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Have You Ever Seen Competitive Jump Rope?
Ready to jump into a new mystery? The latest Karen Maxwell mystery delves into the sport of competitive jump rope. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until my daughter joined a jump rope team. She’s now on her tenth year with the Kangaroo Kids Precision Jump Rope Team. The photos here show team members performing at a University of Maryland basketball halftime show and at an outdoor church fair. Click on the photos to see video footage of this amazing sport. But until we saw the group perform at a halftime show, we didn’t know any of this existed. And we’re not the only ones. So this unknown sport became the basis of the next Karen Maxwell Mystery.
Poor Karen is trying to re-establish her reputation as an investigator after getting fired during her last case. But she’s not sure how she’s going to be taken seriously when her next two cases involve a broken jump rope and a dead parrot.
In the meantime, her daughter has developed a secret social life, her son can’t be trusted with the toaster oven and her love life is starting to get very strange. And in the office, Rodney the Office Maximizer has new plans to make D.S. Investigations even more professional. There may not be enough caffeine in the world to deal with this.
The book with the WORST COVER EVER (You have to visit the “Books” page to see it)
It’s actually one of my favorite books and it won the Written Art Award for Humorous Fiction. The Appearance of Impropriety chronicles the development of an unlikely friendship between two young women thrown together by the antics of their crazy families. When they realize they’ve destroyed a young man’s chances for employment, they set out to find him a new job–even though he doesn’t want them to.
The Appearance of Impropriety is classified as traditional Regency romance, though like most of my books, there’s nothing traditional about it. For $2.99, you don’t have much to lose, so why not give it a try?
Deco Punk – is the world ready?
Nebula-Award-winning Science Fiction author Catherine Asaro and I teamed up to write a story for the Deco Punk anthology from Pink Narcissus Press. The idea was to take wild ideas from early science fiction of 1920s and 30s such as invisibility rays and personal rockets and create stories with a more modern approach, meaning that the stories focus on relationships and characters in a way that appeals to modern readers. Our story, “Corn Fed Blues,” is about about two people trying to bring some of the big city glamour of the jazz age to rural Ohio. Instead, they find a stasis machine and the makings of a major disaster. Click on the cover to learn more…
I’m grateful to my publisher for nominating my story, Sense of the Season, for a Gold Ankh Award. Sense of the Season features an unlikely duo as hero and heroine – she’s a reformed bully and he’s a compulsive gambler with a drinking problem. He knows he’s hit rock bottom when he wakes up on the floor of the poorhouse to find his childhood nightmare looming over him. She doesn’t remember who he is…at first.
Sense of the Season is part of the Cotillion Christmas Celebrations collection of traditional Regency Christmas stories. However, holiday celebrations don’t actually figure into the story at all. In fact, the season is just used, as one of the characters says, as an “excuse for poor behavior.” (So I guess I shouldn’t count on it winning an award in the Christmas category, should I?)
Much of the action takes place in the almshouse in a small fishing village, and the story was inspired by a place we visited on the southeast coast of England. My editor told me she had to send back the first several versions artists created for the cover because they were too opulent, with fancy gowns and elegant drawing rooms. I’m glad she fought for me on this!
Un-traditional Traditional Regencies Now Available in Print
Two of my not-so-traditional “traditional” Regency romances are now available in print. Deceptive Behavior is my updated version of a popular 18th Century farce. When the hero comes to meet his intended bride, he mistakenly falls in love with a maid instead. But the maid turns out to be the woman he was supposed to marry, so everything’s okay –or is it? In my version of the story we go beyond the mistaken identity mishap to find out what comes next.
Another recent story release, the Regency novella “Change of Address,” is now available in print as part of the Cotillion Christmas Surprises anthology. Though the story is set in December, the holiday season during the early 19th Century was not anything like it is today and I find Regency Christmas stories satisfying to read all winter long. Maybe that’s because, as a reviewer said, the setting for “Change of Address” was “so vivid I could feel the damp chill of the new home.” This is just a long-winded way of saying I think you’ll enjoy these stories (and the one below) at other times of the year, too.
You can learn more about Deceptive Behavior and “Change of Address” and read samples on the books page.
My First Ghost Story
“Bride of Belznickel,” my first ghost story, is Christmas story only in the sense that it is the Christmas holidays that forces the heroine to come stay with her obnoxious cousins. She decides to try to frighten them with tales of the Christmas demon, der Belznickel. But then her stories start to come to life and of course everyone thinks she’s responsible.
There’s more about this on the “books” page, too.
Find out what really happened in Oz.
Everyone knows how Dorothy and Toto save Oz from the Wicked Witch of West…or do they? How will Dorothy survive in a land filled with haunted bags of straw, hollow metal men and giant smelly cats?
How will she fight off killer bees, mad wolves and really annoying monkeys? And how will Dorothy ever find the way home?
The simple truth is that she won’t, at least not alone. Of course, she’s not alone – she has Toto, her best friend. But in Oz, Dorothy spends more time talking to a cat than to her…
Find out more on the Books by K.D. Hays page.