Malice in Memphis presents – Bluff City Mysteries: Meet Carolyn McSparren

kindlebcmBLUFF CITY MYSTERIES is out and about and making is presence known.  Thank you all again for the love and support you’ve given us in this effort.  In addition to its ongoing availability at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Dark Oak Press, you can now find paperback and hard cover copies locally at Book Stop Plus in Bartlett, South Main Book Juggler in downtown Memphis, and the Slavehaven Underground Railroad Museum, also downtown.  Check us out, you’d be supporting BLUFF CITY MYSTERIES as well as local businesses.

Today, I would like to introduce you to the BLUFF CITY MYSTERIES editor-in-chief and Malice in Memphis’s sergeant at arms, Carolyn McSparren. Carolyn has published seventeen novels in romance, romantic suspense, mystery and women’s fiction. Animals play a role in every one. She has won three Maggie Awards and has been twice nominated for the Romance Writers of America Rita Award. She has lived in Germany, France, Italy, and too many cities in the United States to count. She has one daughter, seven step-children, and too many step-grandchildren to count. She lives on a small farm outside of Memphis, where she rides her half-Clydesdale dressage horse and drives her Halfshire mare to a carriage.  

A.S. Where does your story take place?

C.M. I have two short stories in BLUFF CITY MYSTERIES: The Cinderella Murder takes place during a carriage ride downtown. Long Pig takes place at Tom Lee Park on the Mississippi during one of the barbecue contests.

A.S.  Tell us two or more little known facts about your location?

C.M. The carriages and horses for the downtown carriage rides live in what was once a livery stable way north on Main Street. You’d never know it was there, but it contains horses, tack, feed, carriages—all in perfect order.  Tom Lee Park is named for a gentleman who risked his life saving passengers after a riverboat exploded in the river.

A.S. Why did you choose those settings?

C.M. First, I love horses and carriages. Draft horses are my passion. I know the owners of the company that does the carriage rides and know how pampered those horses are. They are rotated out to a big farm every couple of weeks. Most get very upset when they are left at home. They love their jobs.  As for Long Pig, I do love the Mississippi and anything connected with it. My father used to say I was a Patrio-Fluvofile—a lover of the Father of Rivers. Made up word, but it works.

A.S. What is your writing process?  Favorite aspect?  Least favorite?

C.M. I write a hundred pages quickly, then let the ideas percolate for several weeks before I come back to finish the book. My favorite aspect is that when the book flows, there is no rush like it. My least favorite is that when it doesn’t flow, the writing process is miserable.

A.S. What is your favorite way to off someone in your stories/novels/works in progress?

C.M. Ooh, I can kill people practically anywhere. I look around for ways to commit murder everywhere In my latest mystery, the victim is shot with a crossbow bolt.

A.S.  LOL!  What’s next for you, Carolyn?

C.M. Ghost short stories for the next Malice Anthology. A new series mystery set in an equestrian enclave outside of Memphis.

A.S. Where can your readers find you?

C.M. I am on Facebook, but I don’t always keep up with it. I also blog every Sunday on

A.S. Thank you so much, Carolyn for visiting with us today.  Before we leave, I’d like to take a sneak peek into The Cinderella Murders and Long Pig.  Tell us about each story.

C.M. In The Cinderella Murder, a middle-aged carriage driver finds she knows a secret that has gotten one person killed and put her and her horse in danger.

Let’s take a look at THE CINDERELLA MURDER.

Human beings can’t smell fresh human blood. Only after it ages a tad can we catch the metallic scent.

Horses, on the other hand, are much more sensitive to dangerous smells. Several millennia as prey do that. The horse that didn’t run from that red stuff dripping off the fangs of the Saber Tooth tiger didn’t live to breed.

My eighteen-hand black Percheron gelding Samson reacted to the fresh blood just like Eohippus, his cat-sized ancestor. He didn’t like it. He didn’t intend to stay close enough to it to smell.

Unfortunately, he was pulling a fancy Cinderella pumpkin carriage through Saturday night traffic on Union Avenue in Memphis. He didn’t actually bolt. He snorted and bucked a little, but I was able to get him back under control before we hit a car.

The bad thing was that the blood was flowing from the skull of the woman who was sharing the bench seat behind me with Attila the Hunk, one of my favorite clients. No matter how far Samson tried to run from the smell, he dragged it right along behind him.

In Long Pig a team of barbecue cookers discovers that one of its members has been murdered in a particularly horrific way. The heroine has to find out who did the killing if she wants to stay alive herself.

Horrific?  Yeah, that’s one way of putting it.  Let’s take a look at LONG PIG.

He’s probably gone to the bathroom. Besides, did you want to spend the night down here on the river in the rain?”

Nate grumbled. Even if he’d been willing to babysit the porker, his wife, Maureen, would have had a conniption. He had enough trouble getting free of her long enough to pull the morning shift. If she’d known his partner was female, she’d have thrown a flat-out hissy fit, even though I’m long past nubile and even longer past hankering after good ole boys like Nate.

“At least the charcoal’s still lit,” I said. I stripped off my sopping poncho and hung it on one of the tent poles.

Nate sniffed. “I swear the fool’s let the coals get too hot. Boss Hog smells like his skin’s charring.” He grabbed the left hand of a pair of heavy asbestos gloves off a hook at the front of the cooker—the serious kind of mitts that reach almost to the elbows and can be safely dipped in molten lava. He carefully unhooked the clamp that fastened the vaulted lid of the cooker and lifted the lid.

And screamed. And dropped the lid.

Dear Reader, if you have any questions or comments for Carolyn, or any of the BLUFF CITY MYSTERIES authors, feel free to leave them below in the comment section.

Join us again next week, when we’ll meet Missy Royer, president of Malice in Memphis.

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