Sneak Preview of Humpty Bumpkin – Book1 in a Brand New Cozy Mystery Series

Humpty Bumpkin – Book 1: Country Cousin Mysteries

April 2018

The whole communication revolution thing is a mixed bag of wonderful and tedious. Things like cell phones are a revelation, allowing twenty-something women like me, who have trouble sitting still, to stay in touch with the important people in their lives.

But even the best innovations have their downside.

For example, a wise woman once told me never to answer a phone call whose number you don’t recognize. Answer at your own risk, my cousin Felicity proclaimed one rainy day in the arboretum.

And I’ve since learned the intelligence of her advice. Several times over.

One would think I’d learn. Wouldn’t one?


“Is this Miss Joey Fulle?”

I frowned, not liking the “I want to sell you a bridge” tone of his voice. “Nope, sorry. I think you have the wrong number.”

“Actually, I believe I have the right number, Miss Fulle.”

“You’re not right,” I said quickly and disconnected before the man on the other end of the phone had a chance to give me bad news. I had no idea what kind of bad news I was expecting. But I knew it was there, lurking like a vulture in a tree, ugly and ravenous.

My dog, Cacophony, Caph for short, bounded up and stopped in front of me, a clump of fur between her jaws. I grimaced. “Caph, what did you do? Have  you killed something again?”

A blond pitbull with gorgeous green eyes, Caph bounced several times, her muscular haunches springing her several feet off the ground each time, and then barked happily and ran off again, tail whipping the air. I sighed, knowing I should follow her and see if I could save whatever she’d decided to “play” with.

My phone rang again. I hit Ignore and trudged after Caph. “Caphy girl, where’d you get off to?”

The distant sound of barking drew me to a copse of old trees, their gnarled branches bigger around than I was and tangled together high overhead. It was behind one of these, an elegant old Elm tree whose knobby arms spread wider than the rest, that mostly hid my dog. I could see her butt wagging happily as she moved around behind the tree.

“Caph, come!”

My sweet Pitty bounced out from behind the distant tree and grinned at me, her entire body vibrating with excitement. “What have you found, girl?” I murmured to myself. “Come on, Caph.”

But she turned back to whatever she was exploring. That was when I realized she must have cornered something. I picked up the pace and hurried in her direction.

By the time I was fifteen feet away I smelled the rotting stink of meat and knew that, whatever she’d found, I wouldn’t be saving it.

Real panic set in. “Caphy, you come here right now!”

My dog disappeared behind the tree and I growled with frustration. But a moment later she reappeared and started heading in my direction, something hanging out of her mouth. “Ugh!” I fought an impulse to turn and run. Being corpse-woman was not tops on my list of favorite things.

In fact, I was pretty sure it wasn’t on the list at all. “Drop it, Caph.”

Of course she ignored me, her steps becoming bouncier and more excited the closer she came. Clearly she wanted to share her treasure with me. I didn’t know how to impress upon her that having a mangled, half dried corpse of a bunny or squirrel dropped on my shoes didn’t take me to my happy place.

My usual response of shrieking and running screaming away from her treasure just didn’t seem to make an impression.

She was a very bull-headed pitty. I grinned at my pun.

Caph ran up and dropped to her haunches a few feet away. She kept hold of the object, which I was trying hard not to look at, as if she was afraid I was going to take the treasure away from her. She would be right about that. But it wasn’t going to happen until I had a bag or something to use so I didn’t have to touch it. I tried one more time to get her to let loose of whatever she was clutching between her jaws. If I was really lucky I could convince her to drop it and would be able to drag her home.

To my shock she lowered her head and dropped the contents of her mouth.

I glanced down. My stomach did a painful little dance and I think I might have yelped. Caph was watching me very carefully, letting the object lie there as if checking to see how I would react. I was glad it was out of her mouth.

In fact, I would have been elated about it.

But I was too busy shrieking and running away.

Stay Tuned for More!

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Come to Silver Hills… Book 5: Vlad-Handing is now available!

“I was snorting into my pillow so much I sounded like my grand dog Nova. People this is a keeper. I went out and bought the paperback this weekend! You need to read this NOVEL it will cheer you up, make you get over the blues and damn will make you walk around with a smirk and half smile for awhile. These characters become you friends and family. I have a lot of people read Flo and Company! They are a treat.” Karen Frost Reviews

Come to Silver Hills. Where an old nemesis can lead to new trouble and murder is a line item in a business plan.

Vlad Newsome isn't exactly known as a people person. He's really more contentious than convivial.

But something's changed with him, and Flo and Agnes are suspicious.

Vlad's suddenly “peopling”. He's shaking hands and even curving his thin lips upward at times in a terrifying imitation of a smile.

Could it be he's turning over a new leaf? Is he facing a life-changing event that's made him grow as a person?


He's up to something. And Flo and Agnes are determined to find out what.

When a woman who had a beef with the reprehensible creature of the night known as Vlad Newsome turns up dead in her home…Vlad appears to be the culprit behind her murder.

Silver City PD certainly believe he's guilty. But Vlad insists he's innocent. It's going to be up to Flo and Co. to solve the murder and find the “real” killer. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the ladies aren't totally certain Vlad isn't the murderer.

Will Flo and Co. walk away…leave Vlad to defend himself? If you believe that you haven't been paying attention.

After all, this is Flo and Agnes!


“Maybe somebody died,” Agnes offered.

Flo rolled her eyes and pulled a spiky branch up to cover her face. “I hope not, since they're all laughing.”
Agnes's round face folded into a frown. “In some cultures, death is celebrated.”

“While I realize being a vampire could be considered another culture…I doubt any of Vlad's victims or their families would celebrate death by fang.” Flo ducked, pulling the branch with her, as the goth version of a night manager skimmed a look her way. Regrettably, her movement totally exposed her fellow stalker.

Agnes gulped loudly as Vladwick Newsome fixed his black, deadly gaze on her, clearly miffed. “He saw me, Flo.”

Another man approached Vlad and, unbelievably, the usually unfriendly night manager offered the tall, tough-looking man his hand. They shook vigorously and Vlad actually leaned close, whispering something to the other man that made him smile.

“What the?” Agnes stood up, glaring across the street until Vlad turned her way. Then he said something to his new friend and started toward them, his dark eyes flashing with anger.

Flo grabbed her friend's hand. “Come on. It's still daylight. His powers are weaker when the sun's up.”

Snorting, Agnes let herself be dragged toward the street. “I almost wish he really was a vampire so that would be true.”

Flo sighed. “Me too.” They hurried across the street and headed toward home. “I think we just witnessed Vlad's attempt to foil our plans.”

Agnes shrugged. “To tell you the truth, I'm okay with that. I really don't want to be a weekend manager.”

“Why not?” Flo asked. “I'll admit the pay's not great but it would be nice to have a little extra income, wouldn't it?” Agnes didn't actually have any income at the moment. She was able to live at Silver Hills because of an inheritance from her parents, which was just enough to pay for her apartment there and not much else.

Her friend shrugged. “It's just…”

“Hey!” The snotty, strident voice assaulted them from across the street.

Flo grabbed Agnes' hand, pulling her into a faster walk. “Don't look back.”

“We can't just ignore him,” Agnes said as she began to turn.

Flo jerked her around. “Don't! He's just going to threaten you and Tolstoy with eviction again.”

“Flo, you know he's going to do that anyway. He's going to be mad if I put my name in the hat for the manager's position.”

“But if you get the job he won't be able to threaten you with that ever again,” Flo reminded her.

She saw the moment the realization hit. Agnes' round, expressive face brightened in a smile. “You're right.” To Flo's horror, Agnes stopped and turned as Vlad hurried closer. “What up, vamp?”

The cranky night manager curled his lip and oozed to a stop deep inside their comfort zone.

Flo took a step backward, glaring at him. “Vlad.”

He gave her a smug grimace. “Annoying woman from the second floor.”

Flo fought irritation. The man knew perfectly well who she was. He just liked to pretend she was so unimportant he couldn't remember her name. She clamped her lips down on the desire to give it to him again. It wouldn't make any difference and would allow him a win.

She was all about not giving Vlad Newsome a win.

He turned a piercing, nearly black gaze toward Agnes. Flo saw her friend twitch, her eyes widening as if she couldn't look away.

“He can't compel you with his gaze, Agnes.”

Agnes chewed on her bottom lip. “Are you sure? I'm feeling kind of woozy.”

“That's because you stopped breathing.” Flo touched her friend's thick wrist. “Drop your eyes and breathe, fool.”

Agnes didn't blink. Her eyes were so big Flo was afraid they might be stuck. “Agnes, a bug's going to fly into your eyes if you don't blink.”

Agnes' mouth opened into a horrified “O”. She hated when that happened. “I can't Flo, he's got me.”

Vlad chuckled darkly, clearly enjoying Agnes' hysteria.

Flo reached out and punched him in the arm.

“Ow!” His smile died as he rubbed his skinny arm. “That hurt.”

Fortunately, when he looked away, Agnes broke the spell she'd put on herself. She glared at him. “You won't stop me with your vampire ways,” she told him angrily.

He shook his head. “You people are idiots. There is no such thing as vampires.”

“That's exactly what a vampire would say when it was about to be outed,” Agnes told him smugly.


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There aren't many times when I lament having 16 dogs…mud season is one of them I'm afraid. Imagine if you will, 64 mud-beslimed paws trotting across your floors and carpets. I coat the space in front of the door with rugs, stacked one upon the other to try to protect all the available space, but the mud laughs at my efforts. It clings to their multi-sized paws until they've trotted over all the rugs and then leaps onto my floor. So, in desperation, I came up with a list of things to do with the tracks. Because…well…

1. Create a tracking game in an attempt to isolate and locate a specific dog. (dog found, belly up in my office closet)

Prize: 1 cookie for me!

2. Perform scientific experiments to determine the make-up of the most persistent tracks. (finding: slime and mud and more slime)

Prize: 2 cookies for me!

3. Map out the tracks to determine the seasonal migration pattern of the irretrievably domesticated canine. (finding: mostly the couch by way of the recliner and then the chair by the living room window)

Prize: 2 cookies and 1 piece of pie for me!

4. Do a hopscotch type of thing with the largest tracks. (This would have been fun, except hubby got his panties in a wad over the chalk marks on the floor. Crab…

Prize: 3 pieces of chocolate, a glass of wine, and a pear pie in a sugar tree

5. Follow the tracks leading to my bedroom because, let's face it, at this point I'm stuffed and saturated with wine. Plus I got all that exercise with the hopscotch thing…

Prize: A one hour nap for me!


Enjoy the mud…it's all we've got for the time being.


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