Posted in Book Release, fiction, Literary on April 1, 2017

The Path of the Wind: A Novel

By James Misko

Publisher: SquareOne

Publication Date: April 2017

 

Synopsis

The year is 1957 and Miles Foster is a newly minted teacher who dreams of getting a teaching job in the highly respected and financially stable Portland, Oregon school system where everything is available, and where he and his wife call home. But the only opening for his talents is in a remote lumber mill town in central Oregon, two hundred miles away. It is a poor school with forty students, and is controlled by a jealous superintendent and school board who tolerate no thinking outside the box and who conspire to destroy his teaching career. Miles must find a way to educate students who have been passed along in the system regardless of what they learned, and defeat the damaging control that the school board and superintendent have without losing his marriage or his job, or both.

About the Author

Jim Misko grew up in Ord, Nebraska, moved to Oregon, and then to Alaska in 1974. He has worked as an oil field roughneck, logger, forest service lookout, planer mill hand, truck driver, mink rancher, journalist, school teacher and real estate broker.

His previous novel, As All My Fathers Were, has won the FOUR GOLD’s AWARDS from the Benjamin Franklin Awards, Nebraska Book of the Year Award, 2016 Feathered Quill Award, and Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Jim and his wife Patti live in Alaska in the summer and California in the winter. You may find out more about the author here www.jimmisko.com.

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Posted in 5 paws, Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, romance on March 31, 2017

A STOLEN HEART

Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1

by

AMANDA CABOT

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group

Date of Publication: March, 2017

Number of Pages: 352

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“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar

Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.

Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her.

That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.

Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.

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A Would-Be Candy Maker

Do you have a sweet tooth?  I certainly do.  My siblings still laugh at the fact that I once declared that a meal wasn’t a meal unless it included dessert.  Fortunately for me, I grew up in a home where dessert ended almost every meal.  Breakfast doesn’t count, does it?  It was also a family where everything – and I mean everything – was homemade.  We had wonderful cakes, pies, cookies, and puddings for dessert.  The one thing we didn’t have was candy.  Candy came from a store and was for special occasions, namely Christmas and Easter.

As you can imagine, the fact that candy was rare made me long for it all the more.  And since my mother had taught me to make cookies, cakes, and pies, I decided that the next culinary challenge would be candy.  How difficult could it be?  Mother smiled when I announced that I wanted to make fudge.  “It’s not as easy as you think,” she told me, undoubtedly hoping to discourage me.  She didn’t, and I persisted in begging to make candy.  “Later,” she said.

Later came when my Girl Scout troop leader invited us to her home to make fudge.  I was ecstatic.  At last I’d uncover the mystery of creating delicious confections.  Somehow, I was appointed Stirrer-in-Chief.  After an hour – or was it a week? – of stirring the chocolate, sugar, and milk until it reached the soft boil stage, I decided that no matter how delicious the final product was, it wasn’t worth the effort.  Mother’s smile broadened when I recounted my experience.  Although she said nothing, I suspect she was saying, “Just what I expected.”

A year or so later, when I’d forgotten how tedious it was to stir candy until it reached exactly the right temperature, I decided to make penuche.  Once again, there was a lot of stirring involved.  That was bad enough, but I might have persisted if the results had been exceptional.  They were not.  This time I’d learned my lesson and was done with candy making.

My youngest sister, however, took up the candy baton er … spoon.  One evening she persuaded my boyfriend to help her make what had been advertised as “foolproof two-flavor fudge.”  The picture she’d torn out of a magazine showed a piece of chocolate fudge topped with a butterscotch layer.  Easy, or so the recipe claimed.

The two of them remained in the kitchen for far longer than it should have taken to make such an easy dish.  To this day, neither of them will admit to knowing what happened, but while the chocolate layer was a success, the butterscotch one remained the consistency of soup – not exactly what they had had in mind and definitely not like the picture.  As a last resort, they placed it in the freezer.  That did accomplish the goal of changing the consistency, and for a few minutes, the candy bore a faint resemblance to the picture.  Then, of course, it melted.

“I’ll never again make candy,” my sister wailed.  And she hasn’t.  I, on the other hand, couldn’t resist the recipe that came with my first microwave oven.  It couldn’t have been easier.  Simply place a few ingredients in a bowl, microwave for a couple minutes, stir, then refrigerate.  And, unlike the two-flavor fudge that had been my sister’s nemesis, this recipe truly was foolproof.  It might not be “real” fudge, but it was quick and easy.  I could almost convince myself that I was a candy maker.  Almost.

The reality is that I’ll never be a candy maker, but I am an author, and that means I can create characters who have powers I do not.  That’s why I gave Lydia, the heroine of A Stolen Heart, a candy store.  She may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she can – and does – create perfect candy.  Lucky Lydia!

Amanda Cabot

I thought this was going to just be a clean historical romance, which it was, but there was also a mystery in the little Texas town of Cimarron Creek.

When I read books like this one and the setting is a sleepy little town, I imagine myself living there and enjoying life at a slower pace then what I live in now. No the town isn’t perfect, there are petty crimes and more, but the thought of everyone knowing each other and the sense of community that is often missing in today’s world calls to me.

Lydia is spunky and while she may have come to town for one reason, she does manage to find her place despite being an outsider. I enjoyed watching her find her place by opening a confectionery store, and how everyone in town seemed to gravitate towards the candies. I do wish the author had provided recipes at the end!

Travis has his own issues with his father and his father’s attitude towards Northerners, like Lydia. But luckily he doesn’t let that hold him back from realizing that maybe finding a special woman isn’t such a bad thing.

The story has some humorous moments and some nail biting moments especially near the end as the story reveals who the culprit is behind everything. There is maybe a clue or two left along the way, but I didn’t put it all together and I was almost right in suspecting the right person. Close but no cigar.

I look forward to reading the next book which is Catherine’s story.

We give this 5 paws up!

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

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1ST RUNNER-UP: Book + $20 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

2ND RUNNER-UP: Book + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
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March 21 – April 4, 2017

 

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check out the other great blogs on this tour

3/21 Excerpt Hall Ways Blog
3/22 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
3/23 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
3/24 Review Reading By Moonlight
3/25 Scrapbook Page Syd Savvy
3/26 promo Kara The Redhead
3/27 Review Margie’s Must Reads
3/28 Excerpt Forgotten Winds
3/29 Author Interview The Page Unbound
3/30 Review My Book Fix Blog
3/31 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
4/1 Review CGB Blog Tours
4/2 promo A Novel Reality
4/3 Character Interview It’s a Jenn World
4/4 Review Missus Gonzo

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, romance, women on March 30, 2017

 

Title: The Lilac Bouquet

Author: Carolyn Brown

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Synopsis

Come hell or high water, Emmy Jo Massey will have a wedding. After three generations of Massey women with children out of wedlock, she wants the whole town of Hickory, Texas, to witness the legitimacy of her union with Logan Grady. But dream weddings aren’t cheap. So she accepts a highly lucrative stint as a home health assistant to retired realtor, and town recluse, Seth Thomas—a decision her great-grandmother Tandy is dead-set against.

Seth isn’t happy about it, either. The eighty-two-year-old doesn’t want a “babysitter”—much less a Massey—something he makes clear when Emmy arrives at his house, an empty mansion built for the woman who broke his heart. But as Emmy stays and the two eventually open up to each other, she learns the reason behind a feud between Seth, Tandy, and Logan’s grandfather Jesse Grady that goes back six decades. She also uncovers a secret that forever changes how she sees her past and her future…

Interview

Hello to everyone at StoreyBook Reviews. Thank you so much for inviting me to make a stop here today to talk about my 84th published book, The Lilac Bouquet. It’s actually the first book I ever attempted to write over forty years ago. It didn’t sell—not at that time and not the second time when I revised it. Looking back I do believe with all my heart that the story was waiting on Emmy Jo to be born so that she could bring out the big Hickory, Texas secret that was more than sixty years in the making. But I understand you have some questions for me? I’ve got coffee in hand and donuts (with maple frosting) right here in a pretty platter, so let’s get started.

In The Lilac Bouquet, your heroine Emmy Jo Massey is on a mission. Tell us a little bit about her wedding goals.

Emmy Jo is determined to break the Massey curse—three generations of unwed mothers before she was born. A big wedding will show the whole town that she is indeed married and she intends to have that. But a wedding the size of what she wants is very expensive. When she’s offered a job as Seth Thomas’s assistant until his hip heals, it’s like winning the lottery. She’ll be able to pay for the wedding and her goal will be met. Even though her great grandmother, Tandy, throws a southern hissy fit about her working for Seth and her best friend comes close to disowning her, the wedding is that important to her. So she takes the job and then discovers that the wedding plans aren’t as important as figuring out what the secret between Seth, Tandy and her fiancee’s grandfather is all about.

Emmy Jo has been influenced heavily by the women in her family. Can you give us a rundown of these feisty Massey women? Do you have anything in common with any of them?

Tandy Massey, Emmy Jo’s great-grandmother, is full of sass even though she’s past eighty years old. She raised a daughter, Rose, back in the 30’s when it was way past socially acceptable. Then Rose had a daughter, Crystal, out of wedlock and left her with Tandy to raise. When Crystal was still in high school she got pregnant. She planned to marry her boyfriend but died when Emmy Jo was only a few days old. Living in a small town like Hickory, there’s no way to cover up a background like that. My mother was a single mother in the mid 50’s. My father had a problem with settling down to one woman so she walked away from the marriage. She was a strong, independent woman with a lot of spunk so maybe that’s where I got the inspiration for Tandy.

When Emmy Jo starts working for Seth Thomas, the town recluse, there is some major tension that erupts in Hickory. What should readers know about this infamous feud?

The folks in Hickory have known there was bad blood between Seth, Jesse and Tandy since they were all in high school. But not a single one of the three of them are willing to step up and tell the story. What happened back then set them each on a course that drove them apart for more than sixty years. Right up until Emmy Jo started digging into the past and got Seth to talking.

We also need some more info on Hickory, Texas. It seems like a great place to live, but there are also some … interesting characters that inhabit the area. Who are some of your favorite Hickory-ites? How do you create these characters? (Are they based on people you know?)

Hickory, Texas is a fictional town in north central Texas. It actually gets its name from an old country music song by Merle Haggard, “Hickory Holler’s Tramp” which was the inspiration for the original story that I wrote more than forty years ago. One incident that happened eighteen years before Seth was even born affected the lives of three people for the rest of those folks days on earth. Are they based on people I know? Not necessarily but any small town in Texas has a life blood of its own and that is sometimes fueled by gossip. The best way to feed gossip is to keep talking. The best way to kill it is to stop talking but then that’s when it becomes so enticing that everyone wants to know what’s going on. We have a saying around here. “Everyone knows everyone, what they’re doing, when they’re doing it, and where they’d doing it. They read the weekly paper to find out who got caught.”

Are you going to be returning to Texas anytime soon in your upcoming books?

Oh, yes. Most of my books are set in Texas. Authors tend to write what they know and I’m a Texan by birth. Even though Mama jumped over the Red River and raised me in Oklahoma, my Texas blood calls to me when I start to write. The Toughest Cowboy in Texas, the debut book in the Happy Texas Trilogy, is set in Happy, Texas and comes out May 30. The Strawberry Hearts Diner, a women’s fiction book is set in a fictional town of Pick, Texas, hits the market on July 18. And Long, Tall Cowboy Christmas, the second book in the Happy Texas Trilogy will be out Sept. 26. So keep your boots on folks, there’s more on the way.

Thank you again for the visit. Now let’s refill these coffee cups and have another donut before we turn out the lights on this party.

About the Author

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, as well as a RITA finalist. She has written several beloved and popular romance titles, ranging from historical to contemporary to cowboy-themed. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children, and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on March 29, 2017

Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery

Ballantine Group; Alibi | On Sale: March 21st, 2017 | ISBN: 9780399179051| 300 Pages | Price: $4.99

Synopsis

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

About the Author

Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

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Check out the other blogs on the tour

March 20 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

March 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

March 21 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT   Will review at a later date.

March 21 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 22 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 23 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 23 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 24 – Shelley’s Book Case – SPOTLIGHT

March 24 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

March 27 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

March 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 28 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

March 28 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

March 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 30 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

March 30 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

April 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 1 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

April 2 – Varietas – REVIEW

April 2 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

Posted in excerpt, fiction, Literary, Spotlight on March 28, 2017

Title: BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139
Author: Howard Jay Smith
Publisher: SYQ
Pages: 385
Genre: Literary Fiction/Biographical Fiction

At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past.

As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Amazon

Excerpt

Prologue:

The Death of Beethoven

Vienna, 5:00 pm, March 26, 1827  

Outside Beethoven’s rooms at the Schwarzspanierhaus, a fresh measure of snow from a late season thunderstorm muffles the chimes of St. Stephens Cathedral as they ring out the hours for the old city.

Ein, Zwei, Drei, Vier… Funf  Uhr.  Five O’clock.

Beethoven, three months past his fifty-sixth birthday, lies in a coma, as he has now for two nights, his body bound by the betrayal of an illness whose only virtue was that it proved incurable and would, thankfully, be his last. Though his chest muscles and his lungs wrestle like giants against the approaching blackness, his breathing is so labored that the death rattle can be heard over the grumblings of the heavens throughout his apartment.

Muss es sein? Must it be? Ja, es muss sein. Beethoven is dying. From on high, the Gods vent their grief at his imminent passing and hurl a spear of lightening at Vienna.

Their jagged bolt of electricity explodes outside the frost covered windows of the Schwarzspanierhaus with a clap of thunder so violent it startles the composer to consciousness.

Beethoven’s eyes open, glassy, unfocused. He looks upward – only the Gods know what he sees, if anything. He raises his right hand, a hand that has graced a thousand sonatas, and clenches his fist for perhaps the last time. His arm trembles as if railing against the heavens. Tears flood his eyes.

His arm falls back to the bed… His eyelids close… And then he is gone …

About the Author

Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. BEETHOVEN IN LOVE; OPUS 139 is his third book. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony – “The Best Small City Symphony in America” –  and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.

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Posted in Book Release, coming of age, Music on March 27, 2017

Synopsis

An ensemble sets off on a dark comedy of errors and uncertain conclusions, featuring original music throughout the story.

Theo and Judah, two childhood friends, are trying desperately to find an audience for their hard-edged, “grunge” music as they move past their twenties and feel the need to establish careers. Together, they enroll in an unusual college, called The University of Jazz and Music Technology.

Attracted at first by the means within the school to professionally record their own original music, the two friends embark on what could be a lifelong journey.  But the endeavor has an alternate effect, as Theo begins to question his musical efforts with Judah.

Entanglements with co-eds quickly complicate matters. Theo and Judah hit as many rough spots as any amateur band may find along the way, including a disastrous mini-tour of the northwest during spring break. Little do they know, the misfortunes have just begun…

The book will be free on Amazon April 1st – 4th – so snag your free copy in a few days!

Q & A with Barnaby

Misfortunes of T-Funk really is all about the music. What inspired the story?

My past, really. I knew this story was brewing in me for years now. The different jobs I’ve worked and stories I’ve lived through in the name of keeping music my priority has been just outrageous, so it seemed natural to craft these stories about fictional characters informed by my own “misfortunes” and frustrations in what almost seems like a former life to me now.

There has to be a little of your own real life peppered in, right?

Yes. I made up these characters and put them through some stories that are made up, and

some that I have actually experienced, though I will keep those details close to my chest. My favorite part of having a ‘work of fiction’ disclaimer is that I can borrow them from my own life with no intention of ever returning to them. I like to say that maybe I’ll even forget those parts of the stories really happened. I’m getting older… it could happen.

I love the idea of incorporating music directly into your story, especially with your background. It’s such a unique idea! How did you come up with it?

I started thinking about where Theo, my main character, was headed musically right away –

meaning back around the year 2000, though I didn’t have a name for him then – but, I didn’t have much in mind for the vehicle to get him there.

I felt like I needed a different plan of some sort.  I don’t really remember the moment I thought to use recordings, but it seemed an unnecessarily difficult task to describe Theo’s experience with nothing but words.  It was when I decided to use these recordings that my second character, Judah, materialized. He sings each track from my own songwriting past throughout the book.

Which genres and artists from your own life influence the music in Misfortunes of T-Funk?

I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, along with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and other classic rock. I also went through a punk phase, along with another stretch where I was listening to rap and writing hooks for some of those rappers in a studio in Northern California.  Jazz was a favorite later on in life, which explains why I eventually obtained an MA in Jazz Composition. I think all of these various influences will be pretty apparent to readers/listeners of the book, though I’m sure some are more obvious than others.

And what can readers/listeners expect of the embedded music in each of the Misfortune books?

I’m hoping for 12-15 tracks incorporated across the entire series – which is suspiciously the length of a CD or full-length playlist. It’s something that’s ever-developing with the story itself, so I’m looking forward to seeing just how the entire thing plays out.

About the Author

Barnaby Hazen is an author, editor and musician. Driven strongly by collaboration, it seems natural his first venture into writing began with a friend. Seven Eleven Stories periodical took shape in 2014 and just one year later, Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories  debuted with a full-length collection featuring nine strange tales on convenience store fiction.

In 2017, Misfortunes of T-Funk, the first in a series, pulls directly from Hazen’s own life in music. Having been a lifelong, dedicated listener, teacher and performer, his latest novel incorporates his self-recorded and produced musical tracks directly into the chapters of his new novel. Hazen’s music illuminates his main characters and further elaborates on the story, creating a unique and personal soundtrack for readers of the book.

Having spent years as an educator, Barnaby’s time as an elementary school music teacher particularly inspired him to become involved with The Bud Hawthorne Revue.  He writes and edits the publication, along with Mr. Hawthorne himself, and is eager to continue offering contributions to literary culture given his unique perspective on writing.

Hazen lives in Taos, New Mexico with his wife Sarah and their adorably troublesome pets.

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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 romance, Spotlight, women on March 25, 2017

We are so excited to announce the tour for Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop by Isabella Louise Anderson!

 

“Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop is perhaps one of the most memorable stories I have ever read. The characters are a huge plus, but the main star was the wisdom hidden within this profound story.”

Get your copy today!

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“Engaging, heart-warming, and full of romance, this one is bound to please readers.”

As the owner of a successful florist shop, Khloe Harper trusts her instincts. She has a strong bond with her family and friends, but after being betrayed by her last love, she’s kept herself at arms’ length from romance. When dashing entertainment attorney Derek Thomas walks into her store, Khloe’s interest is piqued. What at first seems like a business relationship quickly turns into romance, and Derek slowly plucks away the petals she’s been hiding behind. Just as Khloe lets down her guard, she discovers that Derek may not be worthy of her love after all.

Frumpy Connie Albright has a faux fascination with an imaginary man named Walt, thinking that by sending herself flowers from him she’ll feel less out-of-place with the “mean girls” she works with. When she comes face to face with her possible prince charming and thinking she might have a happy ending, when a truth is revealed, she wonders if she’ll ever have a Cinderella story.

A recently widowed senior, Gabby Lewis, isn’t ready to give up on love—which means releasing herself from survivor’s guilt and taking a chance on finding happiness and companionship again. After signing up for an online dating site for senior citizens, much to her surprise, she’s matched with Harry, an energetic and loving man, who quickly eases himself into her heart. Will Gabby take the leap of falling in love again, knowing it’s possible to have two loves of her life?

As each woman’s story develops through flowers and cards sent from Khloe’s shop during the Fall months, they begin to learn that love can only truly blossom when you trust your heart.

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“In Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop, author Isabella Louise Anderson weaves a delightful tale that follows three women’s journey of self-discovery and finding an unexpected second chance at love.”

“Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop is a wonderful novel about finding love and happiness that will leave a smile on your face.”

Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She focuses her time on featuring other writers on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with organizing Goddess Book Tours, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Mexican food, margaritas, gin on the rocks (with a splash of lime). She loves spending time with family and friends and cheering on the Texas Rangers. Not only is Isabella an author, she’s also a Scentsy consultant and hoarder.

Isabella is the author of The Right Design and Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop. Her short story, “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe,” was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright. She’s currently working on another book.

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, nonfiction, Writing on March 24, 2017

Creating Stories
by Hank Quense

Published by Strange World Publishing

AVAILABLE April 1, 2017

$8.99, 9947 KB, 105 Pages

Genre: Fiction Writing

Synopsis

Do you have a story in you? Do you know how to write it or how to tell it? Well, CREATING STORIES has the answers. In addition, Hank is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring of five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE’S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). See how you can enter to win below. If you don’t want to wait to win a copy of CREATING STORIES, Hank is offering a special ‘half price’ sale that will only be available during his tour (March 20 through April 14).

Hank, the author of more than twenty books, tells you how to write your story. He believes that stories come from the melding of three elements: getting ideas, story design, and story-telling. Ideas have to come from the author. CREATING STORIES covers the last two.

The book concentrates on developing characters including such rarely discussed requirements such as a dominant reader emotion and the character’s biography.

Plots are also covered in depth and a number of graphics are included to illustrate complex points. Another topic discusses subplots and how to utilize them and how to nest them within the main plot.

A separate chapter discusses the relationship between the plot and the emotional arcs.

Other topics covered are character arcs, scene design, point-of-view, writing voice.

Excerpt

From Chapter 2 of Creating Stories

Setting can do much more than describe the backdrop for the story.  It should convey and define the time period and customs of the characters.  It can set up the reader’s expectations about the type of story he is about to read.  It can start the reader’s image-building process.

Consider your characters acting out the story on a stage.  Behind the characters, instead of the scenery typical with plays, there is nothing but white panels.  The people who paid money to see the play would be dismayed by the lack of scenery, so too your readers will not like it if your story doesn’t have the appropriate setting to back up the characters.

As with the plot and other story development elements, the setting must dovetail with the overall story design.  As an example, a Medieval setting won’t work if the bad guy uses an automatic pistol (unless the bad guy is also a time traveler).  Thus the setting places limits on what the author can do and can’t do, so it’s best if the author has the setting developed before the work gets too far along.

The setting used in your story has to be accurate.  Don’t try to set a story in Manhattan’s Central Park if you haven’t been there.  Likewise, the French Quarter in New Orleans is unique and shouldn’t be used by anyone who hasn’t walked the narrow streets.

Here is an example of what can happen.  I’ve lived and worked all my life around New York City.  The Hudson River is over a mile wide here and the East River is nearly a half-mile wide.  If you haven’t been to Dublin, you may assume the Liffey River, which runs through that city, would be of similar size.  It isn’t.  The Liffey is rather small compared to the rivers around Manhattan.  Making the Liffey a wide river will destroy your credibility with those readers who have seen the Liffey.

On the other hand, if you develop an imaginary location, you can make the city’s river as wide as you want.  Similarly, if you use a backdrop of a historical period in the distant past, none of your readers will have been there, but you’ll still have to do research to get the setting accurate. You can’t use St. Paul’s Cathedral with its great dome in London right after William the Conquerer became king of England.  St Paul’s wasn’t built yet.

The setting of the story should be conveyed early to the reader, the earlier the better.  Ideally, the opening paragraph in a short story or the first few pages in a longer work should give an indication of the type of story the reader is about to encounter.  Is it a mystery set in Victorian London?  Is it a story of survival set in war-torn Iraq?  Are those vicious aliens on their way to Earth?  The reader expects and has a right to know this stuff as early as possible.  Don’t disappoint the reader.  She may put the book down and never open it again.

An effect of establishing the setting is the placing of limitations on the author and the characters.  For the author, a space ship means he shouldn’t have the characters using swords and landline phones since these artifacts are from bygone eras.

Your characters are also limited.  A character in the Old West can’t have knowledge of computers or smart phones, unless he’s a time-traveler.

If you write a story that uses weapons from a different era or knowledge not available at that time, you’d better have a good reason why it makes sense.  You don’t have to convince yourself, you have to convince the reader.

~ ~ ~

If you have any questions or comments on this material, leave a note and I’ll respond.

About the Author

Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories.

He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a third Moxie novel that takes place in the Camelot era.

He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.

Amazon Author Page * Website * Twitter

You can check out the schedule and follow Hank’s tour by clicking HERE.

Giveaway

 

This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) eBooks of CREATING STORIES and three (3) print copies of the author’s MOXIE’S PROBLEM (U.S. entries only). The prizes are courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 18.
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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on March 23, 2017

Elementary, She Read: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery
by Vicki Delany
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (March 14, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683310969

Synopsis

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

Guest Post

Creating a Character: Gemma Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Series

By Vicki Delany

When I first came up with the idea for the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, I planned on creating a standard cozy in which the main character owns a book store that specializes in anything to do with Sherlock Holmes.

But by around page two, she began to morph from a pleasant young woman into a modern Sherlock Holmes. I guess you could say that Gemma Doyle took over control of her character from me, the supposed writer.

I’m glad she did, as I’ve had a lot of fun trying to imagine Sherlock as a modern young woman. She’s as intelligent, as quick-witted, and as perspective as The Great Detective, but I have made her (found her to be?) softer and not quite as abrasive, although she can still be lacking some of the, shall we say, finer points of social skills.

The book store is located at 220 Baker Street, in West London, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. I’ve stocked it with all the novels and short story collections of the Holmes pastiche, the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books, modern essays and interpretations, as well as a shelf full of gaslight mysteries and tons of Sherlock memorabilia. It’s been rather surprising to me to discover just how much of that stuff there is. It really would be possible to have an entire store with nothing but Sherlock Holmes.

Gemma Doyle has, unlike Sherlock Holmes, actual friends. One of whom is Jayne Wilson, who owns Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room located next door at 222 Baker Street.

She also has romantic interests. She was on the verge of getting engaged some years ago, but the proposal never happened.

In this scene, she remembers why their engagement never came to pass:

  “You’re wearing your best suit and a brand new tie, if I’m not
mistaken. You’ve gone to the trouble of shaving after work
which you normally don’t do. You’ve even polished your
shoes. You have a touch of sweat on your brow but this room
isn’t hot. Somewhat to the contrary, I think. They’ve turned the
air conditioning on too early. The bulge in your jacket pocket is
the size and shape of a ring box. You gave the waiter an
unobtrusive nod that had him grinning like a fool, and if I’m not
mistaken, he’s bringing the champagne now, Veuve Clicquot,
excellent choice.”

                                                Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

 

Now, he’s back in town. And he’s the lead detective for the local police.

When Gemma finds a rare old copy of the world’s most expensive magazine, Beeton’s Christmas Annual of December 1887, hidden in the shop, she can’t help herself from investigating.

And the game, most definitely, is afoot.

About the Author

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Website * Facebook * Twitter (Vicki) * Twitter (Eva)

Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

March 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW

March 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – SPOTLIGHT

March 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 14 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW

March 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

March 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 16 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 16 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 18 – Girl with Book Lungs – GUEST POST

March 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 20 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

March 20 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

March 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 22 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

March 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 23 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

March 25 – Island Confidential – spotlight

March 26 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

March 26 – Girl Lost In a Book – REVIEW