Sisters Laura Thomas (FUONLYKNEW-Laura’s Ramblins & Reviews), and Sherry Fundin (fundinmental-as eye see it) are hosting a TAG TEAM Review & Giveaway for DEADLY SPIRITS at their respective blogs.

Prizes include a $25 Amazon gift card; 2 print copies of Deadly Spirits, and 4 ebooks. Contest runs from January 16-30. Very easy to enter–simply visit their blogs and answer an easy question in the comment section. Here are the URLs:…/tag-team-review-and-giveaway-deadl…/…/…

Please take advantage of this opportunity and enter at both blogs. And, be sure to tweet, email, re-post, and spread the word far and wide. I sure will appreciate it! Thanks, and good luck to all!



e-michael-helms-headshotI was born in Georgia way back in the last century but grew up and lived most of my life on the Gulf Coast of Florida in Panama City (beautiful beaches, girls galore–ah, the memories!). In 2004 my wife and I moved to the Upstate region of South Carolina in the shadows of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, a land of stunning vistas and numerous waterfalls.
I’ve been traditionally published since 1990 when my Vietnam War memoir, The Proud Bastards, launched. TPB chronicles my time as a combat U.S. Marine in 1967-68. It’s still in print after all these years, currently with Simon & Schuster/Pocket. I’ve since written a few novels in different genres. I’m also working on a collection of “Dinger, PI” short stories that are being published on Motive Means Opportunity, a crime/mystery blog I share with two other writers of the same ilk. Currently I’m writing the Mac McClellan Mystery series which is set along the coast of the Florida Panhandle where I grew up.


Deadly Spirits

5-Star Review for DEADLY SPIRITS



Deadly Spirits (Mac McClellan – 4) by E. Michael Helms

When PI Mac McClellan’s girlfriend convinces him to join the Palmetto Paranormal Society, he becomes embroiled in a case of whooodunnit. The society president, while investigating an old hotel, is found dead at the foot of the stairwell, his neck broken. The man’s secretary and current squeeze stands horrified beside his body. Authorities rule the death an accident. Mac has doubts—no one heard the man tumbling down the stairs. Then the secretary dies in an apparent suicide. Two deaths in two paranormal investigations, and not a peep out of either victim. Mac suspects there’s more going on than a vengeful spirit.

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Author’s Bio

Michael Helms grew up in Panama City, FL, on the beautiful coast of the Florida Panhandle. He played football and excelled in baseball as a catcher. Turning down a scholarship…

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Hearts to God, Hands to work – the Shakers by Eleanor Kuhns

Today on #MotiveMeansOpportunity — Historical Mystery Writer Eleanor Kuhns


Although the Shakers are not front and center in The Devil’s Cold Dish, they are devils-coldnonetheless very important to the plot.

Lydia, my primary female protagonist, was once a Shaker and is therefore suspect in Rees’s hometown because of it. And when Rees and his family must flee for their lives, it is to the Shakers that they run to for refuge.

Who are the Shakers?

Most people now connect the Shakers with furniture but this group is so much more than that. They were probably one of the most successful communes ever: there is still an active Shaker village in Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Four living Shakers remain.

An offshoot of the Quakers (the name Shaker is derived from Shaking Quaker from their physically active form of worship), their official name is The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.  In a sense, the Shakers were the…

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Some of My Favorite Opening Lines in Mystery/Crime Novels


pulling out hairWhether readers or writers, we all know the importance of that opening line. It should grab our attention and compel us to read on. Recently I was sitting at my desk struggling over the first line of a new short story I’m working on. I must’ve spent an hour writing and deleting, writing and changing, moving this phrase here, that word over there, ad nauseam. Finally I gave up, pushed my chair away from the desk. I felt like pulling out what hair I have left. It was then I noticed the five stacks of mystery/crime novels piled high to the left and right of my workspace. The lightbulb came on. I grabbed several books from a stack and began reading the first lines of each. After a couple of hours I got back to work and in a matter of minutes I had the opening line I’d struggled so…

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Making It Realistic – What Do You Leave Out? By Rebecca Bradley

Today, at #MotiveMeansOpportunity — Retired UK Police Inspector Rebecca Bradley writes about “Making Crime Fiction Realistic.”


Before I start, can I thank everyone at Means, Motive and Opportunity for giving me this – rebecca-bradleyopportunity, to write a post for the blog, thank you. Though I must admit, I did find it difficult to come up with a topic after doing a blog tour last year, I wondered what I had left to say that might be remotely interesting. I took to Twitter to ask for help.

Let me first tell you a little about myself. I’m a crime writer, but before that I was a serving UK based police officer. I served for sixteen years before retiring on medical grounds. Eight of those years were in uniform and eight were as a detective in a specialist unit – sexual exploitation.

So, when I took to Twitter, I was asked the question(s), how much of the real information do I leave out, how much is made up…

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OK, anyone humming Simon and Garfunkel right now – you’re outed as being over ahem, a certain age. Not that I would know, mind you. Never heard of them myself – is that my nose that’s growing?

Really folks, the reference is to my bracketing this week. I saw it in, and by gum, I’m seeing it out. So there!

This is the time of the year when everyone has a “top books of 2016” list. Newspapers, webpages, magazines, all are full of the “top” books of the year. There’s one thing most (not all-hold the tar and feathers) of these lists have in common. The newbie writer need not apply. If you haven’t hit the NYT best seller list, haven’t got a high-powered agent, and/or have the imprint of one of the last remaining “big” publishing houses in your front matter, you ain’t making the list.

Well, guess what—there…

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Deadly Spirits by E. Michael Helms

Wonderful review of DEADLY SPIRITS @ Epic Book Quest!

Epic Book Quest

31146881ebq4stAt the insistence of his girlfriend Kate, Mac reluctantly joins the Palmetto Paranormal Society, a small group of ghost hunters who investigate local historic buildings for signs of supernatural activity. It all seems like innocent fun- that is, until the society’s president is discovered dead at the foot of a staircase during an investigation.

Though the death is ruled an accident, one question lingers in Mac’s mind. Why did no one hear the man fall down the stairs? Mac decides to do a little prodding of his own into the case- and when the late president’s secretary turns up dead in an apparent suicide, he knows he’s stumbled onto a much deeper mystery than he first suspected…

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Excerpt from Deadly Spirits


Author’s note: Deadly Spirits: A Mac McClellan Mystery (#4) will be released by Coffeetown/Camel Press on January 15. The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1. Please pardon the ungainly formatting–it does not resemble the finished book.

deadly_spiritsI felt like a complete idiot following my girlfriend, Kate

Bell, up the narrow dusty stairs to the attic above the third

floor. I wiped another cobweb out of my face and beard as Kate

turned the antique glass knob. The door creaked open. She

shined the small flashlight around the room before stepping

inside. At five-eight in addition to her new jogging shoes, she

barely cleared the top of the doorway.

“Well, are you coming?” she asked as I hesitated by the open


“I don’t know. There might be a ghooost in there!”

She fought back a smile. “Very funny, Mac. Get your butt in

here, you big, bad, hunky…

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The Desperation of a Public Library

Kristen Twardowski

These days public libraries operate on desperation as often as they run on anything else. This recently drove several library staff to do something a little reckless.

Culling library collections often relies on numbers. If a patron checks out a book, that book is safe in the system. If a book isn’t checked out for a certain period of time, however, that book is often placed on a to-be-culled list. These lists don’t take into account whether or not a book is considered a classic, was written by a famous author, or has regional value. It only looks at circulation numbers.

To get around this system, several librarians at Florida’s East Lake County Library created a fictitious library patron, Chuck Finley. Named after a retired major league baseball pitcher, Finley would be their savior. During 2016, Finley checked out 2,361 books from the library. These books varied and included titles by…

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