No Mardi Gras for the Dead

TITLE:                        No Mardi Gras for the Deadmardi copy

AUTHOR:                  D.J. Donaldson

ISBN (paperback):      978-1-68120-936-4

ISBN (ePub):         978-1-941286-35-7

ISBN (ePDF):        978-1-941286-36-4

ISBN (mobi):         978-1-68120-027-9

PRICE:                     US       7.99  eBook

16.95 paperback

CATEGORY:          Fiction / Mystery/Police Procedural

Fiction / Thriller/Medical


DIMENSIONS:     5.25” (w) x 8” (h)

PUB DATE:            October, 2014

BISAC:                      FIC022020; FIC022000;






Kit Franklyn, lately drowning in personal doubts about her life and career, thinks that investigating the corpse she found in the garden of her new home will be the perfect distraction. Together with her boss, the loveable and unconventional chief medical examiner Andy Broussard, she sets out to solve this case that’s growing colder by the minute. Though they identify the body as a missing hooker, now dead for twenty-seven years, all hope of conviction seems lost—until the unorthodox duo link the body and two recent murders to a group of local, wealthy physicians.



Don Donaldson, who also writes as D. J. Donaldson, holds a Ph.D. in human anatomy. In his professional career, he has taught microscopic anatomy to over 5,000 medical and dental students and published dozens of research papers on wound healing. He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his two West Highland terriers.



“Likeable protagonists, abundant forensic lore, and vivid descriptions of colorful New Orelans and its denizens…”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Kit and Andy make a formidable team.” —WASHINGTON TIMES

“Donaldson’s genre gumbo keeps you coming back for more.”—BOOKLIST



The night air was warm and humid, but her skin was pebbly with gooseflesh. Usually talkative and outgoing, tonight she lay quietly, almost pensively, her back to the stars, her face turned to the side. A fly hummed out of the darkness and landed. It briefly explored the surface of her cloudy cornea, then began to tuck its eggs into the corner of her eye. Her respiration had ceased many hours earlier, but enzymes were still functioning, acting now without direction, turning on the organs they once served. One life had ended, but millions reaped the benefits, finding passage into previously forbidden chambers where in mindless celebration they multiplied.

She was lifted from the grass and dropped into a hole in the earth, her rigidity requiring the same fit she once demanded of her clothing. Then the dirt… filling… covering… hiding…

With the sun, life spilled into the streets and the ground warmed. Though it was cool below, her red cells eventually gave up their hemoglobin, which seeped from her vessels, staining her once-blemish-free skin with reddish brown trails. A shower brought smiles to the lips of the living, but also summoned forth delicate mycelial threads from germinating mold spores that began digesting her clothing.

Days passed into weeks and the gases came, lifting the dirt, creating pressures that rearranged… pushed… expelled. In life, she had been desired by many. In death, she was sought by more and they came to her, embraced her and became one with her. Then as the weeks blended into months, their ardor waned and one by one they left her, until she was very much alone.


Yikes! She had forgotten Bubba.

Kit hurried down the hall and nudged the kitchen door open. Predictably, a small black nose appeared in the crack.

She slipped her hand inside and grabbed Lucky, the owner of the nose, by the collar. “Oh yes, you little varmint, you’d like to get into the new varnish, wouldn’t you?”

When she was safely into the kitchen with the door shut behind her, she let the little dog go. He responded by scampering happily about the room, his claws clacking on the linoleum like a little flop-eared flamenco dancer.

Watermelon. That’s why she had come inside… to get Bubba a piece of melon.

She washed her hands at the sink and looked out the window at Bubba Oustellette, hard at work digging the holes for the posts that would support the rose trellis in the center of her planned rose garden. Bubba was dressed as usual, in navy blue coveralls and a matching T-shirt. On his head was a dark green baseball cap bearing the logo of an ocean wave showing its teeth and carrying a football.

Poor Bubba. The posthole digger was bigger than he was and he was sweating terribly. She got the watermelon from the fridge and cut it in half. She lopped off a thick circle, put it on a dinner plate, and stuck a fork in the center, about all the culinary ability or inclination any kitchen was likely to see from her. On the way out, Lucky darted into the yard.

Bubba looked as though he’d taken a shower with his clothes on—his dark hair hanging in wet ropes from under his cap, his shirt sticking to him like a coat of blue paint. In the future, she was going to have to be more careful. She had merely asked whether he knew anyone she could hire to build a rose trellis and he had volunteered to do it for nothing. And she hadn’t been able to talk him out of it. Now, here he was, giving up his Saturday and courting heatstroke, as well.

“How about a little break, Bubba?”

Bubba chunked the digger into the hole and grinned through his bushy black beard. “Ah don’ need no coaxin’ for dat,” the little Cajun said, taking off his cap and wiping his forehead with his arm.

“Come on, sit over here in the shade and see if this melon is as good as it looks. Or, if you like, we can go inside where it’s cool.”

“Out here is okay.”

Kit led Bubba to a pair of folding lawn chairs under a young pin oak, where Bubba didn’t want to sit until she did.

“Bubba, get in that chair.”

Sheepishly, he did as she ordered. “Ah think you got a little Gramma O in you,” he said, taking the plate and the salt Kit held out to him.

Grandma O operated the restaurant where Kit usually ate lunch. She was Grandmother only to Bubba, but everyone called her Grandma O, mostly because that’s what she called herself on the restaurant’s sign and menu.

“A little of Grandma O? I’ll consider that a compliment,” Kit said.

“Well, Ah hope you don’ let it mushroom, cause Ah got all Ah can handle with da original.”

Bubba sprinkled his melon with salt and stored the shaker in the chest pocket of his coveralls. He carved a large piece from the melon’s seedless center, then paused. “Ain’t you havin’ any?”

“Maybe in a minute,” Kit said, enjoying the feeling of sitting under her own oak in her own backyard. The yard was small but was given a nice sense of privacy by the unusually tall cypress fence that a previous owner had put up.

The yard itself wasn’t much to look at now: a carpet of mangy Bermuda; some scraggly privet on each side of the back door in beds lined with three different shades of brick set in the ground to resemble the teeth on a saw, and, of course, those awful clothesline poles and all that cement around them.

She looked at Bubba, intending to ask his advice on methods for removal of the poles but realized he’d just want to help with that as well. What she needed was a…

Lord. She put her hand to her eyes in disbelief. For an instant, she had imagined she needed a husband. She looked warily at the house, alert now to a danger in its purchase that hadn’t occurred to her before. She didn’t need a husband. She didn’t need a man at all. She stood up. “Bubba, I want to dig the next hole. I’m going inside to change. Keep an eye on Lucky for me while I’m inside, will you? He likes to dig and I’m afraid he might try to go under the fence.”

“He’s good at it, too,” Bubba said, pointing.

Looking behind her, Kit saw Lucky’s front paws churning at the pile of dirt beside the hole Bubba had been working on. The little dog shoved his muzzle into the cavity he’d made and pulled out something white, which he dragged a few feet to the side. He lay down and began chewing on it.

Afraid that it might be something harmful, Kit hurried toward him. “No! Bad dog! Bad dog!”

Lucky’s ears lifted and he looked at Kit with big round eyes that said, playtime.

She leaned down to take the object from him, but he snatched it up and darted off. Lucky ran with abandon, leaping over the lumber Bubba had brought and making a three-quarter circle around the yard. He dropped to his belly, with the object between his paws and watched to see whether Kit would come after him.

“Bubba, I’m going to need some help here.”

Bubba put his plate under his chair and circled around behind the oak while Kit closed in from the front. Lucky’s eyes darted back and forth between them as he triangulated their approach.

Having grown up around animals of all kinds and knowing them well, Bubba was aware that Lucky would not let him get much closer. So he flung himself into the air, covering the last few feet in a daring surprise maneuver.

When Bubba hit, driving the salt shaker into his sternum, Lucky was ten feet away, his legs a blur as he ran, the object firmly between his teeth.

It was far too hot to play this game and Kit was about ready to get the hose after the dog, when he dropped the object and went after a blue jay that had landed near the fence. Kit hurried to the object and bent down for a closer look. Despite the bright sun beating on her back, she went gray and cold inside.

“What is it?” Bubba said, getting to his feet.

“Part of a jawbone,” Kit said.

“Somebody’s buried pet?”

“If it is, it’s been to the dentist.”



Jillian Ports, General Manager

Astor + Blue Editions


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Gumshoe Stories

dearie-final-coverThe Merriam Webster Dictionary defines ‘gumshoe’ as “a person whose job is to find information about someone or something : a private detective.”

I grew up reading gumshoe detective novels, especially Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer series and found Spillane’s voice to be soothing in a strange sense.

Imagine my surprise when the writer of a blog I follow started writing Dearie.

The blog belongs to Bruce Dodson.

Hop on over and scroll back through his posts to the first entry of Dearie and read it.

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That Blank Page

I write my work out in long hand then go back and type out the draft.

The worse thing for me is seeing that “blank page.”  The page that has no words and I can’t find the words to write down.  This is

No mattewriting_tabletr how you do your writing, at one point or another you will face “writer’s block.”

If writer’s block shows up while I am writing,  I write down “TBD” and continue writing whatever comes into my head. Eventually I get back on track and continue with the story.

A friend of mine writes “TK” and continues.

At times I get tired of writing “TBD” every few words.

That is a sign for me that I need a break for the day or a few days.

During my break time, I will do lots of brainstorming and asking “what if,” read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk, etc., to help me find additional inspiration to continue with the story.

Eventually, an idea will come to me and I get back to writing.



“writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems



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Much Needed Break

During the holidays inherited two pickup truck loads of fabric plus one-half trailer full.  Our pickup has four doors and the whole truck was loaded down—bed, backseat, and front seat–with totes and large bags full of fabric.  Along with the fabric I inherited a long arm quilting machine.

I had to think hard about how to rearrange my small sewing room to accommodate everything.  Needless to say, not everything fit, yet.  Yes, I am still sorting and arranging.

I have the long arm quilting machine in the room and have sorted 85% of the fabric-fabric strips of all widths and lengths, fabric squares of all sizes and for those of you who know quilting terms – fat quarters, charms, layer cakes, jelly rolls, half yards, yards, batting, backing fabric and everything in between.

In the containers, I also found, embroidery floss and ribbon and the stamped fabric to create quilt blocks with cross-stitch and embroidery.  There are also hundreds of pins and needles along with many different sizes of rulers and templates for cutting fabric.

I have been overwhelmed.  I truly need to have everything out of my living room and dining room before Tuesday, February 9.  We have someone coming to the house to help us create a Wildlife Habitat Management Plan for our farm and we must have room to sit and visit and to discuss the plan.

The good thing about this whole thing–I had to clean out everything in my sewing room.  With the room empty I was able to paint it the color I wanted–French Silk–a pale golden yellow.

Another good thing is I have had to go through everything, and I mean everything.  So far I have donated three carloads of things to the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store.  They have been very happy to see pull into their driveway.  I have also donated some fabric to the quilt group that I belong to and donated one of my large hand quilting frames to the local senior center.  The ladies create quilts and have paid for others to do the hand quilting, now they can save money by doing it themselves.  And who knows, maybe someday, I will be one of those ladies!

Friends are starting to ask to be invited to the house so they can see the fabric in hopes that I will give them some.  Yes, they probably will end up taking some fabric home with them.  I have more fabric than I can possible use in my lifetime.  And as with everything else in this world, when I start a new project I will probably find that I need one color of fabric and have absolutely none of that color in all the fabric stash.

Do I have photographs of this mess?  No way!  You all would think that I was a major hoarder when in fact I keep a very neat and tidy home.  I will try to remember to post photos after everything is in place :)

One last thing…one day my husband found me in the fabric section of a store.  While I was admiring all the beautiful Christmas fabrics on sale, he said, “Really! Really!  How could you possible be looking at that!”

A woman can look…can’t she?

Will be back next week with entries into the blog.  I will be posting about some good books.




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Two Tales of the Moon


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Two Tales of the Moon

By Jennifer Sun

Genre: Literary fiction

Moon Cover

Two lives converge over a high stake international deal between U.S. and China – Will Donovan, a successful cyber technology business owner and Lu Li, a Wall Street investment banker. From New York City to Washington, DC, to Shanghai, together they have to face ethical dilemmas, make life choices, and come to terms with their past.

East meets West, past clashes with present. Blending romantic suspense with ethical intrigue. TWO TALES OF THE MOON is a compelling story that reveals that human struggle is the same regardless one’s past or cultural upbringing.

Clarion/Forward gave the book a four star rating, calls it “a thoughtful portrait of a modern woman who must choose between the burden of memory and a future of her own making…the writing takes on the sharpened focus of a play… the work effectively captures the effects of communism in searingly personal ways.

BlueInk Review says:

“Jennifer  Sun  draws  on  personal  knowledge  of  China  and  a  former  career  in telecommunications/finance  for  her  well-crafted  debut  novel  about  the  meeting  of  East  and West. Blending romance and  ethical  intrigue,  Two Tales of the Moon  is  a  unique  novel, with characters of psychological depth.

Author Bio

monacoJennifer Sun has a MBA from George Washington University and a B.A. in English Literature from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She has held several executive financial management positions at Fortune 500 companies in telecommunication and web technology industries. She currently writes full time and lives with her husband in Vienna, Virginia. She is also an avid reader, a runner and a foodie.

Available on Amazon:

The author is giving away a digital copy of Two Tales of the Moon.

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The Miracle Ship

Title: The Miracle Ship516uXh8APdL

Author: Brian O’Hare


Do you believe in miracles?

Do you have a “lucky charm?”

Do you read your horoscope everyday?

Have you ever heard of “the Secret” or “law of attraction?’

Are you religious?

Do you believe in a higher power than yourself?


If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, then you should read Brian O’Hare’s book The Miracle Ship.

The book follows the true story of John Gillespie from a young man who learns there is no cure for his pain.  With his strong religious upbringing and belief with God all things are possible, John endures pain that many others would not endure and many could not imagine.

At every turn in John’s life of pain, he gets a glimpse of hope of being completely healed, just to have a set back.  This continues on for years.  While his faith may have trembled from time to time, John never gave up believing that one day he would be healed.

Throughout his life of living with pain and healing, John was hearing his true calling, yet he resisted, until one day he could resist no longer.

John is not unique in the sense that he was able to overcome suffering and pain.  Every day we hear of miracles – it was a miracle the family was not home when their housed burned down; it was a miracle no one was killed in that horrible automobile accident; it was a miracle that s/he learned to walk again; it was a miracle….fill in the blank.

Everyday on Facebook I see someone asking for Prayers.  They are asking for the healing prayers that someone needs to get them through the difficult times in their lives. These folks are not just relying upon doctors and modern medicine.  They are looking for a miracle to happen to them or their loved ones.

Every religious person should read this book and learn about what kind of prayers you should be saying when you are looking for a miracle.

To learn of John Gillespie’s miracle, read The Miracle Ship today.



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Running a Criminal Enterprise is Hard Work

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Whiskey DevilsWhisky Devils With Tagline - High Resolution

By Brandon Zenner

Genres: Thriller, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Action

Book Description

Running a criminal enterprise is hard work

Evan Powers has become the new manager in Nick Grady’s well-established marijuana growing operation. Led by his roommate and best friend, little has changed in Nick’s secretive business since the late ‘60s, which is just the way the aging hippie would like it to remain. However, Nick’s complex past comes full circle, thrusting Evan in a scramble to decipher the truth behind the enigmatic lives of the people he holds dear. Deep in the woods, demons will be unleashed.

***Nominate Whiskey Devils on Kindle Scout TODAY, and Amazon will send you the ebook for FREE if it is published!


unnamedAuthor Bio

Brandon Zenner is an American fiction writer. His short fiction has been published in both print and online publications, the first being submitted when he was just 19 years old. THE EXPERIMENT OF DREAMS, his debut eBook thriller, has reached Amazon’s top-ten charts within its genre many times. His categories of choice are thrillers, dystopian, crime, and science fiction.

Find Brandon:

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