Today I am so pleased to welcome Nicole Kimberling to Joyfully Jay. Nicole has come to talk to us about her Bellingham Mystery series (which we reviewed here). She has also brought along some copies to give away! Please join me in giving Nicole a big welcome!


It's written on the wall.

Hi, I’m Nicole Kimberling and I’m here today talking about the print release of the first volume of my Bellingham Mystery Series.

For those of you not familiar with this, it’s a series of five novellas, published digitally by Loose Id, now being made available in print by Blind Eye Books’ new contemporary imprint, One Block Empire.

The stories star Peter Fontaine, an intrepid, small-town reporter for The Hamster:

In addition to being the city’s most alternative, free weekly paper, The Bellinghamster, usually referred to as just the Hamster, supplied Peter Fontaine with most of his income. Though nowadays he often freelanced for national markets, he felt for Bellingham a strange devotion. He had decided that he could—nay—would make a lifelong project of chronicling the fundamental strangeness in the City of Subdued Excitement.

He would make a portrait of a particular city in a particular time. He would be the first to immortalize a Pacific Northwest town for something other than fictitious vampiric habitation, grunge, or software. His work would make a great monument of drizzle-fed conifers and ferns and moss. It would chronicle whole weeks of winter fog. It would put a hoodie on the back of every right-thinking human being as well as some smaller, less cold-hardy dogs.

Because of his lofty artistic goal, Peter felt justified engaging in a level of nosiness that would have been otherwise indefensible in polite society. He felt that everything that transpired within the Bellingham city limits—in addition to greater Whatcom county—could plausibly be his business.

But it’s really his daydreams that are the star of the series. Fantasy-prone Peter slides in and out of flights of fancy as he solves crimes ranging from the mistreatment of a kitten to the theft of a statue to murder so cold-hearted that the dead guy ends up encased in a snow sculpture.

Peter is in love with Nick Olson: artist, recluse and former military translator. Over the course of five stories the guys meet, solve crimes, adopt a cat and eventually get hitched. They also volunteer at a farmer’s market, attend a snow sculpture festival and crash a fundamentalist Christian “Hell House” on Halloween.

And in spite of all this, they still find time to get down.

I wrote the first Bellingham Mysteries novella because I was trying to impress Josh Lanyon. He’d thrown a contest where the writer of the best story got to be the new partner in MLR’s Partners In Crime anthology.

I didn’t win. I didn’t even meet the contest deadline. (As it turns out, learning to write a mystery is hard.)

But I went ahead and sold the story anyway. As I continued to explore the lives of Peter and Nick I began to develop a deep and abiding love of the cozy mystery. In particular I loved how these mysteries allowed me to fictionalize the real town where I live and immortalize the people who I meet on the street every day. I wanted to show the town as I see it and share the adorable peculiarities of the weirdos who live here.

So in the spirit of sharing, I’m giving away three print copies of The Bellingham Mystery Series, Vol. 1. I will ship these books anywhere in the world so non-Americans don’t be shy, okay?

All you have to do is answer my question in a comment. Here goes: What do you like best about your town?


Nicole KimberlingNicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington with her wife, Dawn Kimberling, two bad cats as well as a wide and diverse variety of invasive and noxious weeds. Her first novel, Turnskin, won the Lambda Literary Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She is also the author of the Bellingham Mystery Series.


Nicole has brought along three print copies of the first volume of the Bellingham mysteries to give away to three lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, July 19th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post