Tag Archives: #TheWildRosePress

Author Interview with Karen C. Whalen ~ New Release: Toes on the Dash ~ #WRPbks #AHAgrp

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Karen C. Whalen, sharing her latest release, a funny, fabulous cozy mystery, Toes on the Dash.

Hello, Karen…so nice to have you with us today.

Q-  What is your favorite quote?

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve always imagined.” —Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau is often quoted, but that’s because he was one smart guy. This quote makes my heart soar and helps me to believe in myself.

Because I can imagine a pretty great life.

Most authors admit they always wanted to write. I did, too, from an early age. I loved to read and could imagine myself writing a book. My dream came true in 2016 when my first book was published by The Wild Rose Press (TWRP), Everything Bundt the Truth, a murder mystery centered around a dinner club group. My eighth book was published by TWRP on April 25 of this year, Toes on the Dash, another murder mystery, this time involving a super-feminine, shoe-aholic who drives a tow truck in high heels.

Q- How did you come up with the title?

I got the Toes book title from a song I heard on the radio, Take A Little Ride, by Jason Aldean. I had the radio turned up and the window rolled down, trying to sing along, trying being the operative word here. He sings about his girl’s pretty pink toes on the dash. And my imagination took off. Was it possible to leave toe prints on the dashboard of a car? If so, this could be an important murder clue! I checked with my local police department and learned people can leave toe prints, often a vital piece of evidence at a crime scene.

So, my main character, Delaney Morran, suddenly became the kind of gal who props her toes on the dash. When her jerk of an ex-boyfriend is found dead in the trunk of a car she’s towed and her toe prints are discovered on the dash of said car, Delaney becomes the prime murder suspect.

Why, you ask, is Delaney driving a tow truck in high heels? Why is she even driving a tow truck at all? Well, Delaney received an unexpected inheritance—the keys to a tow truck—from her dead-beat dad. And she has some issues. She has very few memories of her father and wishes she could’ve known him better. Plus, her dad died in a mysterious hit-and-run accident that was never solved. So, despite the fact she’s never even changed a tire in all of her twenty-eight years, she decides to give the rough and dangerous business a chance. And, can you imagine all the dead bodies she stumbles upon in the car hauling business? Spoiler alert: she finds a dead body in every book. Actually there’s no surprise there.

Q- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Delaney’s dream is to get to know her dad by doing the work he did and driving the truck he drove. Plus, being her own boss is a dream come true. The message of the book is this: if you work hard enough at something, you can succeed at it. As Thoreau said, go confidently after your dreams. And live the life!

She went from wearing stilettos to hauling stiffs


Super-feminine and confirmed shoe-a-holic Delaney Morran receives an unexpected inheritance—the keys to a tow truck from a dad she’s never known. Even though she hasn’t changed a tire, or even driven any kind of a truck, she’s determined to make the rough and dangerous business a success. When she hauls a vehicle with the body of her jerk-of-an ex hidden in the trunk, the small-town cops in Spruce Ridge, Colorado do not believe this a coincidence. They have her in their headlights as the prime suspect. When the news hits, her business stalls. As a woman trying to make a living in a man’s world, she drives her rig in four-inch-heels to set herself apart. But she must toughen up her image and solve the crime or she’ll end up parked in jail.


Stopping with my hand on the door, I sneaked a peek left and right, worried someone I knew would recognize me, then I took a deep breath and stole inside. Need I explain? This is a small town.

My eyes took a moment to adjust to the dark. One girl wearing a thong—thank goodness she wasn’t anyone I knew—was on stage. Mr. Hot Head sat at the bar with a tall beer, foam on top, glass full. Looked like he had just been served a fresh, cold one, and this early in the day, too. I backed out the door, ran for the tow truck, and zipped back to the alley as fast as I could.

I angled the truck in front of Hot Head’s Jeep and muscled the dolly wheels over to the rear end, crouching low to the ground, getting a whiff of the rank dumpster. Hot Head couldn’t see me from inside the building, but he had a sixth sense about me, and I was determined to keep under his radar. I jacked up the first dolly wheel and was on my way around the back bumper to jack up the second one, when bam!

I stumbled right into Hot Head. He had a tire iron in his meaty fist.

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Karen C. Whalen is the author of two mystery series for The Wild Rose Press: the Dinner Club Mysteries featuring Jane Marsh, an empty nester who hosts a gourmet dinner club, and the Tow Truck Mysteries starring Delaney Moran, a super feminine shoe-a-holic who drives a tow truck. Both are cozy mysteries about strong friendships and family ties set in Colorado. The first book in the Dinner Club series tied for First Place in the Suspense Novel category of the 2017 IDA Contest sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. Whalen worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and was a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. Whalen loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.


https://www.facebook.com/whalencozyauthor (author page)

https://www.facebook.com/whalenkarenc  (personal page)


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Peculiar Activities by Mark Edward Jones ~ #Mystery #Blog #AHAgrp #WRPbks

I am very pleased to welcome Mark Edward Jones….who happens to be one of my authors at The Wild Rose Press. And, it so happens, we discovered that his wife and I graduated together…Moore High School, Class of ’80. Crazy coincidence, right? Mark is a talented author and a great guy and I am thrilled to be his editor. And the best thing of all, he’s an Elvis fan! 🙂 Take it away, Mark…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I grew up in Duncan, Oklahoma, and I’ve lived in Edmond, Oklahoma, since 1999. I’m married and have three grown children but no grandchildren. Cooper and Jasper are Yorkies or Yorkie mixes, and they keep me more than busy.

I read and wrote a lot in junior high and high school. The dedication page in Peculiar Activities includes a note about a high school English teacher. Once in college, I read textbooks and wrote term papers, then, after marrying and children, life went faster. I retired in 2017 from the financial area of the University of Oklahoma and thought I would try writing again. Luck seems to have followed me (so far) as I found writing classes with very helpful instructors and classmates, harsh but friendly beta readers, and great editors.

Where did you get the idea for Peculiar Activities? Why did you choose this genre? 

I wanted to focus on writing a mystery novel because the genre is what I like to read and watch on television. Since there are literally hundreds of thousands of mysteries on Amazon and other platforms, I wanted to expand the story a bit beyond a generic police procedural. I included an international intrigue subplot, specifically the main protagonist getting involved with cold-case murders leading him to Vienna and Prague. This led to the book’s title, Peculiar Activities, a derivative of an actual police unit in Prague called the Unit for Special Operations.

Do you collect anything?

I still have a rock collection from my grade school years. After my mom passed away, I inherited over six hundred albums and records, and I’ve kept my eyes open in old records shops for others I may want to purchase. 

What was your first job?

In high school, hauling those big console TVs back and forth to a friend’s dad’s repair shop. 

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

Bad one. At least people supposedly have purchased and read the book. 

What is your favorite quote?

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” Steven Wright 

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I have self-published a historical fiction book in 2017 called New Beginnings, later renamed Servants, Slaves, and Sinners. I’ve pulled it from Amazon, and I’m thinking of rewriting it as a historical mystery. 

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

Robert Lamm of Chicago, and I was totally tongue-tied. 

How did you come up with the title? 

The book title is the name of a Czech police unit and is based on an actual division called the Unit for Special Operations. 

Your favorite…

Movie  North by Northwest

Music  Elvis, the 70s, and Smooth Jazz

Place you’ve visited  Maui

Place you’d like to visit  Great Britain

TV show from childhood  Lost in Space

TV show from adulthood  Seinfeld

Food  Mexican

Sports team  Sooners and Dallas Cowboys (not easy)

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television?  Television

Thanks so much, Mark. It was great getting to know you better. I’m also a huge Seinfeld fan. And I love Steven Wright. Love the quote! 🙂

A murder in a park, and a new detective finds an old conspiracy.


Junior Detective Henry Ike Pierce is hired to reassess cold-case killings. On the third day of his new job, a dismembered body appears in a local park. The corpse’s desecration is like slayings from over two decades ago, and his boss assigns Henry to his first investigation. He must uncover the present-day killer while his boss pushes him to resolve crimes from the past.

Henry seeks a killer within a community of rival ethnic groups, refugees from the 1990s Balkan wars. Rumors point to a killer called ‘the hooded one.’

As his investigation unfolds, the young man from western Virginia’s coal country discovers that ‘trust’ has a flexible definition.


Eddie Stone pointed to our left. “There. This whole section.” He kicked away the dead foliage, and a flat headstone surfaced with the name of UNKNOWN and the death date of JULY 1987. “This used to be where we buried unclaimed bodies after two weeks. These days it doesn’t happen much with all the DNA crap.”

He stepped toward the fence, then cleared off another area. Five gray markers appeared, all said UNKNOWN and JANUARY 1995. “These are the five homicide victims Director Marconi told you about.”

Those deaths came into focus like a cold slap. “Why couldn’t you identify them?” I asked.

“No heads, hands, or feet.”
“Excuse me?”
“Whoever did this kept the skulls, hands, and feet.

With no teeth and no fingerprints, we had nothing else sophisticated enough to help us.”

“No guesses even? A missing person reports?”

“Nope. We found a connection, though.”
“To what?”
“To each other, it seemed. The victims were male,

all wore brown leather jackets, and the damnedest thing—a piece of Orehnjaca was stuck in the breast pocket of each victim.”

“Oren Jaka? I’ve never heard that word.”

He grinned. “I hadn’t either. It’s a Serbian bread dessert. A nut roll or something.”

“These murders sound more like mob hits.”

“Bingo. We’ve thought similarly over the years but couldn’t connect it to local gangs.” A blast of north wind shuffled the leaves, covering the headstones again. “I don’t think it’s only a local issue, and neither does the director.”

Buy links: AmazonBarnes & NobleAppleGoogleKobo

                             Audiobook: Amazon or Audible



Mark Edward Jones retired in 2017 after thirty-three years working in higher education finance and wanted to start writing again. In February 2021, he signed a contract with the Wild Rose Press for a novel called Peculiar Activities. The book’s release date was October 6, 2021. This manuscript won first place in the mystery category of the 2019 Oklahoma Writers Federation annual contest and was a finalist in the 2020 Page Turner Awards contest.

Mark signed a contract in November 2021 for the second book in the Henry Ike Pierce series, Shadowed Souls.

He is a part of a group of thirteen authors bringing together thirteen stories for a Friday the 13th anthology to be released on May 13, 2022. Mark’s short story is A Gentleman from the Darkness.

His flash fiction piece called Alone in Warsaw was published in the Autumn 2019 edition of the U.K. Publication, Painted Words.

Mark grew up in Duncan, Oklahoma, then attended the University of Oklahoma, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science and public administration.

He and his wife celebrated their fortieth anniversary in November 2021.

Mystery/suspense/international intrigue novels are his favorite reads, and he’s found an odd niche with medieval murder mysteries, noting it’s interesting to see the lifestyles from other eras and how crimes were solved.

His favorite music includes Elvis, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Boz Scaggs (among many others).

Website: mejbooksllc.com      Email: mejbooksllc@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mejbooksllc   Twitter: https://twitter.com/mejbooksllc


Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release