“Jeff found scuff marks on the windowsill.”

“Yes, from your shoes.”

“I wasn’t wearing shoes.”

“You weren’t?”

“No. I was in my stockinged feet. Cassidy, someone climbed in that window before I fell out of it.”

Monday, October 25, 2021

Books on the Beach


I had a fabulous time at Books on the Beach this past weekend. Held at the Hilton on Clearwater Beach, hundred of authors and readers gathered for fun-packed days of panels, looking at books, talking shop, and talking a lot. Thanks to the wonder organizers Sheri Lyn, Jennifer Wedmore and Cassidy O'Connor and their fabulous crew of volunteers!

Here's a photo of me with Minion the Monkey:



Me as Minnie Mouse:


Our Mystery Writers Panel:


And my table at the signing.






Do Drop In to NN LIght's Trick or Treat Tomorrow!


I’m part of NN Light’s Trick or Treat Book Bonanza October 26 AND 28!

All Month Long: N. N. Light’s Book Heaven is hosting the third annual Trick or Treat Book Bonanza. Great books—great prizes. This year we are offering a $75 Amazon gift card.

It all takes place here: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/trick-or-treat-book-bonanza

Save these dates: October 26 and October 28. You’ll get a teaser and a bit more about my mystery/romances.

On October 26: Mrs. Spinney’s Secret

 On October 28 Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon.



Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Saturday, October 16, 2021

I’m part of NN Light’s Trick or Treat Book Bonanza!

 ALL MONTH LONG!


 

N. N. Light’s Book Heaven is hosting the third annual Trick or Treat Book Bonanza. Great books—great prizes. This year we are offering a $75 Amazon gift card.

It all takes place here: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/trick-or-treat-book-bonanza

Save these dates: October 26 and October 28. You’ll get a teaser and a bit more about my mystery/romances:

Mrs. Spinney’s Secret 


and Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon



Monday, October 11, 2021

Five Stars for Thursday’s Children, a Memoir

 


Thursday’s Children, a book by an old friend, Elisabeth Pendley, is an unexpectedly compelling memoir of a young teacher at a disadvantaged elementary school in the South in the 1960s. Thursday’s Children left me distressed but hopeful. It is a fascinating window into that transitional period between segregation and integration, when blacks and whites—confronted with an upheaval in the old order—treated each other with suspicion, if not outright hatred. It is also a story of how a closed environment can be corrupted by indolence and lack of accountability. The author gives us individual portraits of each of the children—their problems and their progress. You find yourself rooting for this or that child to break through the incredible obstacles to success. Also interesting is the picture given of the manner in which human beings react to very difficult circumstances—some with apathy, some with anxiety, some with courage. I recommend Thursday’s Children to anyone wishing to understand more clearly the origin of some current prejudices that have persisted—and the effect those prejudices can have on children’s lives.

Find Thursday’s Children here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Thursdays-Children-betrayed-defended-continues/dp/0578863812

My Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4282928554

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Coming Soon! Hidden Gem: the Secret of St. Augustine

Approved! The official blurb for my upcoming mystery from The Wild Rose Press, Hidden Gem: the Secret of Saint Augustine:

Aviles Street, St. Augustine, where Philo lives.


Barnaby Swift is in St. Augustine, Florida, to teach a college seminar in historic methodology and plans to use The Secret, a treasure hunt book, as a framework for his class. He enlists Philo Brice, owner of an antique map store, to aid him in seeking clues in the historic sites of the ancient city.

The Secret: a Treasure Hunt by Byron Preiss



Together they face murderers, thieves, thugs, and fanatics, heightening their already strong attraction to each other. Can they solve the puzzle and unearth the treasure before the villains do? Philo and Barnaby must follow several twisting paths and false leads before arriving at a startling conclusion.

Sound intriguing? I'll keep you posted on publication date!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Randy Overbeck & Scarlet at Crystal River are with us today

Please welcome Randy Overbeck and the latest addition to his Haunted Shores mystery series, Scarlet at Crystal River.



Darrell and Erin thought they were heading to Florida for a carefree honeymoon, but the ghosts of two immigrants children haunt them, pleading for help.

In 2019, the Wild Rose Press launched the Haunted Shores Mysteries with my story about Darrell, the teacher and coach who sees ghosts and the ghost of a huge black student haunting a high school. Blood On The Chesapeake was so well received by readers and reviewers that it became a #1 Amazon best seller. Then, last year, the publisher released Crimson At Cape May in the middle of the pandemic, a story featuring the specter of a bride murdered on her wedding night, who stalks Darrell, still bleeding in her white wedding dress. This second entry has won three national awards and, by now, the series has amassed more than a dozen 5-Star reviews from national and international reviewers.

As I pondered the third installment, I realized I wanted to keep all the critical elements of the series—cold case murder, ghost, romance and resort—but I also wanted to give my readers something different. On a break from my brainstorming, I was thumbing through family pictures and came upon a photo of my grandkids playing on a playground. Staring at the images of the smiling faces, it hit me. What if the mystery was about the death of two your kids? Two kids whose ghosts haunt Darrell to find justice for them?

The rest, as they say, is history. Our last trip—pre-pandemic—was to the Florida Gulf coast to find a suitable location for my narrative and I found a great one. Thus, Scarlet At Crystal River was born. Well, that and hundreds of hours of writing, revising, re-writing, editing, re-writing…well, you get the picture. I’m pretty happy with the end product and I hope readers are too.

 

Blurb

All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.

When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.

Excerpt: There and Not There

           Darrell ran harder, finishing the loop and circling back to Erin. She was so engrossed in her paperback he managed to sneak up behind her. He leaned and in and grabbed another long kiss.

She kissed him back, smiling. “Now that’s better than a little fictional romance.” She got up and stretched her long legs.

 “You ready for some waves?” he asked.

“If you’re up to it, let’s do a mile or so on the sand first.”

“You’re on.” Darrell gave a gentlemanly wave of his hand.

“I’ll race you.”

Erin took off like a shot, and Darrell hurried after her. Since the beach was small, they covered the same ground Darrell had a few minutes earlier, passing the family sandcastle builders, another jogger, and the same strolling couples. As usual, she was quick, and he had to hustle to keep up, using some fancy footwork to sidestep sunbathers as they ran. When they got to the north end of the beach where Darrell had turned to double back, Erin headed for a little spit of land that strutted out into the water. He looked beyond and saw what she was headed for. Accelerating, he passed her.

Ahead, at the far end of the beach, a pair of young kids, he’d guess about six, sat in the sand as the waves rolled over their legs. Their small hands busied with a primitive sandcastle. One had long, brown hair tied into pigtails, and the other had a full head of brown hair, unkempt and in need of a trim. He came up to them and stopped, Erin a few seconds behind.

The kids wore street clothes, not swimsuits, but he didn’t think much about it. Then he noticed something about the young boy. His right leg was stuck out at a grotesque angle, as if it had been broken and never set. Both kids giggled at the gurgling water that rolled up around their bare feet and pooled in the makeshift moat they’d dug around their sand creation. The castle was crude, a nearly round construction with seashells sticking up like turrets. The two kids glanced up, caramel eyes wide and pleading with half smiles of white teeth.

In unison, they said, “Ayudaños?”

“Huh?” Darrell said.

“Cute castle, huh?” Erin stared at the sand and looked up at Darrell. “I wonder who made it?” Her eyes roamed around the area. “Out here on this spit of land it isn’t going to last very long.”

“Those kids—” he started, pointing to the pair. When he looked down, the sandcastle sat alone, the gulf water flowing around the construction and into the crude moat.

His glance darted out to the waves, thinking they’d abandoned their work and ran into the water, even in their street clothes, though he wondered how the boy could have run.

No girl or boy.

Oh, God! The same two kids? “You vill have two visitors.”

“What’d you say?” Erin asked, her gaze meeting his.

The ghosts. Erin hadn’t seen them!

Shit, he couldn’t tell her. Not now. Not here.

“Nothing,” he managed around the lump in his throat and glanced back down at the sand.

There at his feet, the crude sand construction they’d been working on, complete with the three blue seashells sticking out of the top, sat alone on the sand. He reached down and grabbed one of the small seashells as the prickle on his neck returned and sizzled. Then he sensed something else, something ominous. No, not ominous, malevolent. More of Natalia’s warning came back to him.

“I see a malevolence, a great danger lurking nearby.”

A big wave rushed in, rolling over their ankles and leveling the mound of sand, leaving the beach empty. As if nothing had ever been there.

Ayúdaños!”

 

Wild Rose Press (September 13, 2021)

Paranormal mystery

364 pp.

 

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 


About the Author

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for four decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, Blood on the Chesapeake, Crimson at Cape May, and Scarlet at Crystal River have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year--ReadersFavorite.com, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”—ReadersView.com and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck contributes to a writers’ critique group, serves as a mentor to emerging writers, and participates in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville, and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next novel or sharing his presentation, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

 

Social Media

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Tik-Tok

 

Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous new mystery with us today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Wild Rose Press Wednesday Promos Features The Mason's Mark

 


Come one come all to the Wild Rose Press Wednesday Promos! Today, September 1, I’m talking about my Old Town Alexandria mystery romance The Mason’s Mark: Love & Death in the Tower. It will be on Wild Rose’s Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/8650773462

I’ll be giving away a copy of The Mason’s Mark. I’d love to hear your questions about this or any of my books! See you there!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Orion's Foot at Long & Short Reviews Birthday Bash Today

Drop into the Long & Short Reviews Anniversary Blogfest today, Friday, August 27, for a dip into my exotic mystery set deep in the Peruvian Amazon, Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon.

 


Orion’s Foot: Mystery lurks deep in the Amazon—a tale of monsters, passion, and obsession.

 


http://www.longandshortreviews.com/guest-blogs/lasr-anniversary-scavenger-hunt-orions-foot-myth-mystery-romance-in-the-amazon-by-m-s-spencer

 

LASR is giving away lots of Amazon gift cards, including TWO $100 cards! All you have to do is read my blurb, answer a question on the Rafflecopter, and win! Easy peasy and great fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mrs. Spinney's Secret at Long & Short Birthday Bash Today

Drop into the Long & Short Reviews Anniversary Blogfest today, Thursday, August 26, for a taste of my Maine mystery/romance Mrs. Spinney’s Secret.(It goes live at 7:00 am.)

 


Mrs. Spinney’s Secret: Lights! Camera! Action! Hollywood comes to Amity Landing, trailing corpses.

 


http://www.longandshortreviews.com/guest-blogs/lasr-anniversary-scavenger-hunt-mrs-spinneys-secret-by-m-s-spencer/

 

LASR is giving away lots of Amazon gift cards, including TWO $100 cards! All you have to do is read my blurb, answer a question on the Rafflecopter, and win! Easy peasy and great fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Penhallow Train Incident at N. N. Light's Today!

 Please drop by N. N. Light’s fantastical magical Mini Mystery Book event today, Tuesday, August 17 at 9 am for a dollop of intrigue from The Penhallow Train Incident.

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/the-penhallow-train-incident-msbe



In the sleepy coastal Maine town of Penhallow, a stranger dies on a train, drawing Historical Society Director, Rachel Tinker, and curmudgeonly retired professor, Griffin Tate, into a spider’s web of archaeological obsession and greed. With the help of the victim’s rival, they set out to locate the Queen of Sheba’s tomb. Their plans are stymied when a war erupts between the sheriff and a state police detective who want to arrest the same man for different crimes. It’s up to Rachel to solve a mystery that includes two more murders, if she wants to unlock the soft heart that beats under Griffin’s hard crust. 





https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/the-penhallow-train-incident-msbe

Enjoy an excerpt in which we meet the hero, Griffin Tate. And while you’re there, enter the Rafflecopter contest to win an Amazon gift card! 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Pit & the Passion at N. N. Light's Today & Giveaway!


Please drop by N. N. Light’s fabulous Mini Mystery event. Tune in TODAY,  Sunday, August 15 at 6 am to enjoy a taste of The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel. I have a delightful excerpt wherein we find the Ghost.

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/the-pit-and-the-passion-msbe

At midnight, in the darkness of a deserted hotel, comes a scream and a splash. Eighty-five years later, workmen uncover a skeleton in an old elevator shaft. Who is it, and how did it get there? To find out, Charity Snow, ace reporter for the Longboat Key Planet, teams up with Rancor Bass, best-selling author. A college ring they find at the dig site may prove to be their best clue.

Although his arrogance nearly exceeds his talent, Charity soon discovers a warm heart beating under Rancor’s handsome exterior. While dealing with a drop-dead gorgeous editor who may or may not be a villain, a publisher with a dark secret, and an irascible forensic specialist, Charity and Rancor unearth an unexpected link to the most famous circus family in the world.

 


While you’re there, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest to win an Amazon gift card.

Enjoy!


https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/the-pit-and-the-passion-msbe

Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Pit & the Passion at N. N. Light's Mystery Event

 Please drop by N. N. Light’s fabulous Mini Mystery event. Tune in on Sunday August 15 at 6 am to enjoy a taste of The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel. I have a delightful excerpt wherein we find the Ghost.


https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/mystery-and-suspense-bookish-event



 While you’re there, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest to win an Amazon gift card.

Enjoy! 

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Running of the Bulls


She had watched the men running

At Pamplona

She had pursed her lips at their

Palpable fear

Women frown at the sexual contradiction, the beast chasing the man

At least the ones who are tired of sex.

 

Those who still warm to a touch on a nipple

Sigh

And accept both the beast and the man.

 

Zelda took a shower in the middle of the afternoon

She had dreamed of making love in the heat behind the shades

Of a fan-driven hotel in Merida.

It was only a dream.

Even so, trickles of sweat formed between her thighs and at the small of her back as she

Remembered the dream

 

She ordered a martini and took it to the balcony

To watch the bulls.

Zelda not on the highway


She remembers

Slow dancing before the mirror in her

Atelier.

She holds the negligee before her like a shield

That will protect her from the truth.

 

She was in a room

In a pension and

Her lover

Had faded off like the line in a divided highway

At night

As the

Battery died.

 

No need to put the negligee on

No one there



From the Grave, or: Too many zombies

Pop pop

Little popping sounds of  rain on my windowsill

Keep me company

Along with Otis.

 

Otis takes care of me when Zelda is away.

His face is very demonstrative

When I’m being stupid his mouth turns down and his eyes are cold

When I use my brain to better advantage he grins

It took me ages to realize that one side of his china face goes down and the other up

Which is a blessing because now

Depending on my mood

 I can turn him and receive

Confirmation.

 

Zelda has been gone about a year.

She left to avoid watching me slowly pass away it’s

Not like her to give up but I was immoveable

On the barstool

A feast of agony

Gorging on pain

Awash in cocktail seas

I ate nothing but salt and

Drank nothing but whiskey

For days, or was it months?

And still I berate my fate as though she were here to listen

As though the bar were still open

As though I were still alive.

 

 

The Desert

 

The wet sand the brown sand

The white sand and now the inundating black sand

Rougher, coarser, empty of shells

The clear water the water filled with plankton and small fish roiling

The water

The shells

Usually cats paws and scallops not so many turkey wings

Now

The blue heron the cloud of ibis the

Occasional skimmer scooping the tide

The plover eyes alight eyes afright

As I walk past stepping carefully between

Sharp objects.

This is my other world

My Florida. Once my refuge

Now I look unseeing at the pelican cruising my waters I

Stare at the ocean unaware of the dolphin

I stare at the ground wishing

For release.

Thus is my love wasted.

Shirley V.

 

She is my youth and my old age

Not the in-between

She is the adventure the frustration the longing the questioning

Not the contentment peace joy in knowing you’re doing the

Right thing

The alpha and the omega the

Spring flower years and the twilight

For the first time I see the connection

 

The middle is not empty but too full

For remorse for retrospection

For revolution

 

The beginning..ah! We shall turn the world over

Upright the wrongs

The end…ah! We shall turn the world over and

Make it in our own image

 

Shirley you are one silly bitch.

Zelda Reawakens

 

When Zelda first approached me I

Dropped the cigarette

(She disapproves)

“You are an American I see”

She said with a sneer

You eat…coleslaw.

Cutting.

I recovered.

Yes I do. I’m not proud of it. But I draw the line at grits.

She softened.

Come with me.

She led me through room after room.

Gently lit, tap rails and wallpaper, a bust here and there

Of a poet or an architect.

Beautiful rooms.

I longed to go to the garden but she led me to the kitchen.

Sit. Eat. Afterwards we make love.

I acquiesced.

Zelda in Tetouan

 

Zelda in Tetouan 

 

 

It’s always the house set at an odd angle

As though it’s falling into the sea

We spread our legs like Captain Ahab

Keeping our balance

Grasping for rails

Reaching for the back door

Escape! Escape into the garden

Zelda holds us back

You’re not going anywhere

It’s not what you think it is

It’s not a garden

It’s a dream. There are no plants

No flowers

No fruits

No comfort

It will not make you content

Come and play with me

Dancing on the coping

Howling at Pluto

Embracing the violinist with his slalom glissandos

Until at last we drop exhausted

On the sands of Tetouan.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Welcome Linda Carroll-Bradd & Her New Romance

Please welcome Linda Carroll-Bradd and her new romance from the Wild Rose Press, appropriately entitled Sweet Inspiration. Without further ado:

 


He’s the adventure she’s never had, and she’s the home he’s always wanted.

Sweet Inspiration

Linda Carroll-Bradd

The Wild Rose Press, June 28, 2021

74 pp.

Blurb:

Dependable Cadence Wills yearns for excitement. The owner of a yarn business, she is pulled in every direction by her demanding family. Haunting dulcimer notes draw her to a practice session where she spies an intriguing stranger.

Musician Rafe Frasco is a rover, bouncing between musical competitions. Interest ignites at his first glance at a woman enthralled by his music, who he learns has a heart big enough to encompass everyone within her reach.

A fantastic opportunity for Rafe presents Cadence with a dilemma—is she strong enough to negotiate the business deal that will take him away…maybe forever?

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO

Ibooks

Excerpt: Unfamiliar Melody

Unmarried and approaching thirty in a small town branded her as ready and willing to meet every unattached man who set foot inside the city limits. A sigh escaped. Like last week when Espe called Trent Sullivan over to their table at El Tres Amigos and then suddenly remembered an important errand. What Espe hadn’t known was Cadence and Trent already had been set up on blind dates—twice—by well-meaning friends.

Nothing had clicked between them. Cadence craved someone with a mysterious past like in her beloved romantic suspense novels. A dark, shadowy figure who knew how to excite a woman with a molten look or a lingering touch. A man who fought to hide his pain and almost succeeded. Not someone like Trent—a guy whose high-school accomplishments she could probably recite.

Sweet plaintive notes of a stringed instrument floated on the breeze. Cadence strained to recognize the tune. A person didn’t grow up surrounded by folk music without knowing just about every ballad that could be plucked.

But this one eluded her. The twanging strings cried with a soulful sadness that grabbed her by the throat. Her thoughts were washed in loneliness, and she turned toward the sound, past the Heritage Herb Garden. A part of Cadence that couldn’t resist helping others had to see who was expressing such need.

She lifted the hem of her long skirt and hurried toward the haunting sound, as if the notes pulled her feet along the path. Abreast of the groundhog pottery kiln, she slowed and peered toward the outdoor stage.

On the platform, several musicians gathered—some unpacking instruments, others adjusting microphones. Off to one side, a dark-haired man sat in a straight-backed chair, one foot braced on a scratched case. He leaned forward and strummed a dulcimer, the light wood instrument cradled on denim-covered thighs.

Cadence studied the talented player. His too-long hair was tied back, his shoulders were broad inside his western-cut shirt, and his legs were long and lean. Scuffed boots, faded jeans and a worn Harley-Davidson tee-shirt composed his attire. Definitely more attractive than her own outfit. Even from this distance, she spotted a posture that meant the man had an attitude…or was mysterious. A thrill ran over her skin.

Who was this guy? He’d definitely swagger when he walked. Yummy. At the thought, she stepped closer, wanting nothing between her and the performance.

Long fingers picked the strings in a heated crescendo—note on teasing note, twang on shivery twang, strum on driving strum. He ended the song with a flourish, right hand arcing upward as the last note hung on the early morning air.

How did he know exactly how she felt on nights when everyone in Mountain View either had a date or was home curled next to a spouse? The isolation of being solo at the drive-in or enduring the knowing smile of a sympathetic waitress. His song wrapped all those feelings tight around her heart and squeezed.


About the Author:

As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with four adult children and two granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

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