Where Have I Been?


I think I missed a few blogs between my trip to Hawaii and my impossibly crazy writing schedule, but I wanted to check in and let you all know that I am still alive and kicking. I’ve been busy preparing some really fun stories to be published over the upcoming months. So what, you might ask, have I been working on? Thank you for asking I’d love to fill you in.



First of all up next is Treasure to Paradise – book 7 in the Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery Series. This is a fun book on location on fictional Gull Island off the South Carolina Coast. This Tj acts as a bridge of sorts between the ‘old’ Tj’s I initially self published and the ‘new’ Tj’s I plan to publish with Henery Press. I think it is a fun book which includes a treasure hunt and a new romance, which I have a feeling may end up being the romance.


As a pre-launch promotion, Henery Press is offering Bikinis in Paradise for $.99 from April 7 – 13. They don’t discount their books all that often so here is the chance to read it for the first time or to read the new edition even if you have read the first one but were curious about the changes.


Also in April we have the first half of the Zak and Zoe – Luke and Lani crossover. I really think you are going to love this story. It was super fun to write and we get to see the techy side of Zak a bit more than we have in the past. There is also a big reveal at the end you don’t want to miss so be sure to preorder today.



The second half of the Zak and Zoe – Luke and Lani crossover is Murder at Water’s Edge. This is a fast paced mystery that will take you on a tour of Maui featuring real locations I visited during my last trip. We will also get a much better look into the depths of Shredder’s character and a glimpse of things that could show up on the horizon. Murder at Waters Edge will publish in May.

Also publishing in May and June:





Aloha from Hawaii


As many of you know Ken and I are in Hawaii doing research for a super fun Luke and Lani / Zak and Zoe crossover story set on Maui. The story involves a game sort of like the Amazing Race where contestants must solve puzzles and riddles to find locations leading to clues along the way. We are visiting and scoping out many of the locations that will be mentioned in the book. Making time to do the research while maintaining my regular work schedule has been a little tricky but so far we are balancing everything and having a wonderful time.

I am posting photos every day onto all of my Facebook pages but I have a caption contest going on over on my group page so be sure to head over and enter every day. https://www.facebook.com/groups/569578823146850/ I will select 8 winners – one from each day – to receive a gift from Hawaii.

So far the most awesome thing to happen occurred Thursday morning. We are sitting on the lanai having breakfast and looking out over the water when this huge whale swims by right on the surface of the water. He is super close so you can see his entire body. After a few seconds it goes down under and we figure the show is over and then it shoots up out of the water with it’s entire body except the very end of its tail exposed and creates a giant splash. It was like being at Sea World for the whale show only way better.

Sorry I didn’t get a photo. The whole thing happened so darn fast and I didn’t have my phone or camera with me.


Murder at Turtle Cove


Murder at Turtle Cove will publish while I am away so here is a quick glimpse of what to expect. The fifth installment in the series finds Lani in a bit of a sticky wicket as the book opens. Below is the unedited opening scene which is followed by a fast paced mystery which will reveal some surprising details about both her boyfriend Luke and her neighbor Shredder.


I sat on my surfboard, perfectly still, watching, waiting. The sun had just begun its ascent into the sky, creating a canvas of orange and red as it reflected off the clouds left from the overnight rain. I felt my body tense as I glanced toward the beach. Fins circled in a tight pattern coming increasingly closer to my dog, Sandy, who waited at the water’s edge. I hoped and prayed Sandy would stay on the beach as he’d been trained to do. So far he’d been content to pace beyond the waterline, barking aggressively as the sharks enjoyed an early meal, but I suspected it was only a matter of time before he gave in to the urge to attack the intruders in order to remove the danger I was certain he could sense. My mind screamed no as he paced closer and closer to the waterline. I knew if I called out he would be more likely to attempt to swim out to me, so I just waited and prayed, then prayed and waited some more.

 When I’d arrived that morning the beach and the water had been deserted, which wasn’t all that unusual because the sun had yet to complete its climb over the horizon. Turtle Cove was isolated on the far northwestern corner of the island, known only to the locals who lived in the area. It wasn’t likely to attract the casual surfer on holiday, which was why it was one of my favorite places to surf. I’d been enjoying some of the best waves I’d ever experienced in my life when I noticed the first of what would grow to be at least a half-dozen fins. Being a surfer living in the islands, I knew it was best to just hang back until the sharks had finished their meal, but hanging back and waiting had become an increasingly terrifying experience each time Sandy approached the water.

 After several minutes the feeding frenzy came to an end and the sharks began to disperse. My heart beat just a bit faster as several of the sharks swam within arm’s length of my surfboard on their way out of the cove. I lay flat on the fiberglass and tried not to move as two sharks approached the spot where I waited. They circled several times, inching closer with each pass, before moving on and continuing out to sea. It felt as if they could sense my presence and were curious but weren’t really sure what to make of me.

I had, on occasion, dove with the tiger sharks that populate the area. They’re not only beautiful and graceful creatures but large predators, ranging from twelve to thirteen feet in length. Although tiger sharks can be dangerous and are responsible for attacks on swimmers and surfers each year, in Hawaii they’re more than just ferocious predators. Here the shark, or mano, is woven into the fabric of Hawaiian culture and history. They’re revered and even worshipped in many native traditions.

 As soon as it looked as if the water was clear, I began to swim toward shore, quickly yet quietly. I paused between each stroke, listening for the return of my early morning friends. I scanned the water’s surface as I tried to move silently through the sea. As I approached the beach, Sandy swam out and retrieved something floating on the surface. He dragged it back to the sand, and once I landed on the shore, he lay the prize at my feet. My hand flew to my mouth when I realized what it was he’d brought me. I gasped and turned away as I willed the nausea that had overtaken me to subside. I wasn’t certain what I’d expected to find, but I certainly hadn’t imagined Sandy’s offering to be a who rather than a what. Or at least part of a who. I took several deep breaths, which seemed to quell my racing heart, before I ran to my bag, where I’d left my phone.


If you would like to read the rest of the story the book will publish on March 24. You can preorder it here:




The Crossover Plan



Zoe Donovan meets Lani Pope in a double crossover event.

Many of you know that I plan to introduce Zoe, from the Zoe Donovan Cozy Mystery Series, and Lani, from the Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Series, in Easter Escapade, Zoe Donovan # 24 which publishes April 21st. What you don’t yet know is that I plan to continue with the crossover and have Zak and Zoe visit Maui for book 6 in the Sand and Sea Series, Murder at Water’s Edge, which will publish on May 22.

Below are the synopsis for each book.



Easter Escapade – available for preorder http://amzn.to/2kIFlSU

In book 24 in the popular Zoe Donovan Series, Zak and Zoe join forces with Hawaiian visitors Luke Austin and Lani Pope, to find out who killed a historian visiting Ashton Falls. Early one morning Zoe takes the dogs out for a walk and finds a woman, Lani, towing a body toward the shore from several hundred yards off the beach. She jumps in to help her only to find that the victim is already dead.

Zoe recognizes the victim as Charles Wentworth, a friend of Zoe’s friend Ethan Carlton. Charles is in Ashton Falls to find a treasure left to his grandfather, Xavier Wentworth, while he was visiting Devil’s Den a hundred years earlier. The treasure included items owned by Tsar Nicolas Romanov of Russia and smuggled out of the country by Peter Romanov as Word War 1 was winding up. The deeper they dig the more Zoe and Lani begin to realize there may be more going on than meets the eye.

Meanwhile, Ellie and Levi move in with Zak and Zoe while the boathouse is being renovated and Alex helps Ellie prepare the nursery for baby Eli who is due to be born any day. Throw in some humor and Easter fun and you have a Zak and Zoe crossover mystery.



Murder at Water’s Edge – Preorder http://amzn.to/2mDUI0R

Luana Akina, a good friend of Lani’s, calls and informs her that her sister Mailie has been killed in an auto accident. The accident was determined to be just that, an accident, but Luana isn’t so sure that is the case. It seems that prior to her accident Mailie was involved in a local contest (an Amazing Race type event) with a grand prize of $25,000. She suspected the results were being tampered with so had been quietly snooping around. The night before her accident Mailie called Luana and told her she was close to something that would expose a huge coverup. The next day she was dead.

Luana knows that Lani likes to investigate homicides so she asks for her help in uncovering the truth about what really happened to Mailie. The contest, which involves unlocking clues which lead to locations around the island where the next clue can be found, has a clause which allows for a substitute to be named should one of the contestants be unable to finish. Lani decides that the best way to help Luana find out what happened to her sister is to enter the contest as Mailie’s replacement. This will allow her, she reasons, to find out what is going on from the inside.

Lani takes two weeks off work from her job as a water safety officer and then travels to Maui with her boyfriend Luke Austin.

Once Lani gets a feel for the game she quickly realizes that someone has hacked into the computer system and is tampering with the results. Luke is good on the computer but not nearly as good as legendary computer genius Zak Zimmerman, so Lani calls new friend Zoe Donovan-Zimmerman and asks if she and Zak would be willing to come to Maui and help them uncover the conspiracy behind the mystery.

Join Luke and Lani, Zak and Zoe, as they race to uncover the clues faster than anyone else while outwitting a hacker and identifying a killer.

I plan to write this story while I am visiting Maui later in the month and will be posting real photos of some of the places the game will take Lani once she joins the race. Be sure to join in the fun on my group page if you want to be part of the journey – https://www.facebook.com/groups/569578823146850/

I know that some of you haven’t had a chance to read the Sand and Sea Series yet and I want you all to have the opportunity to do so before Murder at Water’s Edge comes out, so the first four books in the series will be on sale for $.99 this month according to the following schedule.

Murder at Dolphin Bay – March 1 – 7  http://amzn.to/2lJsDSJ

Murder at Sunrise – March 6 – 12 http://amzn.to/2lIwYUr

Murder at The Witching Hour – March 15 – 21 http://amzn.to/2m5TJDz

Murder at Christmas – March 22 – 29 http://amzn.to/2mny6B0


Also publishing on March 24 and available for preorder Murder at Turtle Cove – http://amzn.to/2lqg95u


I’m really excited about both of these new crossover books and hope you will be as well. Comment below and let me know which of my characters you would liked to see in a crossover event next. (Sorry it can’t be Tj since Henery Press owns Tj now.)

It can be any two of the following:

Zoe (Zoe Donovan) – Ashton Falls

Cait (Whales and Tails) – Madrona Island

Lani (Sand and Sea) – Hawaii

Alyson (Seacliff High) –  Cutter’s Cove Oregon




Hawaiian Dream



A couple weeks ago I asked the members of my Kathi Daley Books Group page for suggestions for blog subjects. I received several really good ones including a question about my Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Series set in Hawaii. I’ve chatted about this series before but I thought I’d take a moment to talk about it again since I have a new book in the series – Murder at Turtle Cove – publishing in March. The question I was asked had to do with the motivation or reason I decided to write the series. The simple answer is that I LOVE Hawaii and visit almost every spring so I thought it would be fun to write about the very real places I visit or at least the fictional equivalent of the very real places I visit.

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Hawaii is the land of warm sunshine, friendly people, beautiful beaches, and truly amazing sunsets. It is a tropical paradise inhabited by whales, dolphins, sharks, and turtles amongst other creatures of the sea. The hiking and scuba diving are amazing, and don’t even get me started on the food! In short, Hawaii really is the paradise television makes it out to be.

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Since I have been to the islands so many times the urge to do the tourist thing and cram activity into every waking moment does not exist. Hawaii for me is a place where I can go to read, write, and relax, while enjoying the exceptional weather and the warm sea. My desire to write about this particular location allows me to visit mentally at least several times a year. I wrote Murder at Turtle Cove during one of the biggest blizzards Tahoe has experienced in more than a decade. Thoughts of clear water that feels like a warm hug when you enter, kept me going during those long days of snow, snow, and more snow.

murder-at-turtle-cove-facebook  Personally I really love this particular story. There is a lot going on and the reader will discover the truth behind such things as Shredders secretive behavior and Luke’s Wall Street past. There is also a surprise ending which I think my readers are going to enjoy. Murder at Turtle cove actually turned out to be one of my favorites in the series. Of course it could have been the ten feet of snow outside my window as I wrote it that made this particular book so enjoyable for me, but whether you live where the winters are cold or blustery or you live in a warmer climate, I think you’ll enjoy the story either way.


Here is the Amazon description and link:

Lani is trapped when a school of sharks gather to feed between her location beyond the breakers and the beach. When she is finally able to come ashore she finds that the meal the sharks were feeding on was a who rather than a what. Based on the evidence provided it looks like the victim was murdered prior to becoming shark food. Luke and Lani set out to find the killer but during the course of the investigation Lani learns a surprising secret about Luke that may change everything she believes to be true.

Preorder the book: http://amzn.to/2md4BCm




Traveling the Open Road



I was stuck for a blog subject for this week so I asked the gang who hang out over at Kathi Daley Books group page for suggestions and I received several very good ones. One of the questions had to do with my favorite vacation. At first I wasn’t really sure, and to be honest I can’t say that I have a single favorite vacation, but I think that if I had to choose it would be the long road trips that my husband and I used to take. We didn’t travel a lot when our kids were living at home but after they moved out we decided we wanted to begin to see the world. The question was, where to start? After a bit of discussion, we decided to visit all 50 states plus all the National Parks before traveling overseas. This was a decision I have not regretted once.


We decided it would be best to take long road trips using different routes each time. This was back before you had everything you needed on your phone so I went down to the automobile association and got a bunch of maps and a bunch of those books with lodging properties listed. Every spring and every fall we took 4 – 5 weeks and headed in a different direction. We never made reservations since we weren’t sure what we wanted to see, how long we wanted to spend in each location, and what the weather would be, so we just picked a direction each morning and drove until we got tired and then we’d start looking for a motel. I had a map of the United States and each time we passed into a state we had never visited I colored in the state. We took a photo of the sign for each National Park we visited as well.


It took a decade of traveling different backroads across America, but eventually we did manage to visit all 50 states and we’ve visited all the National Parks except for a few in Alaska that are so remote you have to charter a private plane to get to. Unfortunately we did most of this traveling before digital cameras, so while I have a ton of photos, they will need to be scanned into the computer before I can share them. I’ll do that one day though and do a follow up blog about my favorite spots along the way.


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Comment below and tell me about your favorite vacation in order to be entered to win a $15 Amazon gift card.


Writer’s Retreat


I am so excited to introduce my new series featuring a writer’s retreat set on Gull Island off the South Carolina Coast. It will publish May 1 and is a spinoff of sorts from Treasure in Paradise which will publish April 11. Treasure in Paradise is a Tj Jensen mystery and the Writer’s Retreat series will not mention or refer to Tj in anyway, but the location and local characters introduced in Treasure in Paradise will carry over to the new series.


So here is the setup.

Jillian Hanford is a investigative reporter working for the New York Times. Her world comes crashing down around her when she decides to use an unverified tip she received at the last minute and her intel turns out not to be true. Jillian is fired as a means of pacifying the target of her story and finds herself unemployed and unenthused. It is shortly after this that she receives a phone call from a half brother she never knew existed inviting her to come to Gull Island. It seems that her brother has had a stroke and is no longer able to run the island resort he owns. He asks Jillian (Jill) if she would be willing to move to the island and take over the management. She agrees to this at least for on a temporary basis while she figures out a way to get her life back.

After she arrives on the island she decides to try her hand at writing a novel which gives her the idea to run the resort as a writers retreat. She contacts Charles Baxter, a mystery writer and old friend of her brother, and asks him if he would like to move to the island on a permanent basis and help her run things. He agrees and the pair line up several other authors who want to live there as well.


The Writers:

Jillian (Jill) Hanford

Jillian is a dark haired, dark eyed, never married thirty eight year old newspaper reporter who moved to Gull Island after her much older brother, Garrett Hanson, had a stroke and was no longer able to run the resort he’d inherited. Jillian had suffered a personal setback and needed a change in lifestyle, so she decided to run the resort as a writers retreat while she waited for an opportunity to work her way back into her old life. In order to help make ends meet, she takes on freelance work which allows her to maintain her ties to the news industry. Jillian shares her life with her partner in mystery solving, an ornery parrot with an uncanny ability to communicate named Blackbeard.


Jackson (Jack) Jones

Jack is a dark haired, blue eyed, never married forty-two year old nationally acclaimed author of hard core mysteries and thrillers, who is as famous for his good looks and boyish charm as he is for the stories he pens. In spite of his success as a novelist, he’d always dreamed of writing for a newspaper, so he gave up his penthouse apartment and bought the failing Gull Island News. He lives in an oceanfront mansion which he pays for with income from the novels he continues to write.


George Baxter

George is a sixty eight year old writer of traditional whodunit type mysteries. He’d been a friend of Garrett’s since they were boys and spent many winters at the resort penning his next novel. When he heard that the oceanfront resort was going to be used as a writers retreat, he was one of the first to climb on board. George is a distinguished looking man with gray hair, dark green eyes, and a certain sense of old fashion style that many admire.


Clara Kline

Clara is a sixty- two year old self-proclaimed psychic who writes fantasy and paranormal mysteries. She wears her long gray hair in a practical braid and favors long peasant style skirts and blouses. Clara decided to move to the retreat after she had a vision that she would find her soulmate living within its walls. So far the only soulmate she has stumbled onto is a cat named Agatha, but it does seem that romance is in the air so she may yet find the man she has envisioned.


Alex Cole

Alex is a twenty eight year old fun and flirty millennial who made his first million writing science fiction when he was just twenty-two. He is the light hearted jokester of the group who uses his blond haired blue-eyed good looks to participate in serial dating. He has the means to live anywhere but the thought of a writers retreat seemed quaint and retro so he decided to expand his base of experience and moved in.


Brit Baxter

Brit is George’s twenty six year old niece. A petite blond haired pixie, she decided to make the trip east to live with her uncle after deciding to quit her job and pursue her dream of writing. She is a MIT graduate who decided that her real love was writing.


Victoria Vance

Victoria is a thirty-seven year old romance author who lives the life she writes about in her steamy novels. She travels the world and does what she wants to, to whomever she wants to, without ever making an emotional connection. Her raven black hair accentuates her pale skin and bright green eyes. She is the woman every man fantasizes about but none can ever conquer. When she isn’t traveling the world she is Jillian’s best friend, which is why when Jillian needed her, she gave up her penthouse apartment overlooking central park to move into the dilapidated island retreat.


http://amzn.to/2l1BNrT – Kindle

http://amzn.to/2kOqnvc– Paperback

http://bit.ly/2llQaZo – Nook

First Case opens with the group being asked to help Jill figure out a mystery for a freelance article she has been asked to write.

Here is the (unedited) opening scene:

The fact that Katrina Pomeroy had been murdered was in and of itself a newsworthy event. The fact that she had been murdered on Friday October 13th exactly eleven years after she’d been one of five teenagers to survive the Friday The 13th Massacre, made her passing worthy of notice by the national news agencies I used to work for. When an old editor of mine offered me the chance to write a human interest piece about Katrina’s life and subsequent death, I jumped at the chance. An article such as this had all the makings to become the exposé I’d need to relaunch my currently defunct career. Of course in order to make the sort of impact I was after, I’d not only need to write about Katrina’s unusual life, but I’d need to answer the question of who was responsible for her death.

I knew I’d need help to accomplish my goal, so I gathered my friends on a dark and stormy night, and with the help of fellow writer George Baxter, presented a proposal.

“Rayleen Oswald was the first to die.” George shared in a raspy voice as thunder rumbled in the distance. “She was stabbed thirteen times and then propped against a tree, which eerily enough, would be struck by lightning before the horrific night had come to an end.”

A flash of light pierced the sky causing everyone gathered in the three story home we shared to gasp as they waited for the clap of thunder we knew would follow. The house, which was part of the rundown resort I had temporarily taken management of, shook as the wind battered the island from the south causing the tension in the room to intensify.

George continued. “Most felt that as the first victim, Rayleen, was the killer’s intended target, while the others who died, merely victims of circumstance. I’m not sure we can ever know what was in the killers mind and heart, but in spite of the killer’s motive, or lack thereof, two more died before the sun rose in the morning sky.”

Rain streamed down the windows creating a feel of isolation in the dark room which was illuminated by only the light from the nearby fire and a few flickering candles we’d set around the room to offset the inky darkness created when the electricity had flickered and then gone out. It wasn’t uncommon for strong storms to batter the small island off the South Carolina Coast, but I was new to the area and had yet to develop the backbone needed to easily weather such a storm.

“Why were the kids on the island in the first place?” Clara Kline, a sixty-two year old self-proclaimed psychic and paranormal mystery writer, asked her traditional mystery counterpart.

George took a puff from his pipe before he continued. “The day had started off sunny and mild. A group of teens from the local high school decided to cut class and go sailing in spite of the prediction by the local weather service that a major storm would blow in by mid-afternoon. Now the kids, having grown up on the island, were familiar with local weather patterns, and most were excellent sailors, but for reasons that have never been fully understood, the students neglected to return to the marina before the tropical storm rolled into the area. When the teens realized they weren’t going to make it back to Gull Island, they decided to take shelter in one of the abandoned structures on Waverly Island.”

“Waverly Island?” Asked Brit Baxter, George’s twenty-six year old niece and the newest member of our group.

“It’s about fifteen miles north of us,” I answered in George’s stead.

Brit was not only new to the group but she was new to the writers retreat and to Gull Island so I wasn’t surprised that she was unfamiliar with small settlement on the nearby island that had been occupied a half a century ago but had been destroyed in a hurricane and never rebuilt. I glanced at Blackbeard, the outspoken parrot I’d inherited when I took over as manager for the resort my half-brother Garrett Hanford owned. It appeared that he was listening intently to the story which sort of crept me out since he was, after all, a bird. Blackbeard nodded in my direction which caused me to flinch. It had occurred to me on more than one occasion that, the assertion by Clara that the large tropical transplant was really an apparition in disguise, might just not be as wild a claim as I had originally believed.

“So eight teenagers took refuge on a deserted island in the midst of a tropical storm…” Alex Cole, a fun and flirty millennial who made his first million writing science fiction when he was just twenty-two trailed off, thereby encouraging George to continue.

“I think it is important at this point to emphasize that the storm was really more of a hurricane, and the shelter where the teens sought refuge, was within the walls of a structure that had already been destroyed by a hurricane more than thirty years prior. But yes, in answer to your unspoken question, according to the testimony of the survivors, as reported to the local newspaper, the eight teenagers managed to land on the island and find a building which remained at least somewhat intact. They built a fire for warmth and decided to wait out the storm. At some point after they settled in, Rayleen and her boyfriend Troy got into a fight. Rayleen stormed off and the next time anyone saw her she had been stabbed thirteen times and was left leaning against a tree that had just been struck by lightning. The specifics of this case are complex,” George warned. “I am going to suggest that we keep to an overview this evening and then begin to examine the bones of the mystery at a later date.”

“Sounds fine by me,” Brit answered. “But I still want to hear the end of the story.”

“Very well.” Charles refilled his glass of brandy from the bottle on the table.


If you want the rest of the story you’ll need to buy the book. I know, mean right!

The series is a bit more mainstream mystery than most of my cozies. It is about 25% longer than my cozies and it will not contain recipes. (I don’t think. I might change my mind by the time it publishes.)

The series will still is focus on friendships and there are several romances developing between the various characters. It is also still clean and wholesome so anyone can be comfortable reading it but the storyline is more about the mystery and less about cozy elements such as cooking and animals.

Book 2 in the series will involve one of the writers and their connection to a cold case and will publish in July.


At this point I do not plan to put this series in Kindle Unlimited so that I can offer it for Nook, Kobo, and iBooks as well as Kindle. It will also be available in paperback.

Comment below and be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card.