Hello from Austin,

Sorry it's been so long since I sent my last email. I know I said I would send out a newsletter every other week, but life got in the way. I have no good excuse. Anyway, I'm hard at work on Bits and Pieces, PTO Murder Club Book 4. Mustang and the girls seem to get into trouble everywhere. Wouldn't you love to hang out with them? I would. In fact, I would love to get them together with Mama Cherie, and Sweet Louise. Then again, the world might not be ready for those five ladies to be in the same room.
Here's what's going on this week at Casa Graykowski ...
It's the end of the school year and things are busy. It seems to sneak up on me every single year. It seems like Christmas was just last month. Where does the time go?

We have carved out some time--between the torrential rain--for some fun on the lake. We have a wake surfing boat and my husband and daughter are excellent wake surfers. Since I'm about as coordinated as a toddler walking for the first time, I drive the boat. 

Here's a picture of my hubby trying to hydrofoil. I'd explain what that is, but I don't really understand it myself. It's kind of like wake boarding, but not.

What is Katie reading this week?
I'm reading or listening to because I'm a HUGE audio book listener. I'm listening to James Patterson and Maxine Paetro's latest, The 18th Abduction. I love the Women's Murder Club.

If you want to check it out, here's a link:

What is Katie binge-watching?
Okay, so I know I'm busy, but there's always time for a little binge-watching. I just watched the entire first (and right now only) season of Netflix's The Order. It's about a college with a secret society of witches and their sworn enemies the werwolves. It's kind of like a millennial poor man's Buffy The Vampire Slayer. If you have a long car ride and want to watch something kinda good, give it a shot.
Book News
Look what I did. It's a box set of the first 3 Lone Stars novels. If you've already bought them DON'T buy this unless you have some cash to burn. I do need some reviews. If you've read these books, I'd love some honest reviews.


I don't have the cover for Bits and Pieces yet, but here's the first chapter (it's unedited so be kind):

Chapter 1

I must have done something pretty awful in my past life because the only cupcakes Lakeside Cupcakes had left were the weird vegan carrot cake ones. Even on my worst day, I’m willing to put up with carrots in my cupcakes because of the promise of cream cheese frosting, but I wasn’t sure what passed for vegan cream cheese and I wasn’t taking any chances after the vegan soy latte incident of 2012. 
I gagged at the thought.

“I’m going to pass on the Carrot-Vegan-licious Delights today.” And every day. Even the name tried too hard. 

I checked my watch. It was 9:37. I was late for work, but more importantly, this late in the morning all of the good donuts at the three Lakeside donut places would be gone too. What was the world coming to when a stressed-out single mom couldn’t score some high-quality carbs on the Monday morning from hell?

“Some woman came in not an hour ago and bought all of the cupcakes except for these vegan ones.” Jill Schmidt owner and only employee looked around like she didn’t want the other customers to hear only I was the only one here. “The vegan cupcakes are terrible. That new family who just moved here from California ordered them for their son’s birthday, but then they tasted the real carrot cake cupcakes and decided they weren’t vegan anymore so now I’m stuck with these.” She leaned back and rolled her eyes. “They smell funny.”

Why didn’t she just close down or make more cupcakes? Then again, I knew nothing about the cupcake business except how to eat them, so she probably knew best.

Whoever the mysterious woman was, I felt like wasn’t going to eat all of those cupcakes. Most of the women in Lakeside, were skinny-minnys who wouldn’t touch a cupcake if I convinced them that it was made out of nothing but kale. Maybe mysterious-cupcake-buying-woman was on a cupcake jihad. Was she going to burn them in a carb-protest? Maybe I could get to her before she tossed in the Red Velvet ones. I glanced out of the picture window looking for smoke. Nothing. I must be too late.

My top lip curled as I let out a this-is-the-worst-day-of-my-life sigh.

Today was my son Max’s first day in middle school. I was a nervous wreck. I needed cupcakes and caffeine or my world was going to end and I was not going out alone. I’d take down as many innocent bystanders as I could. I’m just that kind of person.

“Do you have anything that’s made with real sugar and a bunch of chemically-looking words that no one can pronounce? I’m desperate. My son started middle school today.” He was probably getting shanked by an eighth grader right now.

Jill shook her head. “Sorry. I forgot my lunch at home. I had Oreos. I have a couple forty-pound bags of sugar in the back. I’m out of chocolate chips, though.” 

She sounded honestly apologetic about the chips.

I debated about the bags of sugar. Eating straight out of the bag was bound to be messy and I was wearing a new-to-me Ralph Lauren dress my friend Haley had handed down to me.

Jill grunted in the direction of the vegan cupcakes. “I’d rather starve than eat these.”

“I hear you.” I turned around and headed toward the door. “I’m headed to the gas station across the street for some Oreos and SweetTarts. Want me to bring you something?”

“No, thanks. I think I’m going to close for the day. I was about to head home when you pulled up. Good luck on the sugar hunt.” Jill waved and then through the door that led to the kitchen.

I stepped out into the cheery sunshine and really wanted to punch someone. At the moment, I was sugar free and caffeine free and my son was probably being held at pencil point to vape with seventh graders.
The whump-whump of helicopter blades whumped above me. Because Lakeside is directly on the flight path between Fort Hood in Killeen and all of the military installations in San Antonio, we get buzzed by helicopters fairly frequently. But this one seemed to be flying really low. 

I glanced up and shaded my eyes from the sun. Something long and skinny fell out of the open side door of the helicopter and tumbled toward the grown. As if in slow motion, it landed with a huge splat on the roof of my Porsche Cayenne, Pepe.
“Oh my God.” I ran over to Pepe. I touched his hood. “Oh Pepe. I’m so sorry.”

He was crunched. His roof was caved in. He now looked like a stomped-on aluminum can. I hadn’t actually thought my day could get any worse, but now Pepe was dead or well, smooshed.

“Why does this keep happening to me?” Not the things falling from the sky part, but totaling very expensive cars. 

Poor Pepe. Poor me. I didn’t actually own Pepe. He was a loner from Damon Rodriguez my want-to-be boyfriend. This was the second Porsche Cayenne of his that I’d wrecked.

Pepe was ruined.

I zeroed in on the blob that had crushed my car. Patches of red oozed out of the blob and dripped down the side of my car. The blob wasn’t a blob, it was a body dressed in some sort of yellow and white skydiving suit complete with those funky goggle things.

I pulled out my phone and snapped lots of pictures. I tried to zoom in on the retreating helicopter, but it was too far away. Surely, someone would want photos. I snapped more of my car. I wasn’t sure if insurance covered a skydiving accident, but I took the photos anyway.

Yes, it was gross, but it wasn’t the first time I’d stumbled over a body.

“Oh my God, is that …. a body?” Jill shrieked from behind me.

“Yes, call 911.” I continued to take pictures.

Jill ran up beside me. “Holy crap, that’s my ex Marty Smith.”

I stepped in front of her trying to shield her from the body. “Why don’t you go back inside and call 911? You don’t need to see this.”

It occurred to me that I was holding a phone and could call 911, but my other want-to-be boyfriend was a Lakeside Police Detective. I wasn’t too eager to call in another dead body. Besides, I needed to get as many pictures as I could before they roped off the area. Surely, Damon’s insurance would want them.

Jill sidestepped me. “Marty was a dick. I’m glad he’s dead.” She spit on the ground as if to punctuate her hatred of Marty. “If he wasn’t already dead, I’d kill him myself.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t mention that to the police … you know… right up front.” I didn’t want to interfere in a possible murder case, but that hadn’t stopped me before.

I’d never had a body fall out of the sky and land on my car. “You really should go back inside and call 911. I’ll talk to the police when they get here.” I couldn’t help my snarl at the last part. 

Jill hocked up another disrespectful loogy and marched back inside. I hoped she was calling 911, but I didn’t think the odds were good. I really didn’t want to call in another dead body. It seemed that I was the only person in Lakeside who kept stumbling over them.

Sirens whaled from the direction of Hwy 620 so it sounded like Jill had called the police.

More than anything right now, I’d love to avoid talking to the police. Unfortunately, I that wasn’t going to happen. My first instinct was to get into my car and drive away, but since my roof was caved in and bits and pieces of Marty were imbedded in the roof, the hood, and part of the backseat, I was stuck here. 
It was my turn to roll my eyes.

Since Daman was an agent with the DEA and Ben Jamison was a detective with the Lakeside PD, they were probably going to put me under house arrest for the rest of my life and depending on their individual beliefs on reincarnation, any/all future lives as well.

I glanced through the shattered front window of my car. I’d left my purse inside the car. All I’d taken in Lakeway Cupcakes was my phone and a twenty. I wanted to bang my head against the car, but it was hard to find a good banging spot that didn’t have a little Marty on it. I looked in at my purse. I needed it and well, I wanted it too. It was the best new-to-me purse I’d ever owned. I’d scored this Louis Vuitton Neverfull off eBay for fifty bucks. It was missing a chunk out of the top because the previous owner’s dog had used it as a chew toy, but if I cinched up the top, you couldn’t hardly tell. 

I glanced at Marty. What did it say about me that I was more concerned about getting my purse than I was with the fact that I now had a man as my hood ornament?

I waited a couple of beats for a wave of concern for my fellow man to wash over me, but the only thing washing over me was a powerful need for some Red Velvet cupcakes.

I needed to get my purse before the police wouldn’t let me have it back. I couldn’t have my LV Neverfull impounded. I needed it. My backup to the backup emergency Hershey Bar was in there. And if there was ever a time for my backup to my backup emergency Hershey Bar this was it. I really needed to get a bigger purse and then I could carry around a whole box full of Hershey Bars. Since there was now someone buying up all of the cupcakes, I needed to find another reliable source of carbs.

Besides, how would the police know that I’d opened the car door? It’s not like the car would get any worse. And Marty would probably want me to have my purse.

I walked around the car looking for the best door to open. The driver’s side door was the least crumpled. I hit the key fob to unlock the doors and pulled on the handle. It was stuck. I really put my back into it but it didn’t budge. I hiked up my leg and braced my foot against the doorframe and finally muscled the door open. I grabbed my purse and kicked the door shut, but it wouldn’t close. I slammed it as hard as I could.
What was left of Marty’s body jostled and his head rolled down the hood of the car like it was a bowling ball someone had used to create a Rube Goldberg machine that uses all sorts of things rolling down ramps to eventually do something stupid like turn on a lamp.

Marty’s head looked like it had been cleanly cut off.

Unfortunately, I have experience with severed heads. I held up my phone and took more pictures. 

Should I leave the head there or put it back on top of the car? 

It wasn’t really tampering with evidence, it was replacing the evidence to its original location.

I glanced down at the head. Marty was smiling and his eyes were open. I decided to leave him on the curb. It’s not like the police would know that his head had previously been on the hood.

Two black and white Lakeside Police Chevy Tahoes turned into the parking lot. Ben was driving one of them and pulled right up next to me. As soon as he put the Tahoe in park, he threw open the door and ran to me. “Jesus, is that your car?”

“I’m afraid so.” I folded my arms and glared up at him daring him to yell at me for finding another dead body.

He pulled me into a hug. “Are you okay? What happened?”

“I came to buy some medicinal cupcakes, but all they had were vegan. Can you believe that? Only vegan carrot cupcakes.” I could feel my anger building. “It’s just not right. Apparently, some crazy woman came in and bought all of the good cupcakes.” I shrugged a shoulder. “Who does that?”

He dropped one arm, but kept the other around my shoulders. “I meant, how did the headless body come to rest on your car?” 

“It fell out of the sky.” I held a hand up. “It’s not my fault that I keep stumbling over dead bodies. All I wanted was a cupcake or two.” Or twenty-seven.

Ben took a few moments to digest the information. “Do you know this person?”

“No, Jill the cupcake bakery owner said that he’s her ex.” Should I tell him about all of the photos I took? Maybe not right now. “You should ask her about it, but I warn you. They didn’t part on good terms. I know for a fact that Jill didn’t kill him, because she was inside the bakery.”

“Did she say anything about him being a skydiver?” Ben stared at the body embedded in my car.

“No.” I thought about it for a second. “Do people skydive from helicopters?”

“No idea. Why don’t you start from the beginning?” Ben nodded as if to prompt me.

“Well, I dropped Max off at middle school—”

“Start with the body landing on your car.” He sounded like his patience was wearing thin. It was only nine-something in the morning. He should have packed more patience when he left the house this morning.

“I walked out of the bakery, heard a helicopter, looked up, and saw something fall out of the side. It looked like one of those hardcover cases used to ship golf clubs when you fly. I didn’t find out until after I it hit my car that it was a body.” I wasn’t sure how he was going to take the next part. “I tried to get some pictures of the helicopter that he fell out of, but it was too far away.” I waggled my phone. “Sorry. I didn’t think of it until a few seconds until after the body hit my car.”

Ben arched an eyebrow. “Did you take any pictures of the car?”

“Um … ” I flashed him my most innocent smile. “Why would I do that?”

Notice how I answered his question with a question which didn’t answer his question? That’s the sign of a really good liar.

“You did, didn’t you.” He grabbed my iPhone and hit the button. “What’s your password?”

Or maybe I wasn’t as good of a liar as I’d thought. That’s disappointing. Lying’s my super power.

“Like I’m going to give that to law enforcement.” Reluctantly, I stuck my thumb on the button and the phone unlocked.

He pulled up my photos and shook his head. “Why did you take these?”

“Insurance. They’ll need them.” 

He swiped to the next picture.

I should take my phone back, but I hadn’t had my caffeine yet and he had to be a hundred and seventy-five pounds of pure muscle. I didn’t think I could take him. “I’m sure insurance will need them.”
He forwarded them all to himself and then began to delete them.

“Wait, you can’t delete them. What about insurance?” I tried to grab my phone, but he turned away.
“These are evidence. Your insurance company can have the police report.” He finished deleting them and handed the phone back to me.

That was fine. Copies were in the cloud.

Three black Range Rovers pulled into the lot. The second one parked alongside of the Ben’s Tahoe.
Daman Rodriguez jumped out of the backseat.

“Now bodies are falling from the sky right in front of you?” He threw up his hands. “Adios, mio. You’re the only person I know who goes out for cupcakes and has a body fall out of the sky. Why does this keep happening to you?”

I opened my mouth to tell him that I was a libra and we were just lucky that way, but he wouldn’t think that was funny. I really needed to start hanging around men with better senses of humor. “I can’t help it. I don’t even know him.”

Usually, I only find the bodies of people I know.

Daman put his arm around my waist. Ben had his around my shoulders. I felt like I was in a magician’s act where they saw the woman in half.

“This is a total wrong place at the wrong time scenario.” I pointed to the chunks of Marty spread all over my car. “What are the chances I can get Marty off my car and my car will be street legal by the time I need to pick Max up from school?”

Both Daman and Ben looked at him like I was crazy.

“What? I need a car.” I held up a hand and shook my head. “And I’m not borrow anymore cars from you Daman, they’re bad luck.”

I needed to find a cheap car and fast.

I hated being a have-not in one of the richest zip codes in the United States, but I am and I need a car to get to and from work and to take and pick up Max from school.

I knew where I could get a car for cheap, but it involved a whore house and possible death cuddies.
If you have 5 or so minutes, I'd love your help. I have a 9 question survey about marketing I'd love for you to take. I know ... another survey, but it really would help for me to know where to spend my advertising dollars. Thanks in advance.

I need the book name for the next Lone Stars book. It's Lucy and Noah's story. And I need the first line. Send your entries to Winner gets a personal dedication at the front of the book and a $20.00 Amazon gift card. Lucy's name has to be in the title. Good luck.
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