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Spotlight – Slay Bells

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About the Author

T.C. Wescott

T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series launched in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple – mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.

Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as many essays and articles.

His latest book is the cozy mystery, Slay Bells (A Christmas Village Mystery).

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About the Book:

Author: T.C. Wescott
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Books
Pages: 273
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Slay Bells


‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!

Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring-

Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.

Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.

When the Inn’s guests begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.

Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But can she unmask the phantom killer in time and save Christmas?



Book Excerpt:


Night settles in over smoking chimneys and snow-capped rooftops.

A potpourri of pine, holly, and cinnamon swirls in the breeze over white pastures and along sleepy lanes as festive decorations left hanging on each street lamp and along every thoroughfare dance upon its passing.

Winter birds offer up their sing-song as the rows of cottage windows blink out their goodnights.

But for many in the happy hamlet of Christmas Village, the night will be a short one, made restless with excitement for the morning when they will rise early to prepare for the inaugural day of the annual Christmas Festival.

The festival, running the full week before Christmas Eve, is the last great hurrah of the year, barring the ringing of the new year bells. It is no exaggeration to say that the best hope one has of experiencing something more glorious is to return the following year for the next Festival.

So, it is with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts that every soul in the village, farmer and squire alike, closes their eyes in anticipation of sunrise.

One among them will not live to see the sun.

Something moves among the birds, along the snowy lanes, skirting the light in favor of shadow.

In Christmas Village, this night, a creature is stirring.


VBT – Requiem for a Rescue Dog Queen

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About the Author

M.K. Scott

M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries and The Talking Dog Detective Agency. Morgan K. Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands-on approach.  Morgan’s daughter, who manages a hotel, provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. Overall, both are a fun series to create and read.



About the Book

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Author: M.K. Scott
Publisher: Sleeping Dragon Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Pre-school teacher turned private eye Nala Bonne, and her opinionated dog, Max, have a nose for evil doings in Circle City. They’ve recently gone to the dogs, make that rescue dogs. Not everyone in Indianapolis has a soft spot for a homeless pup. Someone has it out for the dogs and the people who love them. A midnight call jolts Nala and Max into action as they rush to the aid of a local rescue dog queen, but it may already be too late.



Book Excerpt

Forget about it and enjoy the moment. Her hair streamed behind her as the boat picked up speed. Even though it had been a hot Indian Summer day, going this fast on the water chilled her. The windbreaker she brought just in case would solve the issue but would cover up the flirty top she’d donned for the date. Should she be comfortable or becoming?

A loud noise interrupted before she could decide. The lake remained empty and calm, except for the wake behind the boat. Using her flat hand as a sun shield for her eyes, she peered toward the shore to figure out who might be playing the same trio of notes repeatedly. No one on the shoreline, which only deepened the mystery. It sounded so familiar. In an aha moment, she realized it was her phone. Unfortunately, the realization forced her to open her eyes in her dark bedroom.

The red numerals on her clock indicated it was one-thirty in the morning. It was too late or too early for anyone to call. The sound stopped when she realized the tune had been the one she assigned to Karly, her best friend. Karly would only call her this late if it was an emergency. A cold canine nose touched her hand as she reached for her phone on the nightstand.

“Go back to sleep, Max. It doesn’t involve you.”

Even though it was dark and Max was a black German shepherd mix, she would have sworn the dog cocked his head and gave her an oh, really look. The damp nose disappeared with the sound of dog nails on the wood floor as Max settled on the floor. She could hear him mutter under his breath, “We’ll see.”

Yeah, dealing with a talking dog could be problematic at times. Her fingers found the phone which now had a glowing dot on the dashboard for notifications. Before she could call back, the phone rang again, vibrating in her hand. Karly again.

“Why in the world would you be calling me in the middle of the night?”

Her friend’s breathless voice gasped out. “We need your help!”

Why A Talking Dog Character?

M K Scott


Most people who are cozy mystery fans know the genre features small towns, recipes, quirky characters, interfering relatives and adorable pets. At the very least, there are spoiled pets. People have genuine feelings for the pets in the story because they remind them of their own four-legged friends.

Celebrated author, Anne Perry, had mentioned at an authors’ gathering I attended that you never kill the dog. You can pretty much kill anyone else in the story, except for the dog. It makes sense that such an important character should get more space on the page, but there is only so much tail wagging and looking up with imploring eyes that a dog can do.

Max’s unusual ability to speak came from a disenchanted witch who gave the canine the ability to talk when she couldn’t get his taciturn owner who was also her boyfriend to hold up his end of a conversation. To say his owner wasn’t a fan of Max’s new ability would be putting it mildly. His early speaking efforts included how he felt and everything he observed.

Most people would get tired of the mention of squirrels, cats, and the occasional rabbit. Max didn’t stop there. He went so far as to offer relationship advice. His ability to talk resulted in a stay at the shelter where he finally discovers no one really wants a talking dog.

As a dog, Max says what he thinks. Every now and then, he comes up with a real wisdom gem. He also has the same skills as a regular dog such as the ability to track. The big difference is Max can tell Nala what he smells. Just like his non-English speaking counterparts, he is driven by food and will engage in a bark fest with other dogs since he’s multi-lingual. He counts scent as one of his languages, too. It is a treat to write dialogue for Max since he can be silly, snarky, and on occasion, brilliant. There just might be a tiny bit of my own pet in Max, too.


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