Monday, June 30, 2008


Karen Maxwell is the heroine of George Washington Stepped Here, the first mystery by K.D. Hays. Since Karen gets to do all the talking in the book, her son Evan asked for some time here to share his side of the story...

My mom is so embarrassing! While most other moms have normal jobs like working in a doctor’s office or some nice building where everyone wears suits, my mom works in my uncle’s office in a crummy building that’s like 600 years old and looks like it could fall down any minute. But that’s not the worst part about her job. Uncle Dave is a private investigator and now Mom thinks that just because she works for him, she should be an investigator, too. An undercover investigator.

Yeah, maybe it sounds cool, but it really isn’t. She’s going “undercover” as a mom taking her kids to volunteer at a historic site. That means taking me along. And my useless sister, Alicia. The people there dress up in weird clothes and pretend like they’re living back at the time of George Washington. Mom won’t let me bring my Nintendo or even my soccer ball.

I think I’ll probably die of boredom.

I don’t know why she has to go there anyway. She said somebody stole something, but I’ve never seen anything there worth stealing. Except maybe the sodas in the gift shop.

There is one good thing about the place, and that’s when I get to help this guy in the blacksmith shop. He showed me how to make stuff by heating up metal until its burning red super mega hot and then you can bend it and flatten it and stuff. No other kids get to do this, just me. Since I’m a volunteer.

Or maybe it’s because the blacksmith guy went on a date with my mom. She said it wasn’t a date but Alicia says it was and she’s always reading magazines with boys on the cover and pretending she knows something about dates.

So, anyway, don’t read George Washington Stepped Here because it’s really embarrassing. (But you can read the next book, Worth Its Weight in Old, since we don’t have to wear funny clothes in that one.)

And you can read pages from my sister’s diary if you visit the author’s website at You can also read more about the author at the site, too, but I don’t think you should. She’ll probably just say something that would embarrass her kids.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Beauty Beat--Stories from Lovita's Cut'n Strut Salon. . .by Lovita Mae Horton

Lovita's Cut 'n Strut ain't your average salon. We git all types of people in here. For instance, yesterday a stranger walked in thinking we were a "saloon," not a salon. I told him the only thing close to spirits in our shop was the blue sanitizing liquid we use for rat tail combs, and that just wasn't gonna cut it! Haha--I guess that's beauty salon humor for you.

My sidekick, Sue Jan is mostly the one who keeps things interesting 'round here. Something always seems to happen in orbit around her world, if you know what I mean. The other day, she accidentally sat herself down on a cactus, though she was aiming for a tree stump. I thought I'd split my seams laughing. Sue Jan wasn't laughing much at the time though. She must've had a hundred cactus needles in her rumpus room area. Took old Doc Nasale an hour to get 'em all out.

She's always cooking up some scheme to find a husband. The woman's desperate and pert near one hair from becoming a full-fledged stalker. No stranger who comes to town is safe from her. She knows more about them in half an hour than the federal government would in a year. No takers though. I always tell her men can sense a desperate single woman like a zebra herd can smell a lion nearby. They run. I think it's because men like to think they do the hunting. Smart women are the ones who really do the hunting, but they let the man think he's doing it. It's just that simple. I sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I don't have a man either. I gave up looking. Men think plus size is hard on the eyes. But Sue Jan says she and I are "big bodaciously beautiful women." Maybe so. But so far, no man has agreed with that statement.

Anywho, aside from Sue Jan, there's not much going on around here. Although my daddy, Clark W. Horton used to tell me that most folks have a secret or two to keep. I found it hard to imagine in our little town of Wachita, but daddy sure knew what he was talking about. he caught his share of scoundrels and lawbreakers in the region. I guess that's what's expected of a Texas Ranger though. He was real modest about how good he was at investigating. Said, "Even a blind hog find's an acorn ever' now and then." And I guess that's true, but not where my daddy was concerned. He knew just where to look.

Sometimes I wish I'd followed in his footsteps. But the silver star ain't for everyone. I guess my silver star's a blow dryer. But who knows. Maybe I'll find an acorn one of these days. . .

Look for Misfortune Cookies in 2008! Coming Soon! 

Monday, June 16, 2008

MAINEly Murder

Welcome to Baxter, Maine. We may be a small town, but we’ve got big things going on here.

I’m Felicia Chadwick, owner and editor of the Baxter Journal. I’ll tell you, things have been hopping here, and I’m not talking about the new owners at the marina or the outdoor seating at the Lumberjack Restaurant.
The smartest thing I’ve done in last couple years is to convince Emily Gray to come and work for me at the Journal. When Emily first came back to Baxter, I was a little intimidated by her. I mean, she’d been working for a big city newspaper and had won some awards for investigative reporting. The Journal was only a weekly, and what’s more, her parents used to own this paper. Not only that, her family owns one of those darling cottages out on Grand Cat Island, something I’ve always dreamed about. But since Emily came back, we’ve morphed into a biweekly and increased our advertising and readership base. And that isn’t all.

We’ve had murders in Baxter. Since Emily came home to live here, we’ve had more murders than. . .well, ever. Her first day here, she and Nate Holman discovered a dead body. Of course, Emily is so head-over-heels in love with Nate that I was afraid it might distract her from her work. But no siree, she’s right there ready to buttonhole the State Police detectives and ask the really hard questions. And she’s not above doing a little snooping around—er, research, that is—on her own. Field work. That’s it.
And it’s a good thing. Without Emily’s nose for news, I’m not sure the cops could solve all the crimes we’ve had lately. Arson, burglaries, lost treasure, impostors trying to claim an inheritance. . .it’s just been wild around here. I love it!

Me, I just put out the paper. But I know everything going on in Baxter, Maine. You’ll want to, too.

Read the MAINEly Murder series, by Susan Page Davis and her daughter, Megan Elaine Davis. They’ll give you the scoop. The first book, Homicide at Blue Heron Lake, came out in February. Next up is Treasure at Blue Heron Lake. I hear that now they’re working on Impostors at Blue Heron Lake. And you can check out the authors at, especially on the “Mystery” page. Love it. Absolutely love it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Research 101

Part of any good novel is believability. If the plot isn't believable, or the resolution isn't believable, the reader is going to walk away feeling cheated. So, how do we make our crimes believable? You guessed it...research.

I don't know a whole lot about police procedures, so when it comes to making sure my hero gets his facts straight, I call in the experts, namely a friendly police sergeant from Beaumont. Other resources include books, articles and websites. Word of caution: TV shows like CSI don't count, because believe it or not, you really can't rely on them for accuracy.

What about you? Care to share a few of your favorite research tips? Here a few of my favorites to get you started:


Deadly Doses, A Writer's Guide to Poisons
The Writer's Complete Crime Reference Book by Martin Roth


Monday, June 2, 2008

Hi, it’s Cici Wilde again. Ever since people have been reading about my adventures in Gunfight at Grace Gulch, they keep asking, “What made you interested in vintage clothing?”

Well, didn’t any of you ladies play dress up when you were little girls? You know, when you tried on your mother’s dresses and high heels and experimented with cosmetics? I did that for years, first with my older sister Jenna and then my baby sister Dina.

Besides Mom’s clothes, our attic contained things like the nurse cadet uniform my grandmother wore during the Second World War, and the Edwardian dresses that belonged to great-grandfather Wilde’s late-in-life bride. We had a century of clothing to choose from, every passing fashion from the time of the 1891 land run. I read their words—they all kept journals—and imagined living in their times.

I studied fashion in college, and when it came time to open my store, I already had my initial stock to sell. Now I’m pleased that people around the county seek out my store when they want something special. Town leaders lend me unique jewelry from time to time, such as Magda Grace Mallory’s pearls—I’ll tell you more about that in A String of Murders—and the Grace Garland that once belonged to Mary Grace. I may share that story with you some day as well.

So tell me. Did you play dress up as a child? Who did you pretend to be?
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