AnnouncementsOff With Their Heads

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS: Murder, Mystery, and Madness in a Small Southern Town

alice in wonderland
Jessie Willcox Smith / Public domain

First of all, let me say that it has been more than two years since my last blog post on this website. TWO YEARS. Isn’t that bananas? I used to blog all the time, back in the early days of my authorial pursuits. Not so much anymore.

I could go into a long diatribe right here about how busy, hard, uncertain, and tiring the last two years have been — both on the writing front and the regular life front — but 1) that’s not why I cracked this baby open again after all this time, and 2) it’s not like you aren’t all living the same busy, hard, uncertain, tiring situation I am, so how about we just move on to the fun stuff and assume we all understand that life happens and sometimes you don’t have time for blogging.

The Big Announcement: OFF WITH THEIR HEADS Releases September 1, 2020!

Before we go any further, let’s get right to the point. My fourth book, Off With Their Heads, will release this September from Wordsmith Books — my own publishing house!

In addition to publishing this book under my own company’s name, I’ll be using the name Annie McKay for this series (yes, it will be a series!) just to underline the fact that this is nothing like the books I’ve written as Anne Riley.

The story is a cozy murder mystery (think Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton) with an Alice in Wonderland twist. Since everyone loves a good plot summary, here’s what the story is about:


Welcome to Wonderland, Alabama, where residents embrace their obvious connection to the Lewis Carroll classic with kitschy restaurants and tourist shops. Every year, on the last night of September, the town excitedly gathers at Wonderland Public Library for the Tumbledown Eve party. It’s a jovial night that officially kicks off the five-day Tumbledown Festival, a celebration of Alice in Wonderland that brings in Alice fans from all over the Southeast.  

At this year’s party, library director Emerson Bloom is pretty proud of her Caterpillar costume and her signature cocktail, a rum-spiked Mad Hatter’s Brew. She is confident it will be a celebratory festival year, as always. But when one of her party guests is found axed to death in the Impossibilities Room, Emerson realizes that someone in their tight-knit community is a killer and no one is above suspicion. Unfortunately, that includes Emerson’s beloved mentor and friend, Mrs. Larson, who bizarrely confesses to the crime and sends the whole town tumbling down a rabbit hole of suspicion and unease.

On the surface, Mrs. Larsen’s confession seems to hold water — until a white rabbit leads Emerson through the rose bushes to the Larsens’ property, where she encounters a much more likely suspect. As threatening notes arrive at the library and another citizen is attacked, Emerson feels certain that Mrs. Larsen can’t be guilty. But proving her friend’s innocence will require peering through the looking glass into the past, where secrets swirl thick and the impossible becomes reality. 


I’m thrilled for this story to come to life, and I hope you’ll love the town of Wonderland as much as I do!

What Happens Next

Over the course of the next few weeks and months, I’ll release more information about the book — like where you can add it (Goodreads, etc.), how you can preorder an e-book, and what the cover will look like (spoiler: it’s beautiful!).

You’ll also get to read some of my favorite quotes from the book, meet some of the characters, and get sneak peeks into the world of Wonderland, Alabama.

So keep your eyes peeled for more news about Emerson and the rest of the gang… exciting times lie ahead!