Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, suspense on August 11, 2017

Genre: Suspense
Date of Release: August 1, 2017
Number in Series: Stand-alone
Publisher: Cinnamon & Sugar Press
Number of page: 287

Synopsis

A father’s disappearance never solved, a mother’s secret taken to the grave, a daughter deceived…

Kathryn Landry thinks her life is just about perfect. She is the owner of a successful interior designer business in Newport Beach, California, and she has an attentive, supportive husband. But her world comes crashing down when her husband, Neil Landry, vanishes without a trace… in a situation almost identical to the disappearance of her father twenty years before.

With her father’s disappearance still a mystery, Kathryn is skeptical that the detective assigned to her case will be able to find her husband. Determined to uncover the truth, Kathryn is plunged into a world of politics, high-priced call girls and wealth. As she begins to search for her husband, a decades-old secret her mother took to the grave threatens to destroy all she holds dear. Caught up in a web of betrayals and deceit, and not knowing who to trust, Kathryn must find a way to survive as she discovers the past has a way of repeating itself.

Guest Post

Welcome to K.A. Davis!  She is here to share a bit with us about her new book.  It sounds like a great read and I’ve been to Newport Beach so maybe it will bring back some memories!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Leslie! I’m excited for the chance to share a bit about my debut suspense novel, A Game of Deceit.

I started writing my book more than seventeen years ago. My protagonist, Kathryn Landry, is in her mid-thirties and I made her a bit younger than I was when I started writing. I based some of her characteristics on myself or what I wish I was like (such as I made her tall whereas I’m very short!) Her story has some elements that came from my real-life experiences too. When I was eighteen and visiting home for the first time in three months, I walked in and found my mother crying. My father had packed up all his belongings that very day and left us for another woman! He didn’t bother telling my mom he was going, nor did he think to leave note… it was just bare closets and drawers. I know that by starting Kathryn’s story with what happened to me was cathartic but from there Kathryn took on her own personality and started telling her own story. She surprised and occasionally troubled me! There were a few times I didn’t want to go down the path she was leading me but when I tried writing a different scenario, the scene felt flat. It wasn’t until I reverted back to where she was leading me that the story flowed again.

As the years passed and as I grew older (thankfully Kathryn stayed the same!) her assistant, Marianne, started taking on my more mature characteristics. Marianne has a nurturing personality and loves to bake, something I discovered I loved to do after my granddaughters were born. While I would label A Game of Deceit as a suspense, there are some cozy mystery elements to it, such as the food Marianne prepares and shares with her friends. In keeping with the theme of my own blog, I couldn’t pass up the chance to share some of those recipes in my book as well. But overall, I tried to keep the cozy elements from interfering with the suspense and continuity of the storyline.

I also decided to place the setting in Newport Beach, California, which is the location that I worked in for several years and close to where I live. While a beach town, it’s not the humble, kitschy fun place that many coastal towns are. Maybe a vacationing visitor might not catch the undertones quite so much, but after working for a wealthy philanthropist for several years I had an insider view of some of the people who live there. While generous, there is a certain pretentious air and if you’re not a part of the “in” group with the right car, the right address, the right designer labels, then you are nobody. Kathryn has to juggle her clientele with who she really is and where she fits in, not always an easy task.

I hope you take a look at A Game of Deceit and read Kathryn’s story as she searches for the truth of what happened to both her father and her husband! Her quest takes her from the setting of Newport Beach to the wilderness area of Orange County; from luxurious yachts to a raging wildfire to attempted abductions that threatens her life.

Happy reading!

Kim

About the Author

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband, near wildfire country. During the Portola Hills fire in October 2007, she had to evacuate her two young granddaughters, one of whom has Rett Syndrome, as a wall of one hundred foot flames crept towards their home. Thankfully, due to the brave efforts of firefighters, their neighborhood was spared and no loss of life or property occurred. She was able to use that experience to write a harrowing scene in A Game of Deceit.

She writes the Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder blog and has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

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Giveaway

I was lucky enough to be chosen to have my own giveaway along with the tour giveaway.

I am giving away either a Print copy of the book (open to US residents only) or an eBook (open internationally) of A Game of Deceit

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Tour Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

July 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

July 31 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Must Read Faster – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 2 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

August 5 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 6 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

August 7 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

August 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

August 9 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

August 12 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 13 – Varietats – REVIEW

August 14 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, suspense, Thriller on August 10, 2017

Shadow Girl (An Afton Tangler Thriller)
Suspense/Thriller
2nd in Series
Release Date – August 1, 2017
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281789
Kindle ASIN: B01MXHV6CL

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree…

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage…

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Guest Post

A Q&A with Gerry Schmitt, international bestselling author of Shadow Girl, book #2 in the Afton Tangler Thriller series.

You write four series – the Afton Tangler Thrillers as Gerry Schmitt and the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries as Laura Childs. How do you manage to keep them all straight?

In my former life, I was CEO of a good-sized marketing firm. Because we handled around twenty clients at a time, I was used to balancing projects and creating uniquely different campaigns and marketing programs for each client. I just brought that same discipline to my fiction writing.

Your most recent book is Shadow Girl.  Tell us a little about that.

When a medical helicopter is blasted out of the sky, a dying tycoon’s hope for a heart transplant is dashed. But that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree that leaves Afton Tangler, family liaison officer, and the Minneapolis PD reeling. Vicious crime boss Mom Chao Cherry has sworn to avenge her husband’s death and recover her stolen narcotics – and nothing can stop her.

Were there any particular writers or books that influenced your writing?

I was a big Nancy Drew fan as a kid, then I got into Stephen King. Amazing stuff.  My secret dream is to be a horror writer.

What writer inspired you the most?

James A. Michener. When he put out his Writer’s Handbook, I couldn’t believe anyone could be so open about sharing scribbled first drafts, editor’s comments, and continuity mistakes. He really gave me the courage to plunge in and start writing novels. Now I’ve written 42 of them!

What’s a typical writing day like?

I try to work from 9 to 5 and turn out about 2,000 words per day. If I stay on track with that, I can generally get my book done fairly quickly – maybe 3 or 4 months. Then I let my finished book “age” for a while before I go back and punch it up. There hasn’t been a thing written that couldn’t use a little punching up.

What authors do you read for pleasure?

Stephen King, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Patricia Cornwell, Dean Koontz, and Douglas Preston & Lincoln Childs.

What has surprised you most about your readership and their response to your novels?

I’m amazed that readers view my characters as good friends who can be re-visited every time a new book comes out. It’s thrilling and humbling – I have important relationships to maintain!

In writing your novels, how are your characters created? Does the inspiration for them come from real life?

As strange as it sounds, characters just seem to pop into my head. People always ask if I do index cards or plan intricate bios. I can’t imagine doing anything that studied. To me writing is about intuition and gut instinct – you’ve got to sit back and let the characters speak to you. My characters always seem to buzz around inside my head like people in a crowded elevator. My job is to pry open those doors and let them elbow their way out!

About the Author

Gerry Schmitt is the author of the just-released novel Shadow Girl, the second book in her Afton Tangler Thriller series. Under the pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club MysteriesIn Gerry’s previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show.

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Giveaway

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

July 31 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

July 31 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW

August 2 – Mystery Playground – GUEST POST

August 2 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

August 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

August 4 – Bookworm Cafe –  REVIEW

August 5 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

August 5 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

August 7 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST

August 7 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW

August 8 – My Reading Journey – REVIEW

August 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 11 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

August 12 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

August 12 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

August 13 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on August 5, 2017

Dadgummit
Series: Dreamwalker Mystery (Book 4)
Publisher: Camel Press (August 1, 2017)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1603815932

Synopsis

Amateur sleuth Baxley Powell is on vacation at Stony Creek Lake in the north Georgia mountains. Her parents, best friend, and ten-year-old daughter are camping with her. Almost immediately, a young man’s body is found beside the lake. Strangely, there’s no apparent cause of death. The local police have heard about Baxley’s skill at closing unusual cases, and at their urging she agrees to help.

Her psychic sleuthing leads the police to a halfway house. There they encounter eight comatose victims and an odd man named Jonas, who also has supernatural abilities. Baxley senses Jonas cruelly drained their life force energy. Jonas escapes, taking the sheriff as a hostage. Deputy Sam Mayes, a Native American, leads the manhunt, and he keeps Baxley close, knowing she’s the key to capturing this powerful criminal.

Baxley’s paranormal talent of dreamwalking, which she uses to traverse the veil of life, draws the unwanted attention of beings believed to be Cherokee folklore. Jonas stole a treasured artifact from them, and they want it back. They hold Baxley’s best friend and two others because they know Baxley can help them. As the clock ticks, Jonas taunts this crime-fighting duo and proves to be a wily adversary.

With the body count rising, Baxley and Mayes realize they are up against an entity who appears to be invincible. Do they have the power to subdue an energy vampire, turn the tide of evil, and save the day?

Guest Post

Am I a scaredy cat?

By Baxley Powell, amateur sleuth

Since I’m a dreamwalker and therefore “different,” people think I don’t have normal reactions. I’m here to tell you that’s a complete falsehood. I cry when I stub my toe. I laugh at puppies frolicking in the park. I weep when a friend dies too young. I get nervous when I see a cop with a radar gun. (I get nervous about their Tasers too, but that’s another story.) I get misty-eyed when I see a couple in the first blush of love.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m as normal in my emotional reactions as everybody else. I’m completely human, but I have a few extras under the hood. I didn’t ask for these unusual talents. They came to me by virtue of my genetic heritage. Long ago I learned that denying what you are doesn’t change a thing. You are what you are.

These days I’ve added police consulting to my resume, along with pet sitting and plant care. Consulting sounds so benign, so office-y and safe, but it never works out that way. When I consult on a case, I use all the resources at my fingertips in this world – and the next. Let me tell you, some of the people and spirits are pretty scary.

As a kid I got trapped in the drift, that’s the limbo between here and there, so every transition I face a remnant of that primal fear. Once on the other side of the veil, I don’t always find the spirit I seek. There are tricksters, bad boy spirits, demons, and I’m sure there are other terrors I haven’t discovered yet. You might say fear keeps me on my toes.

There are unwritten rules about spiritual encounters I’ve learned through practical experience. For instance, spirits can’t tell me straight out who killed them, but they are allowed to show me scenes from their lives which may be relevant to their demise. Most of the time, they aren’t allowed to talk to me or answer my questions.

I think of my forays into the afterlife as tactical missions: get in, do my job, and get out. That’s more of a goal because dreamwalks rarely go that smoothly. In addition to spirits that don’t want to be found, spirits that are uncooperative, and harmful spirits, there’s also my Other World guide and mentor, Rose.

Mentor makes one think of a kindly, helpful person. Perhaps one who is older and wants to share the benefit of their experience. Rose is nothing like that. She’s got an agenda, and she’ll use whoever she wants to achieve it. Allegedly, Rose is undercover in the demon world and she’s an angel, but I’ve begun to doubt her story.

Three times now I’ve reached out to Rose during life or death situations. Three times she’s helped, but she demanded an hour of my life in return for each favor.

The thought of Rose being in charge of my body for three hours scares the tar out of me. However, since either I or a loved one would be dead otherwise, I believe the decision to accept Rose’s help was the only decision I could make. Now I’m stuck with fear of when she’ll collect the debt, and where it will happen, in my world or hers.

To try to regain some semblance of balance and normalcy in my life, my family is headed to the Georgia Mountains for a camping getaway before school starts again. Far as I know, Rose will still know where I am, thanks to her cross-worlds tattoo tracking system, but I’m not inviting her to join us for any of our revelry. Rose can party on her own time, with her own friends, thank you very much.

Because whatever we are, we are not friends. I am flat-out scared of her.

[For more about Baxley’s vacation in the Georgia Mountains, check out her latest appearance in Dadgummit by Maggie Toussaint]

About The Author

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published seventeen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, releases August 2017. Maggie serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, is President of Southeast Mystery Writers of America, and is Co-VP of Low Country Sisters In Crime.

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Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

August 1 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

August 2 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Island Confidential -GUEST POST

August 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 4 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – INTERVIEW

August 4 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW

August 5 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST

August 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

August 7 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 9 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW

August 10 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on July 24, 2017

Calamity at the Continental Club (Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Camel Press (July 1, 2017)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1603813358

Synopsis

The Mayflower Society is about to hold its annual meeting at Washington D.C.’s swanky gathering place for the elite, the Continental Club. That means Kit Marshall’s upper-crust future in-laws, Buffy and Winston Hollingsworth, are coming for a visit. Annoyed that Kit has not set a date to marry Doug, Buffy wants her to commit to a high society wedding at the club. Kit, though chief of staff for a congresswoman, feels uncomfortable with Buffy and Winston’s crowd.

Kit receives an unexpected reprieve in the form of murder. En route to her morning jog, she encounters the corpse of the leader of the Mayflower Society, conservative multimedia tycoon Grayson Bancroft. On the security cameras, no one was seen entering or leaving the club, which means the culprit had to be an overnight guest. Little love was lost on Bancroft, but the police have their prime suspect: Doug’s father.

Buffy and Winston, formerly disdainful of Kit’s sleuthing, urge her to investigate. With her future in-laws’ freedom and reputations at stake, Kit sets out once again to solve a murder mystery, this time aided by her fiancé Doug in addition to her friends Meg and Trevor and her dog Clarence. Her search for clues will take her from the club to the Smithsonian Museum, the National Archives, and Mount Vernon.

Book 3 of the Washington Whodunit series, which began with Stabbing in the Senate and continued with Homicide in the House.

Guest Post

Museums, Archives, and Historical Homes:  Oh My!

The third installment of the Washington Whodunit series finds our amateur sleuth extraordinaire, Kit Marshall, in unfamiliar territory. Kit is a congressional staffer who deeply understands the haunts and characters of Capitol Hill. In Calamity at the Continental Club, Kit solves the murder of a billionaire Washington, D.C. cultural philanthropist. Consequently, her chase to find the killer takes her to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the National Archives, and Mount Vernon. The cast of characters couldn’t be more different from the politicians she’s used to dealing with – but that doesn’t mean they’re less deadly.

I wrote this book at a time when I was making a transition in my own career. From 2005 until 2015, my “day job” revolved around providing policy analysis and support to Members of Congress. I worked in the United States Senate for almost three years and seven more at the Congressional Research Service. But then I switched gears and accepted a senior leadership position at the Library of Congress, focusing on the consolidation and promotion of the Library’s successful public programs. The new gig enabled me to learn about the challenges of cultural institution management, including exhibit design, visitor services, development, and educational/scholarly support. There’s still a lot to learn, and most days offer opportunities for growth and creativity. Above all, I like that my job is focused on finding ways that Americans of diverse backgrounds can interact with the Library’s tremendous collections and resources.

When I began to sketch the plot of my next mystery, it made a lot of sense to incorporate several of my favorite local cultural institutions. As part of the preparation for writing the book, I scoured each of the locations as a typical tourist, absorbing the sights and experiencing the crowds. Each site provides Kit with one or more clues about the identity of the killer, so be sure to pay special attention when she visits these historic Washington, D.C. gems.  I hope you like reading Calamity at the Continental Club as much as I enjoyed the on-the-ground research!

About the Author

colleen shoganColleen J. Shogan is a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is the former deputy director of the Congressional Research Service and previously served as a staffer in the United States Senate. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American government at Georgetown University, Penn, and George Mason. Colleen is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her BA from Boston College and her doctorate from Yale. A member of Sisters in Crime, she lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband Rob Raffety and their rescue mutt, Conan. Her first book, Stabbing in the Senate, won the Next Generation Indie Award for Best Mystery in 2016.

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Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

check out the other blogs on this tour

July 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

July 16 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

July 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

July 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

July 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

July 21 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

July 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

July 23 – Off

July 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

July 24 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

July 25 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

July 26 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

July 27 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 28 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

Posted in Fantasy, Guest Post, Science Fiction on July 22, 2017

Synopsis

JANEY SINCLAIR never knew how or why she gained her ability to teleport. She never wanted it, and for years tried her best to ignore it. But when horrible violence shattered her world, she vowed to use her mysterious talent to protect the citizens of Atlanta, in an effort to prevent anyone else from suffering the kind of agony she had. Wearing a suit of stolen military body armor, Janey became known to the public as the GRAY WIDOW.

But now the extraterrestrial source of her “Augmentation” is about to reveal itself, in an event that will profoundly impact Janey’s life and the lives of those closest to her—

TIM KAPOOR, who barely survived the assault of twisted, bloodthirsty shapeshifter Simon Grove and still struggles to pull himself together, both physically and mentally.

NATHAN PITTMAN, the teenager who got shot trying to imitate Janey’s vigilante tactics, and has since become obsessed with the Gray Widow.

SHA’DAE WILKERSON, Janey’s neighbor and newfound best friend, whose instant chemistry with Janey may have roots that neither of them fully understand.

And Janey’s going to need all the help she can get, because one of the other Augments has her sights set on the Gray Widow. The terrifying abomination known as APHRODITE LUPO is more powerful and lethal than anyone or anything Janey has ever faced. And Aphrodite is determined to recruit Janey to her twisted cause…or take her off the field for good.

Unrelenting ghosts of the past clash with the vicious threats of the future. Janey’s destiny bursts from the shadows into the light in GRAY WIDOW’S WEB, leaving the course of humanity itself forever changed.

Guest Post

I guess one of the strangest thing that’s happened to me in my writing career—or at least one of the most perplexing—is something I’ve come to think of as…

THE GREAT NADIA MYSTERY

or

WEIRDNESS AT THE BEERFEST

In 2014, I got hired to do some writing on a video game called Dying Light. Most of the game work I had done up to that point had involved a little bit of traveling, usually to Canada, and usually for maybe a week at a time every few months. Dying Light was being developed by a Polish company called Techland, and in the course of getting the job, I found out that there would be a good bit of on-site work. Like, several months’ worth. In Poland.

But hey, I needed the job, and as my wife Tracy put it, “When else are you going to get to visit a country you’ve never been to before, and on someone else’s dime?” So I packed my bags and headed out for Wrocław, Poland’s southernmost major city.

A little background: those trips to Canada were the only trips out of the United States I had ever taken. This job in Poland also involved my first-ever trans-oceanic flight and my first-ever trip to Europe—where I bypassed all the English-speaking countries entirely and landed firmly in Central Europe.

I made some really good friends while I was there, several of whom I still keep in touch with. (Hi Magda! Hi Maciek! Hi Michał!) (Not all Polish names start with M, despite how this makes it sound.) But I was a foreigner in a country where I spoke only a few words of the native language, those few being the ones I had learned in the weeks leading up to my trip. What I’m getting at is that it was very easy for me to feel isolated.

Well, my older brother Clint worked with a Pole who turned out to be from Wrocław. My brother’s colleague, when he found out where I was going, immediately said to Clint, “Get him to look up my brother! He can show your brother around the city! It’ll be great!” I’m certainly not averse to making new friends, so I happily took down Clint’s colleague’s brother’s number there in Wrocław, and around the third week I was there, I called the guy up.

He was very friendly, but he didn’t speak much English, as he was quick to point out. He said, “What we can do is take you to the beer festival going on at the stadium this Saturday. Would you like to go?” I was immediately very interested in a Polish beer festival—the Poles take their beer pretty seriously—so I said that I would indeed like to go. He said, “Great. My daughter speaks much better English than I do. She’ll come along and translate.”

So the work week went by, and when Friday afternoon rolled around, I got contacted by the guy’s daughter, whom I’ll call Nadia. (Not her real name, in case that wasn’t obvious.) Well, Nadia’s English wasn’t really that much better than her father’s, but she did make it clear that her father wasn’t going to be able to make it to the beer fest, and did I want to just go with her?

This struck me as a little odd, but I didn’t want to offend anyone, so I said, “Sure, I’ll meet you there.” In the interest of actually communicating effectively, though, I asked my friend Maciek and his wife Monika if they’d like to come along as well, since they’re both Poles who speak very-nearly-perfect English. They agreed, with the caveat that Monika would have to join Maciek and me a bit later, so Maciek and I went to meet Nadia at the Wrocław stadium (which is really a sight to behold once it gets dark, as the entire outside walls of the place light up and constantly shift colors).

It took a few minutes for Nadia to find us. When she finally rendezvoused with Maciek and me, my first thought was, “Wow, she looks like what would happen if Evangeline Lilly worked out a lot more, and maybe spent most weekends playing soccer.” Nadia was clearly kind of uneasy at meeting these people she didn’t know, and truth be told, the situation still felt pretty weird to me. But again, new friends = good, so I introduced Maciek and myself, and once Nadia realized we weren’t a couple of maniacs, she relaxed a bit and we all just stood around and drank (amazing) beers and got to know each other.

It turned out that Nadia was twenty-seven years old, had lived in Wrocław all her life, had a steady job that she didn’t care for all that much, and was just in general a very nice person. She also seemed very interested in how Maciek and I both worked in video games, and even more interested in what life was like in America. I learned at least half of this information thanks to Maciek translating, because Nadia’s English, as I said before, was pretty limited.

Now, during all of this, there was a thought in the back of my mind. I didn’t think it was a very realistic thought, but it hung there, poking at me: did Clint’s colleague think he was setting his niece up with a nice American man?

Surely not, I thought. Surely my brother mentioned that I was married. And it wasn’t as if Nadia was coming on to me. She was just talking with us. Still, to make sure there weren’t any crossed wires, I mentioned my wife several times, along with how I was fifteen years older than Nadia was.

Anyway. Monika arrived, and the four of us spent another couple of hours hanging out and drinking more (amazing isn’t even the right word for it, there was this strawberry ale that made my toes curl, holy cow) beer. By the end of the evening, we decided that we all had indeed made some new friends, and Nadia said that next time we saw each other, maybe I could help her a bit with her English. I said I’d be happy to, and she said she’d contact me the following week.

She never called.

We had exchanged numbers, and at one point I sent her a text, just in case she had misplaced my number. She sent back an oddly-worded reply about how she was hiking in the mountains. That was the last bit of communication I got, and I didn’t press it.

So from then on, I was left wondering. Was the whole thing supposed to be a set-up, but then she went home and looked me up on Facebook and saw that I was married? Or is that just my writer’s over-active imagination at work? Maybe she was just being polite the whole evening, and was happy never to see the weird American guy again? Like, had I offended her in some way and not realized? I don’t know. The one thing I did find out later, that might have some bearing on it or might not, is that in Poland, you wear your wedding ring on your right hand.

Anyway. I have no answers for the whole deal. It remains The Great Nadia Mystery.

About the  Author

Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he soon branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games. His twenty-six-year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and is the author of the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy novel series Five Elements. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats.

Website * Twitter

check out the other blogs on this tour

7/19/17 Jordan Hirsch  Review

7/19/17 I Smell Sheep  Top Ten’s List

7/20/17 SpecMusicMuse Author’s Interview

7/21/17 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews  Top Ten’s List

7/22/17 Bookishly Me  Review

7/22/17 The Seventh Star Blog   Author’s Interview

7/22/17 StoreyBook Reviews   Guest Post

7/23/17 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews  Guest Post

7/24/17 Infamous Scribbler   Author’s Interview

7/25/17 Beauty in Ruins   Guest Post

7/26/17 Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Mystery and More!   Author Interview

7/26/17  Jeni’s Bookshelf, Reviews, Swag, and More!  Review

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Comments Off on Guest Post – Gray Widow’s Web by Dan Jolley @_DanJolley #fantasy #sci-fi #trilogy
Posted in Guest Post, mystery, paranormal on July 20, 2017

New Sins for Old Scores
by Tj O’Connor
Black Opal Books (May 27, 2017)
Paperback 370 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1626946750
E-Book ASIN: B071S213GB

Synopsis

Murder, like history, often repeats itself. And, when it does, it’s the worst kind of murder.

Detective Richard Jax was never good at history—but, after years as a cop, he is about to get the lesson of his life. Ambushed and dying on a stakeout, he’s saved by Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall—the ghost of a World War II OSS agent. Trick has been waiting since 1944 for a chance to solve his own murder. Soon Jax is a suspect in a string of murders—murders linked to smuggling refugees out of the Middle East—a plot similar to the World War II OSS operation that brought scientists out of war-torn Europe. With the aid of a beautiful and intelligent historian, Dr. Alex Vouros, Jax and Trick unravel a seventy-year-old plot that began with Trick’s murder in 1944. Could the World War II mastermind, code named Harriet, be alive and up to old games? Is history repeating itself?

Together, Jax and Trick hunt for the link between their pasts—confronted by some of Washington’s elite and one provocative, alluring French Underground agent, Abrielle Chanoux. Somewhere in Trick’s memories is a traitor. That traitor killed him. That traitor is killing again. Who framed Jax and who wants Trick’s secret to remain secret? The answer may be, who doesn’t?

Guest Post

Who’s Sinning and Who’s Settling Old Scores?

Tj O’Connor

New Sins for Old Scores is my latest murder mystery with a paranormal twist—the twist is that one of the lead characters is dead. Yup, read it again. He’s dead. And this story is packed with a band of characters, each with their own agenda, and each trying to either sin or settle an old score. A couple are doing both. The secret to the story is, as you might guess, who’s sinning and who’s settling scores. When you find out who’s doing both, you’ll know who the killer(s?) is/are.

You see, I’m one of those authors who plot out the story and ready a cast of characters to do my dirty work. Schemers and dreamers, haters and lovers, do-gooders and killers. Unlike most authors, there are also the present-day players and the historic players—dead ones, too.

Like you’ve probably heard other authors say, once I start writing, my characters takeover and do what they want. No really, it happens. I start out with a cast and each one has a story to tell—the story I plotted out for them. By the time I’m done with the first draft, they’ve gone their own way and created their own stories, often ignoring me completely. Some of them do a better job than I can, too. Some of them I had high-hopes for have become evil and dastardly and have gone and sinned on their own. Others, well, they are in the midst of settle scores that I didn’t even know existed.

Before I give you a snapshot of these page-players, let me explain what New Sins for Old Scores is about—at least, on the surface:

Murder, like history, often repeats itself. And when it does, it’s the worst kind of murder.

Detective Richard Jax was never good at history. Now, after years as a cop, he was about to get the lesson of his life.

As Jax lay dying after being ambushed at an old inn on a stakeout, he’s saved by Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall—the ghost of a World War II OSS agent. Trick has been waiting since 1944 for a chance to solve his own murder and prove he wasn’t a traitor. Soon, Jax is a suspect in a string of murders. The murders are linked to smuggling refugees out of the Middle East—a plot similar to the World War II “Operation Paperclip,” an OSS operation that brought scientists out of war-torn Europe. With the aid of a beautiful and brilliant historian, Dr. Alex Vouros, Jax and Trick unravel a seventy year-old plot that began with Trick’s murder in 1944. Could the World War II mastermind, code named Harriet, be alive and up to old games? Is history repeating itself?

Together, they hunt for the link between their pasts, confronted by some of Washington’s elite and one provocative, alluring French Underground agent, Abrielle Chanoux. Somewhere in Trick’s memories is a traitor. That traitor killed him. That traitor is killing again.

Who framed Jax and who wants Trick’s secret to remain secret? The answer may be, who doesn’t?

New Sins for Old Scores is my fourth published novel. It was written a few years ago in the middle of another series I was writing—Oliver Tucker’s Gumshoe Ghost (I hate that moniker) mysteries. Since, I’ve also completed my thriller, The Consultant: Double Effect that will be out in May, 2018 from my new publisher, Ocean View Publishing. Each of these stories has been plot driven with strong characters that always have secrets to hide. In each, I provided the plot and my characters jump in and do the rest. Oh, I give them all names like Jax and Trick (New Sins), Tuck and Angel (The Gumshoe Ghost), and Jonathan Hunter who is The Consultant.  With each of these, I drafted the outline and the characters drove the story chapter-by-chapter and character-by-character. By the end of my novels, the characters had become people I didn’t even recognize—the good ones and the evil ones. New Sins for Old Scores was no exception. Let me give you a peak at who’s who in my stories.

Special Agent Richard Jax and OSS Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall: New Sins centers on these two accidental partners joined in the chasm of 75 years. Jax must come to terms with being the chief suspect in a double murder. He’s lost his love, his best friend, his career, and perhaps his mind—he’s seeing and taking advice from the spirit of Capt. Trick McCall, after all. Yet, Trick doesn’t quite see their friendship as a problem what so ever. Sure, he’s dead and all, but he’s a 1940’s man and who else can help solve a 75 year old murder case? Especially when it’s his! Trick must adjust to the modern day—2011—with computers and cell phones, the internet, and of course, the casual, often risqué lifestyle of the 21st century. Both men are hunting killers. The question is, is it the same one?

Surrounding Jax’s homicide investigation is the Virginia Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) Task Force. Once his friends and colleagues, they’re now a collection of the trusted and the devious. First, there’s Mike Martinez, the BCI chief. He and Jeremy Levin—a Princeton Lawyer who oddly joined the state police—are under the spell of FBI Agent H.P. MacTavish. MacTavish is a duplicitous figure who arrived right after Jax’s ambush with claims of WWII treason and all the while hiding behind the veil of national security. Then there’s Detective Dylan Finch, a local sheriff’s deputy thrown into the mix. Finch clearly doesn’t want to be part of the circus. He doesn’t trust any of the BCI agents and while he’s worried about the BCI finding the killer, he has his own agenda that is more important. The wild card on the Task Force is Christie Krein. She’s young, pretty, smart, and doesn’t believe for a moment that Jax is a murderer. She also doesn’t believe he’s seeing ghosts. Throughout the story, each of these characters is hiding secrets and each has their own reason to be chasing the killer—or protecting him. They all have one thing in common: they think Jax is a little crazy.

Just when Jax thinks he understands what’s happening around him—Trick McCall included—Professor Alexandra “Alex” Vouros appears. Alex is as beautiful as she is brilliant, and yes, she has her own agenda, too. Alex is searching for evidence to prove or disprove Trick McCall’s innocence as a traitor and murderer back in 1944. She’s in league with John H. Singleton—one of the few survivors from Trick’s failed attempt to capture Harriet, the elusive double-agent responsible for smuggling illegal Nazi’s into the US during the war. Singleton, along with other OSS survivors, all have a stake in the outcome of Alex’s research. The trouble is each one wants a different outcome, for a different reason. Each is willing to do anything to get their way. Not all of them want Harriet’s true identity discovered. All of them want the past to remain in the past. Secret. Gone. Dead.

Finally, there is young Ameera, a pretty Afghani refugee being secreted from safehouse to safehouse by a gang of Latino thugs. She and her family are on the run and their only protection is the dangerous street gang, the Salvadorian Muchachos. Ameera faces danger at each turn and she’s not sure which is the most threatening, those hunting her or the Muchachos protecting her. But she knows the secrets connecting 1944 and Richard Jax—who the murderer is and who was there to cover it up.

Now, after reading about these characters in New Sins for Old Scores, you might be thinking I’ve got too many characters. I don’t think I do. In a murder mystery, having too few makes it easy to figure out whodunit. Right? In New Sins, because of the historical subplots, you have to figure out whodunit now and whodidit then. So the more characters the better.

Of this band of characters—past, present, and those living and dead—there are those still sinning and those settling old scores. The question is—who’s who? The answer is not what you think.

About the Author

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE 2015 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS (IPPY) FOR MYSTERIES. He is the author of New Sins for Old Scores, from Black Opal Books, and Dying to KnowDying for the Past, and Dying to TellHis new thriller, The Consultant, will be out in May 2018 from Oceanview Publishing. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York’s Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also the 2015 Bronze Medal winner of the Reader’s Favorite Book Review Awards, a finalist for the Silver Falchion Best Books of 2014, and a finalist for the Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

July 10 – Student of Opinions – REVIEW

July 10 – Readslot – SPOTLIGHT

July 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW

July 12 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

July 13 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 14 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

July 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

July 16 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

July 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

July 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

July 21 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

July 22 – OFF

July 23 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, Inspirational, Short Story on July 19, 2017

Synopsis

In this collection of seven short stories from Jason Atkinson, follow a man accused of murder, a runaway girl on a train, a scientist at the heart of a government conspiracy, and more! Full of twists and turns, Seven Threads offers a selection of fast-paced stories full of heart and excitement.

Guest Post

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

You might think by reading this book, and considering the Title’s of the stories, that my inspiration comes from a dark place. “The Runaway Tracks”, “Mr. Dean Brant – The Lost Brother”, and so on come across as down and depressing, but where the stories go are far from it.

I wanted to write stories that not only reflect real life possibilities, but also the goodness that each human being can offer. In a nutshell, my inspiration comes from within. My inspiration comes from the gentleness that mankind can show toward one another. It’s out there. We… are out there. But sometimes it is hard to see it or feel it.

Each story tells its own tale with twists and turns throughout, and it would seem that the end is lost for some of these characters, or even these stories as a whole, but I made sure to weave in their the kindness that the people of any place, background, can have towards their fellow neighbor. It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom; there can be affection and love where it’s needed most.

The story “Life is A Rummage Sale” is about a man who is down on his luck. When he thinks all hope might be lost, he meets someone who changes everything for him, and it all started with a few simple words.

It’s stories like these that can be a nice reminder that life has purpose and meaning. That our own little bubble isn’t what we think it is, it can be impacted and changed by those around us in the best ways if we choose ourselves to be our best self.

My inspiration comes from me, the people I see, talk to and interact with. And I hope as you read this book you will be impacted too.

About the Author

Jason Atkinson lives in the Midwest with his wife and son. With a love of writing, this is his 3rd book, but first book in the fiction category. Short stories are easy to digest, and yet, this book still provides all the joys for the long haul reader. Jason write for everyone in mind when creating this piece and hopes you will enjoy it as much as he did when writing it.

Facebook * Website

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery on July 10, 2017

Too Many Women in the Room (A Gilda Greco Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
The Wild Rose Press, Inc (May 19, 2017)
252 Pages
E-Book ASIN: B06XXNPRXS

Synopsis

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture—Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario.

Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Amazon (US)Amazon (Canada)Kobo

Indigo * The Wild Rose Press * Barnes & Noble

Guest Post

10 Interesting Facts About Chief Detective Carlo Fantin

As the love interest in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series, Carlo Fantin is torn between his growing feelings for Gilda and dedication to duty. Here’s a look at his back story.

  1. Born and raised in Sudbury—a mid-sized city in Northern Ontario—Carlo embraced the sports culture of the community. During the warmer months, he swam, water-skied, and fished in the lakes that surrounded the area. In the winter, he enjoyed playing hockey, downhill skiing, and snowmobiling.
  2. Carlo was the resident “hunk” during his years at Sudbury Secondary. A natural athlete, he excelled on the basketball court.
  3. Gilda was first captivated by his arresting blue eyes. She came up with thirty-seven descriptions of Carlo’s eyes when Mrs. Gillespie assigned one of her Monday morning English composition exercises: bluer than blue, sky blue, cornflower blue, robin’s egg blue…
  4. During his senior year, Carlo fell in love with Melly Grace Godfrey, a visiting beauty from Tennessee. But Melly Grace couldn’t fathom the idea of living in such a cold climate. She issued an ultimatum: Relocate to Tennessee or end the relationship.
  5. Carlo went directly from high school to the Police Academy. Passionate and committed to keeping Sudbury crime free, he rose quickly through the ranks and became Chief Detective.
  6. When Carlo met Sandra Costanza at her cousin’s wedding in Hamilton, he was smitten. Within a year they were married and went on to have two children: Steve and Tania.
  7. Carlo was devastated by Sandra’s diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer at age forty-eight. Helpless, he watched as she grew weaker and eventually succumbed to the disease.
  8. Resigned to living alone, Carlo focused on his career and growing family. When time permitted, he hopped on a plane and visited his children and five grandchildren in western Canada.
  9. Carlo was surprised by his initial reaction to Gilda. Interested but wary about the divorced lottery millionaire who enjoyed her single life, he maintained his distance.
  10. Their on/off relationship frustrated both Gilda and Carlo. But he couldn’t risk getting too close to a woman who attracted dead bodies and became embroiled in his murder investigations.

About the Author

In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

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July 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 11 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 13 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

July 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – INTERVIEW

July 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

July 16 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

July 17 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 18 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 19 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

July 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

July 23 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on July 8, 2017

A Crime of Passion Fruit (A Bakeshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 27, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250088079
E-Book ASIN: B01MRU56AS

Synopsis

Torte―everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop―is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .

Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that adead body would find its way onto the itinerary . .
“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” ―Fresh Fiction

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

“A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.”  ―Library Journal

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound

Guest Post

Today StoreyBook Reviews welcomes Juliet….I have to say I agree with her belief of food and love!  Take it away Juliet!

Many thanks for inviting me today! I’m so happy to be here. Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Juliet Montague Capshaw, but I prefer to go by Jules. I’m a trained pastry chef who believes that food is a love language. This could be due in part to my upbringing. Food was always an expression of my parents’ love when I was young. They opened our family bakeshop, Torte, not only because they shared a common interest in creating delectable sweets and pastries, but also because they held a deep commitment to our community in my hometown of Ashland, Oregon. Torte has become more than a bakeshop. It’s a gathering place for friends and neighbors to linger over a steaming espresso while noshing on homemade bread and chatting about the latest gossip.

My memories of growing up in the bakeshop are filled with fragrant scents of cinnamon and nutmeg, steaming coffee, and lots of happy laughter around the giant kitchen island. Torte was my second home, so naturally when it came time for me to venture out into the world I decided to attend culinary school. I had figured that after graduating I would return to Ashland, but instead I landed a job on a boutique cruise ship, The Amour of the Seas, and ended up spending the next ten years traveling to exotic ports and sailing on azure waters.

Life on the ship was full of adventure. I spent every spare minute perfecting my craft under the watchful eye of the head pastry chef and eventually worked my way into the role. I also used my time at port to taste a variety of new flavors that have infused my cooking and baking with texture and sparked my creativity. I don’t regret any of the time that I spent on the ship, however when I learned that my husband had been keeping a secret from me I left in a hurry and thought I might never return.

Ashland welcomed me home and became a cozy escape for me to figure out what was next. I had forgotten how much I had missed its charming Elizabethan streets, the eclectic mix of actors, musicians, and writers who are drawn to the town for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and what it was like to work in a small bakeshop. At Torte, my hands are always coated in flour and my apron splattered with sauces and or fresh berry preserves. I’ve been able to return to my roots. I love spending an afternoon pipping buttercream icing onto a layered dark chocolate cake, or pressing pie crust by hand. Baking is the best way to heal a broken heart. I’ve literally worked out my personal problems in the dough.

Knowing all of this, it might surprise you to hear that I decided on a whim to return to the ship. Don’t worry it’s only temporary. You see my estranged husband, Carlos, called and begged me to help fill in. I would have said no, but he sweetened the deal by offering to give my mom and her beau an all-inclusive getaway. When I mentioned the idea of a week in the tropics, her eyes lit up. She’s poured her heart and soul into Torte and I couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a vacation. So, I agreed. We packed our bags, and I thought we would be off on a sunny adventure. Only from the moment we stepped onboard, I knew that this wasn’t going to be a stress-free holiday for me. Running a commercial kitchen, managing a huge staff, and trying to keep my emotions in-check around Carlos was going to be a serious challenge. If that wasn’t enough, I stumbled upon a body floating face down in the pool.

Now I’m mixed up in a murder investigation and responsible for assembling hundreds and hundreds of show-stopping pastries. I have a feeling that as soon as I return to Ashland, I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation.

About The Author

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

 

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June 27 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 27 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 28 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 28 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

June 29 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 29 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – GUEST POST

June 30 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

June 30 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

June 30 – Mystery Playground – Drinks and Reads

July 1 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

July 1 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 3 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 3 – Celebrating Authors – INTERVIEW

July 4 – OFF

July 5 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

July 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

July 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 7 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 7 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

July 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

July 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

July 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 11 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

July 11 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on July 1, 2017

Dead Air and Double Dares
by Janis Thornton

Cup of Tea Books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing (June 18, 2017)
Number of Pages 310
E-BOOK ASIN: B071L28F34

Synopsis

Crystal Cropper, editor of the Elmwood Gazette, has added incentive in finding out who killed Horace Q. Ogilvie, owner of the local radio station and the most reviled man in town. Horace turns up dead minutes before he is supposed to broadcast his next malicious editorial, designed to destroy yet another Elmwood luminary. Fortunately for the police department, Horace’s list of future targets provides an abundant pool of suspects. Unfortunately for Crystal, her name is at the top!

Guest Post

Crystal and Janis … Inseparable!

By Crystal Cropper

Once again, my old chum, Janis Thornton, has immortalized me on the pages of yet another outstanding, cozy mystery. But, while Janis may tell you “Dead Air & Double Dares” is a work of fiction, there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

“Dead Air & Double Dares,” just like “Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies” before it, is a slice-of-life tale, adapted entirely from my life. Thus, every sidekick, every villain, every victim, every suspect, every poke, every punch line, every wisecrack, every red herring, every MacGuffin, every cheeseburger and vanilla shake … They’re all true facts. They’re all mine! I lived them!

There’s no denying my good friend Janis is a superb scribe. However, had it not been for me standing beside her, whispering in her ear, telling her what happened to who, how and when, her career as a cozy mystery novelist might well be nonexistent.

Our alliance began some 10 years ago, after I returned to Elmwood. I was a seasoned journalist, having spent many years working as a crime-beat reporter at a West Coast daily newspaper. One day out of the blue, the Elmwood Gazette recruited me as its editor. I had thrived on big city chaos and wasn’t sure I could handle the no-drama predictability of a small-town newspaper, covering church bazaars, county fairs, and annual festivals. But what the heck? I figured a change of pace might do me good, so I said “yes.”

I had only been in my new gig a couple of weeks when Janis came in looking for a story. Although she didn’t know squat about crafting a decent cozy mystery, her writing samples were promising. But she definitely needed work.

Who better to take her hand and lead her into the world of Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, and Joan Hess than me, Crystal Cropper? As Janis’ mentor, I’ve been schooling her for years on the correct way to craft a hard-hitting story by following her instincts, piecing together clues, keeping her mouth shut, her eyes open, and pulling it all together in a compelling way that keeps readers up at night.

To tell you the truth, I’m a little concerned about her cozy mysteries. Even though I willingly opened myself up to her like a … well, like a book, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with her telling the world my secrets, fears, and inner thoughts. This latest book of hers — “Dead Air and Double Dares” — hits a little too close to home. It makes me a tad uncomfortable.

Once she discovered I was one of the suspects in Horace Q. Ogilvie’s murder, she did her homework. She quickly learned the true identity of the radio station’s new manager, and why Elmwood’s interim mayor had spent time in Florida. But I have no idea where she dug up my deepest, darkest secrets involving that bogus plagiarism charge or my long-lost granddaughter. But if you want to know, you only have to read the book.

All in all, Janis has been an exceptionally good student — possibly my best, and I think “Dead Air & Double Dares” is a sterling testament to how far she’s come as an author. In the process, some might say we’ve become inseparable … two peas in a pod … yin and yang … bookends … birds of a feather … doppelgangers! And they might be right.

Simply put, Janis Thornton is nothing without Crystal Cropper.

And vice versa!

And now you know the rest of the story. •

About the Author

Janis Thornton is a freelance writer, personal historian, and award-winning journalist. She is the author of two local history books, Images of America: Tipton County and Images of America: Frankfort. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Indiana Writers Center, Association of Personal Historians, and the Midwest Writers Workshop Planning Committee. She lives in a small Indiana town not unlike Elmwood. Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies is her debut cozy mystery.

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