Festive Mayhem 3 from Guest Carolyn Wilkins

News Flash: Kait Carson is Carolyn’s lucky winner! Kait, please check your email.

Edith/Maddie here, feeling festive and excited for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.

I’m also excited to welcome author Carolyn Wilkins to the blog to share Festive Mayhem 3, the newest anthology of crime stories from seven crime writers of color. Read down for a generous giveaway!

Take it away, Carolyn!

I am excited to announce the release of Festive Mayhem 3, a holiday-themed anthology of fiction written by seven crime writers of color.  In addition to my work, this year’s collection features new stories by Francelia Belton, Delia C. Pitts, Paige Sleuth, Stella Oni, Barbara Howard, and Elizabeth Wilkerson. Grab your copy now, because it’s only available until January 31.

My contribution is called A Serenade For Suicide.  The central character in the story is Bertie Bigelow, a much put-upon music professor and sometime amateur sleuth. Bertie’s given up her singing career in New York City to teach at an inner-city community college in her old neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.  When her ex-boyfriend, a Grammy-winning songwriter, shows up to give a special workshop for her students, Bertie suddenly finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. 

The inspiration for this story comes from the many years I spent teaching aspiring rock stars at Berklee College of Music.  Like many other music schools, Berklee frequently brings well-known industry professionals to campus to give special workshops to their students.  I’ve often thought about the many disastrous (and possibly fatal) things that could happen during one of these events.  Writing A Serenade For Suicide gave me the chance to explore at least one of these deliciously deadly possibilities, and have a bit of fun in the process. 

Here I am with my students.

Here’s a bit more about the other stories in this collection:

• “Black Easter” by Francelia Belton. In 1967, a militant husband and father tries to push his political views onto his wife’s conservative family at the annual Easter social—and things don’t end well.
• “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. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)
• “Whiteout Wipeout” by Paige Sleuth. A lost cat leads Cherry Hills, Washington, animal rescue maven and amateur sleuth Imogene Little to the body of a murdered man at the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.
• “The Troublesome Rich Girl” by Stella Oni. When Elizabeth agreed to look out for the rebellious teenager Tayo Adelaja and her cousin Angelica, she enlisted the help of the Mews hotel’s social media obsessed apprentice, Rosie O’Toole—only for the three to disappear!
• “Trace of Lace” by Barbara Howard. On the eve of his wedding day, Milo has to save his bride when news of a serial killer near Birston College puts the campus on lockdown.
• “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. (Originally published with the first Festive Mayhem.)

Readers: Have you ever had a rogue moment of idle speculation in which a mundane event at your workplace goes horribly wrong?  I get these moments all the time, and I suspect you do, too.  We are mystery lovers, after all! I will give a digital download of Festive Mayhem 3 to the reader who shares the most creative workplace disaster fantasy here.  Let your imagination run wild!  I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Carolyn Marie Wilkins is the author of three mystery novels:  Death at a Séance, Melody for Murder and Mojo for Murder, all available from Pen-L Publications.  She is also the author of Tips for Singing (Hal Leonard Press) and two memoirs: Damn Near White: An African American Family’s Journey from Slavery to Bittersweet Success, and They Raised Me Up: A Black Single Mother and the Women Who Inspired Her, available from the University of Missouri Press.

Carolyn is a Reiki master, a psychic medium and a Professor at Berklee College of Music Online.  Carolyn has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony and represented her country as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department.  An initiated priestess of Yemaya, the African goddess of motherhood, compassion and the ocean, Carolyn holds certificates of completion in mediumship from the JVP School of Mystical Arts, the British mediums Tony Stockwell and Mavis Pittilla.  To find out more about Carolyn, visit her website: www.carolynwilkins.com

Snap up your e-copy here before the end of January, 2023:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BK8J7KRH
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BK8J7KRH 
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0BK8J7KRH 
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0BK8J7KRH 
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/book/id6443860758 
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940166760630 

31 Thoughts

    1. We are so happy to have you here, Carolyn! After I was laid off my job of fourteen years, I wrote a short story of murderous revenge after layoff called “Reduction in Force” – one of the most satisfying pieces I ever wrote! Entirely fictional, mind you. ;^)

      1. Carolyn, I love this! Some people at work are deliciously scared of me because I’m always looking for places to ‘hide’ the body!😃

    2. Hi Carolyn! Thanks for sharing your inspiration about your story, which I loved, btw! Believe it or not, I don’t have a specific workplace disaster fantasy, though there probably been plenty of times I could have come up with one. Lol

      And thank you, Edith, for hosting Carolyn and Festive Mayhem today. 🙂

  1. At one time, I was licensed to test for and design septic systems in our state. This led me to many isolated, overgrown and often hard to get to places. I did often think to myself “Boy anyone could hid a body in here and it would never be found!”, but then I’d think but then I’d be the one to find it.

    ” Festive Mayhem 3″ sounds like a fabulous book!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Hi, Carolyn! It’s s great to have you here.

    I’ve actually had two of those moments at work. Once when a bunch of us were in an office on the phone with colleague and we heard, “Wait, Wait! @#$!” Crash. In those awful minutes when we waited for him to call back I imagined the worst. The other was in the days before cell phones when a client called to say that an employee of ours hadn’t showed up to teach a seminar. We called the hotel, who called his room to no avail. We imagined him dead on the streets of Philadelphia. Finally, we persuaded the hotel to send someone up to his room. Turned out the phone was broken, so he hadn’t gotten the wake-up call or any subsequent call.

  3. I love your story and enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind it. So glad you’re a part of this year’s anthology! And a huge thank-you to Edith and the Wickeds for spotlighting Festive Mayhem 3 today. Wishing everyone a fabulous Thanksgiving!

  4. The inspiration for your story was terrific, Carolyn, as was the tale itself! I love resourceful, determined Bertie! It’s an honor to have a story in this collection with you!

  5. Sounds like a great anthology, Carolyn. Unfortunately, I work with a lot of software engineers, so not a lot of opportunity for office mayhem. Unless someone lets the server room overheat. Hm…

  6. I worked for a restaurant company that owned a hot air balloon we used for advertising. We had it tethered over a warehouse located off a busy major highway and in a flight path for Miami International airport. We were having a marketing meeting when someone noticed the balloon was kind of high. It had slipped it’s tether and was heading for the stratosphere. My boss, an ex-army major, grabbed a sidearm he kept handy in a desk drawer (who knew) and shot it from the sky.

  7. Hello Carolyn! I worked in theater for many years, so I have a few disaster stories. But I can’t tell you how many faculty meetings I made it through imaging disasters that would end them! Congratulations on the new anthology! What a great group of authors.

  8. I worked for New York Telephone in the days before the breakup of Ma Bell, when all telephones were wired to the wall & were much heavier than today’s models. One day an angry customer in the public office lifted a large phone & hit the representative over the head. Luckily she survived, but it got me thinking about murderous customers & the ways they could attack us!

    1. Ain’t it the truth? Good you stopped working there. More scary pissed-off folks out there now than ever before. Good your receptionist came out of it OK.

  9. I’m afraid I don’t have the best work place fantasies. Mine usually involve the power or server being out so I can’t work.

  10. I had a boss that non of us liked. I used to wish that the district manager would come in and fire him in front of everyone.

    1. Hah! Nothing like a good revenge fantasy! Those folks are also good candidates to be bumped off if you ever write a murder mystery!

  11. It was fun learning about how you find inspiration while working with your music students. Sometimes the simplest things can take a sinister turn in our imaginations.

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