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N. N. Light's Book Heaven presents Brenda Whiteside #authorspotlight #cozymystery #romanticmystery #ku #mustread



Convinced I was born to be an artist, I never took my love of writing seriously…until sometime after college, after marrying a man doing a stint in the army, and after the birth of my son. On a whim, I enrolled in a creative writing class and discovered I found more satisfaction filling a blank page with words than an empty canvas with color.

 

When the company I’d been working for decided to close their doors, I made the leap to early retirement. Until then, I was a weekend writing warrior. I completed my first novel, Post-War Dreams, writing on the weekends and in fifteen-minute increments before I left for the day job. It took me a couple of years to get the book to publication. The first book I published and second book I wrote, Sleeping with the Lights On, was written within the same time constraints.

 

After I “retired,” my time became my own, and writing became my full-time endeavor. That was more than a decade ago, and since then, when people ask if I’m retired, I don’t know how to answer. If I say no, I’m an author, the verbal reactions run the gamut from oh wow to a flat oh. If I say I’m retired, but I write, well, it sounds the way I’m sure they hear it…a nice hobby. And an author’s career is anything but.

 

I’m definitely not retired. Writing at a career level takes up way more time than working a day job and writing weekends. Getting published and taking writing to the next level added all the business tasks to my plate…social media, promotion, goal planning, networking, and on and on.

 

Arizona was my birth state. After marrying, we moved around a great deal. I’ve called two countries and six states home. A few years back we settled in Central Arizona. Most of my books are set in fictional, but recognizable, Arizona locations. I renamed the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff Wild Horse Peaks for a series of the same name. A famous mining town, Jerome, is now Joshua for The MacKenzie Chronicles.

 

I started my career writing romance which morphed into romantic suspense and romantic mystery. In the last couple of years, I’ve teamed up with an amazing mystery author, Joyce Proell, and we’re having great fun writing cozy mysteries, The Chocolate Martini Sisters Mysteries. I also have another writing partner with my granddaughter, Sadi Belle. We’ve penned two children’s books to date with our Sadi and Max Chapter Books.

 

No, retiring isn’t in my future. Writing keeps me sane and happy.

 

 

 

 

Title Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder (A Chocolate Martini Sisters Mystery, book 1)

Author Joyce Proell and Brenda Whiteside

Genre Cozy Mystery

 

Book Blurb

 

It’s a birthday weekend with the gift of murder.

 

Recently widowed, Emma Banefield looks forward to a getaway birthday weekend with her free-wheeling sister, Nicole Earp, sipping chocolate martinis at the peaceful, historic Dulce Inn. When a rude stranger, a nasty food critic, and a madhouse of temperamental artists greet them, all hope for a tranquil weekend evaporates faster than dew on a hot desert morning.

 

Overlooking the riotous atmosphere is doubly hard after Em discovers the body of a hotel guest, and a second murder affects Nic personally. Now, entrenched in a caper that pits them against a surly detective, they cozy up to a hotel staff hiding dangerous secrets to uncover clues to the killer.

 

Using their smarts and love of all-things mystery, will the Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime ahead of the obstinate Chief Detective or find themselves trapped in the middle of a third murder?

 

Excerpt

 

“I was thinking, Em, if Shaw is a nasty food critic, and I have no doubt he is, we could do an Internet search. Check out who he’s trashed.” She plucked her phone from her bag.

 

Her sister frowned. “Or we could relax and enjoy what’s left of our sister holiday, at least for a few hours.” She stood. “Let’s walk across to the art fair in the park. I could use a break from murder and mayhem.”

 

“Great idea. Maybe I could find something for Chloe for her birthday.” The mention of her daughter brought Liam to mind. She wanted to ask Em if she’d heard from her son, but supposed that if she had, she would’ve mentioned it. Best leave it alone or her sister would start worrying again. She glanced out the window. “I need to get a hat before we go. I don’t see a cloud in the sky.” She slung her purse over her shoulder and stood. “I’ll make a quick run upstairs. You want to go, or can I get you anything?”

 

“No. I’ll stroll around the lobby while you run upstairs.”

 

“Ha. You’re still sleuthing in spite of being tired of the drama. Or is it Chief Homicide Detective Guthrie you hope to run into?” She elbowed her sister as they left the restaurant and entered the lobby.

 

“Get your stupid hat and meet me out front.” Em’s lighthearted gleam downplayed her feigned grousing. “And hurry or I’ll leave without you.”

 

Nic smiled. Would Guthrie’s list match the Chocolate Martini Sisters’ litany of suspects?

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)

 

Amazon US

 

Amazon UK

 

Amazon Canada

 

Goodreads

 

Bookbub

 

Author Biography

 

After hearing countless stories as a mental health professional, Joyce Proell retired to create her own tales. As an award-winning author, she writes historical romance and cozy mystery where all endings are guaranteed happy. She shares her home on the prairie with a husband and a little dog with a big personality. When she isn’t reading or writing, she likes to swim and finds baking almost as relaxing as a day at the spa.

 

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. She writes children’s books under the pen name, Brenda Sue. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

 

Social Media Links

 

 

 

Title Reading, Writing, and Murder (A Chocolate Martini Sisters Mystery, book 2)

Author Joyce Proell and Brenda Whiteside

Genre Cozy Mystery

 

Book Blurb

 

At the writers’ conference, murder tops the program.

 

Aspiring mystery author Emma Banefield and travel writer Nicole Earp are excited to attend a writers’ conference during their latest sisters’ getaway. Nic’s birthday should be all about relaxation, writing, and a chocolate martini to toast another trip around the sun, but the climate at the gathering rumbles like a sudden desert thunderstorm.

 

When sparks fly between the keynote speaker and her timid assistant over a handsome mystery author, the subtitle on this anticipated tranquil weekend spells drama. If a heated love triangle, bruised egos, and betrayal aren’t enough to upset the atmosphere, the conference banquet erupts into a drunken brawl and sends the place spinning. After a body is discovered, Nic and Em do what they do best—snoop—and become embroiled in a mystery that jumps off the pages of a true-crime bestseller.

 

With more than enough suspects and little time, the amateur sleuths have their hands full finding the killer. But can the competitive Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime before the prickly chief detective does, or will a murderer outwit them all?

 

Excerpt

 

Once she’d gone, Nic followed Em into their room and leaned against the closed door, shaking her head. “Wow.”

 

“Yes, wow.” Em echoed her reaction.

 

“A story-stealing author whose assistant steals her boyfriend…”

 

“Ex-boyfriend.”

 

Another thought popped. “And Lola’s ex-husband is down the hall. Could this get anymore tangled?” With something close to glee, she threw her hobo bag on the bed closest to the window, her hat followed, then the backpack, and she flopped down.

 

Her sister planted her suitcase next to the credenza and sat on the other bed, staring. The frown and hand to her cheek were certain indications of worry.

 

“Are you all right, Em?”

 

I’m fine, but you’re rubbing your forehead.”

 

“What?” She stilled her hand.

 

“You’re rubbing the little scar on your right temple.” The one she got falling out of a tree as a child. “The gesture always presages something bad is about to occur.” Em studied her face as if to see below the surface. “Are you having one of those tingly, bad premonitions?”

 

She barked a short laugh. “Just a weird feeling.” Her sister’s observant nature could catch the most subtle of emotions.

 

“Last time we stayed at the hotel, your weird feelings tipped us off to some bad deeds ending in murder.” Her sister raked the air with one hand in her typical animated gesture.

 

Was this tingling sensation about to do the same? She should hope not, yet if another perplexing mystery occurred, she wouldn’t mind throwing her efforts into the mix of solving the crime.

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)

 

Amazon US

 

Amazon UK

 

Amazon Canada

 

Goodreads

 

Bookbub

 

After hearing countless stories as a mental health professional, Joyce Proell retired to create her own tales. As an award-winning author, she writes historical romance and cozy mystery where all endings are guaranteed happy. She shares her home on the prairie with a husband and a little dog with a big personality. When she isn’t reading or writing, she likes to swim and finds baking almost as relaxing as a day at the spa.

 

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. She writes children’s books under the pen name, Brenda Sue. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

 

Social Media Links

 

 

 

Title Secrets of The Ravine (The MacKenzie Chronicles, book 1)

Author Brenda Whiteside

Genre Romantic Mystery

 

Book Blurb

 

Lies can haunt, but the truth will kill.

 

Magpie MacKenzie doesn’t believe in coincidence. But when a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are unearthed, she’s convinced the universe is sending her a message. Fearing her father will be accused of the crime, Magpie will do whatever it takes to find the truth. Even risk her heart on this familiar stranger who may hold critical clues to the unsolved mystery.

 

While visiting purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, lawyer Zac Peartree is instantly drawn to the free-wheeling shopkeeper. His attraction propels him on a collision course between past and present, where digging up secrets could prove fatal.

 

Using decades-old clues and Zac’s déjà vu moments, the couple embark on a treacherous race to prove her father’s innocence before Magpie becomes the next victim. Can they save her from a murderous fate, or will love be the final casualty?

 

Excerpt

 

“You all should have a drink at the Apparition Room tonight, the bar below the Copper Mountain Hotel down the block.” Phaedra finished stuffing paper around the sculpture for protection and then handed the box to the man with the redhead. “Our very own Magpie MacKenzie will be singing.”

 

Magpie scuffed a boot against her friend’s foot to quiet her.

 

“She’s on at eight.”

 

The blonde clapped her hands. “Great. Sounds fun.”

 

“I guess that means we’ll see you later, Magpie.” Zac followed his friends but peered over his shoulder with an unreadable expression before he disappeared out the door and into the chilly wind.

 

Slightly lightheaded, Magpie braced herself on the counter. “Honestly, Phaedra, I could—”

 

“Now, Mags, you haven’t been this tongue-tied over a guy in years.” She retrieved her purse from behind the counter where she’d set it when she came in. “I need to get going, and you need to enjoy the quivers that guy is giving you. I’d guess he’s only thirty or close to it, but what the hell, he’s hot. Every man should fill his jeans like that, not to mention his shoulders.” She stopped by the door. “You two looked at each other as if—”

 

“As if we know each other?”

 

“Know each other? I agree he bore a resemblance to Mark, but that’s all.”

 

“Really? Sacrebleu, Phaedra. When I stared into that face, I saw Mark…a soul…from twenty-eight years ago.” The soul of someone she’d loved.

 

Who might have been a murderer…or worse, murdered by my father.

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title Mystery on Spirit Mountain (The MacKenzie Chronicles, book 2)

Author Brenda Whiteside

Genre Romantic Mystery

 

Book Blurb

 

The past never sleeps, and the truth never dies. 

 

Only Harlan MacKenzie can sense the troubled history of the Big Purple House. When he's hired to restore the historic mansion, he doesn't foresee the insidious secrets—secrets that entangle his family in deceit and murder. 

 

Phaedra is selling the house that has been in her family for decades. As her friends-to-lovers relationship with Harlan escalates, she’s forced to choose between her way of life or his, even though she risks losing him forever. 

 

After a stranger comes to town, weaving her web of deception, hell-bent on correcting an old grievance connected to the house, dark revelations of the past implode the present. Harlan and Phaedra are plunged into a dangerous mystery, risking their love, their future, and their lives.

 

Excerpt

 

As soon as Harlan crossed the threshold, he was sheathed in a gray cloud. His calf muscles tensed with a message to walk away. His head spun. He braced himself on the wall until the dizziness passed. When the room quit spinning, he imagined giving himself over to the mood of his surroundings. His body hummed with sensuality as if teased by sexual temptation. He strolled farther into the room, his breathing shallow and fast. “What the—” A spike of anger knocked out all pleasant sensation. He wanted to lash out. At what? He gripped his tape measure, took two quick breaths, and rolled his shoulders. Find some control. He widened his eyes as if to see more clearly and pivoted in a circle. Four walls. A window looking out on the side of the house. I’m missing something. He rotated in a circle again. Four walls. No closet. His throat constricted.

 

Dark. Sensual. Hidden desire. Secrets. Fear. I need air.

 

As if in a fog, he squinted and found the door. In the hall, he inhaled, bent with hands on his knees, and closed his eyes. “Son of a bitch.”

 

Gradually, his heart rate normalized. He took slow steady breaths. He had no way to decipher the overload of impressions the closet, the stairwell, and now this room gave him. He righted. I have to find out. Whatever happened in this house he felt certain tied him to its past.

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title Curse of Wolf Falls (The MacKenzie Chronicles, book 3)

Author Brenda Whiteside

Genre Romantic Mystery

 

Book Blurb

 

Secrets can protect what the truth will destroy. 

 

Elidor MacKenzie has a gift she can't return—the ability to absorb the joy, pain, and suffering of others. She's spent her life running from what she considers her curse. Now, her best friend is dead, and she alone holds the key to an archaeological discovery that could destroy a culture. With newfound inner peace, Elidor has returned home to make amends and guard the secret revelation. But greed-driven scavengers have followed her. Once again, the energies of Joshua will stir the hurricane, with her at the deadly center. 

 

Jules never got over Elidor. Twenty years and a famous journalism career later, he's back in Joshua—and so is his first love. If his heart can stand the torture, he'll risk reviving their relationship. But saving Elidor from herself and the secret she won't give up may be the death of them both. 

 

With Jules by her side, Elidor is determined to outrun the scavengers, guard the secret, and renew their love. But fate is coming after her, and there's nowhere the couple can hide.

 

Excerpt

 

After tucking the read letter back inside her backpack, she lifted the last envelope marked for her to read when she reached her sixteenth birthday. She closed her eyes, called up her memory to her sixteenth year. With Harlan living in Phoenix and Magpie at school in Flagstaff, she and her dad had had the house to themselves. They were close. Other than the typical teenage angst, which wasn’t always so typical for her, life had been happy. Separating her emotions from her best friends’ problems presented a challenge she couldn’t always manage. So right, Mom. And she’d met Julien that year.

 

She opened her eyes, slipped her index finger under the flap, and tore the envelope open.

 

My lovely young woman, my daughter,

Womanhood is upon you. As you navigate these tumultuous waters, love will find you and send you into a new ocean of emotions. Perhaps you have already experienced the pangs of love. If so, I wish for you that your clairsentient abilities have not gotten in your way but have helped and enriched your relationship.

 

“If only.” She’d nearly drowned in that ocean of emotions. If she fell in love’s waters again, could she swim in those emotions without drowning? Treading water might be worth the risk when it came to love. “But will I find another Julien?”

 

“Highly unlikely,” Julien answered.

 

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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
24 apr.

Thank you, Brenda, for sharing your writing journey and books with us!

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