Read the first chapter of Poison Contact

Poison Contact, the sequel to Dead Messages, is coming out later next month! To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter.

Poison Contact Cover

Chapter 1: These cookies are x-rated

Sydney Farina placed a fondant mermaid tail on top of the last blueberry cupcake and stepped back to survey her work. Six perfect cupcakes stood on the tray before her. Edible glitter covered the two-tone blue and cyan frosting and gave it the appearance of a glimmering ocean, and the sea-green liners had a pattern of fish scales. They were absolutely freakin’ adorable, at least in Sydney’s biased opinion. She picked up the tray, headed out of the kitchen—

—and nearly crashed into Javier.

“Whoa!” He jumped back, almost dropping the empty napkin holder he was bringing back to refill. “Close call.”

Sydney smirked at him. “Yeah, close call for you. If you’d made me drop these cupcakes, I’d—”

I’d murder you.

The joke almost left her lips before she stopped herself. Her stomach felt cold and slimy like half-melted ice cream. Their former boss had been murdered a month earlier inside the bakery, and a little later, the killer had tried to stab Sydney just yards away from where she currently stood. Maybe someday she’d be able to make dark jokes about the experience, but it was still too soon.

“I’d kick you in the shins,” she finished after a brief pause. “Repeatedly.”

If Javier noticed her stumble, he didn’t comment. “You sure you can reach my shins?”

Continue reading “Read the first chapter of Poison Contact”

Get Your Free Copy of a Fantasy Magazine

If you like free fantasy fiction, then today’s your lucky day. Monsters & Masquerades, the 6th issue of Indie Bites, just released, and it’s got five exclusive short stories–including one by me.

Indie Bites Issue 6
Guess who designed the cover image? Spoiler: it was me. 🙂

Behind You, my short story, features mysterious deaths on a lonely mountain hiking trail and a park ranger who swears he saw a monster. What’s there to do but call Bea Romo Reyes, freelance exorcist and paranormal consultant, whom you met in my Halloween urban fantasy story The Memory of Ghosts. The monster is loosely based on the cryptid the Hidebehind, and the story is quick and action-packed.

It’s also in extremely good company. The other stories in this issue are awesome, and I’m humbled to have a piece among them. The issues includes:

Glorious Monsters by D.N. Bryn

Lead Me Not Into Temptation by Josie Jaffrey

My Granny, The Dragon by Gemma Church

Behind You by Kristen Brand

The True Tale of the Sockburn Worm by Nova Warner

And the following reviews:

Succulents and Spells by Andi C. Buchanan, reviewed by Asha from A Cat, A Book and A Cup of Tea

A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K.A. Tucker, reviewed by Rosina from Lace and Dagger Books

The stories have a wide range of tones, from funny to dark to heart-warming, and include fantasy subgenres from urban to historical. There’s something for everyone, so start reading now!

Cozy Reads for Rainy Days

Looking for a new cozy mystery to read while you wait for the sequel to Dead Messages? Check out Cozy Reads for Rainy Days, an online book fair full of cozy mystery novels that may be new to you.

Here are just a few of the over one hundred books in the fair:

Click the button below to check out the entire book fair. I hope you find a new book that you enjoy!

Kristen's signature

The Reading Habits Book Tag

Time to talk about reading habits! I came across this book tag at Quirky Pages and thought it looked like a lot of fun. I encourage you to think of your own answers as you read, and if it sounds fun to you too, consider yourself tagged!

1: Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

The sofa. I spend so much time lounging and reading on one particular spot of it that the fabric on the cushion is starting to come apart.

2: Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I have several pretty bookmarks that I’ve bought or have been gifted to me, so I wouldn’t use a boring old piece of paper unless I somehow lost them all.

3: Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I prefer to stop at a chapter or scene break, but sometimes life interrupts, and there’s no choice but to stop in the middle of a sentence.

4: Do you eat or drink while reading?

Tea, anyone?

Tea and book gif

5: Multitasking- Music or TV while reading?

Continue reading “The Reading Habits Book Tag”

Short Story: Crime and Superpowers

Chapter 1

Moreen Lee stared down the security camera as it watched her. Then she punched in the code that she’d gotten from the client. A light on the keypad blinked green, and the ornate, iron security gate across the client’s driveway swung slowly open.

Satisfied, Moreen leaned back into her car and closed the window, cutting off the scent of salty sea air. The client’s mansion was right across the street from the beach, a narrow strip of white sand that charged fifteen dollars an hour for parking. The house was three stories tall, with balconies on both the second and third floors. A kitchenette and bar were visible on the second balcony, bringing to mind extravagant parties and guests laughing over champagne. The white railing bore decorations of seahorses and starfish, and the walls were a cheery, pastel yellow that gave it a definite South Florida feel. Moreen could see two garages and guessed the place had twenty rooms at minimum.

But as she drove closer, the perfect illusion faded. Patches of shingles were missing from the roof, and water stains marred the yellow walls near the ground. The fountain that the driveway wrapped around had been turned off, and the stagnant water had gone moldy green.

Moreen killed the ignition and drummed her fingers against the steering wheel. Either the client didn’t care how the place looked—which was unlikely given the millions it must have cost—or money was too tight to fix it.

I’d better get a deposit up front, she thought. Then she got out, strode up the front steps, and rang the doorbell.

Continue reading “Short Story: Crime and Superpowers”

Check out this dark paranormal Valentine’s 99¢ sale

Looking for some darker reads this Valentine’s Day? I’ve partnered with eight other authors to bring you a sale where all books are dark paranormal stories and all are $0.99/£0.99.

It includes Poison and Honey and several other books. Here’s some (but not all) of them:

Check out all the books in the sale and see if there are any you like! Act fast because it ends soon. And happy Valentine’s Day!

Kristen's signature

Ghosts, Ghosts, and more Ghosts: an Author Update

First off, a big thank you to everyone who purchased Dead Messages and helped make its launch a success. And an extra big thank you to everyone who left a review. You’re the best!

I finished the second draft of Poison Contact, Dead Messages‘ sequel, yesterday. Draft 1 was a mess, but I tore it apart and made additions and changes in draft 2, which I’m very happy with. I’m going to let it sit for a while before giving it one more read, and then it’s off to beta readers.

Want to join my beta reader team? Fill in the form below and introduce yourself. I’d love to get your feedback on my books before they’re published.

Continue reading “Ghosts, Ghosts, and more Ghosts: an Author Update”

Dead Messages is in stores now!

Are you in the mood for cozy mystery with quirky characters and a touch of the paranormal? Well, good news! Dead Messages is in stores now in both ebook and paperback. It’s also in library catalogues, so you can ask your local library to order it!

Wait, what’s this book about again? Let me give you a quick refresher.

Dead Messages Cover

She texts dead people…

Sydney Farina, full-time baker and cynic, is having a bad enough week when her boss forces her to go into work on her day off. When she arrives to find her boss’s corpse on the floor, her week gets a whole lot worse.

She’s shocked to learn it was murder—though maybe not too shocked. Her short-tempered boss, Glenda Whitaker, made more enemies than she did sprinkled cupcakes.

Then the texts start coming.

They’re from Glenda’s number, demanding Sydney find out who murdered her. Sydney thinks the messages are a bad joke at first, but when they reveal things only Glenda would know, she’s forced to accept the truth:

She’s getting texts from a dead woman.

Glenda’s ghost wants justice, but Sydney doesn’t know the first thing about solving murders. As she investigates her coworkers, can she find out who killed Glenda? Or will she join her grouchy boss on the other side of the grave?

Dead Messages is a cozy mystery novella with a touch of the paranormal. If you like quirky characters and fun whodunits, then click the button below and start reading today.


Dead Messages is available wherever ebooks are sold. I hope you enjoy it, and as always, thanks for your support!

Kristen's signature

5 Facts about Sydney Farina, the sleuth of Dead Messages

Sherlock Holmes. Nancy Drew. Miss Marple. A mystery novel is nothing without a good sleuth.

Sydney Farina, the protagonist of Dead Messages, is nothing like the detectives above. In fact, she compares herself to the bumbling inspector from The Pink Panther because she has no clue what she’s doing.

Since Dead Messages comes out next week, let’s meet the main character. Here are five facts about Sydney Farina.

She’s a pessimist

Sydney isn’t just a “glass half empty” type of person. She’s more “the glass is half empty and the remainder is probably poisoned.” Of course her on-again-off-again boyfriend is an insensitive flake. Of course her job sucks. What else would you expect?

That being said, there’s expecting the worse, and then there’s coming into work to find a dead body. Sydney’s pessimistic outlook doesn’t quite prepare her for murder.

Her favorite flavor is double chocolate

And since she works at a bakery, it’s hard not to snack on it all the time. Double chocolate cake, cupcakes, cookies, brownies–the list goes on. She loves baking and would love her job if her overbearing boss didn’t make it miserable.

Continue reading “5 Facts about Sydney Farina, the sleuth of Dead Messages”