Free and New!

Just in time for the weekend! Murdered by Words is now available. This is the first book in the Midwest Cozy Mystery Series. Naturally, there are dogs, food, and recipes, plus some romance! Here’s the cover and a bit about the book. Hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the write. Here’s the link for the e-book:  It will be available for two weeks at $.99, so if you plan on getting it, you can save some money buying it now.
Kat Denham is a widow living in the small Midwest university town of Lindsay, Kansas. She’s an author and writes what some would call “steamy” novels in the Lusty Women series under the pen name of Sexy Cissy. Knowing how conservative the townspeople are, she’s kept her true identify as the author of these books a secret.
It all unravels when Kat’s editor, Nancy Jennings, is having lunch at the local country club, and Kat’s latest manuscript slips out of her tote bag and is left under the table. The manuscript gets into the wrong hands, and Kat’s occupation becomes known to a number of the local residents. It doesn’t get any better when Kat discovers Nancy has been murdered. Because her identity as the author of the books has been disclosed, Kat worries she might be the killer’s next victim. In order to save her reputation and her life, she has to find out who murdered Nancy.
Which of the suspects is responsible for killing her editor? Nancy’s husband, who had threatened his wife if she didn’t stop editing Kat’s books because of their filthy content? The woman who had become obsessed with any book she considered to be morally objectionable? Or the “trophy wife” wife of the local banker who had been a pole dancer and was certain she was one of the characters described in the book?
Join Kat, her West Highland Terrier, Jazz, and her new protector, Rudy, a huge Rottweiler guard dog, as they search for the killer.
FREE on Saturday, April 23rd, just for the one day! This best seller is a murder mystery with a cast of quirky characters you don’t want to miss. And just what part does the lovable lazy St. Bernard play? Prevent a murder? Enjoy! Here’s the link for the e-book:
Lastly, the book that’s captured the top spot on a number of Amazon best seller lists, Trouble at the Kennel, will be available for two more days at $.99, then the price will go up to $2.99. Didn’t want you to have to spend unnecessary money for it! What’s not to like about kennels and dogs?

A Disney Backstory!

I promised you I would highlight authors whose books I feel are well worth the read, and books by Anna Celeste Burke are well worth the read. I recently read her latest book, Murder at Catmmando Mountain, and knew I had to bring it to your attention. It’s wonderful on a number of different levels: characters you want more of, crisp dialogue, a believable plot, and most of all, at least for me, the charm of a theme park. At least, the kid in me sure loved it! I asked the author if she would write the backstory on it  and here it is. Don’t miss the part about her being a chef at a theme park. The lady knows whereof she speaks!

ACBurke catmmando mountain 3D - Copy

who framed Georgie

When you wish upon a star

In Murder at Catmmando Mountain, Georgie Shaw works for the “Cat” at the “Cat Factory.”  A famous cartoon cat, Catmmando Tom, to be more precise. Years ago I used to work for the “Mouse” at the “Mouse Factory,” our affectionate insider terms for roles at Walt Disney Company. Coincidence? No, completely contrived.

Drawing on Mark Twain’s insistence that writers should “write what you know,” those early experiences at the company that Mickey Mouse built, left a lasting impression. Only eighteen-years-old, my position as a Culinary Assistant at Walt Disney World was my first real job. Growing up in a large family I had already done a lot of odd jobs by then: babysitting, cleaning houses, tutoring, selling Avon, breeding fruit flies in a genetics lab used in experiments to extract DNA. I did say “odd” jobs.

Working in a theme park has its unusual moments too! “Too much pixie dust,” was a phrase we used for coworkers who got a little too much into the roles they played. That didn’t just happen to individuals charged with bringing Disney’s beloved cartoon characters to life either. Daily exposure to all the unbridled Disneyesque happiness, especially in the theme park, could push just about anyone to the brink of “pixelation.”

I didn’t work at Disney long—five years before returning to college and moving on to life as a professor. Warned that I might regret the decision to leave the “Disney Family,” I left on good terms with “readoption papers” on file. What a unique introduction to the world of work for a young woman.

Perhaps made more poignant by that fact that I grew up under the spell of Disney memes and myths. In Southern California in the fifties and sixties, Disney’s influence was everywhere. Not just on Sunday night television in Technicolor, but in Anaheim, not far from where I lived in San Diego. The “Disneyfication” of childhood awaited, brought to life in the Magic Kingdom. Princes and princesses, fairy godmothers, fairies, adventurers—some drawn from real life and others fantastical creations were everywhere. The list of animated yarns spun by Disney goes on and on: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio and Peter Pan.

I wanted to believe a boy could fly. When I ran off at 17 with my prince charming, a high school dropout, and rock musician, there was an element of Wendy and Peter Pan to it. Made more believable by the fact that our destination was Hawaii, a place that bore more than a passing resemblance to Never-Neverland in my mind. When the rock band broke up, we found refuge in the happiest place on earth. As Culinary Assistants, we didn’t make much money, but we did eat!


I didn’t know it until much later, “Uncle Walt,” as we were asked to call him, had his problems. The entire Uncle Walt thing wreaks of paternalism, doesn’t it? Financial problems, bankruptcy, mental health issues, hypersensitivity to perceived slights, problems with labor relations, and a man who embroiled himself in McCarthy-era witch hunts against colleagues in the motion pictures industry. For a man who promoted a view of the world as a happy, magical place, he also experienced some incredibly bad luck at times. Like buying a brand new home for his parents that turned out to have a carbon monoxide leak, killing his beloved mother and putting his father in the hospital.

He dreamed big and made dreaming big seem possible for us all.

“When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires

Will come to you.”

 Music to my ears. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker! You never know where life is going to take you, though, do you? Maybe Walt Disney and his fascination with science and technology showcased on TV and in “Tomorrow Land” influenced my decision to leave Disney and become a behavioral scientist at a university.

Retired now, I have often wondered what my life might have been like if I’d stayed at Disney. Hired with basic training from a short stint in cooking courses, Walt Disney World University trained me in their cooking school. I was one of the first women put into a leadership role in a Disney hotel kitchen. Like my character, Georgie Shaw, who joins Marvelous Marley World straight out of cooking school, in the 70s professional kitchens were male domains.

In Murder at Catmmando Mountain, Georgie tells a story about a red-faced chef waving a French knife and hollering “You do that like a housewife!” That line is taken straight from my real life. That angry European chef was yelling at a man in the kitchen, not me, so he intended it as a huge insult. Georgie Shaw, like me, starts out in the kitchen, working for the Cat at Marvelous Marley World. Only she sticks it out, moves out of the kitchen, but makes a career for herself at Marvelous Marley World in Food and Beverage Management. In fact, when I returned to college my original intent was to do the same. Move out of the kitchen and into management.

Inspired by my stint at Walt Disney World, how much of the story in Murder at Catmmando Mountain is true? Arcadia Park, the setting for murder and mystery, is imaginary meant as an homage to the Disney theme parks.  Arcadia Park picks up on the nature theme showcased on Sunday night on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, reimagined in an idyllic artificial and fanciful way. Some elements of my imaginary theme park come from my memories of the real thing.

Yes, at Disney World as in Arcadia Park, tunnels run beneath the surface of the park and efforts are made to camouflage exits that lead “backstage” to the underground city. Disney’s beloved characters and other cast members come and go through those hidden doors. Deliveries are brought into restaurants and shops that way, too. A system whisks away garbage taking it underground, only one cutting edge technology Disney introduced to run the Magic Kingdoms efficiently. Because of the underground conduits, no garbage or delivery trucks rumble through the park above ground to spoil the illusions created to entertain guests.

Future stories in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series will conger up new visions of life at Marvelous Marley World inspired by the genius of Walt Disney and his more business-minded brother, Roy. Walt Disney had passed on by the time I worked for the mouse, but efforts were made to hang on to the spirit of “imagineering” he set loose upon baby boomers everywhere. Was he megalomaniacal like “Mad” Max Marley in my Georgie Shaw series? It depends on who you talk to about Uncle Walt.

Was there ever a murder in the Disney theme park? No, not while I worked at the park and resorts.  Even in the happiest place on earth, however, bad things happen, and death comes calling. In book 1, Georgie, who has abandoned her first love—food—to work in PR, talks about the many things that can and do go wrong even in magical places like Max Marley’s Arcadia Park.  Many items on her list are incidents that occur in parks and resorts everywhere.

In Murder at Catmmando Mountain, Georgie Shaw faces about the worst thing imaginable in a theme park: Murder on Valentine’s Day! A PR nightmare, for sure. To make matters worse, someone implicates her in the crime. Another tenet of the “Disney Way,” however, is that some good may come from even the most challenging situations. For Georgie Shaw, good arrives in the form of the handsome, 50-something Detective Jack Wheeler. Leading the murder investigation, he sweeps into Georgie’s life, stirring up old issues and bringing new possibilities. Can Georgie free herself from her past?

Book 2 in the Georgie Shaw series, Love Notes in the Key of Sea takes Georgie and Jack to Corsario Cove on California’s Central Coast. More than memories haunt Georgie when she returns to the place where she grew up, and the love of her life disappeared. What happened to Danny Farrell? Could he still be alive after so many years? A new mystery brought Georgie and Jack together, will that old one drive them apart? Love Notes in the Key of Sea will be available for preorder in May, as part of a collection of summer beach reads. Set for release June 28th.

Book 3, All Hallow’s Eve in Arcadia Park, will be out fall, 2016. Georgie will have some big news, and there will also be more murder and mayhem at Marvelous Marley World. Can you imagine what kind of mischief might unfold on All Hallow’s Eve if the guests are in costume as well as the park staff and Marvelous Marley World characters?

I suppose a bit of pixie dust remains from my experience in the Mouse Factory. So, now I’m a mystery fiction writer—still dreaming big and wishing upon a star. I hope you’ll join me in my new adventure!  You can find Murder at Catmmando Mountain on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback format at

When you have a chance, I’d like to introduce you to Jessica Huntington. Her mystery stories are set in the beautiful Coachella Valley near Palm Springs. Jessica is a rich, 30-something, angst-ridden amateur sleuth who finds her privileged life turned upside down by a ruthlessly unfaithful husband. An unconventional sleuth with a fairy godmother complex, she learns the hard way that money can’t buy happiness or save your neck!

Books in The Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series:

A Dead Husband

A Dead Sister

A Dead Daughter

A Dead Mother out later this year

And the prequel to the series:

Love a Foot Above the Ground

I’d also like to invite you to read Cowabunga Christmas! The first book in the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery Series features 20-something sleuths, Brien and Kim. Two characters who meet in the Jessica Huntington series, they’re young, in love, on their honeymoon, and a bit impulsive. The setting in Corsario Cove is perfect, except for the dead Santa in the swimming pool at the exclusive Sanctuary Resort & Spa!

Kim and Brien’s excellent honeymoon adventure continues inBook 2, Gnarly New Year, available for preorder in May, for release in June.

Again, I hope all of you enjoy her works as much as I do. Believe, it’s time well spent!

Fab Book!

I read a lot and this is a book I felt I had to share with you. I just finished Kathi Daley’s latest book, Murder at Dolphin Bay and I loved it! Matter of fact, I was so taken with it I asked her if she’d write a blog about it. She graciously agreed to and here it is. Believe me, this is definitely a book to either be put on your must read list or buy immediately. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Murder at Dolphin Bay Facebook

I want to thank Dianne for inviting me to be a guest on her blog today. She asked me to talk about my new series set in Hawaii which I am always happy to do.

Murder at Dolphin Bay is the first book in the new Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Series. I had the idea to write a cozy mystery series about a protagonist who wants nothing more than to be a cop but due to a specific set of challenges is having a difficult time making her dream come true. I also knew that I wanted the series to be set in Hawaii. Being a west coast girl I visit Hawaii quite often and in many ways think of it as my home away from home.

The opening paragraphs to Murder at Dolphin Bay describe the set up for the series:

My name is Kailani Pope. Everyone who isn’t my father or my paternal grandmother calls me Lani. Probably the most important thing you need to know about me is that I want to be a cop. Correction: I need to be a cop. Not only is being a proud member of the Honolulu Police Department my destiny but it’s in my blood. My dad was a cop, my grandfather was a cop, my Uncle Steve is a cop, and my five brothers are all cops for various agencies within the state of Hawaii.

I know most little girls dream of being a princess, ballerina, or beauty queen when they grow up, but from the moment I was old enough to start picturing my future, I knew I wanted to be a cop. In the years since, I have never once wavered from my commitment to do this very thing. So why, you ask, am I not a cop?

You see, in spite of my unwavering determination, I have had a teeny, tiny problem making my dreams come true. That teeny, tiny problem, as it turns out, is a teeny, tiny me. While all five of my brothers top the six-foot mark on the height charts, I have to stand on my tippy toes to even approach the five-foot mark. Although the HPD doesn’t technically have a height requirement, they do have a lot more applicants than they have jobs, so it makes sense that the candidates who are most qualified, like my burly brothers, are more likely to be given the opportunity than those of us who are vertically impaired and don’t quite meet the ideal prototype for police work.

Lani is not only petite but she also has a tendency to be impulsive. Combine that with a certain fearlessness and you have a protagonist who, more often than not, acts before she stops to think things through. We find out as the story develops that Lani’s tendency to get herself into sticky situations might very well be the real obstacle preventing her from fulfilling her dream. Below is a conversation Lani has with one of her cop brothers.

“Look, kid, I get it. I’ve been living in Jason’s shadow ever since I joined the HPD and it gets old. But you aren’t Hawaii Five-0. You’re more like Hawaii Five Foot-0. If you keep messing around with this sort of thing you’re going to get hurt.”

“I’m as capable of figuring this out as you and Jason. I may be short, but I’m smart and I deserve a chance. Maybe if you would all stop blocking my acceptance into the academy I could work with you instead of on my own.”

“Hey.” Justin raised his hands in the air. “I can’t speak for Jason, but I’m not blocking anything. If you want my opinion, it’s stunts like this that are keeping you out. The HPD doesn’t have a lot of use for someone who acts first and thinks later.”

The supporting cast in the series includes: Luke Austin, a transplanted cowboy from Texas who Lani despises in the beginning but is forced to enlist in her search for the killer; other lifeguards and employees at the resort where Lani works; the residents at the Shell Beach Condominium Complex where Lani lives with her best friends Kekoa and Cam; and a group of senior citizens who Lani has lunch with every Monday afternoon. The residents living in the six units of the condo complex are as much like a family as any group of people who care for and support each other, and it is this feeling of family that creates a cozy community from which to tell the story.

I plan to write book 2 in the series while on location in Hawaii at the end of April. Photos of some of the scenes I will be writing about will be posted to my Facebook page so that readers can enjoy a visual display of actual locations that will play into the story. If you would like to follow along please join me at Book 2 in the series will publish in July.

Amazon link:

KathiEdit (1)

Amazon Giveaway!

The first book I wrote and published was Blue Coyote Motel. It became a best seller and an award winning book. Here’s a chance to get your copy. I’m giving away three print copies of it, because I still really like it. One of my readers recently wrote me that she’d read all of my cozy mysteries and decided to buy that one. She said she absolutely loved it and gave it a five star review on Amazon. Here’s the link to enter Good luck!


Just Do It!

Have to share this wonderful interview the brilliant author Christoph Fischer did with me. Here it is


He’s an excellent author and I think the article is one of the best I’ve seen. Enjoy!

Also want to share the cover of my newest book, Murdered by Words, which will be publish in approximately two weeks.