What’s New This Month – February 2023


New Releases
Awards and Recognition
New Ventures
Author Appearances

New Releases (Fiction, Non-fiction, Short Stories)

The second book in Peggy Rothschild‘s Molly Madison dog wrangler mystery series, PLAYING DEAD, comes out from Berkeley / PRH in February. When a body is found the first day Molly Madison and her loyal dogs attend Playtime Academy and a new friend is arrested for the murder, she puts her ex-police skills to use to uncover the culprit. KIRKUS says, “A doggone good look at dog training and murder.” Find it in big box stores, at independent booksellers, and at online booksellers starting February 7.

USA Today bestselling and multiple-Agatha Award winning Ellen Byron has written a second book in her  Vintage Cookbook Mystery Series.  WINED AND DIED IN NEW ORLEANS comes out February 7 from Berkley. In this novel, Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop owner Ricki James-Dias has to help solve a murder, untangle family secrets, and grow her business, all while living under the threat of a hurricane that could wipe out everything. Available at booksellers big and small and in between, or  through Ellen’s website:

In book two of Susan Rowland‘s Mary Wandwalker Mystery series, THE ALCHEMY FIRE MURDER, former archivist Mary Wandwalker tells Oxford College that their prized medieval alchemy scroll is, in fact, a seventeenth century copy. When the genuine scroll surfaces in Los Angeles, Oxford hires Mary and her three-person Enquiry Agency to retrieve it. Before she can, a young man is murdered, and the treasure is stolen. Find out more at

DOC AND SALLY IN THE DEATH OF BUDDY TURNER, a mystery in Shannon Muir‘s Charles Boeckman Presents series, is out now. “In July of 1955, JUSTICE Magazine printed Charles Boeckman’s ‘A Hot Lick for Doc,’ featuring Sally Garcia and skid row bum Jim “Doc” DeFord, who in his past was known as Buddy Turner, the great jazz clarinet player. Doc buys bus tickets to take himself and Sally back to Los Angeles in hopes of reclaiming his life and career, only to learn that his wife has filed paperwork to declare him dead and get control of whatever music rights remain. Doc is determined to find out what is really going on, even as people from his past are out to kill him.”
Find out more at

Joanna Dymond‘s WOLF AT THE DOOR, the long-awaited sequel to her 2012 release, CRAZY AS A LOON, is out now. Both feature the popular realtor-cum-detective W.D. Caldwell of Erskine, Minnesota. In the second book, W.D. finds himself working on a mystery involving Hollywood and the oil industry. WOLF AT THE DOOR is available now through Birchtree Books: (218) 751-7722.

Craig Faustus Buck‘s story, Home Game, appears in the first issue of DARK YONDER, “a new literary magazine featuring short stories that focus on neo noir by some of today’s best writers.” The collection is available now in paperback and ebook formats. https://www.thaliapress.org/darkyonder

Nancy Cole Silverman‘s article “To Make A Long Story Short” appeared in last month’s Mysteryrat’s Maze column on the Kings River Life website. https://kingsriverlife.com/01/25/to-make-a-long-story-short/

Awards and Nominations

Two of our members have been nominated for the 2023 Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel: Jennifer Chow for DEATH BY BUBBLE TEA, and Ellen Byron for BAYOU BOOK THIEF. The Agathas are given each year at the Malice Domestic Convention on Saturday April 29.  These two novels were also among those recently named as Kings River Life Staff Favorites of 2022

PROMOPHOBIA, edited by former SinC/LA President Diane Vallere, was nominated for a 2023 Agatha Award for Best Non Fiction. The book includes essays by current members
Mike Befeler, Ellen Byron, Matt Coyle, Daryl Wood Gerber, Sheila Lowe, Gigi Pandian, Patricia Smiley, and Pamela Samuels Young.

New Ventures

Laurie Fagen has launched a podcast, “Murder in the Air Mystery Theatre,” with new episodes dropping weekly everywhere podcasts are heard. Tune in for guest author interviews and readings plus radio theatre style segments from Fagen’s audiobooks. Upcoming guests include Dennis Palumbo, Margaret Morse, Howard Russell, Charlotte Whitney, and Cheryl Cocroft.

Author Appearances

Edgar-nominee Winnie Li will appear at BookSoup in West Hollywood  on February 28 at 7 pm speaking about her novel, COMPLICIT.

Shannon Muir Broden will moderate a Toastmasters 4 Writers program on Zoom on March 4. The topic is”Public Speaking: An Essential Element of a Successful Writer’s Toolkit”, featuring our own Ellen Byron and Matt Coyle as panelists. See “Zoom Programs” below.

Larry Pontius recently did an interview –as Lawrence Allan — on the Out With Dan Podcast for his book BIG FAT F@UCK-UP. Catch the interview on YouTube: https://youtu.be/0qN5zxWBRN4 And Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4kEFwQAuYhcSIYeNcAhK6R?si=n1p7vlL0QdSxyjcaFNySSw

Sheila Lowe appeared for the third time at the Hillside Book Club in Ventura to discuss her latest book, THE LAST DOOR. One of the club members, Amy Herron, who had won a character name in the book, played Beethoven’s Fur Elise for the group. That piece plays an important role in the story.

Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger were featured speakers at a “Meet the Authors” event at the Huntington Landmark Development in Huntington Beach.

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