark Friedrichschain, Berlin, Germany.


This lovely public park, complete with duck pond, features two hills, the larger of which is named Grosserbunkerberg. (photo from Wikimedia, by Lukas Beck, used under Creative Commons) Those readers who know a bit of German, or how the German language constructs names, will already be suspicious. "Grosserbunkerberg" roughly translates to "big bunker mountain," because, in spite of its pleasant, winding trails and grassy slopes, this isn't a natural hill at all, but the remains of a World War II fortification and shelter known as a Flak Tower.


Around 1940, the Third Reich wanted to defend both the capital city, and its residents from allied attack. A circuit of giant, concrete towers were constructed in key locations. Each location featured a smaller, round command tower where spotters and radar arrays would watch for aircraft and relay orders, and a larger rectangular tower, with walls up to 11 feet thick, supporting anti-aircraft weapons on top, with facilities to shelter ten thousand civilians, including a hospital and living quarters. 


There is some excellent archival footage of a flyover from just after the war. The Flak Tower comes onscreen around 3:07, and you get a sense for how enormous these facilities really were, especially after seeing the palaces, churches and apartments around it.


 The Flak towers of Friedrichschain sheltered a completely different sort of refugees: the contents of the nearby Kaiser Friedrich Museum, over 300 sculptures and 400 paintings, including works by Caravaggio and Botticelli. When fire broke out in the Flak Tower in May, 1945, these art treasures were destroyed.


Or were they? Looting likely accounts for some of the losses, and the only items from the museum ever recovered consist of sculptural elements turned up in construction trenches dug nearby in the 2000s.


Toward the end, the towers were staffed not by members of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, but by the boys of the Hitler Youth. After the war, most of the Flak Towers were destroyed by the allies, often requiring multiple bombing runs and eventual demolition from the inside. The British grew notoriously frustrated with their attempts to destroy the tower at the Berlin Zoo and finally brought it down with dynamite. Another tower in Austria remains and has been turned into a climbing wall.


The rectangular tower at Friedrichschain, which housed the museum's collection, was partially destroyed, filled and became the hill at the heart of the Volkspark; however, some of the remains can still be seen above ground. (image from Wikimedia, from the Bundesarchiv) 


When I learned about the concealment of the art works at the Flak Tower, I was fascinated by this collision of art history with the reality of war. I knew that location would somehow feature in my book.


The Fascist Frame

 A Bone Guard Archaeological Thriller, Book 5


A stolen library, 

an old adversary, 

a league of warriors lying in wait…


When they receive a package from the Warden—the old-school Nazi whose hirelings nearly killed Grant in Arizona—Bone Guard founder Grant Casey is surprised it's not a bomb but a job offer. The Warden holds the clue to a stash of Italian artworks stolen by the Nazis, which includes a thousand-year-old library stolen from the Jews of Rome. Trouble is, the stash has been tapped to raise money for the Gladio, a secret anti-Communist army established after WWII.


D.A. talks the Bone Guard into taking the job, but how do you know whom to trust when the Nazis write your paycheck? The Gladio leader wants his treasure, the Bone Guard wants to save the library—and the Warden's not saying what she's really after. A young historian helps them sort out the clues, from a ruined town to a buried Flak Tower, but they're completely unprepared for what they find…


When betrayal comes, even Grant can't brace for impact. The Bone Guard returns in their most dangerous adventure yet!


Buy Links