We couldn’t be more excited! For the last year, eight authors from around the United States and Canada have been planning for this moment–the premier of our first book in TheMagnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles. It’s a joint venture; we all write about a small town in Texas where the growing body count is enough to choke a horse. (No pun intended)
We are publishing a mystery a month beginning April 21st. Out of the gate charges CW Hawes with
DEATH WEARS A CRIMSON HAT
Harry Thurgood is an enigma. Polished, cultured, and relatively new to Magnolia Bluff, Texas, he’s a man with a past, and he keeps his secrets close to his chest. Not only is Harry hiding his sins, but so is a good portion of Magnolia Bluff. The Crimson Hat Society is a group of women in the town who do many charitable works for their community, but beneath the group’s surface bubbles a malignancy of lies and deceit that leads to death. CW Hawes’ characters are colorful and unforgettable—like the Reverend Ember Cole, preacher at the local Methodist Church. She moves around Magnolia Bluff dressed in ministerial black with a Saturno religious hat perched on her head. Despite her dour dress, Ember’s face is as angelic as her personality, and Harry is willing to go to hell and back to win her love. Someone in the town wants to make sure Harry and Ember never consummate their romance.
CW Hawes is an amazingly prolific writer who dances between genres with ease. He writes horror, cozy mysteries, and yes, murder mysteries as well. Here’s his website CWHAWES.COM and a link to our premier book in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XGSSKCW
Writing is a solitary profession. I write usually early in the morning when the dew still wets the lawn and the birds are bursting with song. It’s a creative time for me and I can pound out at least a thousand words before the business of the day pulls me away. Being solitary is just fine on the creative side, but when it comes to the business part of publishing, being solitary is a huge deficit. Getting the word out about a book is overwhelming and challenging. Over a million books are published every year. Trying to get noticed amidst the crowd is daunting. I have been fortunate recently to align myself with a group known as the Underground Authors.
We are a diverse group. Some of us write mysteries, others pen horror or fantasy, while another author writes fiction with a spiritual bent. Despite our writing differences, we have banded together to support each other through cross-promotion. Whenever any of us publishes a new book, each of us in the group will read it, review it, and share the book with our friends and readers. We are also geographically diverse. Most of our group are boot-scootin’ Texans, but one of us lives in Canada, another in Florida, and I’m near Seattle, WA. We come from all walks of life. I work for the Federal Government, one member is a psychologist who counsels victims of work place violence, and several are retired. Recently on a ZOOM call, we decided, hey, we’re all talented authors, why don’t we write a book together? And so began the saga of our anthology BEYOND THE SEA, Stories From The Underground.
These twelve short stories run the gamut from murder mystery (I’ll bet you can guess who wrote that one) to inspirational to apocalyptic. My contribution is Moonlight Swim. There are other fine stories like Hemingway’s Boat, The Diving Bits, Stranded, I’d Rather Drown, Regi Vitam, The Perfect Future, The Boat, The Girl In The Turquoise Bikini, Making Waves, Roses for Grant, and the Encounter.
If any of these stories sound intriguing to you, I’ll give away a free paperback copy of Beyond The Sea to the first person who emails me at KellyMarshall@KellyMarshallBooks.com and requests a copy. I will contact you for your snail-mail address. We had tons of fun writing these stories and hope you will read and enjoy our book.
Successful mystery writer James Callan decided early on that writing was not going to feed his family. I think most writers ultimately come to that conclusion sooner or later. Personally, I am still juggling a full-time job with the government and writing murder mysteries when I can wedge time in my busy schedule. After getting a degree in English, Callan went back to graduate school and got a degree in mathematics and taught math and computer science for thirty years. Perhaps, it was divine intervention when someone put a book by mistake in Callan’s car. His interest piqued, Jim dove into the book and didn’t put it down until he finished it at two am. That unique event and the fact that his children were now grown and well-established on their own helped Callan make the decision to shake off academia and return to his first love-writing.
To date, James Callan has written seven novels, and four non-fiction books. He admits that he felt like a novice as a fictional writer after years of technical writing in the math and science arena. But James Callan has succeeded wonderfully in his new career with several awards including the one he is most proud of, the Reader's Favorite Award. He spends considerable time thinking about a book before he sits down to write. Jim writes daily, but admits life sometimes intrudes and he has to adjust his schedule. A recent illness stalled his writing momentum. He spent months in the hospital and further recovery required bedrest for yet another month after three surgeries. Now fully recovered he's back on track. For more information, check out Jim's website:
Callan’s most recent mystery venture has been the Father Frank Mystery series. His stories are very unique to the genre because the chief protagonist is a priest. Father Frank is a cleric at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Pine Tree, Texas. His astute understanding of human behavior and common sense has been able to help local law enforcement catch the bad guy. But in A Plot For Murder, the case takes a personal turn when Father Frank’s sister Maggie becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a well-known author who was the chief speaker at the Pine Woods Writers Conference. Determined to keep his innocent sister out of jail, Father Frank works with the Texas Rangers to find the real villain. https://www.amazon.com/Plot-Murder-Father-Frank-Mystery-ebook/dp/B08T8QVXV8
CW Hawes is a man of varied tastes and abilities. The eclectic author has penned over twenty books from a variety of genres including apocalyptic, mystery, alternative, history, and horror. His most recent book is Nine Deadly Dolls.
What drives this charming mystery is the unique characters and the interplay of their personalities. Justinia Wright is a private eye with lots of connections to powerful government spy agencies around the world. The six-foot-plus, incessant cigar-smoking private eye shares a home with her brother Harry and his wife Bea, and a few furry friends.
Justinia who is known simply as Tina to family and friends gets a befuddling new case. Bobby Joseph Frieden is a nephew greatly grieved when he discovers his uncle has died. He is quite convinced dear Uncle did not commit suicide but was in fact murdered by a dangerous Haitian terrorist organization. Uncle bequeathed his belongings to Bobby who becomes the target of Men Nwa Nan Lanmo known in English as the Black Hand of Death. He hires Tina to discover the truth. She jumps in with seven-league boots and is off traveling to exotic places to solve the mystery. I found myself entranced with this light-hearted mystery.
CW is a lover of fine food, tea, and music that runs the gamut from classical to fifties and sixties pop. He also digs philosophy, mythology, art, architecture, books, history, nature, airships, and steam-powered technology. Whew! Yes, of course he’s retired. That’s the only way he could feed his curiosity for all the above.
I have always adhered to that adage: write what you know. As a former radio announcer, I wrote about broadcasting in one of my earlier books, The Radio Murders. I was recently introduced to a writer I had never read before. Richard Schwindt. After reading his wonderful book, I was not surprised to discover, he too, was writing from a wealth of experience in the mental health field. He is a therapist and has been a social worker in Kingston, Ontario for a number of years. His current work involves providing counseling for people targeted by workplace mobs. Serious work considering today’s violent social atmosphere.
Before I go further, let me share with you about Richard’s book. It is one of the strangest, yet most engaging books I’ve read in a long time. In my Amazon review, I described it like this: kooky, crazy, off-beat, and just delightful. It’s disjointed and hops from year to year and location to location. I found myself hopeless engrossed in the movement of the story.
The book has an unusual storyline. Richard Sutton is summoned to an attorney’s office and told he is the benefactor of over a million dollars and is being transported back in time to live for fifty-seven years. In his new life, he will live free of the heart disease that has plagued him and will not be permitted to contact his wife, children or grandchildren. What follows is a funny and poignant adventure. I don’t want to ruin the story, suffice to say I was able to relate personally to the flow of the book. If you grew up in the sixties and seventies, maybe the book doesn’t seem strange to you at all.
Like his book, Richard Schwindt has a biography that is unique and rich. We know he is a therapist who deals with a very serious subject, but oddly, he describes his work as ” funny, provocative, and meant to entertain, or provide practical help when you need it.” He has written an award-winning book titled Emotional Recovery from Congenital Heart Disease. On the lighter side, he co-hosts on Sunset Country Radio in Sioux Lookout. He also finished as a runner-up in the Comedian Idol of Kingston Contest. He has been married for 40 years and has been blessed with two kids and two grandchildren.
When I was a child, I loved horror. I was the only one in the family that stayed up late at night to watch Bella Lugosi suck the blood from the neck of a compliant woman. It scared the “yell”out of me. In later years, I transitioned to Stephen King to get my horror fix. “Salem’s Lot” and “Pet Semetary” are all-time favorites. I must admit while reading Pet Semetary, I put the book down at the point in the book when Louis Creed began digging up his dead son. I was just too creeped out to finish it for awhile. It was a
transformational moment, because up until then, I wanted to be scared to death. In later years. in a moment of nostalgia, I volunteered to be part of a Halloween haunted house for two months. I loved returning to my childhood passion, but horror has not been a part of my diet until recently.
On a friend’s recommendation I read Van Dyne’s Zuvembies: A Pierce Mostyn Paranormal Investigation by CW Hawes. Hawes writes in many genres and is an award winning poet. He is the author of over 20 post-apocalyptic, mystery, alternative history, and horror novels and stories.
I delved into the world of Zuvembies. To become a Zuvembie, you must be a woman who drinks the black brew. And I’m not talking Starbucks here. No. The black brew has roots in the West African Snake Religions. Once turned, the Zuvembie no longer eats human food and lives in a house or a cave like a bat. Oh, yes, like vampires, it lives forever. Zuvembies no longer speak but summon their unwitting victims with a hypnotic, haunting, wordless spell that draws the poor unfortunate to their untimely death. The only pleasure for the creature is to slaughter human beings. Pierce Mostyn and his fellow employees of the OUP (Office of Unidentified Phenomena) are called to solve a series of horrific murders by women who slaughter their own families. The investigation is fast-paced and full of more creatures than Monsters, Inc. CW Hawes has created a captivating blood-curdling tale that will keep you reading all night with the lights turned on. Sleep tight.
I’ve never met the man, but I feel like I know him just by reading his books. Caleb Pirtle III and I have been housed with two different publishing companies through the years and have become friends and supportive authors. I am now a member of a marketing support group for authors that Caleb and his wife Linda initiated and manage. I am thrilled to be working with both of them. They have years of expertise and knowledge that they readily share.
Add to Caleb’s resume three teleplays:Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS television starring Kenny Rogers, Loni Anderson, Dixie Carter, and Mariska Hargitay, Wildcat: The Story of Sarah Delaney and the Doodlebug Man, a CBS made-for-television movie, and TheTexasRangers, for John Milius and TNT television.
While I am working with Caleb on a professional basis, I am also a rabid fan of his books. I’d like to share some of them with you. Caleb is a prolific writer that can whip out an excellent novel in a matter of month and to date has written in the neighborhood of ninety novels. He does it with such ease and speed that it boggles my mind. It takes me a year and then some to get a novel to market. He loves suspense with an eye on history, including four noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, and Night Side of Dark, and Place of Skulls.
Ambrose Lincoln is a trained assassin who the government uses to eliminate those who pose a threat to them. They erase his memory after every assignment using mind control and shock treatments. He becomes a man with no memory, no family, no feeling. He is the walking dead.
Caleb’s new writing project is called the Boom Town Saga Series. Eudora Durant is a formidable woman who just might have ensured her status as a widow with the help of a 22-caliber coon rife. She’d had enough of the drunken reprobate known as Washburn Durant. He disappeared and there were whispers that she shot him. She kept the secret close to her heart, and only Doc knew the truth. Doc Bannister had been a con most of his life, selling things he called doodlebugs to unsuspecting farmers. When the farmers discovered the doodlebugs were useless hunks of junk, Doc was already on the road planning his next con. His path crossed Eudora’s in the small wasted town of Ashland Texas. He smooth-talked her into drilling for oil on her land. Oil sprouted into the hot Texas sky, making Eudora one wealthy woman. He’s still a con but she loves him and forgives his occasional disappearances when a hot poker game calls his name.
The third book in the series is called Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon, Eudora is waiting for Doc at the Ashland train station when a pale, green-eyed boy steps off the train with a tattered piece of paper pinned to his coat. My name is Ollie Porter. My daddy is Oliver Porter. He works in the oilfields. Does anyone know where he is? Dad is nowhere in sight. Eudora tucks the boy under her wing and the stage is set for another spell-binder from Caleb Pirtle III. Here’s the Amazon link to Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon. https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Side-Orphans-Moon-Boom-ebook/dp/B088KV1VFK/
Charles Breakfield and Rox Burkey are coauthors of the award-winning Enigma Books series. The books are steeped in the complexity of the tech world while intrigue and devious plots swirl around the main characters.
Charles Breakfield calls technology the new weapon of choice. You only have to look at today’s headlines to see that China and Russia are stealing our information through hacking of secure government websites to interfering with our election process. I was a personal victim of the Chinese-sponsored hacking of the Office Of Personnel Management in April of 2015. I still work for the federal government and foreign thieves stole money from my PayPal account while my KellyMarshallBooks.com website was also compromised. Hundreds of bogus emails were sent out allegedly from me. Godaddy helped to staunch the bleeding, but I certainly felt violated. An identity protection company warned me that my personal information was now on the “dark web” and that I will always be vulnerable. So Charles Breakfield is correct. Whether you are the President or a pauper, our personal information is under attack by villians from around the world.
Breakfield and Burkey are fellow authors and I was invited to read a short story they had written-also in the Enigma Series called Love’s Enigma. The main characters are Buzz and Zara, talented and capable computer programmers who work closely together and fall deeply in love. Buzz is committed and wants more, but Zara is evasive. She is a passionate beautiful Russian who loves where they are in their relationship, but she is eternally resistant to permanence. She alludes to a deep, dark secret she dare not reveal.The couple relocate to the Caribbean to teach their programming expertise to students who will follow in their footsteps. Buzz is hoping the romantic locale will nudge Zara in the right direction. Since it is a short story, I will say no more, except to say buy the story to find out the dramatic ending.
Now that I have been introduced to this award-winning duo of techno-thrillers, I am going to dive further into their Enigma Series. If I’ve intrigued you enough, here’s a link to their website on all things Enigma: https://www.enigmanbookseries.com
Soon, I will introduce you to LOST SIDE OF AN ORPHAN’S MOON by one of my all-time favorite authors, Caleb Pirtle III. An author of 80 plus books, he a master of thriller fiction and will keep you reading deep into the night.
I love writing, but I must admit the process of writing and traditional publication had become stale for me. I wanted something new and fresh to invigorate my writing. It was at the prompting of several friends that I decided to write my next book by podcast. It’s not quite an audio book, but you get the flavor of one without me reading my book to you. So I invited a fellow radio broadcaster, Larry Hinze, to put on his theatrical mask and become homicide detective Nick Winston. I have become his partner in policing, Pat Strom. If you haven’t had the opportunity to tune into my new book Podcast, Deadly Match, I’d like to give you samples of my episodes. Hopefully, I’ll intrigue you enough that you’ll tune in every other Sunday for a new episode.
Episode One finds Seattle Homicide Detectives Nick Winston and Pat Strom called to a late night murder scene at the Nickerson Street Saloon in Seattle. Pat finds Nick near a dumpster where a homeless person had been dumpster diving and instead of dinner, he found the severed head of a once beautiful woman. If this is your first visit, you can listen to the entire episode here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpQYvDDQiUo&list=PL1YyuYedCtU79EsXf1SdUQQLoREFI5RBJ
Episode Three finds the two detectives scrambling to discover the identity of the Spanish Eyes 69. Their supervisor, Captain Martin, decides to make a public plea and engages the help of a forensic artist to draw the image of the severed head. A frantic call to the Seattle Police Department leads to success for the department, but marks a tragedy for a family desperately hoping to find their loved one. Here’s the link for Episode Three. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztMfuFeV_CY&list=PL1YyuYedCtU79EsXf1SdUQQLoREFI5RBJ&index=3
Episode Four: Nick and Strom visit the home of Valentina Colon’s family. The victim’s mother is now the custodian of the dead woman’s three young children. Nick is captivated by three-year-old heartbreaker Mateo Colon. Later, Nick makes Tandy an offer she can’t refuse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVFdVw9u544
Episode Nine: is produced and set for publication. At last, Winston and Strom have the name of the man who perhaps was the last person to see their victim alive. The detectives locate Handsome Harry. Join me for the next exciting episode of DEADLY MATCH at KellyMarshallBooks.com/on-the-air.
It’s a valid question. I’m a writer and I want people to read my books. Writing is hard. There are so many steps between an idea in my brain to holding the finished book in my hands. It’s a long, tedious, exacting process that can be exhausting and expensive.
But if I am to be completely honest with you, when I’m lying in bed at night, Kindle in my hands, I will peruse through the many books I have downloaded, and quite often, I will opt for a video instead. What? A writer choosing a video over a book! I feel like a traitor to my fans and fellow writers. When I analyze myself honestly, I chalk it up to laziness. When I’m tired and just want to be entertained, I choose a movie. My brain isn’t necessarily engaged. I am just passively watching the story unfold in front of me. When I read, I want to be totally engrossed, transforming the words I am reading into images in my head. It’s a different process where I am more present, more committed.
There is a certain amount of shame in my confession, but I don’t think I am alone in the process. Netflix, Hulu, Prime Movies. Roku TV, VUDU, tubi are all doing quite well. It used to be after a long hard day at work, after dinner, after the dishes were done, it was common for me to pull out a J.A. Jance mystery and read until bedtime. I’ve been a life-long reader, but not anymore. Instead, I’m mad for Starz and the latest Outlander episode. I frankly, can’t get enough of that Jamie. God bless author Diana Gabaldon for writing such an endearing character. I recently read her book, I Give You My Body (How I Write Sex Scenes.) I learned a lot from that book! Continue reading →