Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Spotlight on June 21, 2017

Synopsis

Truth Seeker Kuntza faces challenges above and below the sea’s surface, fighting deadly misinformation   as well as a bizarre and complicated plot to wipe out most of   the Sky Fairy Tribe.  Under his instruction, lightning   machines are constructed to overcome a terrible  snowstorm.   But what of the grave threat from the Water   Fairy Tribe—Kuntza’s tribe—to the surface tribes?

Admiral Constance Kimberlite and Prince Cambrian Bijou and the young Historian Rolf Warner accompany the Seeker beneath the waves to assist him in his efforts to overcome his tribe’s fears of an impending invasion.  Meanwhile Amber Bullierd, daughter and heir of the rebellious Count Bullierd, threatens to block their success through intrigue and a terrifying coup  attempt.  With the fate of Fairydom hanging in the balance, there is no room for error.

Excerpt

As Prince Oliver followed his father from Arnold Mosley’s elegant hotel suite, he saw a flicker of movement out of the corner of one eye.  The long hallway was lined with statues and ornate paintings, and dotted with recessed doorways that lead to other suites.  Curiousity getting the better of him, Oliver signaled for the marine behind him to continue flying forward no matter what.  When they reached the next doorway, Oliver slid into it.  Careful to stay hidden, Oliver turned back towards Mosley’s suite and sank soundlessly into the plush carpet between the beautifully carved planks that framed the doorway.  Dropping first to his knees, then down to lie flat, he stifled a chuckle at the idea of trying to explain himself to the hotel guest if the door beside him should abruptly open.  Carefully, he inched his face towards the edge of the doorframe.  The small party that had escorted him and his father to Mosley’s hotel faded away, the sharp click of a window—locking behind them—the last sound he heard.  One eye finally clear of the doorframe, Oliver held perfectly still.  And waited.  The hallway was so still that he thought he could hear the paint on the walls fading in the bright afternoon sunlight.

The motion he saw might have belonged to anyone—a chambermaid, another guest…  Oliver was beginning to give in to the feeling of foolishness when a slightly built man-fairy peeked out from behind one of the statues at the far end of the hall.  Mosley had dismissed his servants when the king first arrived, which meant the suite should still be empty, Mosley having also gone off to take care of personal business.  Oliver’s right eyebrow lifted fractionally when the man-fairy slipped over to Mosley’s door and glanced furtively around before he produced something from the inner folds of his scribe’s robe, and let himself in through the locked door.

More than curious now, Oliver came silently to his feet.  Decades of playing hide and seek with his younger siblings contributed to his swift, but soundless flight down the length of the hallway, where he arrived just in time to slip between Mosley’s door and its frame.  He quickly dropped to his knees in a shadow before it swung shut behind him.  From there, he was able to watch as the scribe began searching single-mindedly for something on Mosley’s desk.

It was all so absurd that Oliver nearly gave in to the urge to laugh at himself.  He had just assisted his father in interrogating Mosley—and unless Mosley was an even more masterful manipulator than the Wood Fairy Minister of the Interior, he had been telling the truth when he denied any involvement in the delay of the winter storms.  Now he, Oliver Bijou, Crown Prince of the Sky Fairy Tribe, was hiding in the shadows?  Sleuthing was the specialty of his younger brother, Prince Cambrian.  Still, Oliver could not shake the feeling that something was amiss here.  Mosley might have given a scribe a key to his suites, but…scribe!  Another piece of the puzzle fell into place, bringing Oliver to his feet precipitously.  Cambrian had recently brought evidence to them that a scribe was involved in the conspiracy.

Startled by Oliver’s movement, the scribe jerked to one side.  His elbow struck one of the taller stacks, knocking it over in an avalanche of blue, white, and yellow papers that fluttered to the floor.  Some fell quite a distance.  Others struck the hem of the frozen scribe’s robe and landed about his feet.

“Harold Scroggins,” Oliver casually scooped up a small volume of poetry from the entryway table beside him, “I arrest you in the name of the crown.”  As he had expected, Harold flew towards the nearest window.  Oliver’s arm came up and snapped forward, hurling the hard-bound book towards Harold’s back.  “Well, that is a first,” Oliver murmured to himself as he watched the scribe crumple to the floor, temporarily stunned.  “I do not recall ever seeing a book drop a scribe before.”

Tugging the window sashes free, Oliver bound his prisoner securely.  As he was about to begin searching the desk himself, Harold stirred.  Weak blue eyes stared up through his tousled blue bangs, full of unanswered questions for his assailant.

About the Author

I enjoy reading and writing, but not arithmetic.  Which is to say that I love math, but it hates me.  So I don’t usually count the days or hours spent reading, writing, or watching television, I just enjoy them.  I write because that’s the gift I’ve been given.  I read and watch to store up idea seedlings, which sometimes spring, fully-formed, to mind.  Sometimes that’s because I loved what I’ve been consuming and other times because I loathed it.  Experiencing both (as little as possible of the loathe, of course) helps me define myself as a writer and plays a huge (yet subconscious) role in my work.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Giveaway, Spotlight on June 20, 2017

Synopsis

To what end would an exiled princess go to regain her rightful throne?

Lady Dawn, Hoffnung’s princess, brutally learns what it’s like to have everything unexpectedly stripped from her after Lord Waxxon’s coup kills her half-elf mother, Queen Taube, and he assumes the throne. Before Dawn’s plight, her mother’s bloodcurdling screams are etched into Dawn’s memory, giving her the resolve to somehow build an army, kill Lord Waxxon, and reclaim the throne. However, the odds of such an undertaking are far greater than a princess can overcome alone.

Unable to find Lady Dawn after scouring the castle and the kingdom, Lord Waxxon places a bounty on her, sending his ruthless henchmen across Aetheaon to locate and kill her. But Lady Dawn has disguised herself as a lowly squire, chosen by one of her late father’s Dragon Skull Knights, who doesn’t know her true identity. Alongside her knight, they seek other Dragon Skull Knights to gather forces to bring Waxxon’s reign to a quick end. Yet, her identity must remain secret, even to the knight she serves, until they have accumulated the necessary masses to storm Hoffnung.

Dawn is not without hope, as warriors, a wizard, and rulers of all races seek to find her before Waxxon does. Unexpected aid comes in another astonishing way. Although dragons have long been thought extinct, three dragons sisters use this belief to their advantage, veiling themselves as human warrioresses through magic. Traveling through hamlets, townships, and cities, the sisters hire mercenaries and armies with the caches of gold, silver, and gems from their lairs while they diligently search for Lady Dawn. And once they find her, they will rally beside her as she fights to reclaim Hoffnung’s throne.

A Cinderella story? Hardly. Quite the opposite in many respects. No longer pampered as a princess, Dawn discovers she’s more than royalty. She assumes the role of a servant in order to gain the necessary skills to fulfill her vendetta. She’s a fighter, a survivor, and a woman with the heart of a warrioress. Enduring a squire’s training hardens her, the loss of her mother and the kingdom forces her to seek vengeance, and her biggest fear when she takes the throne is that she will become a calloused ruler and lose her compassion for mankind.

Excerpt

Prologue

When Boldair awakened, his stubby muscular arms were shackled above his head to a cold wet wall. He looked around the small dark prison cell. A torch flickered outside the tiny barred window on the thick iron-braced wooden door. Overhead at the highest reach of the ceiling, the bright yellow moon spilled through the grated hole. He guessed it was the dead of night, but it could be closer to dawn for all he knew.

His stomach growled from hunger. He didn’t know how long he had been locked in the cell or how he had even wound up there.

The last thing he recalled was drinking ale at the Bridgebarrow Tavern with other dwarves while swapping tales of adventure and treasures they had found. Strong drink tended to draw out his need to brag and exaggerate about his discoveries.

A half dozen muscled Legelarid knights dressed in chain armor had been seated across the room, but they had paid he and his Dwarven friends no mind. The knights focused their attention more on the dark-haired female warrior wearing her snug gilded breastplate that cut short of her midriff than anything else. Her metal belt, which had a decorative dragonhead across her navel, covered most of her abdominal region. Gold-plated leggings and boots protected her lower extremities. Her winged helm rested on the stool beside her, and her round shield, adorned with sharp dragon’s teeth, was propped against the side of the bar.

The female warrior sat at the bar, staring down at the silver flask before her. Although she sat in a near trancelike state, Boldair assumed her concentration was attuned to take in all of the conversations and interactions around her at the same time. At the angle from where he sat, he was unable to see her face clearly.

With a rigid coldness, she ignored the knight leader’s drunken lewd comments and suggestive offers of gold to hire her to join their company during their journey back to Legelarid. Something Boldair understood to have double meaning, and had the insulting remarks been to a woman less capable of holding her own, he would have stood and challenged the half drunken knight. Instead, he chose to continue spinning his tales while awaiting the woman’s reaction to the knights, which seemed inevitable.

She kept her right hand tightened on the jeweled hilt of her short sword. The black blade was different than any sword Boldair had ever seen before. It wasn’t made of any metal he’d ever crafted, and the blade was cylindrical shaped and sharply curved.

The armored female sat with her head slightly cocked to the left, and she seemed to be listening to what Boldair and the other dwarves at his table discussed, so they lowered their voices. A barmaid brought fresh tankards of Bridgebarrow Stout and placed them on the table. Boldair smiled, downed the strong ale, and wiped the froth from his black beard with the back of his hand before telling his next tale of treasure hunting. His Dwarven brethren had sat eagerly and wide-eyed to hear what else Boldair had collected from the deep dark caverns and added to his stashed riches.

Tugging against the prison chains, Boldair shook himself from the daze and fought hard to remember more.

Boldair winced and groaned; thinking of what had happened after the night settled when he and his brethren had left the tavern to travel north to Damdur. However, more than that, he couldn’t recall anything else. The base of his skull ached and burned. Pain radiated through his head and pulsed behind his eyes. Perhaps someone had welted him from behind with a blunt object and dragged him to this tiny prison. But why?

After his eyes slightly adjusted to the darkness of the cell, he glanced around. Less than four feet away was the shadowed outline of another shackled prisoner.

Boldair attempted to rouse his confined neighbor. “Hey! Been ‘ere long?” Boldair asked.

Other than the whistling dank breeze that smelled of ocean spray, dead fish, and burnt flesh flowing through the barred door window, the room remained silent. In the faint light, his cell companion didn’t move or reply.

“Sleeping, eh?” he asked, still hoping to stir the man awake. Nothing was worse than being imprisoned without someone else to talk to. Total isolation was the purest torture. Hell without the flames.

The man didn’t move, and from his overall silence, he was not breathing either.

“Damn,” Boldair said. “T’would be me luck. Come to Bridgebarrow and get locked inside a prison with a corpse. Bah!”

Wind flowed downward from the grated ceiling opening. The smell of charred flesh drifted from his dead cellmate, causing Boldair to gag. The tight chain restraints prevented him from covering his nose. The stench forced him to hold his breath until the air grew still once more.

“You’ve been here for some time, I suppose,” he said, coughing.

Boldair glanced at the small barred window on the door and wondered if a guard stood outside.

“Wonder why I’m stuck here, do ye?” he asked the dead man, hoping his continued conversation caught the attention of someone in the outer hall. “Aye, I’ll tell ya. No secret be wasted with ye anyways. This ol’ dwarf is the best treasure hunter in all of Aetheaon. Aye, but it be true.

“No, I’m not a thief. Never stolen one single solitary thing. I hunt treasures. I do. Since the demise of the dragons of Aetheaon, the treasures are much easier to take, providing you happen upon one of their long forgotten lairs. No fire-breathing lizards guarding the dark caverns makes it—”

“You boast too much.”

Boldair straightened his back against the cold wet wall. He squinted, trying to see where the cold stern voice had come from. It wasn’t in the direction of the dead prisoner closest to him, and it wasn’t directly outside the door, either. The voice crept from the darkest corner of the rock-walled cell.

“Who be there?” he asked in a hoarse whisper. His eyes widened as he awaited an answer.

“I’m one who wants her treasure back.”

 

About the Author

Leonard D. Hilley II grew up a quiet, shy kid with an inquisitive mind. Learning to read at an early age, he fell in love with books. He read every book he could get his hands on and stacks of dark comics about ghosts, monsters, and creepy things that stalk the night.

Like a lot of boys, he caught beetles, wooly bears, butterflies, and had an ant farm. When he was ten, his interests in science increased even more after seeing a professor’s insect collection. He started an insect collection and learned to rear butterflies and moths to obtain perfect specimens. After learning more about botany and gardening, he set his goal to become an entomologist.

At eleven, he saw Star Wars. His imagination soared and he started writing. Six months later he had written the first draft of a novel. A novel he later discarded, but the characters stuck with him. Years later, these characters came to life in Shawndirea, which Hilley had intended to be a novella for Devils Den. The characters, however, refused to be ignored and took the opportunity to unveil Aetheaon in their first epic fantasy. Lady Squire: Dawn’s Ascension was quick to follow.

Shawndirea was Hilley’s farewell to butterfly collecting, and those who have read the novel understand why. He has taken Ray Bradbury’s advice to heart: “Follow the characters.” He does. He follows, listens, and take notes—often never knowing where they’re going to take him, but he’s never been disappointed in the results.

Hilley earned a B.S. Biology and an MFA in Creative Writing to combine his love of science and writing.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight, suspense on June 15, 2017

Fatal Facade (An Allison Campbell Mystery Book 4)
Cozy Mystery/Suspense
4th in Series
Henery Press (June 13, 2017)
Paperback: 278 pages

Synopsis

Allison Campbell accepted a dream assignment: a visit to the Italian Dolomites to help Hollywood socialite Elle Rose reinvent herself. A guest cottage on the grounds of Elle’s historic castle promises to be a much-needed respite from Allison’s harried life on the Philadelphia Main Line, and the picturesque region, with its sharp peaks, rolling pastures, and medieval churches, is the perfect spot from which to plan her upcoming wedding.

Only this idyllic retreat is anything but peaceful. There are the other visitors—an entourage of back-biting expats and Hollywood VIPs. There’s Elle’s famous rock star father, now a shadowy recluse hovering behind the castle’s closed doors. And then there’s Elle’s erratic behavior. Nothing is as it seems. After a guest plummets to her death from a cliff on the castle grounds, Allison’s trip of a lifetime turns nightmarish—but before she can journey home, Allison must catch a killer.

Books in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series:

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About the Author

Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again on a micro-farm with her husband, three sons and three dogs.  Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

June 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

June 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

June 14 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

June 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

June 16 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 17 –  Nadaness In Motion – INTERVIEW

June 18 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 19 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

June 20 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 21 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

June 22 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

June 23 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW

June 24 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT

June 25 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in excerpt, memoir, nonfiction, Spotlight on June 14, 2017

Synopsis

At 46 years old, Mark Moore was in the prime of his life. He was a successful businessman, loving husband, involved father, and dedicated amateur athlete. His life was turned upside down after being hit in quick succession with two strokes that should have taken his life. After spending a month in a coma, Mark awoke to find his life forever changed, wondering if he’d ever be able to walk or speak again.

Mark’s inspiring new memoir, A Stroke of Faith: A Stroke Survivor’s Story of a Second Chance at Living a Life of Significance, follows his incredible journey from successful businessman to unexpected stroke victim and survivor. Now having made an almost-full recovery 10 years later, Mark has dedicated himself to his family, faith, extensive philanthropy within his community, and educating others about stroke awareness, prevention, and recovery.

Though his life will never return to his pre-stroke normality, through this crisis, he has gained a deeper understanding of the centrality of God’s role in his life and in all of our lives. A Stroke of Faith tells the story of moving from acceptance to surrender and from hope to faith and reveals God’s work in Mark’s life as He transformed him from thinking he had everything under control to knowing God has had control all along.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound * ChristianBook.com

Excerpt

Introduction

“Beyond My Control!”

WE ALL HAVE gifts of one kind or another, natural abilities that seem to flow out of the very core of who we are. For some, it’s music. They can look at a sheet of crotchet and quaver notations and hear the melody in their head as if a full symphony orchestra were playing right in front of them. Others have a knack for languages. A few lessons, and they sound like a native speaker.

I was always a numbers man. Math may not be as glamorous as melodies and words, but I never saw just a bunch of figures on a page. For me, they turned into a score or a story I could follow. A company spreadsheet could be like an x-ray, revealing all the inner problems of an ailing business. Or it might become a road map, pointing the way to prosperity. I could read columns of debits and credits like a book.

As with any innate ability, that aptitude could only take me so far. Raw sugar cane has to go through a process to release the sweetness. With application and determination, I was able to harness my gift for math in ways that transformed my life. It took me from a tough New York City borough to the leafy suburbs of Washington, DC. From a two-bedroom house into which ten of us were squeezed to a ten-thousand-square foot property with a pool.

During that climb up the ladder of success, I had raised two billion dollars in capital as I rode the financial wave of twenty-first century new technology. Overcoming some prejudice along the way, as one of a minority of successful African American entrepreneurs, I’d established a reputation as a fair but firm businessman.

Proud to be a self-made man who had a different, tailor-made suit to wear for every day of the month—a far cry from the hand-me-down wardrobe of my childhood―I had written more checks than I could remember, the largest single one for two-and-a-half million dollars.

And now I stared helplessly at the blank check that Lisa had placed in front of me. I could read the words: Pay to the Bearer, and all that. I could see the lines and the blank box where I was supposed to write the payee’s name and the amount.

But I didn’t know how to do it. Something was missing between what I knew in my brain and the pen I held in my right hand. It was like one of the bulbs had shorted out midway in a string of Christmas lights, breaking the connection and extinguishing them all. The chain was interrupted. I should have known without even thinking what needed to be done, but somehow I just could not bring to mind the steps necessary for completing the simple actions I had performed so many times previously. I froze, mentally paralyzed.

Here I was, the successful numbers man, and I could not even put two and two together.

I felt crushed, helpless. The head-down determination that had brought so many rewards was somewhere out of reach. No matter how much I gritted my teeth and concentrated, I just could not will myself to do something as basic as write a check.

To make matters worse, I could not even spring up and pace about in frustration. A lifelong athlete, I still pushed myself as hard on the basketball court in my two-hour weekly games as I did in my twelve-hour days at the office. A non-smoking non-drinker, I was in excellent shape for a man in his

mid-forties.

But now I could only sit in my wheelchair as I contemplated the chasm between what my life had been and what it was now—and might be for as long as I was alive.

That I was even breathing was something of a miracle itself. A month or so earlier I had been within minutes of dying, my life saved only by emergency surgery that opened up my skull and left me in a medically induced coma. I had, of course, been grateful to open my eyes again and see my beloved wife, Brenda, and our two children. But facing the rest of my life as a shadow of who I had been weighed heavily now.

Overwhelmed by not being able to manage such a rudimentary action, one I had performed so many times previously, I sighed.

“This is crazy,” I said. “Something so simple I’ve done it a million times, and yet it’s beyond my control!”

Sensing my discouragement, Lisa smiled brightly at me as we sat in her speech therapist’s office at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. Dark curly-haired and petite, dressed in hospital scrubs and sneakers, she managed to sound professional and personable at the same time.

“The brain is really quite remarkable in the way it can recover from a traumatic injury like the one you have suffered, Mark,” she told me. “You are going to get better. Most of the progress in recovery usually occurs in the first year or two. And we are going to do all that we can to help.”

Though the gap between my former life and my present circumstances seemed vast, miles wide, I had been brought to its edge by something quite small: a ruptured blood vessel deep in my brain. Two strokes had pulled the curtain down firmly on the first act of my life. How the rest of my story would unfold was unclear and, for the first time I could remember, seemed beyond my control.

About the Author

Mark Moore is a philanthropist and successful businessman. Along with his wife Brenda, a former nurse, Mark has established the Mark and Brenda Moore and Family Foundation, through which he supports advances in healthcare, education, culture and the arts, and Christian evangelism. Prior to engaging full time in his philanthropic work, Mark was Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of Segovia, Inc., a leading provider of global internet protocol services to the US Defense Department. Mark is also the Mid-Atlantic Ambassador for the American Stroke Association and the author of the memoir A Stroke of Faith, which is now on sale. More about Mark and A Stroke of Faith can be found at and on Facebook and Twitter .

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 10, 2017

Cement Stilettos: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Polyester Press (June 13, 2017)
Print Length: 255 pages

Synopsis

Forget the cannoli. Take the shoes!

When newly engaged amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd discovers the body of a mafia princess dead in fiancé and shoe designer Nick Taylor’s showroom, her questions are so numerous she’d need a bookie to keep track. The victim’s ties to local organized crime are unexpected. Nick’s apparent vow of silence makes Samantha question the vows in their future, and despite past promises, all bets are off. Wise guys and leopard ladies keep her busier than a consigliere during tax season, and if she can’t keep her head above water, she’ll end up sleeping with the fishes.

 

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and DRESSED TO CONFESS will be out in August 2017.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 9, 2017

Grand Theft Retro: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Polyester Press (May 17, 2016)
Paperback: 228 pages

Synopsis

Samantha Kidd is about to go retro.

When Samantha Kidd’s job at Retrofit Magazine leads her into the fashionable archives of seventies style, she’s prepared to report on patchwork velvet and platform shoes, but she never expected to uncover the theft of a major collection of samples from runway shows that took place before disco died. When the guilty party threatens Samantha’s family and friends, her priority shift into protection mode. The investigation heats up faster than fondue over sterno, and all too soon Samantha learns that while beat goes on, there’s no guarantee that she’ll go on with it.

Pearls Gone Wild: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Polyester Press; 6 edition (December 31, 2016)
Paperback: 218 pages

Synopsis

Amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd’s life is finally on track. It’s her normally cultured friend Cat whose life has lost its luster: eight months pregnant and abandoned by her husband the week before Christmas. She ropes Samantha into helping at her boutique, but a string of jewelry thefts threatens her business. And when Cat’s husband is found strangled with pearls inside the shop, the last thing she’s concerned with is profit. Samantha tries to get a bead on the killer, but when the suspects all clam up, she’s left tangled in knots. Add in an unexpected proposal, a flirtatious friend, and a brand new detective, and this is bound to be Samantha’s wildest adventure yet.

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 8, 2017

The Brim Reaper: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Polyester Press (December 3, 2013)
Paperback: 266 pages

Synopsis

Former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd is in over her head

With no job prospects on the horizon, former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd convinces boyfriend and shoe designer Nick Taylor to give her a job in his showroom, but when a collection of vintage Hollywood costumes comes to town, it brings a hat box full of hype. Close friend Eddie is in charge of the exhibit and calls on Samantha for help, but all too soon hype turns to homicide. Brimming with good intentions, she loops in the cops, but after one too many cloche calls, she’s knee-deep in mystery. If she can tear the lid off the investigation, it might mean a feather in her fedora. And if she can’t? She might get capped.

Some Like It Haute: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Polyester Press (January 6, 2015)
Paperback: 248 pages

Synopsis

If you can’t stand the heat, get off the runway.

Fashion expert turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd is in the hot seat. After agreeing to help her ex-boyfriend’s former girlfriend with a runway show, her post-break-up life turns explosive. She recruits Dante, a smokin’ hot photographer, to turn up the heat on the investigation (and help her get over Nick), but even the third degree won’t expose an angry arsonist. With a crash course in sizzle, Samantha’s curiosity leads her into another inferno, and this time she either faces the fire or gets burned.

About the Author

DianeVallereI’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 7, 2017

Designer Dirty Laundry (Samantha Kidd Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Polyester Press (June 5, 2012)
Paperback: 274 pages

Synopsis

Meet Samantha Kidd.

Ex-buyer turned trend specialist turns amateur sleuth! She designed her future with couture precision, but finding the fashion director’s corpse on day one leaves her hanging by a thread. And when the killer fabricates evidence that puts the cops on her hemline, even a chance run-in with hot shoe designer Nick Taylor can’t keep her life from unraveling. She trades high fashion for dirty laundry and reveals a cast of designers out for blood. Now her job, her love life, and her future are put on hold as she tries to expose a diabolical designer before getting marked down for murder.

Praise for Designer Dirty Laundry

This story will put a smile on you face and maybe even have you laughing out loud! ~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

The writing was smooth and conversational. The world the author created was described well and I could play the story out in my head right down to the outfits and shoes. ~Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

This is a fast paced cozy. Something is ALWAYS happening, often to Samantha Kidd. ~Laura’s Interests

Buyer, Beware: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Polyester Press (March 5, 2013)
Paperback: 258 pages

Synopsis

Samantha Kidd: Bag Lady?

Out-of-work fashion expert turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd is strapped. But when the buyer of handbags for a hot new retailer turns up dead and Samantha is recruited for the job, the opportunity comes with a caveat: she’s expected to find some answers. With shoe designer Nick Taylor off in Italy, she turns to a sexy stranger for help (with humorous results!). But as the walls close around her like a snug satin lining, Samantha must get a handle on the mystery or risk being caught in the killer’s clutches.

Praise for Buyer Beware

Samantha is such a fun character. She bases most of her sleuthing on what she’s seen in old movies or on television shows, which of course results in her getting into a few tight spots here and there. ~Book Babble

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Children, Family, Giveaway, Spotlight on June 4, 2017

#BABYLOVE:

MY TODDLER LIFE

by

CORINE DEHGHANPISHEH

  Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Technology / Family

Publisher: My Art to Inspire

Date of Publication: September 20, 2016

Number of Pages: 40

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A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy’s smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment.  Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

Her simple reminder: Put down our phones.

Praise for #BabyLove: My Toddler Life

“This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for parents.” – Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“This light-hearted reflection on social media habits is a great tool for starting discussions with young children.” — Forward Clarion Reviews (5 Stars)

“Dehghanpisheh’s illustrations and text are simple, colorful and charming, and many families will relate to the question of how, and how much, to integrate technology into their child’s day.  #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is a fun and timely picture book for 21st century preschoolers. — BlueInk Review

“I can’t wait to read this to my 2 year old grandson.  This book is his life curious, sweet and funny.  His mommy has a collection of his photography on her phone.  Priceless. — Kindle Verified Purchase

 

Corine Dehghanpisheh is an award-winning author, whose own family life serves as inspiration for her fun and engaging children’s books.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Arts Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute in New York City.

Ms. Dehghanpisheh currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her family.  There she continues to write the #BabyLove series, focused on the blending of modern technologies with classically familiar child raising situations.

The 2nd book in the series, #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is now available along with #BabyLove: My Social Life, which is a Next Generation Indie Book Awards winner.

Her debut children’s book Can We Play Again? is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist. Corine’s inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC.

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

THREE SIGNED COPIES!

(US ONLY)

  May 29-June 7, 2017

Grand Prize: Signed Copies of #BabyLove 1 & 2 + $20 Amazon Gift Card

First Runner-Up: Signed Copies of #BabyLove 1 & 2 + $10 Amazon Gift Card

Next Two Winners: Signed Copy of #BabyLove: My Toddler Life + $5 Amazon Gift Card

 

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5/29 Promo Hall Ways Blog
5/30 Review Missus Gonzo
5/31 Sneak Peek Excerpt 1 Forgotten Winds
6/1 Character Interview Books and Broomsticks
6/2 Review The Page Unbound
6/3 Sneak Peek Excerpt 2 Reading By Moonlight
6/4 Promo StoreyBook Reviews
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6/6 Scrapbook CGB Blog Tours
6/7 Review My Book Fix Blog

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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.

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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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