Guest-Carolyn Wilkins and a Giveaway!

Congratulations, Judith! Jessie will contact you shortly to arrange your prize!

Jessie: In New Hampshire where there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees.

I’m filling in for Edith today while she recovers from hand surgery. It is my pleasure to welcome Carloyn Wilkins to the blog . Over to you, Carolyn!


Writers are loners. We are perfectly content to sit alone with our computers while the rest of the world spins along without us. I am no exception in this respect. When I’m in the middle of a writing project, I become downright allergic to socializing! But when Kellye Garrett, Gigi Pandian and Walter Mosley announced they were forming a support group for crime writers of color, I joined immediately.  

Over 200 authors have joined the group since its formation in 2018.  Today, I’m excited to tell you about Festive Mayhem, a new short story collection featuring work by ten of our members.  These holiday-themed stories range in style from the classic cozies to suspense, police procedurals and thrillers. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of what you’ll find inside:

  • “The New Year’s Hex” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins. Carrie McFarland finds her New Year’s plans derailed when a psychic vision pulls the 1920s African American amateur sleuth into someone’s evil scheme.
  • “Pipe Dreams” by S.G. Wong. In this hard-boiled Crescent City short story, infatuation and passion drive Minnie Chen straight into danger as she tries to best the City’s most glamorous private detective in a reimagined 1930s-era Chinese Los Angeles.
  • “A Christmas Tip” by Elizabeth Wilkerson. A surprise Christmas bonus becomes too tempting for Philadelphia nursing assistant Brianna Byers to resist—even if accepting requires some skillful skirting of the law.
  • “The Stranger in the House” by Stella Oni. This London House Mystery prequel stars Elizabeth Ojo, a Nigerian housekeeper at a posh guest house, who finds her Christmas intersecting with that of a mysterious resident in trouble.
  • “What Lies Inside” by Kia Dennis. A tormented university professor falls deeper and deeper into a destructive obsession in this harrowing tale of love and longing.
  • “A Pub, Bed & Breakfast & A Dead Body” by Forest Issac Jones. A dark past becomes the deadly present when North Carolina police detective Ike Coates and his intrepid young partner are tasked with determining the cause of a suspicious death.
  • “A Deadly First” by Delia C. Pitts. Thanksgiving takes a fatal turn when New York private eye SJ Rook finds himself thrust into his first murder case in this darkly atmospheric tale of noir.
  • “The Holiday Murder Mélange” by Myra Jolivet. This Sarah Doucette Jean-Louis short story follows the Creole P.I. around the San Francisco Bay Area on her quest to figure out who killed a man outside of her office.
  • “Those Holiday Blues” by Jennifer J. Chow. Jasmine, aka “Jazz,” can’t escape the tragic past when an old boyfriend asks to meet on the anniversary of his mother’s death.
  • “Holiday Holdup” by Paige Sleuth. In this Cozy Cat Caper Mystery Short, Imogene Little gets tangled up in a Christmas Eve bank robbery orchestrated by none other than Santa Claus himself.

When I read a story, I want to be taken into a different world.  I enjoy the experience of meeting people from places I have never been, and exploring through their eyes, new cultural perspectives and new ways of seeing things.  

Readers, what books, stories or articles written by authors of color have opened your eyes recently?  Leave a comment below to enter the drawing to receive a free e-copy of Festive Mayhem. 

Carolyn Marie Wilkins is an author, a musician and a psychic medium.  She is the author of three mystery novels:  Death at a SéanceMelody for Murder and Mojo for Murder. She has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony and represented her country as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department.  In addition, Carolyn maintains an active private practice as a psychic medium and Reiki healer.  

To find out more about Carolyn, visit her website:

55 Thoughts

  1. Carolyn, I am so pleased you did decide to join CWOC. It has been a true joy collaborating with you and everyone else on this collection. Huge thanks to the Wickeds for featuring our book today!

  2. Welcome, Carolyn!.My copy of the anthology is waiting on my kindle. I’m a big fan of the series by Alexia Gordon and Gigi Pandian, and Sujata Massey’s books, too.

    1. Hi Martha
      I am a huge Blanche fan myself. She definitely serves as an inspiration for my Carrie McFarland mysteries. In addition to being a psychic, Carrie also works as a maid.

  3. I have my copy of Festive Mayhem and can’t wait to read it. CWOC is such a great organization and I’ve read so many books by the members. I’m looking forward to reading The Ninja’s Blade by Tori Eldridge.

  4. I have read and enjoyed Mildred D. Taylor’s book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry many times. It is a book/series that I have recommended often. Festive Mayhem looks really interesting to me! Best of luck with your own books and with the anthology. You are all new-to-me authors I want to read.

  5. Welcome, Carolyn. I have watched in awe and admiration as Crime Writers of Color has developed and become a force in our industry. I love short stories and can’t wait to read Festive Mayhem.

  6. Carolyn, it was such fun working with you and the rest of our friends on Festive Mayhem! I’m so proud of this dynamite anthology!

  7. Ta Nehiss Coates has open my eyes with every new book he releases. I also find Tonya Duncan Ellis books which are children books very interesting too.

    1. Yes I agree. Tanks for your comment. Coates’ books are revelatory. Have you read his novel about slavery? I believe it is called Water Dancer. If you haven’t, check it out.

  8. I’m so happy to be a contributor to this anthology. Thanks so much for featuring Festive Mayhem on the Wickeds today!

    (Carolyn: CWoC has been such a wonderful community. Also, I love your bio & author photo!)

  9. The most recent book I’ve read by authors of color is Me and Zora by Victoria Bond and T R Simon. I heard them speaking about the book on an MWA panel about juvenile mysteries and was intrigued, this is a YA book in a series for young readers and paints a wonderful picture of life in Florida early in the 20th century. Strongly recommend the series!

  10. Carolyn, congratulations to you and the CWOC for what looks like a terrific collection — anthologies are such great opportunities for readers to meet new-to-them authors, and I gather this is a first publication for at least one contributor. I’m a big fan of Sujata Massey’s Purveen Mistry historical series, and am looking forward to Gigi Pandian’s next book. I can’t believe how long it took me to pick up a Blanche book by the late Barbara Neely, but once I did, I devoured them!

    1. Hi Leslie
      Sujata and Gigi are both amazing writers. It’s been wonderful to get to know them through CWOC. And yes – Blanche is addicting! I’ve read every one and wish there were more!

  11. Carolyn, your Death at a Seance was a real eye-opener for me. As to authors of color – I truly am color blind when it comes to authors. I seldom have any idea about the color or other ethnicity of any author. I enjoy good writing no matter who does it.

  12. I love being a member of Crime Writers of Color especially as I am based in the UK. It was great being part of the ten authors in this Anthology. I love short stories and have read and re-read the nine others!

  13. I found Christopher Huang’s A GENTLEMAN’S MURDER through the CWOC site and loved it. British ex-officer (whose mother was Chinese) investigates a murder in 1920s London. Congratulations to all the authors of FESTIVE MAYHEM!

    1. Hi Sarah
      That sounds like a fun read! My Carrie McFarland series is also set in the 1920s. I’m a sucker for anything set in that fascinating period of history!

    1. Interesting, Linda. I don’t always, either. But I do find each author shares the fictional world they create through the lens of their particular worldview and/or culture. Would you agree?

  14. I do not look at the author’s picture when I purchase a book. I pick up the book on the merits of the story. I am not sure how to answer this question since I do not look. Thank you for the opportunity.

    1. Hi Debra
      Thanks for your comment. Linda wrote something similar. However I believe that’s all authors, regardless of who they are, create their fiction through the lens of their particular culture and worldview, whether they make this explicit or not. Books by African American authors may offer a different perspective and get you seeing things you may not have thought of before.

  15. Ja’Nese Dixon is the only one I am clear on. Truly, I just look for a good story and don’t really pay attention to the author unless it is someone I interact with frequently. Since most of my contact is via email, I really have no idea of the complexions of my authors.

    1. Hi Barbara
      Thanks for your comment. Truth be told, the quality of the story is always the most important factor! However it is also true that stories by authors of color often provide us with a fresh and different lens through which to view the world.

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