A Freshly Picked Bouquet of May Reads!

A Freshly Picked Bouquet of May Reads!

Don't you just love it when a theme comes together all by itself?

Jason and I don't quite randomly choose the stories for each new batch of Spiral Publishing's Monthly Reads. We try to include a range of genres first and foremost, since we both so often write across and even between genres.

This month of May, 2024, was no exception. We each picked one tale of fantasy and one tale set in the real world. It wasn't until I was adding the new bundle to our web store that I spotted the theme.

Family. Created, celebrated, or tolerated.

Besides all taking place in the month of May, the other big thread that ties all four stories together is they involve some form of family.

(And I can't resist pointing out the gorgeous Jack-in-the-Pulpit I captured last May along our trail here in town. My favorite wildflower!)

Folks who don't have four-legged critters sharing their lives might miss the connection in Jason's crime romp "Dirty Laundry." But having a sweet kitty at the center of the action makes that an obvious fit for everyone who's learned to ignore the constant presence of pet hair on every conceivable surface.

My nostalgic and wistful story "Amy in Wonderland" touches on people who lend a helping hand and create family for those who need it most. While I was lucky enough to attend a very special showing of the delightful live-action Alice in Wonderland with my mother, Amy shares the magical moment with her foster mother. The memory is equally sweet.

Jason takes an approach that's both lighter and darker with "Ghosts, Guilt, and Gingerbread." In this case, Avery starts out content with his inherited family home and his repeated attempts to recreate his mother's award-winning recipe. The missing ingredient presents itself with a twist (and an attitude) that may ring true to many folks this time of year.

And finally, I dive into the charged and often painful world of handling the estate of loved ones who've passed on with my crime story "The Last Twist in the Game." Suzanne and Paul are already heartsore when they face settling his late father's affairs. But an unwelcome surprise twists the knife of grief in ways neither of them expected.

We hope you'll enjoy these four different approaches to our accidental theme of family!

And may your gatherings this month be full of love and joy, and just the right touch of whimsy.

Happy Reading!


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