Guest Post: Colleen J. Shogan – DEAD AS A DUCK

Good day, book people. Can you believe we more than halfway through July?! Am I the only one that felt like 2020 seemed to drag on forever but 2021 is flying by a little too quickly? Perhaps it was the unknown pandemic scenario that added to the feeling that life seemed to drag by in slow motion last year. Although there seem to be a host of unknowns remaining with COVID-19, 2021 just seems to by speeding by like a bullet train. Although I’m glad things are getting back to some semblance of normal, I miss the slower pace of things during the quarantine, which I primarily spent reading, drinking tea, reading, and even more reading. I’ve wondered how authors used their “downtime” during the quarantine, and Colleen J. Shogan, author of Dead as a Duck, joins us today to discuss how she spent some of her quarantine time. Thank you, Ms. Shogan for joining us today, the blog is now yours.

In November 2019, my husband and I purchased a small vacation home in the town of Duck, located in the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina. Completely unaware of what would happen in the months ahead, we hoped to spend long weekends at the beach and our usual vacation in early September.

Of course, those plans were upended in March 2020, when the world came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After learning that our work would be virtual for the foreseeable future, we began spending more time at our home in the Outer Banks.

This was an unexpected twist of fate, and certainly not anticipated. I was finishing the initial draft of Dead as a Duck. For the purposes of writing, it was fortuitous that I found myself in the location which served as the setting of the seventh book in my series. Instead of remembering the iconic places I was describing in the book, they were only a stroll away.

The Outer Banks is primarily a summer beach destination. There are full-time residents in all of the towns, but the population drastically shrinks once the warm weather dissipates. Such silence is conducive to writing, contemplation, and even relaxation. For the first time in twenty years, I could actually feel myself slow down to a manageable pace. At night, I sat outside on a balcony and gazed at the stars, twinkling in the evening sky. Most evenings, I could hear the gentle roar of the ocean, only three hundred yards away. There was no noise or light pollution to drown out the sounds of the waves and the brightness of the night sky.

It was therapeutic to spend time in the Outer Banks during those unpopulated weeks and months. At times, there might have only been one or two other occupants in residence on my street. The beach was empty all day long, and I cherished the early morning walks on the sand with my aging beagle mutt.

At first, it was difficult to write during the pandemic. But once I adjusted to the imposed quarantine and social distancing, writing became more of an escape than anything else. When I wrote, it was like time travel into a familiar world where a horrible virus hadn’t killed millions of people. It was a comforting reminder that there was a way of life before the pandemic, and that we would hopefully someday return to social interaction and discourse.

My quiet days have ended. The summer tourists now occupy the beaches, and I will return to my office near the White House soon. The devastation of the pandemic far outweighed any positives. However, I will remember my quiet days in the Outer Banks as an extraordinary, unusual experience in which life as we knew it changed forever and stood still at the same time.

Dead as a Duck (A Washington Whodunit) by Colleen J Shogan

About Dead as a Duck

Dead as a Duck (A Washington Whodunit)

Cozy Mystery 7th in Series

Publisher: Camel Press (July 14, 2021)

Paperback: 230 pages

ISBN-10: 1942078323

ISBN-13: 978-1942078326

Digital ASIN: B08WTPNBD6

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall is looking forward to a much-deserved summer vacation in the Outer Banks. When the mayor of the beach town turns up dead, Kit and her friends need to put their fun and relaxation on hold to help solve the crime.

August has been a busy month for congressional staffer Kit Marshall. She hit the road with her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, who is considering running for the United States Senate in North Carolina. After endless town halls and meet-and-greets, Kit is happy to end the tour in Duck, an upscale beach town in the Outer Banks.

Before Kit can relax on her much-deserved vacation with her husband Doug, brother Sebastian, best friend Meg, and beagle mutt Clarence, the body of Duck’s mayor is found floating in the shallow waters of the Currituck Sound.

Kit’s brother Sebastian, who got in a public kerfuffle with the victim the day before, becomes the prime suspect. Solving the mystery takes her to popular hotspots in the Outer Banks, including a private tour featuring the wild horses of Corolla.

Kit must sacrifice sun-filled days of relaxation to clear her brother. In the end, Kit and Sebastian put their own lives on the line to secure a confession from the killer and make sure justice is served.

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo
 

Praise for the Series

“The mystery is perplexing—for Kit and company, and for me—and well done. I was impressed by the complexity of the murder plot. I enjoyed the political theme, and all the details about lobbyists.” —Jane Reads

“To someone who has mastered that uniquely Washington skill of bobbling two cell phones and a glass of wine without spilling a drop, solving a murder is practically child’s play.” —HillRag

“A solid choice for political junkies and readers of ­Maggie ­Sefton, Fred Hunter, and Mike Lawson.” —Library Journal

“The fourth volume in author Colleen J. Shogan’s simply outstanding ‘Washington Whodunit’ series, K Street Killing is a consistently entertaining read with many an unexpected twist and turn by a true master of the genre.” —Midwest Book Review

“Shogan does a good job depicting the creaky, squeaky wheels of government, and Marshall plays politics and sleuth with equal dexterity in this capital Capitol Hill mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

“Loads of inside scoop about the workings of Senate offices—complete with all the gossiping, back-stabbing, and procedural maneuvering—plus an appealing young sleuth, sprightly pacing, and an edge-of-your-seat showdown on the Hart-Dirksen underground train.” —Literary Hill

“An excellent whodunit…. I was really impressed with this very smart story. The author is a former Senate staffer so she is writing what she knows, less the murder, I hope.” —Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book

“Readers who enjoy amateur sleuth mysteries written in the style of Agatha Christie will enjoy this promising debut mystery.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at numerous universities. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Currently, she’s a Senior Vice President at the White House Historical Association. A member of Sisters in Crime, Colleen splits her time between Arlington, VA and Duck, NC.

Authors Prior titles: STABBING IN THE SENATE, HOMICIDE IN THE HOUSE, CALAMITY AT THE CONTINENTAL CLUB, K STREET KILLING, GORE IN THE GARDEN, LARCENY AT THE LIBRARY

Author Links
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/washingtonwhodunit/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/cshogan276
Website – www.colleenshogan.com
GoodReads – www.goodreads.com/cshogan276

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Book Showcase and Excerpt: STABBING IN THE SENATE by Colleen Shogan

Stabbing in the Senate (Washington Whodunit #1) by Colleen Shogan
ISBN: 9781603813310 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781603813327 (ebook)
ASIN: B017CBHTOE (Kindle version)
Publication date: November 15, 2015
Publisher: Camel Press


Life is good for Kit Marshall. She’s a staffer in D.C. for a popular senator, and she lives with an adoring beagle and a brainy boyfriend with a trust fund. Then, one morning, Kit arrives at the office early and finds her boss, Senator Langsford, impaled by a stainless steel replica of an Army attack helicopter. Panicked, she pulls the weapon out of his chest and instantly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

Circumstances back Kit’s claim of innocence, but her photograph has gone viral, and the heat won’t be off until the killer is found. Well-loved though the senator was, suspects abound. Langsford had begun to vote with his conscience, which meant he was often at odds with his party. Not only had the senator decided to quash the ambitions of a major military contractor, but his likely successor is a congressman he trounced in the last election. Then there’s the suspiciously dry-eyed Widow Langsford.

Kit’s tabloid infamy horrifies her boyfriend’s upper-crust family, and it could destroy her career. However, she and her free-spirited friend Meg have a more pressing reason to play sleuth. The police are clueless in more ways than one, and Kit worries that the next task on the killer’s agenda will be to end her life.



Read an excerpt:

I unlocked my file cabinet drawer, deposited my purse inside, grabbed the memo from underneath a stack of papers, and headed toward his private office. I zipped by the desk of the senator’s personal assistant, situated right outside his sanctum. Even Kara, right-hand keeper of the inviolable senatorial schedule, still hadn’t made an appearance.

The senator’s office door was ajar, and I barreled forward to position my memo on the top of his “to read” pile of papers. Staffers weren’t supposed to enter the senator’s office without a reason. Kara might turn the corner any moment. If I could just slip in and out unnoticed, this memo would be the first document he read when he arrived for work.

I glanced toward the sitting area. A hand rested on the arm of a regal chair. The chair, turned away from me, faced the windows and a beautiful view of the Capitol grounds. Royal screw up. I wasn’t the only person in the office. Senator Langsford was already here! He always arrived through a private entrance, not the main door. I had infiltrated his office unannounced. There was no way I could back out of the office gracefully.

I cleared my throat and stammered awkwardly, “Senator Langsford, I’m sorry, sir. It’s Kit Marshall, Senator. I didn’t quite finish up the Appropriations hearing memo before you left last night. I wanted to put it in your inbox this morning so you could read it, and if you’d like, we could discuss it later today or whenever.”

No response. After a minute, I asked, “Would you like me to put it on your desk?” I waved the memo back and forth. Lyndon Langsford was a suave politician who rarely missed a beat. That was why I enjoyed working for him. Nothing fazed him. Persistent protesters, disgruntled constituents, slimy lobbyists, and aggressive political reporters—he handled all with ease. In my thirty years on the planet, I wondered if I would ever manage to exude a fraction of his panache. Yet I never felt self-conscious around him. I waited for him to say something polite to let me off the hook for my transgression.

Utter silence. Was he asleep? It was an odd time for a power nap. Beads of sweat trickled down my neck, saturating the collar of my blouse. Senator Langsford was well-mannered, often to the extreme. Had he decided to give me the cold shoulder this morning? The stillness was stifling.

I could just put the memo on his desk, sidle out the door, and pretend I had never spoken. But I would not be able to work at my desk for the rest of the day, thinking Langsford was upset with me.

“Senator, I’m sorry,” I repeated. “I feel terrible for interrupting you. Should I leave the memo on your desk so you can read it?”

I’m not sure how long I stood there. A few seconds seemed like an eternity. I noticed there was no physical reaction at all to my question. That was weird. If he was irritated, his body language should have indicated annoyance. He had to be asleep.

As I approached tentatively, I noticed crimson drops of blood on the thick carpeting of his office. His head was thrown back, and two vacant eyes stared at me. Lyndon Lansgsford wasn’t giving me the cold shoulder. He was dead.



Praise for Stabbing in the Senate:

“A perfect who-done-it from a Capital Hill insider. Kit Marshall is a feisty protagonist I’m hoping to hear more from in the future.” Cathi Stoler, author of The Hard Way

“An interesting snapshot into the world of Senate staffers from a Capitol Hill insider. Political intrigue, mystery, and a rescue beagle named Clarence. What more could you ask for?”  Tracy Weber, award-winning author of the Downward Dog Mystery Series

“Amid perpetual rounds of gossip, back-scratching, blame games and cocktails, Colleen Shogan offers an inside look into DC politics. A senator is murdered, and members of his staff are simultaneously suspicious, calculating and polite as they scramble for new jobs. Staff must also decide whether to collude on a revisionist history for the maverick’s opinions. Everyone is power hungry, but protocol demands that ambitions be kept hidden. Protagonist Kit Marshall is a breath of fresh air in a city of opportunists, and Stabbing in the Senate is a smart, snappy whodunit that kept me guessing until the end.”  Susan Froetschel, award-winning author of Allure of Deceit

“In this smart, fast-paced mystery, Colleen Shogan gives a fascinating look at Washington, D.C., politics through a Senate staffer’s eyes. She kept me turning pages until the surprising reveal at the very end.” Mary Marks, author of the Martha Rose quilting mysteries

“A taut mystery, set in the halls of the Senate, a backdrop Shogan knows well. It kept me guessing until the end!”  Carlene O’Neil, author of Cypress Cove Mystery series

“A fast-paced blend of murder mystery and political intrigue… Stabbing in the Senate is a page-turner that will keep the reader’s rapt attention to the very end.”  Wisconsin Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review



Meet the author:

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery, Stabbing in the Senate, one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate. She is currently the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. 

Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.


Connect with the author:     Facebook     |     Twitter      |     Goodreads 

This showcase and excerpt brought to you by Over The River Public Relations



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