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.
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