Friday, November 20, 2020

Guest Post: Festive Mayhem – By Carolyn Marie Wilkins

Please welcome our guest today, Carolyn Wilkins. Carolyn is an author, a healer, a psychic medium, a musician and a professor at Berklee College of Music Online. 

“Write what you know” is a common injunction given to aspiring authors. Unfortunately, this statement has also been used to justify the erroneous belief that crime writers of color are only capable of addressing a narrow range of what are perceived to be “ethnic” issues such as inner-city crime, gang violence or drugs. The fact is that authors of color have produced a rich tapestry of work featuring characters from every corner of the globe. Festive Mayhem, a holiday-themed collection of crime fiction by nine writers of color, is the latest addition to this growing body of diverse voices.

My story in this collection is called The New Year’s Hex. It features the feisty Carrie McFarland, a psychic African-American teenager living in Klan-controlled Southern Indiana in 1920. When a blood-soaked voodoo doll turns up at a fancy political fundraiser for the town’s notoriously corrupt ward boss, Carrie is blamed. When she takes matters into her own hands in order to clear her name, things go from bad to worse. Until, of course, order is eventually restored.

Writing The New Year’s Hex was a ton of fun. It provided me the opportunity to delve into the African American folklore of this period, and challenged me to explore my own beliefs about hoodoo, hexes and mediumship. 

As a professional psychic medium, I know this stuff is real. I regularly attend seances, predict the future using Tarot cards, and talk to the dead. I believe that the Spirit World, far from being a scary and ghoulish netherworld, is simply another facet of existence – a dimension hidden from our mundane awareness where our deceased loved ones exist, ready, willing and eager to communicate with us.

Do you believe in hexes? Have you ever seen a ghost or had a paranormal encounter? Drop me a comment in the box below. 

Meanwhile, here is some more information about the stories in this collection:

Nine crime writers of color have teamed up to offer you the gift of escape this holiday season. From Christmas crime capers to Thanksgiving thrillers, historical hard-boiled to contemporary cozies, mystery fans of all genres will find something to love in this limited-time collection of exclusive, never-before-published seasonal short stories.

What you'll find inside:

·         "The New Year's Hex" by Carolyn Marie Wilkins. Carrie McFarland finds her New Year's plans derailed when a psychic vision pulls the 1920s African American amateur sleuth into someone's evil scheme.

·         "Pipe Dreams" by S.G. Wong. In this hard-boiled Crescent City short story, infatuation and passion drive Minnie Chen straight into danger as she tries to best the City's most glamorous private detective in a reimagined 1930s-era Chinese Los Angeles.

·         "A Christmas Tip" by Elizabeth Wilkerson. A surprise Christmas bonus becomes too tempting for Philadelphia nursing assistant Brianna Byers to resist—even if accepting requires some skillful skirting of the law.

·         "The Stranger in the House" by Stella Oni. This London House Mystery prequel stars Elizabeth Ojo, a Nigerian housekeeper at a posh guest house, who finds her Christmas intersecting with that of a mysterious resident in trouble.

·         "What Lies Inside" by Kia Dennis. A tormented university professor falls deeper and deeper into a destructive obsession in this harrowing tale of love and longing.

·         "A Deadly First" by Delia C. Pitts. Thanksgiving takes a fatal turn when New York private eye SJ Rook finds himself thrust into his first murder case in this darkly atmospheric tale of noir.

·         "The Holiday Murder Mélange" by Myra Jolivet. This Sarah Doucette Jean-Louis short story follows the Creole P.I. around the San Francisco Bay Area on her quest to figure out who killed a man outside of her office.

·         "Those Holiday Blues" by Jennifer J. Chow. Jasmine, aka "Jazz," can't escape the tragic past when an old boyfriend asks to meet on the anniversary of his mother's death.

·         "Holiday Holdup" by Paige Sleuth. In this Cozy Cat Caper Mystery Short, Imogene Little gets tangled up in a Christmas Eve bank robbery orchestrated by none other than Santa Claus himself.

Here's a link to the book

Carolyn Wilkins is an author, a healer, a psychic medium, a musician and a professor at Berklee College of Music Online. A Reiki Master since 1996, Carolyn has spent more than twenty years engaged in the study of spirituality, energy and healing. She has studied at the Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Arts in Stansted, England, and is a member of renowned English medium Mavis Pitilla’s Boston Mentorship Program.

As a musician, Carolyn has performed in the Pittsburgh Symphony and represented her country as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department. She is also the author of five books –Damn Near White and They Raised Me Up (published by the University of Missouri Press) Melody for Murder, Mojo for Murder and Death at a Séance (Pen-L Publishing), and Tips for Singing (Hal Leonard Press).

In addition to her private practice in healing and mediumship, Carolyn is the host of Carolyn’s Psychic Playroom, a New Age Talk Show, on Cambridge Community Television. Her new online class Magical Communication: How To Talk To Your Ancestors is now available on

To find out more about Carolyn, visit her website:


Marla Bradeen/Paige Sleuth, Mystery Author said...

"The New Year's Hex" is such a fun story, Carolyn! I love that you're a psychic medium in real life and could use some of that knowledge in your story. So glad I had the opportunity to contribute to this collection along with you and the other wonderful authors. And thank you, Cathy Ace and 7 Criminal Minds, for reaching out and agreeing to feature our anthology today!

Delia Pitts said...

Carolyn, thank you for this enjoyable peek into the training and worldview you bring to your Carrie McFarland mystery series. It was such a joy to join you and the other terrific authors to bring Festive Mayhem into the world! Thank you, Criminal Minds, for hosting this essay on the new holiday anthology, Festive Mayhem.

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks for being our guest today, Carolyn :-)

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Marla/Paige - it's our great pleasure! :-)

Cathy Ace said...

You're welcome, Delia :-)

Frank Zafiro said...


First off, welcome to 7 Criminal Minds!

Secondly, what a cool premise for a collection!

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Thanks, 7 Criminal Minds, for featuring Festive Mayhem. Carolyn, your story was so fun to read!

Brenda Chapman said...

Welcome Carolyn - great post! Your story sounds both intriguing and original.