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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Chris Pavesic who brings us her recipe

for scones with chocolate chips.

These vanilla scones feature chocolate chips, which melt slightly into the dough around them as they bake, making for an especially enticing presentation. Top with sparkling course sugar or my family’s favorite–salted caramel chocolate truffle spread.

SCONES

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
6 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. Key Lime juice
Milk a few tbsp.
2 tbsp. course sparkling sugar to sprinkle on top, optional
Salted caramel chocolate truffle spread, optional

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly grease the scone pan.

Add the dry ingredients to a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly using an electric mixer or spoon. Gently mix the chocolate chips with the dry ingredients.

Stir together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, and Key Lime Juice. Add to the dry ingredients and stir very gently, just until combined. The dough will be resemble cookie dough.

Scoop the dough into the scone pan. Sprinkle the top of each scone with milk and (optional) sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar.

Bake the scones for 20 to 24 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into a scone comes out dry. Remove from the oven, and serve warm.

Optional: Top with salted caramel chocolate truffle spread and let it melt slightly before eating.

Scones can be stored at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Enjoy a brief glimpse into my latest novel Travelers Zone , book two in The Revelation Chronicles series, while you delight in your scones.

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

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Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Friday Features’

Guest Sally Baker, the lovely wife of Action-Adventure author

Elliott Baker

is here with her latest cookie creation.

These cookie bars include the Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate Brownie recipe found on the inside of the packaging and are absolutely delicious.

Sally Baker’s Muddy Boots

1 family sized tube of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
½ family sized tube of Pillsbury Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
Bag of M&M caramels
Baker’s Brownie Mix prepared with the following ingredients:

    4 oz. Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
    ¾ cup butter or margarine
    2 cups sugar
    3 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 cup flour

Preheat oven 350° F.

Cut parchment paper to fit a 9 x 13-inch pan. Insert the paper and then grease it.

Break up the chocolate chip dough into chunks and fill the pan.

Break up the peanut butter dough and scatter across the chocolate chip dough.

Make the brownie mix. Stir in half of the M&M caramels.

Pour the brownie mix over the cookie dough.

Sprinkle remaining M&M caramels over the top.

Bake at least 35 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool and then cut into squares.

How about a glimpse at Sally’s husband Elliott and his books while you’re munching these awesome cookie bars?

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

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Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his

website.

Stay connected on

Twitter and Facebook

Like Elliott’s Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The muti-talented Emma Lane who brings us her latest recipe for its ease of variations on a theme.

From Emma Lane I love this for its easy, fast, and infinitely variable.

Fast and Easy Fruit Pudding

1 qt. fresh or canned fruit, drained
2½ tbsp. sugar or sweeten to taste
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place fruit in glass baking dish. Sweeten if preferred.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Stir together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture. Stir to mix only, do not beat.

Pour mixture over fruit. Bake 30 minutes.

Use your imagination and have fun to vary this Fruit Pudding such as:
Country Peach – add a ½ tsp. nutmeg to liquid mixture.
Spicy Apple – use 1 tsp. cinnamon or premixed apple spice mix.
Hawaiian Delight – combine pineapple, apricot, and banana to make one qt. fruit. Sprinkle lightly with coconut after baking. Top each serving with a maraschino cherry.

My latest Cozy Mystery is a novel that introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels. I hope you enjoy this peek.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

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Read more of the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.
She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Deserts not being difficult

from

Vonnie Hughes

Deserts do not have to be difficult to prepare. This one is delicious and simple and that’s why it’s a favorite of mine.

EASY-PEASY PUDDING

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla essence, vanilla extract
½ cup butter
½ cup plain flour
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 180c 250° F.

Butter a pie dish. You can also line with baking paper to make sure the pudding comes out intact.

Combine all ingredients into a blender. Mix well.

Pour mixture into prepared dish. Bake about one hour until the center is firm.

Whipped cream and fresh or stewed fruits are wonderful accompaniments.

Now sit back and enjoy your pudding while you scan my latest romantic suspense.

Who can you trust if you can’t trust your own mother? Through the clammy fog, Celie Francis hears the chilling message. “I know who you are, Celie. I know where you live.” And in the terrifying aftermath she reconnects with her dysfunctional family in ways she had never imagined.

BLURB:

    Abused and abandoned as a child, Célie Francis knows better than to trust anyone. But after she witnesses a murder, she’s placed in the Unit “New Zealand’s witness protection program” where she’s expected to trust strangers with her life.

    It’s psychologist Brand Turner’s job to ease witnesses into their new identities, not to protect them, but Célie stirs feelings in him that are far from professional. When it appears someone is leaking critical information that could endanger Célie, Brand will do anything to protect her. But first he has to convince her to trust him.

    Adrift in a frightening world, Célie would like to believe the handsome psychologist is everything he seems, but as witnesses are murdered and danger swirls around them, Célie must decide “can she trust Brand with her life?

BUY LINKS

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Sharon Ledwith who brings us her new twist on an old favorite that will leave you longing for those good old days when the family holiday get-togethers were spent hanging with your cousins, and playing with your new toys at your grandparents’ house.

Not only perfect for the dessert table, these holiday-inspired muffins also make wonderful gifts. Fill a festive tin from the dollar store to create the perfect present for teachers, baby-sitters, hair-stylists, and neighbors.

Christmas Pudding Muffins

1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup milk
1¼ cups mincemeat
6 glace cherries, halved

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Insert cupcake liners into a 12-cup muffin pan.

Whisk flour with sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs with butter and milk in another bowl, then stir into flour mixture.

Stir in mincemeat.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake until a skewer inserted in a muffin comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.

Cool completely in pan.

Glaze
1 cup icing sugar, powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk
Glace cherries

Whisk icing sugar with milk. Brush muffins with glaze and top with glace cherries.

While you’re waiting for your muffins to cool, take a seat in your favorite cozy chair and crack open one of my books. May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls? I guarantee this book will take you on a journey far away from the busyness of the holiday season.

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

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Friday Features’

Guest tells about

Mom’s Orange Cake

by

Nancy Kay

Nothing says Holiday to me better than my mom’s famous cake. Every year she filled the house with the beautiful aroma of baking and we all loved it. This year I’d like to share a little of our family tradition with you.

MOM’S ORANGE CAKE

1 orange
1 cup raisins
⅓ cup walnuts, chopped well
2 cups four
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ cup shortening (Crisco)
¾ plus ¼ cup whole milk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Grease a rectangular cake pan (aprox. 11 x 15 inches).

Peel orange, but save the skin. Juice orange in a small bowl. Seed and quarter the orange.

Combine orange, skin, raisins, walnuts in a blender or food processor. Blend only enough to break up the skin.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Blend in shortening and ¾ cup milk. Add eggs and remaining milk. Mix well.

Fold in the orange raisin mixture.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 40-50 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and while still hot drizzle with reserved orange juice.

FROSTING
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup walnuts, chopped

Mix three ingredients together. Sprinkle mixture over the warm cake.

You know every cook should taste their masterpiece before they serve it. Therefore, pour your favorite beverage and then slice off a piece of cake. Sit back and enjoy while you take a peek at my romantic holiday story.

Federal Wildlife Officer Michael Donovan faces a dilemma. Christmas is days away, a blizzard looms, and Mike must either track an injured moose or deliver bad news to Samantha Gates about her grandfather.

Samantha is determined to reach her grandparent’s cabin for Christmas. She’ll soon be off to veterinary school and this holiday is special. Hampered by driving snow, Sam ditches her SUV avoiding an injured moose. Mike discovers her aiding the wounded animal, and they get the ungainly patient to shelter, but as Sam doctors the moose the blizzard traps them.

As the storm rages outside, alone inside attraction sizzles between Sam and Mike. Outside danger escalates. Sam insists all will be fine by Christmas. Mike isn’t so sure. Will the storm end and bring a Christmas miracle? Or will Mike’s news ruin the holiday and their chance for a future together?

BUY LINKS


Nancy Kay resides near Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania with her husband, a former member of the Marines and the Pennsylvania State Police Department who provides valuable insight for her stories. Nancy is a long time member of Romance Writers of America. Her stories are set in small towns and inland communities scattered along the shores of the Great Lakes. They focus on romance, intertwined with the love of hearth, home, and family. Yet, they are sprinkled with suspense, danger, and intrigue. Learn more about Nancy on her website and blog.

Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The dynamic duo HL Carpenter sharing their latest writing adventure and a delicious recipe for breakfast bread.

During the editing of our latest book, commas turned into a major topic of discussion. Yes, well, we’re writers, what did you expect? We like commas and we also like to slice commas from our writing so we have a conflict of interest. For example, in the first two sentences of this paragraph (and this sentence too), we used commas. We could have used a comma in the third sentence before the “and,” though we chose not to. Either way would have been correct.

Another example is the title of this post, Good Morning Bread. A comma would change the entire meaning. By omitting it, we imply (or say) the recipe below is a good (delicious) morning bread. Had we included a comma (Good morning, bread) we would be saying good morning to our bread. That would also fit, since the bread is definitely worthy of salutations.

Like bread, commas have lots of uses. You can splash them around in personal and geographic names, in numbers, before quotations that indicate speech such as “she said,” and in lists. If you’re the user of a certain word processing software, you can make your commas curly or straight and either style gets the job done.

We don’t claim to be experts on commas and we would be happy to hear your take on this very important punctuation. Let’s eat breakfast while we have the discussion. If you’re not hungry, then we’ll say, “Let’s eat, breakfast.”

Breakfast Bread

    1½ cups dried mixed fruit (we used one 5-ounce package of mixed cranberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and filled in the remainder with dried cranberries)
    ½ cup warm tea, any flavor
    1 package regular yeast
    ½ cup warm water
    2 tbsp. butter
    ½ cup coconut milk
    3 tbsp. sugar
    2 tbsp. honey
    1 tsp. salt
    1 egg
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup nuts of your choice (we used pecans and pistachios)

Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Soak dried fruit in bowl with warm tea. Set aside.

In separate bowl, add yeast to warm water. Set aside in a warm draft free location.

Melt butter.

Mix coconut milk, sugar, honey, salt, and egg. Add melted butter and stir. Next, add yeast and water mixture and stir.

Mix cinnamon and flour. Add to liquid ingredients and mix well.

Drain fruit. Add fruit and nuts to dough. Use your hands to mix, adding additional flour by tablespoons if necessary.

Let dough rise 1 hour. Punch down, divide in half, and shape into two equal loaves. Put loaves in prepared pans and let rise 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 350° F. Bake loaves 30 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes and remove to rack.

Serve warm or cold with butter or topping of your choice.

While you’re enjoying your bread, we invite you to sample an excerpt from our soon-to-be-released mystery.

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She’s lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She’s running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

EXCERPT

    The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, “The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae.”

    I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.

    Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.

    “Beautiful morning,” I said, as if I cared.

    “Afternoon,” Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. “Still mopin’, girl?”

    He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.

    Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn’t bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.

    “Nope. Not my style.”

    “‘Scuse me.” His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. “Forgot you’ve been hidin’ in the apartment, tap dancing with glee.”

    I met his gaze. “For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?”

    He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.

    The description would have horrified him.

    “How are the treatments going?”

    He grunted. “They tell me I ain’t gonna croak this week.”

    “Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I’m jinxed.”

    Gus shook his head. “You gotta get over them fools, girl.”

    “That’s no way to talk about my former bosses.” Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.

    Ha, ha.

    “Anyway, I am over them. Way over.”

    “Yeah?” He was not convinced. “You over the suit, too?”

    “Sure am.” Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. “I have moved on.”

    Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.

    Gus snorted. “Funny how much movin’ on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself.”

    In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn’t been, I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.

    “Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?”

    He stuck out his chin. “Don’t get smart. You know I’m right. You’re mopin’.”

    “Only because I can’t tap dance.”

    He was right. In the eight months since my mother’s death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.

    My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman’s detour was another’s stop sign.

    “You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What’s her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?”

    No. And I didn’t want to hear from her, much less call her.

    I shook my head.

    “Your ma would have been annoyed with you.”

    A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.

    Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.

    My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom’s bedroom was beyond me.

    “So? You gonna open the letter?” Gus asked.

    I turned over the envelope in my hand.

    Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.

    Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?

Murder by the Books, a mystery novel, will be available at Amazon.

Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni
ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads, and their Amazon Author Page.

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