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Wanna know where to find it? Solve the mystery by clicking the image above!

My very special guest today is C.L. Exline, who is here as part of her Oct-Opal-Fest Blog Tour. (October’s birthstone is the opal, and so is the title character. Cool, huh?) Some of you may remember this series, as Cassie first joined me earlier this year as part of the All Things Romantic Suspense Blog Tour. Thank goodness I didn’t run her off, y’all, because this is a really cool series and I’m THRILLED to help her show it off. Plus the cover is way spooky . . . cue the mood music and roll out the blood red carpet, my friends. Here we go!

Welcome, Cassie, and congrats on your new release! OPAL’S DISAPPEARANCE is the third in a series of mystery titles which are not only suspenseful, but humorous. How do you balance these two elements in the story?

Humor is me. I use humor to diffuse real life issues. Plus I laugh a lot. I don’t take life too seriously. Writing humor into a story is natural for me. I love mystery, scary moments so that’s also easy to incorporate in a story. I tried to write straight romance, it’s not me.

I’m with you on both counts. I LOVE humor (no, really!) and if a book can scare me, I am SOLD. And talk about a scary, heavy plot! In the story, Opal is believed to have disappeared at the hands of a murderer.  As an author, how did you relate to this plot? (*Totally gonna crawl in a hole if you say you were abducted*)

You’re safe, I wasn’t abducted.  I read and watch mysteries all the time, adding the abduction scene was easy. I travel mountains daily so that was a must for a setting. There’s nothing spookier than driving over a mountain in the rain and fog unless it’s seeing a face staring at you through a window (in another book). Fog is eerie and creepy and it takes all sorts of shapes.

YES! Fog is creepy. Anything disorienting freaks me the heck OUT (but in a cool wanna do it again kind of way, LOL)! Since OPAL’S DISAPPEARANCE is third book in your series, how about catching us up on the first two?  Can you summarize for our readers each of the three books . . . in one sentence each? (*evil cackle*)

Evil indeed, very evil and you seem so sweet. 😉

Amber’s Mysterious Death – Best friend Amber allegedly dies in a fire, but before Sheryl can demand answers from Amber’s husband, he disappears.

Ruby’s Deadly Secret – Ruby’s diary contains a warning written in blood, plus Sheryl and Dot getting locked in the attic and knowing there was a murder inside the house lends to the mystery.

Opal’s Disappearance – To help an old college friend, Sheryl uses herself as bait to catch the mysterious mountain man, but it doesn’t go as planned.

Click image to see the Sheryl Locke Holmes titles on Amazon.

(Aw, did you hear that? She thinks I look sweet!) Hey, quit glaring at me! You ROCKED IT! LOL. If a reader is unfamiliar with your work, which of your books would you suggest he or she read first?  Why?

Since I love reading series, it’s always best to start at the beginning and read the first book and the first book is Amber’s Mysterious Death. Even though the books stand alone, readers will want to get acquainted with the characters and understand the dynamics of the group.

Kind of makes reading a series sort of like returning to the same group of friends, isn’t it? *smile* Which genre are you drawn to as a reader?  Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up?

As a reader, always mystery with romance. I do prefer to read what I write but I mix it up. I enjoy paranormal and time travel.

Mystery and romance — easily my favorite combination! *loves* Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits?  If so, who won – you or the character?

Not in this series, but in another book. I had a hard time connecting with two older characters. Guess what saved the day? Humor. Once I added that and made them more read, the writing flew from my fingertips.

I don’t think anything feels better as an author than the moment of that breakthrough, when the words simply FLY. And sometimes whether they fly or not, there’s a turbulent spell or two (at least for me, LOL.) Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it?  Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?

Yes, I work with a great partner and he sees the bigger picture much better than I do. Even though I balk at first, after reflection I’ve discovered he’s right. Drat! 😉

Talk about a love-hate relationship! LOL. (I totally know what you mean, but don’t tell my CPs their lives have, on occasion, been in danger.) How do you keep track of plot elements or twists?

I keep a journal. When I reread my ms I make notes to fill in this point or foreshadow that point.

Simple and effective! Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer?  Why?  

Each of my novels has a little bit of me, okay a whole lot of me, but the one that I’m really proud of has not been submitted. Butterfly Dreams. This book is the largest close to 100,000 words with recipes. I’ve never done so much research in my life as I did for this book.

Wow! I hope you’ll come back when you’re ready to unleash that one on the public! :c) What are you currently working on? 

Next in the Holmes series is Dragon’s Pearl. This book tests Sheryl Locke Holmes’ logic and her heart.

I’m currently working on Number Five – Curse of Jade’s Bluff. A stalker is after Sheryl.

WOOO! It sounds like you have a LOT planned for Sheryl Locke Holmes. I wish you much continued success as the series grows. (I, for one, am DYING to dig in!) Thanks so much for joining us today, Cassie. I’ve had a fabulous time hanging out with you today, and I am DROOLING over your new release. (This could be problematic on the ol’ keyboard).

Readers, stay tuned for a closer look at OPAL’S DISAPPEARANCE and don’t forget to check out the linkage which follows. I have it on good word (okay, I saw it on her blog) that Cassie LOVES being stalked. (I’m guessing she means friendly fire only, LOL). And don’t forget to check out the rest of her blog tour, which wraps up on Halloween weekend in a couple of high profile locales. Check her blog for details (and for those of you looking at me oddly, there’s proof of that stalker thing there).


An old college friend begs Sheryl to help find her missing cousin, Opal, who may have been kidnapped by a mysterious mountain man. When all leads are exhausted, Sheryl concocts a dangerous plan—she becomes bait for the kidnapper and alleged murderer.

But will she survive her plan? Or is this Sheryl’s last mystery?