Saturday, December 28, 2019

Reading Challenge 2020


 1) Color in title

 2) Number in title

 3) Dance (or dance movement) in title (ex: Salsa, ballet, dip, swing, hustle, waltz, etc.)

 4) Name in title (any proper name)

 5) Job (or career) in title

 6) Holiday in title

 7) Fire in title (flame, candle, light, etc.)

 8) Vehicle in title (car, ambulance, truck, plane, ship, etc.)

 9) Relationship in title (aunt, uncle, grandpa, mom, niece, etc.)

10) Animal in title

11) Weather in title (snow, sunny, rain, ice, etc.)

12) Supernatural element in title (witch, vampire, skeleton, etc.)

13) Food in title (cheese, cake, apple, cinnamon, etc.)

14) Gambling in title (cards, poker, chips, bet, etc.)

15) Sports in title (football, game, bat, team name, etc.)


The challenge runs from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

For this challenge – Each book can only be used once
(If it fits more than 1 category choose one – as it can only be used in 1 of the categories)

You don’t have to choose your books in advance.  If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year.

Books can be in any format – paper, ebooks, audio…

 Crossovers with other challenges are fine.

Most of all—have fun!

And be sure to check out my Reporter's Challenge on GoodReads under the Challenge Factory yearly challenges...

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Santa's Secret

Let me tell you a story, that fills me with regret,
About a horrible night that I’d rather forget,
And the way I avoided a formal dragnet.

The sleigh was packed tight, all loaded with gifts,
The GPS primed to avoid pesky snowdrifts,
But the situation that unfolded almost left me adrift.

I sat at the table, enjoying a warm, hearty stew,
When from outside there came a hullabaloo,
That threatened to ruin my chimney rendezvous.

Three elves burst through the door, calling “Santa, come quick!
We’re so distraught and hope it’s just a trick,
But we’re afraid our security’s been breached by a raving lunatic.”

Pushing aside my dinner, I launched into action,
Mrs. Claus stood at the stove frowning at the distraction,
I hadn’t eaten enough to bring her satisfaction.

The countdown had started on my long journey ahead,
I was looking forward to milk, cookies and gingerbread,
But the elves blurted out, “Blitzen is missing—presumed dead.”

We crunched through the blizzard to the side of the house,
Under the watchful eyes of my jolly, old spouse,
The stillness surrounding us, quiet as a mouse.

My eyes narrowed and focused on a terrifying scene,
That brought up memories of a scary Halloween,
The Christmas holiday ruined if I didn’t intervene.

I drank in the sight—my thoughts quite profane,
There in a huddle lay some butchered remains,
Quite a massacre had occurred, leaving vivid bloodstains.

A headcount performed, the elves were quite right,
My beloved Blitzen was nowhere in sight,
By the looks of the bloodshed, he’d put up a fight.

Everything in readiness to fly through the hemisphere,
The children were waiting—but no four-legged volunteer,
So I adjusted the lineup to make do with only seven reindeer.

Guiding the sleigh with two hands, I sorted truth from fiction,
As awareness washed over me, I made a prediction,
I absolutely wouldn’t tell my tale –it’d only secure a conviction.

The damage was done, there was no way to undo,
And Mrs. Claus would be arrested if I shared what I knew,

I’d figured out the special ingredient in her homemade stew!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

4th Dr. Who poem


Twas the night before Doomsday, but all through outer space,
Not an enemy was visible, nothing seemed out of place.
The weapons were stored in the Tardis with care,
In hopes the White Guardian soon would be there.

My companions were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of jelly babies danced in their heads.
And Romana in her trench coat and I in my vest,
Knew that the Sontarans would soon make us stressed.

When out in the cosmos, there arose such a clatter,
I grabbed the sonic screwdriver to investigate the matter.
Away to the Earth, I materialized in a flash,
Levered open the door and prepared to be brash.

The moon was a crescent, hung low in the sky,
As our Intel claimed Sutekh soon would be by.
When what to my bulging, brown eyes should appear,
But a terrified Tegan, atremble with fear.

Next a convoy of trucks, clearly from UNIT,
Led by my friend, Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart.
Then the Daleks and Cybermen formed into groups,
So I whistled and shouted and yelled for my troops.

Now Nyssa! Now Leela! Now Sarah Jane Smith!
Come Adric! Come Harry! (Tegan was miffed.)
To the battleground forming, we must hatch a plan,
We need Benton and Yates and every last man.

As the Robot and Krynoid joined in with the Zygons,
The Time Lords chimed in “let bygones be bygones”
So into the mix we put up a good fight,
With temporal traps, gold dust and just plain old might.

As I gathered my forces with a big toothy smile,
K9 passed us by, to help out for a while.
And then into the fray, the Master appeared,
That consummate bad guy, the one that’s most feared.

The Master is here, my companions all cried!
Now head for the control room to stay safe inside.
We must think of a way and finally defeat him,
Or the galaxy faces a future most grim.

The Master harrumphed, as wily as a fox,
And gathered his minions around the police box.
His eyes – how they twinkled, his open mouth droll,
And the beard of his chin was as jet black as coal.

I reached in my pocket for something to do,
Pulled out a yoyo and racked my brain for a clue.
My scarf was in knots, my stomach it roiled,
We will find a way, the Master must be foiled.

Think quickly, Doctor! all my cohorts exclaim.
There must be a way to remove him from the game.
Just how to eliminate him is subjective,
To divide and conquer is our main objective.

Now the Master calls out, he wishes a truce,
It’s good news to hear, since K9’s out of juice.
I open the door and allow him inside,
Then set the controls to embark on a ride.

From deep within, the death knell reverberates,
The meaning is clear, a Time Lord regenerates.
Right at this moment, there’s no time to stand by,
But for whom the bell tolls, the Master or I?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Hazel Cartbell's Christmas Poem

We interrupt Everything Crime From A-Z
to bring you some holiday cheer...

A Very Merry Hazel Cartbell Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
The killer was creeping, as quiet as a mouse.
With a gun in his hand and his eyes on the prize,
Who he was after, I could only surmise.

The killer moved quickly, he searched for his goal,
The house was as dark as Victor Kendall’s black soul.
I inched my way slowly, to keep him in sight,
But he stayed in the shadows, as dark as the night.

I grew cold and tired, my brain started to roam,
And I thought of the townsfolk, all warm in their home.
I pictured Mama Bella in her restaurant,
Waiting on her customers to see what they want.

And then in a twinkling, my thoughts started to drift,
To my brother, Sebastian, who always seemed miffed.
Two years my junior, he still acted like a child,
I try not to judge him, without getting riled.

Or the chief’s son, Robbie, a student in college,
He’s studying hard to expand his knowledge.
He’s got a crush on our pretty dispatcher,
Robbie won’t give up hope, thinking he’ll catch her.

Sister Marie Catherine, the old-school nun,
So strict and somber, does she ever have fun?
As I visualized Sister, praying in church,
There came a loud noise and my heart gave a lurch.

There out on the street, a car rolled to a stop,
And Donovan emerged, our new rookie cop.
With a huff and a puff, he raced up beside me.
Did the recruit think I would need him to guide me?

The heavens released a fresh dusting of snow,
The rookie grew restless, but we had to keep low.
I kept my eyes peeled and let my grip loosen,
A wonderful sight, here comes Chief Rasmussen.

My heart filled with joy as I watched him draw near,
Would the chief never notice me, was my worst fear.
He strode to the door and called in a firm voice,
Come out with your hands up, you don’t have a choice.

I watched him with pride, this man was my hero,
Just like Poirot and that Wolfe they call Nero.
As the bad guy obeyed and marched onto the porch,
I knew as long as I lived, I would carry this torch!

Friday, December 13, 2019



Reviews are based on taste and preference. What one person dislikes, another person loves. If someone dislikes a book, that doesn’t make it a bad book. On the flip side, if someone loves a book, that doesn’t make it a good book.
A reviewer may say they didn’t like the book because it was too humorous and they prefer serious works. Reading that, I’d jump on the book because I love humor.
When I leave a review for a book, I try to say why I liked the story. It gives the next person something to hang their hat on. If I don’t like a story, I don’t ever leave a negative review because I don’t think it’s fair to bash someone’s hard work. For instance, there’s an author my mother loves (I won’t name names) whom I detest. And we love/hate her for the exact same reason—she’s super heavy on description. I prefer more dialogue than description in my reading. Does that make her a bad author? Not at all. She’s a best-seller.
Several years back, a book came out where the author didn’t use any quote marks to indicate dialogue. That method totally took me out of the story since I had to go back constantly to see if someone was talking or if it was someone’s thoughts or if it was description. I spent too much time trying to understand rather than enjoying the story. I was thoroughly confused after a couple of chapters and never finished. Did this mean it was a bad book? Nope—he’s a best-selling author.
Why are reviews so important for an author? Well, Amazon ranks your book partially based on the number of reviews. Newspaper reviews help authors get on the best-seller lists, etc., etc. Unfortunately, it’s the ‘famous’ authors (the ones who don’t need it) who get the publicity.
So help an author out—if you like a book, give it a review, especially if the author isn’t a best-seller and doesn’t have a lot of reviews. It can be short with just a mention or two of what you liked. You don’t realize how much they’d appreciate it.

Sunday, December 8, 2019



Quiz #5

Duos: Match these pets to their sleuth owners to their authors

(No googling—try to see how many you can match up before you peek J)

Miranda James    MacKenzie Sullivan   Eddie (cat)
Diane Kelly         Geri Sullivan              Brigit (K9 dog)
Linda Barnes       Inspector Chopra        Whiskey (cat)
Laurie Cass          Jaine Austen            Ganesha (elephant)
Waverly Curtis     Carlotta Carlyle      Pepe (Chihuahua)
Eva Gates             Stephanie Plum          Diesel (cat)
Laura Levine        Lucy Richardson        Prozac (cat)
Vaseem Khan       Charlie Harris           Red Emma (parakeet)
Janet Evanovich   Minnie Hamilton        Charles (cat)
Evelyn David       Officer Megan Luz     Rex (hamster)


Miranda James/Charlie Harris/Diesel

Diane Kelly/Officer Megan Luz/Brigit

Linda Barnes/Carlotta Carlyle/Red Emma

Laurie Cass/Minnie Hamilton/Eddie

Waverly Curtis/Geri Sullivan/Pepe

Eva Gates/Lucy Richardson/Charles

Laura Levine/Jaine Austen/Prozac

Vaseem Khan/Inspector Chopra/Ganesha

Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum/Rex

Evelyn David/Mackenzie Sullivan/Whiskey

Monday, December 2, 2019


* * * * * * * * 


New Ella Westin mystery - #6 in the series

* * * * * * * *


2nd Edition Published December 1, 2019
New Cover, New Publisher

Fun, light-hearted reads

Get them today!

Thursday, November 28, 2019



Quiz #4

Geography: Where in the world is each series set?
(No googling—try to see how many you can match up before you peek J)

1. Millenium series                                               a. Cuba
2. Dr. Hoffman mystery series                            b. Iceland
3. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series        c. France
4. Lavender Ladies Detective Agency series      d. India
5. Yellowthread Street mystery series                 e. Spain
6. Darko Dawson mysteries                                 f. Turkey
7. Hamish MacBeth mysteries                             g. Wales
8. Thora Gudmundsdottir series                          h. Denmark
9. Hat Shop mysteries                                          i. Australia
10.Reverend Mother series                                  j. Egypt
11.Phryne Fisher mysteries                                  k. Canada
12.Baby Ganesh mysteries                                  l. England
13.Guido Brunetti mysteries                               m. Africa
14.Aimee Leduc Investigations                           n. Ireland
15.Kati Hirschel Istanbul mysteries                     o. Italy
16.Constable Evans mysteries                             p. China
17.Inspector Alvarez mysteries                           q. Scotland
18.Department Q series                                       r. Germany
19.Amelia Peabody mystery series                      s. Finland
20.Havana Mysteries                                           t. Sweden


1/t, 2/r, 3/k, 4/s, 5/p, 6/m, 7/q, 8/b, 9/l, 10/n,
11/i, 12/d, 13/o, 14/c, 15/f, 16/g, 17/e, 18/h, 19/j, 20/a

Saturday, November 23, 2019



Quiz #3

Cozy Duos: Sleuth/Profession Matchups

Match the amateur sleuth up with their ‘real-life’ profession

(No googling—try to see how many you can match up before you peek J)

1. Stephanie Plum                      a. K9 police officer
2. Flavia de Luce                        b. puzzle lady
3. Teddy Bentley                        c. baker
4. Hannah Swenson                   d. postmistress
5. Megan Luz                             e. novelist
6. Lena London                          f. bookmobile librarian
7. Stacy Graysin                         g. reporter
8. Andy Carpenter                      h. chef
9. Cassie Miller                          i. ballroom dance instructor
10.Lucy Stone                            j. lawyer
11.Cleo Watkins                         k. ghosthunter
12.Olivia Paras                           l. zookeeper
13.Jessica Fletcher                     m. child
14.Cora Felton                            n. bounty hunter
15.Emily Andrew-Miceli           o. writer’s apprentice
16.M. J. Holliday                        p. tour guide


1/n, 2/m, 3/l, 4/c, 5/a, 6/o, 7/i, 8/j, 9/d, 10/g, 11/f, 12/h, 13/e, 14/b, 15/p, 16/k

Monday, November 18, 2019



Quiz #2

(No googling—try to see how many you can answer before you peek J)

  1)  Who is called ‘The Skeleton Detective’?
a.    Jesse Stone
b.    Gideon Oliver
c.    Travis McGee
d.    Tom Barnaby

  2)   Which mystery writer created Miss Jane Marple?
a.   Robert Ludlum
b.   Agatha Christie
c.   Mary Higgins Clark
d.   Dorothy L. Sayers

  3)  Who is the love interest of Lord Peter Wimsey?
a.   Kay Scarpetta
b.   Julia Ogden
c.   Joyce Barnaby
d.   Harriet Vane

  4)  What was author Dick Francis’ profession?
a.  Jockey
b.  Horse trainer
c.  Bookie
d.  Race track manager

  5)   Under what pseudonym did Agatha Christie write romances?
a.    Patricia Highsmith
b.    Mary Westmacott
c.    Val McDermid
d.    Ruth Rendell

  6)  Who wrote the Perry Mason novels?
a.   Erle Stanley Gardner
b.   Jeffery Deaver
c.   Mickey Spillane
d.   Dennis Lehane

  7)   Who was the archnemisis of Sherlock Holmes?
a.   Professor Zoom
b.   Lex Luther
c.   Professor Moriarty
d.   Dr. Watson

  8)  What does J.B. stand for from Murder She Wrote?
a.   Jessica Bernadette
b.   Jennifer Bianca
c.   Jennifer Bridget
d.   Jessica Beatrice

  9)   Who was Agatha Christie’s 2nd husband?
a.   Max Mallowan
b.   Bill Pronzini
c.   Dominick Dunne
d.   Michael Connelly

 10)  What was the name of the detective in G.K. Chesterton’s mysteries?
a.   Brother Cadfael
b.   Rabbi David Small
c.   Father Brown
d.   Father Townsend

 11)  Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee wrote under what pen name?
a.   Ian Fleming
b.   Elmore Leonard
c.   Alfred Hitchcock
d.   Ellery Queen

 12)  Who continued the Nero Wolfe novels?
a.   Jeffery Deaver
b.   Robert Goldsborough
c.   J.A. Konrath
d.   G.K. Chesterton

 13)  Who wrote the U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens series?
a.   Harlan Coben
b.   Tom Clancy
c.    Elmore Leonard
d.    Raymond Chandler

 14)  Who wrote the Detective William Murdoch mysteries?
a.   Maureen Jennings
b.   P.D. James
c.   Sara Paretsky
d.   Kerry Greenwood

15)  Who wrote the Eddie Shoes mysteries?
a.   Louise Penny
b.   Tana French
c.   Sue Grafton
d.   Elena Hartwell



1/b, 2/b, 3/d, 4/a, 5/b, 6/a, 7/c, 8/d, 9/a, 10/c, 11/d, 12/b, 13/c, 14/a, 15/d