Sea-Salt Lavender for Aphrodite by Julie Howard (AKA @_JulieMHoward)

Welcome, Julie. I’m thrilled you were able to stop by today and share a little about your newest story. I hear it has a special pet that is featured in the book. Can you tell us a little more?

Childhood pets are a blessing
My parents were pushovers when it came to pets. While they were strict about most other things, the answer was nearly always ‘yes’ when it came to a new pet. That’s how I came to have a menagerie of small animals in our suburban home.
Like most kids, my starter pet was a hamster. We had a rather aloof standard poodle, a mean-spirited calico cat, and an aquarium full of fish. I had small turtles before the news spread about these critters carrying Salmonella took those out of pet shop circulation. My parents simply got a small tortoise that wandered around our yard. That was just the beginning.
A trip to the flea market scored a couple of large rabbits. My father loved to build things and he went to work on a large hutch for my new friends. There was a bit of turnover with the rabbits – perhaps I was too young to take care of these escape artists – as one by one they disappeared. We finally agreed rabbits weren’t for me. We went back to the flea market and returned with a cage of pigeons. The pigeons fared better, especially with the luxury quarters my father built – a giant walk-in pen with a platform these homing pigeons could land on. We had fun driving the bird farther and farther away from our house, releasing them and then racing them back to the house. They returned every time.
There followed a rooster and even a goat, who bleated at the neighbors when they popped their heads over the fence to gape at my latest pet. I collected frogs, horned toads and lizards wherever I could find them, and fed them flies and grubs. By then my mother had tired of the constant parade of animals through the house. And I was growing up. Still an outdoorsy kind of girl, I switched to sports and the backyard menagerie dwindled.
 It’s with great joy, then, that I introduce a standard poodle into my latest release. Aphrodite is creamy white, poofs at her ankles and head, and has a bit of a sweet tooth for ice cream. She factors into the plot of this cozy mystery, part of my publisher’s One Scoop or Two series. Read on for more about Sea Salt Lavender for Aphrodite.

I can’t wait to meet Aphrodite when I read the book. Can you please tell us about Sea-Salt Lavender for Aphrodite and let the readers know where to find not only the book but you as well?

Sea-Salt Lavender for Aphrodite

A case of murder with sweet complications.

Rosella Rivers enjoys the perfect life, loving her new ice cream food truck business featuring exotic flavors. But her beach view parking space is not so lovable when she finds an acquaintance stabbed to death in the boardwalk bathroom.
Detective Mark Pruitt knows murder is bad for small-town Olympus Bay. He must find the suspect before he strikes again. When he first sets eyes on Rosella, the only witness, he is smitten. However, there’s no time for romance when danger lurks. 
Together he and the lovely ice cream maker must discover the killer before he turns his sight on Rosella.

The echo of a drip-drip-drip resonated from within. Rosella glanced around, wishing a man would pass by, someone she could send inside on her behalf. On this side of the structure, though, the beachfront was hidden from view and the building backed by sand dunes. Unless someone needed to use the facilities, they wouldn’t approach.
A distant chime from the town clock made her heart sink. Ten a.m. Opening time. She had to get back to her truck. A fresh round of anxious yips sounded. She scooted to the corner of the building and peeked toward her truck. Aphrodite stood at attention, straining at the leash. The dog barked twice at spotting her and renewed efforts to break free of the tether.
She returned to the doorway. “Mick, I’m just going to step inside since I’m a little bit worried, just to make sure you’re okay. Let me know if I shouldn’t come in.” No response sounded. “All right, coming in.”
The odor hit her first. Heavy, sweet, sickening. Then her eyes registered the scene. Mick lay face down in the middle of the tile floor, a steady stream of deep red blood winding its way toward a drain.

Buy Links:
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Julie Howard is the author of the best-selling Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Now she edits an online anthology, Potato Soup Journal, and spends many delightful hours writing her books.

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