KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
I have a confession to make: I’ve never been a very disciplined writer. After all, I’m an Artist. As everyone knows, Artists work when—and only when—they are inspired by their muse. And if my muse decides to take a pet and not show up for a few days—or weeks, or months—well, that’s not my fault, is it? My muse will return in its own good time—whenever that may be. Needless to say, thanks to my uncooperative muse, it usually took me a year or more to write a single book.
All that changed shortly after I moved to Colorado, when I had coffee with Connie Willis. In case you’re not familiar with her work, Ms. Willis is the winner of multiple Hugo awards and perhaps the premier science fiction writer in the country. I usually don’t read science fiction, but many of her books involve traveling back in time, and those books appeal to the historical writer in me—so much so that I introduced my then-teenaged daughter, Jessamy, to them. Although she’s no longer a teenager, Jessamy is now a major Connie Willis fangirl, so when I realized that Connie Willis lived only about twenty miles away, I contacted her and asked if she would be willing to autograph a book for Jessamy’s birthday. She agreed, and we met at a Starbucks in Greeley, where she is apparently a regular fixture.
We talked for an hour, and during the course of our conversation, she told me she does all her writing at Starbucks; when she tries to write at home, she said, she looks around the house and sees all the other things she “ought” to be doing instead.
Hmm, I thought, that sounds familiar. So the next morning, I took my laptop and went to my local Starbucks. I discovered that the internet connection there, while okay for the occasional bit of research, is too slow for efficiently posting status updates to Facebook, reading and replying to email, playing Candy Crush, and all the other things that tend to distract me when I’m on the computer at home. By the time I left Starbucks an hour later, I’d written a thousand words—and all without a peep from that fickle muse.
Since that first visit to Starbucks about two and a half years ago, I’ve written four novels of 65,000 words each, sold three of them, and am now at work on a fifth, which at the time of this writing is about two-thirds complete. What’s more, they all know me so well at Starbucks by this time that they’re hosting a launch party to celebrate the release of Family Plot, the first novel I wrote there.
And all without a peep from that fickle muse. It turns out I didn’t really need a muse to inspire me; all I needed was a change of scenery.
Well, that and a good dose of caffeine.
Another John Pickett Mystery
By SHERI COBB SOUTH
In disgrace with her aristocratic in-laws, recently widowed Lady Fieldhurst is exiled to Scotland with her three young nephews in tow. On impulse, she and the boys decide to stay at an isolated seaside inn under an assumed name, where they can enjoy a holiday far away from the scandal that still plagues the family.
But trouble soon finds them when the boys discover an unconscious woman on the beach—a woman who bears a startling resemblance to the local laird’s daughter, missing and presumed dead for the last fifteen years. Uncertain whether to welcome her as a returning prodigal or denounce her as a fraud, Angus Kirkbride sends to London for a Bow Street runner—which presents a dilemma for Lady Fieldhurst, since she has chosen to call herself Mrs. Pickett after the handsome young man who saved her from hanging for the murder of her husband.
Meanwhile John Pickett, hopelessly pining for Lady Fieldhurst, resolves to forget her by marrying another. When magistrate Patrick Colquhoun receives Kirkbride’s summons, he packs Pickett off to Scotland before his most junior runner can do anything rash.
Upon his arrival, Pickett is surprised (though not at all displeased) to discover that he has acquired a “wife” in the person of Lady Fieldhurst. But when Angus Kirkbride dies only hours after announcing his intention of changing his will in his daughter’s favor, “Mr. and Mrs. Pickett” must join forces to discover the truth about a family reunion suddenly turned deadly.
Another John Pickett Mystery
By SHERI COBB SOUTH
“It appears we have only one room vacant tonight on account of the fine weather bringing all the anglers to the coast for a last bit of fishing ere the winter sets in,” the innkeeper informed Pickett. “That being the case, I’ve taken the liberty of having your valise sent up to your wife’s room. I hope that’s agreeable.”
“My—my wife, you say?”
“Aye—Mrs. Pickett. You did say that was your name?” the innkeeper asked in some consternation.
“Yes, that’s it.” Pickett darted a quick, bewildered glance up the staircase.
“You’ll think me a regular noddy for not connecting the pair of you at once. Truth to tell, I had the impression Mrs. Pickett was a widowed lady.”
“No, that’s quite—quite all right,” Pickett assured him, wanting only to be rid of the man so that he might resolve the situation with the woman whom the innkeeper imagined to be his wife.
He wondered what sort of female he would find upstairs; a woman of a certain age, apparently, if the innkeeper had assumed her to be a widow. He climbed the stairs with a growing sense of dread until, reaching the top, he stopped before the room the innkeeper had indicated. Taking a deep breath, he grasped the knob and opened the door.
At the age of sixteen, Sheri Cobb South discovered Georgette Heyer, and came to the startling realization that she had been born into the wrong century. Although she doubtless would have been a chambermaid had she actually lived in Regency England, that didn’t stop her from fantasizing about waltzing the night away in the arms of a handsome, wealthy, and titled gentleman.
Since Georgette Heyer was dead and could not write any more Regencies, Ms. South came to the conclusion she would simply have to do it herself. In addition to her popular series of Regency mysteries featuring idealistic young Bow Street Runner John Pickett (described by All About Romance as “a little young, but wholly delectable”), she is the award-winning author of several Regency romances, including the critically acclaimed The Weaver Takes a Wife.
A native and long-time resident of Alabama, Ms. South recently moved to Loveland, Colorado, where she has a stunning view of Long’s Peak from her office window.
Links to Sheri’s website, blog, books, etc.
Thanks for stopping by to share your new release with us, Sheri!