Posted in fiction, Literary, Spotlight on July 14, 2017

Synopsis

What can an award-winning Nashville singer-songwriter learn about himself by agreeing to a best-of tour in a beat up old van? If it means getting out from under the thumb of a label that considers him washed up, he’s willing to find out.  At least until an ex-lover wants to come along for the ride.

Carl Mahogany’s not your average protagonist. In the practiced drawl of the aging country singer, and echoing Edward Abbey’s Henry Lightcap, Boddicker takes us across the country in an Americana-steeped journey through Mahogany’s roots. Encounters with old friends and lovers, including the Eisenhower Interstate System, a firecracker tenured professor, former bandmates, and a down-to-earth small town mechanic, shake the dust out of Mahogany’s creases to revision his life.

If a lifetime of travel, songwriting and performing equates to learning to work with the monsters inside us, The Essential Carl Mahogany is that journey. Grab a six pack, settle into the cushions, and come along for the ride.

Interview with Zach

What inspired The Essential Carl Mahogany?

The answer to this may be lost to history. I do remember having gotten to the point where I refused to watch any more musician/artist biopics and documentaries. So many of them follow the rise-fall-redemption paradigm, focused on industry pressure and substance abuse.  There are so many other ways to depict the complex trials of a successful, working artist. Having written several short stories in college, and unaware of any novel written about a professional songwriter, I decided it was time to go for it.

Where did the moniker and personality of Carl Mahogany come from?

The name “Carl Mahogany” came from a quip made at a backyard 4th of July horseshoe tournament I attended in 2005, and it just stuck. When I started the book, I wanted an artist-protagonist who could feasibly reach the top of their game with no college degree, trust fund or traces of nepotism; someone who could still move about the general population without being noticed. If I were to run into a real version of a songwriter like Carl, I’m not sure I would recognize them – even with being familiar with their work.

The Essential Carl Mahogany  is the first novel published by M12 / Last Chance Press. How did you two connect – and what made them decide to publish your book?

Richard Saxton (Creative Director of M12) happened to be at a 4H Royalty show at the Lion’s Lair several years ago. I didn’t meet or speak with him that particular night, but we eventually connected, and with their company focus on rural art and artists,  I insisted that we collaborate. I contributed a short story to their first publication A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier. After Carl won an unpublished novel contest a few years ago and made the finals in another, Saxton said “why don’t we put out your book?”

Do you see yourself in any of your characters in the book?

Definitely – there’s some aspect of all of the main characters, except Lloyd. Bill, Carl and Rhonda are all pretty good improvisors when it comes to handling the disruptions and chaos of life. Their sense of humor enables this more than anything. Carl takes several more beatings than anyone else in this story, but he keeps grinding forward with his new project. Bill and Rhonda have gone through their own messes previously and have earned their ability to see the humor and absurdity of all of the knuckleballs that have come their way. I suppose this is why I identify with these characters the most. It’s an ongoing aspiration, at least.

Are any of those six a favorite of yours?

It depends on my mood. I’d probably choose Rhonda as my go-to character. She’s naturally non-judgemental, an improvisor, focused, highly-skilled and unapologetically passionate about what she does.

You’re a musician, as well as a writer. How long have you been a musician and what type of music do you play?

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10, and then picked up pedal steel at 19. I started playing bars at 18 with a “modern country” cover band, which led to me starting a “classic country” band with Ben O’Connor (Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams, Matt Skinner Band). No one was doing that up in Fort Collins at the time, so people started coming to check it out.

One of these individuals was Karl Alvarez of Descendents / ALL fame. He brought me on board with Drag the River, which to that point was just an acoustic duo. We got the full-band version of DTR going, and I spent about five years recording and touring with them.

My main project since 2008 or so is a four-piece band called 4H Royalty. It’s been more of a long-term art project than a working band. People have described our sound as a combination of the Replacements, Billie Joe Shaver, Thin Lizzy, Meat Puppets and late-seventies Springsteen.

So, given your history in music, were any parts of your story inspired by real-life events?

From the start, I anticipated receiving accusations that this story is just a thinly-veiled autobiography, so I over-compensated by making sure nearly everything that happens in this book is made from scratch (to the best of my ability). None of the major plot points have happened to me, or to anyone I know personally, but several minor plot points, characters, details, and locations are based on, or influenced by, real-life experiences, hearsay, and unreliable memories. Several!

What do you think will surprise readers most about your book?

The depiction of small-town/rural humans as creative, dynamic individuals with complex lives and diverse opinions.

About the Author

Zach Boddicker grew up living the country life north of Laporte, Colorado.  Ever more interested in rock bands and art than hunting, sports and other traditional red-blooded American activities, it was when he finally got his hands on a guitar that his journey into a life of music was catapulted into action.

In his formative years, Boddicker listened to and learned from everything he could get his hands on, but found direction one Monday night at a poignant performance at The Continental Club in Austin, Tex. by country guitar legend Junior Brown. This steered the author and musician toward honky-tonk, country and western swing.

Boddicker holds a B.A. in English and a MFA in Fiction from Colorado State University, which have proven useful for his endeavors into publishing. In 2014, his short story “Equipment” was published in “A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier(Jap Sam Books / M12 Studio). His first book “The Essential Carl Mahogany” (2017), which has been deemed evocative of Nick Hornby, Hunter S. Thompson and Don DeLillo, is the first novel to be published by M12 Studio / Last Chance Press.

In addition to his work as an author, Boddicker has been a staple of the Roots Music scene along the Front Range for 20 years as a member of 4H Royalty, Cowboy Dave Band, Drag the River, and many others. He currently resides in Denver with his wife and two daughters.

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Posted in Giveaway, Historical, Interview, romance on July 13, 2017

Title: Lord of Lies

Author: Amy Sandas

Series: Fallen Ladies, #3

ISBN: 9781492618782

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

“You do strange things to me, Dell Turner. Tell me I am not alone in what I feel.”

His voice was low and rough. His eyes burned. “You are not alone,” he said.

Portia Chadwick longs for a life of adventure. When a dangerous moneylender kidnaps her sister, she dares to seek help from a man known only as Nightshade. Soon she finds herself charging headfirst into his world of intrigue and danger—and unexpected passion.

Dell Turner grew up in London’s back alleys and gin lanes. Vowing to escape his low beginnings, he hires himself out to society’s elite. When he accepts a job from a beautiful debutante, he doesn’t anticipate her relentless determination to join his mad occupation…or her unnerving ability to inspire emotions he thought long buried. She’s as dangerous to him as his world is to her, and yet Dell can’t bring himself to turn Portia away—even if it means risking her life.

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Interview with Amy

Elizabeth: What’s your favorite line from your new release, LORD OF LIES?

Amy: “He knew before he spoke, however, that a sensible lecture would only end in a roll of her fascinating eyes or a snort of derision before she went along doing exactly what she wanted to do anyway.”

 

Elizabeth: I know you have small children at your house just like I do.  What’s your number one tip for juggling mom life with author life?

Amy: The struggle is real! I don’t know if any mom feels they successfully juggle the many balls they have in the air. My number one tip to keep writing in the midst of mommy tasks is to set a routine and stick to it. The early morning hours of every day are for my writing. My kids still interrupt, but at least they are not surprised when I shoo them out the door.

 

Elizabeth: Let’s talk movies.  What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?  What’s your favorite movie? What movie are you embarrassed to admit that you love?

Amy: Last movie seen in the theater was the live-action Beauty and the Beast with my twelve-year old daughter. My favorite movie is constantly changing. Right now, it’s Wonder Woman. A movie I’m embarrassed to love—Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley.

 

Elizabeth: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Amy: I’ve loved writing since I was a pre-teen, but it wasn’t until college that I knew I wanted to make a go of it as a career. It took many years after that to actually commit to a discipline that would make it happen.

 

Elizabeth: If you had to live within the world of any genre of romance, which one would you choose and why?

Amy: I’d have to go with contemporary. Specifically, the gritty, rock-and-roll, tattooed, dive bar contemporaries. Oh, to be young and rebellious again!

 

Elizabeth: Have any of your (adult) family members read your books?  Do you tear out the pages of the sex scenes? Or let them read the whole thing?

Amy: Yes, many of my adult family members have read at least one of my books. Even my grandpa! And, as far as I know, they read the whole thing. We just don’t talk specifics afterward…

About the Author

Amy Sandas’ love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children in Wisconsin.

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Title: The Wicked Heir

Author: Elizabeth Michels

Series: Spare Heirs, #3

ISBN: 9781492621393

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Fallon St. James: The Mastermind

When the love of Lady Isabelle Fairlyn’s life is betrothed to her twin sister, Isabelle vows to find a suitable replacement before the end of the season. He must be a talented dancer, have a keen fashion sense, and be perfectly dashing in every way.

Fallon St. James is the farthest thing from perfectly anything. As head of the secretive Spare Heirs Society, he must stick to the shadows…even as Isabelle’s friendship pulls him reluctantly into the light.  But when Isabelle gets involved with the one man who could destroy Spares, Fallon must decide between protecting his life’s work—or risking everything to save the woman whose warm smile leaves him breathless.

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Interview with Elizabeth

Amy: If you could be a character in any movie, which movie and what character would you want to be?

Elizabeth: Without a doubt I would want to be Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries! She gets to learn to be a princess.  I mean, twist my arm, right?  Torture me with makeovers and learning to properly sip tea any day.  I won’t complain even a little. Mia Thermopolis has the bright future of one day ruling Genovia which looks a great deal like one of the countries in Epcot.  Again, it would be complete torture to have that to look forward to. 😉 And bonus—my grandmother would be Mary Poppins.  Not too shabby.

 

Amy: Who is your favorite musical artist of all time, and why?

Elizabeth: That’s such a tough question! I think I’ve now changed my answer on this 4 times, but in the end I have to go with Dave Matthews.  I’ve been to more of his concerts than any other band.  I can put on his live album with Tim Reynolds at Radio City Music Hall in the background at my house and be content to leave it on for hours.  I like any musical artist that tells a story or paints a picture with lyrics, so for me Dave Matthews Band is the perfect music…even if I did come really close to answering this question with Led Zeppelin.

 

Amy: Do you listen to music while you write? And if so, what do you listen to?

Elizabeth: I only listen to classical music and theme songs from movies while I’m writing because of the lyrics.  If I listen to a song with words, I stop writing to sing along, using the stapler on my desk as a microphone.  Yes, I discovered I have this problem the hard way.  I do, however, have inspiration music for each book.  I listen to it while I’m sipping my coffee or I’m in the car.

For THE WICKED HEIR, I listened to a mix that included the acoustic version of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift, Someone Like You by Adele, Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews, She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5, and a random selection of songs from Disney movies.  I blame my heroine, Isabelle, who is a bit of a princess for that last part.

 

Amy: If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go?

Elizabeth: London, of course! My house is in the country so I enjoy going to cities on vacation for a change of pace.  And what better city is there in the world than London, England? I love London, but I haven’t been able to go in years since I have a little one at home.  It seemed like a long flight for a wiggly little boy to sit through, but now that he’s getting older I’m hoping I can take a family vacation there in the coming years.  Until then I’ll just have to sip tea at home and dream.

 

Amy: If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life, what book would it be?

Elizabeth: Only one book?! Forever?! Man, ask me a tougher question, why don’t you, Amy.  Geez! I would have to go with the book that will always hold a special place in my heart: the one that hooked me on reading when I was a teenager.  There was a long list of acceptable books for summer reading that year.  I wasn’t a big reader at the time, so I sighed and looked down the list settling on a title that turned out to be AMAZING! After I read it, I wanted more and began devouring book after book for the first time in my life.  But that first one is still my favorite book of all time.  The book that changed my life: REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier.

 

Amy: What is the strangest way that an idea has come to you for a story?

Elizabeth: LOL I definitely have to go with the plot of my debut novel, MUST LOVE DUKES, for this one.  I was in the shower one Saturday afternoon after working in my flower beds all morning.

It went something like this: shampoo, shampoo, shampoo… ENTIRE PLOT OF THE STORY SMASHING ME OVER THE HEAD! I gasped, didn’t even stop to rinse or repeat, and ran for a pen and paper before I could forget the details.  I wrote down a summary of the entire book with shampoo bubbles still dripping from my head.  And the rest is history.

 

Amy: Who is a favorite secondary character you’ve written, and why?

Elizabeth: Kelton Brice, Lord Hardaway! I love Kel! I can always count on him to go off on some tangent of complete randomness, and whatever story he tells, it always makes me giggle.  He’s one of those people who talks with his hands and is always in danger of accidentally back handing someone who gets too close when he’s mid tale of some adventure. I never know what he’s going to say, but you can bet that it will be slightly inappropriate and at top volume so that everyone on his side of town can hear it.  He’s awesome.  I want to be his friend.

About the Author

Elizabeth Michels grew up on a Christmas tree farm in rural South Carolina. After tip-toeing her way through school with her focus on ballet steps and her nose in a book, she met a boy and followed him a thousand miles away from home to Kansas City, Missouri, before settling down in North Carolina.

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Giveaway

Amy Sandas’ Fallen Ladies Series:
Luck Is No Lady
The Untouchable Earl
Lord of Lies

Elizabeth Michels’ Spare Heirs Series:
The Infamous Heir
The Rebel Heir
The Wicked Heir

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Posted in 4 paws, Children, excerpt, Review on July 12, 2017

Title: SCRIBBLE & AUTHOR
Author: Miri Leshem-Pelly
Publisher: Kane Miller Books
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Scribble & Author is written as a dialogue between the main character, Scribble, and the author who created her.

Scribble’s journey starts on a peaceful shore called THE BEGINNING, continues to the rough, adventurous MIDDLE, and leads finally to the gate of THE ENDING, but it’s not at all what Scribble expected… Scribble is a scribble and Author is an author, but who really gets to tell the tale?

A picture book about finding your own voice, making your own decisions, and writing your own story.

Watch the book trailer at Vimeo.

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Excerpt

A color spot,

some pencil lines,

and here you are… Scribble!

Hi, who are you?

Hello Scribble.

I’m the author, and I’m here to help you create your journey.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Wow, Author, you’ve created a beautiful beginning!

Where do I go next?

Well, it’s your journey, so it’s up to you.

What would you like to do?

Review

Scribble is a character in this story that helps guide us on how to write a story. Scribble helps set up each phase of the story and how it might be written or things to think about for that part of the story.

The book has a quirky side to it in how Scribble approaches each section of the book – will it be scary? happy? sad? Anything is possible as long as the writer doesn’t let challenges or problems stand in the way.

I thought this was a good way to help new writers create their story and is good for anyone whether they are young or old.

We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Miri Leshem-Pelly is the author-illustrator of 14 children’s books. She’s also illustrated 14 books for other writers. When Miri isn’t writing she can be found speaking at schools, kindergartens and libraries. She is invited to do more than 200 presentations with her books per year. Miri is also a Regional Advisor for SCBWI (Society of Children’s book writers & illustrators).

Miri is represented by Olswanger Literary Agency.

Miri’s works have won awards and her illustrations have been shown on several exhibitions.

Miri lives in Israel with her husband and two children, and loves reading books and going on nature hikes.

Her latest book is Scribble & Author.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, suspense on July 11, 2017

Synopsis

In the breathtaking new thriller from David Bell, bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Somebody I Used to Know, the fate of two missing teenage girls becomes a father’s worst nightmare….

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family…

Review

This book takes you on quite the roller coaster of emotions!

Two girls go missing and are found in the park – 1 dead and the other badly beaten. The families are destroyed and Summer’s father is out to make sure whoever did this to his daughter pays the price.

I’m trying to figure out what to write to not give away too much that would spoil the book!

The father, Bill Price, definitely has some issues. I don’t know if they stem from losing his wife and now what has happened to his daughter Summer, or if there is more to what makes him tick. He was a little annoying with wanting justice – while I understood how he felt, he also was not giving the police time to truly do their job. Many of the things that happened were mistakes that could happen to anyone. The one upside to this whole tragic event is that it brought Bill and his sister closer together in the end (there are some rough patches!).

The book surprised me many times with the twists and turns. I was shocked at a few incidents that happened and while I suspected some of who was involved, the revelations might just leave you dumb founded in the end.

The book does have a somewhat happy ending – as happy as it can be when tragedy occurs.

We give it 4 paws up.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Fantasy, Science Fiction on July 11, 2017

Synopsis

Love science fiction stories that all include elements ofLove, Murder & Mayhem?

Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with superheros and supervillains. AIs, off-worlders, and space cruisers. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one DuckBob!

With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ Colchamiro.

You’ll never look at Love, Murder & Mayhem the same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.

About the Author

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.

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

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

Synopsis

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

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

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

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Indigo * The Wild Rose Press * Barnes & Noble

Guest Post

10 Interesting Facts About Chief Detective Carlo Fantin

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

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

About the Author

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

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Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

July 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 11 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 13 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

July 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – INTERVIEW

July 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

July 16 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

July 17 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

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

July 19 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

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

July 21 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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

July 23 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

Posted in excerpt, romance, women on July 9, 2017

THE CORNER OFFICE

by Katerina Baker

Publication Date: 23 Jun 2017

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Issues

Synopsis

Tara Johnson’s sacrifices are about to pay off: a senior executive at thirty-five at a Fortune 500 company, she’s one of the two finalists in line for a Managing Director position. Unfortunately, her rival of fifteen years, the charming, infuriating Richard Boyd, is just as qualified, and unlike her, he’s willing to cross pretty much every line to get what he wants.

Of all the things Tara stored in the attic to make it to the top, it’s her personal life she misses the most. That is, until she starts a steamy affair with sex god Aidan, her direct report. Interoffice relationships with a subordinate can mean the end of a career, and when Richard finds out, it’s the perfect opportunity to take his high-heeled nemesis out, especially since he’s still nursing a grudge against Tara for rejecting him years ago.

But Tara’s increasingly domineering lover has his own dark secrets, endangering more than just her career. As her liaison spirals out of control, salvation will come from the man she always thought she hated, and perhaps the only one to truly understand her.

Excerpt

I sauntered to the elevator with my well-practiced “confident” walk, stretched my arm to push the button—

And my high-heeled sandal slipped.

My knee gave in, and I grabbed onto the first thing I could reach to prevent me from the total embarrassment of ending up on the floor in front of everyone. I turned to thank the helpful soul…and came face-to-face with Richard and a lazy twist of his lips settled in the corner of his mouth. I continued to squeeze his arm and my chest brushed his side. But it was more than that; he placed his other arm on my lower back to support me, and I felt a slight tug. The bastard pulled me closer to him in front of everyone watching and my space was suddenly invaded by the scent of his cologne. By Richard.

My insides tightened, and my lips pained as I was still trying to keep them in a semblance of a smile in front of everyone.

“You okay there?” he asked, his expression no less mocking than it was earlier. “You seem flustered. I understand. You finally get to see my place.”

The following moment was the testament to the long road that got me to that point in my career. All the brutal hours I’d slaved in the office, the hard work, missing friends’ events because of last-minute urgent assignments, working through my own birthdays—it all came down to that. My self-control to not kill Richard when every inch of my body believed spending the next twenty years in prison would be well worth it.

I smiled into his snake-green eyes, pushed his arm away and stepped into the elevator. Just as the doors closed separating us, as he thankfully decided to stay with the next group, I managed to think of an appropriate response. But it was too late.

About the Author

Katerina Baker is a lucky gal who still attempts to have it all: full-time project management job that she enjoys, crazy family of four (with the ongoing threats of getting a pet to upset the family equilibrium) and writing.

Although on some days she is much more successful at managing her life than on the others, she still claims that she doesn’t want it any other way.

Katerina is represented by Sharon Belcastro from Belcastro Agency, and has a contract with Lachesis Publishing, who will be publishing her Romantic Suspense novel Under the Scrubs.

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

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

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound

Guest Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About The Author

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

 

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

June 27 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 27 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 28 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 28 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

June 29 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 29 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – GUEST POST

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

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

June 30 – Mystery Playground – Drinks and Reads

July 1 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

July 1 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 3 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 3 – Celebrating Authors – INTERVIEW

July 4 – OFF

July 5 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

July 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

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

July 7 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 7 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

July 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

July 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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

July 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 11 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

July 11 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

Posted in excerpt, fiction, Historical on July 7, 2017

The Velvet Prison Synopsis

Against the pulsating back drop of a New York City in social and economic change, young Travis Kane struggles with his passion to be an artist painter, and the conservative demands of his strict grandfather, Barclay Kane.

His mother, unable to come to terms with tragedy, has taken Travis’s infant sister and abandons him, leaving their house in Gramercy Park, and Travis to be raised by the grandfather he adores.

Travis enters a New York speakeasy, with a unique idea, that will change his life, leading him on an exciting journey, meeting Manhattan’s privileged, studying in art in Paris and, finding his way to Broadway.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Wayne’s mother, seamstress, has a secret, and a passion. Her daughter will become a famous stage actress, and this is her focus.

Lindsay and Travis’s worlds collide.

Their lives will never be the same again.

Excerpt

One week before his tenth birthday, Travis Kane felt safe and secure for the first time since his father’s death.  He stared at the burning logs, crackling and popping in the huge fireplace.  The warmth from the hearth wrapped around him like his mother’s arms.  He sat cross legged not able to take his eyes away from the dancing flames as the sound of rain pelted the library windows of the house on Gramercy Park.

Different aromas came from the kitchen, competing with the fire’s heat for Travis’s attention.  Hannah Kane, his mother, was cooking supper.  He reached to the floor and picked up his box of crayons. As usual he had been drawing and coloring.  Today he sketched houses, with pointed roof tops and small facades. His lines were long where they should be short, but the images and shapes were easy to identify. He feared the warmth from the fire would melt his colored sticks, which were in short supply. He gazed through the large library window which faced the park.

He could hardly make out the sharp outlines of the spreading trees bordering the square, its branches a cover from the sun, the leaves rich and green. They sagged under the heavy rain and dripped, like wet clothes on his mother’s clothes line. He remembered when the weather was bad, his father was late for supper. Travis pushed his legs out in front of him. Sitting back on his hands he looked up at his grandfather sitting in a large overstuffed chair at the fireside. Barclay Kane had his face buried in the evening newspaper.

He was always reading something. Travis watches his gray beard twitch back and forth in time with the movement of Barclay’s lips. He would nod his head from time to time but mostly he shook it from side to side. Travis knew he would hear the news that made his grandfather cranky at the supper table.

He caught glimpses of his mother, bobbing in and out of the dining room, carrying in food in hot steaming plates. She did not appear happy, smiling infrequently. Something had upset her, and he rolled over in his mind things he had done the last few days that might have irritated her. He was sure he would think of something, but his grandfather needed attention.

‘Idiot!’ Barclay shouted. ‘Oh, that idiot!’

Travis stiffened, his heart beat rapidly. He looked up at his grandfather’s face, now a bright red. ‘What…what?’ he stammered.

His own thoughts of misbehavior vanished. He waited to hear what Barclay was about to say, because Travis knew his grandfather always told him the truth. Barclay did not treat him like a child. Through small, wire-rimmed glasses, twinkling, blue eyes mixed with flashes of amusement, Barclay peeked over the top of the paper, and Travis felt his grandfather’s love, just as he used to feel the warmth and love of his father, before he died.

‘Our president is a coward, my boy.’

‘What’s a coward?’ Travis asked, his neck prickling with embarrassment.

Barclay sat back, dropped his newspaper in his lap. ‘A coward is our President, my boy.’ His eyebrows arched as he smiled.

Travis didn’t respond.’Well,’ Barclay said impatiently, ‘President Wilson is afraid to fight… to take sides. Instead of rising up against injustice, he has stepped back. He refuses to interfere.’

‘A coward doesn’t interfere?’ Travis asked. ‘Does that make him a dummy…an idiot?’ He reached to the floor and moved his sketches, further away from the fireplace. His hands moved across the first sketch and lightly touched waxy marks left by his colored crayons.

‘Oh, leave the boy alone, Barclay,’ Hannah said from the dining room. She stood with her hands on her hips. ‘You’re always filling him with such…stuff.’

‘How am I supposed to learn, Mama? Grandfather knows everything.’

Hannah’s eyes rolled upward as she went about her chores.

When he looked back at Barclay, he saw he was picking up his pipe from a side-table. Barclay struck a match against the bottom of the table, and lit it. He looked up at the ceiling and down at Travis before he said, “You could be right, my boy. Yes, you could be. There may be a difference.’

A flash of warmth swirled through Travis. He had ideas, too, but his grandfather rarely gave him credit for them.

‘I suppose we should draw a distinction between being afraid to fight, and not wanting to interfere.’

Travis relaxed, having made his point, he smiled.

‘A coward is the former, a pacifist the latter.’ Barclay puffed at his pipe, in obvious satisfaction with his answer. ‘Of course, the combination of two makes an idiot! Our President is an idiot!’

Travis giggled.

The Satin Sash Synopsis

After the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, American lives change dramatically. The Satin Sash continues the breathtaking lives of Travis Kane, Lindsay Wayne and Jean-Paul Renault with all the inherent dangers of the French Resistance, President Roosevelt’s live or die missions, and death defying action when German spies secretly enter the US through it’s ports. A wedding reception and the lives of Travis Kane and his family are thrown into chaos as America enters World War II.

The Satin Sash is set against the explosive backgrounds of New York, France, London and Ireland. Travis Kane becomes President Roosevelt’s tool in bringing one of the world’s most famous paintings to New York. Racial tensions surface. A famous black activist enters politics and an actress makes choices in the face of heartbreaking tragedy. A public enemy serves his country in wartime and a black artist becomes famous. When a baby is born the future shows promise.

With tension, suspense and surprising plot twists, we continue to follow the lives of the people we loved in The Velvet Prison.

Excerpt

When Travis Kane hung his painting of Trinity Church in Nick’s speakeasy many years ago, he had no idea he’d be married in the same church in December of 1941. The Monday following Thanksgiving, Travis and Maggie were bundled in heavy coats after they left their meeting with Father Christi. Travis saw his breath as they walked down Wall Street.

Travis unhooked Maggie’s arm from his and kissed her on the cheek. Her face was cool like a chilled white wine. ‘I know it’s freezing cold,’ he said.

The decided on a small wedding since extravagence was on neither of their minds and Maggie wanted to be married in a church. Travis raised no objection.

‘Give me a moment,’ Travis said.

He turned and faced the front of the church. Even in the frigid air his eyes filled with moisture staring at the Gothic Revival structure remembering the difficulty he had in his original sketch of the 280 foot spire. It seemed to lean a bit to the left and when he adjusted the lines, it favored the right. His frustration eased when he hit the right pitch. He felt the balance even when closing his eyes which dropped to the three bronze doors designed by Richard Morris. Contrary to the harshness of the facade, the inside was warm and graceful, lighted by the elegance of the stained-glass wall behind the altar. He was fascinated by the replica of the Hamilton-Burr duel pistols in the small museum at the end of one of the aisles.

‘I don’t know about you, Darling,’ Maggie said interrupting his reverie, ‘but I’m freezing my…’

‘…Me, too,’ he said putting his arm around her. ‘What kind of people get married in December?’

‘Eskimos?’

She snuggled close to him as they began to walk.

‘Well who else?’ he said.

‘Us,’ she answered.

He threw his arm around her shoulders.

‘Oh, for God’s sake!’

Jean-Paul laughed. ‘All right. All right. Pack warm clothes for a warm climate, ocean views and sandy beaches.’

Travis sat in thought for a few seconds. ‘Well, that narrows it down.’

About the Author

Sheldon Friedman was born in St. Joseph Missouri. He lives in Denver, Colorado. He is a University of Denver graduate and practiced law in Denver until 2008. He taught legal courses at the University of Colorado Law School, University of Denver Law School and Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver. After leaving his law firm he joined a national mediation and arbitration firm until January, 2016. He is also an accomplished playwright, having a number of local readings and productions. His play The Long Goodbye was staged at Denver’s Crossroad’s Theater in 2010. His book, The Velvet Prison was named as a 2017 fiction award finalist by the Colorado Author’s League.

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Posted in Book Release, Giveaway, mystery, romance on July 7, 2017

We are so excited to announce the latest release in the Charlie McClung series by Mary Anne Edwards, Flirting With Time.

Now is your chance to get in on the mystery and suspense! This is the fifth installment in the series. You can get your copy of all five books on Amazon today!

Get the books:

Brilliant Disguise | A Good Girl | Criminal Kind
Sins of my Youth | Flirting With Time

Mystery ~ Romance ~ Murder
A Deadly Combination

The Charlie McClung Mysteries.png

Flirting With Time

Detective Charlie McClung is haunted by someone leaving mysterious paper hearts in odd places for his bride, Marian. Any thought that this is the work of a harmless prankster quickly vanishes when his men are attacked and people begin to die. The stalker is growing bolder and Charlie knows he needs to act quickly but there are too many suspects, too many alibis, and too much at stake.

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Add to Goodreads Shelf:
Brilliant Disguise | A Good Girl | Criminal Kind
Sins of my Youth

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What people are saying about Flirting With Time:

“Haunting, but in a good way. Twisty, turny, and full of heart.” ~Gretchen Archer – author of the USA Today Bestselling Davis Way Crime Capers

“Fans of Nick and Nora, fans of Tracy and Hepburn—rejoice. You’ll love Marian and Charlie. The talented Mary Anne Edwards weaves a charming, entertaining and delightfully romantic tale of small town deceit. It’s as if Agatha Christie wrote Hart to Hart—and happy readers will eagerly await the next page-turning puzzle.” ~Hank Phillippi Ryan – Anthony, Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, and Macavity winning mystery author. Emmy-winning journalist.

“Mary Anne Edwards has written a classic whodunit, but the deeper mystery at its heart is who and how we love. Tender, fast-paced, and rich in character, Flirting With Time delivers malice and warmth in equal measure.” ~Tina Whittle – Bestselling author of the Tai Randolph Mysteries

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teasers

In case you haven’t already checked out the other books in the series, here are a few teasers to get you ready!

Brilliant Disguise Teaser

A Good Girl Candle

about the author

Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January of 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, released June 30, 2017 with at least five more to follow.

Mary Anne and her husband currently live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

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~Traditional mysteries with a touch of romance~

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Subscribe to Mary Anne Edwards’ newsletter to keep up to date on all news, and receive a copy of The Wedding, a short story by Mary Anne Edwards as our way of saying, “Thank you.”

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Mary Anne Edwards is giving away an awesome Swag Bag, mobi copies of all five books in the series, $5 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of winner’s choice of one of her books!! Be sure to enter to win one of these great prizes! (US shipping only)

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