Monday, February 19, 2018

GUEST POST WITH TRICIA L. SANDERS' CECELIA CAVANAUGH




ABOUT THE BOOK


When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”

After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, her elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.

And that crime—at least, someone else’s—does pay the bills.


Book Details:

Title: Murder is a Dirty Businiess

Author: Tricia L. Sanders





Genre: Cozy Mystery,
 1st in series

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing, LLC (November 15, 2017)


Print Length: 254 pages
Touring with:  Great Escapes Book Tours








GUEST POST BY TRICIA SANDERS

' CECELIA CAVANAUGH


Hi, I’m Cecelia Cavanaugh, but my friends call me Cece. So, Cece it is. We’re officially friends, right? I’ve been through a lot these last several months. My husband left me for a floozie the same age as our daughter. He also cleaned out our joint bank accounts and left our mortgage six months in arrears, but I’m not going to dwell on the negative as I have positives for which I am thankful.

I have a great many blessings like my two daughters, well one anyway. Jessie, my eldest, is a nurse and my rock. I can count on her. She’s more like me physically and emotionally. Michelle, sixteen, is still a work-in-progress and more like her father. She periodically shows signs of adulthood, but often, she’s rolling her eyes, or sticking her tongue out at my advice. I can’t complain. The rolling eyes thing she got from me. I know, I know. I set a bad example, now I’m living with it. Recently she dyed her beautiful blonde hair black and went Goth on me. I’ll be honest, for a minute I wanted to slap the crap out of her, but good sense won out. I yelled and stomped my foot a few times. She took the hint.

Another blessing is my neighbor Angie. Truth be told, she’s my guardian angel, but she’s also a big pain in my neck. Since my separation from Phillip—my cheating husband—Angie has been by my side providing emotional support. The flip side is she’s also intent on fixing me up with this hot detective who I recently met when I accidentally became involved in a murder investigation—which by the way I helped solve. Not bragging. Just fact. I almost got myself killed in the process, but details, schmetails.

Angie and I have been friends since elementary school—a long, long time. We’re both of ‘hot flash’ age, if you know what I mean. I usually always follow her advice, but the one time I didn’t . . . Well, that’s how I wound up with the cheating, soon-to-be-ex-husband. Angie has never liked Phillip. I guess you can say, she saw through him, while I was blinded by love. Took me almost 30 years to see him for who he really is. Again, no dwelling. I’m moving on.

And speaking of moving on, that brings me to a few more blessings. I’ve already mentioned the hot detective, Detective Alder. He is Hot with a capital H. At this point, I am not, N-O-T ready for a relationship. I keep reminding Angie, and she’s keeps ignoring me. But when I’m ready, if I ever am, Detective Alder might be the answer. He’s easy on the eyes, and he has a stubborn streak, but not overbearing. We’ve flirted, and there might have been a kiss involved. A very passionate kiss I might add. But I’m not that kind of girl, but apparently, I kiss and tell. So, don’t tell anyone, okay? My life is swirling around the drain. Until my divorce is final, and I can stand on my own two feet, I cannot drag anyone else into my circle of hell. Besides, I have this mother-in-law—a close relative of Satan—who is intent on making me the pariah of our community. Wickford is a small town, and gossip is the mainstay for the country club set. I cannot give her any fuel for the rumor mill she rules over.

I can’t fail to mention Grant Hunter, my knight in shining armor. He’s a building contractor who swooped in and rescued me from financial ruin. He’s also a bit sweet on me. Personally, I think he’s lonely, but he is a dear and has provided me with steady work cleaning condos at his latest project, Hunter Springs.

There are many things I’m finding to be thankful for and each day shines a new light on another. Like I said earlier, I’ve been dealt some blows, but I’m still out there swinging and will continue to hold my head up. As I see my marriage in the rearview mirror, I’m learning to view Phillip as a blessing. He did give me my two girls. In the broader perspective, our separation has enabled me to see myself as an individual and to value my self-worth.

Finally, I hear that my author, Tricia L. Sanders, is continuing my story. I’m hoping my blessings continue, but I imagine she’s going to make me sweat it out a couple of times. But I’ve got news for her, you can’t keep Cece Cavanaugh down for long. Bring it on.

P.S. Look for your blessings. Even in adversity, they are all around.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tricia L. Sanders writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass. A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign interests. She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction.


Connect with Tricia:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  YouTube

Buy the book:
Amazon




Saturday, February 17, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: LESLIE JONES




ABOUT THE BOOK


The next action-packed thriller from the author of Night Hush, Bait, and Deep Cover

When former hacker turned FBI cybersecurity specialist Hadley "Lark" Larkspur is asked to analyze a piece of malware, she never imagines the simple task will put her on the radar of underworld criminals. After armed gunmen try to abduct her outside a nightclub, though, it’s suddenly clear she’s in way over her head.

Delta Force operator Thomas "Mace" Beckett is in Boston awaiting his next assignment when he witnesses an attempted kidnapping. His training forces him to intervene, but then the woman pulls a gun on him. Mace isn’t sure what to make of the spitfire holding him hostage, but he quickly discovers that Lark is an innocent pawn in a dangerous game. Someone has framed her for the theft of millions from the mafia, and they want her to pay . . . in blood, if necessary.

With only days to find the funds, Lark and Mace scramble to track the real culprit. But their investigation unexpectedly leads straight to the heart of a terrible plot, one that could mean death for thousands. The criminals have stolen something far worse than money… and it’s about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Book Details:

Title: Framed
Author: Leslie Jones

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse (January 30, 2018)
Paperback: 384 pages
Series: Duty & Honor #4
Touring with: Partners in Crime Tours






INTERVIEW WITH LESLIE JONES



Leslie, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
Framed follows the story of Hadley “Lark” Larkspur, who is framed by an unknown entity for the theft of millions of dollars of mafia money, and they want her to pay . . . in blood, if necessary. That’s just the beginning, though. With only days to find the funds, Lark and Delta Force special operator Mace Beckett scramble to track the real culprit. But their investigation unexpectedly leads straight to the heart of a terrible plot, one that could mean death for thousands. The criminals have stolen something far worse than money . . . and it’s about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
My Duty & Honor series consists of four standalone books: Night Hush, Bait, Deep Cover, and my newest, Framed. Secondary characters in earlier books become the protagonists in later books, but they do not need to be read in order.

Where’s home for you?
I found my forever home in Phoenix, Arizona. There aren’t many who understand my love for the raw, primal beauty of the Southwestern desert. It teems with vitality. It boils life down to its essence. Survive, or don’t.

Where did you grow up?
I spent my first years roaming the back of beyond in Alaska. I loved the freedom of the forests, animals, fish, and glacier-fed lakes. We moved to the Lower 48 when I was 11, to a farm in Vancouver, Washington. Taller pines, cows and sheep, my pet goat, and a variety of fruit trees. I went to Seattle for college, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, and moved around the world from there.

Wow! What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Writing is a passion. It’s an art. But it’s also a business, and you have to treat your writing as a job. That’s distasteful to a lot of writers, who like to rely upon their Muse for inspiration. When Thomas Edison said that it all boils down to 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, he meant that you must BIC-HOK (Butt in Chair-Hands on Keyboard) every single writing day. For me, that’s the distinction between being a hobbyist and a serious author.

How did you meet your spouse? Was it love at first sight?
We met when I arrived at my new assignment with the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. I’d just reported in to my commander, who told me to write up a brief bio for myself. Kim walked into the Adjutant’s office, saw me, and came right over. “I’m Kim Jones,” he said. “Welcome to the unit. Are you all settled in?” I told him I’d literally just walked into the battalion headquarters. He claims I yelled that at him. I didn’t. From that moment on, we were best friends. Twenty-six years later, he’s still my best friend.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
London, definitely. I love the accents, the food, the architecture. I love when the woman tells us to “Mind the gap, please” when the Tube stops. I love the rich history at the Tower of London, the art hanging in the National Gallery, and the many unique bookshops on Charing Cross Road. I can’t drive there, though. I might forget to drive on the left.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
My favorite line is actually the tagline for The Princess Bride by William Goldman. “What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince in the world – and he turns out to be a son of a bitch?” How could you not read it after hearing that? The Princess Bride is one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read.

I love The Princess Bride! How did you create the plot for this book?
Framed has a complex plot that was very challenging to write. I always start a book by developing my heroes and villains. Then I brainstorm different scenarios, accept or reject plot ideas, and try to go beyond the obvious to something unique and exciting. While my books aren’t inspired by real-world events, I strive to create believable scenarios that will make readers say, “Boy, I hope that never really happens!”

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Lark, the female protagonist in Framed, was inspired by my best friend. Lark has a vibrant personality all her own, with quirks and mannerisms that are unique and entertaining. I enjoyed writing her the most of any of my characters. My BFF says I nailed it!

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Inaccuracies drive me nuts. I love reading military romantic suspense, for example, but there are comparatively few authors who are truly able to capture the feel and flavor of the military mindset, or understand the military culture if they haven’t served. I’ve read books where NCOs salute other NCOs, where soldiers abandon their posts in the middle of a firefight, and where the author did not understand the difference between a First Sergeant and a Sergeant First Class. Those mistakes show a lack of proper research, and it’s enough to make me put the book down and not pick it up again. Details matter!

So true! What are you working on now?
I’m excited to be starting a brand-new series, tentatively called the Hard Chargers. The 1st book, Kill Zone, is about a joint Delta Force/85th Military Police Battalion training mission that takes a deadly turn when convicts bound for the United States Disciplinary Barracks overrun a Fort Huachuca, Arizona prisoner transfer facility. I’m thoroughly enjoying figuring out how to torment my heroes!




READ AN EXCERPT



Lark came even with an idling taxi, unaware of the danger as the two men stopped on either side of her. She half-turned, surprise and then alarm filling her face as she finally noticed them. A puff of white escaped her open mouth. She wrenched open the door of the taxi to escape, but one of the men yanked her away, pulling a Colt M1911 and pressing it into her stomach.


Mace came in fast and low, catching the second gunman around the waist and riding him down hard. The man’s head smacked against the pavement. Mace tore the semiautomatic from his hand, already rising and turning to the man holding Lark. The taxi driver yelled something Mace couldn’t hear and burned rubber as he raced away from the violence. Fucking coward.


He forced himself to ignore the blind panic on her face, instead focusing on the threat.


“What the fuck?” said the gunman. “Who the hell are you?”


Mace felt his expression go cold. “I’m the man who’s goan kill you if you don’ let her go.”


The man’s eyes narrowed and his grip on Lark tightened. The two gunmen—Dumb and Dumber—wore clothing almost identical to his own. Black jackets over T-shirts, military pants and black boots.


Dumb frowned as he looked Mace up and down. “Did Palachka send you? We got this covered, man. Get lost.”


“Let her go. Now.”


Dumb shook his head, anger growing in the depths of his eyes. “I got my orders. Palachka wants to have a chat with her, so I ain’t going to hurt her none.”


Damned straight he wasn’t. These men were muscle, just following orders. Palachka’s orders.


Who the hell was Palachka?


He glanced at the crowd. A small group watched them, grinning and nudging one another. As long as they thought theirs was simply a drunken brawl, no one would bother to call the police.
Lark hadn’t so much as twitched a muscle, but the whites of her eyes showed and he could feel her terror. She, too, looked at the line outside the nightclub.


He took a risk with a bald-faced lie. “Palachka tol’ me to take over. He said to tell you to head back and leave her to me. I’m the one’s goan to chat with her.”


Dumber picked himself up off the pavement and staggered over to his partner. “Lying prick. He’d’ve called us. And I don’t know you.”


“Best you don’ know me. I’m who Palachka calls when fucks like you bungle it.” Mace snorted. “What, you think he don’t have nothing better to do than deal with the likes of you? He’s waiting for you, though. Don’t want him pissed, do you?”


Both blanched. Mace walked casually over and tugged on Lark’s arm. Dumb hesitated, looked into Mace’s icy eyes, and finally loosened his grip. Mace lifted the Colt he’d taken from Dumber, pointing the barrel at the sky.


“This registered anywhere?”


Dumber felt the back of his head for the lump that must be forming. His fingers came away red with blood. “Nah, man. It’s clean. Why’d you wallop me, man?”


“Get out of here. We’re attracting attention.” He stared pointedly at the line of people outside the Promenade. “I’ll check in with Palachka when I’m done with her.”


Mace settled the matter by tightening his grip on Lark and dragging her toward the parking lot. Dumb and Dumber followed, exchanging a look.


“I’d better check in with him,” Dumb called. “Make sure you’re on the level.”


Mace forced an uncaring shrug. “Your funeral.”


They reached the edge of the deserted lot. Mace paused, raising his eyes pointedly. The two men hesitated, then shrugged and started in the opposite direction.


Stupid fucks.


Lark wrenched her arm so abruptly he lost his grip, and she took off like a rabbit back toward the nightclub. How could she even run in those ridiculously high heels? He caught her in three strides. Sure, she’d be safe inside—for now. But what happened when the two gunmen realized Mace had clowned them? They’d be back, and they would be furious.


“Wait,” he said. He pulled her to a stop.


She swung her huge purse like a brick. He pulled back just in time to avoid being clocked in the head. She dug into her bag, scrabbling around inside. Maybe she really did have a brick in there.


“Come on. We have to get away from here. It won’t take those idiots long to figure out I’m not one of them.” He risked a glance behind.


When he turned back a second later, she had dropped her purse and now pointed a Smith & Wesson .38 Special at him, backing off several steps to gain distance. Her hands shook so badly he feared she’d drop it. He looked hard at it, then had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop the laughter that threatened.


The cylinders were empty; the revolver wasn’t even loaded.


Clearly, she was no criminal mastermind. So why were those men after her?


He needed to get her somewhere safe. Then he could get the answers he wanted. Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, he punched in the code to unlock it.


“Put it down!” she nearly shrieked. “Put down the goddamned phone. Drop it right now!”


Of course. He was the idiot. She now thought he worked for the same man who’d sent thugs after her. Interestingly enough, she’d demanded he drop the phone, but not the pistol he still carried. He bent down and set both on the muddy slush of the asphalt, stepping away from them and raising his arms from his sides to show her he meant her no harm.


“Look, that was just—”


“Shut up,” she snapped, narrowing her eyes. He guessed she was trying to cow him, but she seemed as threatening as a baby kitten. “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll…I’ll shoot you.”


********


Saturday, February 18. 12:35 a.m. The Promenade. Boston, Massachusetts.



Lark tightened her grip on the gun, her mind a blank. Her life had been threatened. Why? And what the hell was she supposed to do now?


“I’m calling the police.” She tried to reach her right front pocket with her left hand, but it shook so badly she couldn’t manage it.


“No.”


“What?” She stopped fumbling with her phone out and stared at him.


“No. I can’t allow you to call the police. Either I’ll have to vacate the area or they’ll arrest me. Either way, I can’t protect you.”


He seemed so calm. Did he know she wouldn’t shoot him? The gun Kaley had insisted she buy felt heavy in her hand. In fact, Kaley had all but dragged her to the gun store, explaining to the owner that Lark often worked late at night, when Chelsea was dark, deserted, and dangerous. The box of bullets in the bottom of her purse made it worse than useless, but she’d barely had time to register for a class in how to use the gun, let alone load it. Not that she’d admit such a thing to him.


His words finally penetrated her panicked mind. “You should be arrested. Attacking defenseless women on the street? Kidnapping? You should be in jail.”


“I did none of those things.” Mace nodded toward the nightclub. “This is too public. Someone is going come into the parking lot soon. Someone will have called the police by now. We need to get out of here.”


She snorted. “So you can protect me?”


“Yes.” He remained maddeningly calm.


“Bullshit.” Call the police, her rational mind told her. Let them handle it. It was their job, after all. But some buried instinct agreed with him. In her experience, the police were the enemy. You’re not a hacker any more. You’re legit. You work for the FBI. You have nothing to fear.


Except maybe being arrested for carrying a gun in her purse without a permit. She’d worry about that little detail later.


But old habits died hard. If Mace were arrested, the odds that the cops would share information with her were minimal, and she would still be in the dark. And it pissed her off that her big brain couldn’t find a logical solution to her current dilemma. “We’re going to walk to my car. If the police show up, so be it. You become their problem. Get your hands up higher, and walk in front of me.”


Common sense dictated she force him to leave. To get into her car and drive away. To call 911 and hope for the best. But she’d still know nothing. Mace was clearly working with those other men with guns, and she needed him to tell her what was going on. That meant keeping him with her. Not her smartest idea ever, since he’d been sent to kill her. But what choice did she have?


She’d make him spill the beans. Somehow.


Right now, she needed to get out of this neighborhood before any more black-clad thugs came within grabbing distance of her.


“Move,” she said, deepening her voice and snapping off the words. Hopefully he couldn’t see the tremors in her hands. Thankfully he obeyed, strolling down the line of cars as though she didn’t have a gun trained on him. She scooped up her purse and followed.


“Go to the left. Down this row. There…no, stop. The orange Jeep Liberty.”


He paused beside her car. “Good God. You actually drive this thing?”


It had been her first purchase after getting her Master’s degree, even before the FBI hired her. She’d been so relieved to ditch her junker and drive a new-ish car, and she’d gotten a smoking deal on it. Her hackles rose, and for a moment, she forgot to be terrified.


“It’s a sweet ride. What do you know?”


He grinned at her. “Whatever you say.”


For a moment, she wished she’d gone through agent training with the FBI, instead of as a computer scientist. She’d know, for instance, how to shoot her shiny new gun. Computer scientists received training at Quantico, sure. But in reverse engineering of malware, digital forensics, and intrusion detection. Administrative processes. She’d received no training in firearms, tactics, or taking smokin’ hot men prisoner.


Who else could she call for advice? Trevor’s mobile was number five on her phone’s favorites tab. It would be, what? Nine in the morning in London, assuming he wasn’t on assignment. She put a hand to her head. Her gun hand, she realized, as it thumped her temple. “God damn hairy ass wrinkly old man balls!”


Mace laughed. “You don’ mess around, do you? Dat was an impressive bit of cussing.”


“Gee, thanks.”


“Lark, I’m serious. It won’ take those yahoos long to come back. We need to be long gone by then. Please trust me.”


First thing first. Before her innards melted from his honeyed Cajun drawl, she switched the revolver to her left hand, keeping it trained on him as she fished her phone out.


“Please don’t call the cops,” he said again. “Say they show up. You tell them what happen’. I tell them what happen’. Maybe they take me down to the station, maybe they just put me in a squad car while they check me out. Either way, the cops will release me. But while all the fuss is going on, you might decide to just walk away. Bad people are gunning for you. Keep me with you.”


She shot him a warning glare and pressed Trevor’s number. It went straight to voice mail. Now what?


She swung her bag forward so she could scrabble inside for her keys. Damn it! She risked a quick look inside her purse and spotted them. Hooking the ring out with a finger, she tossed the whole thing to him. He caught it one handed.


“Get into the driver’s seat,” she commanded.


He obeyed, squashing his six-foot-three inch frame into the driver’s seat. “Gawd damn. This t’ing built for a child.”


He reached down and pulled the seat lever, sighing in relief as the seat moved back. He stretched his legs, reaching across to unlock the passenger door for her. She dropped her bag at her feet before easing inside, keeping the gun trained on him. He glanced at her and away. She could have sworn he hid a smile.


“Now what?” he asked.


She had no earthly clue. Putting a hand to her aching head, she made a sound of pure frustration. Only he could provide the information she needed.


She couldn’t take him to her home; that would be insane.


Would it?


It would have to be her room at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. Kaley had insisted the entire wedding party stay at the hotel the night before the wedding.


“A hotel.”


“Good choice. I know one down by—”


“No,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere anyone knows you, or can find you.”


“All right. You’re calling the shots.”


Why did he seem so calm? She’d threatened to shoot him.


“Get on the freeway.”


He put the car into gear and drove on surface streets till he got to the highway, then took the entry ramp and merged with traffic. They headed northwest.


“Take this exit.”


“Why this one?”


“Just do it!” She couldn’t help the way her voice rose. “Turn left.”


Mace made a soothing motion with one hand, then returned it to the wheel. “Look, I know what I said back there. I played along to get them away from you. I’m not trying to hurt you.”


“Yeah, you’re just trying to kill me.” Anger replaced her fear. She lifted the gun and pressed it against his head. “Turn in here, asshole.”


Mace slowed and turned into the parking garage for the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. Lark cringed, already regretting her choice to bring him back here.


“What now?”


In for a penny, in for a pound. That sounded like something Trevor would have said. Remembering his cool competence steadied her. She squared her shoulders. “Park it.”


Mace did so. “Now what?”


Lark felt like tearing her hair out in frustration. How could she get him up to her room without him just walking away? “Now you tell me what’s going on. Now you tell me who the fuck Palachka is, and why he wants me dead.”


Surprise lifted his brows. “You don’t know?”


“Aagh!” She thunked her head against the headrest. “Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. All right. This is what we’re going to do. You’re going to open your door and come out with your hands where I can see them. Is that clear?”


“Yes, ma’am.”


What would she do if he attacked her here, in the still, dark parking lot? He’d already caught her once because of her high heels. She could threaten all she liked, but, ultimately, she had no control over him.


“Stand by the hood and don’t move.”


When he’d complied, she dug frantically in her purse for the box of bullets. The store owner had shown her how to open the cylinder thingy so she could put the bullets into the holes, but hadn’t allowed her to load it inside his store. Pulling the box into her lap, she fumbled it open, spilling most of the bullets down her leg and onto the floor mat. Swearing and sneaking looks at Mace to ensure he hadn’t moved, she pressed the button to swing the cylinder open, and got it on the third try. Shoving some bullets into the holes, she pushed the cylinder closed again. According to the gun store owner, all she had to do now was pull the trigger. She reached down and scooped as many bullets as she could find back into her purse.


Time to face the music. Or the firing squad.


***


Excerpt from Framed by Leslie Jones.  Copyright © 2017 by Leslie Jones. Reproduced with permission from Leslie Jones. All rights reserved.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Leslie Jones was an Army Intelligence officer for many years, and she brings her first-hand experience to the pages of her work. She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona and is currently hard at work on her next book.

Connect with Leslie:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads





Thursday, February 15, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: E.J. MORAN




ABOUT THE BOOK



The year is 1978, and the New York fashion industry is an orgy of glitz, glamour, and decadence. New models—especially those as beautiful as eighteen-year- old Anna McKenna—are prime targets for all kinds of predators.



Anna is already aware of the men who enjoy preying on models. She knows a woman represented by her modeling agent was found raped and murdered—but she tells herself that, tragic though it was, this is New York. Such things happen. Mickey Gallo is less sanguine about the killing, but he’s both a police detective and Anna’s protective uncle. In Anna’s mind, she doesn’t need his protection. Or so she thinks.



When one murder becomes two, Anna’s confidence is shaken, but she’s determined to accept an offer to model in Italy. There, surrounded by beauty, Anna will confront the darkest side of the fashion industry. It’s an encounter she may not survive.




Book Details:


Title: Shadow Crimes

Author’s name: E. J. Moran


Genre: Mystery & Detective/ International Mystery & Crime 


Publisher: TreeLane Press (December 2017)


Paperback: 250 pages

Touring with: Partners in Crime Tours






INTERVIEW WITH E.J. MORAN


What’s the story behind the title of your book?
The incidence of sexual harassment and assault in the fashion modeling arena.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
No one does it alone.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Getting on a plane and moving to Milan at the age of eighteen.


What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Too many to count!

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
Smiling is much more effective than pouting.


What makes you bored?
People who talk too much.


What is your most embarrassing moment?
I was sixteen and modeling in one of my first fashion shows. I forgot to put in my contact lenses and couldn’t find my way off the stage. Unfortunately, the audience became well aware of my issue when I climbed over the backdrop because I couldn’t find the opening to the dressing area.


Ouch! What makes you scared?
Bumpy airplane rides.

What makes you excited?
Publishing my first book!

How did you meet your spouse?
I was working as a fashion model in Japan and met him through another model at a nightclub.

What brings you sheer delight?
Watching Modern Family and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Not sure it’s attributed to anyone in particular, but I live by: "Always expect the Unexpected."

How did you create the plot for this book?
It was easy. I lived much of the life and just exaggerated the ‘baddies’ to make a thriller.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Definitely, but I’d like to leave it at that.

Is your book based on real events?
To a degree.

Who are your favorite authors?
Erik Larson is my all-time favorite.


What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Excessive use of unusual, rarely used words words.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I am late to the writing industry and figured it would be almost impossible to find a publisher before I’m ready for a nursing home! 

What steps to publication did you personally do, and what did you hire someone to do?
I hired Elizabeth A. White as my editor. She is fabulous. I also hired CreateSpace to help me with formatting, cover art and etc. They have also been fabulous and now the equally fabulous Erin Mitchell from HEW Communications is handling my PR.

What are you working on now?
The screenplay and the sequel . . .


READ AN EXCERPT

Part 1

New York City, 1978
April Night

The buzz of the intercom surprised Rhonda. It was 11:00 p.m. and she was about to go to sleep.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hello, Rhonda?”
The man identified himself and she recognized his name immediately. “What are you doing here?”
“Sorry. I know it’s late. I wanted to speak to you earlier but couldn’t because there were too many other models around. I may have a potential opportunity just for you.”
“Oh?” She was dead tired and the last thing she wanted was unexpected company. Nevertheless, she didn’t feel she could say no to any possible break that presented itself. She was desperate to make it in the modeling world.
“OK. Let me buzz you up.” She opened the front door and waited for the rickety vintage elevator at the far end of the hall to set in motion. It was completely black, so she turned on the hall lights. She thought about how crazy she had been to rent an apartment in a building that was mostly for commercial use. The building was totally empty at night, as was the surrounding area. It was the meatpacking district after all. No one ever showed up until around 6:00 a.m. Yes, the rent was dirt cheap, but in hindsight it was a huge mistake. How could she know any better though? She was only eighteen—a complete babe in the woods. Not only that, no one taught her anything. Growing up, her mom worked every day, and most nights, to support her and her younger sisters. Her father was nowhere in sight, never had been, so with no money and no father she knew very little about how to make decisions; she just had pure ambition. That’s what lead her to NYC, hardly a penny in her pocket, to become a model.
The clattering elevator came to a halt. Its passenger opened the scissor gate, then the double door, and exited. “Thank you for letting me up,” he said as he walked toward Rhonda.
“Hi,” she said sweetly. “Come on in.” Rhonda motioned him through the door. “I’m really sorry but I’m already in my nightgown. I was about to go to sleep.”
“Of course, it’s late.” He glanced around the miniscule studio. It was neat and barren, apart from a tiny, decrepit kitchenette, a single bed, and a small side table lined with a few of Rhonda’s modeling photos. “So, this is the apartment you were talking about?” he said, shaking his head in dismay. “You can do better than this. It’s horrible here.”
“It is, isn’t it?” Rhonda said, putting her head down with embarrassment. “Unfortunately though, I couldn’t afford more.” Regaining her composure, she smiled softly. “Anyway, the good news is I pay month-to-month, and as soon as I make some decent money modeling I’m going to move out.”
“That’s what I wanted to speak to you about.”
“Well, have a seat,” she said, laughing as she motioned to a corner at the far end of the bed. “Can I get you something to drink first?” she asked as he sat down.
“No, nothing, thank you.” He looked at her intently, following her every gesture as she perched herself down near the head of the bed.
“So you want to be a famous model?”
She nodded in agreement.
“Let’s talk about what I can do for you.”
“Terrific” she said, overjoyed by his interest in helping her.
“I think you have a lot of potential. I really do.”
Rhonda smiled eagerly and took in a big breath of air, emphasizing her svelte, perfect figure.
“It’s not easy though to make it as a model. Beautiful girls are a dime a dozen,” he said.
“I know. It’s true. I see so many beautiful models every day.”
“Exactly. That’s why you need someone with connections, someone with power, to help you.”
“You’re right,” Rhonda said. She could hardly believe she may be about to get her lucky break, one that could launch her to stardom in the modeling world.
Suddenly, he reached for her arm and pulled her toward him.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Rhonda’s eager smile faded. Confused, she tried to pull away.
“You know what I’m doing, Rhonda.”
“No I don’t. You said you wanted to speak with me.”
“You want help? You want to make it big?”
“Yes, but not this way.” She struggled to get away, but her resistance made him angry.
“You know you want this. I could see it in your eyes earlier.”
“No I don’t,” she said, still trying to pull away as his fingers dug into her arms.
He didn’t loosen his grip. “You are so sexy, don’t you know that?”
“Stop. I don’t want to do this. I’m still a virgin.”
“A virgin?” He pushed her back and held onto her tightly with outstretched arms, his piercing stare locking onto her terrified eyes. “I don’t believe you.”
“I am, I swear!” She tried to loosen his grip and get up from the bed. “You got the wrong impression.”
“Then why are you such a cockteaser?” His large almond-shaped eyes began to shrink as he held her firm and squinted at her with the most evil look she had ever seen.
“I’m not. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Pulling her closer, he kissed her hard as she desperately made futile attempts to get away.
“You slut!”
Rhonda squirmed and dodged his attempts to kiss her, shrieking in terror. He wrestled her down on the bed, straddling her hips and pushing her down against the pillow. He smothered her face with one of his large hands, both to shut her up and hold her still. Terrified she froze.
“Cockteaser! You’re like all the others,” he hissed.
Using his free hand, he undid his trousers and forced himself inside her. Rhonda could only whimper, too paralyzed with fear to do anything else. He grew more and more excited with each thrust, mumbling incoherent words of disgust and hatred until he reached his climax.
Rhonda bled to death in her own bed, her throat sliced with a seven-inch combat knife.
***
“Looks like she’s been dead a few days,” Detective Tansey said as he stared at Rhonda’s decomposing body. The ruggedly handsome man held his cool demeanor while the two officers from the crime lab covered their noses—the room was beginning to have a foul smell.
“Do you think she was a model?” Officer Kasinski asked.
“Maybe.” Tansey glanced over at the professional-looking photos of Rhonda on the nightstand. “Definitely not a famous one though if she was living in a place like this.”
“Unless she was a druggie. Could have spent all her money on cocaine or something,” Officer Smith added.
“True, seen that before.”
Kasinski checked out the bathroom and returned. “No signs of drug paraphernalia.”
Tansey searched Rhonda’s outstretched arms. “No signs of track marks either. She must have been living in this shithole because it was cheap.”
The men shook their heads in disgust at the level of violence.
“Killer didn’t just cut her throat, he damn near took her head off,” Smith said.
“Looks like she’s been raped too, judging by the bruising,” Tansey added.
“My guess is that she let him up here,” Kasinski continued. “The intercom works, and there are no apparent signs of forced entry. That is, unless he was already in the building and snuck into her apartment while she slept. The lock is a joke.”
“Or maybe she brought him home with her,” Smith countered.
“Possibly. OK, let’s get to work. We don’t need to stare at her anymore.” Tansey glanced away from the dead girl and began assessing the room for more evidence.
A few hours later, he picked up Rhonda’s telephone and called the coroner’s office. The men had collected everything that could be useful; now it was time to have the poor girl removed from the putrid, blood-soaked bed and taken to the morgue.
***
Excerpt from Shadow Crimes by E. J. Moran.  Copyright © 2017 by E. J. Moran. Reproduced with permission from E. J. Moran. All rights reserved.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born and educated in the United States, E. J. Moran began a career as an international fashion model at the age of eighteen when she was scouted by a top modeling agency based in Milan, Italy.

Moran’s move to Italy set in motion the rest of her career. She signed with top agents and modeled for famous fashion designers and photographers. Her work took her to Milan, Tokyo, New York, and Paris.

After marrying and starting a family, she retired as a fashion model and continued life as an expatriate in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, and Italy, where she divided her free time between teaching English and volunteering for multiple international organizations.
Recently, she decided to put pen to paper and make fictional use of the plethora of experiences she gained during her globetrotting life. Moran and her husband currently divide their time between Europe and the United States.

Connect with the author:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads 


Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble






Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH LENA GREGORY'S CASS DONOVAN




ABOUT THE BOOK


Whoever said that dead men tell no tales has never met Cass Donnovan . . .

Cass has always relied on her abilities to guide her, but after communications with a ghost land her in the middle of a murder investigation, she has to wonder if her gifts are really more a curse.



Cass knows she is meant to help track down the killer--much to the chagrin of local law enforcement--when the apparition leads her to a dead body on the beach near her psychic shop, Mystical Musings. But the police are not the only ones who wish Cass would stick to reading palms. Someone is trying to scare her off, and it will take all her powers of premonition to catch the killer before Cass herself becomes the next victim . . .


Book Details

Title: Clairvoyant and Present Danger (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)

Author: Lena Gregory

Genre: Cozy Mystery, 3rd in series

Publisher: Berkley (February 6, 2018)

Paperback: 304 pages

Touring with: Great Escapes Book Tours







ABOUT THE CHARACTER: CASS DONOVAN

After growing up on Bay Island, a small tourist destination between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, Cass Donovan left to go to college, then open a psychiatric practice in New York City. After several years, she gave up her practice and returned to her hometown of Bay Island to open a psychic shop on the boardwalk. Now she enjoys doing readings for local residents as well as tourists and hanging out with her two best friends, Bee and Stephanie.



INTERVIEW WITH LENA GREGORY'S CASS DONOVAN


Cass, how did you first meet Lena? 


After overhearing a conversation between Lena and her husband, regarding whether or not ghosts were real, I just had to step in. I approached Lena, who does believe in ghosts, by the way, and asked her to write my story. Of course, it took a little persuading, but she eventually got around to it.

Want to dish about her? 

Well, one thing I can tell you is that she’s a master procrastinator. One minute I’d be talking to her, going on and on about what I wanted her to write that day, and the next, she’s on facebook chatting with friends and playing games. I’m not gonna lie, she can be a little frustrating.

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?

I think, generally, people are fascinated by what might exist beyond our own limited view of reality. Since I can tap into that other world, people are interested in hearing what else is out there. Plus, there’s always the debate about whether or not ghosts are real, which I can assure you, they are.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book. 


My favorite scene is between Bee and Stephanie’s husband, Tank. Tank and Bee are about as opposite as two people could possibly get, and because of that, they don’t always see eye to eye. But when Bee gets it in his head that Tank has done something to hurt Stephanie, he steps up in a big way.

Did you have a hard time convincing Lena to write any particular scenes for you? 

The hardest scene to convince Lena to write was the beach scene. She found it hard to believe I’d try to conjure a spirit on a deserted beach in the middle of the night with a storm coming. Boy, does she underestimate me! 



What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

I love taking the ferry across to Long Island with Bee and Stephanie, especially in the fall. I visit the farm stands, eat roasted sweet corn and apple cider, and walk along the ocean beaches when they’re not crowded with tourists.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters? 

I love my fellow characters! Bee is pretty much my best friend in the world. I don’t let the fact that he (supposedly, though I have my doubts) doesn’t believe in ghosts interfere in our friendship, and he accepts the fact that I talk to myself fairly regularly. And Stephanie is a sweetheart! We grew up together, and have lots of stories to share, but we drifted apart when I left Bay Island to go to college. As soon as I returned, we just picked up right where we left off.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d pick up Bee and Stephanie and head to Tony’s Bakery for donuts and coffee. After that, I’d take Beast for a long walk along the beach, then maybe visit a few antique shops before heading over to the diner for dinner with my friends.



What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? 


The second worst thing that’s ever happened in my life was walking in on my husband and my friend. First, I learned not to trust my now ex-husband or my now ex-friend. Then, I learned how to pick myself up and move on after my world fell apart.



Tell us about your best friend.

As close as Stephanie and I are, Bee is probably my best friend in the world. He owns Dreamweaver Designs, a designer dress shop just down the boardwalk from Mystical Musings, and he is everything you could ever want in a friend; fun, talented, loyal, and willing to go along with pretty much anything. And he always has my back. He swears he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a cover for his intense fear of anything otherworldly. And still, he helps me with my group readings, helps me now and then with seances, and even (reluctantly) helped me try to contact a spirit with a Ouija Board. 


What’s Lena’s worst habit?

Lena is an incurable insomniac. And when she doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep. She often wakes me in the middle of the night, because she gets an idea she just has to write down before she forgets it.



How do you feel about your life right now?
My life is going well right now, though a little confusing. Things have been happening that I can’t explain, and it scares me a bit, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Tell us about the town where you live. 

Bay Island is a small tourist island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York. The town of Bay Island consists of two rows of stores facing each other across Main Street. During the summer, tourists flock to the beaches, the boardwalk, and the lighthouses, but during the winter months, things are usually very quiet.

Describe an average day in your life.

I live just down the beach from my shop, Mystical Musings, and I often start my day with a walk to work with my dog, Beast. Once I get the shop open, Stephanie and Bee often stop by with breakfast from the deli, along with a good dose of the day’s gossip. Then, I usually do a few readings and hopefully sell some souvenirs, essential oils, and crystals. My best days end meeting up with Bee and Stephanie at the diner for dinner.

Will you encourage Lena to write a sequel?
Absolutely! Even though I’m at a good place right now, I’d like to think there’s still more to tell.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Lena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs.



When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Connect with Lena:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  | Pinterest

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |   Penguin Random House




Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Series Spotlight: Robin Patchen's Hidden Truth




Series details:

Series: Hidden Truth

Author: Robin Patchen

Genre: Christian romantic suspense

Setting: New England

Touring with: Silver Dagger Tours



Convenient Lies

Hidden Truth Book 1
420 pages


“Of course, no matter where in the world she was, she could never have stayed hidden, not as long as he was willing to kill innocent people until he found her. The question was, had he stopped killing people, or was she next on his list?”





She married her enemy . . .

When investigative journalist Reagan McAdams discovers her new husband is part of an international crime family, she flees Paris with their newborn and returns to her childhood home in New Hampshire, where she’ll gather her inheritance before she disappears forever. She’ll do whatever it takes to protect her son from his criminal father.



He never quit loving her.



Detective Brady Thomas discovers Rae is back and in trouble, and he plans to protect her and her son, whether she wants his help or not.



The death toll rises.



But when Rae's husband starts killing people to smoke her out, she has to decide what—and who—she’ll have to sacrifice to save her son.

EXCERPT:

Rae was turning the page when a creak startled her. She set the album on the bed beside her, then listened.
A whispered word. “Hurry.”
Rae’s pulse raced. Had Julien found her? Had she waited a day too long?
She slid off the bed and tiptoed down the hall and into the bedroom where her phone was charging. She closed the door behind her, then grabbed the cell and dialed 9-1-1.
“What’s your emergen—”
“There someone in my house,” she whispered. “At least two people.” She stepped in front of the cradle, stared at the door, and recited her address.
After the operator had asked all the required questions, Rae dropped the phone on the bed. She flipped on the closet light. The baby snored gently while Rae searched her old closet for something, anything... She grabbed an award she’d won for an article in the local paper—an oversize brass pen on a stone stand. That might do some damage. She returned to her place between the door and her child, lifted the award in her right hand, and prepared to swing it.
Seconds ticked by. She heard nothing. No voices. No footsteps. No doors opening or closing. Minutes passed. Years. She pleaded with the silence. Protect Johnny, please. Just keep him safe.

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  KoboGoodreads



Twisted Lies

Hidden Truth Book 2
398 pages


 “Marisa peered down the stairs, toward the street, at the sidewalk. Her sister and her daughter had been there just a moment before. They should have been staring back up at her, waving, smiling. But they were gone.”

She thought they’d never find her…

Marisa Vega’s life as an adoptive mom in a tiny Mexican village isn’t what she’d dreamed while growing up in New York, but as the target of a man who’s convinced she stole millions from him, Marisa believes hiding is her only way to stay alive. When her daughter is snatched and held for ransom, Marisa must discover who really stole the money in order to rescue her.

He swore he’d never play the hero again.

Months after being kidnapped, tortured, and left with PTSD, Nate Boyle is ready to live a quiet life in rural New Hampshire. When the source of his breakout newspaper article—and the woman who haunts his dreams—begs for help, he gets pulled into a riddle that’s proved unsolvable for nearly a decade.
Can Nate and Marisa unravel the years-old mystery and bring her daughter home?

Romance, suspense, and a darling four-year-old girl you’ll fall in love with.

EXCERPT:

She thought they’d never find her, and then her daughter vanished …

Someone grabbed Marisa from behind. She turned to look, but a man pulled her close, wrapped his arms around her, and covered her head with a heavy coat. He yanked her toward him, and she lost her footing and crashed against his chest. Her nose filled with the scent of body odor and raw power.
She fought to get away, but his arms squeezed her like a vice. He pulled her with him, and she stumbled along, trying to fight, unable to do anything.
She screamed. The sound was muffled inside his heavy coat. They’d gone just a few feet when she heard Nate’s voice. “Let her go!”
The man did, yanking his heavy coat with him.
Marisa gasped in fresh air, stumbled, and banged her shoulder into the stone face of the market. She turned just as Nate reached her.
The pounding of the man’s footsteps faded as he rounded a corner in the market and disappeared.
Nate gripped her arms and looked into her eyes. “Are you okay?”
Marisa nodded and turned to check if Ana had seen. She hoped she hadn’t. How it would scare her to watch her mother accosted.
But her daughter wasn’t there.
“Leslie and Ana.” Marisa peered down the stairs, across the street, at the sidewalk. Her sister and her daughter had been there just a moment before. They should have been staring back up at her, waving, smiling.
But they were gone.

Amazon iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads


Generous Lies

Hidden Truth Book 3
390 pages


“A pistol pressed against his son’s temple. A dark hand came into view, then an arm. Then a man came from behind the door and lifted his finger to his lips.”




He had no idea it was so bad.



Former FBI agent Garrison Kopp suspected his teenage son was in trouble, but a midnight summons to the ER reveals the drug problem is more serious than he thought. Desperate to get his son away from negative influences, he asks a beautiful and kind new friend who owns rental properties for a place to stay. 

She’ll help, as long as she doesn’t have to risk anything.

Vacation homeowner Samantha Messenger is happy to provide Garrison and his son a lake cabin where they can regroup. She helps him search for a good rehab facility and tries not to hope for more than friendship. After what she’s been through, more isn’t an option, no matter what her heart wants.



Big trouble comes in tiny packages. 

Sparks fly between them as Sam and Garrison work together to help the resistant teen. 
But that becomes the least of their problems when a package planted in Garrison’s car lures enemies to the idyllic cabin on the lake. With their lives—and love—on the line, can they protect all they hold dear?

EXCERPT:

A single father determined to save his son. A teenage boy who doesn’t think he needs saving. A damaged woman afraid to risk her heart. And a tiny package that could destroy them all.
Aiden pushed the door open and froze.
The place had been tossed.
Garrison grabbed his son’s arm to pull him back out, but it was too late.
A pistol pressed against Aiden’s temple. A dark hand, an arm. A man came from behind the door and lifted his finger to his lips.
Garrison wanted to shout, to warn Sam. But he didn’t dare.
The man yanked Aiden, who stumbled into the room and nearly tripped over a lamp lying broken on the hardwood. The man gestured for Garrison to follow.
He took in the space. A huge bald man stood beside the television set, a pistol aimed at Garrison.
There were two figures on the couch, their backs to him so he only saw the tops of their heads. By the way they were sitting, still and facing forward, Garrison assumed they, too, were captives.
Captives. Garrison and Aiden had, somehow, in the time it takes to unlock the door and step inside, become captives.

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo Goodreads


Innocent Lies

Hidden Truth Book 4
336 pages

"Kelsey didn’t want to reach for Carlos. Didn’t want to willingly walk to him. But she had to do what she could for Eric. Maybe Carlos would let her see him one last time. She took Carlos’s hand, swallowed a sob, and stepped into the house."

A lost little boy steals his heart.

When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea where the boy came from or how he's survived the wintery New Hampshire weather. He figures once he hands the boy off to child services, his part in Daniel's drama will be over. He couldn't be more wrong.
She’ll do anything to keep her son safe.

Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she's arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to expose her enemy fall apart.

The past catches up with them.

Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without risking his heart . . . again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the only man she's ever loved . . . again?


EXCERPT:
A little boy alone in the wintery woods. A detective determined to find the child's mother. A woman who'll sacrifice everything to protect the ones she loves.

The sound of a car door outside slamming woke Kelsey from her nap.
She hobbled to the window, saw the police car in the driveway, another car behind it.
No, no, no!
She dropped to the floor, crawled to the sofa, and pulled the blankets off. She hooked her arm through the backpack straps and backed herself and all the stuff against the wall, out of view of the front windows and the back door.
With her eyes squeezed shut, she prayed to the God who’d only ever let her down that this time, this time he would help her.
The banging on the front door sent jolts of fear down her spine.
Anything but this. Please.
A moment later, she heard more banging, this time from the back. Not that she could have made a run for it, but the cops had cut off the possibility.
The question was, would they enter? Would they give up and leave? Surely, they didn’t have keys to the cabin.
Her gun! She yanked it out of her bag, scooted to the sofa, and shoved it beneath the cushions. As she scooted back to the corner, she cursed her stupidity.
A muffled voice, a shout, and the pounding of footsteps on the porch.
Then, the unmistakable jingle of keys. The sound had her blood running cold.
The lock turned.
The door opened.
And her last chance for escape melted like snow.

Amazon   |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads 




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robin Patchen writes contemporary Christian suspense, romance, and romantic suspense. Her books are often set in New England, where she grew up. She creates strong, protective heroes and intelligent, courageous heroines. 

Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Bookbub  | Amazon  | Goodreads











Sunday, February 11, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: LISA DE NIKOLITS



ABOUT THE BOOK


No Fury Like That
is a one-of-a kind suspense thriller about life and death – and the power of second chances.


The novel takes you on a fast-paced, funny, adventurous ride, exploring themes of love, friendship, revenge and family – and the transformation of character in impossible circumstances. No Fury Like That is about metamorphosis and how friendship is more important than success, love is more important than money, and family is more important than power.

What is your moral compass? Julia Redner has to die in order to find her answer to this question – but is she really dead or is she being given the opportunity to rethink her life while solving an intricate puzzle of murders? And she won't miss the opportunity to exact righteous revenge!

No Fury Like That is a philosophical murder mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, a surprising plot with twists and turns and a powerful, determined female protagonist. The novel will make you laugh and it will make you think but most of all, it will engage you from the get-go.


Book details

Title: No Fury Like That

Author: Lisa de Nikolits

Genre: Suspense, mystery, thriller

Publisher: Inanna Publications (September 15, 2017)

Paperback: 300 pages

Touring with: Partners in Crime Book Tours







LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH LISA DE NIKOLITS


A few of your favorite things: My rocks, stones, and shells that I’ve collected on my travels. My scented candles. Old notebooks filled with scribbles. Fresh, unused notebooks, waiting for new thoughts and words.
Things you need to throw out: Old pens that no longer write. Old manuscripts that are good for nothing but collecting dust. 


Things you need in order to write: I just need something to write on and something to write with and then I am up and away!
Things that hamper your writing: Incoming mails! I feel the need to answer them immediately and that interrupts me!


Things you love about writing: I fall into another world, a highly entertaining world in which I have no idea what will happen next.
Things you hate about writing: Inputting hand-written text. Sometimes I feel the need to write long hand, but then I rue the day and wish I had typed it in!

Hardest thing about being a writer: Having to exercise the necessary discipline to keep at it. I can get quite grumpy about the slog of it all. 

Easiest thing about being a writer: It’s like a gift from the universe when a story is flowing. I feel blessed and alive and I feel as if everything is perfect at that moment, and I don’t want to be anywhere else, doing anything else. 


Things you love about where you live: I love the spirit of the land. Canada is a very mystical, powerful country. It’s a privilege to live here.
Things that make you want to move: The mud!! Most of January, February, March, and April is just mud, mud, and more mud! I love the beauty of the miraculous beautiful snow but arghhh, the mud! The endless brown of the in-between seasons.

Things you never want to run out of: Scented candles and ideas for stories.
Things you wish you’d never bought: Skin creams that promised that my sun spots would ‘simply fall off’. What a waste of money, I was so foolish! Besides, my sun spots are well-earned souvenirs of my travels and my life. 


Words that describe you: Creative, thoughtful, kind.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Impatient, critical, bossy.

Favorite foods: Whipped cream, birthday cake, chocolate.
Things that make you want to throw up: Red peppers, anchovies, sushi. (I am a vegetarian, so I do eat California Rolls but not the black seaweed wrapping around it!)

Favorite music or song: Anything from the 80’s! Well, also the 70’s. And a lot of the 60’s. I lost interest in the 90’s. But bear in mind, "Blue Jean" by David Bowie is a fav and "The Tunnel of Love" by Dire Straits can still make me cry, so really, one cannot take my music tastes seriously!
Music that make your ears bleed: Hip Hop Rap Stuff. And boy bands that whimper vapid refrains while they clutch their crotches and do ‘yo mama’ side fist pumps while wearing the same StarTrek uniforms

Favorite beverage: Diet Coke. (Although I try to not drink more than three cans a week. It’s SO bad for one!)

Something that gives you a pickle face: Beer with notes of citrus, burnt toast, plum, and coffee. I kid you not.

Favorite smell: Vanilla. Lilacs. Freshly washed cotton. Everybody else’s laundry detergent smells better than mine! I have even knocked on neighbor’s doors to ask them what their detergent is. And yet, when I buy it, it never smells as lovely when I use it! I love the small of baking bread. 

Something that makes you hold your nose: Stewed garbage. Expensive fragrances with too many exotic high notes that stick to you like glue.

Something you’re really good at: Meeting self-imposed deadlines.
Something you’re really bad at: Working with team members who aren’t in sync with my sense of urgency! Oh, and I’m really bad at cooking. I cannot cook. I have no interest in it at all. And it’s so complicated – you need exactly this amount of a thing and then add it to that, for an exact amount of time. Cooking is extremely controlling. 


Something you wish you could do: Water ski. I tried once and got my hair tangled up in the rope. I was hauled into shore and that was that. I also wish I could worry less! I worry by habit, about so many pointless things!
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Make lists. Making lists can be a nasty addiction. And you know the thing with lists? They never end!

Something you like to do: Read a book that distracts me from everything. Or find a great sub-titled mini-series on Netflix and binge-watch until the sun comes up. We recently watched Season 4 of Black Mirror which was incredibly disturbing and weird and thought-provoking. We also enjoyed Fargo and a French mini-series called La Mante. So good!

Something you wish you’d never done: I wish I’d never given up karate when I was at brown belt level. I wish I had got my black belt. (Shotokan. I have looked into returning to it at various times but I just don’t have the time).

People you consider as heroes: Nelson Mandela is my all-time biggest hero. I have no idea how he endured the hardship that he did and he stayed so positive and kind. 

People with a big L on their foreheads: I struggle with noisy people in public places, people who act as if they are the only people there. And people who nudge me in the back when waiting in line. Or people who tap their carts impatiently when you’re off-loading items at the till. Taking a little time isn’t going to hurt anyone!



Last best thing you ate: A vanilla slice at Manly Beach in Australia. A vanilla slice is custard in between puff pastry slices, with a thick layer of icing on the top.

Last thing you regret eating: A day-old Madeleine from Uncle Tetsu’s. Madeleines are amazing when warm and fresh.

Things you’d walk a mile for: A photograph I want to take. A person I want to see.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Noise. And as I get older, I find noise harder to take. I am becoming quite noise-phobic!

Things you always put in your books: At some point, my protagonist always has a long, hot, scented bubble bath. In No Fury Like That, Julia Redner has a Chanel bubble bath!

Things you never put in your books: Cruelty to children and I’d never put children in danger. Only mild danger from which they can quickly be rescued.

Things to say to an author: “I read your book and loved it because…” 

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “I was just expecting something . . . else, I guess . . . I’m not sure, I guess I was just expecting something different . . . ” (Yes, that has been said to me! I apologized for wasting the reader’s time.)

Favorite places you’ve been: Hong Kong. The lights! The pace! The hidden alleyways filled with treasure. One can explore Hong Kong for the rest of your life and never get bored. Paris. Rome. Blueys Beach, Australia. Barcelona. The veldt of South Africa. Auckland, New Zealand.

Places you never want to go to again: Geneva. Such a bland and vapid place. The Houston airport. The Chicago airport. Airports are generally dangerous because if you spend enough time in them, you start to think that maybe it’s okay for a small coffee to cost you $7.

Favorite books: Suspense thrillers. Detective novels. Noir. Novels that defy categorization. Novels with magical realism, novels with a social conscience. Novels with a fast pace that grab you from the start and don’t let go. 

Books you would ban: I wouldn’t ban a book. I believe that books should be allowed their place in the world, no matter what their content. We can choose to read them or not.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Salman Rushdie. Margaret Atwood. Annie Proulx. Lionel Shriver. Joyce Carol Oates. I think there would be quite a heated debate!

People you’d cancel dinner on: Actually I am very good at canceling dinners even with my closest friends! And that’s because I’d pretty much always rather be at home writing! My friends, thank heavens, understand, and we do coffees here and there and breakfasts. I don’t cancel breakfasts!

Favorite things to do: Have a nap. Browse through antique stores and markets. Take photographs. Hang out with my cat. Step back and admire the temporary cleanliness of my house after a fit of cleaning. 

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Hosting a dinner party.

Things that make you happy: Being with my husband, lost in the middle of nowhere, taking photographs. Buying presents for my family. Watching my family being happy. Talking to my cat. Hugging my cat. 

Things that drive you crazy: Being stuck in traffic. I get extremely impatient! I don’t drive so I don’t have road rage or anything, I just hate grid lock.

Most embarrassing moment: Gosh, this is a hard one! One that comes to mind is when you think someone is waving or saying hi to you and you wave back and get all enthusiastic and then you realize they are waving at someone behind you. 

Proudest moment: Getting a hundred percent on my first spelling exam and getting a certificate for it! I’ve never forgotten that! I am also proud of all the places I have visited and all the adventures I have had. Some of them haven’t been easy and I’m proud of myself for trying.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I’m not evading the question, but I really can’t think of one! I think that lying always comes back to bite you.

A lie you wish you’d told: While I wouldn’t have wanted to lie, I do wish I had kept my council and been more politic at work in my day job over the years. I have certainly learned to be more circumspect in my opinions and careful with how I voice things. Also, in South Africa, you can be quite blunt and no one thinks you are being rude. But in Canada, the land of politeness, they do like you to be polite to the point of blanketing your words in cozy, almost neutral terms. But perhaps this is a global trend?

Best thing you’ve ever done: Traveled the world. Married my husband. Kept on writing when really, it was going nowhere. 

Biggest mistake: Doubting my decisions, second-guessing. I do the best I can at whatever moment that is, and I need to trust that. The word mistake is such a harsh one! There are certainly things I would do differently if I had the chance to do them again but at the time, I did the best I could.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: I took the chair lift up to the Great Wall of China. I am terrified of heights, absolutely petrified. And you dangle over what looks like the Grand Canyon, rocking back and forth, on this tiny, rickety old chair lift, swaying casually, ridiculously close to death. I nearly died of fright, actually. But I made it!

Something you chickened out from doing: I couldn’t have an MRI done without sedation – I kept chickening out! So they rescheduled me. And when my periods of claustrophobia were really bad, I wouldn’t go on the subway or in elevators or through revolving doors. But I addressed that problem and now I can do those things, no problem!

The last thing you did for the first time: Climbed a dormant volcano! On the island of Rangitoto, in New Zealand. 

Something you’ll never do again: Travel without a spare pen (or three).




READ AN EXCERPT

10. Beatrice The Administrator.

“I got kicked out of Cedar’s again,” I tell the others. I expect them to find this funny but they don’t. Of course they don’t.
“I didn’t mean to,” I acknowledge, “it’s like I had Tourette’s or something.”
“Cedar’s alright,” Grace comments. “You should try to work with him.”
“Why? So I can have a so-called realization? That clearly worked well for you, look, you’re all still here.”
They have no answer for that.
“What are everybody’s plans for the day?” Samia asks, brightly.
“Rest Room, Reading Room, Rest Room, cafeteria,” Fat Tracey says and she sounds grumpy. “I don’t know why you bother to ask us, Samia. It’s not like I can say oh, I’m going to Bermuda to lie on a beach or fuck it, let’s go to the mall and spend money we don’t have.”
“You are in a mood,” Grace says and Fat Tracey nods.
“I was telling her,” she nods her head in my direction, “my life story and I guess it got to me a bit.”
“Oh, I am sorry, dear,” Grace says and Fat Tracey’s eyes fill with tears.
“I shouldn’t have left my boys,” she says and she starts keening quietly. “Julia said so, and she was right.”
They turn to look at me. “I never said that!” I am indignant. “I asked her if they couldn’t have been reason enough to make her stay.”
“Well, obviously not,” Isabelle is scornful. “That’s a stupid thing to say, don’t you think?” I feel like she just slapped me across the face. How dare she speak to me like that? But what am I supposed to do, these are the only people I have in my life right now, and so instead of asking her just who the fuck she thinks she is, talking to me like that, I nod.
“I see that now,” I say meekly and the others accept this apology of sorts.
“I want my fucking Viewing time,” Fat Tracey says.
“Let’s go and see Beatrice again,” Grace suggests, and I am glad she does because any kind of activity will help pass the day, or whatever our strange allotments of time are.
“Enjoy your lattes first,” Fat Tracey says. “No point in wasting them.”
We sit and drink in silence.
I notice that Agnes has gnawed away the perfect manicure I gave her and I sigh.
“You okay?” Samia asks.
“Still trying to get my bearings on things,” I say, and she nods sympathetically.
“It takes a while.”
“I don’t suppose there’s a Massage Room here?” I am wistful. “I wouldn’t mind a four hour massage, that’s for sure.”
“No, dear, no Massage Room,” Grace tells me.
“No movie theatre either,” Isabelle says and they all chime in.
“No animals, sauna, hot tub, swimming pool, beach, no real grass or thunderstorms—,”
“There is the Rain Room,” Grace interrupts the long list and I gather this isn’t the first conversation they’ve had like this.
“Yeah, it’s super depressing,” Samia comments, and it is unlike her to say anything negative.
“Why?” I ask. “Rain can be soothing.”
She shakes her head. “I’ll take you one day and you’ll see. The whole place is grey and gloomy.”
“There are chapels,” Grace says “and there’s even a cathedral. It’s enormous, like St Peter’s in Rome.”
“I don’t see the point in praying,” Isabelle says and the others fall silent.
“We’re not supposed to talk about religion,” Agnes explains to me.
“Why not? That doesn’t make any sense. Of all the places, you’d think religion would be first on the list here.” I am baffled. “Are there priests and nuns?” I think about Intrigua with her hajib and nun’s outfit.
Agnes shakes her head. “Only Helpers like Cedar.”
“I find that pretty weird,” I say, and I finally get the group to laugh.
“Ah, ya, Purgatory is weird,” Samia agrees. “That might be the point.”
“If you’re all finished, let’s go and see the bitch,” Fat Tracey says. “But I’m not going to do the talking, someone else will have to.”
“I will,” Grace is firm. “I want to see my family too.”
“We’re not going to get anywhere,” Agnes says with a warning tone in her voice, “I can feel it.”
“Well, we’re going to try,” Grace insists and she stands up and brushes biscotti crumbs from her skirt. “We’re most certainly going to try.”
This time we don’t enter the maze. We walk the perimeter of the building, and we pass those eerie planes, those white sharks lined up on the licorice black, lined up and waiting for god knows what. We pass the counter where a group of people are still gathered and they are arguing and jostling, while harried flight attendants shout from behind the counter.
I want to check if it’s the same group of people or a new lot but we walk by too quickly. Besides, I hadn’t noticed much the first time.
I spot the womb that birthed my arrival, that steel and black leatherette chair, and I can still feel the burning pain as I surfaced. I look out the window. The immaculate green grass between the runways is unchanged, as are the cotton wool clouds which are two-dimensional and cartoon-like in their perfection. A movie backdrop, Grace had said. Sometimes, it’s as if I’ve stepped into a graphic novel that been assembled using clipart. We walk for what feels like hours but of course, there’s no way of telling.
Shirley the Driver passes us, beeping and squawking, her lights flashing like a Christmas tree and we all press up against the wall.
“We’re nearly there,” Agnes tells me and I nod.
We turn down an unusually dark hallway.
“Everything’s on one level here,” I remark. “No escalators, elevators, stairs or ramps.”
No one finds my observation worthy of comment and I fall silent.
“We’re here,” Grace says after we turn a corner and walk past a series of yellow doors with yellow half-moon handles. I want to ask what’s with the yellow all of a sudden, but I sense it’s not a good time for questions. I don’t want the others to bounce me. They haven’t said they can do that, but I’m pretty certain they have the power.
We stopped at a door and no one wants to be the first to venture inside.
But then something creepy happens — the door handle twists down and the door swings quietly open.
“I know you lot are out there,” a hoarse voice bellows, “so come on in, you ninnies. I know what you’re going to ask me and I can tell you now that the answer is still the same, it’s no, nada, zip, zero, and I’ve got no idea why you wasted your time coming out all this way. I guess you had nothing better to do or you wanted to introduce me to your new friend. hear this, Julia, you’re a longer ways off from a Viewing than you can imagine. You, with your ego the size of Jupiter, well, you’ll have to wait in line like the rest of them, your charms hold no currency here.”
I feel as if someone has thrown a bucket of ice water on me. I can’t move or speak. I just stand there, dripping with the venom of this woman’s sarcasm.
“Come on in,” the voice bellows again. “Bloody rude to stand out there and make me shout.”
“Hardly a point in coming in, is there?” Fragile little Isabelle shouts back and I am surprised. The mouse has roared. But then again, this is a girl who had sex with strangers, she isn’t afraid of anything.
“You should at least give us a timeline,” Isabelle says loudly, and she marches inside and I can see that her fists are clenched and her face is white.
The others creep in behind her and I bring up the rear.
“Should? Fuck should,” Beatrice says and I guess she’s never had Cedar as her Helper.
Beatrice is sitting behind a desk, with her feet up. She’s wearing Birkenstocks and her toenails are as thick and gnarly as old tortoise shells. They are also inexplicably filthy. There is no dirt in Purgatory, so how did her feet get to be that dirty? Did she arrive like that, and never wash?
Beatrice is chomping on a large apple and bits of it are spraying everywhere. She chews loudly with her mouth open and I look away, studying her office instead. Her bookcase filled is with works by Dorothy Parker, Charles Bukowski, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter S. Thompson and Raymond Chandler and I wonder if she had been a drunk back on Earth. That, and heavy smoking, would explain her less-than-dulcet tones.
A large poster of a Hawaiian sunset covers one wall along with a framed picture of an old Cadillac convertible. A stack of needlepoint cushions is piled in the corner and I wonder if Beatrice was in the Needlepoint Room when I barged in looking for Agnes. A large framed embroidered canvas has a green alligator baring its teeth, with the slogan, Come In, The Water’s Fine!
Everything is pristine and polished but the items are old and show wear; the Scrabble set, the stacked, empty margarine tubs, the cans of Sanka. A tiny black toy cat is perched inside a glass bell jar on the edge of Beatrice’s desk and behind Beatrice’s head is a framed picture of a vase and a bowl of fruit and the artwork, if you can call it that, is so dreadful that I am mesmerized. It looks like it was drawn with thick crayon and then melted over an open fire.
Beatrice stops chewing for a moment and the silence is so thick that I stop my inventory of the place and glance at the others to see what is going on but they are fearfully looking at Beatrice who is calmly watching me.
“Enjoying yourself?” she asks. “Very nosy, aren’t you? Nosy parker.”
Beatrice, resplendent in plaid shorts and a red and black man’s checked shirt, cocks her head to one side and I can’t think of anything to say. She shrugs and returns enthusiastically to her apple and juice spurts out in an arc onto Grace’s blouse and Grace flinches.
“Well, when?” Fat Tracey can hold back no longer. “When can I see them?”
“Should have thought of that when you left them,” Beatrice counters. “It’s not up to me, anyway.”
“It is so,” Isabelle insists. “We all know that.”
“You don’t know fuck all,” Beatrice aims the apple core at a bin in the corner and slam dunks it. “You think you do, but you don’t. Who would you View, Isabelle? Huh? Tell me?”
“No one. It’s not for me. It’s for Fat Tracey and Grace and Agnes,” Isabelle says. “I never had anyone, I don’t care. I’m fine with things the way they are, but it’s not fair to the others.”
“Fair? Fair? Like life was ever fair?” Beatrice is mocking. She whips her feet off the desk and pulls her chair close to her desk. She gives her mouse a thwack, to wake up the computer. She peers at the screen and then she fumbles for a pair of reading glasses, searching on her desk until she realizes they are strung around her neck on a beaded cord.
She puts them on and examines the screen, using the rough, thick nail of her forefinger to scroll down. She mutters all the while, and we stand there, silent and unmoving.
She taps furiously at the keyboard, so hard I am surprised it isn’t damaged, and then she slams a fist on the Enter key.
The printer next to the desk springs into life and jerkily delivers a single page.
We hold our breath.
“Here,” she says handing the sheet to Agnes. “Access for you for the Viewing Room. You’ve got half an hour tomorrow.”
Agnes looks stunned. “But I’m not ready,” she says.
“And I am,” Fat Tracey and Grace both chorus at the same time.
“You’re ready when I say you are,” Beatrice retorts. She looks at Agnes and holds out her hand. “You want to give it back?”
“No.” Agnes clutches the paper to her chest.
“Thought so. Well then, goodbye all of you. Don’t come again, why don’t you?” She laughs and coughs up a wedge of phlegm that she spits into a Kleenex and lobs at the bin, narrowly missing my head.
“Go on, shoo! Out you go!”
We turn and file out slowly, and the yellow-handled door swings firmly shut behind us.
We stand in the corridor for a while, in silence.
“I can’t do it today,” Agnes says. “I’m not ready.”
“Yeah, well, you heard her, it’s for tomorrow in any case,” Samia points out.
“When you do it, do you want us to come with you?” Grace asks and Agnes nods.
“Yes, I can’t do it alone. We’ll go after coffee.”
“Will you wait to have coffee with me?” I ask, sounding unfamiliarly unsure of myself. “I have to go and see Cedar, first thing.”
“Of course we’ll wait,” Samia says when no one else replies, and my confidence level drops even further.
“I’ll come and find you,” Samia reassures me. “We’ll wait. Don’t worry.”
I thank her, and before I can say anything else or ask the others what they’re going to do next, I am back in the Makeup Room, alone.
***
Excerpt from No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits. Copyright © 2017 by Lisa de Nikolits. Reproduced with permission from Lisa de Nikolits. All rights reserved.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia, and Britain. Lisa lives and writes in Toronto. No Fury Like That, her most recently published work, is her seventh novel and has received glowing preview reviews from internationally acclaimed authors, Metroland Media, and high-profile members of the Crime Writers of Canada. Lisa’s previous works include: The Hungry Mirror (2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women's Issues Fiction and long-listed for a ReLit Award); West of Wawa (2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and a Chatelaine Editor's Pick); A Glittering Chaos (tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction); The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched in Spring 2014 to literary acclaim. Between The Cracks She Fell  was reviewed by the Quill & Quire, was on the recommended reading lists for Open Book Toronto and 49th Shelf. Between The Cracks She Fell was also reviewed by Canadian Living magazine and called ‘a must-read book of 2015.’ Between The Cracks She Fell won a Bronze IPPY Award 2016 for Contemporary Fiction. The Nearly Girl received rave reviews in THIS magazine and local newspaper, the Beach Metro, among others. No Fury Like That is her seventh book and Rotten Peaches will be published in 2018, followed by The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution in 2019. All books by Inanna Publications.

Connect with Lisa:
Website Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |   LinkedIn  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Inanna Publications






Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours