posted on February 13, 2015 by Carolyn Haines

Free Story:  My Valentines Gift To You

by Carolyn Haines,

The Hanged ManFebruary isn’t one of my favorite months, but this year I have excellent news to share. The paperback edition of BOOTY BONES has been released by St. Martin’s Press, and my alter ego, R.B. Chesterton, also has a trade paperback release—THE SEEKER.

A lot of people ask me why I write both dark and light fiction, and the simple answer is that I read both types of books. I grew up on the mysteries of Edgar Allan Poe and Sherlock Holmes (which are pretty darn dark sometimes!) and the short stories of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and Doris Betts (who are funny but also dark). I grew up in a family who tormented each other with ghost stories, and parents and a grandmother who enjoyed a good prank or two. All of this opened up and excited my imagination, and I think it’s one of the key reasons I’m a writer today.

Long before I ever thought to scratch down a word, I loved to read. My mother was often scolding me—“Get your nose out of that book and come help with supper.” I grew up in Lucedale, Mississippi, a town of about 2500, and it was a good thing I loved to read because there wasn’t a lot of other activities for young people.

I often say that I had the last golden childhood. I was free to ride my bike to the creek to swim, and we played softball almost every afternoon in our big back yard. I had an older and a younger brother, and neighbors who had children close to my age. We built forts in the woods, and rode bicycles to the Lucedale Drug Store for a fountain drink and comic book and to watch the older teenagers flirt. Everyone in town knew us, and if we stepped one inch out of line, my mother knew about it before we got home. Yet we were safe. Snug in our little community. Though it was an illusion, it was also a golden time.

Some of my most visceral memories come from the delicious thrill of hide-and-seek played at night among the heritage camellias and azaleas around our big old house. My older brother, Andy, would sometimes hide in the hall closet and when I walked down the hall, he’d open the door quietly and grab me into the closet, scaring me silly.

We were a family of practical jokers, and we also loved to laugh. Telling stories on ourselves and each other was a dinner-table pastime. And one of my very best qualities is that I am a magnet for unusual people.  If I am in a restaurant, it isn’t uncommon for someone to come over and talk to me. Someone I’ve never met before.

I worked for years as a photojournalist, so I was exposed to a lot of different people and situations. I find the basis for many of my novels stem from a tiny seed of an incident planted years before.

The SeekerI write the darker books (creepy but not gory—think gothic thrillers) under the pseudonym R.B. Chesterton. I chose a pseudonym so there would be no confusion between these books and my popular mystery series. Because this is a new name, I’m offering a special to promote the paperback release of THE SEEKER.  I have a short story, “The Hanged Man” which is set in New Orleans. If you’d like to sample my darker style of writing, I am offering the story FREE for a short time.  Visit this link:  Free Copy of “The Hanged Man”.  If you like this story, then you might want to try THE SEEKER.

Sarah Booth Delaney and the Zinnia, Mississippi, gang of friends, have a large following, and the paperback edition of BOOTY BONES delights me. BOOTY BONES was named one of the top mysteries of 2014 by Suspense Magazine.  Most of the Sarah Booth stories are set in the Mississippi Delta, but this one takes place on Dauphin Island, Alabama, and involves hidden treasure and pirates.

Sarah Booth is a sassy private investigator, aided by her partner Tinkie Bellcase Richmond (a true Daddy’s Girl), and her friends, Cece Dee Falcon, a transsexual society editor, Millie Roberts, owner of the small town’s diner, and Madame Tomeeka, a school chum with precognitive dreams and psychic abilities. And don’t forget Jitty, the resident ghost of Sarah Booth’s ancestral home, Dahlia House. Jitty keeps Sarah Booth on the straight and narrow.

I wouldn’t say the Bones books are woo-woo. Jitty is a link to Sarah Booth’s past, to the land, to the history of the Mississippi Delta, which is both elegant and harsh. Jitty is never involved in solving the mysteries. She is Sarah Booth’s touchstone.

Booty BonesBOOTY BONES is the 14th in the on-going series. BONE TO BE WILD will be released May 19, and of course I’m working on the next book in the series. If you’d like to sample the BONES series without committing to an entire novel, there are two short stories available as e-stories— “Bones on the Bayou” and “Shorty Bones.”  These books are written under Carolyn Haines.

I’d love to hear from you about my work or simply about books you love. My email is and you can sign up for my newsletter by clicking here.

I’m a huge animal advocate, and I post a lot of information on my FB pages:  Official Carolyn Haines Page and Carolyn Haines Fan Page. I run a small rescue with 22 animals (cats, dogs, and horses). For those interested in cookbooks and helping our spay/neuter program, you can check out the BONE-A-FIED DELICIOUS, Recipes from Zinnia’s Finest Chefs—it’s a fun cookbook and all proceeds go to the animals.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Carolyn Haines

Carolyn Haines

USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Haines grew up with both parents working as journalists, and she was bitten by the writing bug at a very young age. Her three ambitions were to be a cowgirl, a mystery-solving sleuth like Nancy Drew, and a writer. Today, she has basically accomplished them all. She is the author of the acclaimed Bones mystery series and in addition, she works as an advocate for humane treatment for animals and operates a small rescue on her farm (7 horses, 9 cats and 6 dogs).

Haines claims to have had “the last golden childhood of the South.” She grew up in Lucedale, Mississippi, a town of 3,000 in the Southeastern Pine Barrens. She rode her bicycle all over the county with her wonderful dog Venus and employed her imagination to create adventures with her friends.

Her first job in journalism was at the local weekly, The George County Times, when she was in high school. She went on to work as a photojournalist at the Hattiesburg American while attending the University of Southern Mississippi to earn a B.S. in journalism.

She worked for nearly a decade in the news business, covering local politics, the state legislatures in Alabama and Mississippi, spot news, writing a personal column and her favorite—writing features and using photography to illustrate the story. With her mother, she ran a statewide bureau in Mississippi for the Mobile Register and the Mississippi Press. As part of her journalistic adventures, Haines covered an armed robbery on horseback, hopped a freight train, and rescued a young, injured bald eagle from certain death. She was the first female reporter hired on the news side of the Huntsville Times.

At the same time, she began writing short fiction for personal satisfaction. Under the sway of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Doris Betts, and Lee Smith, Haines wrote about the landscape and the people she knew. The end result was being accepted by an agent who urged her to “write a novel.”

Another huge influence was Harper Lee and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Haines’s first novel was SUMMER OF THE REDEEMERS, a coming of age story set in 1963 rural Mississippi and published in 1994. Haines was honored in 2010 with the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing.

In 2009, Haines was named the recipient of the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence.

From general fiction, Haines drifted into mysteries, and THEM BONES, a humorous mystery with a wise-cracking ghost, was bought at auction. The stories center around Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends. The fourteenth book in the series, BOOTY BONES, was published May 20, 2014, by St. Martin’s Minotaur.

While writing the lighter mysteries, Haines has continued to write in the darker terrain of the crime novel. PENUMBRA and FEVER MOON (both St. Martin’s Minotaur) are historical crime novels.

In May 2010, an anthology she edited, DELTA BLUES, was released to critical acclaim.

Along with writing, Haines is the fiction coordinator at the University of South Alabama where she teaches graduate and undergraduate fiction writing. And she is president of Good Fortune Farm Refuge, an organization dedicated to helping animals and to educating the public on the need to spay and neuter.

She lives on a farm with her “critters.” They are the terror of the neighborhood.

Carolyn Haines Contest

Carolyn Haines is giving away a digital edition of THE SPECTER OF SEDUCTION, A Pluto’s Snitch Mystery #3.

Enter Here

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