Posted in Book Release, excerpt, romance on June 10, 2017

Synopsis

From a fall from literary stardom to becoming the heroine in her own romance story, Beth Holmes has turned around her career and her love life. She owes it all to one very special person.

Jarred Watson has loved Beth since he read her first novel and suspected the heroine was the embodiment of the author. But the road to romance was fraught with pitfalls. He almost lost everything because of a conniving agent and a little white lie that got out of hand. At the eleventh hour, with honesty and hard work, their book sales are off the charts and a movie deal is in negotiations.

Interfering families and changed plans take their toll. Will they go their separate ways or will Holmes and Watson continue their literary collaboration and personal partnership in order to find their own happily ever after?

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Excerpt

“Interesting.” He chuckled. “Men are not known for their empathy.” He brought his chair closer to hers. “Like stress,” he said. “Under stress, men exhibit the “fight or flight” response.”

Beth nodded. She hadn’t considered the differences in gender reactions in that context. “Women don’t think fight or flight, at least not initially. Under stress they work to protect the group. It has to do with protecting the young and seeing to the family unit. They also think very differently about sex.”

A sly smile brightened his face. She wanted to slam her hand over her mouth.

“We do?” He dropped his voice to a low raspy whisper and sent chills, the good kind, up her back and to other places.

“For a woman, sex starts in their head, not necessarily between her legs.” Shit. Her face was so hot she was going to go up in flames. Jeez, that’s what her heroine Jo Dee would say, definitely not Beth Alexander.

“Oh really?” If she thought his soft, male mellow voice or his smoldering stare couldn’t get any sexier, she got that totally wrong.

“I’m a romance writer. I write about relationships and emotions,” she replied.

“And sex,” he added. Was he extending an invitation? She wasn’t a loose woman, but she was more than tempted to say yes. And that was her notion, not Jo Dee’s.

About the Author

RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of historical swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Ruth also writes contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager vice president, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, nonfiction, True Story on June 2, 2017


After the Miracle: The Cody Parmer Story

In the summer of 1999, doctors raced against the clock to save Cody Parmer’s life after a terrible car accident on a rural Idaho road. His parents, Brenda and Kreg Parmer, prayed that God would save him, and received their miracle. Months after his recovery a mysterious new discovery threatened to take Cody’s life once more, but this time the doctors couldn’t fix it. As Cody fought for his life, his mother searched for answers. Why would God let this happen? Would God save her son, just to let him die a short time later? Even if Cody lived, could the family handle his injuries and limitations? Even after receiving a miracle, the strength to accept God’s will would be the greatest blessing they could ever ask for.

Praise for the Book

“Such an amazing story! I read this book cover to cover all in one day. I could not put it down! It is very well-written, and you feel as if you are right there with the family experiencing every part of their incredible journey first hand. I cried through a lot of it but found parts that made me laugh too. When a book can make you do both of those things, you know you’ve found a good one.” Shannon Dooley, Amazon Review

“This is a book about amazing resiliency in the face of the kind of trauma every parent dreads. It’s told with incredible honesty and transparency. But, it’s also a story about struggling faith that grows into a deep belief in the goodness of God even in the face of adversity…” MarSue, Amazon Review

“This book was an inspiring read. Very well written, and a page turner. Cody’s family made it through some impossible odds. You really feel the struggles that they go through as they try everything to get the best results for their son.” Nora, Goodreads Review

 

 

Excerpt

I turned to Cody and he truly looked lost. The charts didn’t lie, Dr. Pike had done the tests again and again. It was done. Finished. Cody was gone and he wasn’t coming back. No amount of wishing or hoping or praying was going to fix it. And instead of him just dying naturally, we had to be the ones to flip the switch and cut off his air, his food, his medication. It was cruel. It was torture. It was too much.

Kreg was trying to be strong for me but I knew he felt it too. I could see it in his eyes. The pain, the struggle of the impossible choice, the burden of our whole family’s emotions on his back. It was too much for him to bear as well, though he had to maintain some sense of composure for all our sakes.

I gave up trying to make decisions and buried my head in my hands. Then, in the middle of our solemn and painful silence, came a knock on the door.

 

 

About the Authors

Brenda and Kreg Parmer met in high school in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and fell in love on the night of graduation. Brenda graduated from cosmetology school and Kreg went to work for a farm equipment company, and soon married. They had one son, Cody, and three beautiful daughters. Since the accident in 1999, a major part of Brenda and Kreg’s lives have been devoted to caring for Cody, who still suffers from major limitations. They love being with family, enjoying the beautiful Idaho scenery, and visiting their grandchildren. Along with their family, their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important thing in their lives.

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 6/25/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Romantic Suspense on June 2, 2017

 

 

Synopsis

He lost his mentor.

He lost his K9 partner.

He almost lost his will to live.

But when a ruthless killer targets a woman on the run, Theo and his new K9 companion will do whatever it takes to survive—and save the woman neither can live without.

Grieving the death of his partner, Theo Bosco has no room in his life for distractions. Though his instincts scream that he should avoid Juliet ‘Jules’ Jackson, he can’t seem to stay away. It doesn’t help that Theo’s new K9 companion has fallen head over paws with Jules’s rambunctious family.

Or that when he’s with her, Theo finally knows peace.

When Jules rescued her siblings, whisking them away to the safety of the beautifully rugged Colorado Rockies, she never expected to catch the eye—or the heart—of a cop. Yet as Jules struggles to fight her growing attraction to the brooding K9 officer, another threat lurks much closer to home…

And this time, there’s no escape.

“Vivid and charming.” —CHARLAINE HARRIS, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series

 

AmazonB&NiBooks * Indiebound

Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit Series

Run to Ground (Book 1)

On the Chase (Book 2)

Survive the Night (Book 3)

Excerpt

Her shoulders lifting and dropping again in a sigh, Jules stiffened her spine. She just needed to be confident. She also needed to not let the cop’s air of authority—as well as his muscled forearms and pretty dark-brown eyes—reduce her to the babbling idiot she’d become the last time he’d been at the diner. For goodness’ sake, she’d messed up her name. Her name. If she wanted to survive in her new life, she needed to step up her game. Firming her jaw, she picked up a coffeepot and headed to Theo’s table.

He watched her, his frown deepening with each step, and she fought the urge to slow or, better yet, turn tail and run.

“Morning.” She turned the mug in front of him right side up with shaky fingers. His wary eyes—almost black and alarmingly perceptive—took in everything, including, she was sure, her obvious unease. “Did you need a menu?”

Jules caught herself before he could respond.

“Sorry.” Her flush prickled her chest and moved up to her face to warm her cheeks. “Of course you don’t need a menu. You probably know everything on there by now. Well, I’m guessing you do. I’ve only seen you here once, but Megan mentioned you’re a regular.”

Abruptly, Jules stopped talking. More of the nervous babble pressed on her lungs, wanting out. Afraid to open her mouth again in case she started talking and wasn’t able to stop until she told this man—this police officer!—everything he shouldn’t know, she forced a smile and stayed quiet. She was turning out to be a terrible felon.

“Number three,” he said after another pause just long enough to make her uncomfortable. “Scrambled.”

“Got it.” Jules scribbled down the order, relieved to have something to focus on other than his too-intense gaze. He looked at her like he could see everything about her, and there were so many things she wanted to keep hidden. When she glanced up, she kept her eyes away from his, focusing on his left earlobe instead. “That’ll be right out.”

After picking up the coffeepot again, she began to turn around, relieved. A sound behind her, something halfway between a masculine grunt and a throat clearing, made her stop reluctantly. Jules focused on his other earlobe this time, trying not to show her renewed panic. “Was there something else you needed?”

“Where are you staying?” He bit off each word, making him sound like he was angry he had to speak to her.

The mild, unfocused fear blossomed into terror. Why was he asking? Was he investigating her? His frown deepened when she took a beat too long to answer, and she rushed out her response. “Um…in Monroe.”

“Where?”

Her paranoia was feeding her panic, and she gave a vague wave toward the north. “On the edge of town.”

If he narrowed his eyes any more, he’d be squinting. “The blue house off of Orchard Street?”

“No.” Her feet moved of their own volition, and she took a step toward the door. This job was too important for her to run out on her second day, but the cop’s questioning was pushing her to the point where she just wanted to escape, paycheck or no paycheck.

“The old Garmitt place, then.” It was a statement instead of a question, and the accuracy of the guess made her eyes widen despite herself. Jules knew fear and guilt must be plastered all over her face. “Heard someone had moved in there.”

“Uh…” Her mind raced as she scrambled to think of the best way to respond, to save this conversation from the quickly approaching crash and burn heading her way. “I’m not sure.” She barely caught herself before closing her eyes in exasperation. That was her clever save?

“Your address is Thirty-Two Blank Hill Lane.” Again, he said what should’ve been a question with such certainty that it came out as a statement of fact. “Did you buy it?”

“No.” Running was beginning to sound better and better. Jules was willing to do pretty much anything to get away from this man, this cop, who knew too much already.

“You rent then?” At her nod, he studied her. She stared back, determined not to say more. Every line in his body was held tightly, from the hard line of his mouth to his forearms to his erect spine. “What brings you to town?” he finally asked.

Her mouth opened, but nothing emerged as her thoughts bounced against each other in a chaotic mess. “This job?” Her voice was pitched too high, and the end of her sentence rose, turning it into a question. Jules resisted the urge to smack herself. Between her twitchy behavior and asinine answers, she knew that, even if he hadn’t been suspicious before, he would know for sure now that something wasn’t right. Her shoulders curled in as she wished for the power of invisibility. Either that or better acting skills—or any acting skills.

“What the hell, Theo?” Megan appeared out of nowhere, grasping Jules’s elbow and tugging. Although she jumped initially, Jules relaxed and allowed herself to be pulled a few steps away from the extremely awkward conversation—or interrogation? “I finally find an employee who can do basic math and doesn’t spit on people’s eggs, and she’s the one you inflict yourself on? Drink your coffee and be all broody, like you normally are. Quietly broody.”

The tiny muscle in Theo’s jaw pulsed with tension. Jules didn’t breathe as she waited for him to react. There was strained silence for several seconds before Theo spoke.

“Which one spits?”

“You missed my point.” Whatever else Megan was going to say was interrupted by the thump of the front entrance as it closed behind some new customers. “Be right with you!” Her gaze never left Theo’s face. In turn, he never looked away or flinched. The non-panicked corner of Jules’s brain was impressed with both of them.

“What’s up?” Another cop came to a stop next to the booth, reaching to gently bump Theo’s shoulder with his fist. Although the newcomer was wearing a congenial smile, there was a coiled tension to him. The way he placed his body almost, but not quite, between them and Theo said a lot. It was protective in a got-your-back kind of way, but it also showed that Theo had the lead, that the new guy wasn’t taking over the situation.

“Theo’s scaring my new waitress.” Megan’s glare shot toward the new arrival. “The one who can do math.”

“And doesn’t spit.” Theo’s deadpan delivery made Jules start, and an unbidden smile curled her mouth. Their gazes met, and the cop’s eyes seemed to soften for the shortest of moments. Even before Jules was certain she saw it, it was gone.

“Are those your only hiring qualifications? Adding, subtracting, and saliva control? T, maybe we need to look for a new place for our breakfast meetings.” There was humor in the cop’s voice, although his gaze was ready and watchful, moving from Theo to Megan to Jules.

Turning toward the kitchen while keeping a firm grip on Jules’s arm, Megan said over her shoulder, “Your food is safe, Hugh.”

After the End

For fans of sexy, brooding ice divers

Motorcycle Club bad boys turned firefighters

Tall, dark, and silent wilderness guides

And cops with hearts of gold…

The end is just the beginning.

What happens after happily ever after? Now that the murderer has been caught and the arsonist is behind bars, the town of Simpson, Colorado has returned to its sleepy, picturesque former glory. Yet for the heroes of Search & Rescue, work is never done…

…especially not if the extraordinary women if their lives have anything to say about it.

Told in alternating chapters focusing on four unforgettable romances, this slice-of-life novella catches up with fan favorites from Katie Ruggle’s Search & Rescue series—proving once and for all that the end is just the beginning.

After the End is the fun and heart-warming epilogue novella to the exciting Search & Rescue series by Katie Ruggle.

Free on the following sites

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About the Author

katie ruggleWhen she’s not writing, KATIE RUGGLE rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado Mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-the-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family.

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Giveaways


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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight on June 1, 2017

Synopsis

The stars are about to align in the newest Shaughnessy brothers romance!

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

Brilliant astrophysicist Dr. Owen Shaughnessy feels more connected to the cosmos than to people. He’s great with calculations, but when he leads a team of scientists to study a famous meteor shower, he doesn’t factor in his free-spirited artist assistant Brooke Matthews.

LOVE CAN DAZZLE YOU

Polar opposites in personality, the friction between them threatens to derail the project. But the beauty and mystery of the night sky draw Owen and Brooke together—and she’s going to surprise him in ways the stars never could.

AmazonB&NiBooks

Excerpt

“That was…interesting.”

“I never thought I’d see those two mediums used together.”

“I may have to stab my own eyes out to make sure I never see it again,” Brooke said and then shuddered. They had just left the art gallery, and she waited until they were at the corner before looking at Owen. “I am so sorry.”

He looked taken aback by her apology. “Why?”

“That was horrible! Everything in there was offensive and tasteless and just…wrong! I can’t believe an art professor would recommend that to anyone!”

“Maybe he didn’t know exactly what kind of art was being displayed.”

Brooke shook her head. “He had to know. He raved about the whole thing—like he was familiar with the kind of work this guy did!”

“Maybe he’s into that kind of thing. There were a lot of people there who were praising pretty much everything they saw.”

Even though she knew Owen was right, she was still horrified. All of the pictures featured nudes in cages—and then there was wire caging coming out of the picture to give it a 3-D effect. Splashes of color looked as if they were just thrown onto the canvas, and all in all the exhibit had been fairly horrific to her. Brooke didn’t consider herself a prude, but these images were definitely not something she would have chosen to see.

Ever.

And now she was mortified because she had invited Owen along. To his credit, he didn’t seem the least bit fazed by the whole thing. It was possible he was trying to be polite and didn’t want to offend her in case she found the work interesting. But after the first five minutes of being there, Brooke had wanted to escape. Somehow, however, Owen had drawn her into conversation as they walked around the gallery and made several observations that had her wondering if he really didn’t see what was so…bizarre about the entire thing.

And that had been eye-opening for her. They stayed much longer than she’d imagined they would—especially after seeing the art—but they had talked the entire time, and after a while, she didn’t even notice their surroundings. She simply enjoyed the conversation, which turned to the architecture of the building rather than the show.

“So that was an art showing,” Owen said conversationally.

She nodded. “I really wish it had been a better experience.”

“Is this the sort of thing you want to do? Have your paintings displayed in one particular gallery?”

“I think so. That was one of the reasons I went to talk to Dr. Kennedy. I really wanted his input on ways to get my name out there to some of the local galleries. I was hoping he’d give me some insight into how to get started.”

Without commenting, Owen simply nodded.

“I don’t know about you,” she began, “but the thought of walking back to the pier is just a little exhausting. Would you mind if we grabbed a cab?”

“Not at all.” Walking to the curb, he quickly hailed one, and once they were inside, he instructed the driver where to take them.

“Thank you,” Brooke said, resting her head back on the seat. “I know I could have made the walk, but I’m just worn out.”

“It was a lot of walking,” he agreed. “I’ll have the driver drop you at your car and take me back to my hotel.”

“Oh.”

Turning his head toward her, he looked at her until she met his gaze. “What’s wrong?”

She shrugged. It was silly to be disappointed. Looking at the clock on the dashboard, she knew it was late—almost midnight—but she wasn’t ready for the night to end.

“I just thought I’d drive you back there, and maybe we could have a drink or something before we called it a night.”

He studied her for a moment, and she was afraid she had been too forward and he was going to turn her down.

“I’d like that,” he said, surprising her yet again.

“Good,” she said, smiling.

The ride to her car took only a few minutes, and Owen paid the driver and thanked him as they climbed out. Silently they walked to her car, and for the first time that night, she truly felt nervous. There wasn’t anything she could put her finger on, but for some reason Brooke knew it was a big deal that they were out together tonight and they were both unwilling to let the night come to an end.

Or perhaps she was seeing only what she wanted to see.

They stopped next to her car, and she turned to him. “I don’t think I know what hotel you’re staying at.”

“It would probably be easier for me to drive. That is…if you don’t mind.”

Brooke willingly handed him the keys, and they were on the move minutes later. Traffic was a little bit lighter than it had been earlier in the evening but still heavier than she would have expected for this time of night. Everything was lit up, and the sidewalks were still crowded, and she loved the energy of it all. They turned off the main road, and Owen pulled into an underground garage and parked.

“I was so busy people-watching I didn’t even notice where we are.” There was a possibility that was the wrong thing to admit to, but…

“That’s okay,” he said, taking the keys out and handing them to her. Neither made a move to get out of the car though.

She watched him for a moment—noticed how he was staring at the steering wheel and how he seemed to be thinking about something but she had no idea what. Turning in her seat, she faced him. “Owen—”

“I’d like to kiss you,” he blurted out.

Her eyes went wide, and her heart beat madly in her chest. “You…you would?”

Owen looked at her, his dark eyes so full of emotion. He shook his head. “I’m sure there was a more eloquent way to say that, but…I’m not very eloquent,” he added quietly.

Reaching out, Brooke took one of his hands in hers—relishing the warmth she found there—and marveled at how large it was. And there was strength there. He didn’t have the hands of a man who sat behind a desk pushing papers around, and the skin-on-skin contact was far more arousing than she thought possible. “You’re more eloquent than you think you are,” she said softly.

The look he gave her said he didn’t quite believe her. “I had a wonderful time with you tonight, Brooke, and I know we’re going to go inside and have a drink, and we’ll talk some more and…well…the longer we talk and the later it gets, it’s going to make me want to kiss you even more. It’s wrong for me to want to, but—”

“Why is it wrong?” she interrupted.

And there were those eyes that had her more than ready to crawl across the seat and into his lap. There was a vulnerability in his eyes that was almost her undoing.

“I hurt you. I know you didn’t say anything about it, but I know Howard probably talked to you and told you about Red Rock.” He looked away and shook his head. “It was wrong of me to do it like that. I should have talked to you myself. I’m sorry.”

“Owen, I’m not going to lie to you. I was hurt, and yes, I was pretty angry with you earlier. I know we haven’t known each other very long, but I thought we were at least becoming friends. I hated hearing about your decision from my uncle, but…I kind of understand why you did it that way. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for you to make.”

“None of this is easy,” he murmured and then looked up at her again. “I’m not good at this sort of thing—playing it cool and pretending I’m not interested in you when in fact I am. So…I’d completely understand if you didn’t want to stay and have that drink or talk like we’d planned. You’re probably sitting there trying to figure out a nice way to tell me to get out of the car.”

Brooke was about to correct him, but Owen kept talking.

“I thought about hiring you, but I couldn’t. Not because I don’t want you on the trip, but because I knew I couldn’t handle working with you every day and having you close by while I’m attracted to you. And knowing you were only there because you wanted to paint and that you weren’t interested in me.”

Now she had to speak. Before he could get another word out, she squeezed his hand and got his attention. “But you’re wrong.”

He didn’t seem to understand what she was talking about.

“I do want to go on this trip to paint—I’m not going to deny that—but…Owen, I’m attracted to you too. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, and the more time we spend together, the more I want to spend with you. I was afraid maybe you didn’t want me on the trip because I wasn’t smart enough or—”

She never got to finish.

Owen closed the distance between them and cupped her face in his hands as his lips claimed hers.

About the Author

Samantha Chase, a creative writing teacher, released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published seventeen more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-four years and their two sons in North Carolina.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Young Adult on May 29, 2017

Hamelin Stoop: The Eagle, the Cave, and the Footbridge

Synopsis

Afraid of being caught by trackers from another world, a young mother abandons her baby boy in a tomato box inside the screened porch of a children’s home. The staff at the orphanage name him HamelinStoop, but he grows up longing to learn his real name, find his parents, and thus discover his true identity.

Life is not easy for Hamelin. He belongs to everyone, though in some ways to no one fully. And the people he is closest to leave him one by one. A letter from an older friend advises Hamelin to “keep waiting and keep hoping.” Bitter experiences force Hamelin to wait, but he has to learn how to hope.

When the children’s home forgets his eighth birthday, he sneaks away at night. He soon discovers that he isn’t just running away — he is being summoned by the Ancient One. Guided by the Great Eagle through a mysterious cave, Hamelin must pass a dangerous test of courage before he can find his parents.

Hamelin’s failures, fears, and hopes become part of a larger story, a story of a great struggle between worlds and kingdoms where the old myths of magic, evil contracts, and enslaved children turn out to be real.

**this book is FREE on Amazon as part of a Memorial Day Weekend Sale.  Don’t delay on picking up your copy!**

Excerpt

There he was, right where Simon had hidden him just minutes earlier. Hard to believe he was still asleep. Simon had done his part, so now it was up to her. Johnnie headed south at a brisk pace toward a place she knew well. It was a forty-minute walk to get to the children’s home where she was raised. Though there was an easier way to approach the main house—especially in the semidarkness of the early morning, still a short time before sunup—she stuck to the wooded path she had known as a child. The two-week-old, tightly swaddled boy she carried in her arms wasn’t heavy, but he was starting to squirm.

She could hardly think about what she was soon to do. She knew what it was like to be separated—in her case, stolen—from her mother. But what else could she do? She had escaped from Ren’dal as a child of twelve, but it was too late to go back to her mother and father. Besides, Ren’dal’s spies had probably been watching her all these years. She knew she was a lot older, but she looked to be only about nineteen, and that’s what Simon thought too. Simon—her husband for so short a time, and now he too might soon be caught and taken back with her to Ren’dal’s world. But first, the baby. Not much farther to the house. There was no time to cry, and she had no choice anyway, since the trackers, if they didn’t have Simon by now, soon would.

Johnnie approached the Upton County Children’s Home from the north and paused at the edge of the woods, just short of the clearing that marked out the houses and grounds of the home. There she could see the north side of the main house. That was where the screened porch was just outside the kitchen. It got a lot of traffic, being the main spot where deliveries, especially food and milk, were made. He would be quickly found there, so that’s where she would leave her baby boy.

She could feel it pounding on her from the inside—every motherly instinct she possessed was rebelling. But she knew what she had to do. And there was no more time for second-guessing.

About the Author

Robert B. Sloan is known for his leadership in higher education, public speaking and non-fiction writings. He has been a professor, minister, Little League coach, small business owner, school board trustee and chairman, chairman of the board of an NYSE company, and a university president for over 20 years.

Robert is a native Texan, but has enjoyed living in New Jersey, England, and Germany while finishing his doctorate in Switzerland. He is married to his college sweetheart, Sue, and they have seven married children and 20 grandchildren, nine and under. They enjoy large family gatherings, which include good food and lively conversation, games, and storytelling.

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Posted in excerpt, Family, Giveaway, Historical, Trailer, women on May 27, 2017

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS

by

CAMILLE DI MAIO

 

  Genre: Women’s Fiction / Historical / Family

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Date of Publication: May 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 334

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After serving seventy years in prison for the murder of her sister, Eula, Della Lee has finally returned home to the Texas town of Puerto Pesar. She’s free from confinement—and ready to tell her secrets before it’s too late.

She finds a willing audience in journalist Mick Anders, who is reeling after his suspension from a Boston newspaper and in town, reluctantly, to investigate a mysterious portrait of Eula that reportedly sheds tears. He crosses paths with Dr. Paloma Vega, who’s visiting Puerto Pesar with her own mission: to take care of her ailing grandmother and to rescue her rebellious younger sister before something terrible happens. Paloma and Mick have their reasons to be in the hot, parched border town whose name translates as “Port of Regret.” But they don’t anticipate how their lives will be changed forever.

Moving and engrossing, this dual story alternates between Della’s dark ordeals of the 1940s and Paloma and Mick’s present-day search for answers―about roots, family, love, and what is truly important in life.

Check out the book trailer!

Praise for Before the Rain Falls

Still wiping away tears! Before the Rain Falls is simultaneously heartbreaking, hopeful, and joyous: a story of complex characters with varied pasts and bright futures. Loved it! – Jennifer B. on Goodreads

This novel takes readers on an emotional, fast-paced, ride through one sister’s journey to self, redemption, and the true meaning of “freedom.” – Nicole W. on Goodreads

There is romance, mystery, and secrets that are kept till the very end that will have you not wanting this beautifully written story to end. – Carol B. on Goodreads

Excerpt from Before the Rain Falls, Chapter One

By Camille DiMaio

The portraits were definitely not where they belonged. They had hung over the bed, side by side, the two girls immortalized by the painter at the seaside. Now there were two spots of floral wallpaper, patches of brightness surrounded by faded print on the rest of the wall.  Della’s painting was likely in the shed somewhere, and the other was said to hang in the church, in a little shrine made to the town’s beloved girl. She’d heard some nonsense about it crying. Well, if it was, there was a lot to cry about.

In the morning, she planned to go to the church itself – Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her first foray into town. She’d found an old hat with a black veil, fashionable in its time, and perfect for whatever anonymity she could retain. She did not yet know if her notorious celebrity of the forties was still of interest to anyone today, but it felt too soon to find out.

She looked forward to venturing out. To breathe in fresh air, to see the sky and the trees and the clouds and the birds. The yard at the penitentiary was vast, but surrounded by tall brick walls and taller barbed wire that blocked the scene. Besides, one had to look out, not up, and be mindful of theft from fellow inmates and groping from the restless hands of the guards. Though that last part had not been an issue for her in the past few decades.

Funny how she could view her life in ten year spans. The nineteen forties – when she learned to be a champion catcher of greased pigs. The fifties – when she discovered a love of reading. The sixties – when she sabotaged her chance at parole. And so on. How long they all were. And yet they seemed like yesterday. Time was a droll companion when looked upon with such distance.

Those were the After Days, the ones that comprised most of the years of her life. More than most people lived. The days in which her sister was no longer the belle of Puerto Pesar, drawing crowds from around the country to the little church on Sunday mornings. The days, instead, when Eula resided six feet below the parched soil in the churchyard.

Della didn’t know what to call this new time. The Freedom Days, perhaps, but that didn’t seem quite right. It wasn’t enough that she could now walk around without bars to block the view. That was only one kind of freedom.

It was the freedom in telling your secrets before it was too late. Like the confessional of her youth, whispering things to Fr. Medina that she told no one else. About how she missed her mother. Her guilt over not being a good enough caregiver for her sister. Della had a story and she was ready to tell it.

She would think of this time as the Truth Days. That was it.

The Truth Days.

And it would start by visiting Eula.

DiMaio PicCamille is an award-winning real estate agent in San Antonio who, along with her husband of 18 years, home schools their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes, and forever stays up late reading “just one more chapter”. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. “The Memory of Us” is Camille’s debut novel. Her second, “Before the Rain Falls” will be released in the spring of 2017.

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5/17 Promo Texas Book Lover
5/18 Review Momma On The Rocks
5/19 Excerpt My Book Fix Blog
5/20 Review Books in the Garden
5/21 Promo Margie’s Must Reads
5/22 Author Interview Chapter Break Book Blog
5/23 Review Syd Savvy
5/24 Promo Books and Broomsticks
5/25 Guest Post The Page Unbound
5/26 Review Reading By Moonlight
5/27 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
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5/29 Review Forgotten Winds
5/30 Deleted Scene CGB Blog Tours
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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery, Review on May 24, 2017

 

 

Grilled, Chilled and Killed: Big Lake Murder Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Creekside Publishing (December 31, 2016)
Paperback: 330 pages E-Book 224 pages

Synopsis

It seems as if Emily is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbecue cook-off dead and covered in barbecue sauce in a beer cooler. She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong. Lewis’ denigration of Emily’s speculations is condescending enough to stimulate her dormant snooping skills. As the two of them go on their separate paths to find the killer, Lewis’ old partner, Toby the dirty, tobacco-spitting cop interferes in the investigation leaving Lewis with the wrong man in jail. Killers, bootleggers, barbecue and feral pigs—it’s a lethal game of hide and seek in the Florida swamp.

Excerpt

Emily shook the metal canister filled with ice, liquor and mix until her hand numbed from the cold. Perfect. She tapped the edge of the lid to loosen it and tossed the ice cubes she’d placed in the martini glass into the sink. A young man stepped up to the bar and opened the lid of the container, which held cherries and slices of lime and lemon. He reached in to extract a piece of the fruit.

She slapped his knuckles with a mixer spoon. “Yow!” He snatched back his hand.

“I do the bartending around here. Keep your hands out of my stuff.” Emily shook the spoon at him, threatening to hit him once more. He spun on the heel of his boot and left.

She poured the icy concoction into a glass and placed it on the bar in front of the man sitting there.

“You’re a tough gal.” The man’s gaze swept over the tiny blonde bartender with admiration. “But I already knew that.”

“He just came out of the bathroom. I’ll bet he didn’t even wash his hands before he pawed through my fruit.” She plunged the shaker into the soapy water in the sink and looked around the bar.

“Good drink. Just enough vermouth. Almost as good as mine.”

“Don’t sass your boss.”

“Where’d you learn to use the word ‘sass’?” There was almost a chuckle in his voice.

Emily knew Donald Green rarely laughed, never chuckled and chose to dole out his smiles with infrequency. The bass fisherman with the tall, muscular body and long, silver ponytail didn’t care if anyone found him pleasant or not. Emily figured he didn’t care about most people. Sometimes she worried she might be an exception. She didn’t need Donald paying attention to her as a woman, so she tried to aggravate him as much as possible. She thought that might take his mind off romance and put it back on catching bass or mixing drinks.

“You drink that drink, and I’ll drive to the festival grounds. It would look bad for the country club if their backup bartender got picked up for DWI.”

Review

I enjoyed this book as much as the first book since all the characters were back including a few “bad” guys (they just weren’t the killers in the first book!).  There are even some new characters added to this story that may just be passing through, but perhaps we will see them in book 3.  It is interesting how Emily is still treated as a Yankee and a visitor even though she has lived in this town for quite some time.  Maybe one of these years she will be treated as one of the gang and not an outsider.

While this is a mystery there are also quite a few comedic moments that caused me to chuckle and my husband to ask what was so funny.  Sometimes you just can’t explain those little bits because they are part of a larger story and takes too long to explain.  I kept going back and forth on suspecting different characters for the murder and their motive.  Of course I didn’t figure it out and I was glad that it wasn’t easy to figure out and kept me guessing.

Emily seems to have two love interests…Donald who is interested in her but I don’t think she is interested in him, and Detective Lewis who is married but getting a divorce and they seem to have some crazy sexual tension between them.

I thought the setting where the dead body was fun, a barbecue competition.  Living in Texas, I am quite familiar with those competitions and can be quite intense with the contestants.

Overall we enjoyed visiting Big Lake and hope to visit again soon!  We give this 4 paws up.

About the Author

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.   

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check out the other blogs on this tour

May 15 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW – Book 1, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 15 – My Journey Back My Reading Journeys –  REVIEW – Both Books, INTERVIEW*

May 16 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW – Both Books, INTERVIEW

May 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

May 18 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 18 – Book Babble – REVIEW – Both Books

May 19 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – Bookworm Café –  GUEST POST

May 20 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW – Book 1

May 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW – Both Books *

May 21 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 21 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW – Both Books, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 22 –StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW – Book 1

May 22 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW – Both Books

May 23 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW – Both Books*

May 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW – Book 2

May 24 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW – Book 1

May 25 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW – Both Books

May 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW –  Both Books*

May 26 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 27 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW – Book 2

May 27 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW Book 1, GUEST POST*

May 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW Book 2*

May 28 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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Posted in excerpt, Historical, Review, romance on May 23, 2017

Title: As the Liquor Flows
Author: Angela Christina Archer
Publisher: Long Valley Press
Genre: Historical Romance (Sweeter/Lower Heat Level)
Pages: 256
Publication Date: March 19, 2016
ISBN: 978-0692660546

Synopsis

Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the day the stock market crashed, and the day Evelyn Ford will never forget.

With the untimely death of her parents and the loss of their only income, Evelyn, and her brother, Frank flee to a make-shift hovel built in Central Park.

After Frank mysteriously goes missing, bare cupboards force Evelyn to seek employment anywhere she can find work, even if that means working at a burlesque theater.

Catching the attention of Don Vincent Giovanni, a Kingpin in the New York mafia, Evelyn discovers that Frank is serving time in prison for running hooch and he owes Vincent a lot of money. In order to pay off her brother’s debt, Evelyn is thrown into the world of mobsters and bootlegging.

Between running hooch all over the city of New York and trying to save her brother, Evelyn finds herself drawn to Max Catalano, Vincent’s Consigliere. Even with secrets of his own, he’s the only one she can trust when she entangles herself in the middle of the New York mafia crime wars.

Excerpt

“Does it matter if I am doing all right or not?”

“It matters to me.”

Nervous energy itched through my skin.

It mattered to him?

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to stay here,” I said, ignoring his admission. “Any one of those bullets could have hit me by accident and a . . . a young man lost his . . . the three of you murdered him.”

“I never hit him. I never hit any of them. I shot in his direction, but it wasn’t my bullet that killed him.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because I know. I’m trained to know.”

“Well, I don’t care. All I care about is getting out of here. I’ve to get out of here. I’ve got to get away from Vincent and this house and whatever business that he’s involved in.”

I shoved past him and his arms wrapped around my waist. His shoulders towered over mine with an intense strength, and yet, a concerned passion and honesty that left me gasping for breath, He drew me into him. My heart thumped hard. My body trembled in his arms.

“You know you can’t leave.”

“How am I supposed to just pretend that nothing is wrong?”

“You pretend for Frank’s sake. You pretend to keep him alive and to keep you alive.”

Two truths I already knew, and yet, didn’t want to admit to myself. I wanted Vincent to pay for what he’d done to my family. I wanted him to sit in a prison cell behind iron bars like Frank, whose crime wasn’t even one-tenth as horrific as the crime he committed yesterday. I wanted him to squirm as he sat in a courtroom and listened as a judge sentenced him for murder.

Yet, no matter how much I wanted it, I knew the Kingpin, the boss of bosses, the powerful Vincent Giovanni would never see one ounce of punishment.

“I don’t know how I can,” I whispered.

Without any ounce of hesitation, his hands slid up my neck, cradling my cheeks. His body so close to mine, he pressed into me, weakening my knees. His lips brushed against my forehead for a moment, giving me a soft kiss before they traced down the side of my temple. His hot breath warmed my skin.

I closed my eyes and held my breath.

He jerked away from me, shaking his head as though someone had slapped him.

“I’m sorry, Evelyn. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“It’s all right,” I whispered, fighting my disappointment.

Review

When I first agreed to review this book, I thought it was a cozy/mystery. I am going to say not a mystery (and I blame no one but myself for thinking this!) and then as I started reading I thought it was a dystopian book…nope, it is set in the early 1930’s during the depression. It took me awhile to figure this out (and once again no one’s fault but mine as I should have read the synopsis again before starting the book because it clearly gives the time frame!). With all that said, here is what I thought of the book:

Evelyn Ford is a scrappy young woman that is just trying to survive during the depression. She seeks employment at a burlesque theater and steps into a world that is nothing she could ever imagined. You could feel her discomfort being in that theater and putting on a skimpy dress to dance for men…and skimpy in that time frame covers a heck of a lot more than what you would see today. What she doesn’t expect to find in her journey is her true love with Max, and even he turns out to have his own secrets.

There are gangsters involved in this story – because what would prohibition be without hooch smuggling and such?! Evelyn has to summon the strength to stand up to a kingpin and she does a decent job for someone that never has known that world.

Overall this is a very enjoyable story and it took me back to a time that I could only read about or watch in movies. I felt the book was accurate to the time period and what was going on during the depression.

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Angela lives on a ranch with her husband, two daughters, and many farm animals. She was born and raised in Nevada, and grew up riding and showing horses from hunter jumper, English equitation, western pleasure, trail, and halter. While she doesn’t show anymore, she still loves to trail ride her paint horse, Honky. In December of 2007, she and her husband moved to Oklahoma.

From a young age, she always wanted to write a novel. However, she never believed she could write anything well enough for a publisher to even consider her. Every time the desire flickered, she shoved the thought from my mind until one morning, in 2009, she awoke with the determination to follow her dream.

In December 2014, Angela launched Long Valley Press.

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Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, mystery on May 20, 2017

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Elk Grove Publications (February 8, 2017)
Print Length: 199 pages
ASIN: B06WCZMFGN

Synopsis

Asked to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour, Agnes and Katherine travel by train to Washington, D.C. Agnes carries a package for Colonel Farthingworth to President Roosevelt.

Convinced the package contains secret war documents, Agnes expects Nazi spies to try and derail her mission.

She meets Irving, whose wife mysteriously disappears from the train; Nanny, the unfeeling caregiver to little Madeline; two soldiers bound for training as Tuskegee airmen; and Charles, the shell-shocked veteran, who lends an unexpected helping hand. Who will Agnes trust? Who is the Nazi spy?

When enemy forces make a final attempt to steal the package in Washington, D.C., Agnes must accept her own vulnerability as a warrior on the home front.

Can Agnes overcome multiple obstacles, deliver the package to the President, and still meet Mrs. Roosevelt’s plane before she leaves for the Pacific Islands?

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is a hysterical frolic on a train across the United States during WWII, as Agnes embarks on this critical mission.

Guest Post

While researching events during WWII for my humorous mystery/adventure, Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot, and Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier, I found some interesting facts about life in the USA. during World War II:

Rationing: Because vital supplies were needed for the troops, ration stamp booklets were issued to American housewives. Many items including meat, sugar and fresh fruit were in short supply and could only be purchased with the appropriate ration stamp.

Due to blockades affecting Brazilian ships attempting to bring coffee and sugar to the USA during part of 1942-43, coffee was rationed to one pound per adult every six weeks. (This alone was reason to go to war.)

Eggs were in short supply and costly, resulting in many resident chickens in suburban backyards.

Tires: A citizen was allowed to purchase only five tires during the entire war. By today’s standards, that sounds sufficient, but despite a 35 mph national speed limit, bumpy roads and poor quality rubber led to multiple flat tires. Doctors and public safety professionals were allowed additional tire and gasoline stamps. Gasoline was rationed to four gallons per week per adult. Folks relied on car pool, buses, bicycles or walking. Men working out of town often boarded away from home and came home only intermittently.

Such shortages of food and other supplies led to black market ration books or ‘arrangements’ between friends willing to sell stamps they didn’t need.

Victory Gardens: Citizens appeared unpatriotic if they didn’t plant a victory garden. Suburban front yards were soon converted to rows of cabbages, zucchinis, tomatoes and carrots. Vegetables with a high yield requiring limited growing space became the main ingredient of Meatless Monday meals. Mrs. Roosevelt planted zucchini in the White House Rose Garden.

Watch Towers: Ever fearful of another Japanese air attack on the West Coast, and the limited availability of newly discovered radar technology, volunteers became the ‘early warning system’ in watch towers every several miles along the California and Oregon coastline.

Train Travel: Though trains traveled all the way across the U.S.A. there was no direct line and travelers often had to change from one train to another, with hours long layovers of hours or days between connections.

These events are highlighted in both of my novels. In Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier, Agnes and Katherine travel from California to Washington D.C. to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour. Carrying a package to the President she believes contains secret war documents, it is no surprise to encounter a man she believes is a Nazi spy. When she is witness to his ‘committing murder,’ she is sure she will be next on his hit list. Join Mrs. Odboddy on her hysterical romp across the USA. Filled with laugh and suspense, you will enjoy a bit of history along the way.

Excerpt – Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier

“Do you want to order some breakfast, Grandmother?” Katherine said.

“No, thank you. Just coffee. Well, maybe a muffin…with jam. That would be nice.”

The waiter nodded and turned away.

“Wait! Maybe a bowl of stewed prunes for my digestion…” Agnes lifted her head and sniffed. “And, a couple strips of bacon. It smells so wonderful.”

The waiter made notes on his tablet. “Is that all, ma’am? Are you sure you won’t be requiring something else?”

“No, thank you. That’s fine. I’m not really hungry.”

“I can see something has upset you, Grandma. What is it this time?”

Agnes shook her head. She leaned across the table and whispered. “It’s Irving. I think he killed Geraldine last night, and now he’s coming after me!”

“What?” Katherine’s voice rang through the dining car.

Heads turned and passengers stared.

“Katherine. People are staring.” Agnes lowered her head. “I said, Irving killed Geraldine. Last night, I saw him throw her fur cape off the platform. This morning, he told me she left the train at the water stop in the middle of the night. How ridiculous is that? Who would get off at a water stop? That’s hogwash.”

“Really, Grandmother! Here-We-Go-Again is leading the pack by a nose, running down the track…

“It’s the only explanation that makes sense. He killed her. I had just stepped out onto the platform. That’s when I saw him throw off her fur cape. We have to notify the authorities.”

Katherine shook her head. I-Can’t-Believe-This has taken the lead, running neck and neck with Here-We-Go-Again…“You’re not serious… Grandma, you’re always imagining… I mean… Sometimes you get carried away and… There must be a logical explanation. You can’t accuse someone of murder just because you saw him throw something off the train. Maybe it wasn’t Geraldine’s fur cape. Maybe it was something else, like his newspaper.”

“And, maybe Hitler will get religion and stop invading European countries, but I’m not going to hold my breath. Don’t you think I know the difference between a newspaper and a fur cape? I may be forgetful, and I have arthritis in my left hip but I’m not blind. I know what I saw and Geraldine is not on this train. What other explanation is there? Now that he knows I saw him, he’ll probably come after me.”

Katherine crossed her arms. …and Good-Grief-What-Now? is three lengths ahead of You-Have-Got to-Be-Kidding…“Stop being melodramatic. I’ll not have any part of this.” Katherine’s brow knit and she scowled. How many times had they been through this nonsense? Grandma saw boogie-men everywhere she turned and wasn’t shy about making accusations, even though she was always wrong. Most of the time.

“Here’s your breakfast, Mrs. Odboddy, just like you ordered.” The porter lowered the tray to the table and whipped off the silver lid. The aroma of bacon mixed with strawberry jam rose from the plate.

Agnes sniffed. “Ahh! Smells wonderful. Thank you so much.” She grinned at the porter.

He filled their coffee cups, set the cream pitcher on the table and backed away.

Katherine avoided her grandmother’s eyes and didn’t speak. The only sound was the murmurs from nearby tables.

Grandmother bit into her muffin. “So, are you going into town with me to report the murder, or not?”

Now, what should I do? Let Grandmother wander the streets of Albuquerque alone or encourage her poppycock by going with her on a fool’s errand? I’ll have to go and try to change her mind.

Katherine glanced at her watch. “It’s nearly 7:30 A.M.” She retrieved her purse. “I’ll meet you on the station platform and we’ll go into town together. Now, don’t go off half-cocked on your own. Promise?”

Agnes nodded. “If you say so. There’s not much time to shop if I go to the—”

Katherine turned on her heel and stomped away. She glanced back to see Grandmother waving at the porter. She’ll probably order waffles and eggs, because she isn’t very hungry.

About the Author

Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers and Cat Writers Association. She lives in No. Calif with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).

Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. Two more Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.

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check out the other blogs on this tour (additional giveaways!)

May 17 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

May 17 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

May 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

May 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 21 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

May 22 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

May 22 – Books Direct – INTERVIEW

May 23 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

May 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

May 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 24 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

May 25 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

May 26 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

Posted in Book Release, excerpt, suspense on May 19, 2017

Synopsis

Would you risk everything to save a stranger?

Off the coast of Venice lurks Poveglia, the world’s most haunted isle, steeped in centuries of innocent blood. A deranged doctor who took great joy in torturing his patients in life continues to rule his abandoned asylum after death.

Few go to Poveglia willingly, but medium Kate Carlsson has no choice. It’s her job.

While struggling to retrieve a young girl’s soul, Kate uncovers some shocking truths about the evil on the island that challenges her own convictions and morals—and even her life.

Is saving Lily worth making a deal with the infamous Doctor of Death, or is the price too high to pay?

Excerpt

The woman was hysterical, sobbing so much I couldn’t understand her. As I pressed my cell harder against my ear, the wind sprouted claws and slashed at my meager sweater until I shivered. Phone calls used to be rare, but I’d been getting more and more since Jackson and I had gone public with what had happened to us in China. Now everyone in Vermont seemed to know my name, and they all needed help.

“Hello? This is Kate, please talk to me.”

The crying increased in volume, blistering my ears. I would have hung up if not for the wind. Its power intensified, churning the dead leaves and other debris from the sidewalk around my feet. There was something strange about its sudden force, which drove me against the brick facing of Hildy’s Fine China & Sundries. (Hildy’d had an ampersand before it was trendy.)

“Hello?” The single word contained the edge of my fear. Both my voice and hands were shaking. Something did not want me to talk to this woman. Something did not want me to help her. I’d taken hundreds of similar calls over the past few years, but had never felt anything like this. “Please say something. I’m afraid we’re going to lose our connection.”

Clutching at my sweater to keep it from being blown away, I ducked my head, shielding my face as my hair whipped around in a furious tangle. I huddled against Hildy’s shop, wondering if I should go in, but the older woman wouldn’t be impressed to see me on my phone. Her establishment was a temple, a library. The loyal customers who kept her in business spoke in whispers and walked on tiptoes. By bursting in like this and continuing my shouted, one-sided conversation, I’d have become the proverbial bull. Not good.

“Miss Carlsson? Kate Carlsson?” The woman had regained her composure enough to gasp my name. The grip around my heart tightened, even though I’d known all along the call was meant for me.

“Yes, speaking. What’s wrong?” There was no point wasting time with idle chitchat. Obviously something was wrong—very wrong. Another gust of wind knocked my skull against the side of the building and pain jolted through my brain.

The caller was silent for so long I ordinarily would have assumed she’d hung up, lost her nerve. It happened. It wasn’t easy for people to admit they needed my help. It was a leap of faith, a willingness to open their minds to the possibility that something they’d spent their entire lives denying could be real after all.

But the wind told me otherwise. I waited for her to speak again, raising one arm between my face and the building to protect my head. The chill had seeped into my bones, and what I wanted more than anything was to run home and immerse myself in a steaming hot bath while I drank a cup of the pumpkin spice tea I’d just purchased. I didn’t want to talk to this woman. I didn’t want to hear about what terrible things were happening at her home, for surely terrible things were happening. But I’d learned long ago that my gift was bigger than me, and if this woman needed it, I wasn’t going to turn away from her.

Finally she spoke. I could barely hear her over the gale, which shrieked like a tortured soul. “My mother is attacking my child.” Her voice trembled with fresh tears. “I can’t believe it, haven’t wanted to believe it, but it’s true. I’ve seen it.”

“Is your mother dead, Mrs…”

“Walkins. My name is Walkins. Yes, she died last year. But she was such a good woman. She loved Lily. I can’t believe she would do these things. Why would she do these things?”

I could feel curious eyes burning into me, watching me struggle to stay on my feet. Pushing my hair away from my face, I risked a glimpse and was immediately sorry I had. The leaves around my feet had arranged themselves in the form of a girl, a girl not much shorter than me. As I stared, my pulse throbbing behind my temples, the terrifying apparition raised a rustling arm toward me before collapsing onto the sidewalk.

“Whatever is hurting Lily isn’t your mother, Mrs. Walkins. What’s your address? I’ll be right there.”

About the Author

J.H. Moncrieff’s work has been described as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.

She won Harlequin’s search for the next Gillian Flynn in 2016.

Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.

When not writing, she loves exploring the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

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