Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Author Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ BURNED: DEATH PLAYS WITH MATCHES by Sarah Hualde

Burned: Death Plays with Matches (Paranormal Penny Mysteries, #6)
by: Sarah Hualde
Series: Paranormal Penny Mysteries
Genre: Cozy Animal Mystery/Psychic Mystery
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Publisher: Indie Christian Writers

Stalking an old nemesis…

…she discovers a hidden plot.

As a deceptive advisor is snuffed out.

Penny Nicols brings her “gift” to Billington. Searching for her sister, she’s determined to stand her ground. One woman holds the keys to Penny’s link between her past and the present.

When is history better left buried?

When the Raven is the one telling the story.

Dinah, Penny’s old advocate, is struck down before her eyes.

Penny’s long-distance friend T.C. continues to help her trail the whereabouts of her long-lost sibling and solve the mystery. Musical clues and manic relationships crowd the distracted Penny as T.C. supports her from afar.

Spades, the cat, charms the suspects as Penny untangles her omens.

Dinah may be victim number one, but Penny fears the Raven is just warming up.

You’ll love the sixth book in this binge-worthy paranormal mystery series because Penny and her sleuthing sidekicks dig deep to uncover the Raven’s evil plans.

Hi Sarah. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. You are a new to me author, what can you tell me about yourself and the books you write?
Hi there.

I’m a mom writer that schools her kids at home and sneaks moments to write clean, quirky mysteries. My characters are the best part of every one of my stories. They pop off the page, get into trouble, and are ready to become your new book besties.

Can you please tell me about your Paranormal Penny Mysteries series?
Penny Nicols is a new adult who travels from town to town in her tiny house on wheels. Her strange “gift” spurs her nomadic life on. Penny spots death omens. Flittering into her life, often in the shape of a raven, the omens land on anyone who crosses Penny’s path. This leaves our hero with twenty-four hours or less to solve a murder BEFORE it happens.

Thank goodness the Raven sprinkles clues as song lyrics in her way or Penny wouldn’t know where to start her sleuthing.

Burned: Death Plays with Matches is the sixth book in the series. What can you tell me about and is it a standalone read?
Burned’s main mystery can stand on its own feet. However, Penny’s life isn’t that simple. In Burned, she’s determined to find her long-lost twin sister. Just before snatching the clue that could reunite them, the Raven snuffs the one person holding the secret out. More mayhem unravels leaving her loved ones in the blasted bird’s path. Penny can’t save them all. Choices will be made and futures changed forever.

Can you give me a preview of one of your favorite scenes from Burned: Death Plays with Matches?
Excerpt from Chapter 28

“Why Penny? Why is this so important? What do you know I don’t?”

Frustration rumbled through me. Bitter tears stung at the back of my eyes. “I know something dangerous is happening, and I know it’s bigger than you could imagine. You and your friends are in way over your heads, and it might already be too late to stop what’s coming.”

“What’s coming, Penny?” Mark asked, his voice quieting as he mentally wrote me off.

“Death,” I admitted in an exhausted exhale.

“Death?” Tim asked.

Mark ignored him. He bent and gathered Spades into his arms before shoving the cat into mine. “It’s time for you to go,” he said with icy determination. “Go and don’t come back.”

Tim rose from his chair. “But Mark, what if…”

“It’s always what if with Penny,” he answered without looking at his gaming buddy. “What if and nothing else. I’m sick of it.”

With that, Mark slowly exited the room, shutting his bedroom door behind him. Spades scratched at a loose lock of my hair. I moved his paws away mindlessly before heading to the door.

Tim hurried up beside me. He blocked the door. “Death, really?” he asked, fear making his voice squeak.

I nodded. “If I were you, I'd plan on staying in for the day.”

“Will that help?”

I looked him over. I had no clue if staying home would be the cause or the cure for the Raven’s mark. I prayed silently. It was a habit Titus convinced me to try. Who knew if it worked, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

When it comes to writing your stories do you begin writing already knowing who the killer is and why they killed or is it a surprise for you?
I always plot out a killer. However, they don’t always cooperate with me. It’s not abnormal for me to be just as shocked as my readers when the plot twists and the killer is revealed.

I’ve mentioned that this is the sixth book in the Paranormal Penny Mysteries series, how many books do you plan on having in this series, and do you envision any spin-offs?
Penny Nicols is already a spin-off of the Honey Pot Mysteries - where Penny pops in for the main mystery of Write and Wronged. You don’t have to read that one to know what’s going on with Miss Nicols. All my series touch one another- at least in a small way. For the moment, I envision Paranormal Penny Mysteries to last for at least 13 books. And then… who knows?

What are you currently working on?
At the moment, I’m chugging away on book seven of the series. I’m hoping to have it spic and span by winter 2022.

Sarah, thank you so much for your time.

“You don’t have to do this,” I pleaded. My eyes crossed as I stared at the gun barrel waving in my direction. The room smelled of sweat and sneakers. Not a smell I wanted to perfume my last breaths, but I had greater concerns.

“Come on, Penny!” My aggressor frowned with disappointment. “Don’t do this. Not to me.”

“Don’t do what?” I asked, buying time. I saw little else that I could do. Having a gun pointed at me wasn’t helping me problem solve. It was all I could do to stave off hyperventilation. The stink wasn’t helping.

“Enough with the therapy talk,” my opponent argued through heated tears. His hands flickered with what I hoped was a bout of second-guessing. “I thought you were on my side. You, of all people, have to understand.”

A penetrating boom rattled the air. The stench of gunpowder overpowered the previous funk. Smoke wafted toward me. My knees buckled, and I sank to the floor. Life didn’t exactly flash before my eyes. Only the sweet face of Titus Church steeled me against my present circumstance. If I died today, I’d never get to tell him how much he meant to me. Then again, it might be safer for him if I didn’t.

Over the last ten months, my tangles with near-death had escalated. From a fatal family scuffle in a gift shop to the intentional vehicular murder of a new friend, death was upping its game. In the last town, I barely escaped. My only out was to find a pivot point between the broken heart in front of me and the Raven smudged on his cheek.

The Raven tagged along, like my personal dust storm of doom wherever I went. This pesky bird, also known as the omen of death, kept me living a nomadic life. I never knew what drew him to me. I was nothing special. That didn’t faze him. His evil schemes sent someone to their afterlife twenty-four hours or less after he claimed them. Just to tease me, the Raven sprinkled song clues along my path. Those had led me to my current drama at the business end of a gun, begging for my life.

Only days before, my VW Bus and I sputtered to the edge of Billington. One of my discoveries about backroads travel was the lack of gas stations along the way. The bus delivered me to safety, puffing like an asthmatic cheerleader into the Big Bill’s Truck Stop. My cheeky black and white cat, Spades, lounged on my lap as I steered us into pump station twenty-one with a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips.

Truck stops were my favorite place to fill up. I could eat, shower, and pump gas all in one place. Plus, if the town wasn’t hospitable to overnight parking, I could trek back to the stop to sleep.

Godzilla, which I called my beast of a home slash car, was gassed up and cleaned just in time for a call from Titus, or T.C., as his paranormal podcast listeners knew him.

“Hey there,” I said, feeling chipper after my deliverance from near-strandedness.

“Well, well,” Titus chimed, echoing my good mood. “You sound cheerful today.”

“I feel it,” I responded.

I set my phone on the pull-down dining table and switched the call from voice to video. Titus’s bespectacled face beamed from his side of the screen.

“You look it, too,” Titus complimented me with a blush as our eyes met.

“Thanks,” I responded before explaining the skin of my teeth arrival in Billington. We chatted about nothing in particular as I drank a massive cup of ginger ale, and Titus sipped from his mug. His nose crinkled as the string from his teabag attacked him. The date-like call made me giddy, even if the feeling was one-sided.

“Didn’t you have pink hair the last time we met face to face?” Titus referred to my fading hair color.

“Yes,” I answered. “It’s changed quite a bit since then.” My dark roots with pinkish tips teased my clumsy self-awareness. “It’s a mess, now.”

“Not from my side of the screen.” His glasses steamed as he took another drink.

Purchase Burned: Death Plays with Matches from:

The Paranormal Penny Mysteries Series:

Sarah lives in California, in a home that brings her happiness and hay fever. She loves God, loves her family, and loves freshly brewed coffee. She has a husband who cooks, a son who stop animates, a daughter who loves animals, a dog that follows her everywhere, and a turtle who scowls at her condescendingly.

Her mother raised her on Mary Higgins Clark, Diane Mott Davidson, and Remington Steele. Her grandmother shared True Crime stories with her as they plotted how to get away with the perfect murder. It’s no surprise that Sarah became an award-winning spinner of suspenseful tales brimming with quirky characters. Mysteries are in her blood. Not that she could survive one of her own stories. She confesses, “I’d be snuffed out by chapter two.”

Join Sarah’s Super Sleuth Squad and follow her on YouTube for behind-the-scenes insider info.

Places to find Sarah Hualde:

You can follow the Burned: Death Plays with Matches Blog Tour here.

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  1. Thanks so much for featuring Burned. I loved writing it and really enjoyed the interview with you. :)

    1. You're very welcome. Thank you for answering the questions for me and for stopping by.


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