MTW Guest Author-cj petterson

The very reason I started writing my first book, Wants of the Heart, six years ago was because of my love for westerns.  My dad seemed to always have one on the television as I was growing up.  He still does as a matter of fact.  I had the opportunity to visit my relatives in Texas for the first time when I was eleven years old.  They’re from a town located right on the former Chisholm Trail very near where my story takes place.

“Bad Day at Round Rock” by cj petterson (no caps, no periods) is one of six short stories in THE POSSE, a Western anthology of human interest stories set and scheduled to launch February 15, 2017.  This is just in time for Mystery Thriller Week.

I’m so excited.  I love to read, but seem to have so little time these days.  Shorts stories are way of fitting my favorite pastime into my busy schedule.

The idea for this story came from cj’s family legend about her great-grandfather who immigrated from Sweden to Georgetown, Texas, in 1877. “The story goes that great-grandpa was in Round Rock on the day that the outlaw Sam Bass was shot down in 1878.”

Everything about Sam Bass in the story is as true as newspaper reports and lore have made it.  By the way, cj tells me that the myth about Sam Bass’s buried gold lives on. In 2015, a group organized a “scavenger hunt” to look for the gold they believed is buried somewhere around Denton, Texas.

In “Bad Day at Round Rock,” indentured Lilly Malmstrom dreams of finding a man who excites her while spurning Anders Olsson, until he’s accused of murder. When she commits to saving an innocent life, she discovers it is Anders who makes her heart race. Lilly’s story of servitude and freedom is entwined with the exploits of the outlaw Sam Bass and the legend of a fortune in gold from his great train robbery.

Cj gave me and my readers an excerpt from this soon-to-be-released short story.


Seventeen-year-old Lilly Malmstrom thought morning calm was the best time of any day—before the sun burned away the cool of the night, before hot winds drove the fine West Texas sand under the windowsills, before the town of Round Rock fully awakened. By seven a.m., when she stood on tiptoe to twist the key in the wall clock to wind it, she had the doctor’s instruments scalded and air-drying on the table and fresh-washed huck towels hanging on the line behind the building. To mark the end of the work week, she drew an “X” through the date on the calendar with the stub of a lead pencil and sighed.

“July 19, 1878,” she said, pronouncing the month as ‘yulie’. “One year. One whole year.”

It’d been exactly a year since she’d left Sweden, but her new life hadn’t turned out exactly as she’d planned. Now she had a new plan: Once she’d worked off the debt, she’d be free to start anew. She blinked back the tears that filled her blue eyes, grabbed the corn-straw broom, and attacked yesterday’s dirty floor with a flourish.  

Out on the boardwalk, Lilly twisted a strand of black hair around her finger and poked it into the bun at the back of her neck then draped her palms over the top of the broom handle and rested her chin on her hands. She watched the town begin to stir. A wire-haired dog, nose to the ground, made his way to the back door of the café. An old woman, her white hair mostly hidden by a black bonnet, flicked a whip at the rumps of two mules as her buckboard rattled up the dusty road. Two Texas Rangers walked down the hotel steps and crossed over toward the New Town Café.

Startled by a horse’s snort, she turned to see Shorty vanDyne slide off his roan. He wrapped the reins around the hitching rail and strutted toward her, chaps flapping and the silver rowels on his Mexican spurs jangling.

 Lilly felt her eyebrows knit together. “I say the same thing as before, Mr. vanDyne. Go away.”

“Whoa, now, Miz Lilly. You ain’t heard what I come all the way from Dallas to say.”

“If you come to say ‘goodbye,’ I hear you. Goodbye and good riddance to you. Now go.” She made no attempt to keep the contempt out of her voice.

Shorty chuckled. “Don’t go gettin’ all uppity on me, pretty lady. I told you I’d leave the Chisholm Trail and come for you when I got my fortune. Didn’t I tell you that? Well, I done it. I got my fortune, and I’m here to make you my wife.”

There’s going to be a Cover Reveal Party on February 15, 2017 with gifts and prizes.  If you’re like me and would love to know more about the book, be sure to “like” cj’s Facebook page:

If you check out her blog, you’ll find an interview on yours truly:







MTW Guest Author-Edwin Herbert

After visiting with family all weekend and eating far too much, I’m continuing my interviews for Mystery Thriller Week.  I really need less time on the computer and more time in the gym.  I can feel those New Year’s resolutions forming in my brain as I type.  I wonder if they’ll even last until February 12 when the big event kicks off.

My next few guests are from the Historical Mystery Thriller genre.  I asked Edwin Herbert if he considered his book to be a mystery or thriller.  His reply, “Though Mythos Christos contains elements of mystery, it is more in line with suspense/thriller.  As half of the novel takes place around the year 400 CE, it definitely falls into the historical fiction category as well.”  Sounds intriguing.

His book is really two tales in one.  Lex Thomasson, the main character in current times, is an American Rhodes Scholar—a student of Paleography at Oxford University.  He’s young , bookish, and, it turns out, a genius when it comes to solving riddles in ancient languages. In the past, his main protagonist is Hypatia of Alexandria, the architect of the treasure hunt Lex must work through.

The modern villain in his story is Basilio Regulus—chief archivist at the Vatican, and Grand Paladin of the Knights of Saint George, a secret brotherhood of assassins.  He is keenly intelligent, a martial arts expert, and a master of disguise.  The early fifth century villain is Archbishop Cyril of Alexandria—destroyer pagan temples, exiler of Jewish leaders, and the man who ordered the death of Hypatia.  He’s now known as Saint Cyril.

Mythos Christos covers a broad sweep of fascinating topics, mostly emerging from the puzzles Hypatia sets up for her truth seeker. These include gematria (the ancient Greek number-letter system), astrotheology, geometry, mythology, and the intriguing mathematical relationships between certain Greek gods, and even the Bible.

You can sample the first nine chapters of his fascinating tale of the two time periods on Amazon.




Guest Author-Sheree Smith

Welcome to my featured author for Christmas week, Sheree Smith.  I’m already captivated with the title of her book, Darkest Obsessions.  The name, of course, reminds me of my upcoming sequel, Obsession of Mine.  There’s always tension and nail biting involved when using the word “obsession.”

Sheree and I became acquainted on social media, via Facebook and Twitter.  I invited her to Mystery Thriller Week.  I’ve already spotlighted two authors from the event last week and will resume with more after this holiday weekend.  Sheree felt her book didn’t fit into the Mystery or Thriller genre, describing it as Chick Lit/Romantic Suspense.  I admire that she remains true to her work.  My book, Wants of the Heart, includes a mystery that is only a small part of the story line, so I also chose not to submit it.

Sheree is from Northumberland, UK.  No wonder I feel a connection with her. My Atkinson descendants have been traced from England.  I’m often asked if I’m related to Rowan Atkinson.  I joke that he’s my uncle, but we may be distant cousins.  Who knows?  We both reside in the countryside with views of a National Park.  Sheree and I, not Rowan.

Her book is already on my “winter read” list.  Darkest Obsessions is set in the Scottish and Northumbrian Borders.  Sheree has even more in common with me–she’s always loved romance novels with a little action and suspense.    

Sadie Buchanan is a architect originally based in a small office in the City of London, along with her ex-boyfriend, Matthew.  She met him at university. The couple spent eighteen months together, before she realized he was quite possessive and ended their relationship that touched on mental abuse. Unfortunately, he then stalked her for the next five years, until he was put in jail after she suffered through the distressing ordeal of him holding her hostage in her own flat.  

Tom Ashton enters Sadie’s life when she moves to the fictional village of Pelancy where he resides.   He’s guilt-ridden over the sudden death of his wife when Sadie waltzes his life.  They’re drawn to each other after the trauma each of them has endured.  However, life doesn’t always go as planned.  When Sadies past comes back to haunt her in the form of her ex, the couple starts to reevaluate their connection.

Despite the title, Sheree didn’t want the story to be too “dark,” so she infused some humor into her writing.  In one of her scenes, Sadie accompanies Tom to a nearby farm to help birth a calf .  They both fall over in mud on their return and slip and slide around until Sadie lands on top of Tom.  They share their first real kiss in that moment.

I was curious about any of the characters being based on someone Sheree knew in real life.  She assured me they’re purely fictional.  She isn’t acquainted with a small town veterinarian, such as Tom, and doesn’t have any furry pets running around.  Like my oldest son, she keeps tropical fish in a 240 liter aquarium with various breeds inside.

Check out her book.  The first eleven chapters are available to sample on Amazon:




MTW-Serial Killers

Welcome to my second blog on Serial Killers for the Mystery Thriller Week Event, coming soon from February 12th through the 22nd in 2017.  The book is called Expired Listings by author D.M. Barr.  You may or may not be able to decipher from the title that the main character is a realtor.

I mentioned in a post back in August that my mom used to be a real estate agent.  I was discussing the future, third install of my Undercover Romance Series, which has a very successful real estate agent as a character.  She’s not a serial killer, but used to be an independent prostitute.  Don’t worry.  All of my books have a death, or more, so someone is bound to die.

The word “bound” ties right in with D.M.’s description of her book “a psychological thriller with satiric, romantic and erotic elements (not erotica by any means).”  Dana Black, who may or may not be the murderer in this tale, has a sadistic lover appropriately named Dare.  He offers her sexual satisfaction through S & M and fear play.  Aidan Cummings, the detective on the case, wants a deeper relationship, although vanilla in comparison to the kinky one involving BDSM.  Her involvement with him is ironically more dangerous in the emotional sense due to her fear of commitment.

D.M. is a realtor in real life.  The book is, in part, a send-up of the real estate industry where shots are taken at buyers, sellers and agents. The serial killer is called the Realtor Retaliator, because he or she is only targeting real estate agents.  Unfortunately, because of their unethical business practices, every one in town has a motive to murder them.  There’s a difficult client who disappears.  I love the detective’s sarcastic remark about this situation. “Most people agree that killing off problem clients constitutes really bad customer service.”   An agent is tied to a hot water heater for a week.  Police may claim she died of dehydration, but rival agents agree she perished due to her overpriced listing, ensuring that no one would ever come to see the house and rescue her.

I’m adding the Kirkus Review, because of a reference anyone who’s ever watched Scooby Doo will surely recognize.  By the way, I’ve loved mysteries since I was a young child.  “A buoyant, commendable mystery that piles on red herrings with ferocity and glee…the spiraling final act, culminating with the killer’s staggering reveal, is an exhilarating ride.”

The book already sounds exiting, but to further tempt you, there is a special offer going on this week.  From today, December 16th through the 19th, you can read Expired Listings for only 99 cents. The Kindle Countdown Deal continues from the 20th-23rd for $1.99 before going back up to the original price.



Mystery Thriller Week Event-Serial Killers

Mystery Thriller Week will begin in exactly two months, from February 12th through the 22nd.  I’m an author, a blogger, and a reviewer.  For the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing some of the authors participating in this exciting event.  If you’d like to be a part, you’re not too late.  To sign up, please go to:

It’s no secret to anyone following my blog that I have a bit of a fascination with serial killers.  My upcoming book, The Seaside Slayer, is included in Mystery Thriller Week.  The person doing the murders in my writing uses a calling card, which happens to be a shark’s tooth.  Genny Moretti, my heroine and MC, writes about the same calling card in her recently completely murder mystery that she finishes for her late husband, Brad. How would anyone else know what is contained within the pages, except maybe her current husband, Hank.  I don’t reveal the character who is committing the horrific deeds until chapter ten.

When I’m not writing, my favorite hobby is reading.  Ronnie Allen volunteered for today’s blog to give readers some insight into the first two books of her The Sign Behind the Crime series.  I was afraid that perhaps Ronnie had given a little too much away when boldly stating the serial killer’s name in Gemini, but Barbara Montgomery’s intentions are made clear to readers in the first eight pages.  I was immediately draw into the story.  The main character is a stripper by night and a school psychologist by day.  Ronnie actually had her day job, so she’s writing from experience.  Barbara is revenge killing for the abuse in her life and caught by a forensic psychiatrist just two days from reaching her main target.

I’ve had the privilege of reading the first two chapters of the book and have already been introduced to Dr. John Trenton.  I’ll use Ronnie’s actual words to describe him.  “Before the doc got married, the camera jockeys labeled him as one of New York City’s most desirable and handsome bachelors.”  I’m reviewing this book for Mystery Thriller Week and wish I had more time to continue the tale this weekend.  I’m sure I’ll be kept awake many nights in the future with visions of death dancing in my head.

Ronnie described her 2nd book for me.  In Aries, AriellaRose Larcon has three beholden who kill for her.  She orchestrates five murders in seven days, the last four while being hooked up to an IV in a hospital.  She adds black magick rituals to ‘convince’ her beholden to kill and collect trophies.

Stay tuned for more Mystery Thriller Week authors and their creative endeavors in the coming weeks.