Monday, August 21, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: JUSTINE JOHNSTON HEMMESTEAD




ABOUT THE BOOK


Visions of a Dream focuses on the spiritual fire that ignites Alexander the Great's actions as he learns from the other cultures he comes into contact with. His closest relationships vie for his love but they also provide the steel he needs to be sharpened spiritually and emotionally, for before he conquers the world he must first conquer his own mind. He is inclusive of all people, all cultures, and all religions and he lives that belief. Alexander's relationships with his fellow man knows no restrictions, nor does his love of the sublime.





LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH JUSTINE JOHNSTON HEMMESTAD




Things you love about writing:
Getting lost in the story, finding different and lovely ways to use language.
Things you hate about writing:

Marketing.

Hardest thing about being a writer:

Being pulled out of the story.

Easiest thing about being a writer:

Building worlds.


Things you need in order to write:
Hope, love, mystery; inspirational pictures that have an untold story inside them.
Things that hamper your writing:

Nothing; I write in my head if I don’t have access to pen and paper or a computer.


A few of your favorite things:

The elliptical that my son Brad gave me for Christmas, my writing journals, my Bible, a necklace that my daughter Meranda gave me for my birthday . . .
Things you need to throw out:
Commentary.


Things you love about where you live:

People.
Things that make you want to move:
Nothing.


Things you never want to run out of:
Shampoo, chocolate, soap, cleaning supplies, water.
Things you wish you’d never bought:
Plastic Easter eggs.


Words that describe you:

Smart, determined, resourceful.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
All PTSD symptoms - detached, scared, and especially hyper-vigilant.

Favorite foods:
Vegetables, chocolate, wheat.
Things that make you want to throw up:
Red meat, fats.

Favorite music: 
Songs my kids and I sing like “Good Morning" (from Singin’ in the Rain); I have a soft spot for ‘80s alternative rock and punk; lots of current music that my kids listen to.
Music that make your ears bleed:
Elevator music.

Favorite beverage:
Water
.
Something that gives you a pickle face:
Alcohol.

Favorite smell:
A campfire in the forest, coffee/latte.

Something that makes you hold your nose:
Feet.

Something you’re really good at:
Research.

Something you’re really bad at:
Balance, seeing, reaction time, coordination, socializing.

Something you like to do:
Write, hug my kids, write in a coffee shop or library.

Something you wish you’d never done:
Cook (I always burn or cut myself).

People you consider as heroes:
My oldest daughter (who served in Afghanistan), ALL of my kids for different reasons that suit them particularly; Congressman John Lewis.

People with a big L on their foreheads:
Bigots, racists, ignorance, immaturity (in an adult).



Last best thing you ate:
Cottage cheese and tomato.

Last thing you regret eating:
Pepperoni pizza.

Things you’d walk a mile for:

My kids.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
bigots/racists, presumption.

Things you always put in your books:
Passion, soul, mystery.

Things you never put in your books:
Something boring.

Things to say to an author:
Never stop learning and seeking inspiration.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
You didn’t dig deep enough.

Favorite places you’ve been:
Guadalajara, New York City
.
Places you never want to go to again:
TJ.

Favorite books:
Wuthering Heights, the Bible, Shakespeare, Rumi, Kabbalistic literature.

Books you would ban:
Commentary, hate-speech literature.

Favorite things to do:
Watch my kids do their favorite things (sports or crafts), write, study for my literature courses (in my Master’s Degree program in English Literature).

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:
Crossing a street on my own (because of my reaction time and sight).

Things that make you happy:

My kids.

Things that drive you crazy:
When my kids avoid doing what they need to, neighborhood feral cats that congregate outside our house.

Most embarrassing moment:
When my daughter Meranda and I got caught in the rain and we ran down the sidewalk to get back to the store (I can’t run).

Proudest moment:
My oldest kids’ proms and graduations, my oldest daughter’s wedding, my oldest son and his girlfriend as part of their friend’s wedding party.

Best thing you’ve ever done:

Have seven children.

Biggest mistake:
Listened to people I shouldn’t have.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done:
Recovering from my 1990 severe brain injury and paralysis and trying to live with the PTSD from that day.

Something you chickened out from doing:
Swimming.



The Character of Baphomet in Visions of a Dream

 


by Justine Johnston Hemmestad



Ancient Greek meaning links the name of Baphomet to wisdom and knowledge, which alludes to the purpose of this young woman’s character in Alexander the Great’s story. She is one of the only fictional characters in my novel Visions of a Dream, and my goal is for her to be a wise challenger for him, to sharpen him as only her courageous and intellectual spirit can. She’s more than a fictional character; she’s a literary device that off-sets Alexander when he needs challenge, and compliments him when he needs healing – she draws out the spiritual story that I want to tell. Alexander’s treatment of women, through my knowledge of the history in Arrian, opens doors wide to his own factual character, and I explore that aspect of him. When the kingdom he establishes, both within himself and externally, begins to crumble Baphomet strengthens him with her insight to the truth.
   
Their relationship begins on unsure footing. Little could Alexander have known when he entered his tent one Persian night that the young woman who waited to kill him would become the most important and provoking person in his life. Baphomet’s initial hatred for him is founded on cultural differences and revenge for the wartime deaths of her brothers, but these things become the threads in an intricate tapestry of lessons that they learn together while trekking East with Alexander’s army.
   
In the midst of their challenge, Alexander receives guidance in dreams about his mission – a seer called Aristander accompanies the army and deciphers the meaning of such omens. The woman in Alexander’s dreams binds him even more tightly to Baphomet and her purpose in his life. He identifies the voice of the woman in his dreams with Baphomet’s voice, an identification that sinks deep within his soul and never wavers. When he struggles between life and death or feels the sharpest uncertainty, the woman of his dreams comes with a revelation of knowledge in symbols and metaphors.
   
Egypt introduces a new era of Alexander’s and Baphomet’s friendship, a self-awareness that blends into willingness to learn about the cultures and religions that surround them, and most importantly, the god that those cultures worship – for though gods appear different with different names, Alexander believes them all to be one, a belief that Baphomet holds as well. Their friendship continually evolves while Alexander’s other friendships within his army receive less of his attention – mirroring the interest and unity he feels with new cultures while not favoring his original Macedonian and Greek soldiers as they expect. Though his friendship with Baphomet is always sensuous, they embark upon different levels of unity within their entry into each new land, mirroring the wisdom of the land itself. To unfold the historical accuracy in Visions of a Dream, I venture into the various ancient religions of each culture – but significantly, I strive to show each culture’s way of worshiping, which was one of the most distinct ways I could remain true to the land itself.
Baphomet’s character reins all the beliefs and ways of worship in, and works to understand them with Alexander. But even while Baphomet is eventually separated from Alexander by his own uncharacteristic act of rage, she is learning about worship in the different lands that his army enters into.

Part four (of four parts) of Visions of a Dream is in Baphomet’s point of view, welcoming a new enlightenment from a different perspective, a mystery within an enigma, to symbolize the land of India. There is a noticeable difference from the first three parts because Baphomet is completely emotionally attached whereas Alexander’s emotions are tainted by the disconnect in PTSD (the first mention of the emotional stress of war is from the Battle of Marathon one hundred years before Alexander). We see Alexander through Baphomet’s objective eyes, rendering him more human than he thinks himself to be. She essentially saves his story when he falls by giving him hope that extends beyond his lifetime.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justine Johnston Hemmestad’s TBI recovery story is in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries, and she truly hopes it can help others going through medical trauma. She began college in the mid-2000s, part time as she and her husband raised 7 kids and she continued to research and write Visions of a Dream. She has earned her BLS from The University of Iowa and is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University and she hopes to teach creative writing and literature in the future.


Connect with Justine:

Website  |  FacebookTwitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon
 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: KAREN RANDAU



ABOUT THE BOOK

An engaging ex-con. An arrow in an elderly woman's chest. A slain investigative reporter. Karen Randau brings back Rita and Cliff Avery as innocent bystanders to a secret worth killing for in Deadly Choices: Book Three of the Rim Country Mystery series. An elderly woman stumbles into their campsite as Rita, Cliff, and Rita's long-lost mother enjoy s'mores and folk music around the campfire. Things get interesting when Rita's mother falls for the key suspect, Rita's old friend and mentor. Rita discovers her mother isn't the woman she thought she was, and her dear friend has forced her into hiding. Murder and decades of someone else's bad choices — this isn't your average motherly visit!






LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH KAREN RANDAU


Things you need in order to write:
A cozy, quiet place and a computer.
Things that hamper your writing:
The television.

Things you love about writing:
I’ve always verbally told myself stories. When my older sister told me that made me sound crazy, I decided to keep it as part of my private life. I recently confided in a coworker because I was having some particularly disturbing thoughts, and I asked if she thought that meant I was crazy. She said, “No, I think that means you have a novel in you that is screaming to get out.” I started writing novels the next day. It has given me a huge release. I finally have something useful to do with all these thoughts that run into each other in my head.
Things you hate about writing:
Long hours of sitting are hard on my body. I already have a tendency to spend a lot of time alone, and writing makes that worse.

Things you love about where you live:
I live in the mountains above Phoenix, Arizona. The air is clean, the sky is blue, it doesn’t get as hot as Phoenix, it cools down at night, we have four mild seasons (including snow). There are numerous hiking trails and places to just be outside. It is a friendly community.
Things that make you want to move:
I’m really tired of buying my clothes at Walmart. I have to either shop online or go to Phoenix. The same is true about haircuts – get a bad one or go to Phoenix.

Favorite foods:
I love sweets, but of the things that are good for me, I like things with more vegetables than meat.
Things that make you want to throw up:
Lima beans.

Favorite beverage:
Water
.
Something that gives you a pickle face:
Beer.

People you consider as heroes:
Heroes are people who are humble, caring, and kind and who offer wisdom from experience rather than from their own opinions, and who would stick their neck out for another person because it’s the right thing to do rather than to get a reward.

People with a big L on their foreheads:
I can’t stand narcissistic people whose open mindedness dies the second you have a different opinion, then you’re evil.

Things you always put in your books:

Encouraging words to people in hardship.

Things you never put in your books:
Graphic sex, F bombs, cruelty to animals or children.

Favorite books:
I like books that are fast paced, have lots of twists, and make me feel something. I like a happy ending. Usually, I gravitate to mysteries and thrillers.

Books you would ban:
Erotica.

Favorite things to do:
Hike in the woods, go to a good movie, laugh with my kids
.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:
Yard work.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done:

I jumped off a waterfall once (you didn’t specify if it had to be a smart thing)
.
Something you chickened out from doing:
I really wanted to go to Greece, but I chickened out because I was afraid of the long flight in an age of terrorism.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Randau started writing as a way of life as soon as an elementary school teacher taught her to print Run Spot Run. Most of her major life events got processed in prose. She put that way of life into a career by getting a degree in journalism/public relations from the University of Texas at Austin. The career that followed spanned the industries of high tech, mental health, and non-profit. For more than two decades, she has worked for Food for the Hungry, an international relief and development organization that partners with communities in developing countries to help them end extreme poverty. She feels privileged to have witnessed that life-saving work in Bolivia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. She brings these unique experiences to her writing.
Connect with Karen:
Facebook  |  Twitter

Buy the book:
Amazon




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

PM Carlson's Book Blast



ABOUT THE BOOKS

Murder Is Academic
A finalist for the Anthony Award

Vietnam, assassinations and riots. In the spring semester of 1968, a series of brutal attacks draws campus women together to study self-defense and the psychology of rape. Graduate student Mary Beth Nelson struggles to keep the Lords of Death at bay by immersing herself in researching Mayan languages. Her new housemate, Maggie Ryan, has her own secrets. When murder strikes close to home, Maggie investigates with a little help from her friends.

"Murder Is Academic treats violation of truth in tandem with assault and rape true violations of person, mind, and body–– and presents a cogent caesar for the inviolability both of persons and truth." –– The Armchair Detective




Murder Is Pathological


It’s 1969, in a brain research lab. The exploding wastebasket is a prank, but slaughtered lab rats have graduate students Maggie Ryan, Monica Bauer and the rest of the lab on edge. Then the custodian is murdered. Maggie’s friend, actor Nick O'Connor, goes undercover to investigate, help that Maggie does not appreciate– or does she? While Nick and Maggie search for the killer, Monica struggles to connect with a Vietnam veteran with a brain injury.

"P.M. Carlson's energetic and insightful novels are back in print — hallelujah!" –– Sara Paretsky




EXCERPT FROM MURDER IS ACADEMIC



Near an upstate New York university, June 1968.

She was dead now, no more threat. The murderer pushed aside the long dark hair and, very carefully, cut the triangle into the young cheek. Done. Now, walk to the car calmly, get in. Back to the highway, driving coolly, back in control again.

* * *

The Christian conquerors teach that days don’t begin until midnight. The Maya know that it takes longer to hand over the burdens of time, and that the influence of the incoming god may begin at sunset. The day known as Monday, June 17, to those who count by the Gregorian calendar was pleasantly breezy, as befitted the Ixil 9 Iiq; but shortly after sunset it became one of the most tragic of Mary Beth’s life. A Mayan traditionalist might have attributed the change to the coming of that doubly unlucky day, 10 Aqbal.

But it had all begun quite cheerfully.

Maggie had borrowed Sue’s backpack in case Nick needed one for the picnic, and had packed her own and Mary Beth’s with the camp stove and the food. She hummed lightheartedly as she worked.
“You’re happy to see him, aren’t you?” Mary Beth had said, tightening the top of the salad dressing jar.

“Yes, but that’s only part of it,” Maggie had confessed. “It’s just good to know that’s behind me. It was a very bad time, and Nick was there. But I can see him now and just enjoy the friendship. The bad memories are there, way in the background, but the good ones are too. It doesn’t hurt anymore. It hurt quite a lot for a while.”

* * *
Excerpt from Murder Is Academic by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.



EXCERPT FROM MURDER IS PATHOLOGICAL




Neurology grad student Monica Bauer helps out at nursing home, 1969.

She waited. He could not summon words at will, except for the overpractised early ones–– hello, good-bye, okay. They both waited for the disconnected words to drift through his mind, waited for him to recognize the right one as it happened by.

After a while he said, “Buzzing. In, in, what is it? Not nose, not eyes.”

“Buzzing in your ears?”

“Ears. Okay. In my ears.”

“Does it hurt?”

“No, except . . .” Long pause. “Sometimes.”

“Sometimes your head hurts.”

“Yes, sometimes. Always . . . buzzing.” He leaned back, tired.

“Shall we sing a little?”

“Okay.”

He couldn’t remember words, but melodies were still easy for him. She had learned to sing “la-la-la” instead of trying to teach him to catch the elusive words. Now they sang together, her alto and his baritone blending pleasantly. It made him happy.

Finally Monica said good-bye, signed out, drove away. Mary and Jock, Bibbsy and Ted never would. Four friends, trapped by their own broken brains. Especially Ted, who still struggled courageously to fuse the bits of his shattered world into coherence. Who still remembered that things had once been different, that he had once been whole.

Maybe she would never discover anything that could help them. But with Dr. Weisen’s help, she meant to give it a damn good try.

Back in Laconia, she parked in front of her square brick house, then paused to wait for Maggie, who was at the corner mailing a letter. “Trying to send a message to the outside world?” called Monica.
“Yeah. My friend Nick.” Maggie, exuberant, sprinted from the corner, ending with a cartwheel. Then she pulled herself up with dignity and asked, “How were your friends today?”

“Soaking up sun.”

“Good for them. Listen, we’re going to the concert tonight. Can you come?”

“No, I’ve got to get back to the lab right after dinner. Have to check on those baby rats I delivered today.”

And so Monica was second on the scene. She unlocked the main door of the lab, and at the sound of her steps Norman erupted from the door of the animal quarters, gaping in terror.

“Miz Bauer! Come quick!” he pleaded. “Something terrible happened!”

Monica ran after him into one of Dr. Weisen’s animal rooms. She said, “Oh, Christ!”

In the center of the room lay a heap of slaughtered rats, their backs broken and mangled, their skulls smashed.

* * *
Excerpt from Murder Is Pathological by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

Connect with P.M. Carlson:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Smashwords

Buy the books:
Murder is Academic: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Smashwords 
Murder is Pathalogical: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords 



Sunday, August 13, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: MARY MARKS




ABOUT THE BOOK


The newest member of Martha’s close-knit quilting circle has an eye for couture. But when the designer’s fingerprints are found blanketing a crime scene, Martha must prove that he didn’t have a hand in homicide! 
 
Martha Rose is alarmed by the discovery of Dolleen Doyle’s dead body, especially when evidence suggests a fellow quilter committed the crime.  Set on clearing her pal, Martha searches for answers—but with ties to a convicted fraudster’s stolen millions and a secret office room, the victim’s past raises even more questions. As Martha inches towards the culprit, she learns that wrapping the case up—and living to baste another square—will be trickier than she ever imagined . . .





LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH MARY MARKS


Things you need in order to write:
A pot of fresh coffee and a clean house.
Things that hamper your writing:
A to-do list of errands to run and an unmade bed
.

Things you love about writing:
Inventing my own universe where I can get even with the real villains in my life and entertain readers while I do it.
Things you hate about writing:
Having to worry about producing enough words to satisfy my publisher.

Hardest thing about being a writer:
Finding the discipline to write when I’d rather be doing something else.

Easiest thing about being a writer:
Thinking stuff up.


Things you love about where you live:
Quiet, mild climate, beautiful surroundings.
Things that make you want to move:
More space. Wish I had a room for overnight guests, and another room for quilting.


Things you never want to run out of:
Toilet paper.
Things you wish you’d never bought:
An oversized desk.


Words that describe you:
Eccentric, independent.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
Overweight.

Favorite smell:
Expensive French perfume
.
Something that makes you hold your nose:
Cleaning up after my dog.

Something you’re really good at:
Quilting
.
Something you’re really bad at:
Exercise
.

Something you like to do:
Skydiving
.
Something you wish you’d never done:
How long a list do you want?


People you consider as heroes:
Women in every walk of life, in every culture.

People with a big L on their foreheads:
People who want to impose their values and restrictions on others.



Last best thing you ate:
Key lime cheesecake.

Last thing you regret eating:
Key lime cheesecake.

Things you always put in your books:

A blonde in a halter top.

Things you never put in your books:
Overt sex, bad language.

Favorite places you’ve been:
Mediterranean and African countries.

Places you never want to go to again:
Hospital.

Favorite things to do:
Write, quilt, watch good TV and movies, read an excellent book, eat
.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:
Housework.

Things that make you happy:
Grandchildren, good reviews. In that order.

Things that drive you crazy:
Washington DC.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books.

Connect with Mary:
Website  |  Facebook 

Buy the book:
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble
 



Saturday, August 12, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: GERRY SCHMITT



ABOUT THE BOOK

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree . . .

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage . . .





LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH GERRY SCHMITT



Things I need in order to write:
Absolute quiet, Diet Coke, and a computer.
Things that hamper my writing:
Noise, burping up Diet Coke, junk e-mail.

Things I love about writing:
It’s fun, pays the bills, and is a wonderful creative outlet.
Things I hate about writing:
Dreaming up new ways to kill people! I worry that the FBI is following my search history.

Hardest thing about being a writer:
Working all by myself. When I owned my ad agency I was surrounded by a wonderful creative team.
Easiest thing about being a writer:
Don’t have to get all gussied up and put on makeup to go to work. Now I just roll out of bed and start typing.

Things I never want to run out of:

Anything chocolate. When the craving hits, I gotta have it!
Things I wish I’d never bought:
Bottle of Vampire Wine. It sounded so intriguing but tasted terrible! It was probably aged in Transylvania for all of 3 days.

Favorite foods:
Sushi, lobster, and steak tartare.
Foods that make me want to throw up:
Lima beans and any kind of weight loss product.

Favorite music:
Anything by the Rolling Stones.
Something that gives me a pickle face:
Bad advertising jingles that leave you with an “earworm.”

Things I always put into my books:
Lots of action, a great storyline, and a huge twist at the end that you won’t see coming.
Things I never put into my books:
Cutsie stuff like dogs named Mopsy or grandmas name Mawmaw.

Favorite places I’ve been:
Bali, Paris, and Kyoto, Japan.
Places I’d never want to go again:
I’d never want to visit Stonehenge again because now it’s surrounded by acres of tall fences. Before it was just out there by itself on the windswept Salisbury Plain.

Favorite Books:
Thrillers by John Sandford, Michael Connelly, and Lee Childs.
Books I would ban:
No banned books, this isn’t North Korea. (Thank goodness!)

Most daring thing I’ve ever done:
Started my own advertising agency with three hundred bucks, then built it to include 25 people and 20 major clients (3 were Fortune 500 companies).
Something I chickened out from doing:
Skydiving. People weren’t meant to fly–or crash-land either.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gerry Schmitt is the author of the just-released novel Shadow Girl, the second book in her Afton Tangler Thriller series. Under the pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In Gerry’s previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show.


Connect with Gerry:
Website  |  Facebook


Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: CHERYL LOW



ABOUT THE BOOK

In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets.

Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. Everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses, even the tea and pastries. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm.

From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he'll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.





LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH CHERYL LOW



Things you need in order to write:

Music. I make playlists for different books I’m working on to keep the mood. I also have a tie I wear when I’m having trouble focusing. I call it my “business tie” because I wear it when I need to get down to business.
Things that hamper your writing:
Netflix! Pretty much as soon as I put on a movie or a show, my productivity drops off for the day.


Things you love about where you live:
I live in a small, quiet town in Sweden, and I really like it. I’m so far north that I’m actually in the Arctic Circle. We have daylight all night long during summer, and I love it!
Things that make you want to move:
Family. When I get the urge to move, it’s usually because I want to be closer to family. Also winter here is extreme. I don’t mind it being night all day long, but the snow gets a little intense. Winter is eight months long here. And that’s just too long. I’m pretty much over winter after Christmas and up here, we still have another four months to go.

Things you never want to run out of:
Pens and hair ties. I feel like I’m buying them all the time and they just disappear. Oh, and ink!
Things you wish you’d never bought:
I’ve got this big daybed in my kitchen that I kind of regret buying because I’m 75% sure I’ll have to destroy it to get it out of this apartment when I move… 


Words that describe you:
Chatty. Smiley. Excitable.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
Easily stressed. Angry. Cynical.

Favorite foods:
Cookies. Dumplings. Sourdough. Bagels.
Things that make you want to throw up: 
Tequila. Sushi. Moldy cheese.

Favorite beverage:
Iced water. Tea. Vanilla latte.
Something that gives you a pickle face:
Bubble tea. Black coffee.

Something you’re really good at:
Baking cookies.
Something you’re really bad at:
Baking cake.

Something you wish you could do:
Parkour!
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:
Oh, this is hard. Everything I’ve learned to do, I enjoyed at one time and then promptly forgot as soon as I wasn’t interested anymore. So, probably something from school…

Last best thing you ate:

Kläddkaka. It’s a Swedish chocolate cake that is basically an under-baked brownie. It’s super gooey.

Last thing you regret eating:
Kimchi dumpling. I like kimchi but the dumpling was a red beet dough and I can’t stand beets. It tastes like the ground, if dirt could bleed.

Things you always put in your books:
I feel like someone always gets punched in my books and kissed, but not at the same time.

Things you never put in your books:
Stew. I hate stew in books. Especially in fantasy. If I can make up any food, why would I do stew?

Favorite things to do:
Go to the movies or the theater. Go out to new cafes and restaurants. Stay home and do absolutely nothing.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:
CrossFit. It’s nothing against it, I just think I’d be awful at it and break out into laughter whenever anyone tries to invite me to their class. Also anything involving lakes or boats.

Things that make you happy:
Crocodile documentaries. Kill Joys. When my book orders arrive at my door, especially when I’ve ordered so many that I’ve forgotten what I’m getting.
Things that drive you crazy:
Loud motorcycles. Technology has advanced enough not to have your bike be so loud that I can’t hear my headphones.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cheryl Low might be an Evil Queen, sipping tea and peeping on everyone from high up in her posh tower——a job she got only after being fired from her gig as Wicked Witch for eating half the gingerbread house.

…Or she might be a relatively mundane human with a love for all things sugary and soap opera slaps.

Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage. The answer might surprise you! But it probably won’t.

Connect with Cheryl:
Website   |  Twitter  |   Goodreads  |   Instagram

Buy the book:
Amazon   |  World Weaver Press

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: R.L. SYME




ABOUT THE BOOK 


Small towns and gossip go together like flaky crust and sweet pastry cream. Between the police scanners, the coffee ladies, and the senior center, no secret is safe for long. But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar . . . especially the police radar.

So when her new bakery is linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body. Can't have that.

In order to clear her good name and keep her face off the front page, this bakery owner becomes extra nosy . . . with a little side of breaking-and-entering . . . But when she comes face-to-face with the Sheriff, Vangie can't ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the real murderer.

Book One in The Matchbaker Mysteries, a new cozy culinary mystery series with a surprise bi-vocational amateur sleuth, from USA Today Bestselling Author, R.L. Syme.

RECIPE INSIDE!



LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH R.L. SYME


A few of your favorite things:
Cheese, strawberries, hope.
Things you need to throw out:
All my old pen pal letters, the clothes I keep hoping to fit into someday, and my expectations about the future.


Hardest thing about being a writer:
Making sure to put my hind-end in the chair every day.

Easiest thing about being a writer:
Coming up with new characters and stories.


Things you love about where you live:
The weather, the fact that there are no bugs, the mountains, the people, the landscape . . . really, pretty much everything.
Things that make you want to move:
The snow. How expensive it is to live here. How far it is from my family.

Words that describe you:
Curious, capable, and a little strange.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
Hard-headed, inconsistent, flighty.

Favorite foods:
Crème brulee, cheese, strawberries.
Things that make you want to throw up: 
Humidity, bugs, bad grammar.

Favorite song:
"Dirt" by Florida Georgia Line.
Music that make your ears bleed:
Dubstep.

Favorite beverage:
Ginger Ale.

Something that gives you a pickle face:
Lemonade.

Favorite smell:
The outdoors after it rains
.
Something that makes you hold your nose:
The ocean.

Something you’re really good at:
Playing the Piano
.
Something you’re really bad at:
Painting
.

Something you wish you could do:
Be uber-super disciplined.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:
Binge-watch Netflix. Seriously. I have a problem.


Last best thing you ate:
A tuna sub at the Pickle Barrel in Bozeman, Montana – seriously, that place is my kryptonite.

Last thing you regret eating:
Same thing . . . I mean, it was SO good, but they’re just . . . huge.

Things you’d walk a mile for:
Good crème brulee, any one of my friends or family, an incredible piano, a good meal.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
Arguments, bad movies, people not giving each other the benefit of the doubt, inhumanity, selfishness.

Things you always put in your books:
Hope. Justice.

Things you never put in your books:
I’m not sure I have any “nevers” for my books. I think, every time I say, “I’ll never do that,” then I end up doing it. Lol.

Favorite places you’ve been:

Disneyland.

Places you never want to go to again:
Honestly, I haven’t met a place yet that I wouldn’t go back to. I’ve been to 40 of the 50 states, and I’d go back to every one of them.

Favorite things to do:
Play the piano, read, watch Netflix, bake, cook, be with my family and friends, go on road trips
.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:
Cleaning the bathrooms, dealing with bugs, being hot.

Best thing you’ve ever done:
Join RWA (Romance Writers of America).

Biggest mistake:
Mark.

The last thing you did for the first time:
Held my baby niece.

Something you’ll never do again:
Give up the chance to hold my baby niece. Lucy. She’s the best.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Becca is a writer of heroes worth loving and villains worth hating. Lover of cheese (#fancycheese) and binge-watching and strawberries and hope. A Tweeter and Pinner of things. She writes cozy mystery under the name R.L. Syme and small town romance under the name Becca Boyd.

Connect with Becca:

Website  |   Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Instagram   |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:

Amazon 



Sunday, August 6, 2017

GUEST POST BY AVERY DANIELS




ABOUT THE BOOK

Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what’s best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn’t understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?





GUEST POST BY AVERY DANIELS


The Vicarious Thrill of Mysteries


Mysteries and romance are perennial best sellers.  Everybody enjoys a story were love wins the day, but mysteries take a bit more digging to understand. 

One of the great aspects of mystery stories that I suspect sustains the genre’s popularity is flirting with danger – safely. It is a vicarious thrill. The reader is behind locked doors snuggled up with a cat by the fire sipping tea while following a murderer. For several hours you are on the heels of a killer, becoming the main character you feel the adrenaline rush of peril yourself. It’s that delicious excitement where you like to scare yourself just a little bit, get the blood pumping and the heart racing. 

Even a cozy mystery can have a tense and thrilling killer reveal. For a few hours you are the brave and adventurous hero(ine) with a burning curiosity that can’t be sidetracked. You are that guy or gal that has picked up the magnifying glass and dares to match wits with a murderer, to seek the truth. It gives you a new lease on life when you come through the crucible. 

For so very many of us life is largely about routine, responsibility and yes, financial burdens. Thus mysteries let us be just a smidge reckless, a dab brave and daring, even a touch . . . shady.  We cast off the responsibilities and cares of life to walk on the wild side.  Life is a little sweeter after our sleuthing adventure.

Other aspects of mystery story I suspect sustains the genre’s popularity are how one person can and does make a difference, the main character typically is strong – no victims,  the puzzle aspect, and how it lends itself to a series with quirky friends.

In my newly published book, ICED, I feel I delivered a fun mystery for you to flex your own sleuthing muscles. I also believe I’ve delivered a bit of vicarious thrills to get your palms sweaty. As an extra bit of delicious fun I threw in a little bit of romance and a few quirky neighbors and family.   

And there you have it, my musings on why mysteries remain so popular. They provide us much more than mere escapism. Readers probably don’t consciously consider these elements when reading. I just know these elements are part of why I like mysteries – when I stop and consider it. How about you, why do you think mysteries are so popular and enduring?  What is your favorite aspect?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units (plenty of fodder for stories there!). She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her loving companions.  She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books and history at the dinner table. Her first try at writing a fully developed story was as a teen was a tale of a girl trying to nurse a fawn back to health and then release it into the wild again. She is plotting her next Resort to Murder novel and struggling over which Colorado resort should be her setting.

Connect with Avery:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  IndieBound   
Audio book is due shortly through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH K.A. DAVIS'S KATHRYN LANDRY



ABOUT THE BOOK

Kathryn Landry thinks her life is just about perfect. She is the owner of a successful interior designer business in Newport Beach, California, and she has an attentive, supportive husband. But her world comes crashing down when her husband, Neil Landry, vanishes without a trace . . . in a situation almost identical to the disappearance of her father twenty years before.

With her father’s disappearance still a mystery, Kathryn is skeptical that the detective assigned to her case will be able to find her husband. Determined to uncover the truth, Kathryn is plunged into a world of politics, high-priced call girls and wealth. As she begins to search for her husband, a decades-old secret her mother took to the grave threatens to destroy all she holds dear. Caught up in a web of betrayals and deceit, and not knowing who to trust, Kathryn must find a way to survive as she discovers the past has a way of repeating itself.





ABOUT THE CHARACTER

Kathryn Landry owns her own interior design firm, catering to wealthy clients in the Newport Beach, California area. She is married but has no children or extended family. Her husband, whom she met at college, is a freelance journalist.

INTERVIEW WITH K.A. DAVIS’S KATHRYN LANDRY


Kathryn, how did you first meet Kim?

It was over eighteen years ago. I crashed into her mind while she was getting a massage and I’ve pestered her ever since then to write about me. The nice thing is, I’ve remained the same thirty-something-year-old woman but unfortunately, my writer has gotten quite gray around the temples and a bit soft around the middle since we first met.

I hate when that happens. Want to dish about her?
My writer gets easily distracted from telling my story. I have spent months, even a couple of years at a time, hidden on her computer or in a dark filing cabinet before she visits me again. But I was pretty persistent in letting her know I had something to say.

Good for you. Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
While most people looking at me from the outside might think I have it all: handsome husband, a comfortable lifestyle, a successful business, my family has secrets that need to be exposed so that justice can be served.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
A horrific wildfire was threatening Detective William’s ranch. It just so happened I was with him visiting a potential crime scene when he got the call that he needed to evacuate his animals. I surprised myself by volunteering to help him . . . I’m not a brave person. In the end, I found out that I am capable of doing the right thing even if it scares me.

Did you have a hard time convincing Kim to write any particular scenes for you?
Yes! She is someone who sees everything and everyone with rose-colored glasses. I had to convince her that there are bad people in the world who want to do bad things and she needed to tell the story the way it happened instead of skipping over the scary parts or trying to change facts.

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

I enjoy my job helping people design the interior of their homes to reflect who they are. It’s not just about colors and patterns but about living spaces and being most comfortable. When I’m not working I’m taking more design classes and learning to relax and spend time with friends.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Oh boy . . . I really shouldn’t kiss and tell but . . . maybe I shouldn’t have kissed a certain someone?

Oooh! Sounds juicy! Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I have to say I adore my assistant and her husband. They’re kind of like what I envision my grandparents would have been like, if I had gotten the chance to meet them.
Detective Williams is a bit chauvinistic, even though he claims he’s not. He needs a strong woman to put him in his place every now and then.

Do you have any secret aspirations that Kim doesn’t know about?
I think I would like to have kids and some pets one day. I don’t think she ever envisioned that I’d go that route.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
Sit on the beach with a good book.



What are you most afraid of?
Being trapped in an enclosed place. I am quite claustrophobic after getting locked in the trunk of a car playing hide-and-seek as a young child.

What’s your author’s worst habit?

Ignoring me and ignoring her writing for too long! 



If your story were a movie, who would play you?
Jennifer Garner

Will you encourage Kim to write a sequel?
She says she’s not going to, but my story isn’t completely told yet. I may have a few more secrets worth unraveling.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

K. A. Davis lives in Southern California with her husband, near wildfire country. During the Portola Hills fire in October 2007, she had to evacuate her two young granddaughters, one of whom has Rett Syndrome, as a wall of flames crept towards their home. Thankfully, due to the brave efforts of firefighters, their neighborhood was spared and no loss of life or property occurred. She used that event as inspiration for one of the scenes in her book.

She writes the Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder blog and has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. K. A. Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. 



Connect with Kim:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Nobel  |  Kobo  |  Apple 

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: GRETA BORIS


ABOUT THE BOOK


Gwen Bishop, wife, mother, and struggling real estate agent, has two big fears: claustrophobia and being buried in suburban obscurity. When she signs her dream listing, a multi-million dollar beachfront property in Laguna Beach, California, she’s sure her problems are behind her. And they would be, if it wasn’t for the secret in the basement and the body in an upstairs bedroom.

When the crime scene tape comes down, Gwen enlists the aid of a handsome co-worker with a background in construction to help her ready the house for sale and bolster her flagging courage. But every time they’re ready to put it back on the market, something goes horribly wrong. Gwen must face old fears and new ones, temptations and buried truths, if she’s going to survive.




LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH GRETA BORIS


A few of your favorite things:
Wine, dogs, gardens.
Things you need to throw out:
Clothes that are too small!


Things you need in order to write:
A laptop and a cup of coffee.
Things that hamper your writing:
Facebook, Facebook, Facebook
.

Things you love about writing:
Losing myself in an imaginary world.
Things you hate about writing:
When the door to the world is locked, and I can't find the key.

Hardest thing about being a writer:
Deadlines
.
Easiest thing about being a writer:
Dressing for work
.

Things you love about where you live:
The beach, the hiking trails, the writer community, the wineries.
Things that make you want to move:
The crowds; the heat in the summer.


Things you never want to run out of:
Coffee, wine, and chocolate (do you sense a trend?).
Things you wish you’d never bought:
Cheap clothes, things I already have in the attic but forgot about, books I don't enjoy
.

Favorite music or song:
I love everything from classical to blues to pop.
Music that make your ears bleed:
Anything with whiny electric guitars, heavy metal.

Favorite beverage:
Wine (dah).

Something that gives you a pickle face:
Hard liquor.

Favorite smell:
Night-blooming jasmine
.
Something that makes you hold your nose:
Skunk.

Something you’re really good at:
Listening and encouraging people
.
Something you’re really bad at:
Any kind of game that involves a ball
.

Something you wish you could do:
Run (I used to be a runner, and I miss it!)
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:
Sneeze loudly.

People you consider as heroes:

C.S. Lewis, our troops, my father, my husband
.
People with a big L on their foreheads:
People who feel the need to call anyone who doesn’t agree with them evil, stupid, or ignorant. Those kind of people are just evil, stupid, and ignorant. 



Last best thing you ate:
Veggie everything gluten-free pizza

Last thing you regret eating:
Hummus that was past its due date.

Things you always put in your books:
A pet, a murder (or two), an interesting villain, a flawed protagonist, settings I'd like to spend time in
.
Things you never put in your books:
The "f" word, graphic sex or violence, anything that would demean a race or group of people. I do my best to avoid negative stereotypes.

Things to say to an author:
I could relate to your character(s). I was hooked from the first chapter. Your story made me think about my own life. Your story made me forget about my own life. 

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
I don't get why the bad guy had to kill all those people.  So, is this like a memoir? Meh.

Favorite places you’ve been:
New York, London, Boston, the Central Coast of California, Southern California beach towns, Disneyland .

Places you never want to go to again:
Barstow.

Favorite genre:
Thriller, suspense, moody atmospheric horror, and some science fiction
.
Books you would ban:
I'm not big on romance novels where the plot revolves around stuff I'd rather do than read about. They make me feel like a voyeur, and that creeps me out.

Things that make you happy:
My family, my home, my dog, making music, writing when it's going really well

Things that drive you crazy:
Writing to the middle of a book and knowing something else needs to happen but I don't know what. Guitar strings that won't stay in tune. People who leave shopping carts all over parking lots.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told:
I once gave a 5 star review of a friend's book that I never actually read. Peer pressure, what can I say. 
A lie you wish you’d told:
"Honey, that was beautiful," when my husband sang a love song to me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greta Boris is the author of the 2017 releases, A Margin of Lust and The Scent of Wrath, the first two books in her 7 Deadly Sins domestic suspense series. She's also the Director of O.C. Writers, a community of over 800 published and aspiring authors in Orange County, California.

She's published articles on culture, health, and entertainment for a variety of national magazines including Victorian Homes, Zombies, 50 Scariest Movies, Exodus, and Women of the Bible. She's also the author of the Amazon Kindle Bestseller The Wine and Chocolate Workout - Sip, Savor, and Strengthen for a Healthier Life.

She describes her work (and her life) as an O.C. housewife meets Dante's Inferno.

Connect with Greta:
Website  |   Facebook  |   Twitter 

Buy the book: 
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble 
 |  Kobo