No Rehab for Murder, Chapter 1

My good friend Stacy ( who is also one of my editors who takes care of everything on this blog) told me a couple of weeks ago that her mom had fallen at home, breaking her ankle and upper arm. After her surgery, she was sent over to a rehab facility. So I decided to write a little story for her to keep her entertained while she is there. Here’s the first chapter. Enjoy!

No Rehab for Murder

Chapter 1

Not for the first time, Violet Janson wondered what in the world had possessed her to go along with this cockamamy idea. She was standing at the top of a snowy mountainside in Vail, Colorado, wearing a neon pink snowsuit, a blue hat with a bright green pompom on top, holding two pairs of ski poles. A very handsome young man named Sven was helping her put on a set of skis. “There, Mrs. Janson, you’re all set,” he said, getting to his feet. He took his poles back from her. “You’ve been doing very well this week during our lessons. Today, we’re going to ski down to the bottom of the hill.”

“I’m not sure I’m ready for this, Sven,” Violet said as she looked down the slope. She watched people swishing their way confidentially across the snow. A snowboarder zoomed past her, and she thought that person was crazy to be doing this with just one board. She thought she was crazy for trying to do with with the very thin pieces of wood on her feet. “Couldn’t we do this tomorrow?”

“You’ll be just fine, Mrs. Janson,” he assured her. “I’m going to ski ahead of you, just a little bit, and then I’ll stop. You watch me and then follow me down.”

He took off before she could protest. She watched him turning left, then right, then left again. He made it look so easy, so graceful…and he really had a nice looking butt. Sighing, Violet pushed off and started down the hill.

She made it down to where he was standing with no problem. “Well done, Mrs. Jansen!” Sven said, a huge grin on his face. “Let’s go a little bit further this time.” He took off again.

Before she could follow him, someone went flying by her. The person briefly looked back, and Violet could tell it was a woman, and she looked terrified. The woman faced forward again and dug her poles into the snow, trying to make herself go faster. Violet shook her head. Didn’t that woman know it was dangerous to race on the slopes with so many people around?

She started down, keeping an eye on where Sven was standing. He started waving his arms frantically. Was she doing something wrong?And was he yelling at her now? She thought that was odd; he had never yelled at her before.

Suddenly, she was hit by something from behind, throwing her off balance and off course. Instead of heading down toward Sven, she was headed for a grove of trees to the right. Oh no, this was not good.

Whoever hit her managed to right themselves and was headed after the woman who had just passed Violet. They seemed to be gaining on her. At the same time, Sven was moving horizontally, trying to cut Violet off, hopefully to keep her from slamming face first into a tree. Unfortunately, Violet couldn’t remember how to stop, and she braced herself for impact.

She slammed into something hard, but it was Sven and not a tree. Her momentum kept them going, and the next thing they hit was a tree. There were several snapping noises, and Violet wasn’t sure if it was the skis, the poles, or various body parts that had been broken in two. They landed on top of the snow in a tangled pile of limbs and skiing equipment.

“Mrs. Jansen, are you all right?” Sven managed to gasp.

“I’m not sure, Sven. What about you?”

“I think my back is broken.”

“Don’t move,” she said. She looked around and noticed a couple of people coming toward them. “Do you have your phone with you?” she asked one of them when they stopped next to them.

“Yes, ma’am,” the young man said. “I’ll call for help.”

The woman took her skis off, stuck her poles in the snow, and knelt down next to Violet and Sven. “I’m a nurse,” she said. “Try not to move.”

“I’m all right,” Violet told her, “but Sven has hurt his back.”

“Ma’am, I’m afraid you’re not all right,” the nurse said. “It looks like you might have a broken leg.”

“Funny, it doesn’t feel broken.”

“The adrenaline is giving you a natural high,” she explained. “Give yourself a couple of minutes; you’ll feel it. Just sit there and let me take your skis off.”

“Ski patrol is on their way,” the young man said as he shoved his phone back into his jacket. “What do you need me to do, Mom?”

“Let’s move this broken equipment off to the side, Sam, so it won’t be in the way when the patrol gets here.”

Working carefully, the two of them took off Violet and Sven’s skis. “I saw what happened,” the young man said. “That guy was chasing someone. He almost ran me over right before he hit you.”

“Did you get a good look at him?”

The young man shook his head. “Mom and I were at the top of the hill, getting ready to head down, when we heard a couple arguing. The man grabbed her arm and told her that she was going to give him what he wanted, or she would be sorry she ever crossed him. She jerked her arm out of his hand, said that it was too late. She had given it to the authorities, and that she was going to enjoy watching him go to jail. The man stuck his hand into the right pocket of his jacket, and she suddenly looked scared. She took off, he said a few choice words and went after her.”

Violet looked down the hill and noticed that a crowd had gathered around something lying in the snow. She hoped it wasn’t that young woman.

“Ma’am?” the nurse said. “I’m going to have to move your leg a little so I can check out your friend here. This is probably going to hurt.”

Violet merely nodded. The nurse took her leg in her hands and moved it slowly, and Violet felt a shooting pain, and she sucked in her breath. Sam knelt behind her, and Violet leaned against him. He held her hand. “I broke my leg on this same hill last year. I lost my balance and tumbled halfway down the hill,” he told her. “Snapped my tibia in two. My friends never let me hear the end of it. At least you have a way cooler story to tell your friends about how you got hurt.”

Violet didn’t think slamming into a tree was a cool story, even if Sven had had his arms wrapped around her when it happened. Then she smiled; the girls were going to be SO jealous when they found out that she had been in Sven’s arms, especially Fern. She had been trying to figure out how to get Sven to hold her all week, but had failed miserably. Fern was going to pout all the way home.

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Happy Homicides 4: Fall Into Crime

HAPPY HOMICIDES fall into crime large banner 640 1Happy Homicides 4: Fall Into Crime

by Joanna Campbell Slan, Linda Gordon Hengerer, Carole W. Price,
Lesley A. Diehl, Nancy Jill Thames, Teresa Trent, Maggie Toussaint,
Anna Celeste Burke, Randy Rawls, Nancy J. Cohen,
Terry Ambrose, and Deborah Sharp

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Happy Homicides 4: Fall Into Crime

COMING AUGUST 29

 

Joanna Campbell Slan / Vendetta: A Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery – The House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar is known for its 150-year history as a way station for shipwrecked sailors. But when Cara Mia visits, the museum becomes the scene of a crime.

Linda Gordon Hengerer / Dying for School Tea: A Beach Tea Shop Novella – Chelsea Powell and her sisters are providing treats for Citrus Beach High School’s freshman orientation. Can they solve the murder of the beloved softball coach before someone else dies?

Carole W. Price / The Glass Birdhouse – Glass artist Bella hopes to find clues about her student’s death in the woman’s unfinished glass birdhouse.

Lesley A. Diehl / Bobbing for Murder – A visit from Darcie’s family is always chaotic, and this time the relatives bamboozle Darcie into having a Halloween party. It’s a decision that definitely comes back to haunt her.

Nancy Jill Thames / Raven House – When a reporter is murdered after a fundraiser at the historic Raven House, the police call on Jillian and her Yorkie Teddy to help them investigate.

Teresa Trent / Falling for Murder – Helpful hints columnist Betsy Livingston is an expert at household organization but her skills are put to the test when she’s called upon to conduct an efficiency review for a haunted house.

Maggie Toussaint / Dead Men Tell Tales – In this third installment of the Lindsey & Ike romantic mystery novella series, things don’t add up after a suspicious hunting accident. The more Sheriff Ike Harper and newspaper editor Lindsey McKay dig, the more questions they find.

Anna Celeste Burke / All Hallow’s Eve Heist – Date night for Georgie Shaw and handsome detective Jack Wheeler goes terribly wrong. A botched heist at Marvelous Marley World has everyone scrambling as trigger-happy bad guys head for the Halloween celebration in Arcadia Park.

Randy Rawls / Accident, Suicide, or Murder – Retired policeman Jonathan Boykin’s primary interest is improving his golf, but a grieving father’s request to investigate his son’s suspicious death is an entirely different ballgame.

Nancy J. Cohen / Haunted Hair Nights – As a new stepmother, hairstylist Marla Vail hopes to win brownie points by helping her daughter with a school haunted house project. Marla has her work cut out for her when she stumbles over a corpse on the spooky estate grounds.

Terry Ambrose / Spirit in the Rock – An invitation to a museum’s grand opening turns into a showdown with the spirit world for amateur sleuth Wilson McKenna.

Deborah Sharp / Haunting in Himmarshee – When a ghost comes to call, Mace must sort out the haunted from the homicidal in Himmarshee, Florida.

Bonus Story—
Joanna Campbell Slan/Kiki Lowenstein and the Doodoo – A fun family outings turns into a fearful fright, but Kiki Lowenstein is good at sniffing out bad guys.

 

Comes with a bonus file of recipes and craft tips!

All for just 99 cents!

Pre-order Links Coming Soon!

Great Escapes Book Tour – August 29 – September 11, 2016

Find out about the authors on their webpages below.

Joanna Campbell Slan

Linda Gordon Hengerer

Carol W. Price

Lesley A. Diehl

Nancy Jill Thames

Teresa Trent

Maggie Toussaint

Anna Celeste Burke

Randy Rawls

Nancy J. Cohen

Terry Ambrose

and Deborah Sharp

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

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An answered prayer leads to true love

A young woman, who was a youth director at a Methodist church in Missouri, was lonely. Dating was not that much fun, and the type of man she was looking for seemed to be out of reach for her. So one day, she said a simple prayer, asking God to show her the path He had laid out for her, and to lead her to a man who loved Him as much as she did.

On a spring day in May of 1975, this young woman was driving down a small road in the Oklahoma countryside, appropriately named Methodist Road, toward a church camp. There was a conference for youth directors being held at this camp, and even though her traveling companion had backed out at the last minute, she decided to go ahead and go.

As she pulled into the camp in her little yellow Mustang, she was unsure where to park. She saw a young man walking toward one of the buildings, so she rolled down her window and stopped next to him. “Excuse me, could you tell me where we’re supposed to park?”

He looked at her like she was crazy before pointing to her right. “Right over there with all the other cars,” he told her.

Feeling a bit embarrassed, she thanked him and pulled into a parking space. The young man just shook his head and walked off.

As the conference got underway, people were broken up into small groups. The young man realized he was in the same small group with the crazy lady who had asked him where to park. But as the week went on, he found himself spending more and more time talking to this young woman. Her love of God was something he had not found in his own dating experiences, not that he dated much. He was a lay pastor for two small Oklahoma churches and was a divorced father of two young daughters, aged six and five. But something about this young woman fascinated him.

At the end of the week, instead of going back his own home, he followed the young woman back to her Missouri town. They both knew they were going to get married; he asked her when they got back to Monett, where she lived. Even though they had only known each other a week, they realized that God had brought them together.

For the next three months, they drove back and forth between Monett and Pryor, Oklahoma, where he lived. They alternated weekends. On August 15th, 1975, they were married at the Monett Methodist Church. Their honeymoon was spent moving to a little town in Texas called Dimmitt, into a house that was right across from the FFA feed lot.

Four months after they got married, his daughters moved in permanently with them. She became an instant mom just before her 30th birthday. The first gift she made for them was two dolls: one with a big head and one tooth, orange yarn for hair named Roothy Toothy, and another doll with auburn hair, a sun hat, a dress, velvet shoes and a purse, and her name was Lulu.

For thirty-nine and a half years, these two wonderful people served churches in Texas and New Mexico, working as a team, sharing their love of God with everyone they met. And it wasn’t just their love of God that was evident to everyone, but their love for each other. They rarely spent more than one day apart. They raised their two daughters with love, teaching them to love God and to have faith no matter how hard things got to be at times. And when they because grandparents, they showered their grandson with the same love and affection, and also taught him to have faith.

The answer to that young woman’s prayer all those years ago passed away in February 2015, a few days after she lost her beloved mother. But the reminders of her answer to that one simple prayer to God is still around her: through the friends they made over the years, the stories that are told about the things they did together, through the love of their daughters and their grandson. He is gone, but he is not forgotten. Today, we remember and celebrate the day that God brought this wonderful woman into our lives.

I have a reminder of the love she showed to me that first Christmas over forty years ago: Lulu is sitting on my bookshelf in my room. The hat and purse are long gone, lost in one of the countless numbers of moves we made over the years. The velvet isn’t as soft as it once ways, but the love that was poured into it when it was made is still there.

I wish I could be with you today, Mom, to remember that day in August of 1975 when you said, “I do” to a goofy man with wavy reddish brown hair. Just know that every day, I thank God, and Dad, for bringing you into our lives. You may have been looking for an answer to a simple prayer, but I believe you were the answer to one that was unspoken by all of us. I love you more than words could ever say, and I am truly blessed and honored to call you my mother.

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Book Review: Murder on the Mother Road

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Bobby Navarro decides to visit the Grand Canyon, so he decides to stay in the little town of Williams. As soon as he pulls into town, he sees someone hit a car and then drive off. But it is what’s in the trunk of the car that he hit that upsets Bobby the most: the body of a young girl.

After being questioned and released by the police, Bobby can’t help but ask a few innocent questions about the young girl. He suddenly finds himself drawn into the investigation by one of the local police officers, Lucinda, a woman he knew in high school. She wants him to keep asking questions without being too obvious, and see if he can learn anything that will help nail someone she suspects helped the man they have arrested for the girl’s murder.

Bobby’s questions lead him to the Holiness Pentecostal Church of the Brethren, where Lucinda’s second suspect works part time. Bobby starts to get the weird feeling that things are not what they seem at the church, and that perhaps Pastor Martin and his two right hand men may be doing more than leading their flock to the Lord.

But the closer Bobby gets to the truth, the more dangerous it gets. And when he finally learns the truth, another murder happens, and another young girl who was a friend of the murdered girl is almost killed. Bobby needs to step into make sure that no one else gets hurt, but will he be in time?

Glenn Nilson has written an intriguing mystery set in the Arizona desert. Having grown up in the New Mexico desert myself, I didn’t have a hard time imagining what Bobby was seeing (and it makes me wants to go visit the Grand Canyon myself!). Beautiful descriptions, a wonderful storyline, and plenty of action keep me hooked from beginning to end. I enjoyed it because it was not graphic or gory. I also like the idea that Bobby is a roamer, so that means an always changing cast of characters, so it will keep the series fresh and new. This is the second book in Nilson’s series, and I have every intention of checking out his first book, Murder on Route 66.

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Book Review: Something’s Knot Kosher

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When Birdie Watson’s husband, Russell, is murdered during a bank robbery, her quilting friends Martha Rose and Lucy rush to her side. As they help her make funeral plans, long kept secrets start to surface, shocking Martha and Lucy. How could they have not known these things about their dear friend’s life?

After someone tries to break into Birdie’s house, the FBI warns the three friends that someone may be after Birdie as well. Since Russell will be buried in Oregon in his family plot, Martha figures that Birdie will be safe if they get out of town. But in the journey from California to Oregon, the hearse driver suffers a heart attack, leaving Martha to drive the hearse. When they are involved in an accident, they discover that Russell’s body isn’t the only one in the coffin.

So who killed Russell, and who’s after Birdie? The past and present collide as Martha and Lucy try to protect their friend while trying to find the mastermind behind the murders, before one of them becomes the next victim.

I have read one other book in this series and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I couldn’t wait to read the latest book, and I wasn’t disappointed! Mary Marks has written a delightful, exciting book that I could not put down. From the shocking beginning to the heart stopping conclusion, you will be glued to your seat and cheering on these fierce, brave women. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

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Book Review: Nun But The Brave

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Giulia Driscoll is back in a new mystery that hits a little too close to home. When her sister-in-law suffers an apparent overdose, Giulia knows this is not normal. A missing person case comes along to take her mind off her brother’s troubled marriage. A young woman who never met a person she didn’t like, or a cat she didn’t love, suddenly becomes secretive and then disappears without a trace. Her twin sister believes she is still alive, although the police think otherwise. So Giulia goes undercover and dives into the world of Doomsday Preppers, hoping to find her missing person alive. But the deeper into the Preppers’ world she gets, the more she realizes that something more devious and sinister is going on. Now it becomes a race against time to save not only the missing girl, but quite possibly herself.


Alice Loweecey’s newest book in this series is great. I love this series because As a preacher’s kid, I can relate to Giulia’s religious beliefs. The characters are colorful and delightful; I like Her assistant, Zane, more and more. He’s awesome. Giulia’s husband Frank always makes me laugh, and Sidney as a new mom reminds me of when I was a new mom myself. Wonderful, awesome, superb, this is a series that you will love!

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How long does an act of kindness take?

With everything that has happened this week, I find myself wondering what I can do in my little corner of the world to make a difference. Then I thought about three things I had done in the last week that had touched three different people.
 
A week ago, Rollin and I were working in the garage on his car (okay, I was supervising more than helping, truth be told), and I had gone inside to get us a couple of bottles of cold water. I handed one to him and just as I started to open mine, I looked across the street and saw a gentleman walking in the hot sun. I called out to him as I walked down the driveway, and handed him my bottle of water. He looked shocked. I said, “You look like you need this more than I do.” He thanked me, I told him to have a good day and walked back up my driveway. Took maybe 30 seconds. Rollin asked me why I had done it, and I said, “Because he was sweating a lot, looked very hot and I felt like he needed it more than I did. What did it cost me?” He said, “A few steps and maybe 50 cents.” I pointed out that wasn’t very much to give comfort to someone else. “‘Do unto others as you would have him do unto you’,” I told him as I went inside to get another bottle of water.
 
Wednesday, as I sat with Buddy in the waiting room at Texas Oncology, this beautiful older black lady (and she IS a lady) sat down in a chair, propping her cane against the chair next to her. She was dressed in a beautiful blue and green outfit that reminded me of the colors of a peacock. She wore a wide brim straw hat that matched her outfit perfectly. A diamond ring sparkled on her left hand that held a clipboard. She started looking for the pen that had been on the clipboard, but couldn’t find it. I glanced down at the floor and saw the pen under the chair next to her. “Hold on, ma’am, I see it,” I told her as I hurried over. “I’ll get it for you.” I knelt down, reached under the chair, grabbed the pen and handed it to her. “Well, aren’t you such a sweet thing!” she said with a huge smile on her face. “Thank you so much, honey.” “You’re very welcome, ma’am,” I said, returning her smile. I nodded at her and returned to my seat. Took maybe 30 seconds.
 
Today, I was at Lowe’s (Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!), pushing a cart of cut cedar boards. I noticed a gentleman trying to maneuver a cart up against one of the shelves. He reached up to a shelf that was about chin high on him, and started to pull down a huge board of plywood. I pushed my cart to the side, walked over, grabbed the other end and helped him slide it off the shelf and put it on his cart. “How many more do you need, sir?” “Just one more.” So we each grabbed our ends and slid another one off the shelf, putting it on top of the other one. He thanked me, I smiled and said, “You’re welcome. You have a good day.” He told me to do the same, I grabbed my cart and walked off. Took maybe 2 minutes.
 
In less than 3 minutes, three small acts of kindness shocked, surprised and touched three different people. If we all took the time to do that for a stranger, regardless of who they are, don’t you think the world would be a better place? Granted, it isn’t always easy to do or say something nice for someone, for they are bound and determined to hate you no matter what you do. I currently find myself in a situation where I need to protect someone I love from someone who is not always kind to me, but it has blown up in my face, and I am now on the outside, feeling helpless to do anything. All I can do is support the one I love, and support the decision that they have made. I do love them both, each in their own way. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying to be kind to the people who cross my path, even if it is just to smile, nod and say hello. How much time does that take? Is it worth the few seconds it takes to be nice to another human being? How does it feel when someone you don’t know does something nice for you? Pay it forward and share that feeling with someone else. A small gesture may mean more to them than you could ever know.

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