Masked to Death has left port

masked-to-death-cover-frontMasked to Death, the fifth book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series, is now out. I went on my first cruise at the end of 2010 and feel in love with this type of vacation. When part of the plot came to me, I started thinking about where to set the book and recalled that in book one, Cropped to Death, Ted mentioned that his mom worked on a cruise ship. My muse said, “Perfect.”, and the story developed from there.

Here’s a short description about Masked to Death:

A Caribbean cruise is the perfect setting for a Roget wedding, and Faith meeting Ted’s family. She also hopes the vacation gets their stalled romance moving, but it doesn’t take long for that dream to capsize. Ted’s daughter hates her. The ex-wife is adored. Odessa Roget is surly. And the banned father of a groom, John Roget, requests Faith’s assistance in bringing down a jewel theft ring masterminded by his ex-wife.

Having had a man she loved accuse her of a crime, Faith won’t let Odessa travel down the same path and agrees to help. Faith sets her course on uncovering the true criminals—which might be a groom’s best friend. The romantic week turns disastrous as a wedding is interrupted, suspicious deaths point to murders, and Ted’s daughter schemes to reunite her parents. Instead of diamonds being a girl’s best friend, Faith finds they’re cruising her toward Davy Jones’ Locker.

Over the next few weeks, you can find me (or Masked) visiting a few places in cyber world where I’ll be answering some questions, talking about creating a travel journal and a fictional cruise, and where some readers will let you  know a little bit more about Masked to Death. I hope you can stop by.

January 25 – Dru’s Book Musings – Guest Post, Vacation Time With Faith Hunter

January 27 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, INTERVIEW

January 28 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST, Creating a Cruise 

January 29 – Brooke Blogs – INTERVIEW

January 30 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

February 1 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

February 2 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, GUEST POST, Travel Journal

February 3 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

February 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, Scrapbooking and Murder

February 5 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy Too! – Excerpt (shopping on a cruise) from Masked to Death

February 6 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

February 7 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

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Life and Times of 1950s Las Vegas, NV by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

While researching our latest book, Desert Ice, we spent a significant amount of time at the UNLV Library’s Oral History Center. Histories were recorded and transcribed from people who lived and worked there during several eras and cataloged for easy access.

Participants that were interviewed talked about their memories of growing up in Vegas. My husband and I were particularly interested in the normal life of people living there:  school, social events, work, travel, etc.

Several women talked about their homes, backyard parties, school and fashion. Many mentioned their clothes in the 50’s. Some were teenagers in the 1950s talked about their poodle skirts, white blouses with Peter Pan collars and Bunny Shoes. Growing up in the 50’s but in New York, I hadn’t heard of Bunny Shoes, so I investigated and sure enough, it was a popular style of shoe in Vegas and in some parts of the west. They insisted the shoes were comfortable and were sad to see them go out of fashion.

pajama-bagaMany also talked about their bedrooms, how they shared their room with sisters, cousins, even aunts visiting and staying for a while. Pajama pillows were a big thing then, they came in many shapes: clowns, bears, dogs, just about any design. Entertaining their girlfriends in their bedroom was the social thing to do.

Television was late getting to the area, so much time was spent listening to the radio or phonograph records. Local talent and visiting performers were consistently on the radio as well as school groups and community organizations. Once TV began, many mentioned the Howdy Dowdy Show, Lassie, The Mickey Mouse Club, and Gunsmoke.

I was surprised how similar my life was to these ladies who also grew up in the 50s separated by thousands of miles. I grew up in a urban Long Island, New York.

The hours we spent at the Oral History Center was rewarding in getting the feel for the life and time of 1955 Vegas.

Excerpt from Desert Ice by Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

In September 2016, I attended Bouchercon that was held in New Orleans. It was an amazing conference and city, I hope to go back one day as there were many places I didn’t get a chance to see. I was also able to get to know so many wonderful authors. One afternoon in one of the bar/lobby areas,I met Janet and we had a wonderful conversation about conferences, writing, and traveling. Today, I’m featuring an excerpt from her newest book and tomorrow come back by to read a little about 1950s Las Vegas.

desert-ice-front-cover-_webDESERT ICE

Excerpt

This was the first Veteran’s Day Parade I’d attended since I got back from Korea. Seems like a lifetime ago. Claire wanted to go every year, even offered to make it a family affair… I never took her up on it.

Standing at attention, I saluted as the color guard passed. Next came the tanks and trucks and I was transported back to my time in the Corps. A pretty young girl dressed in red, white, and blue approached me with a basket full of tin American flag lapel pins. She held one out to me. The paper tag attached to it read Veteran’s Day, November 1955, but my hands wouldn’t come out of my pockets.

“Here sir, take one, they’re free.”

I reluctantly pulled out my hand. She placed one in my palm, and smiled and turned away. The cadence of the drums sounded like artillery as a formation of jet fighters passed overhead. I was back in Korea on Jeju Island, snow, guns, bombs… I shut my eyes and clenched my fists.

A woman wearing a big hat bumped into me. “Oh, excuse me sir.”

Slowly I opened my hand. The sharp edges of the flag pin were stained with my blood but I didn’t feel a thing.

“You should get something for that hand,” she said.

I couldn’t move.

“Come.” She led me to a hot dog stand and handed me a couple of paper napkins.

I leaned against a chain link fence, wrapped the tin flag in a napkin and dropped it in my pocket. I looked down at my blood smeared hand, the one that took shrapnel at Jeju. My head spun. I leaned forward until my head rested on the fence. “Keep breathing,” I told myself.

“So you’re a vet,” the lady with the hat said. “Korea?”

I nodded.

She lit a cigarette. “Here.”

I shook my head. “No thanks.”

“Suit yourself.” She hung the cigarette in her mouth and took my hand. After she wiped the blood, she wrapped another napkin around my palm.

“Just a minute.” She disappeared into the crowd. I stepped back and rested against the chain-link, staring at the tops of the trees. She returned and handed me a cup of coffee. I don’t know why, but my hand shook when I reached for the cup.

“It was pretty tough over there.” Her large hat covered most of her face.

I nodded, “How would you know?”

“47th M.A.S.H., Ouijonbu.” She joined me against the chain link fence and sipped her coffee. There wasn’t much more to say. After a few moments I looked at her. “Jeju Island, 1948. We got caught up in the rebellion.”

She held out her gloved hand. “I’m Nancy.” Still hidden under her hat she said,, “Pleasure to see you again, Mr. Drake.”

I studied her. “Have we met before?”

“We have a mutual association with an Officer Graves of the LAPD.”

I spit out the coffee and threw the cup in the trash. “Did that ass send you to…?”

Nancy shook her head. “No, he didn’t.” She took out a jeweled compact, held it at an angle and looked behind her with the mirror. “I didn’t say I knew him. I said you and I had a mutual association.”

Still checking behind her, she whispered, “Meet me at Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights.”

Bio for Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

Published authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the SKYLAR DRAKE MURDER MYSTERY Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955.  Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus two short stories. Their world travels have sparked ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

Janet was born in Queens, New York and raised in Long Island, until she was 12 years old. Her family escaped the freezing winters and hurricanes for the warmth and casual lifestyle of So. California. She has traveled to the far reach of the planet ending with new found friends and a basket of hotel shampoo and conditioner samples.

Will is from Omaha, Nebraska, living in Turkey for 10 years before returning to the states with his family ending up in So. California on their way to Samoa. Go figure.

Janet Elizabeth Lynn http://www.janetlynnauthor.com/

Will Zeilinger http://www.willzeilingerauthor.com/

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SRP Heroine Interview: Kristan “Stan” Connor from Custom Baked Murder

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Thank you for coming by the Self-Rescue Princess today to visit with Stan.

custom-baked-murder-1Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Kristan “Stan” Connor gladly turned tail on her high-flying job and moved to a quaint New England town to sell organic pet treats. But with her nose for solving murders, there’s no such thing as a quiet life…

Summer is winding down in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, but Stan’s love life and career are both heating up nicely. In between planning her new pet patisserie and café, Stan is settling into living-in-bliss with sexy pub owner Jake McGee. Love’s on the menu for Stan’s mom, Patricia, too, who’s engaged to Frog Ledge’s mayor, Tony Falco.

Mayor Falco’s dogged ambition isn’t popular among locals, but it’s his executive coach, Eleanor Chang, who’s inspired a dangerous grudge. When Eleanor is found dead, there’s a whole pack of suspects to choose from. Stan has first-hand experience of Eleanor’s unsavory business tactics. But finding out who forced her to take a fatal plunge off the corporate ladder means unearthing some shady secrets…and a killer who’s too close for comfort.

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

I sort of had no choice. I mean, this was my former coworker. My sister found her body and she couldn’t deal with it. My boyfriend’s sister is investigating the crime. My mother and her shady future husband are under suspicion because it’s their house. I mean, like it or not, I’m all in!

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

No way! I came to Frog Ledge to get away from drama, not get deeper into it. But things happen and you have to do what you have to do, I guess. And when people I love could be in trouble, I don’t care what the risks are – I’m going to do what I can to help them.

Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

I think the least-pleased prize is a toss-up between my boyfriend, Jake McGee, and his sister, Jessie Pasquale, the Frog Ledge resident state trooper. Jake because he doesn’t like to think of me putting myself in danger, and Jessie because she hates when I stick my nose into her work. Although she has to admit I’ve helped her out on more than one occasion now….

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Believe in yourself. Listen to your intuition and always do what YOU think is right. You’ll never go wrong that way.

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat? 

Well, I never plan on more sleuthing, but it just happens… The next story I get to tell you about involves a Christmas tree lighting, some hot cider, a dead Santa and a missing family member! Stay tuned for Purring Around the Christmas Tree, out next holiday season!

If you’d like to read more of Stan’s story, you can find the book at

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

 

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SRP Heroine Interview: Sophia Marcil from Temple of Indra’s Lies

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Happy New Year! I’m starting the year off with introducing you to two fabulous heroines–one today and one tomorrow. Today, let’s get to know Sophia Marcil.

liesPlease tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Sure, I’m just you’re typical boring old book loving librarian. Okay, well former-librarian turned time traveler…perhaps not so boring at all. Boring would make for a nice change. I am looking forward to a shiny new beginning. My fiancé proposed recently, unfortunately, someone tried to kill us before the rehearsal dinner so we didn’t quite make it legal, but we plan to. My nemesis is six feet under so that’s good news. Now we’re off to India to return the cursed sapphire to the temple where it belongs, that way I’ll be free to settle into the next chapter of my life—a new bookshop and wedded bliss in Dublin, Ireland with Cullen O’Kelley. There is one small problem, you see the mysterious temple seems to have sent me into the past once again, more specifically, into the body of the soon to be murdered bride of Dunlace Castle.

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

Well, it wasn’t so much a decision I made as the curse. It’s always sending me on these random deadly trips through time when I least expect it. Perhaps I should explain. You see, my great grandmother passed her sapphire jewels down to me and along with them came this annoying ability to slip through time and into my problematic past lives. The jewels also came complete with a stalker hell-bent on murdering me and everyone I love. So, after three lives now, I’m just trying to survive as a modern day woman. You can imagine how that’s going.

 Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Definitely not. I’m a former librarian for goodness sake. I hand out fines for unruly behavior. However, you can only be attacked so many times before you learn to fend for yourself.

 What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

I learned that you can’t always judge a book by a cover. My nemesis turned out to be someone very close to me. I didn’t see that coming at all. I hope to never be blind-sided again, unfortunately there’s a fourth book so I doubt I will get my wish.

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

Heck no. I plan to open up a bookshop in Dublin, and focus on my family. I am tired of fighting bad guys. Of course there was this thing that happened where this psychic predicted I would have a daughter in the future and she would become a dark and powerful witch—so fingers crossed that doesn’t happen.

If you’d like to get to know Sophia better, you can get her story at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

 

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SRP Reviews: Holiday Edition (Part II): The Reading Group: December, All Was Calm, and Santa’s Sleigh Is On Its Way to West Virginia

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas and books that I can during this time frame.

I had some unexpected holiday plans pop up at the end of last (couldn’t turn down seeing Moana with my two favorite little people) so I didn’t get around to posting more holiday reviews. And then yesterday, I conducted the great holiday gift hunt of 2016 which resulted in my husband finding the missing gifts in the living room where I had been wrapping. The only place I hadn’t torn apart searching for the missing movie gifts. (Next time, it’ll be the first place I look though I’m hoping there isn’t one.) On to the reviews for Part II of my holiday reading.

reading-group-decemberThe Reading Group: December by Della Parker: This book is set during the Christmas holiday and features Grace, a member of the reading group. The holiday season isn’t very happy for Grace as her family is struggling through a lot of hardships, but Grace doesn’t want to damper anyone else spirits so bears the burden alone. This story is about what happens when the facade Grace has constructed cracks. I don’t want to give the plot away, but there is a light in the dark for Grace and her family, and she sees the holiday spirit come alive.

all-was-calmThe next book in this edition is All Was Calm by Julie Carobini. This is a cozy mystery set during Christmas time. Tasha’s friend is on the suspect list when the owner of the camp she works for dies and it doesn’t seem the police are looking at anyone else so Tasha is on the case for the truth. I loved reading about the camp and the small town where Tasha now lives. Reading the descriptions of the normally, quiet town made me wish I had a trip planned in a mountain cabin resort (even though I’m not big on cold or snow). There were also many sweet moments between Tasha and her boyfriend which helped give the book a holiday feel.

santas-sleigh-on-its-wayMy last book for this post is Santa’s Sleigh Is On It’s Way to West Virginia by Eric James. Every year, I try to read a new to me children’s or middle grade book. I saw this one at Sam’s Club, and since it had West Virginia in the title, I had to get it. I absolutely love this book. It has the perfect balance of rhyme in the narration and the illustrations are delightful. I love how the story incorporates so many of the cities in West Virginia. (Note: The book is available for every state.) Currently, this is my favorite holiday read of the season.

 

 

 

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SRP Review: Holiday Edition (Part 1): An Island Christmas, A Christmas Bonus, All I Want For Christmas

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas and books that I can during this time frame.

It’s holiday reading time! This year I’m a little behind schedule (two illnesses, multitude of Christmas gift crafting, writing book 6 in the Scrap This series, and preparing for the tax season is to blame) and I hope to get some more reading done now that two huge items on my to-do list are complete (mermaid tail blanket and tax courses). But I did manage to work in some reading time to save my sanity and give my overworked brain a rest.

an-island-christmasMy first book of the season was An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer. This book took place during Christmas time on Nantucket, and it also has a Christmas wedding. The Gordon family comes together over the holidays for a wedding and there is some meddling and doubts that might put a damper on the big day. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away so all I will say is that this was what I’d consider a perfect Christmas story–family angst (but not too heavy), wonderful descriptions of the holiday appearance of the town, family get together, and most of all a sweet holiday spirit where there are lessons learned and a great understanding and appreciation at the end. It was the perfect book to start off my holiday reading.

achristmasbonuscoverThe next book I read was The Christmas Bonus by Patty Froese. Millie agrees to help her boss, Andrew, with a work project over the Christmas holiday and finds herself swayed into staying with his family. There is plenty of family angst in the story, and one of the issues is very heavy but is handled in a way where it doesn’t take away the hope and spirit of the story. At first, everything seems simple in the characters lives but like real people, the reader starts to learn of the struggles each one faces. I loved seeing how over the holidays, a time usually spent with family, Millie and Andrew not only come to realize how well they do know each other, but also learn some important (if at times not flattering) things about themselves and realize their roles in some of the issues they are facing.

all-i-want-for-christmasThe last book for this edition is All I Want for Christmas by Nora Roberts. This was a cute, sappy, heart-warming Christmas story…think Hallmark Christmas movie…which means it was written just the way I love holiday stories. The story takes places over a few months time but the Christmas hope is spread throughout the book as it’s centered on the twins big gift for Christmas which they are keeping a secret from their dad. The one thing twins Zeke and Zach want for Christmas is for their single dad to fall in love so they can have a mom. I loved the antics of the twins and how the issue keeping the couple apart felt real but wasn’t too traumatic as to dampen the sweet spirit of the story. I found myself smiling while I was reading this book.

I hope to have another edition up by the end of the week. Now that I’m all done with my courses and test taking for the upcoming tax season, I have more reading time. I can’t wait until it’s time to turn on the Christmas lights, sit in the recliner, and let myself enter into the world of another book.