Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Murder Is Our Mascot By Tracy D. Comstock ~ Schooled in Murder Book 1 ~ Giveaway

Murder Is Our Mascot
Schooled in Murder Book 1
By Tracy D. Comstock

Giveaway:  $20 Amazon Gift Card. Please use the RaffleCopter at the bottom to enter.

Guest Post: 

Tracy Comstock, Murder Is Our Mascot
Theodore (Tad) Higginbotham is the love interest of my protagonist, Emily Taylor, in my debut novel, Murder Is Our Mascot.  I thought you all might enjoying getting to know a little bit more about the dedicated math teacher, Tad.  Here is journal entry that he has written that will tell you a little bit more about Emily’s crush.
Theodore “Tad” Higginbothom’s Journal:
I have tried to live an ordered life, a logical life, but I should have known that returning to Ellington could only lead to chaos, especially with Emily back at Ellington High.  People would probably label me as OCD, but it’s more that I just prefer things neat; everything in its place and a place for everything, you know?  I can go casual, wear jeans and a sweatshirt, but I’m really more of a slacks and Oxford-shirt type.  
My appearance?  I think I’m just your average Joe.  I’m on the tall side at 6’3”.  I tend toward skinny no matter how much I work out, which is irritating.  I enjoy my time at the gym and running, regardless of the weather.  I have dark hair, I guess you could call it black, and I tend to forget to get it cut often enough so it is a little on the longish side.  I think I have grey eyes, but Emily always tells me they are blue, so who knows?  I thankfully never had to wear braces, but I am very obsessive about my dental hygiene.  In her nicer moments, Emily has told me I have a nice smile.  When she is in a more typical mood, she calls me “moody” or “bookish.”  And this from a temperamental English teacher? I do love to read, though, so that much is true.
I teach math, however, so I guess you could say I have a head for numbers.  Ray Taylor, Emily’s dad, is one of the most important mentors I have ever had.  His passion for teaching and his students made me want to be a teacher.  I had hoped I would make it back to Ellington in time to get to teach with him, but he had just retired the year before I came back home.  Thankfully, Mr. Taylor, I mean--Ray, and I have kept in touch and still play golf sometimes.  He’s just a really great guy.  I wonder if Emily realizes how lucky she has it with her parents?
Now don’t get me wrong.  I have great parents.  They were just very self-involved while my sister and I were growing up.  Dad was an attorney and Mom was a psychiatrist, so they were both surprised when I went into teaching instead.  It would only hurt them if I told them that I found more encouragement, support, and enthusiasm for my interests from Mr. Taylor--dang it, Ray--than I ever did from them.  They have both retired now and are living in Florida.  We see each other at Christmas, but that’s about it.  My little sister, Elizabeth, lives in Michigan with her husband and little boy, Bryant.  She has a wonderful family and I am very happy for her; I just wish I got to see her more.  Even though we were six years apart, we were always close.  Maybe because our parents were always so busy with work? 
Ellington will always be home, though.  I love teaching here.  I know I have not yet achieved the success with my students that Ray had, but I’m trying. I was kind of surprised that Emily ended up following in her father’s footsteps, but she is a born teacher.  She loves those kids like they are her own—gets that from her dad.  But she is still the same spitfire I remember from high school.  Even though she was only a freshman when I was a senior, there was always something slighting intimidating about her to me.  Maybe that was why I picked on her so much.  She always thought I was more interested in Gabby, but I just acted that way to try and get a rise out of her.  I know Gabby knew better, too, but she would play along sometimes.  I think she secretly wanted Emily and me to date.  It seemed disrespectful to Ray to have those kind of feelings toward his daughter, though.  But now…
Well, now she is no longer a freshman in high school.  She is a grown woman, and I honestly don’t think that there has ever really been anyone in my mind that could hold a candle to her.  I’m afraid of pushing her away by trying to move too fast, so right now all we share is our love of cold caffeine.  Caffeine is definitely one of my passions.  But so is teaching.  And if I’m honest here, Emily definitely is, as well.  I hope someday she will understand just how much she means to me.


Murder is the new mascot at
Ellington High...

A murdered coach and a missing counselor has thrown the school into a foreign
curriculum of anger, fear, and suspicion. English teacher Emily Taylor is
determined to prove that her missing friend is not a murderer. But if she's
not, then who is? And where could her friend be? Against the advice of fellow
math teacher and former crush Tad, Emily and her best friend Gabby dig into the
dead coach's past. But someone doesn't want Emily unearthing their secrets and
is determined to see that she gets a failing grade in the sleuthing department.
Soon, Emily finds herself scrambling for a new lesson plan to solve the murder...before
the killer sets his own deadline! 


Mystery/Light Romantic Suspense


Halliday Publishing/65k

Buy Links: 

Amazon | Nook | ibook | Kobo | Smashwords Print


The clack of Emily Taylor's high heels echoed hollowly in the deserted high school hallway. Normally, she loved the sound her heels made on the tile floor. Her obsession with high heels began when her height topped off at a gargantuan five foot one inch, and their authoritative tapping sound typically made her feel confident and in charge. But not this morning. The click-clack reverberating off the rows of metal lockers seemed ominous, a warning of some kind.

Letting herself into her classroom, she decided that the school seemed somewhat sinister because she was unused to being there that early. Her great love affair with her snooze button meant that getting to school before it was filled with a mass of hormone-fueled teenagers was a rarity for her, but she had needed to get in early today in order to prep for a special before-school meeting with a student's mother. Stevie Davis was new to Ellington High and was really struggling in Emily's junior-level English class.

Something about Stevie tugged at Emily. He usually hid his eyes behind his fringe of bangs, causing Emily to fight the urge to grab her scissors and hack away at his curtain of hair so that she could see what was going on behind it. The few times he had tossed his hair back with the irritated shrug that was his typical answer to any question, his eyes had seemed sad, lost, or…something. Emily wasn't sure what that something was, but she was hoping that this meeting with his mother would shed some light on his issues.

Her cantankerous old computer whined to life as Emily flipped on her desk light. Dark, swollen clouds crowded the sky, swallowing her early morning classroom in shadows. Emily felt jumpy and spooked, as if those dark clouds were pressing down on her, enshrouding her in their gloom. Must be an allergy medicine-induced hangover making her feel strange this morning. Nothing like fall to get her sinuses going. As soon as she got her notes together for her meeting, she'd grab a cold shot of caffeine from the stash of sodas she kept in the teachers' lounge fridge. That would help clear her head. Or at least it would if Tad, the conference-hour-sharing, next-door math teacher and fellow soda junkie, hadn't depleted her supply.

As she pulled out samples of Stevie's writing and wrestled her computer into spitting out a copy of his grade report, the lights flickered. Glancing out the back wall of windows, Emily watched the increasing wind whip the trees into a frenzy. Multicolored fall leaves rained down like confetti. She usually loved the electric feel in the air before a good thunderstorm, but a loss of power would ruin her day's plans. Figuring she better make her copies before the ancient, temperamental copy machine went on the fritz, she began sorting through the piles on her desk for the paper she needed. They were organized piles, of course. Oh, who was she kidding? Trying to find the one thing she needed on her messy desk was like trying to isolate a single snowflake during a blizzard. Shuffling papers and files, Emily jumped at the first boom of thunder. The accompanying flash of lightning happened to spotlight the copy of the quiz for which she was searching. Hoping to entice Stevie into becoming more involved in class discussions, she was starting a unit on mythology since he had shown some interest in legends. Today's quiz was over the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, or it would be if she got her copies made in time.

Tucking all of her information for the meeting with Stevie's mother into a stray file folder, Emily grabbed up a fresh legal pad and pen and headed out the door. Halfway there, she turned on her heel to go back for the quiz she needed to copy. Yep, she definitely needed that soda. A glance at her vintage Strawberry Shortcake watch showed she was, as usual, cutting it close on time. But first things first. 

Popping the top on the last soda in the fridge, Emily silently thanked whoever was the God of caffeine for their nectar as she took her first icy sip of the sugar-laden soda. No diet drinks for her, no sir, as the extra ten pounds on her hips could attest. Tad had tried to hide the last can behind a pitcher of green tea, knowing Emily would never touch that, even if it might benefit her hips. She, however, was on to his nefarious ways. Practicing her evil victory laugh, she click-clacked her way to the copy room to get her copies started before the meeting. Another crashing boom of thunder rattled the windows as Emily threw the door wide, propping it open with those cursed hips while she flipped the light switch. Nothing. Scanning the hallway confirmed her suspicions. The power was out. She took a step backward, thinking she would head downstairs to consult with Principal Matthews. Rain began to lash the windows over the stairwell, making the darkness of the hall seem even more complete. She fumbled her way a few feet down the hallway until the lights flickered back on again. Not wanting to waste a second in case the power decided to blink off again, Emily dashed back to the partially open copy room door. Hitting the light switch again with one hand, she rushed toward the hulking machine on the far wall. That was when papers went flying and sticky, syrupy soda sprayed everything in its path. Emily went airborne. Throwing her hands out in front of her to break her fall, Emily winced as they skidded through sticky wetness. The picture of grace she was not, so finding herself flat on her face was actually not uncommon for Emily. She could trip on a completely flat surface. The lights flickered again as she clambered to her feet, worrying about getting the sticky mess cleaned up before someone else slipped. Glancing down at her hands, she was busy cursing her lost lifeline, her last caffeine hit, when she realized that the sticky substance covering her hands was not soda. It was something thicker, and redder. Finally looking back to see what she had tripped over, Emily saw what appeared to be a head protruding from behind an office chair. Taking a cautious step closer, she could see that the head was surrounded by what looked like a puddle of congealing blood and was, thankfully, attached to a body. Unfortunately, it appeared to be a dead body. And that's when Emily began to scream and scream.

About the Author:

Tracy Comstock is a small-town girl
from Missouri. She lives in a home where she is outnumbered 3:1 by the males in her life: her husband and their two extremely adorable, but terrifyingly ornery sons. She has no pets as all living things, besides humans, of course, come to her house to die, including the victims in her books. All her life Tracy devoured books. Her parents' most effective punishment was grounding her from reading. Although she has a B.S. in Education and a Masters in Literature, she
was nudged down the path to publication by encouraging (and sometimes threatening!) family, friends, professors, and students. When not working on Emily's adventures, Tracy is an adjunct instructor for several local colleges, where she gets to teach others about her greatest passion: writing.

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