Hemlock for the Holidays

 Coming Summer 2021!

 Hemlock for the Holidays

Book 3 


A Fine Art Mystery Series 

Artistic License to Kill

Available Now!

  Artistic License to Kill, the first book in Paula Darnell's new cozy series, A Fine Art Mystery, is now available! 
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Special Introductory Price - Just 99 cents! 
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 What's it all about?
Artist Amanda Trent, accompanied by her beloved golden retriever Laddie and her persnickety calico cat Mona Lisa, is determined to start a new life after her husband divorces her to marry a younger woman, but it isn't easy.

After a disastrous interview at the prestigious Roadrunner Gallery in Lonesome Valley, Arizona, far away from her previous home in Kansas City, Amanda's afraid that she'll fail at her new career. But her prospects begin to improve when she's accepted as the newest member of the cooperative gallery.

Then, on her very first day, she discovers Janice, the stern director, has been murdered right in the art gallery, and the Roadrunner's members, including Amanda herself, become suspects. Which gallery member murdered the unpopular director? Or was the killer an outsider with an ax to grind? 

Read an Excerpt from Chapter One
I squirmed in the hard metal chair as the three committee members examined the paintings I'd brought for their review.
    The cordial, collegial chat I'd imagined when I'd applied to join the Roadrunner, a cooperative art gallery, had never happened. Instead, the director, a tall woman with cropped salt-and-pepper hair, had greeted me with a frown as I'd set up my canvases on the easels she'd provided.
    The other two committee members—Travis Baxter, a wiry young man with long blond hair, and Pamela Smith, a tiny bird-like woman with sharp features—hadn't been any friendlier than the director. After glancing at my artist's statement and resumé, they'd peppered me with pointed questions that seemed framed to put me on the defensive. If that was their strategy, they'd succeeded.
    As the three of them examined my paintings in silence, I clasped my hands firmly together so they wouldn't notice that I was trembling. Finally, the long-haired man cleared his throat and looked at the two women. They all returned to their seats behind a long table and looked at me solemnly.
    Janice Warren, the gallery director, informed me that they'd take my application for membership under advisement and that I'd be notified by mail as to whether or not I'd been approved to join the cooperative artists' group that ran the Roadrunner Gallery.
    I managed to stammer a thank-you before I began gathering my canvases. I felt like running out of the gallery, but I restrained myself, knowing that I had to make two trips to my SUV to stow my paintings in the back.
    The three committee members watched as I toted my canvases from the gallery's meeting room. Nobody offered to help me carry them. Nobody smiled at me.
    As soon as I'd secured the last two paintings in my Toyota, I started the engine and peeled away from the curb. I couldn't wait to escape.
    As I sped down Main Street, not bothering to glance in my rear view mirror, I heard the wail of a siren behind me. My tires screeched as I braked a little too hard.
    A police car came alongside me, and the officer signaled me to pull over. Groaning, I slowly moved to the nearest parking space and stopped my SUV. It was still early in the morning, and the shops weren't open yet, so the street was nearly deserted.
    While the police car parked in back of me, I reached into my purse and took out my Missouri driver's license; then I dug around inside the console next to me until I found my auto registration card. I put my window down and braced for a stern lecture.
    “License and registration, please, ma'am.”
    I handed them to him. At least he'd said “please.” Although I didn't much like being called “ma'am,” since I would be reaching the big mid-century mark on my next birthday, I guessed it wouldn't be the last time it would happen.
    “You must be in a big hurry to get back to Kansas City,” he commented, staring at my license.
    “Well, no. I'm sorry. I was upset, and I just wanted to put some distance between myself and the gallery.”
    “I, uh, I applied to become a member, and I just had my interview there. It didn't go very well.”
    “You must live here now if you're joining the co-op.”
    I could have kicked myself for saying too much. Now, he'd probably cite me for not having an Arizona driver's license and not registering my SUV in my new state.
    “Yes, I do. I moved here a few months ago.” Again, too much information. I couldn't seem to stop babbling.
    “If that's a permanent move, you should get your Arizona license and registration right away.”
    Great, I thought. Could this day get any worse? 
Order from Your Favorite Retailer
Special Introductory Price - Just 99 cents! 
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DIY Diva Cozy Mystery Series

Books in the DIY Diva Mystery Series

Crafty DIY Diva Laurel McMillan turns DIY detective when a murder happens in her "safe" guard-gated community. 

DIY Diva Laurel McMillan learns just how deadly a design can be when her student's husband is smothered with a prize-winning pillow.

Death by Proxy

With her wedding to handsome Center City Police detective Wes Wesson only days away, will Laurel be too distracted by wedding plans to unmask a killer?

The DIY Diva Mystery Series is published by Cozy Cat Press.

Free Books: How to Request Your Library Obtain a Book You Want to Read

We often hear about a book we'd like to read, but, on checking our local library catalog, we find that it's not available in the collection. Most people assume that's the end of the story, but it doesn't have to be.

Did you know that most public libraries in the United States welcome requests from their patrons, and many of them buy a book a patron has requested and place it in the library collection? Although there's no guarantee that your local library will obtain a book you'd like to read, many will. Some libraries wait until they have several requests for a book before adding it to the collection.

It's a simple process to request a book that usually only takes a few minutes. Gather some basic information about the book: author, title, and ISBN (International Standard Book Number). You can usually find what you need quickly by searching for the book's title on Google, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. With this information, librarians can easily locate the book in their suppliers' catalog. 

To request your library get an ebook, go to Overdrive, search for the book, and make a request right there (you'll need your library card number). If you encounter problems, ask for assistance from your local librarian so that your request can be processed.

To request a print book, check your library's website for a request form. Frequently, it will appear under Contact Us. It may say something like "how to suggest a title you think would be good for the library to have." If your library provides an online form, fill it out completely and submit it. If not, ask any librarian how to request a book. Sometimes, a verbal request is all that is needed.

Remember that this process takes some patience, but it can be especially rewarding when the book you're requesting is a pricey hardback or a special type of book, such as large print.

Speaking of large print books, two of my books are available in large print: The Six-Week Solution, a historical mystery, and Artistic License to Kill, the first in my new cozy mystery series, A Fine Art Mystery. If either of these novels appeals to you, I hope you'll request it at your local library! Of course, they're available for sale also, but at $36.95 each (by the way, your library gets a big discount on the print books it buys), you might prefer to read them free.

One last tip: if your library doesn't have the book you're looking for but another library does own it, you might be able to put in a request for it through the Interlibrary Loan system. Check your local library for details.

Artistic License to Kill

Author: Paula Darnell

ISBN for large print hardcover: