NEW RELEASE: Sting in the Tail by T.A. Moore (Excerpt & Giveaway + Q&A with Author)


Book Title: Sting in the Tail: Carnival of Mysteries

Author: TA Moore

Publisher: Rogue Firebird Press

Cover Artist: Diane Theis

Release Date: October 4, 2023

Genre: MM Paranormal Romance

Tropes: Unfinished Business, First Times, Ticking Clock

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 87 000 words/ 130 pages

It is a standalone book and part of a linked series by 19 other authors. 

It does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

The Carnival of Mysteries just arrived in Sutton County. They say if you cross the fortune teller’s palm with silver she can read your future like a map. Right now all Ledger Conroy wants to know is if he has a future.


The Carnival of Mysteries just arrived in Sutton County. They say if you cross the fortune teller’s palm with silver she can read your future like a map. Right now all Ledger Conroy wants to know is if he has a future.

Back in Sutton after over a decade, Ledger’s plan had been to bury his father–recently deceased convicted serial killer and less-well known warlock, Bell Conroy–clear the property, and then finally wash his hands of being a Conroy. Instead there’s a cured human heart in the larder, a pissed off pretty boy who is definitely not human at the door, and a debt to the devil that Ledger’s just inherited.

Devil. Monster. Something like that. He’d not asked for its pedigree

Whatever it was, it’s given Ledger a week to fulfill the terms of his father’s contract. Or else he’s never going to leave Sutton again. With pretty-boy Wren at his heels, more to make sure Ledger doesn’t skip town than to provide assistance, Ledger tries to track his father’s sins across Sutton. The problem is there’s so many of them.

Ledger is faced with old grudges, a Sheriff that thinks Ledger knows more about his father’s crimes than he’s ever said (and isn’t wrong), and a dead man with a book shop. Not to mention the on-going distraction of Wren, who can’t decide whether to be a hindrance, a help, or just hot.

Luckily Ledger has a nose for this sort of work.

Sting in the Tail is part of the multi-author Carnival of Mysteries Series. Each book stands alone, but each one includes at least one visit to Errante Ame’s Carnival of Mysteries, a magical, multiverse traveling show full of unusual acts, games, and rides. The Carnival changes to suit the world it’s on, so each visit is unique and special. This book contains a dealer in dark collectibles, a man who’s NOT people, and a monster with a debt it expects to be paid. 


BELL CONROY HAD died alone and unmourned.

There was no one to write an obituary, but he was Sutton County, Ohio’s most famous son. His passing couldn’t go unmentioned, even if it was a “just the facts” death notice in the Sutton Herald.

He’d been fifty-six.

He’d been released from prison on compassionate grounds when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Cause of death: suicide.

The families of his eighteen victims would probably never get the bodies back.


Not famous. Infamous.

Ledger took the second turn after the red barn. The road was technically paved, but one of the downsides of being a well-known serial killer was that the county didn’t spend a lot of money on the upkeep of your properties. The rental car—the only one available on short notice—creaked and rattled as it jounced along the rutted, potholed road.

A half-hearted scarecrow had been strung up on the property line. It hung from a scrubby tree and stared at the road with Sharpie-cross eyes. A shock of red yarn hair had been stitched onto the burlap sack head. That was from the twenty-year-old mug shot. Between age, prison, and cancer, the hair had left this mortal plane years before Conroy had.

Ledger hit the brakes as he reached the gates and let the car roll over the cattle grid. He pulled onto the patchy grass outside the house, turned off the engine, and got out of the car. There was a white van parked in front of the house. Ledger rolled his sleeves down over his forearms and buttoned the cuffs as he stared at the vehicle.

He’d booked the flight the moment he heard the news about Conroy and driven straight here from the airport. It looked like that hadn’t been quick enough.

The vultures had beaten him to it. 

Ledger snorted to himself. 

One vulture, anyhow. 

He started toward the house. The driver’s side door opened as he passed the van, and Benjy Hark scrambled out. The lanky gray-haired man fell into step next to him.

“You’re too late,” Hark said. “I’ve already spoken to the son and made an offer on it as a job lot.”

“A fair offer?” Ledger asked.

Hark took a beat. “Fair enough,” he said, pulling his glasses out of his top pocket. “As far as the son knows, anyhow. It’s not like this lot is worth anything to him. I’m doing him a favor, really.”

“Well, him and your wallet.”

Hark snorted. He lifted his glasses and breathed on them to mist the glass, then polished the lenses with the end of his tie.

“And what?” he said. “You’re going to walk in there and offer him the black market value on his inheritance? Don’t try and kid a kidder, Ledger. You’re not any fucking better than the rest of us.”

Ledger smirked briefly in response. He couldn’t argue with that. In their line of work—sourcing dark Americana for the sort of people that weren’t really people—it was hard to pretend otherwise. They were in this for the dirty money. Their only excuse was that the heirs had no way to capitalize on their dead relative’s collection. As a moral justification, it was thin.

To say the least.

Not that there was moral justification for much in their business. The Catholic Church had a monopoly on the bones of saints and the effects of the blessed. On the other hand, the trade in sinners and their leavings was an open market… and a profitable one. Who wanted to pray—and pay—for a miracle when they could wring a demon’s price from the junk that had soaked in a monster’s misdeeds for years.

And for the low, low price of cold, hard cash, Ledger would find it for them.

“I never said I was,” Ledger said. They reached the porch and climbed the three sagging steps to the door. Something had been scrawled on the wood in red paint, but it had been mostly scoured away. Killer? Murderer? It could have been either, Ledger supposed. Both were true. “But I know that Conroy’s heir isn’t going to take your offer.”

Hark slid his glasses on and squinted at Ledger through the lenses. Despite his best efforts, there was still a fingerprint on the glass. There always was. It was surprisingly easy to pick up minor curses in their line of work. 

“You’ve already spoken to him?” 

Ledger reached into his pocket. “You could say that,” he said as he pulled out the keys the lawyer had left for him. “I amhim.”

He unlocked the door, stepped inside, and closed it behind him in Hark’s face. 

Look at that. It was like having your abusive, cultist dad drop dead was just all brightside and no downside at all.

Q&A with T.A. Moore

The prized possession you value above all others… my laptop. It’s how I make my living, it’s
how I connect with friends around the world, it’s how I waste my time, and it lets me put all
the words in my brain onto paper. Seriously, I tried to write my novels long-hand when I was
a kid, that did not work. Just 300 first paragraphs that had to be written and rewritten every
time I made a mistake.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend… I never really got to know my Dad. He
wasn’t around when I was a child (his call!) and then he died when I was eleven. I doubt
there would have been some grand rapprochement, but the fact is I don’t know. A lot of

The book that holds everlasting resonance… Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. It’s one of
my favorite books and, frankly, borderline on the fantasy side of things. In Poisonville
Dashiell constructed a lush, grotesque world where bourgeois society had been turned on its
head. The criminals were running the show, and the city showed signs of strain all along its

The priority activity if you were invisible for a day… probably something stupid like finding a
bully from high school. Then I’d follow them about all day, just whispering stuff
really really quietly behind them.

The film you can watch time and time again… Rock n’ Rolla. It’s a ridiculous film that was
absolutely powered by ‘is this gonna be fun’ decision making. It’s got Gerard Butler, Tom
Hardy, Idris Elba… it’s just a whole lot of enjoyment packed into on film.

The person who influenced you the most… probably my mom. She raised me on her own,
with help from my grandparents, and tried very hard to instill in me the idea that I could do
anything I want. It didn’t always take, but it helps!

She also TERRIFIED all my teachers whenever she had reason to go down to the school
(80% of the time I was getting bullied, 20% I had done something weird and disobedient.)

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity… Oh god, all of them. Old maps. Weird
crafts. Knitting. Forensics. Body farms – so cool! Psychology. Spirituality. Ghosts.

Seriously, I’m fascinated by the weirdest thing. I spent hours in the Records office once
reading about a Northern Irish sea captain who sent detailed records back of his dealings with

The poem that touches your soul… The Empty Bench by Chris Agee. Actually the whole
book ‘Next to Nothing’ is the most beautiful, raw meditation on grief. There’s something
bittersweet about grief filtered through the mind of a poet who understands the words, the
depth, the meaning of the loss…and yet still has to really grapple with the reality of it as it
gapes like a mouth in the middle of his life.
The empty bench

on the dock
where my father sat
where you sat
the same light
in the corner
before your
coffin came

The song that means the most to you… I’ve a Horse Outside by the Rubber Bandits. I’ve
inflicted this song, and this music video, on so many people who would have otherwise gone
through life happily ignorant the Rubber Bandits even existed!

If you mean something that you’d maybe enjoy…CHVRCHES – Bury It ft. Hayley Williams.
This is go-to mediative, chill-out song.

Your early recollections of writing fiction… It was a children’s book about a piglet that was
left on the doorstep of a ballet school. Adopted by the headmistress it was raised as a
ballerina with the other children. I also had an odd summer as a child where I wrote, and sang
constantly, sea shanties about dead sea-captains and wicked mermaid wives. It was a lot.
There were MULTIPLE verses, from MULTIPLE widows povs. It was…a lot. Eventually
my mum just made me stop singing it because it was creeping her out.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions… I’d bring all
my friends together, without them having to actually travel, and chill out somewhere
beautiful with good food and good company. We have been friends for years, live all around
the world, and don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise… I want to say something deep and witty, but it’s
dog owners that don’t pick up their dog’s poop. If I pick up my dog’s poop, which I do!, then
they have to do the same.

One time this guy let his dog do its business and started to walk away. I said to him, ‘Do you
need a poo bag?’. Instead of taking it, collecting the poo, and walking the FIVE STEPS to the
bin, he grunted and kicked the poo down the little hill.

Now he had poo on his shoes! The bag would have been easier.

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child… failing sucks, but not trying is worse. Try
and fail on your own merits, then try again and maybe you’ve learned enough to get it this

Also don’t cut your own fringe.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again… A signet ring my mum had
bought me. It was gold with a grey, flat stone carved with a roman centurion’s face in profile.
I lost it at a restaurant and even though I got down on my hands and knees and fumbled
around everyone’s feet I never found it.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it… I would rob a bank, I
think. Yes. Lots of money, maybe some interesting security deposit boxes.

I considered murder, but there’s no one I really hate that much. So I’d just have to pick
someone ‘the world will be better without’ and if I am doing crime I’m not doing it for

The philosophy that underpins your life… I’ll give it a go! What’s the worst that could

Thank you!

About the Author

TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide.

Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.

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