Sunday, October 8, 2017

Week at a Glance: 10/2/17 - 10/8/17







































Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Kings of Hell MC by KA Merikan


Laurent & the Beast #1
Summary:
Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself.

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.

My Dark Knight #2
Summary:
Love or hate. Life or death. No inbetween. No compromise. No rules in love and war.

Knight. Party monster. Handsome Savage. Doesn’t do monogamy.

Elliot. Obsessive. Intense. Uncompromising.

Newly single, Knight is done with relationships. All he's interested in is bringing down The Count, an Internet personality who is tarnishing his family name. An opportunity to crush him comes when the audacious clown shows up at the Kings of Hell MC clubhouse to film for his YouTube channel. But when Knight meets Elliot, the man behind The Count, he no longer knows what to do with him.

Knight has never seen a more pathetic creature than Elliot. He’s also never met anyone who needed him more. Skinny, messed up, and a bucket of trouble as thick as tar, everything Elliot does seems to be a wordless death wish. No matter how much Knight hates Elliot’s alter ego, under the makeup and theatrics hides a fragile young guy with a passion for history, and Knight can’t help but catch Elliot every time he falls.

Elliot has bad taste in men. Always hopelessly attracted to violent brutes, his favorite is a long dead serial killer. But he gets more than he’s bargained for when he seizes an opportunity to meet the man of his dreams. The ghost is manipulative and dangerous, offering Elliot all he’s always wanted, for a price he can’t possibly pay.

Elliot is faced with an impossible choice between two men.

One alive, one dead.

One carnal and honest, one drizzling sweet, poisoned promises into his ear.

One unwilling to commit, the other promising an eternity together.

And Elliot doesn’t settle for half-measures. He craves a love that is all or nothing, passion that will consume him, and desire to burn him alive.

Elliot is ready to either get that, or die trying.

Themes: enemies to lovers, protector, cruelty, motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, tattoos, impossible choices, deception, crime, self-discovery, healing, black magic, gothic, commitment, ghosts, possession

Laurent & the Beast #1
Original Review May 2017
Paranormal, romance, motorcycle club, what's not to love?  Laurent and the Beast is an amazing tale with a little bit of everything.  I will say that I debated on appropriate tags, should I use paranormal, supernatural, or science fiction?  Despite there being a science fiction element with time travel, I went with paranormal because of the how and why Laurent went from 1805 to 2017.  No matter whatever category you decide on, just know that you will have read an incredible story that sucks you in from the very first word.

I have read some time travel stories before, not a vast amount but definitely a few,  more often than not the main character is going back in time so when Laurent moved forward more than 200 years I expected mentions of automobiles, electricity, and clothing.  I was surprised but delighted to see the author reflect on little things that most of us take for granted such as light switches, refrigeration, bathtubs, and especially Laurent's fascination with plastic.  These might be small scenes that don't seem very significant to most but to me they stood out and made it all the more realistic, well as realistic as time travel can be, and showed the attention the author made to details which is always an important factor to me when dealing with historicals, frankly it can be a make or break moment and in this KA Merikan work it is without a doubt a make it moment.

Despite the many differences between Laurent and Beast there is actually many similarities and the chemistry is off the charts.  This is a tale that will make you cringe but warm the heart, will make you hate a few but love even more, and short circuit your brain a time or two but when you hit that last page you will be begging for more.  Luckily for us, there is more to come and frankly I'll be waiting in line when book 2 comes out.  Although I have featured their work on my blog before this is the first time I've read anything by the duo that makes up KA Merikan but Laurent and the Beast will definitely not be the last.

My Dark Knight #2
Original Review August 2017
Knight is a biker with an unusual and unexpected hobby, love of history and more specifically his family genealogy.  Elliot is a man with an unusual passion for past serial killer William Fane, who was killed by Knight's ancestor Laurent Mercier, who just happens to be the significant other of the club president and Knight's best friend and is here after a pact with a demon.  When Knight and Elliot but heads over the Fane/Mercier connection will it turn into more and what will happen when the truth comes out?

As I have often said, I am a series lover and when I'm reading one that has a different couple as the focus of each installment, I rarely love the new ones as much as the original.  Well, I can safely say that as much as I love Laurent and Beast from book 1(conveniently titled Laurent and the Beast) there is something about Knight and Elliot that put them ahead in my heart.  Perhaps its my love of history and genealogy that tipped the scale or perhaps its because Elliot is so innocent even if a bit disturbed in his love of the murderer Fane.

Speaking of Elliot's naive passion for the murderer William Fane, well I don't personally understand it but as a Wisconsinite where we have had more than one serial killer, I have heard about that kind of fixation before so it didn't take me completely by surprise.  I loved how KA Merikan presented it, yes it's disturbing but not over the top, which in my opinion takes talent considering it's a paranormal story where over the top can be the norm.

As for Knight, he can be gruff but he's honest and direct.  Now gruff and direct is expected of a biker story but not always honest and certainly not a genealogy lover.  As a genealogy lover myself, I found his passion to be a great draw and loved how it gave him and Elliot an immediate connection even as they are at odds about Fane & Mercier.

I found My Dark Knight to be an amazing read that had me on the edge of my seat.  I warred with loving and hating both Knight and Elliot at times, okay maybe not hating but I certainly wanted to knock some serious sense into both of them.  I loved how even though Knight and Elliot are the focus of the story we got to see Laurent and Beast too and learn even more about Fane, which I didn't think I could hate more after book 1 but yeah, its possible.  Simply put, book 2 of Kings of Hell MC is amazing and perhaps fun is not the right word considering the content but its definitely enjoyable and I am eagerly looking forward to Jake's story in book 3: On Your Knees, Prospect.

RATING: 


Laurent & the Beast #1
Hound’s alarmed growling was coming his way, along with whines, when he reached the right door and opened it, only to have the massive Rottweiler’s body rush past him and into the corridor. Beast expected his pet to rush toward the room where the accident happened just minutes ago but Hound looked back at Beast, as if signalling he wanted to be followed, and rushed the other way, stirring the worst of feelings in Beast.

Was there an intruder somewhere in the house? With the sheer size of the former asylum that has served as the Kings of Hell Clubhouse for the last fifteen years, it was easy to overlook things happening in the disused parts of the property. They once had a bunch of teenagers who came over wanting to spy on the orgy. That thankfully didn’t end in blood, and out of the whole mess they got Jake to join their ranks.

Beast wondered whether he shouldn’t go back to the armory and get himself a gun but ultimately decided against it. There would be police and emergency services coming for Davy, and he didn’t want to run around with a firearm, no matter how good their relationship with the local police was.

Hound moved as if he were following a clear trail, but Beast couldn’t smell anything apart from dust and dampness. They were leaving behind the shouting and even the sound of the ambulance approaching, and eventually entered a corridor so disused it had a thick layer of dust on the floor. Now even Beast could see faint footprints in the dust, and next to them, dark droplets that could be blood.

Hound smelled the traces, looked back and broke into a run, which had Beast following him with the worst of expectations as to what he would eventually find. His heart beat faster as they ran down the dark hallway.

The building was a labyrinth, and this far away from where they all lived and worked, it wasn’t even wired anymore, so he breathed in the smell of mildew and followed Hound through the darkness in hope he would not stumble.

Windows in the doorless rooms on both sides of the corridor were the only source of light, now delivering a faint red and blue glow of the approaching ambulance. For all Beast knew, this could have been a gothic castle, something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with bloodthirsty monsters waiting for their next victim in one of the endless hallways, and yet he only ran faster, listening to the steady tap of Hound’s paws.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Hound rushed inside one of the rooms and gave a growl so vicious something inside Beast mourned his decision not to take a gun with him. But no one shot at him when Hound let out a single bark. Beast pushed past the empty doorway, jumping over a fallen chair, only to see someone hiding in the shadows.

Judging by the long, wavy hair and small stature, Beast at first thought it was a woman, but then the person spoke with a distinctly male voice.

“I… I’m not certain where I am.” The stranger took half a step out of the shadow, and into the flashing light coming from outside. His accent was distinctly foreign. French maybe?

Beast took him in with a scowl. Blood covered the stranger’s face, hair, dripped from his chin, from the tips of his trembling fingers, and stained the outfit that looked as if he’d stolen it from the set of a costume drama. Knee-high boots, fitted pants, a vest worn under a tailcoat.

“What the fuck are you doing on our property, boy?” hissed Beast, watching the soft features of a very young man. “Whose blood is this?” he asked, still cautious. In his experience, a non-threatening presence could hide an adept fighter, so he was not taking any chances as he joined Hound in front of the stranger, who was so short in comparison to Beast’s own six foot five form that his red-stained head only reached Beast’s pecs.

The stranger backed away into the corner, whimpering in fear the moment Hound growled at him again and lowered his head, but Beast wasn’t having any of it and grabbed the boy’s arm. “Is the blood yours then? Someone attacked you? Where?” he asked, not hesitating to pat the intruder down, to make sure there were no weapons hiding under the fancy coat.

The boy tried to weasel out of his grip, but he didn’t seem adept at using force. “N-no. I don’t think it’s mine. I don’t know. Is this hell?”

Beast groaned, staring at the silly-looking young man, whose white shirt was completely drenched in red. Someone must have died to produce this much blood.

“You will explain yourself to King.”

My Dark Knight #2
The moon was high up the sky tonight, framed by puffy, thick clouds. Knight pushed Elliot toward the woods. “Where’s your car?”

Fat drops of cold rain hit Elliot’s face as soon as they were out the door. Of course. Because this night hasn’t been bad enough already. At least he still had all his teeth. Maybe Knight would let him off the hook with a few bruises after all?

“If you uncuff me, I’ll go myself.”

“Ha. In your dreams, Count. I wouldn’t believe you even if you shut down that idiotic YouTube channel to appease me,” Knight said, leading Elliot toward the woods. Despite the ice-cold wetness soaking into Elliot’s stockings, he was glad for the fallen leaves, as they protected him from stones and sticks that would have likely hurt his feet otherwise.

And even though Knight was his potential doom, Elliot still wondered what the man actually thought of him. At the end of the day it was better to be seen as reckless than pathetic.

“It’s outside the property,” Elliot mumbled.

“Good. I’m up for a little walk,” Knight said when they dove between the trees. Darkness instantly became so thick Elliot could barely see what was within an arm’s reach, but Knight navigated the path just fine, as if he knew the way by heart. His arm was shockingly hot on Elliot’s shoulder, streaming warmth all over his body. Clad in only the inexpensive suit of thin fabric, Elliot was already sensing spikes of cold biting at his flesh. His stockings would surely be ruined by the end of this walk of shame.

“So… your interest in your ancestors. It’s not an incest thing, is it?” Elliot had to fight to prevent his teeth from rattling. He frowned, realizing that what he said came out wrong. “I don’t mean that in a bad way.”

Knight exhaled loudly and squeezed Elliot’s shoulder even harder. “You’re completely out of it. How could this even occur to you? Not everyone is jerking off to dead guys.”

They turned into a path Elliot hadn’t even noticed at first despite his eyes having gotten used to the dark. This was not his night. If he survived Knight’s punishment, then he’d die of pneumonia anyway.

“Stop saying that. William wasn’t just anyone. He was special!”

“Special how? You mean because he had the unusual hobby of murdering people? And, only young men known to be handsome. We both know what that means.”

“So he was gay. Big deal. With the club president you guys have, this shouldn’t be an issue.” Elliot dared to glance up at Knight’s face. The man was too handsome to be real. All symmetry, cheekbones, and a nose that had surely never been broken.

Knight snorted. “If you look at how serial killers operate it’s more than likely he was also sexually assaulting his victims. Is that the kind of thing you’re into? Maybe I shouldn’t rough you up too much, or you’ll come back for more.”

Elliot’s whole body was so cold violent tremors went through it every now and then, but his face still went hot at the notion. “Sure, he killed people, but you don’t know what those men were like. You don’t know what they’d done to him.” Elliot tasted powder on his tongue and bit his lips in shame when he realized his intricate but cheap makeup was now dripping down his face.

“Really? You think a baker or a clerk could hurt a man who owned a large estate and was part of the high society?” Knight asked and stopped, letting go of Elliot. For a moment, Elliot’s frantic brain told him to run, but before he could consider it, a heavenly warmth covered his shoulders. The scent of leather and the same aroma he’d sensed on Knight had Elliot’s insides flaring up with butterflies.

Covered by Knight’s leather jacket, he suddenly forgot what they’d been talking about. At least the tears that spilled down his face shouldn’t be so visible in the dark. Why would have Knight done such a thing? Why give up his own comfort for Elliot’s sake? It simply didn’t add up.

Elliot looked up at Knight, embarrassed about the way he choked up at the gesture. “They could have still broken his heart.”

Knight watched him for several seconds. “One day, someone’s gonna murder you, you know that? This kind of thinking’s gonna send some homicidal douchebag your way, and off you go,” he said, poking Elliot’s forehead with his finger.

Elliot looked away, all kinds of restless. The warm leather jacket felt like a shield from all the world’s evil, and he loved that feeling, even though his mind alerted him constantly that something was amiss. At least he was getting the vibe that homosexuality didn’t bother Knight. “How do you know I wouldn’t kill them first?”

Knight crooked his head so abruptly some of his thick hair rolled back to uncover his shoulder. After giving away his jacket, he was clad only in a T-shirt that didn’t exactly cling to his chest but showcased it in the best way possible. “You? With no meat on those bones?”

The sense of indignity pushed Elliot forward, and he started walking even though he had no idea where he was going. “All you need is good aim.”

Author Bio: 
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.


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Laurent & the Beast #1

My Dark Knight #2

Release Tour: Vein River by Kellie Honaker

Title: Vein River
Author: Kellie Honaker
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 1, 2017
Summary:
The locals of Vein River fear the covered bridge and avoid it at night at all costs. They say she hangs in the darkness, her long silk nightgown drifting in the breeze. She swings from a noose, her toes rat-tat-tatting across the hood should someone drive beneath her.

As legend goes, if you receive her withering kiss, you either die, get sick, or go stark raving mad. Your only chance of pardon is to kiss her dangling feet and beg for mercy.

The fate of the town rests on the shoulders of Annie Forrester, a sixteen year old girl with psychic powers.

Only Annie will have the strength to enter the bridge and face the evil head on.


Ed Meeker became a missing person that wasn’t actually missed. Local cops poked around and asked questions, but didn’t delve too deeply, in my opinion. He didn’t stay missing for long though, he washed up after three days. Some poor kid with a fishing pole caught what he thought was a hell of a catch. What he really caught was a few therapy sessions. Corpses are ugly, traumatizing things, especially those who died from supernatural causes.

I eat most of my meals at the Floured Fork because it’s too hard to cook for one. It’s depressing to cook for one, not that I was ever a pro at it to begin with. I’ve sat in this corner booth so much that the cushion remembers the curve of my rump. It’s my favorite corner at the far end of the restaurant, far from the bathrooms and the entrance. It shares a wall with the kitchen, and I like the heat that passes through the swinging doors each time a waitress makes an exit. You can hear the sizzle of the grill, the clash of pans, and the occasional swear word from the dishwasher. People avoid this booth for these very reasons, but I find the racket comforting.

Gretchen has scarcely refilled my coffee cup when a shadow passes over me.

“Mind if I sit?”

I look up to find Detective Robbins. I’ve known him since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Always was a good boy. He grew up in the house beside of mine, until he turned sixteen. His mother was a pretty thing; good natured, hard worker. A single mom that worked two jobs. She did a phenomenal job on her own, but when the lawnmower needed fixing, or the roof leaked, I made sure to help her out. I don’t mind helping those that help themselves. I even taught Robbins how to throw a curve ball on evenings when she couldn’t get him off the school bus. I don’t know if he ever regarded me as the father he never had, but I surely know how fond I was of him.

“Sure, have a seat,” I say.

He slides across from me and waves to Gretchen. She brings him a coffee.

“How are you doing, Charles?” he asks.

“Just fine, how are you and the missus?”

“Quite well.”

He stares at me, tracing the rim of his coffee cup with his thumb.

I look him in the eye. “Something on your mind, son?”

“What do you think of them finding Ed Meeker?”

I shrug and take a sip of my coffee.

“You should have seen the body, Charles. It was horribly wrinkled.”

He waits for me to make eye contact before he continues.

“He was wrinkled just like you. The wrinkles were so identical, that I’d swear the two of you were twins. It’s true that bodies and water don’t mesh well, that’s a fact. But what I really expected to find was a bloated body, not a body that looked like it’d been shriveled in the sun. Three days in the water, Charles, and he was like a stick of jerky. How does that happen? It was a hideous sight, Charles, he looked like he died while he was screaming. There’s no way there’ll be an open casket. That’s why it’s odd, Charles, that’s why when we arrived, there was a ten-year-old boy vomiting on the edge of the river bank. A normal body wouldn’t have rattled him so. I think you know what happened to him, Charles, or at least you have a theory. You haunt that bridge just as much as the ghost you claim swings from the rafters.”

Robbins leans away from me as Gretchen tops him off. She’s on auto-pilot. She wouldn’t pay attention to a customer’s conversation even if we were planning an assassination. She makes off for the far end of the room with a plate of eggs. He leans back in closer to me.

“You were the last person to talk to him, your home phone called his, we have a record of that.”

“I had car trouble, he helped me out and I went on my way. I didn’t see anything.”

He nods his head as if he already knew.

“I think you did see something, Charles,” he whispers. “but I know that whatever it is you’ve got in that head won’t fly on a legal document. So, I’m not going to ask you what you saw.”

I want to smirk and glare at the same time, but I keep my poker face.

“Now, I’ve never seen this so called ghost that you’ve been morbidly obsessed with for the whole of my existence. I don’t believe in it, either. I’m a man of facts. I don’t solve cases with mumbo-jumbo. I think you know exactly what happened. I think you lured him to the bridge in the hopes that your pet ghost would scare him to death. I’m not sure what you did, but I know you did it. I can’t say that I blame you. There’s a long line of people that would have loved to kill him. Do you know what the coroner said he died from? Old age. Forty-five years old and died of old age. What do you think of that, Charles? Now that doesn’t look good on paper either. So I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to pull some strings, have it written up as a heart attack. Everybody knows that Ed was a dick. He kept me busy with all the riffraff. Quite frankly, I’m glad he’s gone, but I’ll never tell anyone but you. My report will list it as a suicide. His dirty deeds finally caught up with him, so he jumped. Maybe once he hit the water, he changed his mind and tried to swim to shore. He was a smoker and a drinker, and ate his fair share of Big Macs, so his heart gave out. That’s what happened, right, Charles?”

“You’re the detective.”

“You’re right,” he says sliding from the booth and slapping a five on the table. “You’re exactly right.”

Author Bio:
Kellie is the author of Grandfather Hollow and The Web Weaver, two short story collections available through Amazon. When she isn’t rescuing animals or fueling her book addiction, she’s busy mastering the art of becoming a hermit and a writer. Kellie incorporates her pets into her stories at every opportunity. In fact, her author picture features Salem, the kitten who makes his debut in Vein River. Even though the fictional Salem is robust and into mischief; the real Salem is blind. It doesn’t slow him down though. He still manages to climb his cat tree and catch the wayward fly. Once his bug-catching duties are over, he lounges around with a French Bulldog named Dumplin’.



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Release Tour: Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

Title: Halloween is Murder
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Series: McKinley Mysteries #11
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Mystery
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Summary:
Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.

But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.

As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.

Chapter 3
SHADOWS OF NIGHT
SARA WAS CALLING YOUR SOURCE from her home office one last time. That’s what she told herself anyhow. She’d lost count of how many times she’d called them, but she had always met with a busy signal. And there it was again…

She lowered the receiver to its cradle. One could be certain that the station had plenty of rollover lines, so it had to be other people calling in about Chloe’s death, too. Other crazy people like her wanting answers. At least, she was sure that Sean thought she was crazy, but she had a niggling sensation in her gut that they needed to look into Chloe’s death.

Maybe it was because she and Sean were surrounded by murder wherever they looked and wherever they went. Even when they were supposed to be relaxing on their honeymoon, a case had found them. And the inclination to view any death as suspicious was embedded in her psyche from years working as a homicide detective with the Albany PD. Sure, Chloe could have died from natural causes, an accident, or even suicide, but it was also just as likely that someone had caused her death intentionally. To quiet her mind, Sara had to find out which scenario applied to Chloe. And if her calls weren’t making it through, there was another route she could take.

She flicked on the monitor, pleased that she had the habit of leaving her computer on most of the time. She brought up an Internet search engine and typed in Chloe’s full name and Your Source. This brought up pages of results. The first entry was a post from the television station entitled, DEATH OF LOCAL REPORTER CASTS DARK CLOUD OVER ALBANY. Sara clicked to open the link.

Scanning down the page, she found she was no closer to knowing what had happened to Chloe. There was no cause of death listed, but rather, the piece read like an obituary with a recap of Chloe’s career accomplishments and brief mentions of her personal life—she had a sister and had died single. That was it. Somehow it seemed like a sad summation of a twenty-five-year-old woman’s life that had been cut so short. There was so much that Chloe had yet to experience, and Sara hoped that Chloe had at least known romantic love at some point in her life.

Sara returned to her search results and clicked on many of the other links, but they were more or less copycats of the statement Your Source had published.

Every Day Is Halloween
“A nice and fun, old-fashioned mystery. Halloween is Murder was a very well-written and fast read with great characters and a fun mystery with a resolution that I did not see coming.” –The Reading CafĂ©

Ask anyone who loves Halloween and they’ll probably tell you their favorite part about it is dressing up. When you put on a costume, you can be whomever—or whatever—you want. It’s liberating! On top of that, it’s likely that there are all kinds of goodies lying around the house.

When I was a girl, I loved playing Barbie. I loved dressing her up and assigning her whatever life story I wanted. And, man, did I enjoy it! Maybe for a little too long, in fact. I kept playing into my early teens! At the time, I felt like some sort of freak. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted this news to get out to the kids at school. They probably would have called me a baby or something like that. So I kept this part of my life a secret, and I justified my addiction by pinning the blame on my sister, who is six years younger than me—she needed someone to play with! 

Now that I’m older—much, much older—I look back and find this aspect of my past amusing. I realize that it’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, but it shows me that I’ve always loved telling stories and acting them out. No wonder I became an author!

In the grand scheme of things, Halloween is very similar. The holiday allows people of all ages to participate in this fantasy, if only for one night. But as an author, I get to experience Halloween every day of the year. I become someone else every time I sit at my desk and immerse myself into the worlds of my characters. I get to delve into their minds, to know their thoughts, their feelings, their personalities, their lives. And I get to share my imagination with my readers. Now that’s a real treat! 

Speaking of, I’m going to grab a small bowl of candy corn and gummy peaches and get to writing. Happy Halloween!

--Carolyn Arnold


What inspired you to write Halloween is Murder?
Halloween is probably the most popular holiday next to Christmas! Who wouldn’t want to read a Halloween-themed murder mystery? And it’s kept light and fun. 

I understand this is part of the McKinley Mystery series, but can this book stand on its own? And can you share with us what the book is about?
Halloween is Murder can easily be read as a standalone.

In Halloween is Murder, Sean and Sara McKinley are set to celebrate Halloween in style, and they’re eager to invite the entire city to visit their haunted house fund-raiser. But their recorded segment for a local television station goes unaired and the reporter is later found dead. Sara’s determined to get answers, and she brings Sean and their entire PI firm along with her. There are more tricks than treats, however, as they try to carve out the truth.

Please tell us a little more about the McKinleys and their series.
Romance. Humor. Murder. 

Those three words best sum up what readers can expect from the McKinley Mysteries series. 

These stories are cozy in nature and appeal to readers who love a murder mystery without the gore or foul language. Each installment is novella length, with the exception of The Day Job is Murder, which is a short story. This makes the books “perfect for curling up for an afternoon” (Brooke Blogs) and “perfect to bring along on vacation” (Bound 4 Escape). The Layaway Dragon describes the series as, “perfect if you like clean-cut characters, a sweetheart romance, having the money to follow your dreams, and crime-solving abilities.”

To tell you a bit more, Sean and Sara McKinley are former homicide detectives with a talent for attracting death investigations wherever they go. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work for a living, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. From sleuths to eventual private investigators, they’ll do whatever it takes to solve a case. Whether that means going undercover, off the books, or around the world, you can be certain they’ll be romancing it up along the way.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Hart to Hart, Castle, Colombo, Monk, Rockford Files, Psych, and Magnum, P.I.

What can readers expect when they crack the cover?
They can expect to feel the chill in the air, to see the colored leaves on the ground, and to slip into the world of make-believe in true Halloween spirit while Sean and Sara search for a killer. There is also, of course, some humor and romance along the way. 

Name one specific just-for-fun liberty you took with the book? 
In Christmas is Murder, I named the chapters after holiday-related songs, and I carried a bit of this fun over to Halloween is Murder. Each chapter is titled with a play on Halloween-related words or phrases. Here are some examples (in no particular order): “Dreading the ‘Boo,’” “Stuck Between a Grave and a Tombstone,” “An Attempt to Sweeten the Cauldron,” and “Grim Reaper Claims a Victim.”

What’s your favorite part about Halloween?
Seeing how happy people are when they dress up and pretend to be someone else for the night. And let’s not forget the candy!

What makes Halloween is Murder the perfect Halloween read?
It’s fun and light, just like the holiday. Throw in a murder to solve, dressing up, some cloak-and-dagger, and a haunted house, and who can say no to that?

What to expect from the McKinley Mysteries:
Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.








Author Bio:
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.


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