Tag Archives: mother

Excerpt & Giveaway: Stolen Obsession by Marlene M Bell


Annalisse Series, Book 1
Marlene M Bell
Genre: Spicy Romantic Mystery
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: March 20, 2018
Number of Pages: 284

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Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.
Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.
Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.
Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.
But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?

Hold on for a heart-thumping adventure through exotic lands in this fast moving, romantic suspense mystery by Marlene M Bell.



EXCERPT: Chapter Six, Part Two

From Stolen Obsession

By Marlene M Bell


Click to read part one on Lone Star Book Blog Tours 3/2/18 blog stop!

Annalisse walked over to the officer while he bagged and sealed the card.

“This message could just be a prank,” he said.

“I’m no detective, but Ismail lives means something to someone. Do you know what information Agent Norcross wants?”

“You have a translation?” Mooney removed a notepad from his breast pocket. “I wouldn’t worry, Ms. Drury. Harry was a very simple man and had few close friends. That brother-in-law of his could barely string three comprehensible words together. We’ll talk to him again when he’s sober.”

“It’s unusual to find him snockered this early, but he’s alcoholic and won’t admit it.”

Norcross joined them, with Alec and Generosa in tow.

Generosa offered, “The guest book showed one-hundred-eighty-three guests at my party. Any one of them could’ve left the card.”

“Was anything inside the case missing?” Norcross asked. “Or anywhere else?”

Annalisse replied, “Chase cleared all of the jewelry displays after the party. Isn’t that right, Gen?”

Generosa nodded slowly at Annalisse. “I don’t leave jewelry displayed at night. It’s always locked in my safe.”

“And you know Chase Miller?” The agent addressed Annalisse. Her honeyed twang seemed out of place, but she had the practiced intimidating look down perfectly.

“Yes. I’ve explained the relationship. You spoke with him about Sam that day, too, remember?”

“Of course. Yes.” Norcross scratched something in her notebook and turned to Generosa. “How about the security system? Any issues when you opened this morning?”

“Colum, you followed us out last night when we closed. Chase set the alarm—come to think of it, the security panel didn’t beep today like it normally does when we unlock. I thought it was odd.” Generosa pointed at the alarm panel.

Mooney walked beneath one of the matte black motion detectors near the door. “These units should show an active red light. This one doesn’t.”

“I’ll check the one upstairs.” Alec moved to the bottom of the steps. “Dark here, too.”

Mama Mia. My system’s off. For how long? I’m sure it was working last night.”

“Detective, let’s bring in a tech team. No one touches anything.” Norcross took the mystery card from Mooney, studied it front and back, then stashed it in her jacket. “Damn Mafia.”

“Good lord! Here in my shop? I don’t deal with garbage business types.” Generosa’s shoulders sagged. “I can’t tell Pearce. He’ll be worried sick.”

Alec moved close to Annalisse; she felt his warmth on her skin.

“How do you know we had a break-in, Agent Norcross? Couldn’t someone have stayed behind after Mom’s party and fooled around with the alarm as a joke? It was nuts around here.”

“The security company should’ve notified the station of a breach. A joke, no. He, or she, may have tried to destroy the security video and found a way to circumvent the alarm and detectors. Gen, we’ll need the names from the catering company and all guests who signed in. Including those invited who may not have attended,” Mooney said.

“None of this makes any sense. Nothing’s been stolen. All for a silly note? Colum, really.”

“That’s it, then. Mom, the gallery closes.”

“But, son, that’s foolish. It’s an insignificant scribble.”

“We won’t open again until every inch of this gallery’s been scoured,” Alec said. “We had a death here and with all that Annalisse told us—”

Both Mooney and Norcross alerted.

“About the loss of her friend. That’s all I meant.” He chewed the corner of his lip.

“I’d post a security guard, too. Your card is more than scribbles, Miss Generosa, if I may call you by your first name. We believe Carradine’s death was no accident and the card you found—let’s just say, fits a certain profile we’ve been monitoring. I spoke out of turn earlier, about the Mafia. I’m sorry.” Norcross looked at her watch. “We’ll take the card down to forensics.”

“Gen, my partner knows a reliable man. Ex-military. He moonlights as security when he isn’t working as a private dick,” Mooney added.

“I still can’t believe Harry had any enemies. That poor, poor man.” Generosa swiped an eye.

The detective handed her a tissue from inside his jacket.

Alec took Annalisse aside while Generosa and the officers wandered to the middle of the foyer. “Are you all right?”

“I will be.” She gripped the seam on her jeans to hide the shakes. “There’s lots Norcross is keeping to herself. She’s uncovered more about Sam. How can we be sure other people weren’t exposed to the same poison as Harry?”

“We can’t be.”

“Shouldn’t Gen notify her guests?”

“Of their possible poison exposure?” He dimpled one cheek. “Let’s wait and see what develops before we open a legal nightmare. Harry could’ve been poisoned before he got here.”

“True. Blabbing to the world without knowing the facts wouldn’t be smart.” She glanced at her watch and gasped. “Crap. Chase is going to send out the military. It’s nearly nine. Here comes Gen.”


To be concluded with part three on Lone Star Book Blog Tours 3/9/18 blog stop!


Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.

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MARCH 1-10, 2018
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Mysteries of Love and Grief by Sandra Scofield

Reflections on a Plainswoman’s Life
Sandra Scofield
Frieda Harms was born into a farming family in Indian Territory in 1906. Widowed at thirty and left with three children in the midst of the Great Depression, she worked as a farmer, a railroad cook, a mill worker, and a nurse in four states. She died in 1983.
Sandra Scofield spent most of her childhood with her grandmother Frieda and remained close to her in adulthood. When Frieda died, Sandra received her Bible and boxes of her photographs, letters, and notes. For thirty years, Sandra dipped into that cache.
Sandra always sensed an undercurrent of hard feelings within her grandmother, but it was not until she sifted through Frieda’s belongings that she began to understand how much her life had demanded, and how much she had given. At the same time, questions in Sandra’s own history began to be answered, especially about the tug-of-war between her mother and grandmother. At last, in Mysteries of Love and Grief, Scofield wrestles with the meaning of her grandmother’s saga of labor and loss, trying to balance her need to understand with respect for Frieda’s mystery.
BUY LINKS: AMAZON ~ Texas Tech Press ~ B&N
Throughout her depiction of her own family, Scofield kept me surprised—a moment of generosity when I didn’t expect it or of anger when I didn’t expect that. Mysteries remain as they must, but I trusted the insights as well as the mysteries. I thought it was a very beautiful book, smart and sharp.
Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club
Largely ungoverned by chronology, Scofield’s journey of discovery unfolds organically, true to the way memory works. Seeking to know her grandmother, she honors the lives and artistic bent of many women marginalized by gender and poverty in the early to mid-twentieth century. This is a unique and necessary work.
Lorraine M. López, author of Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories and The Darling
I have no idea why I was expecting a Little House on the Prairie type experience (maybe because she references the series a few times in the book), but this was not it. That’s not a bad thing when you consider that Little House glosses over things like extreme poverty, death, and doing illegal activities (shame on you, Pa). The pain and confusion Scofield feels for her mother and grandmother are evident throughout the memoir. While I was confused now and then (I could never get the hang of her calling everyone by first name rather than “Mother” and “Aunt”), I could relate to the mixed feelings about family. I know all too well the wanting to move away and move on, but finding yourself running back to where you came from. My takeaway from this writing was that we don’t always get to know the truth, definitely not all of it, but we should embrace the love while it’s with us. Also, Texas breeds some strong ass, independent women. I think I would love having a coffee talk with Scofield.

A native Texan, Sandra Scofield divides her time between Missoula, Montana, and Portland, Oregon. 
She has written seven novels, a memoir, and a craft book for writers. An excerpt from Mysteries of Love and Grief won first place in Narrative magazine’s 2014 Spring Story Contest. She is an avid landscape painter.
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Schooled for Murder by Cindy Muir


Author: Cindy Muir

Genre: Mystery (cozy)

# of Pages: 200

Pub Date: July 11, 2014

Publisher:  Black Rose Writing



Laurel Franks is a dedicated mom, volunteer extraordinaire and active on the PTA Board. She is also, however, a enthusiastic Jimmy Buffet fan and wanna-be Trop Rock singer. Laurel finds out through the local grapevine that the despicable local School Superintendent has been murdered and the sheriff’s office seems to be unusually mum about the investigation.


With her best friend and sidekick Sherry Sharp, Laurel decides to hone her investigative skills and search out suspect possibilities she comes up with in her volunteer and community world. Her husband, obsolete in the thought processes of a modern woman, wants her to devote her time and energy to her volunteer work and family only, but Laurel is spurred on with her investigation.


Laurel and Sherry traverse the Hill Country north of San Antonio, Texas and meet some wacky characters, many of whom seem to have a motive for rubbing out the School Superintendent. Fueled by Trop Rock music and inspired by Jimmy Buffett lyrics, Laurel finally solves the crime, but at the near cost of her own life.





I’m one of those who has always loved music. My earliest performance memory was at age four at church and by age 8, I was studying piano. The choral and solo road continued and I wound up with two music degrees from Baylor University. I’m a former elementary music teacher and directed church children’s choirs for 32 years.

Somewhere along the way, I expanded my musical horizons and was listening to

Jimmy Buffett by the early 90s. When I attended my first concert back in 1991, I was hooked. After several years of Buffett concerts, reading his books and learning about him, I finally joined the San Antonio Parrot Head Club. It was through the club that I began to learn about Trop Rock and the singers/ songwriters who make the music.

A couple of years ago, I started writing a column about Parrot Heads and Trop Rock for a now-defunct magazine. And I truly became hooked on meeting and interviewing the musicians. One of my favorite parts of going to MOTM, Pardi Gras, or other Trop Rock music events is to forge new musical relationships. I also began to weave a story about an amateur sleuth who also dreams of being a Trop Rock singer. After years of writing and re-writing, “Schooled For Murder” is my first cozy mystery novel. Black Rose Writing was extremely gracious to take the chance of being the book’s publisher.

I have a beautiful daughter, Lauren Bates, who lives in Dallas and is an artist. And I’m newly married to wonderful Don Muir, whom I’ve known for years through the San Antonio Parrot Head Club. Jerry Diaz was gracious to let us be married on the stage erected for the Pardi Gras Street Party and after the ceremony, a second line jazz band paraded us up to the top of the Tropical Isle, where we had cake for whomever joined us.

I’m also caretaker for the “Jimmy Buffett Museum of Port Aransas, TX,” which is my second home. Come see me if you’re ever on that part of the Gulf Coast. We’ll share a cold libation and listen to…   what else? Trop Rock!




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