Mystery Musings

I’ve been reading fast-paced, high tension books lately. Three in a row–The Nine by D.L. Cross, Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews, and then The Twins by D.L. Cross. They’re WONDERFUL books. I loved every one of them. But I’m a mystery lover at heart. So it was time for me to go back to my roots, what makes me feel good. Stories where the good guys win and the bad guys get punished. A more leisurely pace. As much atmosphere as action. So I started Anna Lee Huber’s A Stroke of Malice.

I have a thing for historical mysteries, especially anything around the Regency or Victorian period. I’m also a sucker for a good cozy. Let’s face it, to me, a cozy is almost a guaranteed good feeling read, and sometimes, that’s exactly what I want. Something that warms the cockles of my heart at the end of a day. And of course, I love the puzzle of a good mystery.

I read at a slower pace when I read these. I want to savor them. I’m glad the hero or heroine isn’t in danger and I have to speed to the next chapter to see if they survive. I’m going to take my time with A Stroke of Malice. The next one doesn’t come out until next April. 😢

My daughter’s coming to stay with us on Saturday and Sunday, so no reading then. When kids come, everything else gets pushed aside. I mean to enjoy every minute with them that I can. And when she leaves? It’s back to reading at the end of the day. Slow and leisurely. By the time I finish, I have a feeling that D.L. Cross’s last book in her Astral Conspiracy series will be out, and then I’ll be turning pages as fast as I can again. But it’s so nice to settle in to enjoy good mysteries when I need some warm and fuzzies to relax.

P.S. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but for the first time ever, I added a page for What I’m Up To at the top of my blog. I’m usually so boring, there’s nothing to report, but this time–hold your hats–I have FOUR events coming up in the future. Who knew?

The aliens are coming!

I’ve mentioned Staci Troilo before in my blogs.  She has a great webpage and offers generous writing advice and links on it once a week.  She’s also a great writer.  And, under the pen name D. L. Cross, she recently came out with a new book, which I’ve read, and am SO happy to share with you.  I really enjoyed it!  And yes, it’s about aliens invading Earth, but has so much more–legends and history and ancient artifacts all woven into a mesmerizing, exciting story.

Staci Troilo's blog tour--cover-TheGate-2-bluegreen


Staci Troilo's blog tour--TheGate-teaser-5-macabre


Landon had already been perspiring from the exertion of digging, but now flop sweat dripped down his face and stung his eyes. He’d never faced a weapon in his life before today. Now he’d been confronted by guns twice in the same night.

It wasn’t an experience he cared to repeat. Presuming he got through this instance safely. Something told him guns for hire operated under the “dead men tell no tales” maxim.

Despite his fear, though, his fingers went rigid. He doubted he could release the disc if he wanted to. And he most certainly didn’t want to. The artifact glinted in the moonlight. And the red laser dots aimed at his chest added a warm ambient glow to the gold he clutched tight to his abdomen.

Beautiful, in a macabre kind of way.

“I won’t ask again.” The man’s voice was muffled as he spoke through his mask, the sound lending to the sinister and lethal vibe of his group.

“Professor,” Billy said, “give him the disc.”

Landon shook his head, his fingers still locked.

“Professor?” The mercenary cocked his head to the side and stepped closer to study Landon’s face. He was now within arm’s length. Not that Landon would even consider striking such a man. “Thorne? Landon Thorne?”

Well, that couldn’t be good. “You know me?”

A few of the commandos laughed. The man in charge clapped him on the back. “Damn, son. You just made my job a hell of a lot easier. You’re comin’ with us.”

Dev stepped forward. “You can have the disc, but he stays with us.”

The merc turned his head. “You’re in no position to make demands.”

It happened too fast for Landon to react. In hindsight, he might convince himself he saw it coming, but he couldn’t even be sure he could lie to himself so convincingly. One second, five armed men were holding up his group, then the next second, his four companions had guns drawn. It was a Mexican standoff, pressure mounting, and he had a feeling the event that would break the tension would be something in him breaking — most likely his skin, followed by bones and vital organs as a bullet or ten sliced through him.

He finally unfroze and raised his hands in the air. “Easy now. Everyone, just take a breath. I’m sure we can come to some kind of arrangement that satisfies all parties.”

“I’ve got an arrangement for you.” Nadia adjusted her grip and made a show of training her weapon on the merc in charge. “We keep the professor and the disc, and you guys leave without us blowing holes through you.”

Instead of getting angry, the guy laughed. “Funny, darlin’. I was gonna say the same thing to you.” He didn’t even bother turning his gun from Landon to her. One of his men already had her covered.



He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

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D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website:

Thanks for inviting me here today. I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Gate, Book 1 of the Astral Conspiracy series in the Invasion Universe.

Staci Troilo Color Photo RT smaller