Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, suspense, Thriller on October 16, 2017

HIDDEN SEA

by

MILES ARCENEAUX

  Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Date of Publication: November 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Charlie Sweetwater saw Mexico—especially the Mexican Gulf Coast—as a spiritual second home. He’d worked, played and lived there for much of his life, and thought the country suited him better than anywhere this side of his home on the Texas Coast.

But now a worrisome and potentially dangerous development has shown up on Charlie’s radar. Young Augustus Sweetwater, affectionately known as Augie, hasn’t reported in after completing a south-of-the-border sales trip for Sweetwater Marine. Raul, Augie’s father and Charlie’s nephew, is worried sick. Drug cartel violence in Mexico has reached epidemic proportions and Augie’s path took him through the heart of the narcotraficantes’ territory.

Charlie figures Augie just went off the grid to do some well-deserved fishing, surfing and beer-drinking at the end of his trip. He’d done the same in his time. But as Augie’s unexplained absence grows, Charlie and Raul become increasingly alarmed and set off for Mexico to bring their boy home.

What they unearth is far more than the sum of their fears. The familiar and friendly Gulf of Mexico has turned into a hidden sea plagued by smugglers, human traffickers, crooked politicians and even pirates. And Augie is lost somewhere in the middle of it all.

Charlie and Raul must summon an unlikely cast of characters to aid them, including a hilariously dissolute ex-pat musician, a priest whose faith struggles against the rising tide of refugee migration, a Mexican tycoon who may have secrets of his own and a beautiful maritime “repo man”. At the end of their quest, as the deepest secret of all is revealed, Charlie Sweetwater learns that neither Raul and Augie, nor the Gulf of Mexico, nor even himself, will ever be the same again.

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Praise for Hidden Sea

“A riveting story from Texas that wanders down the cartel-invested Gulf Coast of Mexico and drifts across to lawless Cuba. The characters are as salty as the sea and the plot pulls you along as powerfully as the loop current.” – W.F. Strong, Stories from Texas, Texas Standard Radio Network

“Hidden Sea is a total blast: smart, funny, and riveting, with unforgettably colorful characters and a world so alive that you’ll swear you’re really there.” – Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone

“In Hidden Sea, Miles Arceneaux tosses us in the drink of a timely contemporary adventure tale with the Sweetwater clan, complete with pirates, slave ships, family secrets, and the mother of all plot twists, in his patented Gulf Coast noir style.” – Michelle Newby Lancaster, Contributing Editor, Lone Star Literary Life, NBCC Literary Critic

Miles Arceneaux on Writing the Gulf Coast

(First published, May 5, 2016, Mystery People Blog)

The dilemma of writing mysteries set on the Texas Gulf Coast isn’t an absence of compelling characters to drive the plot and flesh out the scenery. On the contrary, there’s too damn many of ‘em to ever winnow down, even over the course of four (so far) novels.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, folks. What the Texas coast lacks in terms of sun-kissed white sand beaches, beautiful people and tony resorts (instead of Donald Trump’s sumptuous Mar-A-Lago, we’ve got the No Esta Aquí Lounge, featuring u-peel-‘em shrimp and cockfights on Sundays), we make up for in local color. Always have.

The stomping ground for my characters is Texas’ Coastal Bend, which runs roughly between Galveston and Corpus Christi. It’s a complex and fascinating array of bays, barrier islands, estuaries and wetlands that has been a magnet for dingbats and reprobates ever since Texas’ first tourist, Spanish castaway Cabeza de Vaca, stumbled ashore near Galveston in 1528, only to encounter our first Chamber of Commerce, in the form of the six-foot tall, tattooed, alligator grease-coated, ritualistically cannibalistic Karankawa Indians.

Since then the area has been as popular as Padre Island to spring breakers among a historically diverse human subset of pirates, freebooters, smugglers, colorful drunkards, pennyante empire builders, refugees and fugitives of every description, silver-tongued conmen (and women), top-shelf bullshit artists, and congenitally lying fishermen. There have been female temptresses who can turn gold wedding bands into cheap pewter with a glance, and men who have changed their names and fled to sea to escape them.

Let’s put it this way: If Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, the Coen Brothers, Molly Ivins (RIP), Gabriel Garcia Marquez and any local fishing guide sat on the deck of a Port Aransas oyster bar pounding Papa Doble daiquiris for, oh, all night, they might have come up with my fictional counterpoints of the real-life characters who give the Coastal Bend its savor.

It’s close to a photo finish, but I’d say on the balance I enjoy writing about the women of the Texas Coast more than their male counterpoints. The women not only have to put up with the men, they frequently have to force Joe Bob et.al. to confront, sometimes under extreme duress, the better angels of their nature.

In one of my tales, a particularly enterprising fry cook picked up a cast iron skillet and did a Joe DiMaggio off the skull of a B-list gangster. In other areas of the country, this might be construed as assault. In my part of the world it’s considered behavior modification. As a West Texas buddy of mine once remarked, he never understood all the fuss about Women’s Lib: “All the chicks I know are armed,” he remarked.

BookPeople, MysteryPeople and especially Scott Montgomery have been surpassingly supportive since my debut thriller starring the Sweetwater clan, Thin Slice of Life, was published in 2012. Likewise, with LaSalle’s Ghost, Ransom Island and, most lately, North Beach. I’m humbly grateful. Still, with all respect to Scott and MysteryPeople, I’m not certain these epistles fall neatly into any “mystery” category. They are not locked-room mysteries by any means, neither are they noir, hard- boilers nor whodunits. I guess “comedic novel of suspense” about covers it, though that takes up a lot of real estate on a book jacket. Still, it’s a mystery to me what’s gonna happen to all these rascals when I start out on a new one, so there is that.

Though the issues in my books, including the clash of cultures, the erosion of time, the nature of friendship and loyalty, might (I hope) seem nuanced, the characters at the heart of the story are pretty simple. I write about men and women you can root for and enjoy hanging out with, bad guys who are low-down sons of bitches who get what’s coming to them and supporting characters who make you laugh, shake your head or maybe both.

We’re not talking Dostoyevsky here.

In the end, to paraphrase our former future governor (cq) Kinky Friedman, I write to entertain Americans in their airports, by their swimming pools and on their skiffs when the fish aren’t biting.

There is a thing called a “Texas Fairy Tale.” A regular fairy tale, say about Cinderella and them, starts out “Once upon a time…” A Texas fairy tale, on the other hand, begins, “You ain’t gonna believe this bullshit…”

So that’s me: Miles Arceneaux, Texas fairy tale writer. Let’s drink to that.

 

“Miles Arceneaux” is the pen name of three long-time Texas friends. James R.  Dennis is a former attorney turned Dominican friar who lives in San Antonio. Brent Douglass is an international businessman from Austin. John T. Davis, also of Austin, is a journalist and author. Together, as “Miles,” they have been featured authors at the Texas Book Festival, the San Antonio Book Festival, and the Lubbock Book Festival.

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Grand Prize: Autographed copies of all five Gulf Coast series books by Miles Arceneaux + a copy of Geoff Winningham’s Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea — The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico

Two Runners-Up: Each win an autographed copy of Hidden Sea

October 11-October 20, 2017

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10/11 promo Texas Book Lover
10/12 Review Forgotten Winds
10/12 ICYWW #1 Bibliotica
10/13 Review Missus Gonzo
10/14 Excerpt 1 Syd Savvy
10/14 Author Interview A Page Before Bedtime
10/15 Review Texan Girl Reads
10/16 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
10/16 ICYWW #2 Chapter Break Book Blog
10/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
10/18 Excerpt 2 Books and Broomsticks
10/18 Playlist The Page Unbound
10/19 Review Reading By Moonlight
10/20 Review Tangled in Text
10/20 ICYWW #3 The Librarian Talks

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Posted in Thriller, Trailer on September 28, 2017

Title: EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Genre: Crime Thriller

Synopsis

Vigilante detective Emily Stone hunts serial killers and child abductors, covertly and under the law enforcement radar. She uses her fine-tuned skills of criminal profiling and forensic perceptiveness to locate predators that cops cannot or will not find. She is trained, she is tough, she is serious, and she gets results.

With Stone’s toughest cases yet, the killer immediately crosses her radar and sends her into the dark territory of a serial killer’s mind—to the point of no return.

Take your pick of any of the award-winning, stand-alone books and tag along with a serial killer hunter.

Amazon

Trailer

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

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Posted in Giveaway, Spotlight, suspense, Thriller on September 15, 2017

Lies She Told
Crooked Lane Books (September 12, 2017)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683312956
ASIN: B06XW3MGZB

Synopsis

Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.

Liza Cole has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing her down in both her professional and her personal lives, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the same river and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

About the Author

Cate Holahan, author of the acclaimed psychological suspense novel The Widower’s Wife, is an award-winning journalist and a former television producer. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

 

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September 7 – Girl with Book Lungs – INTERVIEW

September 8 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

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

September 10 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

September 11 – Must Read Faster – REVIEW

September 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 14 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

September 14 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 15 – Storeybook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

September 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

September 16 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

September 16 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 17 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

September 18 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 18 – Books Direct – REVIEW

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Posted in Giveaway, mystery, suspense, Thriller on September 6, 2017

THE CURSE OF SACERDOZIO

A Tale of Judicial Conspiracy

The Supremes, Book 1

by

GLEN AARON

  Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery

Publisher: BookBaby

Date of Publication: June 1, 2017

Number of Pages: 275

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In​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​books,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​seldom​ ​the​ ​intrigue​ ​of​ ​murder​ ​and​ ​of​ ​crime​ ​and​ ​punishment within​ ​the​ ​chambers.​ ​The​ ​Curse​ ​of​ ​Sacerdozio​ ​takes​ ​the​ ​death​ ​of​ ​Justice​ ​Antonin​ ​Scalia​ ​on​ ​a fictional​ ​journey​ ​that​ ​keeps​ ​you​ ​turning​ ​pages.​ ​As​ ​President​ ​Trump​ ​takes​ ​power,​ ​this​ ​tale​ ​raises questions​ ​about​ ​what​ ​influences​ ​drive​ ​him​ ​in​ ​judicial​ ​appointments,​ ​while​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time entertaining​ ​the​ ​reader​ ​in​ ​a​ ​political​ ​and​ ​legal​ ​thriller.

The​ ​issues​ ​of​ ​abortion, ​ ​marriage,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​conduct​ ​of​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​Justices​ ​wrapped​ ​in judicial​ ​conspiracy​ ​to​ ​control​ ​the​ ​Court​ ​and​ ​Congress​ ​come​ ​into​ ​stark​ ​conflict.​ ​The​ ​power​ ​of​ ​the church​ ​and​ ​motivated​ ​thinking​ ​highly​ ​organized​ ​pressure​ ​groups​ ​like​ ​the​ ​Federalist​ ​Society​ ​and Opus​ ​Dei​ ​are​ ​revealed​ ​in​ ​this​ ​plot​ ​driven​ ​novel.

While​ ​the​ ​story​ ​of​ ​the​ ​protagonist,​ ​Tommy​ ​Jon,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​success​ ​story​ ​within​ ​itself,​ ​as​ ​he​ ​is​ ​the​ ​first Jicarilla​ ​Apache​ ​to​ ​graduate​ ​from​ ​Harvard​ ​Law​ ​School​ ​and​ ​clerk​ ​for​ ​a​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​Justice, his​ ​downfall​ ​is​ ​in​ ​contesting​ ​the​ ​judicial​ ​philosophy​ ​of​ ​Justice​ ​Sacerdozio.​ ​When​ ​the​ ​judge​ ​is found​ ​dead​ ​floating​ ​in​ ​a​ ​hot​ ​mineral​ ​pool​ ​on​ ​a​ ​ranch​ ​retreat​ ​in​ ​West​ ​Texas,​ ​Tommy​ ​Jon becomes​ ​a​ ​target​ ​of​ ​the​ ​FBI​ ​in​ ​suspicion​ ​of​ ​murder.​ ​The​ ​climax​ ​of​ ​the​ ​novel​ ​is​ ​his​ ​trial​ ​in​ ​the Federal​ ​District Court​ ​in​ ​El​ ​Paso.

Underlying​ ​the​ ​plot,​ ​the​ ​reader​ ​will​ ​realize​ ​a​ ​serious​ ​concern​ ​about​ ​just​ ​who​ ​President​ ​Trump really​ ​is.​ ​The​ ​political​ ​conspiracy​ ​that​ ​has​ ​brought​ ​the​ ​religious​ ​right​ ​and​ ​the​ ​judiciary​ ​together​ ​is unfolding​ ​and​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​fruition,​ ​now,​ ​in​ ​Washington.​ ​The​ ​Curse​ ​Of​ ​Sacerdozio​ ​is​ ​fictional​ ​in​ ​its tale​ ​but​ ​realistic​ ​in​ ​its​ ​revelations.

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Praise for The Curse of Sacerdozio

“The Curse of Sacerdozio: A Tale of Judicial Conspiracy rings through with originality, a story that will have readers gripped from beginning to end.” – Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

“The characters are all wonderful, and some are more than what they seem.” – Jay Snook

“Aaron has done his research!” – Jenn Jilks, Cottage Country Reflections

“The novel entertains as it educates allowing the reader to be both intrigued and informed.” – The Nerdy Girl Express

“Aaron displays a knack for describing and creating emotion in any event.” — Sharon Kurack, StarryMag

Glen Aaron was born in Big Spring, Texas and raised in Midland. In 1962, while attending Baylor, he ran for State Representative from Midland at he age of 21. He lost that election in a runoff by 42 votes. Deciding politics was not for him, he graduated Baylor with a BA and moved on to the University of Texas law school. There, he won the Moot Court competition arguing before the Supreme Court of Texas sitting en banc. After acquiring his JD, Glen spent forty years in trial law and international business and banking. Today, he lives in Midland with his wife Jane Hellinghausen and two rottweilers. He enjoys writing and working with the Permian Basin Bookies. Author of: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime; The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying; The Prison Experience; The Prison People.

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

Three Signed Copies of The Curse of Sacerdozio

September 6 – 15, 2017

(U.S. Only)

 

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8-Sep Press Release Blogging for the Love of Authors & Their Books
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9-Sep Review Momma On The Rocks
10-Sep Promo The Page Unbound
11-Sep Review Tangled in Text
11-Sep Promo Bibliotica
12-Sep Review Texan Girl Reads
13-Sep Excerpt Books in the Garden
13-Sep Promo Chapter Break Book Blog
14-Sep Review Forgotten Winds
15-Sep Review Reading by Moonlight
15-Sep Promo Books and Broomsticks

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, suspense, Thriller on August 23, 2017

Deadly Choices (Rim Country Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Suspense Thriller
3rd in Series
Short on Time Books (July 17, 2017)
Kindle – ASIN: B074187YT7

Synopsis

An elderly woman with an arrow in her chest. A murdered journalist. A decades-old cover-up. In Deadly Choices (Rim Country Mysteries Volume 3), Rita and Cliff Avery team up again to solve a spate of murders in their picturesque Arizona mountain town of Rim Vista. Rita’s mother Willow delivers gun-wrenching news while falling for the man who could be responsible for four deaths. And Rita must escape a string of life-threatening predicaments thrown at her by an assailant willing to do anything to scare Cliff off the case.

Guest Post

An Interview With Rita Avery, Protagonist of DEADLY CHOICES

Hi, there. I’m Rita Avery, a figment of author Karen Randau’s imagination. Well, that’s what she thinks. Really, I’m a part of Karen. Many of my experiences are things that have shaped Karen, and my character traits come not only from Karen herself, but also from people she admires and others who make her cringe.

I debuted in Karen’s thoughts after a real-life shooting in a movie theater. As she watched news accounts of what drove the gunman and learned about the victims, I wedged an ache into Karen’s heart for the survivors. I presented myself as a middle-aged widow who had led a privileged, shallow life until the murderer blew my husband’s brains into my face. I have brown eyes, shoulder-length brown hair, am around 5’6” (Karen’s unmet dream for herself), and I’m not too hard on the eyes. Since the shooting, I suffer from recurring panic attacks. I love my family and enjoy baking.

By the time I led Karen through the third book in the Rim Country Mysteries series, DEADLY CHOICES, I’d remarried a hunk-of-a-police-detective, honeymooned in Scotland, and decided to find my long-lost vegetarian hippie mother.

Willow – Mom as she suddenly wants to be called – now eats meat, says she can see into the soul of a man through his pupils, and denies that the pink smiley face on the chain that bound me to a boulder could possibly be the one my daughter decorated with fingernail polish when she was ten. That chain belongs to the man Mom now dates.

Oh, the things Karen has put me through … I’ve been trapped in a burning house, nearly drowned, and blasted into a tree, among other things.

These experiences have changed me. I’ve learned to defend and stand up for myself as well as to trust my instincts, but I’ve also learned that there is much more to life than designer clothes and what my neighbors think of me. My priorities have transitioned from how I look to how I can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

If you get the chance, I’d love to get to know you through the books Karen and I have written together: Rim Country Mysteries, which take place primarily in a fictional small mountain town in Arizona called Rim Vista.

About the Author

Karen Randau works full-time as a content marketer for an international humanitarian aid organization that works in developing countries.

Her Rim Country Mysteries series currently has three novels: DEADLY DECEIT, about a woman whose husband was one of fourteen people killed in a movie theater shooting; DEADLY INHERITANCE, about the same woman who has remarried and gets locked in a Viking burial cave with a lit stick of dynamite while honeymooning in Scotland; and DEADLY CHOICES, about the same woman finding the mother she hasn’t seen in twenty-five years only to discover a devastating secret that could get her killed.

Karen enjoys spending time with her grown children, playing with her dog, and hiking with her husband.

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August 14 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

August 15 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

August 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 18 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

August 19 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

August 20 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

August 21 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST

August 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

August 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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

August 26 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

August 27 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

August 27 – 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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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

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August 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

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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 excerpt, suspense, Thriller on July 3, 2017

Synopsis

Robin Fox, peace-loving professor of world religions, wants only to leave his dark past as a military interrogator behind him. But when an unknown suspect tries to disperse a deadly virus in downtown Washington, Fox is unwillingly drawn back into the shadowy world of intelligence.

The FBI and CIA automatically suspect Islamic terrorists, but Fox digs deeper to discover the far more frightening truth: a global conspiracy to eradicate all religion from the face of the earth.

From Washington to Jerusalem, from Rome to London, Fox must use all his wits in a perilous race to stop a psychopathic mastermind from unleashing worldwide devastation.

Purchase through his Publisher

Excerpt

The coroner’s report confirmed that Thom had died of cyanide poisoning. The news claimed the top spot on all the networks, and even the BBC gave it airtime, right after a fire in the chapel of Windsor Castle. Thom’s name had clearly been known far beyond the Oberlin College campus.

The president of USAtheists called a press conference. “The murder of Thom DiDio is a tragedy and an outrage. Whether he was killed because of what he believed, or because of whom he loved, is irrelevant. What matters is that the world has lost a great intellect and a great humanitarian, and his blood is on the hands of religious fanatics.”

Fox flinched at the incendiary last line. That’s not how Thom would talk. But if the man needed to lash out, Fox could scarcely blame him.

He and Emily had worked with the FBI to help create a composite sketch, which was now being broadcast regularly on television. But so far, it had yet to yield any leads.

“Any progress with Harpo?” Fox asked once he was back in the incident room at FBI headquarters.

Adler shook his head. “We kept him under observation last night. Gave him a box of books, as you suggested, but he didn’t read any.”

“What did he do?”

“Just lay on his bed.”

“The whole time? You never saw him perform salat?”

“Sorry?”

“Say his prayers facing Mecca?”

“Well, he’s been in a cell without windows. He has no way of knowing what time it is, or which way Mecca is.”

“John, even at Gitmo, we showed the detainees at least that much courtesy. We gave them copies of the Qur’an, a qibla sign to point the way to Mecca, and even played a recording of the adhaan at the proper times.”

Adler shrugged. “If you want, you can take it up with the FBI; this is their turf. Now, the technician has him all hooked up, and they’re waiting for you in the interview room.”

The room held Harpo, Kato, Malika, the technician, Fox, and the extra guard he had requested. The polygraph apparatus, the projector, and a tripod-mounted video camera were crammed into the little space that remained. There was barely room to take a deep breath.

Fox kept a close eye on Harpo, and the readout from the polygraph. Harpo’s breathing was very steady and regular, three seconds in, five seconds out. Fox suspected that he had been trained in ways to “beat the box,” to fool a lie detector.

“Do you speak English?”

Fox watched the readout. It showed no variation in his blood pressure, heart rate, or galvanic skin response, either then or when Malika tried him in Russian and Chechen.

“Are there six people in this room?” This was a control question, to show what his vital signs looked like at baseline, after he was over his initial nervousness.

“Are you an American citizen?” No change in his vitals for that either, nor for the Eastern European equivalents.

“Can you hear me? Testing? One, two, three? Four, five? Six, seven?” Then, with a little extra emphasis: “Eight, eight?”

No variation. That diminished the likelihood that he was a white supremacist. The number 88, if letters were substituted for the numerals, became “HH”—a code for “Heil Hitler.”

“All right, let’s try some names. Do you know A.J. Muste? George Fox? Gene Hoffman?” These were control questions. All those names were peace philosophers, whom Fox thought it highly unlikely that he had ever heard of.

“Venera Goridze?”

No change in the readout. No flicker of recognition on his face.

“Do you realize that if you answer our questions, the prosecutors will be much less likely to ask for the death penalty?”

That finally got to him. The readout showed a slight increase in his vital signs. A normal fear reaction to the threat of death? Or excitement at the prospect of martyrdom?

And they had also established that he understood English. They would have no further need of Malika’s services. It was just as well; the smell of her perfume in that confined space had been a little overpowering.

“You know, it must be awfully boring for you, cooped up in a cell all that time,” Fox continued. “I’ve put together a little video for you. I’m curious to see how you’ll like it.”

He put in a DVD that he had made, a montage of various clips garnered from the Internet. It began with innocuous natural scenes—flowers, mountains, waterfalls—with a background of soothing classical music.

Then came the scenes meant to show his reaction at times of emotional arousal. A battle scene from a movie, with loud explosions and bursts of gunfire. There was a slight rise in his vitals—the startle reflex—but he soon reverted to baseline, and stayed there as the video switched back to the control images.

A clip of a shapely blonde model sliding a gossamer silk robe off her shoulders to reveal her lingerie, and then reaching behind her back to unfasten her brassiere. Fox kept his eyes fixed on the readout, ignoring the stern look he got from Kato and the blush on Malika’s face.

Such an image would usually provoke an involuntary response in any red-blooded young male, but Harpo showed no more reaction than at baseline. Clearly, he was very well trained.

The control images again, this time alternating with others meant to provoke an emotional response. A sermon by the Reverend Hill. A cross being set alight by white-robed Klansmen. A muezzin intoning the call to prayer from a minaret. The second plane crashing into the World Trade Center. A speech by Osama bin Laden. A speech by President Obama, announcing the death of Osama bin Laden.

Then came the part that Fox had wanted extra protection for: a clip from a back-alley YouTube video making a mockery of the prophet Mohammed. For this one, he stepped out of Harpo’s reach, anticipating that he might jump up and attack even if he had to drag the entire polygraph apparatus behind him.

Harpo showed no inclination to move. The readout showed no reaction. If he was indeed a fanatical Muslim, he had a level of mental discipline worthy of a Zen master.

Fox stepped out of Harpo’s field of view again. “All right, we’re done. You can turn it off now,” he told the technician, while gesturing that he should keep it going. “Very interesting, don’t you think? These results indicate…” He put in a dramatic pause, then looked at Harpo and enunciated ominously: “N-S-R.”

Harpo’s shoulders relaxed slightly, and he let out a long breath. It was barely visible when you looked at him, but it showed up on the readout. A well-concealed sigh of relief.

Fox’s suspicions were confirmed. “NSR” meant “No Significant Response,” but there was no way Harpo could know that unless he had studied polygraphy.

Even so, the results were remarkable. The most common technique for beating a lie detector involved focusing on some frightening or exciting image after every question, to cause an artificial jump in the vital signs. The goal was to bring up the baseline, creating so many false positives that the polygrapher would have trouble distinguishing them from significant responses. Harpo had done the opposite, bringing everything down to a level where hardly any reaction was perceptible. How much mental training had he had to undergo in order to do that?

About the Author

Charles Kowalski is almost as much a citizen of the world as his fictional character, Robin Fox, having lived abroad for over 15 years, visited over 30 countries, and studied over 10 languages. His unpublished debut novel, Mind Virus, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award and was a finalist for the Adventure Writers’ Competition, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award, and the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association literary award.

Charles currently divides his time between Japan, where he teaches English at a university, and his family home in Maine.

Mind Virus is scheduled for publication by Literary Wanderlust on July 1, 2017.

Other novels and short stories by Charles Kowalski:

“Let This Cup Pass From Me”

“Arise, My Love”

“The Evil I Do Not Mean To Do”

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, Thriller on April 25, 2017

Title: Chasing Hindy
Author: Darin Gibby
Publisher: Koehler Books
Pages: 284
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis

ADDY’S DREAM AS a patent attorney is to help bring a ground breaking energy technology to the world. Addy’s hopes soar when she is wooed by Quinn, an entrepreneur, to join his company that has purportedly invented a car that can run on water using an innovative catalyst. After resigning her partnership to join Quinn, Addy discovers things aren’t as they seem. The patent office suppresses the company’s patent applications and her life is threatened by unknown assailants if she doesn’t resign.

When she is arrested for stealing US technology from the patent office she realizes Quinn has used her. Now, Addy must find a way to clear her name while salvaging her dream of propelling this technology to the world, all while powerful forces attempt to stop her.

Guest Post

How I Come up With Book Ideas

(Or, How I Came up with the Idea that a Car Could Run on Water)

Ideas for books come in the strangest ways. For me, they often just seem to fall out of the sky, usually at the most unexpected times. I’ve written books or articles from ideas that woke me up in the middle of the night, from thoughts that came to me while running triathlons, and while taking hikes deep in the Rocky Mountains. I’ve even had some ideas come while sitting on a ski lift during a freezing blizzard.

The genesis behind Chasing Hindy came from a surprising source—a hypnotist. When I was in high school, we had an assembly where a hypnotist put a group of volunteers under hypnosis. One of the questions he asked them was what would be the fuel of the future. What fuel would people pump into their tank? Almost without exception they all said, “water!” The hypnotist then told the audience that every time he asked that question he received the same answer.

That was several decades ago, but I’ve always wondered whether that could possibly be true—and why all these people thought we’d all be driving cars that used water. In the following years, I realized that a car wouldn’t run on water per se, but from hydrogen that is extracted from water. The question, of course, is that if we know how to produce hydrogen, why aren’t there hydrogen cars? The answer is quite simple. As an engineer and patent attorney I know the science behind extracting hydrogen from water. The problem is that it takes more energy to do this than to just run a car on gasoline, or even electricity.

But what if somebody invented a way to make it happen? That’s the germ of an idea that led to Chasing Hindy.

Then, of course, is finding an idea for a main character. For me, a good character is far more difficult than finding a story idea. Not only does the character need to make the story line happen, but the readers need to relate to what the character is experiencing. I struggled with such a character for years, and, in fact, rewrote the book several times with other characters that just didn’t seem to work.

What made the story finally click was my discovery of Addy—a patent attorney with a dream to change the world. I decided on a female character (who was also a patent attorney) for several reasons. Perhaps the main reason was that female patent attorneys are in short supply and I wanted to encourage women to enter the profession. So I created Addy to hopefully show what a difference one person can make, and through her experience more women would want to become patent attorneys.

Excerpt

ADDY FELT LIKE jumping out of her car and doing a quick happy dance in the middle of stalled traffic. Her excitement at becoming  the  newest—and  youngest—partner  at  the intellectual property law firm of Wyckoff & Schechter was nearly overwhelming.

She grinned at the shadow on the hood of Hindy, her treasured retrofitted cherry red Shelby Mustang. The shadow was created by a barrel-sized, hydrogen-filled balloon that floated above the Mustang’s roof. Gawkers pointed and laughed as the Shelby eased down El Camino pulling the tethered balloon as if in a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The balloon—which on one side sported her law firm’s logo, and on the other Hindy in giant cursive script—was just an advertising gimmick to show her passion for alternative energies. It was only strapped to the roof on calm, sunny days when she was travelling at slow speeds using routes that avoided overpasses. The retrofitted Mustang was  really powered by four electric motors using electricity produced by solar panels and a conventional fuel cell.

At first, the Wyckoff partners questioned Addy’s prudence in strapping a floating balloon to the roof of any vehicle, but they’d come to admire the effectiveness of her marketing innovations. They even lifted their champagne glasses at the end of her mentor’s welcome speech acknowledging that her Shelby was responsible for bringing in increasing numbers of the “green” companies sprouting like weeds all over the Silicon Valley— inventive, entrepreneurial companies in need of legal advice and support for their patents.

While  the  traffic  inched  forward,  Addy  chuckled  with excitement. “Hindy, ol’ pal,” she said, patting the dashboard, “you and I are going places now! Next time some overzealous cops accuse you of being a traffic hazard, I’ll stare them down and inform them they’re messing with the partner of a highly prestigious law firm.”

Traffic  momentarily  loosened  and  Addy  eased  Hindy forward, careful not to snap the lines tethering the egg-shaped balloon. Addy sang along with Zissy Spaeth, pop rock’s newest and most flashy star, as Zissy belted out her latest hit, Light in Your Eyes, over the radio. In the corner of her eye she noticed a blaze of neon orange.

Her heart stopped. In the car next to her someone was pointing a bazooka-sized gizmo at her balloon. She blinked, trying to clear her vision.

A  flare shot  out,  aimed  straight  at  her  floating ball  of hydrogen.

Even in the late afternoon sunlight, it was impossible to miss the explosion. The dirigible burst into a giant fireball, then slowly deflated and floated down toward the Shelby’s crimson hood.

Addy  stomped  on  her  brakes,  hoping  the  balloon’s momentum would shoot the flaming mass forward. The fireball, safely secured by its fluorescent yellow nylon tethers, crashed down onto the windshield, blocking Addy’s view. She screeched to a halt, slammed her shoulder into the door, flung it open, and darted out, catching the heel of her pump on the doorjamb, which sent her sprawling headlong onto the pavement.

She heard tires squeal and at least a half dozen blaring horns. Stinging pain shot up from her elbow and knees. Thank goodness traffic had been just inching along.

Ignoring the pain, she bolted forward, arms raised, ready to yank the still-burning fabric off the windshield. Before she got close enough to grab it, the sweltering heat from the flames scorched her cheeks, and she shielded her eyes with her forearm. Just when she reached the hood, a breeze lifted the infernal blob and propelled it directly at her, the nylon cords now seared through.

She braced herself for the fireball when she felt arms wrap around her chest and yank her back, barely in time to avoid the searing molten mass of goo about to descend on her head, threatening to fry her face and melt her hair.

“Are you crazy? What are you thinking?” a deep voice bellowed in her ear, still holding her tight.

Together they watched what was left of the blimp float like a falling leaf onto the grassy shoulder, just like the Hindenburg did almost eighty years ago.

“Someone clearly doesn’t like you, short stuff,” her rescuer said, now standing next to her stroking his goatee, his face hidden behind dark sunglasses and a low-riding Dodgers cap. “More like out to get you. That was some kind of flare the driver shot at your blimp. I tried to spot his license plate, but it was covered up. Snapped a picture with my phone, though,” the man said fishing it from his pocket. “You can kind of see a tattoo on his forearm. The police will love this.”

Before she could thank him, someone cried out, “Call a fire truck! The grass!”

Brush fires in California were no joking matter. Addy could smell the smoldering grasses. A strong breeze fanned the flames, pushing the fire toward a row of redwood trees.

Then she heard a whiny voice coming from the milling crowd of stranded passengers who’d gathered to find out what was holding up their homeward commute. “I’ve seen that blimp before. I knew it was trouble,” the whiner complained.

“Yeah, but at least she’s part of the solution,” said someone else. “Her car doesn’t use gasoline. Look at what you’re driving,” he said, sneering at the whiny woman’s crossover SUV.

Addy’s knees buckled, her head spinning. She plopped down onto the pavement and hugged her bare legs. This couldn’t be happening.

Why would someone try to destroy her car?

About the Author

In addition to a thriving career as a novelist, author Darin Gibby is also one of the country’s premiere patent attorneys and a partner at the prestigious firm of Kilpatrick Townsend. With over twenty years of experience in obtaining patents on hundreds of inventions from the latest drug delivery systems to life-saving cardiac equipment, he has built IP portfolios for numerous Fortune 500 companies. In addition to securing patents, Gibby helps clients enforce and license their patents around the world, and he has monetized patents on a range of products.

Darin’s first book, Why Has America Stopped Inventing?, explored the critical issue of America’s broken patent system.  His second book, The Vintage Club, tells the story of a group of the world’s wealthiest men who are chasing a legend about a wine that can make you live forever. His third book, Gil, is about a high school coach who discovers that he can pitch with deadly speed and is given an offer to play with the Rockies during a player’s strike. Gil soon discovers, however, that his unexpected gift is the result of a rare disease, and continuing to pitch may hasten his own death.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree, he is highly regarded in Denver’s legal and business community as a patent strategist, business manager, and community leader. He is also a sought-after speaker on IP issues at businesses, colleges and technology forums, where he demonstrates the value of patents using simple lessons from working on products such as Crocs shoes, Izzo golf straps and Trek bicycles.

An avid traveler and accomplished triathlete, Darin also enjoys back country fly-fishing trips and skiing in the Rocky Mountains. He lives in Denver with his wife, Robin, and their four children.

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Giveaway

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By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

This giveaway ends midnight June 30.

Good luck everyone!

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Review, suspense, Thriller on March 26, 2017

Synopsis

When you’ve lost it all, how far would you go to get it back?

Bennett Covington has a good life. The support of a loving, growing family. A satisfying job. A roof over his head. Not perfect, but close enough.

Nothing lasts forever, of course. After stumbling into the middle of a back-alley murder, Bennett becomes entangled in a web of violence set in motion by members of a shadowy criminal organization.

Subjected to psychological torment, Bennett struggles to understand the depth of their evil intentions – intentions that threaten to take much more than just his life.

Through it all, one question endures: why have they taken such a keen interest in him? When he runs, they catch him. When he hides, they find him.

The only way out is to fight back.

Review

I thought this was a mystery but it is more suspense with a sci-fi twist. There are many things that are not really explained at the end – like Poe, what exactly is he but he isn’t human!

The book did keep moving on at a pretty quick pace and kept me interested in what would happen next. Would Bennett get out of the situation he was in? Would his family be ok? Why did they keep calling him Yannick?

There were many times at the beginning when Bennett first got involved with these characters by accident and why he kept going back – was it curiosity or was it more?

There was a twist at the end that leaves the book open for a sequel or just leave you wondering what could possibly happen next.

We give this 3 1/2 paws

About the Author

Chip Scarinzi is an award-winning communications executive and the author of two books. His first book, Diehards, is a work of non-fiction about sports fandom. Ghosts is his first novel. Scarinzi lives in the San Francisco Bay Area island community of Alameda with his wife and two young daughters.

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Posted in Spotlight, Thriller on February 18, 2017

Synopsis

Sarah Appleton has been kidnapped from her university campus in Cambridge, England. When she escapes, killing her abductor, she sets in motion a chain of events that has repercussions all across the world. Sarah and her father, Martin Appleton, flee the Russian mafia, from whom Martin stole twenty million dollars in bearer bonds, leaving authorities to unravel the threat of a terrorist plot using biological weapons of mass destruction stolen from a Russian lab and sold to Middle Eastern extremists. As the authorities scramble to unravel the scant clues left by people who make few mistakes, terrorists gear up for an attack that will leave millions of innocent people dead and the governments of several Middle Eastern nations in chaos.

About the Author

At the end of 2016 my first novel, ‘Disciples of Death,’ a terrorist thriller set in the Middle East, is being published by Black Opal Books in America. I’m currently writing my second thriller about the hunt for a British serial killer, called, ‘Soulmates.’ My second book has a main character, Detective Inspector Sarah Machin, who is also the main character in two follow up books I have planned, ‘Bailey’s Land’ and ‘Camden Town.’ I have only been drawn to theatre work recently, having a short play, ‘The Clearing,’ produced by Whoop ‘n’ Wail, at their event at the Waterloo East Theatre, April, 2015.

I’m also working on a few short 10 minute plays to enter in various short play competitions. My longer work consists of a play, ‘Death of the Slasher,’ about a 1950’s serial killer, in prison awaiting execution for his crimes. In his cell he is visited by the ghost of one of his victims. While he awaits the hangman’s noose he contemplates with the ghost his crimes and what made him do what he did.

Being a home carer for my disabled girlfriend, I try to pack in as much writing as I can between care duties, because I find writing, especially for theatre, opens up a whole world of possibility. I’m 52 years old, and my main ambition for my writing is to try and improve and become the best writer I can.

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