Friday, December 19, 2014

This is not your father's Sherlock Stephanie Osborn

Hello, folks!

Please help me welcome my good friend and outstanding author, Stephanie Osborn, to MB4 today. I adore her Sherlock Holmes books (there are four in the series) and highly recommend them to all mystery and science lovers. Give them a try!

Aaron Lazar
copyright 2014, Stephanie Osborn

This is not your father's Sherlock Holmes...

The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival is a science fiction mystery in which brilliant hyperspatial physicist, Dr. Skye Chadwick, discovers there are alternate realities, often populated by those we consider only literary characters. Her pet research, Project: Tesseract, hidden deep under Schriever AFB, finds Continuum 114, where Sherlock Holmes was to have died along with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. In a Knee-jerk reaction, Skye rescues Holmes, who inadvertently flies through the wormhole to our universe, while his enemy plunges to his death. Unable to go back without causing devastating continuum collapse, Holmes must stay in our world and adapt. Meanwhile, the Schriever AFB Dept of Security discovers a spy ring working to dig out the details of - and possibly sabotage - Project: Tesseract. Can Chadwick help Holmes come up to speed in modern investigative techniques in time to stop the spies? Will Holmes be able to thrive in our modern world? Is Chadwick now Holmes' new "Watson" - or more? And what happens next?


"...This is a really bad time for me to leave console at the moment, hon.”

Caitlin shot her a hard, annoyed look.

“You can’t be considering it,” she said flatly. “All hell is breaking loose here. I don’t care if the President needed you five minutes ago! You have to stay here!”

“Chill, Cait,” Skye tossed an aside to her friend, phone held absently to the side of her face with her shoulder as she tried to read the scribbled note Timelines handed her, around annotating her clipboard. “I’ve got more to do than I can shake a stick at now. I’m…what?” she said, staring at the note. “Software! Check the focus subroutine! Make sure it’s initiating at the correct point in the program! The last thing we need now is a software glitch causing a delay in timing. If that’s happening, no wonder the induction element’s hosed! Hardware, make sure the circuit’s clear! Holmes, I’m sorry, I can’t make it right now. I don’t have time to catch my breath down here.”

* * *

Holmes listened closely, not only to Skye’s direct comments, but also to her asides and commands, and to what he could hear of the remarks made to her. He covered the mouthpiece with his hand and informed Jones and Smith.

“It appears matters are not going well in the Chamber.” He punched the speaker button on the phone so the other men could hear. Then he returned his attention to the sounds coming from the phone. “Skye, what is happening?”

* * *

Skye watched as her teammates fought with the recalcitrant apparatus. One of the Hardware console members, Chad Swann by name and a longstanding friend of Skye’s, moved into the center of the room to check the circuitry of the monoliths. Skye grabbed her clipboard, flipping to the malfunction shutdown checklist, where she scanned the list, trying to determine the seriousness of their

Vaguely she heard Holmes’ query, but didn’t have time to devote to it. Still, she managed to find two spare brain cells to rub together, and replied abstractedly, “We’re having a malfunction in the induction element system. We can’t keep it focused…”

“Skye, we need you to make a call! Shut down, or put it in a holding pattern and troubleshoot?” Caitlin interrupted. Skye juggled phone and clipboard, trying to assess the checklist for priority red malfunction modes.

“Holmes, I’ve gotta go,” she said into the phone. “I need to figure out how serious this is—”

“DR. CHADWICK! We’ve got a GRAVITON SPIKE!” Sequencing shouted.

* * *

Smith and Jones watched as Holmes’ expression grew more and more grave as he listened to the sounds on the other end of the line. They heard Skye’s attempt to break the conversation, and Holmes was about to answer in the affirmative when they overheard the exclamation from Sequencing.

Holmes paled as they heard Skye shout, “Chad!! Get out of there! NO! EMERGENCY SHUTDO—”

The line went dead.

Instantly the entire building shuddered hard enough to knock books off shelves and send Skye’s chalk tumbling from its rack on the blackboard, smashing into dusty white shards on the tile. The three men grabbed for heavy furniture to avoid being flung to the floor.

* * *

When the quake subsided, the three men sat staring at each other, shaken. Holmes felt almost lightheaded, his grey eyes wide.

“What happened?” Jones demanded. “Did that earthquake have anything to do with Project: Tesser—”

“Emergency shutdown,” Holmes snapped out, leaping to his feet. “Graviton spike.” He didn’t fully understand the significance of the graviton spike, but from his reading of Skye’s quantum mechanics text, which perforce contained a significant amount of particle physics, he knew what a graviton was, and strongly suspected it was connected to the quake. “I am going down to the Chamber,” he declared in a tone brooking no argument. “The two of you may come, or stay.”

* * *

“Is your authorization in?” Jones turned to Smith.

“Your duty officer entered it into the system when I arrived this morning,” Smith observed.

“Good. We’re coming, Holmes,” Jones declared.

But Holmes was already out the door and down the hall, headed for the elevators at a dead run.

Jones and Smith sprinted behind.


The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival is available in print and ebook (all formats), and the first four books of the series have been released in a collected ebook edition, The Case of the Displaced Detective Omnibus. Book 5, A Case of Spontaneous Combustion, is a 2014 new release. All of them are suitable for gift-giving!

-Stephanie Osborn

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas from South Lake

It's been a long time since I wrote any new Shannon and Dwayne stories. Get ready my murderers, there are NEW TALES COMING!!!

Merry Christmas from South Lake is just a snippet of a tale that I dreamed up this morning. I hope you will make plans to get the reissue of the first Shannon Wallace Mystery re-titled Deadly Array coming in 2015.

And Merry Christmas to you and yours this holiday season. I hope it is a good one


Merry Christmas from South Lake by Kim Smith

"What is that on your head?" I asked. A gust of wind from the front door disturbed papers on the front desk.

"It's a hat, Wall-ass," Dwayne answered, tapping the black monstrosity. It sat on his head like it would fall if he did anything close to a tilt of his neck. "I found it."

"Well, you better take it back to whatever homeless shelter you found it at."

He took it off and brushed at the brim. "It's made of silk, I think. Probably really expensive. I found it just sitting in the middle of the path around the lake at the park. It needed me to pick it up. It kinda called to me."

I shook my head. "And you had to answer? Ugh."

"I get that you don't like it. But I do. It's Christmas, and my head is cold. I need this hat." And he plopped it back onto his head and turned into his office.

I followed him, not really wanting to continue this tirade but curious over his choice of park in the early morning. "What were you doing at South Lake Park so early?"

He shrugged. "Getting some fitness in. You'd do well to do that too, Ms. I-eat-at-buffets."

I sniffed. "I am not getting fat, Dee. I have to jog after you. Let me see that hat."

He handed it to me, and I looked at it closely. It was a stovepipe style, like Abe Lincoln wore. It had the remains of a red feather in the hatband. "Not bad." I handed it back to him. "But don't wear it indoors. It's bad manners."

He snatched it from me and growled. I turned and walked out. My buddy, Dwayne Brown, the hat aficionado. Who woulda thunk it?

We worked at Video Angels, a video production company that had been Dwayne's brainchild. In the last few months we'd kept ourselves alive by shooting plays, but with summer coming, I longed to do a wedding. I booted up my laptop and scoured sites where other people had their webpages filled with wedding images.

Dwayne interrupted my drooling. He stood in my doorway, his silly hat in hand. "Hey, I'm going downtown to get something to eat. You wanna come with?"

My stomach growled. The oatmeal I'd consumed was long gone. "Do I have to sit with you wearing that hat?"

He stuck it on his head and grinned.

I sighed. "Fine. But if anyone calls you Frosty the Snowman, I'm going to laugh."

I pulled on my hooded coat. He wrapped a Christmas red scarf around his neck. If he'd stuck a pipe in his mouth, he really would look like a black version of the jolly snowman.

He held the door open for me as we left. "Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas."

I grinned. "That's what I love about you Dee, you say the sweetest things."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Divide By Zero, by Sheila Deeth

Hello, MB4 fans and friends!

Please help me welcome my friend and author Sheila Deeth to Murderby4 today. I read her book, Divide by Zero, and truly enjoyed the tapestry of characters and scenes she so expertly wove together. Give it a try!

Aaron Lazar

copyright 2014, Sheila Deeth
In a recent post on this site, Aaron Paul Lazar asked about “writing the tough stuff, or killing the one you love.” I thought straight away of a scene where someone dies in my newly re-released novel, DIVIDE BY ZERO. But I can’t give you the scene. I can’t even tell you who dies because... well, then I might have to kill you, or something.
There are lots of characters threading through the tapestry of DIVIDE BY ZERO. Even if you know someone’s going to die, I’d rather you didn’t warn them when you first see them smile. So meet Troy, the garage mechanic; he’s falling in love with a rich man’s daughter—a match made on the ice cream aisle of the local supermarket perhaps; and both their families will be drawn into revealing disparate opinions. Of course, Lydia’s little sister Sylvia doesn’t have much of an opinion; she just wishes her big sister wouldn’t head off to university, because who will she talk to when she’s gone? Big brother Jason just wants a job.
Then there’s young Steve being drawn into love and bridge on the quiet street where Troy and Lydia will come to live. He meets a cat and... well, the cat’s really important. It’s fluffy and white, has a rhinestone collar with a garnet glowing in the center like a mystical eye; and it keeps watch as if it knows more about the world than anyone else. The cat is there while the world goes by, and there to help when everything falls apart.
Rumor has it a predator (human, not feline) lurks under the trees of Paradise Park. But, other than that, Paradise seems a pleasant little suburb of a pleasant little town, until someone dies. The question, I suppose, is did I kill someone I loved. And the answer? I sort of loved the whole tapestry of characters. After all, there’s that other question that people always ask authors—“How much of yourself is hidden in the people you write?” There are bits of me scattered all through DIVIDE BY ZERO (ah, what a fractured personality I must be), so killing someone off is like, well... definitely worse than cutting toenails.
Of course, the other phrase authors often hear is the advice to “Kill off your darlings.” But they don’t mean characters when they say this; they mean beloved scenes that don’t advance the plot; intricate details that hang like pearls from a piglet; or glorious triumphs set at inglorious tangents to everything else. My editor helped me kill those darlings very kindly and effectively, but the blame for killing characters is all my own, unless I choose to blame that one who set this whole sorry sequence of events in motion. But instead I feel sorry for him—the most evil character I’ve ever written, and here I am trying to redeem him! He had his hurts—don’t we all?—and in the end forgiveness might be a gift my characters can only receive, not theirs to give.  You might have to read the book to see what you think.
So, perhaps I wrote my villain’s crime in hopes of placing my own unseen transgressions on the same collection plate. We all have our hurts, like him, and all of us need forgiveness, one way or another, sometime or another (or all the time). If pain should become our “singular point,” dividing us by zero, perhaps forgiveness is the number (numerator) that we divide, a gift that saves us from being torn apart. And perhaps that’s the message I’m hiding in my book, as I kill the ones I love, even when they stay living, demanding sequels, in my head.


Author: Sheila Deeth
Divide by Zero is available from the publisher at:!product/prd15/2955791331/divide-by-zero

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holiday Deals and FREEBIES!

Happy Holidays!

Hi, folks! I know the Christmas season is a busy one, so I'll keep this short. I have several new offerings and a few deals I wanted to share today. See below and let me know if you need something for Christmas so I can get it to you on time!



DEAL #1: For the next few days, the Kindle version of Betrayal is on sale for 99 cents. This is book 4 in Tall Pines Mysteries, but it can be read as a standalone.

DEALl #2: The audiobook was released yesterday! I have FREE coupons which I'll give to the first three readers who want to LISTEN to this story via Our narrator, Gwendolyn Druyor, is Hollywood perfect! She will astound you with her talent.

 DEAL #3: This popular love story will be FREE (Kindle) from December 26th-28th. Be sure to get your copy if you haven't read it yet. And be sure you are over 18, for this is for adults only.

Yesterday I received print copies of my new book, Sanctuary: A Tall Pines Mystery. The book including shipping is $18.00 (signed to whomever you wish). The audio version is also available now, so you can listen while you drive, work, or play. ;o)

DEAL #4: If you buy Sanctuary (print book) from me, I'll take 50% off any of these print books: 
For the Birds
Healey's Cave

See all Aaron's books at

Friday, December 12, 2014

Excerpt from Kindred Rights (Night Calls) by Cat Kimbriel

Hi, folks.

This holiday season we are featuring guest blogs from a number of authors. We want to offer you cool books to check out for yourself or gifts, and also give these great authors a chance to crow a little about their works!

Please help me welcome prolific author, Cat Kimbriel, who shares an excerpt from Kindred Rights.

Welcome, Cat!

Aaron Lazar
"...we are all Death’s pupils, we practitioners—students of the great healer."

When magic broke free in my blood, I chose to follow our ancient family path and become a practitioner. I'm learning to heal, and to protect innocents. I dip into minds, stalk vampires, and set wards by the light of the moon. I can hear the children of the night calling.

But there are other families...and other paths. Families with twisted ambitions and frightening powers. On the frontier, folk whisper that one clan is the most dangerous of all.

Chief among those dark sorcerers is a man known as the Keeper of Souls.

And now he wants to keep mine.

* * * * * * * * *

“Ready for a lesson?” Marta said suddenly.

I blinked, surprised by the question. “Tonight?”

Marta lifted her head to meet my gaze; a half smile flitted across her lips. “No time like the present,” she offered, tugging her thread back through. “Between fetches and poltergeists, I think it is time for you to learn the first of the major arcana.”

Suddenly I was wide awake, and there was an ache in my chest, like I couldn’t catch my breath. Between fetches and poltergeists, I’d been feeling a bit ragged, truth to tell. I wasn’t sure I was ready just then for any more surprises.

“Christmas Eve?” I clarified. Marta had conducted a ritual on the solstice a few days past, but as a neophyte, I had not actively participated. Christmas was also a good time for ceremonies?

Marta looked amused. “’Tis said that ghosts walk on Christmas Eve. Can you think of a more appropriate—or safer—time to look beyond the borders of our world?”

“Ghosts?” Well, now...spirits were interesting. I straightened up.

“Actually,” Marta began, pinning her needle in place and setting aside her square, “the first major arcana you must learn is how to call upon Death.” Turning to smile at me, she added, “Nothing else is truly frightening after you have faced Death.”

I just stared at her, a sinking feeling in the hollow of my stomach. “Death isn’t really a person, is it? I thought that was just poetry, in the Bible....”

“Death is a spirit,” Marta said softly, her hands folding in her lap. “Some claim it is Azrael, the angel of death. Most people never see Death—or never know it is Death they see at the last. Death can wear many faces—Death can be anyone you have ever loved or known who has gone beyond. The face chosen is usually whomever the failing person wants most to see. And so the dying are comforted as they step over into the next life.”

The angel of death. Lord and Lady, these were deep waters, now. “Do we find those people over there?” I finally whispered.

“We may. Death is ambiguous when answering questions about the other side of life.” Marta looked a little evasive herself.

“Death will answer questions?”

Marta nodded as she stood up. “That is why a practitioner calls upon Death, to ask questions. But it is not done lightly. You do not ask Death anything that can be answered by anyone or anything else. You have to work at the answers—Death does not make things simple.”

As she started for the kitchen, Marta added, “And you never, ever ask about your own death. That is the one question Death will not answer.”

Rising to my feet, I threw the big pillow over on the pile and started after her. “What are you going to ask Death?”

“This is the only time that you call upon Death when you have no questions. When you begin learning the major arcana, you must introduce yourself to Death.” Looking back at me as she lit a single taper from the kitchen fire, Marta went on: “All apprentices learn this spell first. Once you have cast it, Death will know your call, and may choose to answer it.”

I thought about it, and shivered. “May choose?”

Marta smiled and went into the stillroom. “When Death is invited, Death may choose whether to come.” Her voice grew lower as she continued. “The only way to guarantee Death’s arrival is to kill something. Soldiers do it all the time, and rarely see Death passing by. But if a practitioner kills to demand Death’s presence, it changes the relationship.”

“Changes?” I hesitated at the doorway of the stillroom. Relationship?

Marta returned to the kitchen holding the candle and her carpetbag of wands, wards and beeswax candles. “Death is a friend to a practitioner, Allie,” she said solemnly. “Death is the last, great healer, who takes away the pain we cannot ease. It’s not Death people really fear—it is suffering. Death will answer specific questions concerning healing.” She stopped before me, her expression grave. “Once you shed innocent blood to summon Death, you are no longer perceived as a healer. You become...something else. You become an enigma to watch, and perhaps a danger, a black sorcerer.”

“Death no longer trusts you?” I asked slowly, watching her eyes.

Her brows lifted slightly, and she said, “Perhaps. I try not to attach emotions or attributes to Death. Death is not human, and helps us for obscure motives. Death never volunteers information—but Death always answers.” Setting down the bag on the table, she began to take out things. “Sometimes the answer is no,” she added.

“Is Death male or female?” I asked quickly, more to hear someone speak than to know the answer...which was a good thing, because Marta was done answering questions.

“Both, and neither. Get your coat.” As I looked at her in surprise, she said, “We do not need ritual robes for this ceremony. Just fire and water, tobacco, blood, and honesty.”

I was halfway into my coat before I realized Marta had said blood.

Might as well have not bothered with the coat. No mere sheepskin was going to warm my body, much less my soul.

Not this Christmas Eve.

* * * * * * * *
About the author:

Katharine Eliska Kimbriel reinvents herself every decade or so.  The one constant she has reached for in life is telling stories.  “I’m interested in how people respond to choice.  What is the metaphor for power, for choice? In SF it tends to be technology (good, bad and balanced) while in Fantasy the metaphor is magic – who has it, who wants or does not want it, what is done with it, and who/what the person or culture is after the dust has settled. A second metaphor, both grace note and foundation, is the need for and art of healing.  Forthcoming stories will talk about new things that I’ve learned, and still hope to learn … with grace notes about betrayal, forgiveness, healing and second chances.”  A Campbell Award nominee.