Author Spotlight: Diana Pharaoh Francis

Author Spotlight: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Author Pic
The Black Ship
The Cipher
Whisper of Shadows
Edge of Dreams

Making the New Year’s Resolution

Last year was an awful year on a lot of fronts. We lost so many talented people–actors, musicians, writers, artists. It feels like the Grim Reaper took an extra big haul–like he was taking notes from George. R. R. Martin. So many of those who died had a great deal of impact on me through their work. Losing them is like losing bits of myself, of my past, of the world itself. Many important moments of my life have been punctuated by their art.

It made me wonder what they were thinking as they created their works. Did they have any idea how much impact they could have? Or would have? I can’t imagine that they did. They each had something they wanted to say, some emotion or idea they wanted to capture. I know that when I write, I want to make the rest of the world go away. I want to entertain. I want good to triumph against evil, even though it doesn’t always. I always want there to be heroes, even when it seems there are none to be found. I look around in this world and I see those heroes everyday in the news. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, is what some people like to call them. But they aren’t ordinary, are they? None of us are. We are all extraordinary in our own way. We all have the ability to be somebody else’s hero.

So that’s my New Year’s Resolution: to be somebody’s hero as often as I can, in all the ways I can.

Be entertained by Diana Pharaoh Francis! Pick up Trace of Magic! Only $0.99 until til the 14th!

4 ½ Stars TOP PICK –RT Magazine

“Best book of the year!” –Faith Hunter, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Jane Yellowrock series

Even the most powerful tracers can’t track you if the magical trace you leave behind is too old. But I can track almost anything, even dead trace. That makes me a unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Loch Ness Monster all rolled into one. In a word, I am unique. A very special snowflake. And if anyone ever finds out, I’ll be dead or a slave to one of the Tyet criminal factions.

Riley Hollis has quietly traced kidnapped children and quietly tipped the cops to their whereabouts one too many times. Now she’s on the radar of Detective Clay Price, a cop in the pocket of a powerful magic Tyet faction. When he blackmails her into doing a dangerous trace for him, Riley will have to break every rule that keeps her safe. Or become a Tyet pawn in a deadly, magical war.

“Diana Pharaoh Francis has crafted a winning paranormal mystery that mixes sizzling sex, magic, and a decades old search for artifacts that could change their world.” –Jeanne Stein, Bestselling Author of The Anna Strong Chronicles

“Trace of Magic caught me up fast and pulled me in tight for a fun, action-and-sass adventure full of deadly magic and dangerous romance. Diana Pharaoh Francis delivers a downright terrific read.” –Devon Monk, nationally Bestselling Author of Hell Bent


And make sure you pick up the rest of Diana Pharaoh Francis’s wonderful selection!

Diamond City Magic Novels:

The Crosspointe Novels:



by H.W. Buzz Bernard

Okay, I admit it.  Even though I’m old and cranky, I still harbor a bit of nostalgia when it comes to the December holidays.  I love the trappings of a traditional Christmas: melodious carols, twinkling lights, a nip in the air.


(But egg nog?  Forget it.  Gimme a shot of Jack on the rocks instead.)


Anyhow, there’s a heartfelt, evocative Christmas scene in Blizzard, one I truly enjoyed writing. It flowed from memories of Christmases past in another time and another place, when I dwelled not in the South, but in a location closer to the North Pole, New England.  (Which is as near Santa’s digs as I ever want to get.)


Now I live in Atlanta—and have for many years—where frigid December holidays are as scarce as Democrats.  So to write my scene, I journeyed into times gone by.  I felt the warmth of blazes crackling in stone fireplaces, sniffed the aromas of gingerbread and fresh-cut fir wafting through happy homes, and peered out windows to watch Siberian winds whipping over icy ponds.


But why, you ask, would a thriller writer be, well, thrilled to paint a Currier & Ives scene with words?  I had a purpose, of course.


I placed my protagonist, a decent man and loving father and husband, in an “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” moment of holiday warmth and tranquility before thrusting him—purveyor of Grinchiness that I can be (ain’t being a novelist fun?)—into a frozen nightmare of violence and death.


Think he can survive?  You can find out for only $1.99. Just click the cover!

Happy Recipe Greetings for the Holidays Week!

Happy Recipe Greetings for the Holidays Week!


holiday-recipes-banner-676x100It’s the perfect time to try out some new dishes with the holidays just around the corner! Maybe you want to wow your coworkers at the annual office party, or you want to spice up Christmas dinner.

Whatever it is, we’ve got you covered!

Since it’s National Recipe Greetings for the Holidays week, we’re going to post a new recipe each day!

Have a recipe you just can’t keep to yourself? We’d love to hear from you! All recipes will be sent at the end of the week to our newsletter subscribers! Sign up here so you don’t miss out!

A delicious treat for the end of the week!

Rose’s Chocolate Meringue Pie



Chocolate Filling:
2 cups half-n-half
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa
3 egg yolks (beaten) [save the whites for meringue]
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
1 deep dish pie crust, baked according to directions


  1. Heat 1-1/2 cups of the half-n-half, but don’t let it boil.
  2. While heating half-n-half to a near simmer, mix together dry ingredients: cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a separate bowl.
  3. Separate yolks from whites. Set aside whites in large metal or glass bowl to get to room temperature for making the meringue later.
  4. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of half-n-half with the egg yolks. Whisk the mixed dry ingredients into the egg yolk and half-n-half mixture until smooth. Remove half-n-half from heat and gradually whisk into chocolate/yolk mixture.
  5. Once everything is incorporated, place back on heat on medium-high and continue to whisk (so as not to burn the bottom) until the mixture boils. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla and whisk. Cover with plastic wrap while cooling and make meringue.


3 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla


  1. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Beat in powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla.
  2. Pour chocolate mixture into cool pie crust. Spread meringue over chocolate filling, covering crust edge. Use spoon to create peaks.
  3. Bake at 325° in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until peaks are browned. Cool for one hour, then refrigerate until serving.


You can find more recipes like this in Homecoming in Mossy Creek, book 8 in The Mossy Creek Hometown Series!

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For when the holidays become a little too stressful!

Tropical Libations from Uncle Louie’s Booze Bible from The Tiki Goddess Series!

Great Balls of Fire
Dedicated to the memory of Harold Otanami, aka The Smoke Monster, who ended up facedown in the luau pit.
Hot and smooth, one sip will forever immortalize this longtime neighbor of The Tiki Goddess Bar and call to mind those tropic nights when Harold sang his favorite Karaoke number, “Feel Like A Woman.”
1 oz. Light Rum
1/2 oz. Dark Rum
1/4 oz. Triple Sec
Dash of ginger
2 Drops Tabasco
Shake all together with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Preferably a clean one.
Huli Huli Boolie
Huli means “To turn.” This one will keep your head spinning. Uncle Louie really gets the tourists rockin’ with this one.
1 oz. Rum
1 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Bourbon
2 oz. Sweet and Sour
3 oz. Passion Fruit or ½ papaya
Blend all with ice. Pour into a tall glass, garnish with a pineapple slice and a cherry.


You can find more recipes like this in Mai Tai One On, book 1 in The Tiki Goddess Series! Be sure to check back tomorrow!

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Santa Paws needs treats, too!

Today’s recipe is courtesy of Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist, from The Pampered Pets Mysteries Series!

Caro’s PAWS Good Dog Treats


1/ 2 cup of creamy unsalted peanut butter
1 cup oat flour
1 cup brown rice flour (Caro uses organic)
1 egg
1 tablespoon of honey
1/ 2 cup finely grated carrot (Dogbert loves carrots and so does Abbey)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 ° F.
  2. In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients with just enough water to make it the consistency of cookie dough. Optional: You can also add cooked bacon, a bit of grated cheese, or other ingredients for flavor, but don’t add too much or it will mess with the consistency of the dough, and cause your treats to fall apart.
  3. Once you’ve got your treat dough all stirred up, put it between pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to about ¼ inch thickness. Then cut the dough with a cookie cutter. You can use whatever shape strikes your fancy. Caro often uses dog bone shapes of different sizes.
  4. Next, put them on a regular cookie sheet and bake them between fifteen and twenty minutes or until they’re Golden Retriever brown. Let them cool and then put them in an airtight container.
  5. You can store your PAWS Good Dog treats for about a week (or you can freeze them for later use) but keep an eye on them.

There are no preservatives, so watch out for spoilage.
This makes a couple of dozen treats so there’s plenty to go around.
Please share them with your dog.


You can find more recipes like this in Desperate Housedogs, book 1 in The Pampered Pets Mystery Series! Be sure to check back tomorrow for another dish!

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Our first recipe is courtesy of  Bubba Rice, owner and head chef of Bubba Rice Lunch and Catering Diner, from The Mossy Creek Hometown Series.

Roasted Asparagus with Red Pepper & Scallions


Serves 4

1 bundle of fresh asparagus
1 bundle of fresh scallions or green onions
1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Trim the asparagus and the scallions and dice the red pepper.
  2. Place the asparagus spears in a baking dish. Add the scallions on top of the asparagus, then sprinkle the diced red pepper evenly over the top.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the dish. Add salt and pepper and place in a 375 degree oven for 15—20 minutes.



a-day-in-mossy-creek-200x300x72You can find more recipes like this in A Day In Mossy Creek, book 5 in The Mossy Creek Hometown Series! Be sure to check back tomorrow for another dish!Barnes and NobleAppleAmazonKoboGoogle

Time to Pick Up the Shovel

Time to Pick Up the Shovel
New Pic Nov 2014
Bringing in the Thieves

New Pic Nov 2014Time to Pick Up the Shovel

by Lora Lee

The beginning of a New Year usually has everyone scrambling to make resolutions. Me? I set goals. This year will be a challenging one for me – the first year of living alone after sixty-one years married to my beloved late husband.

So how does one start over at my age, you ask? I don’t have the answer but when I find it, I’ll be happy to share. In the meantime, I’ll put one foot in front of the other, take a step forward and pray I don’t fall, ‘cause who’s gonna pick me up?

Recently, a dear friend gave me some thought-worthy advice. She told me, “When Life dumps a pile of garbage at your door, God provides a shovel.” So my goal for 2016 is to pick up that shovel and dig for Book Two of the Joyful Noise Mysteries. I have lots more stories to tell. Time to pick up the shovel.


In Bringing in the Thieves, Book One of the Joyful Noise Mysteries, protagonist Frankie Lou has returned to Ruby Springs, Texas, to start a new life. Growing up as the often rebellious preacher’s kid (PK), she’s made more than her share of mistakes. Now the divorced single mom must work hard to polish her tarnished halo and redeem her reputation in her hometown. Her first attempt to earn the respect of the community is to organize a choral group of misfit teens. Finding a body in the church baptistery marks Frankie Lou as a “person of interest” by the local police. That sure doesn’t shine her halo, bless her heart.


Lora Lee enjoys life in rural West Michigan near her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who make her heart smile every day.

Visit for more information about her Joyful Noise Mysteries series


Pick up BRINGING IN THE THIEVES for just $1.99 through January 15th!

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Goodbye to 2015

Goodbye to 2015
Judith Arnold

Judith ArnoldGoodbye to 2015

by Judith Arnold


Last year—2015—began for me, rather unpleasantly, with major surgery. I remember talking to my surgeon about whether scheduling the surgery for January 2nd was such a hot idea. “Will you be hung over?” I asked. He assured me he wouldn’t be. I certainly wouldn’t be. My husband and I weren’t exactly in a celebratory mood that New Year’s Eve.


But as I look back on the year just ended, I realize that despite its start, 2015 wasn’t a bad year at all. The surgery went well. My husband and some potent drugs got me through the first few post-op days, and then I started to reclaim my life.


I’m an exercise freak. I jog. I work out with weights. I do crunches and stretches. One year ago, I suddenly found myself unable to do any of those things. And yet, step by step, crunch by crunch, I got stronger. A week after the surgery, I could walk all the way to the corner and back. Another few weeks and I was able to walk a mile. I was able to carry the groceries from the trunk of my car to the kitchen without assistance, and lug the laundry baskets up and down the stairs. My clothing once again fit. My scars faded.


Now, one year later, I’m me again!


So in fact, 2015 was a terrific year. I got knocked down, and I picked myself back up again. That’s my definition of wonderful.


Still, when it comes to last year, I’m ready to say “goodbye to all that.” A new year means a new beginning. New walks and jogs, new adventures, new books to write, new readers to entertain. I hope this new year will be wonderful for all of us.


Say GOODBYE TO ALL THAT with Judith Arnold – only $1.99 through January 15th! 

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A Note from Wally Avett

A Note from Wally Avett
Last Bigfoot in Dixie

Wally's new hat


A Note from Wally Avett


I am grateful to Bell Bridge Books and my agent, Jeanie Loiacono, for getting my first two novels —MURDER IN CANEY FORK and LAST BIGFOOT IN DIXIE —  included in Amazon’s Holiday Gift Guide for the month of December.

My goal is to be a good storyteller so both novels, works of fiction, are solidly based on a number of true incidents.  I’m thankful the partnership of BBB and Amazon can enable me to reach a wider audience for my books.

My wife(52 years and counting) and I will welcome children and grandchildren into our mountain home over the holidays, where we always share good food and good stories.  Merry Christmas to all and a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Avett and wife

Seasonal greetings from the Smoky Mountain farm of the Wally Avetts.

Last Bigfoot in Dixie by Wally Avett is on sale during the month of December for only $1.99! Click the cover below to purchase!

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“As a longtime resident of North Carolina I felt while reading this book how authentic and real the characters came across. People in the southeastern part of the country do speak and act as portrayed in this story. I think just about every little town around the country has some strange and wild individuals that everybody in the town knows about and are suspicious of as well as the everyday common folks.

The story takes some unpredictable and sudden twists that keep you intrigued and anticipating what will happen next. A very well written book with some surprises along the way and a dramatic end fitting for a cast of characters such as these.”

Review posted by Robert on



Oh, What Fun: Diving into an 18th Century Christmas

Oh, What Fun: Diving into an 18th Century Christmas
Keowee Valley

Katie Crawford - larger jpg colorOh, What Fun: Diving into an 18th Century Christmas

by Katherine Scott Crawford

Christmastime in the eighteenth century: This was something I had to research in order to write the Christmas scenes in my historical novel, Keowee Valley, which opens in the year 1768.


I say “had to,” but really—it was a blast! I’m a research hound and a history nut, and to top it off, Christmas happens to be my favorite time of year. Diving into the details of a Christmas nearly 250 years past was a job for which I’ll happily volunteer any day of the week.


But it wasn’t easy. For one, Keowee Valley is set in the American colonies during a time of great upheaval—the American Revolution is brewing—and not only that, the particular Christmas I was writing about takes place on the Southern frontier, in the then-wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The woman hosting the Christmas festivities—my protagonist, 25 year-old Quinn MacFadden—is a bit of a conundrum: she’s a quick-tempered bluestocking who rides a horse like a man, speaks a couple of long-dead languages, takes off into the back-country in search of her kidnapped cousin, barters for land from the Cherokee Indians and builds a settlement which functions as an egalitarian community, and is (at this point in the story) falling in rather complicated love with a mysterious half-Cherokee, half-Irish tracker with conundrums of his own.


While we know a bit of the Christmas traditions of the American colonists during this time, most of that comes from the diaries of people living in towns and cities like Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Philadelphia and New York. During a time of war, everything is thrown off kilter, even the holidays. And in the wild Carolina back-country, where Quinn lives with a handful of settlers, her faithful horse, and her Cherokee neighbors, we don’t really know what went on this time of year. We can assume folks of European descent celebrated much like they did wherever they were originally from. Perhaps they sang songs, made a special meal, lit precious candles, and spent time with family. After all, throughout history people have always attempted to hold on to tradition, no matter where they are when Christmastime rolls around.


For Quinn, this means the giving of simple, carefully-chosen gifts for the settlers with whom she shares her wild new home: people who were once strangers, and whom she has come to love.


There’s the leather gloves for a freed slave, a corncob pipe for a disgraced English lord, a tea kettle for a hard-working couple and a wood flute for their young sons. But it’s the two gifts Quinn receives in the middle of the deep, cold, holy night—one, the gift of a saved life, and two, a rather perfect surprise from a man who’s swiftly becoming much more than a stranger—that make it a very merry Christmas indeed.

Pick up KEOWEE VALLEY by Katherine Scott Crawford for just $1.99 through December 31st!

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A Sense of Place

A Sense of Place
New Photo
Murder on Edisto
Edisto Jinx

A Sense of Place

By C. Hope Clark


I love a strong sense of place in my stories, as writer or reader, so when given the opportunity for a new mystery series, I leaped onto the chance to place my mysteries on Edisto Beach.


The hardest of hearts and the saddest of souls can find peace on the sand, waves lapping at their toes. How many stories have been written and movies made about the ocean, and how people have used that ebb and flow, soft breezy environment to get away, seek answers, and let go of life’s burdens if even for a few days?


In my Edisto Mystery Series, I take a broken main character running from an interrupted law enforcement career, and help her escape to the beach where she hopes to heal. But of course I do not let that happen, and what was supposed to be a long-term retreat turns into death, injury, mental anguish, and a vicious cycle of life-threatening events. Amidst the waves, gulls, swaying palmettos and salty balmy wind, danger abounds.


She is often her own worst enemy, and since she’s operated in Boston for years, she views the beach from a detective’s eye, so even where island residents don’t see danger, she does. Without that juxtaposition of locations – big city versus beach village – the magic wouldn’t happen nearly as well.


Setting can often assume the role of a character. When a tale can’t be told better anywhere else, setting has morphed into a player. Frankly, that’s my preference in reading material – those stories where even the very ground the character stands on has an impact on the plot.


Imagine Sherlock Holmes in other than England. Or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum in other than New Jersey. Or Tony Hillerman’s western mysteries without the Navajo west? True, there are many mysteries that could happen in any urban setting, or any rural setting, or any country, for that matter. But doesn’t it enrich the storytelling so much more to know that where the players fight, love, live and die impacts how it all turns out?



C. Hope Clark inserts strong setting in both her award-winning Carolina Slade Mysteries and Edisto Island Mysteries, all set in rural South Carolina. When she isn’t writing mysteries, she is editor of, an award-winning site to aid professional writers in their careers. She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central SC when she isn’t walking the coast of Edisto Beach.

Make sure you grab MURDER ON EDISTO only $1.99 through December! Happy Holidays! 

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And make sure you also grab the second in the series – Edisto Jinx!

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A Note from Wally Avett

A Note from Wally Avett
Avett and wife
Murder in Caney Fork

Wally's new hat


A Note from Wally Avett


I am grateful to Bell Bridge Books and my agent, Jeanie Loiacono, for getting my first two novels —MURDER IN CANEY FORK and LAST BIGFOOT IN DIXIE —  included in Amazon’s Holiday Gift Guide for the month of December.

My goal is to be a good storyteller, so both novels, works of fiction, are solidly based on a number of true incidents.  I’m thankful the partnership of BBB and Amazon can enable me to reach a wider audience for my books.

My wife(52 years and counting) and I will welcome children and grandchildren into our mountain home over the holidays, where we always share good food and good stories.  Merry Christmas to all and a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Avett and wife

Seasonal greetings from the Smoky Mountain farm of the Wally Avetts.

Murder in Caney Fork by Wally Avett is on sale during the month of December for only $1.99! Click the cover below to purchase!

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“Living in the N E GA/W NC mountains, I can certainly relate to these characters as if they were walking down the street in our small town. They come alive and realistically go about their days as you’d expect in a southern town in America. Wes, a wounded soldier coming home near the end of WWII, tries to settle back into his ‘normal’ environment on his return. Post war direction is needed and he chooses to become an apprentice in his uncle’s law firm. Being part of a southern lawyer’s cases delves him into suspense and mysteries, some surrounding those he loves…family. Justice is dealt with a little differently in the South and if the law doesn’t get the job done, then others will band together and take action deemed necessary. Certainly being thrust into multiple thrilling events opens the protagonists’ eyes into the world he is now surrounded by. Starting over can sometimes be thrilling, and call into focus that which you must deal with one incident at a time!”
Review posted by Rhonda Brigman on


An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude
Downton Tabby
sa 2015

sa 2015

SparkleAbbey-AuthorPhoto-2An Attitude of Gratitude

by Sparkle Abbey


We recently had an opportunity to chat with some readers about family traditions. Our biggest take-away from those conversations was, it’s all about attitude. So many talked about how, though they love family traditions, things were going to be different this year. For some, they’d become empty-nesters, for others they’d lost someone dear, and for still others, there were new additions to their families.

We’ve both had our share of life changes this past year and the stories these readers shared reminded us that whether a happy change or a sad one, change requires adjustments. And the main thing you have to adjust is your attitude.

There is joy in remembering times past and in making new memories.

There is joy in carrying on traditions, but perhaps adapting them to include new family members.

There is joy in beginning new traditions—maybe enjoying a quiet dinner, catching a movie, or taking a drive to see the holiday lights.

Or maybe your quiet get-together has become a rollicking feast with new little ones, or new in-laws, or outlaws. There can be joy in that change too.

As 2015 comes to a close and we reflect on all the changes (both good and bad) we’ve experienced this year, we hope to remember the stories that were shared.

And we hope we remember to find the joy.


Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They write a national bestselling pet themed mystery series set in Laguna Beach. The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon Mystery Series bestseller and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 bestseller, was followed by Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, Yip/Tuck, Fifty Shades of Greyhound, and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo. Downton Tabby is the latest installment in the series. Up next is Raiders of the Lost Bark.


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