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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:

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

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