Friday, January 1, 2021

First Friday, First Day of 2021! Barley, Blackburn, Drier!

First Friday! What a fun way to start the New Year! Three talented authors give their ideas on one photo. 


"Savannah.  Are you out there?"

"mmhmm mmm . . . "

"What are you doing out there?  Come in and start getting ready for the party."

"       ."

"It was your idea to have this shindig. Let's get this thing going.  People will be here soon."  Tom walked out the door onto the patio, stopping when he saw his wife on the ground.

He rushed to her side, noticed the tea slopped over into the saucer, next noticing the potent smell as he caught sight of the empty bottle next to Savannah's horizontal body.

"Aw, jeez."  he mumbled.

A burp and a giggle from Savannah.

"You finished off my bottle of Pappy Old Van Winkle?! "

"Yesh. Twenty-two toushand dollahs."

"You raised hell and said it was a ridiculous waste of money.  Gone.  Unbelievable."

" . . .  Jan. 20th.  Ish a speshal day.  Biden deserves nuthin' lesh than ol' Pappy."  burp.

Tom nodded.  "Try to get yourself together.  I'll go get us another bottle."


"My Sister Shirley"

“What was your relationship to the deceased?”

Was. I kept staring at Shirley. What was my relationship.

“Ms. Baker, I need you to concentrate,” the cop said, probably for the second or third time.

“She was my sister,” I said. “Shirley Baker.”

“You say she called you this morning?”

I nodded. “She wanted to show me something. She invited me over for tea.”

“And that’s when you discovered her?”

I nodded again. “She said it was important.”

“What was important, Ms. Baker?”

“Tea, of course!” I smiled. In fact, I laughed. The cop, however, was not laughing.

“What’s so funny?” he asked me.

“Tea!” I pointed. “What a find.”

Okay, so now the cop was outright frowning. “Find?”

“She finally found our grandmother’s china pattern. She must have gone antiquing again yesterday.” I smiled at the cop. “My sister Shirley died happy, sir. Whatever killed her.”

“Correction, Ms. Baker. Whoever killed her.”


“Tragedy,” Belle said.

“And he was so young,” her sister, Janie, said.

“Do you think it was a heart attack?” Belle’s forehead wrinkled.

“Probably,” George said, eyeing the overturned cup of tea. “He was only having a quiet breakfast.”

“It’s so sad, he always worried about dying in the winter. He hated dead leaves, felt like it was an omen.” Belle started to reach for the cup, to set it on the saucer.

“Don’t you think we should wait for the police?” A stern look from George.

“Police? For what? Did you call them?” Belle jerked her hand back.

“I didn’t call them.” George looked at the two sisters. “Isn’t it what you’re supposed to do? All the mystery novels and TV shows have the police showing up and announcing it may be murder.”

“Murder!” Belle gasped, looked at her sister and husband, George.

Janie smiled.

 About the Authors

Kaye Barley 

Kaye Wilkinson Barley is the author of WHIMSEY: A Novel. She lives with her husband, Don, in the North Carolina mountains along with Annabelle Barley, the Princess Corgi.

Kaye is the author, along with being co-photographer with husband Don, of the new photo essay book "Carousels of Paris."

They are also contributing co-authors/co-photographers of the book "My Name is Harley and This is My Story," a photobook written by Harley about his life in the North Carolina mountains, his travels and escapades.

Kaye was a contributor to "Blood on the Bayou" - The Anthony winning Bouchercon Anthology 2016 edited by Greg Herren, published by Down & Out Books.

Kaye was also a contributor to three regional Western North Carolina anthologies - - - "Clothes Lines," "Women's Spaces Women's Places," and "It's All Relative." All edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham.

Author Webpage:



Carousels of Paris

I’ve been fascinated by carousels since I was a little girl.

The French are also lovers of carousels, as witnessed by the many seen in parks and even on street corners.

Donald and I have managed to capture images of several of those carousels.

Our book captures the colorful motion of everyday life in the City of Light while chronicling the history and characteristics of these unique attractions.

Carousels are much more than amusement rides. They are emblematic of the fantastical and the fun, the wild and the tamed. With their varying degrees of ornamentation and craftsmanship, Parisian carousels have for more than a century signaled delight and merriment for children while igniting the still small spark of whimsy among adults.

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

 Be on the lookout for Unaware: The fourth Cassie Baxter Mystery will be coming your way this spring!!

Michele Drier

Michele Drier is a fifth generation Californian. During her career in journalism, she won awards for investigative series. She is the past president of Capitol Crimes,a Sisters in Crime chapter, the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime and co-chaired  Bouchercon 2020.

Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death. A stand-alone, Ashes of Memories was published May 2017.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, named the best paranormal vampire series of 2014 by PRG. Currently writing Book Eleven, SNAP: Pandemic Games.

Her new series is the Stained Glass Mysteries, Stain on the Soul and Tapestry of Tears, and she’s working on the third, Resurrection of the Roses.

Visit her webpage,

Or her Facebook page, ,

Or find her on her author page at


Tapestry of Tears

History had always been a strong magnet for Rosalind Duke.
She took up the medieval craft of making stained glass and was building a solid international reputation, taking on larger and larger commissions. Her idyllic life with her husband, Winston Duke, an art historian at UCLA, was cut short when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting.
After moving to a small town on the Oregon coast, she’s offered a commission to translate the medieval embroidery, The Bayeux Tapestry, into stained glass for a museum at a small Wisconsin university. Roz jumps at the chance. Not only to try to transfer the Tapestry into a new medium, but to spend time in Southern England and Northern France, tracing the path taken by the invading Normans under William the Conqueror.
But the 21st century drags her back when she finds a body crumpled against a wall in an ancient stone church in the small town of Lympne, on the southern coast of England. Has she walked into a contemporary murder?


Won't you join in? Post your 150-word take in the comments. We'd love to see it.