Guest Chick: Diane Kelly (and a giveaway)

Jennifer here, and I’m welcoming Diane Kelly to the blog. I got to read an ARC of Diane’s newest book, The Moonshine Shack Murder. Here’s my blurb for it: “A shining example of a cozy mystery, complete with a business savvy protagonist, an irascible granddad, and a brewing romance.” Okay, take it away, Diane!

This Little Light of Mine . . .

I have always been fascinated by fireflies. I grew up in Austin, Texas, and we would see them on occasion in our backyard in late spring and early summer. It seemed so strange yet intriguing that these bugs could light up the night with their bioluminescent behinds. They seemed almost magical.

My father was a pilot in the Air Force, and when I was a young girl he told me a funny story. He and his navigator were in their KC-135 plane flying on a dark night in the middle of nowhere, alone. Suddenly, a flash of green appeared before them. As quickly as the flash had come, it disappeared, making them wonder whether they’d actually seen anything at all. Then, the flash occurred a second time, and a third. Radar showed nothing in the area, and they were nowhere near the Northern Lights. They exchanged glances of disbelief. What could be this high up in the sky and flashing neon green like that? Could they be seeing a UFO? Nope, they realized a few seconds later. A firefly had somehow made its way into the cockpit and was flitting the windshield. Alas, their anticipated brush with intelligent alien life turned out to be nothing more than a wayward lightning bug.

When I moved to Nashville, Tennessee a few years ago, we had fireflies in abundance. Every June, they’d light up the neighborhood like natural fireworks. One even found its way into our house once, which we didn’t discover until after we turned off the lights to go to bed. The green streak above our bed was like having a visit from Tinkerbell, waving her lighted wand. While living in Tennessee, I learned that there is a special species of synchronous fireflies that flash en masse during their mating season. It’s like an odd disco ball insect orgy. These fireflies are found in very limited places, including Congaree National Park in South Carolina, the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Though fireflies appear as far north as Maine, the best places to see them are in the southeast, and they are generally thought of as a southern phenomenon. When I began writing my moonshine series, I wanted my main character, Hattie Hayes, to use something southern and iconic in her branding for her fruit-flavored shine. Because fireflies shine, they seemed the perfect thing to pair with moonshine. What’s more, both moonshine and fireflies are often kept in mason jars. Thus, Hattie’s Firefly moonshine brand was born. She even had her delivery van painted with glow-in-the-dark green paint.

BOOK GIVEAWAY! Post a comment below for a chance to win a paperback, Nook, or Kindle copy of The Moonshine Shack Murder. Limited to US and Canadian addresses. 

Are you as fascinated by fireflies as I am? Do you call them fireflies or lightning bugs? What other bugs do you find fascinating? Have you ever tried fruit-flavored moonshine?  


A former tax advisor and assistant state attorney general, Diane Kelly is no stranger to white-collar crime. When she realized her experiences made great fodder for novels, her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her award-winning Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A dog lover and Citizens Police Academy graduate, Diane also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series. Her love of vintage homes and renovation shows were a natural segue into her House Flipper mysteries, which feature a fabulous feline. This year, Diane will launch two new series, the Southern Homebrew moonshine series and the Mountain Lodge Mysteries.

Synopsis for The Moonshine Shack Murder:  
In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright–until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new ‘shine shop will be a smashing success. What’s more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. But when a body ends up on her store’s doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business. The only witness is Hattie’s longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn’t talking. When the detective learns Hattie had a heated exchange with the victim shortly before his murder, she becomes the prime suspect. Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

Buy link:

Social Media:

Facebook: Author Diane Kelly page

Twitter and Instagram: @DianeKellyBooks

54 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Diane Kelly (and a giveaway)

  1. I’ve only seen fireflies once that I remember. It’s definitely one thing I wish we had in Southern California.

    Congrats on the new book and new series.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Mark! They’re so magical. We lived in SoCal in the early 90’s, and our daughter is there now. We loved all the outdoorsy stuff to do out there. Hope to get back for a visit soon!


  2. We call them fireflies more than lightning bugs in Upstate NY. I used to call them “blinky bugs” to my West Highland White Terrier and he knew what I meant. One of our last good memories is watching them just days before he passed away. This series sounds wonderful.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. We called them lightning bugs. Once when we were visiting my grandmother in West Virginia we were hanging outside and there were tons of them in the garden area. I had never seen so many at one time before. I caught some and tried to make a lantern with them to read by that night. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love West Virginia! We went up there two years ago to Huntington to see the “pumpkin house.” We toured a coal mine in Beckley and went to the New River Gorge Bridge. We also went to Harpers Ferry after watching the series Good Lord Bird about John Brown’s rebellion. Such a beautiful state! We also visited the Mothman Museum. The mothman terrified me as a child! Lightning bugs are much less frightening flying things. : )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always called them lightening bugs. As a child, I’d catch them in the evenings and then release them. This books sounds wonderful, I’ve always been fascinated by moonshiners, course living in TN, who wouldn’t be!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I left part of my heart in Tennessee when we had to leave. Such a beautiful state with friendly people. I get back as often as I can! I hope you’ll enjoy seeing Tennessee featured in the book!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I know those fireflies in the Allegheny National Forest!

    I live near Pittsburgh and fireflies are an annual phenomenon. They come when it gets warm, which means they’ve been around for a couple weeks now. When I was a kid, my mother had relatives near State College, PA. When we visited, my great-aunt always gave us mason jars we could fill with twigs and catch fireflies, although we had to release them at the end of the fun.

    I called them both fireflies and lightning bugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The fireflies have picked up here in North Carolina the last couple of weeks here, too. I love it! It’s like having a visit from fairies every night. What a lovely memory of your great aunt!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Butterflies are wonderful, too! I spent a few years as a kid in Papillion, Nebraska, and the school’s mascot was the monarch. Not such a tough name for a football team, but apparently Papillion means butterfly in French. : ) We get some gorgeous black and blue butterflies around our home in NC.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks so much for visiting us, Diane! Being a northerner and now Californian, my lightning bug experience is limited to my college years spent in New Orleans. I miss those gorgeous little insects! They sure beat the no-see-um mosquitos we get out here at night who leave itchy reminders of their presence all over your ankles.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Those bugs are the worst! Ugh! New Orleans sounds like a fun place to go to college. I’ve been there twice and loved it. The city has so much personality.


  7. Diane … I love the idea of a moonshine mystery series! And this Colorado girl is fascinated by fireflies, but I’ve only seen them once, at a family reunion around Kansas City someplace. We were thrilled, but everyone just rolled their eyes at us gaping at them. The same way we roll our eyes at tourists who pull off the road to watch prairie dogs.

    Congrats and best of luck with the new series!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha! I guess it all depends on what a person is used to. Even magical things could become mundane if a person sees them every day. But I still find fireflies fascinating even though I see them almost every summer night here. I’d be fascinated by the prairie dogs, too! Ha ha

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, I love fireflies–they’re magical. (Very Tinkerbell!) They were everywhere when I was growing up on the east coast but I haven’t seen too many lately out west.

    Congratulations on your new book and thanks so much for visiting us today, Diane!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. We had fireflies in Columbus, Ohio, where I grew up, and I so missed them (still do) when we moved to Southern California when I was eight. But I certainly do NOT miss the chiggers. Ugh!

    Congrats on the new book, Diane–it looks super fun! And thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ugh! We had chiggers when I lived in Texas. They’re the worst! Make you want to scratch all of your skin off. My father grew up in Columbus, but I haven’t been there in ages. We did 3 years in SoCal in the early 90’s. My kids were born there. Fun place to live!


  10. So happy you’re here, Diane, and congrats on your latest book!

    Like Leslie, the only time I’ve seen fireflies was in Columbus. They were so lovely!

    I did, though, read a scientific article on them while growing up, so I knew about both of their names and a little of their bioluminescence.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We call them fireflies here in New England. I used to run around in my nightgown as a kid on summer nights, trapping them in a butterfly net. Then I transferred them into a Gerber baby food jar with air holes pounded into the lid with a nail. I gave them some grass and clover to climb on (I think I thought they’d eat the stuff, too, ha!) and let them go in the morning. They blinked on and off in my room as I fell asleep. I always let them go when I woke up. Luckily they seemed to survive, but I’m sure they were not very happy being cooped up like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Welcome, Diane, and congrats on the latest! Sounds amazing!

    I grew up in Oregon and although I’ve been to firefly country, I’ve never seen one. Nope, not even one. Your book gives me a great reason to travel and seek them out!

    Thanks for visiting us!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Diane, I grew up in Tennessee and I’m excited for your new series! We called them lightning bugs in the Memphis area — and used to catch them in a mason jar when I was a kid. Great to have you visit the Chicks today!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. In PA they can be called both lightning bugs or fireflies. I use lightning bug, my cousin uses firefly. We only live 20 minutes apart, so I guess it’s just what you were told as a child? I don’t know. As for other bugs? NOPE! Ok, I do like ladybugs. Dragonflies are pretty (from a distance!) other bugs are a hard nope! A spider will send me to another room! Yes- I’m a 6-foot tall sissy, and I am more than fine with that. I’m brave in other areas of my life. I’ve kissed animals that outweigh me by a literal ton.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m odd in that I even think cicadas can be pretty. I love the iridescence. I want to hear about those animals you kissed! ha ha

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been reading the comments… wow, I had no idea fireflies weren’t everywhere. I’m in North Carolina and while I don’t see them at night as often as I did as a child they are prevalent. I remember as a little girl visiting my grandmother who lived out in the country, and me and all of my cousins would have Mason jars, and we’d run around trying to catch them to make night lights…

    By the way, great story about your father!

    Liked by 1 person

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