Your middle-of-the-week mystery fix!

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Looking for a fun, new series with plenty of mystery, murder, and romance to go
Roadkillsmallaround? Check out my Double Barrel Mysteries series. If you want to start at the beginning of the series, pick up a copy of book one, ROADKILL.

In book two, Much Ado About Murder, Blake and Shelby Gunner are setting up residence in Port Scuttlebutt and opening their own private investigations office. Hope you enjoy the excerpt below!

ImbedMuchAdo2Shelby could hear the whine of the electric saw when she stepped out on the porch with her cup of coffee. Vanilla bean scented steam rose in the cold autumn air as she held her cup between the palms of her hands and sipped. She shivered in spite of wearing an angora sweater beneath a quilted jacket. It was hard to believe that days before Blake was working shirtless down at the boathouse. Today he’d need to wear long johns and flannel. It was already beginning to feel like Christmas. All they needed was snow.

The radio came on in the kitchen where Alice was busy mixing bread dough. It sounded like the weather report. Shelby gulped the rest of her lukewarm coffee and slipped back inside to catch the news. Maybe there would be something about the murder. The police had been tight-lipped about the case when Blake showed up asking questions. Even the brotherhood-of-blue mantra did little to open the way for him.

Blake was still upstairs sleeping, but he’d be down soon. He had an invitation to visit his grandmother at the big house for lunch. Apparently it was a single invitation, since he hadn’t invited her along, but that was okay. She had plans as well.

“Sounds like we might get snow by tonight,” Alice said, turning the radio down when the commercials came on. She slipped a clean towel over the lump of dough in the mixing bowl, and slid it closer to the stove to rise. “Good thing Mr. Dugan started early today. Maybe he’ll have the office windows and door in for you by this evening.”

“That would be wonderful.” Shelby refilled her cup from the carafe and leaned against the kitchen counter. “Especially if he turns out to be guilty.”

“Guilty? Did you find something incriminating out there at his place?” Alice peered over the refrigerator door as she pulled breakfast items from the shelves. “I mean… that would be terrible. For Tucker’s dad especially.”

Shelby shook her head. “Nothing like that. But we didn’t find anything to prove his innocence either, so…” she shrugged.

“Hey. Loose lips sink ships,” Blake said from the doorway. He pulled an imaginary zipper across his mouth. “Mrs. Private Eye, may I have a word with you?”

“Don’t worry,” Alice said, “I haven’t had time to get all the juicy details out of her yet.”

Shelby followed Blake into the sitting room and faced him, hands on her hips. “What was that all about? Paranoid much? If anyone in this town can be trusted, Alice can.”

“I know that. But sometimes things slip out inadvertently. I want to keep this ring business under wraps for the time being. I haven’t even questioned Pete Dugan about whether he knew his ex-wife was seeing someone else or not. First things first. Okay?”

“Fine. I won’t mention the ring to anyone.”

He stepped closer and tipped her chin up with one finger. “You know how beautiful you look when you’re peeved with me?”

“I’m not peeved. I just don’t like lying to my friends.” She’d done enough of that growing up. Lying to protect her alcoholic father from losing his job, lying to keep the social workers away, lying to bill collectors, the landlord, her friends.

“You don’t have to lie, babe. They’ll understand if you tell them you can’t talk about it. The same way you understood when I couldn’t share everything about the cases I worked on as a detective. Information is key. We have to keep it to ourselves until the exact right moment. Get it? Surprise attack. We want to get a natural, unguarded look at our suspect’s true feelings. Most people wear a façade, especially when they feel cornered.

“Now our client is a suspect?”

“Until I’ve proved otherwise.”

She leaned into him and he drew her close. She closed her eyes and breathed in his just-showered scent. “You smell like fresh strawberries.”

“I used your fruity shampoo. Mine was empty.”

“It smells good on you,” she said, nuzzling his neck.

“Hold on now.” He moved back out of reach, a silly grin on his face. “Are you trying to get an invitation to lunch, or…?”

“I can’t believe you’d think that. Only married four years and you’re already pouring sand on the flames.”

His brows came together. “Are you messing with me?”

“Of course. Who else would I mess with?” She reached out and tugged him back by the collar of his shirt. “Now kiss me before I leave. I’m going to the café for a chat with Luanne.”

“Heaven help us all,” he said, and then gave her a proper goodbye kiss.

~~~

Thanks for stopping! Hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Please leave a comment below.

Barbara

Barbara Ellen Brink is the author of The Fredrickson Winery Novels, Split Sense (winner of the Grace Award), Running Home, Alias Raven Black, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and Roadkill.

Barbara Ellen Brink is the author of The Fredrickson Winery Novels, Split Sense (winner of the Grace Award), Running Home, Alias Raven Black, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and The Double Barrel Mysteries.

Bugs and Motorcycles

redDaisySo, summer has been quite awesome so far. Perfect temp days, rain at night, and flowers blooming like crazy. We’ve had a few really hot days, but I can live with a few hot days in the midst of perfection.

I was admiring my potted flowers and noticed the scourge was back again for anotherBugInfestation year of devastation. Japanese Beetles have landed like an army of the undead; always hungry but never sated. I looked around and realized the tree next to the deck was completely covered with these little leaf-consuming pests. They’re worse than a dark sky of descending locusts because you never see them coming. You just wake up one day and there’s a layer of beetles over everything, consuming every plant and tree in sight. 

Or perhaps I’ve been less than observant of the yard lately because I’m a little obsessed with my new motorcycle. A new bike means new equipment. And that means shopping!

Maybe there are some motorcycle enthusiasts out there who can continue to use their old helmet, jacket, gloves, and bags until they fall apart in the wind, but this chick needs to accessorize.

DucatiHillMeMy old Ninja was Kawasaki green. My new Ducati Scrambler is canary yellow. You see the problem. Completely different look. Completely different wardrobe.

Now you’d think motorcycle stores would eagerly anticipate and welcome women riders because they are probably more prone to accessorizing their outfit to match their bike than guys would be. Sadly, they still cater to men. Jackets, boots, gloves, and even helmets are hard to find in women’s styles and sizes. So the local sales that would have been are not to be. I have to go online to find just about everything.

I’m looking forward to another butt-numbing trip on our bikes this fall. After all, we need to break in the bikes and equipment. I’ll be sure and let you know how it goes. I just hope those Japanese Beetles aren’t hitting my helmet windshield like kamikaze pilots on a mission. I don’t brake for bugs.

Until next time…

Barbara

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Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

Book Review: THE BLESSING OF HUMILITY by Jerry Bridges

humilityThe Blessing of Humility is a book that truly follows the teachings of Christ. As Jerry Bridges quotes at the beginning of the first chapter, “the Bible is meant to be applied in your everyday life.”

Being humble does not come naturally. Most people think that being humble or meek is to be kicked around or taken advantage of, but Jerry shows the reader that the definitions of these things in the Bible are not exactly what we have come to believe they mean in the twenty-first century.

I grew up going to church and studying the Bible, but knowing what Christ taught and living it out are two very different things, and the author manages to convey the meaning of Jesus’ teachings with a profound clarity that convicts the soul. Each chapter is another aspect of following Christ’s words and living humbly. To be poor in spirit, meek, merciful, a peacemaker, etc…

If you’re looking for a topical book that is easy to understand and written with spiritual insight that is simple yet profound, check it out. It would make a great book for a Bible Study group as well. There is a discussion guide at the end for such use.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Thanks for stopping!

Barbara

Barbara is the author of the Fredrickson Winery Novels, the award winning thriller, Split Sense, The Second Chances series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and The Double Barrel Mysteries, Roadkill and Much Ado About Murder. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and pups.

Barbara is the author of the Fredrickson Winery Novels, the award winning thriller, Split Sense, The Second Chances series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and The Double Barrel Mysteries, Roadkill and Much Ado About Murder. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and pups.

 

Review: Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan

SavingMyAssassinI don’t read a lot of memoirs, but I want to share a book I just finished – Saving My Assassin – an extraordinary memoir filled with courtroom drama, political intrigue, persecution, suspense and danger. Set in Romania during the brutal communist regime of President Nicolae Ceausescu, Virginia Prodan’s story is both frightening and inspirational.

Romania didn’t lose their freedoms overnight, but slowly the government took everything of value from their citizens until they were left only with fear and desperation. Some spied on their own neighbors and families in order to remain in favor with corrupt government officials and to get a few comforts of life like extra food, clothes, or a vacation. Others kept their mouths shut, heads down, and eyes closed to the horrors around them, hoping the securitate (secret police) wouldn’t take notice and they would stay alive.

It’s hard to believe much of this story took place less than three short decades ago. In America we take freedom for granted but once you read this book you may have a hard time taking anything for granted again. It all seems so frighteningly possible in the political and social climate we’ve been living the past few years.

Virginia Prodan grew up in what you might call a dysfunctional family, without any or very little real affection shown her. She was treated differently than the other children, more like a slave in fact, and didn’t know why. She must have been a tough little girl because she turned out to be quite a resilient young woman.

As a teenager, Virginia realized that truth was a commodity that rarely existed in her world. It had gone the way of freedom, liberty, and the Dodo bird. Nevertheless, she had a thirst for truth and justice and thought that if she became a lawyer she’d be able to find that for others. Little did she understand that having laws on the books to protect Romanian citizens was no more than a ruse to stay in the good graces of the West, and lawyers were expected to ignore them in favor of whatever their dictator ordained.

Virginia’s conversion to Christianity as a young lawyer turned her world upside down. Freedom in Christ was a wonderful new reality and she was infused with a strength and boldness she never knew before. But it was not without danger. In the early 1980s, Romanian Christians were arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for owning a Bible or going to church. Church buildings were even bull-dozed and their land confiscated. Freedom of religion did not exist. President Nicolae Ceausescu set himself up as a god and expected Romanians to worship him alone. Those who refused were punished and oftentimes murdered.

Virginia was arrested multiple times, beaten and threatened. She was told over and over that her life was in their hands and they would kill her. But knowing for a certainty that her life was actually in God’s hands, she refused to live in fear of what men could do to her.

“I should be dead. Buried in an unmarked grave in Romania. Obviously, I am not. God had other plans.” Virginia Prodan

Saving My Assassin is a wonderful story of the redeeming love of Christ. It’s also a timely reminder that freedom is a precious commodity and so easily lost when people forget why truth matters and are willing to let go of certain unalienable rights in favor of empty promises.

Virginia’s courage and faith in the face of such evil is truly inspiring and well worth the read. I encourage you to pick up a copy!

Purchase here> Amazon  B&N  ChristianBook

Virginia Prodan
Virginia Prodan

Virginia Prodan is an international human rights attorney, an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, and a sought-after speaker. Exiled from Romania since 1988, Virginia currently resides in Dallas, TX. She has two daughters, Anca and Andreea, and a son, Emanuel. Visit her on twitter @virginiaprodan,  Facebook and on LinkedIn.

*I received a complimentary copy of Saving My Assassin from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Thanks for stopping. Leave a comment or question below.

Barbara

Barbara is the author of the Fredrickson Winery Novels, the award winning thriller, Split Sense, The Second Chances series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and The Double Barrel Mysteries, Roadkill and Much Ado About Murder. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and pups.

Barbara is the author of the Fredrickson Winery Novels, the award winning thriller, Split Sense, The Second Chances series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and The Double Barrel Mysteries, Roadkill and Much Ado About Murder. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and pups.

Segway phobia

balltower

If you are married to a techie kind of guy who works on computers all day number crunching, and comes home to relax with a computer and cell phone in his lap while he watches the SciFi channel, you might understand my predicament.

meMissionMy husband and I went on a short trip to visit Santa Fe recently, and so my taller half did a little research on “things to do” while we were there.

Apparently, Segway tours are popular in some cities. And Santa Fe is no exception.

Personally, I find the thought of riding around on one of those machines only slightly less nerdy than wearing a pocket protector and knowing all the dialogue from Lord of the Rings.

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Now to be clear, I have no problem riding motorcycles, bicycles, or even going the easy route and mowing with a riding lawnmower – if we owned one – but a Segway? Standing up and looking like you’re on your way to visit Darth Vader at the other end of the Death Star?

Okay, truthfully, those things also scare me a bit. They look like a very tippy, unstable sort of machine. And if I’m going to die I’d rather not do it by being thrown off a Segway into busy traffic, and/or launched into a city runoff pond where I’ll drown in sludge. That sort of death just begs for a stand-up routine at the funeral.

I don’t want to be the butt of the jokes at my own funeral.

Yeah, she just Segwayed right into eternity!

That Segway tour vaulted her career. Now she’s swimming with the leaches.

Sadly, we did not find time to take the Segway tour. Perhaps next year…

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Thanks for stopping! Ever take a Segway tour? Leave a comment and let us know how it went.

Barbara

Barbara is the author of the Fredrickson Winery Novels, the award winning thriller, Split Sense, The Second Chances series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and The Double Barrel Mysteries, Roadkill and Much Ado About Murder. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and pups.

Barbara is the author of the Fredrickson Winery Novels, the award winning thriller, Split Sense, The Second Chances series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy, and The Double Barrel Mysteries, Roadkill and Much Ado About Murder. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and pups.