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book coverCold Heart (Five Star Cengage) – January 2017 publication.

As an undercover drug agent, Stella Lavender works nights, buying drugs from paranoid drug dealers. But the physical danger and necessary betrayals are getting to her. When she sees a chance to work homicide, she’ll always take it.

One afternoon Stella gives a hitchhiking teenager a ride to her babysitting job in a wealthy neighborhood. Horror awaits them—the father lies dead in a pool of blood, and his toddler is missing. The puzzle quickly grows when a dizzying array of suspects provides more questions than answers.

In this darkly delightful page-turner, Stella Lavender rummages through every strata of society in her relentless and unconventional pursuit of a cold-hearted murderer who won’t stop at just one victim.  Read Chapter One of Cold Heart here.

COLD FEET, a traditional mystery by Karen PullenCold Feet (Five Star Cengage). Stella Lavender, an SBI undercover drug agent, is pulled into a homicide investigation after a wedding goes bad. Real bad.






Short Stories

cover, Restless DreamsComing September 2017, available for pre-order: Restless Dreams, Stories (GusGus Press)

“SASE” in Fish Tales, the Guppy Anthology. A satirical look at the publishing business.
Brea’s Tale” in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. An ex-beauty queen is falsely imprisoned. Winner of a Derringer for Best Long Story.
Scritch” in Spinetingler. He serves his time but it’s not enough.
Years of the Wicked” in Spinetingler. Small-town serial killer derails a cop, SBI Agent Stella Lavender solves the crimes.
“Something to Tell Henry” in Sixfold Fall Fiction. Her employer’s bad decisions affect a nanny’s life.
Lady Tremaine’s Rebuttal” in Every Day Fiction. Why do stepmothers always get a bad rap?
Snow Day” in Every Day Fiction. Two cold, hungry teenagers find warmth and happiness.
“Gone, Gone, Gone” in The Mystical Cat. Pay attention to the cat.
The Fitting Room” in Outreach NC. A bridal salon saleswoman encounters a challenge.
“Make Me Beautiful” in bosque (the magazine). A hair stylist overhears shocking news and reacts appropriately.
“The Fourth Girl” in Carolina Crimes. A laid-off teacher inherits her aunt’s estate – and a unique lunchtime business.
“Have You Seen Her?” in Phantasmacore. A mother is rightly terrified by a girl with unusual eyes.
“Brown Jersey Cow” in Every Day Fiction. A nursery rhyme retelling in (attempted) Appalachian dialect.
“Side Effects” in Reed, Volume 68. A teenager enrolled in a drug trial experiences unusual side effects, seemingly wonderful.
“#grenadegranny” in Murder Under the Oaks. She channels Robin Hood to justify her existence.
“No Falling Ribbons” in  Stuck in the Middle: Writing That Holds You in Suspense ( November 2016). A young mom in desperate straits considers the unthinkable.