Send your kids on a summer adventure with three exciting mysteries!
Something’s Fishy at Ash Lake; Paper Treasure, and Pirates, Prowlers and Cherry Pie
School’s out and no matter what your plans are for the summer, it’s always good to have some quiet time whether you’re in the car, at the beach or at home. And with the advent of ebooks, it’s even easier.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a box set for kids and teens with all the elements that made us lifelong readers. From Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to The Goonies and more, reading and then writing for our own children allowed our imaginations to soar.
We hope yours will, too!
Pirates & Prowlers, Treasure & Gold
SOMETHING’S FISHY AT ASH LAKE Part time detectives and full time mischief-makers Liz Elliot & Amber Mitchell get themselves in way over their heads when an evil prankster threatens their summer vacation! They should be roasting marshmallows, not risking their lives!
PAPER TREASURE When someone steals his late grandfather’s shares in The Treasure Creek Gold Mine, Charlie Bradford is furious! Joining forces with new friend Lisa Kirby, Charlie tracks down his grandfather’s old partners only to find a thief who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the gold!
PIRATES, PROWLERS, AND CHERRY PIE Fiona Smith is having a terrible summer. Despite being bullied by her nasty cousins, she abandons her plans for revenge when a robber targets their wealthy neighbours. Intrigued by the mystery, she makes a pact with her cousins and together they solve the crime.
An awesome way to reach new readers while you finish that next book…
With Love Me Now, Love Me Forever, our first Stephanie Browning boxed set now on sale, Susan and I are thrilled to be sharing our co-authored romances with a wider audience.
So while we work on our next book, we hope you’ll enjoy our first three titles, Outbid by the Boss, Making Up is Hard to Do, and Undone by the Star, featuring alpha males with all the necessary qualities — like well-toned abs and killer smiles — and the strong-willed, independent women who refuse to settle for anything less than the real deal.
OUTBID BY THE BOSS
When Chas Porter catches Samantha Redfern bidding on an antique candlestick that rightfully belongs to him, he’s furious! But this is no ordinary candlestick; it’s the perfect mate to the only possession of worth Sam’s grandparents took when they fled England. One that Chas is desperate to recover.
MAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
If she’d known Jack Rutherford would walk back into her life, more ruggedly handsome than the day he left, Nicki Hamilton would have stayed in Toronto and left the past where it belonged. But he owes her. Big time. For fifteen years of silence, a dozen unanswered letters, and one broken teenaged heart.
UNDONE BY THE STAR
As heir-apparent to London’s most exclusive hotel, Alexis Kirkwood has spent her life preparing for the top job. But when she mistakes American film star Marc Daniels for a plumber, the sparks fly. An intense intimacy develops…until Marc’s celebrity gets in the way and hijacks Alex’s carefully-laid plans.
When I wrote the following article, in late 2017, Susan and I had already reissued Something’s Fishy at Ash Lake for a new generation of young readers, but The Mad Hacker, book one in the series, remained out-of-print, patiently waiting for an update and a new cover….
And here it is — the first Amber & Elliot Mystery — as well as my original post.
How we almost hit the big time & lived to tell the tale!
When Susan Brown and I decided to adapt The Mad Hacker, our first co-authored book, for television, we realized we would have to come with a name that was perhaps a little less indicative of an axe murderer, and more in keeping with a pair of adventurous twelve-year-olds.
Amber Mitchell and Liz Elliot had been best friends forever and were, shall we say, chips off their creators’ old blocks…
The plotline revolved around the sabotage of their grade-seven computer projects. Rather progressive, we thought (and still do) given that we wrote the first chapter of The Mad Hacker in 1985 using typewriters. Neither of us actually owned a personal computer at the time. Our kids were in primary school; they had the access and we had the story.
Several years later…The Mad Hacker had sold over 75,000 copies in book form in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Something’s Fishy at Ash Lake, our second book featuring the girls and their friends at Ash Grove Junior High, had by then been sold to Scholastic Canada, and negotiations were underway with a Toronto production company.
We decided it was time to “rebrand” the series. Scholastic had billed the first two books as Ash Grove High Mysteries, but we wanted something new and a little less cumbersome. So we culled our collective memories as well as the current TV pages, listing show titles that worked, especially mysteries, right back to the early days of television.
Nine times out of 10, the most successful series had titles which were either situation-specific or simply used the main character, or characters’ names, to sell the show.
Our characters weren’t that well-known, but they were memorable, especially when they played off each other like that other famous pair of detectives: Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes. After all, Amber had been heard to address Liz as “my dear Elliot” more than once in both books.
So, Amber & Elliot, it became.
We liked the cadence. We liked the way Liz’s surname gave the team more weight. But most of all we liked the fact that it didn’t sound, as “Amber and Liz” would have, like two little girls going to a birthday party.
Amber & Elliot may not have made it to the big time (the pilot aired on The Family Channel and CTV), but we felt like we did – if only for a short time. And, among many lessons learned, we came to appreciate just how important titles (and hanging onto your rights) can be!
The Amber & Elliot Mysteries
I think the die was cast the day my Latin teacher suggested I translate Caesar’s Gallic Wars at home. They called it “independent study,” but when she wrote “goodbye, little Miss Sweet-n-Sour” in my high-school year book, I knew it to be true.
I had crossed her personal Rubicon once too often.
Which pretty well sums up the driving force behind the mystery shorts I write. Whether it’s a serial bride in Bitter End, a honky-tonk piano player in Oscar Chump! or even a slightly-psycho claims adjuster in Bermuda Short, once someone crosses their line in the sand, they’re all about revenge.
Ironically, when I first thought about bringing these stories together, I wasn’t sure what connected them. Louise Tellier Hannington Brown had been racking up her assets the old-fashioned way while Oscar Chump kept his in his closet, and as for Carolann Gravelle, no sooner did she find true love than she lost it again.
So she bided her time, made her plans, and flew to Bermuda two days after her former lover and his new bride.
…Had it been any other Tuesday, she would have been at her desk in suburban Toronto, processing death claims for Parkwood Life and Casualty. But not today. Today, she was flying first class “drinking champagne and dreaming about death and dismemberment amidst the bougainvillea.”
Poor Carolann. But lucky me!
I had just returned from Bermuda, with the sights and sounds of the island still fresh in my mind, when there was a call for submissions to Cold Blood IV, part of a long-running anthology edited by Peter Sellers, and published by Mosaic Press. They were looking for original stories and dangling a huge carrot…the book would be launched at Bouchercon, the international convention for mystery writers, to be held in Toronto the following autumn.
Talk about motivation.
And then there’s Oscar Chump, a small-town mystery with a fifties’ feel. For years, all I had was the title and the lyrics from a 1956 rock-and-roll song by Jim Lowe continually playing in my head. He kept asking “Green Door, what’s that secret you’re keeping?” I had no idea, so I asked Oscar Chump. I’m pretty sure the secret I came up with wasn’t exactly the answer Jim Lowe had in mind, but I had my story.
We’ll file that one under writer’s revenge.
And while divorce does turn deadly in Bitter End, I swear this one’s total fiction. Except for maybe the odd bit about sailing (I had a part interest in a twenty-one-foot Shark at the time), and an article I had recently read about forensic accountants searching for the hidden assets of a deposed dictator. In my short story, the assets are, shall we say, far more personal…and it definitely ends with a twist!
I remain, yours sincerely, “Little Miss Sweet-n-Sour”
Author of Revenge With A Twist, & other stories