Friday, June 5, 2020

FIRST FRIDAY! Blackburn, Lovely, and Vidler

The Delivery Guy © Alberto Jorrin Rodriguez |
It's First Friday again! One picture, three short pieces by three very different authors. Check them out. 


Send in the Clown
   Tips, baby. It’s all about tips. And so I wear this mask … sometimes. Because it’s also about who answers that door. If a woman answers, she screams, yanks the pizza from me, and slams the door. If a guy answers, he shakes my hand, and tips me well. And if little kids are in the house? Oh, baby! Then, whoever answers the door tips me well, because children love my mask.
   So it’s also all about guessing who will be on the other side of that door. Houses with kids are easy to spy—toys and other junk strewn outside are sure giveaways. Now, if I could only master the kid-less households ...
   But this delivery was pretty obvious. A two-pizza order in a warehouse? Didn’t think I’d be disrupting a ladies’ bookclub meeting, right?
   I was right! Four guys sitting around a rickety card table playing poker. Cha-ching!!


   Joe’s brain cells were sparser than the pepperoni stingily dotted on the pizzas he delivered. It was Joe’s first night working for Harry’s Pizza, and customers were emailing to gripe about the foul smell of the pies he delivered. He didn’t realize his dearth of brain cells was balanced by tear-inducing body odor, and his technique of wedging pizza boxes against his ribs exposed them to his potent armpits.
   Why were customers upset? He reasoned it had to be the medical mask he was ordered to wear. It scared them. “People who stick needles in you wear those masks,” Joe thought. “I have a friendlier one from last Halloween.”
    Pleased with his solution, Joe rang the bell for his first clown-masked delivery. A woman opened the door, screamed, and fainted.
   “Was it bad breath?”
   Joe exhaled into his hand through the large hole in his mask and sniffed. “I’ll chew gum before I make the next delivery.”


   This had to be the dumbest idea ever.
   But Boyd, his best friend since kindergarten, insisted his wife was having an affair.         “Dianne thinks I’m out of town.” He handed Jason the pizzas, a red shirt, and a mask. “She’ll open the door. Blame the mask on COVID-19, and whoever’s with her will want to see it. And I’ll know who he is.”
   This wouldn’t turn out well, but Jason couldn’t reasonably refuse. Reluctantly he dressed and checked the mirror. His moustache showed through the mouth. He sweated beneath the hot mask; Dianne would surely recognize him. And Boyd would be watching from the car.
 * * *
   Dianne answered the doorbell. “I didn’t order piz— Jason?” Laughing, she grabbed him and hugged. “Come in, quickly.”
   “You?” Boyd bellowed from the car. “My best friend?”
   Jason took a deep breath and turned. All he could see was the gun in Boyd’s hand.

About the Authors

Cindy Blackburn

Cindy Blackburn writes cozy mysteries because she thinks grim reality is way overrated. When she's not thinking up unlikely plot twists and ironing out the quirks and kinks of her lovable characters, Cindy is feeding her fat cat Betty or taking long walks with her cute hubby John. A native Vermonter who hates snow, Cindy divides her time between the south and the north. Most of the year you'll find her in South Carolina. But come summer she'll be on the porch of her lakeside shack in Vermont. Yep, it's a place very similar to Lake Elizabeth. Cindy's favorite TV show is Young Sheldon, her favorite movie is Moonstruck, and her favorite color is purple. Cindy dislikes vacuuming, traffic, and lima beans.


Welcome to Lake Elizabeth, Vermont, where Santa Claus is due to arrive any day now, and Cassie Baxter is going nuts. Who wouldn't go nuts? This is her first Christmas with her adopted son Truman, and she's determined to make it memorable. But that human skull the kid found when he was searching for Christmas decorations in the attic wasn't exactly part of the plan. And Joe Wylie, Cassie's supposed boyfriend, isn't making life any easier during this frantic week before the holiday either. Then there's Cassie's father, and her best friend Bambi, and her other best friend Sarah, and all those crazy, quirky, kooky neighbors that make Lake Elizabeth--Lake Elizabeth! Santa's sure to have a jolly good time when he finally does come to town! Ho Ho Ho

Linda Lovely

Linda Lovely, the author of eight mystery/romantic thriller titles, finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She hopes readers have half as much fun reading her novels as she has researching and writing them. Amazing how much better she sleeps after finding a really cool way to do away with fictional villains who share personalities with real-life hypocrites and bullies. Her goal is to deliver thrill-packed reads, while ensuring justice is served, laughter is plentiful, and love triumphs. Though not perfect, her heroines and heroes are smart and determined. A long-time member of Sisters in Crime, Lovely also belongs to International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. When not writing or reading, Lovely takes long walks with her husband, swims, gardens, and plays tennis.



The plot for BAD PICK, Lovely’s latest mystery, is as current as today's headlines. But you'll also find plenty of laughs and a delightful side of romance. Vegan Brie Hooker lives with her feisty Aunt Eva at Udderly Kidding Dairy, a hop, skip, and jump away from South Carolina’s Clemson University. In BAD PICK, Brie’s fun farm outreach backfires when religious extremists decide goat yoga is a form of devil worship.  Picketers at Udderly’s gates soon become the least of Brie’s troubles. Not only is she accused of murder, she worries the death might actually be her fault. Danger mounts when an old family friend’s visit ensnares Brie in a high-stakes feud between a U.S. Supreme Court nominee and the woman determined to expose his secrets. 

Ellis Vidler

Ellis Vidler lives and writes in the South Carolina Piedmont. She's also an editor and has taught fiction writing. Ellis’s books can be found at Amazon.
All Ellis’s stories have some degree of romance, a little bad language, and a lot of suspense.  The McGuire women psychics and the Maleantes novels are available in audio, print, or eBook and her short stories are available in eBook.


Suspense with a love story. When a New York ad exec’s husband is murdered before her eyes, only her wits can save her from the long reach of a ruthless crime lord.
Madeleine Schier heeds her husband's panicked call to come home, only to witness his brutal murder by a crime boss and become a target herself.