Posted in Books, Craft, Excerpt, Scrapbooking

A Scrapping Moment from Masked to Death

masked-to-death-cover-frontSince May is National Scrapbooking Month, I’m sharing a small scrapbooking moment from Masked to Death.

Excerpt:

Ronnie’s confession shook me. I felt off-kilter. A scrapbooking class was being held on deck six, so I headed there, needing to clear my mind while I figured out what to do. Scrapbooking calmed me and centered my spirit. I knew this trip would rev up some anxiety, so I bought a travel planner. It was more portable than a scrapbook, yet the same techniques were used for decorating it. Instead of pictures, words were the main focal point. I had brought colored pencils and an array of travel stickers for decorating the pages.

I spotted a crew member pushing a cart loaded down with cruise-themed scrapbooking supplies and followed. Other women and a few men joined our parade to the lounge area in the back of the ship.

“Find a spot while I set up.” The young woman began sorting through the packages of products and stacking them by theme onto a table.

I spotted Garrison sitting at a table in the back, flipping through a book. When I sat down, he closed the leather book about the size of an 8×8 album. The cover was embossed. I tried reading the script font, but he covered the writing with his forearm.

“Here to scrapbook or just looking for some peace and quiet to read?” I asked.

“I’ve wanted to learn some new techniques and now was the perfect time.”

“You and Bob didn’t have anything special planned for this morning?”

“Odessa stopped by this morning to tell Bob the captain wanted to meet with him.”

“About what?”

“I’d rather not know, so I kissed Bob goodbye and told him I’d be here. I’m sure it has something to do with John. I wonder where Ronnie is. She had said she’d meet me here.”

“When did you talk to her?” I doodled in my travel journal.

“At breakfast. Why?”

“Curious,” I said. “No other reason. She might have lost track of time or something unexpected came up.” The captain had issued a gag order. Ronnie said to stay quiet. And here I was blabbing—or almost blabbing, which was just as bad. “This probably isn’t the wedding you dreamed of.”

“The event meant more to Odessa than us, so we caved on pretty much everything. Our only sticking point was no alcohol at the event out of respect and love for Ted, and yet she had the champagne flowing freely, and now we also have John Roget to contend with. I’m not looking forward to him and Odessa coming face to face.”

“He’s stayed away so far.”

“That’s true. Maybe he only came to spend time with Claire and not to stop the wedding. John is a hard one to figure out.”

“He isn’t the only one.”

Garrison’s eyebrows rose. “Do tell.”

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Posted in Books

Release Day: Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime

TourBanner_Happy Homicides correctIt’s here! A few months ago, I received an email asking if I’d like to contribute a story to Happy Homicide 5: The Purr-fect Crime fand I was so honored. I was a little sad as the deadline for Altered to Death left me little time to work on a story so I was going to have to decline. Happily, the wonderful editors offered to extend the deadline and I was able to have a short story, The Peculiar Habits of Mister Darcy , included in the anthology. All of the stories in the anthology feature cats and crimes.

The blog tour is from May 8-19. We can be found at the following stops:

May 8: Readeroplis and Rogue’s Angels

May 9: Fabulous and Brunette

May 10: Sharing Links and Wisdom

May 11: Queen of All She Reads and EskieMama Reads

May 12: A Writer’s Life…Caroline Clemmons and Long and Short ReviewsLong and Short Reviews

May 15: Danita Minnis Blog

May 16: Musings From an Addicted Reader

May 17: It’s All About the RomanceIt’s All About the Romance and Hearts and Scribbles

May 18: This and That Book Blog

May 19: The Reading Addict

 

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Betsy Livingston Fitzpatrick of Till Dirt Do Us Part

till dirt do us part large banner640TDDUP.COVER1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Not everything stays buried. I have a notorious brown thumb but that didn’t stop me from getting volunteered for a gardening contest sponsored by the Pecan Bayou Gazette. All I’m going to say is I found myself digging up more than weeds. I was ridiculed by those thorny garden club ladies, and now my heart is just breaking, for a newly single mom whose world has just collapsed.  The Happy Hinter, that’s me, your friendly neighborhood helpful hints columnist is back! So take some time to revisit the cozy little town Pecan Bayou, Texas. Grab a glass of sweet tea before you turn the dirt in the garden and sit a spell with all your favorite characters who dole out heartfelt caring and compassion with a side of humor.

2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor? Come on, gardening isn’t all that risky.

Well, unless you count giant man-eating caterpillars and that ugly rash, you seem to be getting. Really, though I wanted to solve Wade Atwood’s murder for his dear wife. She was just like me. One day married with a child and the next day a single mom. I had been there and wanted to let her know we moms stick together.

3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

No, not even when I was little and my dad was on the police force. I did see myself fighting ugly yellow build up on white collars though. Does that count?

4. Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing?

Probably my husband, Leo. He is a handsome meteorologist who likes to be able predict storms on the horizons. I, on the other hand, tend to walk right into bad weather.

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I have a great eye for detail. I also make my living finding solutions for people in my helpful hints column. I have so many weaknesses! I’m not good at baking, gardening, and I have decided raising teenagers takes nerves of steel.

6. Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

I give advice for a living and rely on help from others from time to time, but there comes a time when I know the only way to get things done is to do it myself. I think women have a reserve supply of get-er-done that can get them out of anything no matter how dire.

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

Be honest with yourself and don’t give up on your dreams. Those ideas may have to be reshaped here and there and that’s okay. Get up every morning with something to look forward to, whether that’s a job, time with your family, a hobby, or a hot fudge sundae!

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

You never know what’s really going with your friendly neighborhood delivery guy.

9. If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You. Living in a small town, there is no such thing as anonymity.

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

I have already had adventures in the first six books of Pecan Bayou. I’ve found bodies in a haunted hospital, in a library, by a cowboy fountain, and have been chased by a killer through a hurricane, while in labor with daughter. Maybe things will settle down now for a while… then again….

 

Posted in Books, Gardening, mystery, Reviews, Self-Rescue Princess

SRP Review: A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson

When I’m working on a mystery book, I steer clear of reading mysteries, so I haven’t read many mysteries over the last year because my downtime between books didn’t leave much time for reading or blogging. After I turned in Altered to Death, the first mystery I picked up was A Muddied Murder by the talented, lovely, and just plain awesome writer and person, Wendy Tyson.

a muddied murderFrom the first paragraph, I fell into the story and savored every word. I loved A Muddied Murder (ebook is currently on sale for 99 cents). The mix of farming, gardening, mystery, and a strong woman dealing with the sadness and joys of life pulled me in and had me rooting for and wanting to be Megan. She is a strong heroine with a mind of her own and doesn’t take the easy answers people give. She stands up for herself, others, and what she knows is right. What I admired about Megan was her ability to navigate the situations without becoming bitter or bullying the answer from people. She was willing at times to pull back in order to give those in her life (like her grandmother) respect and time to reveal their secrets rather than forcing them. I also like how she was willing to accept and forgive others for their faults, knowing that everyone (herself included) make rash decisions at times and can allow hurt to rule our emotions.

To me, Megan from the Greenhouse Mystery Series, exemplifies a self-rescue princess in that she has taken charge of her life. Even though some of her decisions are also based on others, she owns them. She lives her life as a way to grow, learn, and make the world better not as if she has to prove anything to someone or as an apology. Megan is a woman who is determined to live a life of joy no matter the hardships she has faced. I can’t wait to get to know her better in Bitter Harvest (which released today!).

Posted in Books, Craft, mystery, Scrapbooking, Vacations, Writing

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

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews, mystery

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

temple-banner-large

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

 

 

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Cass Donovan from Death at First Sight

death-at-first-sight-large-banner640Today on the Self-Rescue Princess, we have Cass stopping by to talk with us. Thank you for coming by.

death-at-first-sight1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Since I left my psychiatric practice in New York City to open up a psychic shop in my hometown on Bay Island, I’ve given my fair share of readings to conflicted customers. But what I see in Ellie Callahan’s future doesn’t bode well.

When Ellie’s mother, Marge, publicly confronts me about the reading, the embarrassment makes me want to curl up and die. And when I later stumbles across Marge’s body—and am a suspect in her murder—I’m suddenly the star of Bay Island’s rumor mill.

I’m determined to prove my innocence and save Ellie from meeting the fate in my unfortunate vision. But even with the help of my friends Bee and Stephanie, I will have to channel some serious sleuthing instincts to find the real killer…

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

I had no choice, really. The local sheriff seems determined to take the easy way out and pin this murder on me. The only way I can clear my name and, hopefully, save my reputation is to figure out who the real killer is.

3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Never. I am not the type to get involved in anything like a murder investigation. To be completely honest, the whole thing gives me a terrible headache. If I could, I would definitely leave matters to the police.

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

My friend Stephanie’s husband, Tank, is the least pleased. He’s very careful about keeping his wife safe, and for some reason, she keeps ending up in trouble when she hangs out with me. It’s not my fault—well not completely, anyway—but needless to say, he is not amused.

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I am great at reading people. I can tell a lot about someone based on their mannerisms, gestures, telling tics, inflections. I’m usually adept enough to give them a fairly accurate reading based on information I gather just from studying them. As for a weakness, I have a few, but the biggest is not knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes there’s no filter between my brain and my mouth, and stuff just pops out before I can censor it.

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

Trust your instincts, and do what your heart tells you.

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

It’s not really a plan, but I have a sneaking suspicion there’s more trouble headed my way.

 

Posted in Books, mystery, Uncategorized

Guest Post by Anna Celeste Burke

gnarly-new-year-large-banner640Art romantic sea beach. Women's Glasses and Champagne cork on sa

In this short sketch, my characters from Gnarly New Year, Brien and Kim, talk about the night they decided to get married.

THE PROPOSAL

Kim: “Okay, Brien, we’re going to play a game of Truth or Dare only without the Dare part. More like Truth or Chore–I’m going to ask you questions, and you have to tell me the truth or do an extra chore, and I get to choose the one you do.”

Brien: “Uh, I guess that’s okay. Why?”

Kim: “A married couple should know things about each other, shouldn’t they?”

Brien: “Sure, but I know things about you already, or I wouldn’t have married you when you suggested it.”

Kim: “I suggested it? As I recall, you’re the one who said we shouldn’t keep driving back and forth from Palm Springs, where I live, to Indio where you lived.”

Brien: “Yes, but that’s when you said, ‘are you asking me to marry you or do you just want permission to move your surfboard onto my patio?’ I got the message behind the sarcasm, Gidget.”

Kim: “Oh, Moondoggie, it was romantic when you got down on one knee in the moonlight, with the palm trees swaying, and the Ventures playing in the background.”

Brien: “Yeah, just like a scene from one of those old beach movies you love. Except for the part about the beach since we were in your backyard in the desert instead of on the beach.”

Kim: “I know what you mean, Brien. You don’t always have to explain yourself to me.”

Brien: “A lot of the time I do.”

Kim: “Ah, that’s part of your charm and only one reason I love you. You’re one of the first people I ever met who cared as much as you do that I understand you. I was surprised when you pulled out that ring! How did you know I was going to bring up marriage that night?”

Brien: “Uh, okay so here’s the truth—no extra chore. I had been carrying that ring around for a month. Ever since Peter went with me and helped me pick it out. I just couldn’t work up the courage to ask you right away. A couple of times I came close, but I wimped out on you.”

Kim: “Geez, am I that scary? Truth or Chore, remember?”

Brien: “You can be scary. Not so much anymore because I get that it’s a mechanical defense. You get snarky when you’re scared.”

Kim: “I could be wrong, but I think you mean defense mechanism, don’t you?”

Brien: “Could be, but see? That’s what I’m saying. I got too close to the truth, and it scared you. Are you sure you want to play this game?”

Kim: “Yes. My turn to tell the truth. The way I said that it did sound snarky, didn’t it? I do use sarcasm even when I don’t mean to do it. It’s a reflex. And scary? Yeah, I get that. Sarcasm is a shield I put up and sometimes it comes across more like a sword than a shield.”

Brien: “You don’t need shields or swords around me. I won’t ever hurt you.”

Kim: “I want to believe you. But old habits are hard to kick.”

Brien: “That’s why the say ‘old habits die old,’ Kim.”

Kim: “They don’t actually say that, but I get it. So, am I the only one who didn’t know you had bought that ring a month before we got engaged?”

Brien: “The truth, again—yes. I wanted to make sure you’d like it, so I checked it out to make sure it was cool enough for you. Remember when Bernadette baked those Mexican Wedding cookies?”

Kim: “No way! She said she was testing them out for Tommy’s wedding. I’m going to have to play Truth or Chore with her, now, too.”

Brien: “Uh, you might not want to do that. She’s had lots of practice making people do chores. She was my boss when I was the pool guy, remember? Bernadette could give you some bogus ones. Jessica could too.”

Kim: “I figured Jessica was in on it. She went around for a couple of weeks with that ‘I-know-something-you-don’t-know’ look on her face. When we showed up, and I was wearing that ring, her expression suddenly made sense. So no one was surprised by our announcement? They seemed surprised.”

Brien: “When I first told him my plans, Peter was speechless. He hardly said one word the entire time it took us to drive to the jewelry store to pick out the ring. Bernadette, not so much. You know how she is with her special powers. Betsy’s like that, too. When Peter told her the news, she just smiled and nodded. Spooky. Tommy and Laura almost hit the floor, though. That night when we gave them the scoop, they were surprised, alright.”

Kim: “Why?”

Brien: “Because an awesome babe like you said yes to an ordinary dude like me. You know?”

Kim: “You want the truth, Brien?”

Brien: “Of course. You know what Bernadette says, ‘Even the worst truth is better than the best lie.’ Let me have it.”

Kim: “Brien Williams, there is nothing ordinary about you in any way. You are the sweetest, hunkiest dude I have ever met in my entire life. When you flashed that ring, I was totally stoked, as you like to say. You’ve changed my life forever, Moondoggie. You’re right that love is the most excellent adventure of all.”

Brien: “I like this game. Your turn.”

~~~~~

Thanks for reading this post! You’ll find much more of Brien and Kim in the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery Series. Their adventures as newlywed sleuths start with Cowabunga Christmas and continue in Gnarly New Year.  A spin-off from the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series, that’s where Brien and Kim first make an appearance. There are good reasons for their friends in that series to be surprised that these two lovebirds became a couple. I hope you’ll join them on all their adventures. Coming next: Epic Easter, Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #3.

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews, Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: CC Muller from Killer Finds

killer finds  large banner640Thank you so much for stopping by the Self-Rescue Princess today. I’m so glad you’re able to visit while I chat with CC Muller from Killer Finds.

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

I will start out by introducing myself for those of you who don’t know me. My name is CC Muller, and I am an antique hunter. I, along with my best friend Anne Hillstrom, appear in the Antique Hunters Mystery series written by Vicki Vass. Our most recent book, Killer Finds, details our adventures after Anne loses all her money and is forced to sell her beloved possessions.  It becomes further complicated by the dead body sitting on the seat next to her on the flight home from our buying trip to Paris.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

From the beginning, Anne and I never meant to be characters in a murder mystery series. We only wanted to share our love of antiquing and our knowledge of history with you, our dear readers. Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. Instead we encountered trouble. You can read about our adventures in the first book in the series, Murder by the Spoonful.

Along the way, Anne and I pride ourselves with giving you, our dear readers, tips you can use for your own antique hunting and perhaps if the circumstances arise how to solve a murder mystery.

What are your strengths?

Before Anne and I start out on any trip, we do our research. As an investigative journalist, I rely on the Internet and my extensive wealth of knowledge. We research various locations and its surrounding area so we can maximize our time on our antique hunts. Anne’s background as a research chemist has proven particularly useful both in identifying antiques and killers.

Do you have any advice you’d like to share?

Make a plan. Anne loves to make lists upon lists of stores she would like to visit wherever we are traveling. And, she never forgets to bring her tools. These are very important to help authenticate a find such as a Roseville vase. Anne always carries a pen flashlight and magnifying glass. She also brings a measuring tape so she can measure the space required to take home a large item or authenticate the correct height of antiques such as Stieff bears or Hummels. But the greatest tool Anne carries is her eye for quality antiques. Her house is full of beautiful finds. Well, to be fair more than full as her obsession with shopping carries her away as does her love for food. As her best friend, I feel it is my responsibility to keep both in check.

How can we keep up with your and Anne’s adventures?

In our blog called the Spoon Sisters, a title anointed on us by the Chicago Tribune after solving the estate sale murders in Murder by the Spoonful, we share many tips on antique hunting and recipes from my kitchen and from around the country as we hunt down antiques and pick up clues.

With summer upon us, here is a simple recipe for a refreshing and elegant Shrimp and Watermelon salad.

Ingredients for salad

1 chunk romaine, shredded

1 lb peeled and deveined cooked shrimp

½ watermelon cut into cubes

½ cup feta sprinkles

1 ounce glazed pecans

Mix all ingredients together

Ingredients for Lemon dressing

Juice of one lemon and some zest

1 tbs. sugar to taste

1 tbs. vinegar.

Mix all together well and then pour over the salad. Serve and enjoy. Should make four servings.

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews, mystery, Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: Amy Flowers from the Calamity Cafe

CALAMITY CAFE  large banner640Today, I’m chatting with Amy Flowers. How are you today? Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

The Calamity Cafe (1)I’m so excited to be opening up my own café! Right now, we’re undertaking some major renovations—we being me, my cousin Jackie, one of our favorite regulars, and my lifelong friend Roger and his construction crew. When we get done, the Down South Café is going to be beautiful!

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

Well, I’d been dreaming of opening my own café for a long time. When my nana died last year, she left me enough money to make my dream come true. After culinary school, I came back home to Winter Garden because Nana was sick and I wanted to be close in case she needed me. I went to work at Lou’s Joint (the café I bought and am renovating), but that woman was a horrible bully. I was eager to get myself and my cousin out of that place as soon as possible.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Never. In fact, I don’t suppose I’d have ever even considered it had I not gone in the café that evening and found Lou Lou Holman—my former boss—slumped over her desk. I didn’t realize it at first, but she was dead. Now, of course, I’m a suspect in her murder, so I have to find out who really did it or I—and my new café—are toast!

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

I don’t imagine my mother is very thrilled about it. And, come to think of it, Deputy Ryan Hall—who’s very easy on the eyes, by the way—doesn’t seem to like my poking my nose in where he doesn’t think it belongs either. But how else am I going to find out who killed Lou Lou? Deputy Hall says to let the police do their jobs, but where’s the harm in my helping out? Besides, criminals get defensive around police officers. They’re more likely to open up around us “normal” people.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I’m a hard worker, an excellent chef, a devoted friend/family member, and I’m dedicated to the café patrons. I’d say my biggest weakness is that I have a tendency to take in strays. I’m not sure I’d call that a weakness, though. Jackie thinks I’m a pushover. But I only have the one dog…and the cat—who technically belongs to Mom and wasn’t a stray.

Here’s the thing: the morning after Lou Lou was killed, the café was closed while the police investigated the crime scene. Well, poor Homer Pickens comes in every morning at ten o’clock to get his sausage biscuit; so when the café was closed, he came to my house and asked me to fix it for him. Then Dilly Boyd heard the news and she came to the house to ask if I’d make lunch. So I made lunch for her and a few of her friends. But that’s not being a pushover, right? That was learning firsthand what it would be like to cook for a group of patrons—not friends or family. And it was giving a few older people their daily social interaction. They need that.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

It means you can do whatever you put your mind to. Set your goals, write them down, revisit them on a regular basis, and make them happen.

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

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. You can—and will—achieve your dreams.

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

I’m stronger than I realized I was.

If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

“Walking on Sunshine”

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

I wasn’t planning on it, but I have a bad feeling that something bad is going to happen to Mr. Lincoln. He’s the Chamber of Commerce president, and he stirs up trouble everywhere he goes. (Stay tuned for book two—SILENCE OF THE JAMS!)