If I Had Never Heard of Me, Would I Read My Book? by Anita Dickason – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anita Dickason will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN CG to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If I’d never heard of me would I read my book?

What an interesting and intriguing question. One that lends itself to a high degree of introspection. My immediate response on reading it was to think, of course I would. But then, I had to step back and ask myself why. Why would I read my book?

My habits when perusing books in a bookstore or on line, are probably the same as most readers. I look at the cover, though, I probably examine covers more closely than most individuals. I am a graphics designer and design book covers. Errors in cover design have a way of popping out at me just as errors in a book grab the attention of an editor.

Still, if I find the cover intriguing, I’ll pick it up and turn it over, or if I am on line, move onto the synopsis. Does the description grab my attention, and more importantly, is this a book in the genres that I like to read? I gravitate toward crime thrillers with a touch of paranormal. I might even read the first page or two before making a commitment to buy or pass.

When I evaluated my book as objectively as possible, the cover does appeal. The owl’s eyes add a mystique that connects to the title Sentinels of the Night and would grab my attention. The blood red moon sinking into a red sea adds another level of intrigue. The synopsis adds to the mystery. What is the strange secret the FBI agent, Cat Morgan, is hiding and how does that tie into owls? What caused the controversy with a police chief when all she did was find a body? Then what is up with the carving on the body. All in all, it raised questions, that I would want answered.

Reading the first few pages, would tell me this was my type of book. A strong female lead character, with a strange twist on the paranormal, overcoming danger and adversity. Yep, it would be right up my alley. I would buy.

Thank you for hosting my book.
Anita Dickason

.FBI Tracker Cat Morgan has an unusual talent, one she has successfully concealed, even from her fellow agents. That is—until she finds a body with a strange symbol carved on the forehead during a stop in Clinton, Mississippi and crosses paths with the town’s rugged police chief, Kevin Hunter. Despite his instant attraction to the sexy agent, Kevin is suspicious of her presence at the crime scene and isn’t buying her dubious explanations. He wants her out of the investigation and out of his town.

The discovery of another mutilated body with the same symbol sends Cat back to Clinton, and this time she isn’t leaving. To stop the killer, Cat must find a way to overcome Kevin’s distrust and will face an impossible impasse—truth or lies. But will either one matter, when the killer fixates on her for his next sacrifice?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Overhead, a deep hoot echoed, followed by the flap of wings. Two owls settled on top of the railroad car. Perched side by side, the formidable talons that could crush the spine of their quarry in an instant clung to the edge. Tufts of hair that protruded like horns and the glow of huge golden eyes gave the birds a fearsome appearance.

Motionless, she eyed the large raptors while she pondered their intervention. A bewildering deviation from their normal behavior.

“Hmm … that was a rather … dramatic entrance, even for you.”

They blinked, and their bills clacked, as if in protest.

“Not that I am complaining, of course.”

Heads swiveled in unison as their intense gaze shifted to the body on the ground. A few seconds later, they refocused on Cat. The magnetic tug twitched in her mind, and an odd sense of approval mixed with fear flowed into her thoughts. Jeez, this is getting even more weird.

“I’m wondering, though, how do I explain this one to Ben? He couldn’t miss seeing you, and he’s already suspicious.”

Another blink, then their wings spread as they lifted off. No help there, not that she expected any.

Her gaze returned to the body. Without their warning—well, she didn’t want to think about what might have happened. As for Ben, she’d come up with some excuse to fob off his questions. She always did.

About the Author: Anita Dickason is a retired police officer with twenty-seven years of experience, twenty-two with the Dallas Police Department. She served in patrol, undercover narcotics, accident investigation and was on a sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.

Anita is the recipient of the prestigious Law Enforcement Professional Achievement Award from the State of Texas House of Representatives. Other awards include Officer of the Year—Texas Women in Law Enforcement, Officer of the Year—International Association of Women in Police, Runner-up Officer of the Year—Dallas Police Department, Officer of the Month—Dallas Police Department and multiple Police Commendations, Certificates of Merit and Citizen/Business commendations from the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas community.

Anita was a certified instructor with Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Her instructor certifications include Defensive Tactics, Batons, Spontaneous Knife Defense, Field Sobriety Procedures, Drug Recognition Expert program, and Accident Investigation.

She is a Past President of Texas Women in Law Enforcement, and Past Treasurer for the International Association of Women in Police.

Her first book, JFK Assassination Eyewitness: Rush to Conspiracy, is non-fiction and details the reconstruction of a 1966 vehicle accident near Midlothian, Texas that killed a key witness to the Kennedy assassination. The project opened the door to a new career, Author and Publisher. She owns Mystic Circle Books & Designs, LLC and provides manuscript and design services, helping other authors turn their manuscripts into a published book.

Her fictional works are suspense/thrillers and her plots are drawn from her extensive law enforcement knowledge and experience. Characters with unexpected skills, that extra edge for overcoming danger and adversity, have always intrigued her. Her infatuation with ancient myths and legends of Native American Indians, and Scottish and Irish folklore adds a touch of paranormal for the backdrop of her characters.

The experience of writing led to developing a knowledge of self-publishing and graphic design and a new business endeavor: Mystic Circle Books & Designs, LLC. It is a tossup of what Anita enjoys more, working on her books or helping another author publish their works. She has found an unexpected enjoyment in designing book covers, bookmarks, bookplates, etc. Email her for an autographed custom bookplate — anita@anitadickason.com

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Writing a Popular Cozy Gay Comedy Mystery Series by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino as he joins us to celebrate the release of his newest installment of the Nicky and Noah series, Drama Detective. Tell us why you like cozy mysteries for a chance to win an audio book of he first book in the series.

WRITING A POPULAR COZY GAY COMEDY MYSTERY SERIES
by Joe Cosentino
with the release of Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery

I was a Broadway musical nerd as a kid. My bookcase was loaded with Broadway show albums, each of which I could sing from opening number to finale. My bedroom was my Broadway stage as I delighted my bureau, bed, and desk with my renditions of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady, and even Mama Rose from Gypsy. When family members visited, I entertained them with “Welcome to the Theatre” from Applause. New friends were treated to “Getting to Know You” from King and I. While vacationing in Hawaii, my travel group marveled at my performance of “Bali Hai” from South Pacific. A widow in the crowd garnered my take on “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line.

Realizing the healing benefits of laughter, I was also quite the comedian. I often brought visitors to tears with stories of my family members, which I’m sure my parents “appreciated.”

When I wasn’t performing for friends and relatives, I read cozy mystery novels, especially Sherlock Holmes. I marveled at Holmes’ analytical mind, ability to separate clues from red herrings, and his nearly psychic methods of deduction. The warm and fuzzy settings of many cozy mysteries, humor, plot twists and turns, quaint characters, and shocking endings kept me awake until the wee hours of morning.

After working as a professional actor in theatre, film, and television, I became a college theatre professor/department chair. Though I loved and still love my job, I wanted an even more creatively fulfilling outlet. As I was observing others in the theatre building, it dawned on me that a college theatre department is the perfect place for a cozy mystery series. Realizing there aren’t many gay cozy mystery series out there, I decided to create my own. Of course I would combine my love for Broadway musicals, humor, mystery, and a bit of romance (I am of Italian origin after all).

So the Nicky and Noah mysteries feature adorable couple Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver who use their theatre skills (including impersonating others) to solve murder mysteries on the quaint New England campus of Treemeadow College. In Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015) college theatre professors fall over like heavy stage curtains while Nicky directs the school play. Nicky and Noah must figure out whodunit. In Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention 2016) Nicky directs the bodybuilding competition on campus. He and Noah must find out why bodybuilding students and professors are dropping faster than hundred pound barbells. In Drama Cruise Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard a ten-day cruise to Alaska. Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors in the cast are going overboard like life rafts on the Titanic. Complicating matters are their both sets of hysterically funny parents who shadow the handsome couple. (The first three books are also available as terrific audiobooks!) In Drama Luau, Nicky is directing the luau show at a large hotel in Hawaii. He and Noah need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are going down faster than their grass skirts.

Now I combined my infatuation with Sherlock Holmes and musical theatre for the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery novel, where Nicky is directing and ultimately co-starring with Noah as Holmes and Watson in a new musical Sherlock Holmes play at Treemeadow College prior to Broadway. Also in the cast are their department head and best friend, Martin Anderson (who I want to play if there’s a television series), Martin’s husband Ruben, their office assistant Shayla, Nicky’s brother Tony, and Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi. Dead bodies begin toppling over like intoxicated actors at a curtain call. Nicky and Noah use their drama skills and more to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street.

So grab your Sherlock Holmes hat, coat, and pipe. Take your program and your front row seat for the musical. The game is afoot in Drama Detective!

Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is directing a Sherlock Holmes musical in a professional summer stock production at Treemeadow College, co-starring his husband and theatre professor colleague Noah Oliver as Dr. John Watson. When cast members begin toppling over like hammy actors at a curtain call, Nicky dons Holmes’ persona on stage and off. Once again Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is lowering the street lamps on the actors before the handsome couple get half-baked on Baker Street. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fifth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up, the game is afoot!

“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven’t discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine

“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” Optimumm Book Reviews

“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews

Enjoy an Excerpt

As if on cue, Corey slouched through the lobby double doors with Mark Melody at his heels. Corey’s blue and white striped polo shirt and tight jeans showed off his muscles. His cheeks were as red as his hair as he said, “I can take care of myself, Mark.”

In his black sweatshirt and slacks, Mark looked more like a stagehand than the author. “Christine in Phantom said she could take care of herself before she was abducted. And look what happened to her!”

She went on a theme park boat ride.

Corey and Mark stopped at a large sofa in a corner of the lobby as Corey said, “Look, dude, I grew up in foster care. I survived twenty-two years without parents. I don’t need one now.”

Mark seemed hurt. “I didn’t sing ‘Kids’ from Bye Bye Birdie to you. All I did was ask Harvey to lay off you.”

“Well, don’t. Nobody takes care of me, but me.”

Mark blinked back tears. “Doesn’t that get lonely?”

“What?”

“Building a wall around yourself? Hiding your feelings? Not getting to know the real you, like in the song, ’I Am My Own Best Friend’ in Chicago?”

“You don’t know me.”

“I agree. But I’d like to be your friend.”

“You don’t want to be friends with me.”

“Why not? Is Grease your favorite musical?”

Corey rested his hands in his head. “I don’t deserve to have a friend.”

“Everybody deserves to have a friend.” Mark sat on the sofa and rested Corey down next to him. “You seem like a good person to me, Corey. As good as Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.”

Corey whispered (as I strained my ears to listen), “I did something bad, dude. Something really bad.”

“I don’t believe it.”

Corey’s gaze seemed haunted. “Believe it.”

Mark thought a moment, and then said, “Were you backed into a corner like Jean Val Jean in Les Mis?”

Corey slid to the edge of his seat. “Look, you’re a nice guy, Mark. But you don’t want to get involved with me.”

“Is it because I’m so old?”

Thirty is old?

“Or is it because you’re a big movie star, and I’m a musical theatre geek?”

Corey laughed with melancholy. “I did one indie film where my naked backside got more film time than my face.”

“I don’t care about that. And I don’t believe you’re a bad person.” Mark took his hand. “Please. Can’t we be friends?” His face lit up like a right wing politician at a Super PAC fundraiser. “Hey, let’s go back to the synthesizer and sing ‘Friendship’ from Annie Get Your Gun.”

Corey shook his head from side to side and flashes of auburn flew around his face. “For your own good. Don’t get involved with me, dude. I mean it.” He headed back into the theatre.

Mark noticed Noah and me and headed over to us like a puppy with his tail caught between his legs. “Did you hear all that?”
I stammered, “N-no, no-not at all. We-we were talking about…how great the show is going.”

Mark sat on the other side of me. “You heard every word, didn’t you?”

Noah and I nodded.

“I’m sure you think I’m a fool, but I’m not giving up.” Mark explained, “Like the song in South Pacific, I’ve always been a cockeye’d optimist.”

No pun intended.

Mark said, “Corey’s a good guy. I can tell. He’s just hurting about something. I wish I could help him.”

Noah patted his shoulder. “Corey was a pensive student when he studied at Treemeadow. I sensed he was struggling with something. I remember an activity I did with my acting students where they had to use emotional recall to remember a sad event in their lives. Corey burst into tears in class.”

“Why is he so unhappy?” Mark asked.

Noah shrugged. “I asked him and he wouldn’t tell me.”

Cutting to the chase à la Martin, I said, “Mark, do you have feelings for Corey?”

Mark’s eyes rolled around in his head. “Nicky, a guy as gorgeous and sexy as Corey would never be interested in someone like me.”

“Don’t put yourself down, Mark.” Noah added, “You’re handsome, sweet, and talented. As a matter of fact, you remind me of…”

My sweet Noah.

“…Nicky’s brother Tony.”

Why didn’t I drown Tony in our pool when we were kids?

“But I’m ancient, eight years older than Corey,” Mark said.

“That’s all right. Nicky’s seven years older than me,” Noah explained.

Speak up, sonny, I can’t hear you. Unable to hear any more about my sexy brother and my ripe old age, I said, “Mark, I didn’t ask you if Corey likes you, I asked if you have feelings for him.”

“I’ve known Corey only a short time, but I already like him very much. And it pains me to see him so hurt and depressed.”

Mark’s face dropped like a movie star’s at forty. “You guys must think I’m as foolish as Don Quixote fantasizing about his Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha.”

Noah smiled like a guardian angel. “Don’t ever be ashamed of caring about someone, Mark. It’s a noble thing for us to love, even if that love isn’t returned.”

I added, “And if it’s meant to be with you and Corey, it will be.” Rising, I said, “In the meantime, we have a show to open in just a few days.”

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, The Perfect Gift; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.

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Giveaway: Post a comment about why you love cozy mysteries. The one that tips our Sherlock Holmes hat the most will win an Audible code for a free audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe, published by Lethe Press.

Interview and Giveaway: L.M. Pampuro

Long and Short Reviews welcomes L.M. Pampuro. Her book, Uncle Neddy’s Funeral, was voted Book of the Month – check out our review here. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card as well as a copy of Uncle Neddy’s Funeral.

Ms. Pampuro has written five and a half works of fiction (the half is a novella) and has co-written two works of non-fiction. I asked which was her favorite.

“Picking a favorite is like picking a favorite child, it is hard to do so I am going to quote the best quarterback evah, Mr. Tom Brady, when he was asked which Superbowl win is his favorite. He replied, ‘The next one.'”

L.M. has been writing since she was a teenager, admitting to having notebooks of sappy lyrics she would sing in the bathroom mirror with hopes of someday learning guitar.

“The guitar playing didn’t happen. I started writing fiction in college, lost the urge for a while and then around fifteen years ago it came back when I was traveling a lot for business,” she said. Now I write something just about every day. A few years ago I met the great Jennifer Crusie at the Romance Writers Conference and I confessed to her that she was the reason I became a writer. Really, I think I was always a writer yet after reading Crusie, who is so incredibly funny, I started to take it a bit more seriously. We also share a warped sense of humor. Anytime I have prolonged writer’s block I reread Manhunting and take in live music. Like the bands I go see, Crusie doesn’t know me, yet she inspires me.”

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I asked. “If so, what do you do about it?”

“After finishing Uncle Neddy’s Funeral I couldn’t get started on anything new. I have 5000 words here, another 3000 over there, yet nothing I worked on clicked. My husband and I both teach so we have most of the summer off. (Anyone who teaches knows that you never get a full summer of leisure in). I read the Crusie. Nothing. We were going to concerts two, three times a week. Still nothing.

“In August we attended a four-day music festival. I was watching Magpie Salute, I turned to my husband and said, ‘I need to write.’ He looked at me like I was crazy. I made a few notes and maybe two or three bands later, I left him sitting on the rail and I took the shuttle back at the hotel. I wrote 20 pages that night and now have a work in progress that is actually going somewhere. I have to admit, I was getting worried.”

She rejuvenates going to live music events and dancing, as she says, “like a crazy person.” Movement and music are a release for her.

“Also, I love to ski and spend as much time on a snow-covered mountain as my schedule allows. As with at music events, I find myself making notes on the side of trails or struggling to speak into the voice recorder on my phone on a chairlift,” she said. “During both situations I am forced to stay in the moment. I think that is why ideas come at these moments. There have been times when I have left my phone behind yet I managed to cover a napkin with notes during a break. Of course sometimes, like my middle of the night notes, they make no sense.”

“If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be,” I wondered.

“I would love to go to an art museum with Jerry Garcia. His music is the soundtrack to my life. It would be great just to walk through the galleries and chat about the artwork, the universe, and what inspires us. From what I have read about Mr. Garcia I think he would be the perfect museum/café date. Of course in his case, if he was still alive, the problem would be getting the guy to leave his hotel room… That would be another consideration.”

She is a total pantser when she first starts writing. With the first draft, she just lets the character lead the story where they want to go. The second draft, she reads over what she has and begins adding to it. Then she starts plotting and doing a rough outline of the story for the third draft. After that, she looks at the outline for hints where she can add more or what needs to be omitted.

“I am told there are more efficient ways yet I think creativity should flow,” she told me.

“Can you describe your writing space for us?” I asked.

“My writing space changes. I can edit at my kitchen table yet most of the time I am drafting I head out to different places. One of my favorites is this little café on Main Street in Middletown, Connecticut. They have the best house-made Chai tea and the owner lets writers (I assume the others are writing as they are sitting on laptops) hang out. Most of us will pack up if she gets people waiting for a table. She also is a reader and likes my writing so there is a bonus. I have taken my computer on many writing dates. Even when I go up north to ski there will be times when my husband stays on the slopes or goes out for a beer and I sit in the lobby by the fire pounding away. I need a comfortable space to draft.”

L.M. doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to writing, but she does admit that hindsight is always 20/20. If she had to do it again, she would put her ego aside earlier and listen to her critics, no matter how obnoxious. She would have also spent more drafts working on her first novel.

“I like the story, yet when I read it through my more experienced eyes, I see ways I would have changed it,” she confessed. “Along the subject of education, not that a degree is needed, I liked my graduate program a lot yet finding a more focused MFA program would have served my story better and given me more insight to the publishing world. (Of course that insight could have gone in a different direction and there never would have been an Uncle Neddy).”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“Write! Be selfish with your writing time and try to do it every day. Writing is like so many other activities; the more you do it the better you get. Also, from experience, listen to feedback. With my first book, Dancing With Faith, I had a professor at the time give snarky feedback. I won’t go into detail yet I will say she was downright mean. Because of the source I blew her off. Years later I had a critique completed by a pretty famous editor and she gave similar advice in a less rude way. If I had put my ego aside and looked at what my professor was trying to tell me, I would have had a better story earlier on. Oh – and don’t edit your own work! I know this is hard to believe yet every one of my books I had professionally edited.”

About the Author: L.M. Pampuro is the author of five novels: Dancing With Faith, Maximum Mayhem, The Perfect Pitch, Passenger – the only game in town, and Uncle Neddy’s Funeral. (All available at Amazon.com)

She is an avid skier, loves dancing to live music, and possesses a warped sense of humor.

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Giuseppe Vittorio Vaffanculo, a.k.a. Neddy, is an idiot. Not a bad person, he just holds himself in high praise. Neddy is the perfect target for Rayleigh O’Connor, member of the underworld organization The Shadow and soon to be Ms. Neddy number five. As part of the Vaffanculo-Cuzzuto clan, Neddy is the perfect mark Rayleigh needs to avenge the death of a comrade by killing Victor Cuzzuto.

All Victor Cuzzuto wants to do is finally retire to the beach, spend time with his family, and hand over the reins of his Federal Investigation branch office to his protégée.

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The Accident by Glen Ebisch – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Glen Ebisch will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Karen Walker is an ex-homicide detective slowly recovering from the trauma of an automobile accident in which she was injured and her husband was killed when a drunk driver struck the car she was operating. After a year of surgeries and attempts to come to terms with her feelings of guilt, she finds herself living the narrow life of a semi-recluse.

Her seclusion comes to an end when an old friend from college, Clarissa Hammett, asks Karen to help in the search for her missing sister, Justine. Karen agrees, and she goes to live alone in the family’s summer home on the coast of southern Maine, which Justine was occupying at the time of her disappearance. Karen even goes one step further and takes on Justine’s job as hostess in a local restaurant, hoping to learn more about the missing woman’s life from her co-workers.

Conversations with the sister’s estranged husband, her present boyfriend, and a mentally disturbed young girl on the beach, lead Karen to believe that Justine’s disappearance was not voluntary and that, if still alive, she may desperately need help.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The doctor’s strong blunt fingers slowly probed my face, reaching beneath the skin to detect the alignment of the bones. Since he had reconstructed my face after the accident, this was his customary low-tech way of checking on his work. Following the light from the lamp he wore on his forehead like a third eye, he then examined my skin, evaluating the success of the cosmetic surgeon. He carefully studied the two fine scars on my left cheek, then sat back. He raised my chair until we were on eye level, giving me a false feeling of equality.

He smiled. “Everything looks as good as new.”

I nodded. New was exactly the word, I looked far different from the old. My cheekbones were now higher, giving me a more sculpted look; my nose, which had a small bump in the middle since a childhood fall from a tree, was now straight and slender; and aside from the two small scars, my skin was as taut and smooth as when I’d been a teenager. At the age of thirty-five I was starting out new and definitely improved. All the previous flaws that had served to humanize me were now gone, and I was almost perfect. Perfect on the outside at least.

About the Author:
I have been a professor of philosophy for over thirty years. Most recently I retired from teaching at a small university in western Massachusetts. For much of that time I have also written mystery and suspense fiction, starting with books for young adults and moving on to writing for adults. I have had twenty-eight books published, fifteen of them in the last fifteen years as time has allowed me to write more. All are cozy in nature and suitable for any reader.

I live in western Massachusetts with my wife. My hobbies include reading (of course) and going to the gym. We also look forward to traveling to Maine and Cape May, New Jersey for our needed dose of the beach.

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Interview with David K. Hulegaard – Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes David K. Hulegaard who has stopped by to chat with us today. David is giving away 5 signed copies of the book (digital copies for international winners) – just leave a comment! Check out our 5 star review of the book!

David had never really set out to be a writer. In fact, when he was growing up, he wanted to be a professional baseball player.

“I lived and breathed baseball growing up, and we used to play pick-up games in the middle of the street every day after school,” he remembered. “Unfortunately, I never got to play organized sports, so I never really developed any actual skill or, more importantly, any actual athletic ability. Once I realized that door was closed for me, I moved on to other interests.”

He did, however, have a tremendous fear of flying so, if he had to travel for work, he would take other forms of transportation, usually alternating between train and bus, depending on the distance.

“Because these forms of travel are much longer, you get to meet and spend time with some very colorful characters. I’d show up for these work events with all kinds of stories because, inevitably, something bizarre would happen to me on the trip. After several years, my stories became part of the business functions, with partners all wanting to hear what happened this time. One year, a partner said, ‘You should write a book with all these stories.’ I’d never thought about writing a book before, but for some reason, the idea really struck a chord with me. I didn’t do it right away, but within a couple of years, I began dedicating free time to writing and discovered that I loved it. Once I got going, I couldn’t stop!”

David began exploring fictional ideas he’d come up with over the years and started writing some every night until his first novel was completed in 2010. He’s written six more since then.

He told me that his books all start with a single idea, but where that idea comes from varies.

“As a child, I suffered from pretty nasty night terrors,” he said, “and a lot of those dreams have stuck with me ever since. As I’ve gotten older, the night terrors are gone, but from time to time my subconscious will blast me with something intense, and I’ll wake up sweaty and out of breath. When that happens, I immediately write down as much as I can remember, and with any luck, I’ll have something that may or may not fit into a larger story. Sometimes I get something that I can work with right away, and other times I get something that collects dust in the ‘idea box’ folder on my hard drive. I hope someday to deplete that sucker, but the sad reality is that one lifetime wouldn’t be enough to use everything in my idea box.”

I asked David what advice he would give to a new writer just starting out.

“You’re going to hear lots of advice from other writers. Some of it good, some of it bad. Only you will be able to determine what’s going to work best for you, so take all advice with a grain of salt. Use this advice as a guide to get you started, but once you’re feeling comfortable at the helm, be selective with what advice you take to heart. Always remember that not one single writer has all the answers. Writing is not a one-size-fits-all process.”

He admitted that he had been fortunate because he’s never suffered from writer’s block, even though he’s known plenty of other writers who have – sometimes to the point of completely crippling their project.

“For me, I think it’s been helpful to do a lot of prep work before actually starting to write,” he said. “I start with things like character bios and a very rough, basic outline of where the story is going. By doing this, I always have a good idea of the story’s direction, and filling in the blanks to get there is the fun part! However, if I ever do start to feel as though I’m approaching a block, I’ll shift focus and work on something else for a little while. Sometimes a bit of time apart can help me regroup and come back with a fresh perspective.”

David had been retaining bits and pieces from books he’s read is whole life, but he can specifically recall reading Bernard Schaffer’s Guns of Seneca 6.

“All of a sudden something just clicked. It’s hard to explain, but there was a rhythm to his writing that I’d never noticed before, and it was kind of like seeing the ‘raining code’ from The Matrix. In that moment, I understood everything I’d been doing wrong as a writer, and immediately knew how to improve upon my existing work. At least in a structural sense. After that, it was a matter of learning how to create a compelling narrator, which is something I’ve reached outside my genre for. I’ve attended several classes taught by Julie Christine Johnson, who is absolutely amazing. She just gets it. Doesn’t matter the genre, she can read your work and pinpoint your areas of opportunity right away. Learning from her has been a tremendous help, and I think my writing reflects that.”

When David’s not writing, he plays his guitar a lot – he thinks it’s just another way of scratching the creative itch in his brain. Music plays a large part in his life and has ever since he was a teenager. He also finds time to do some video gaming.

“I’m a nostalgic guy, so I’m more of a retro gamer, though,” he explained. “Give me an hour or two with Final Fantasy VII or a couple races in Super Mario Kart, and I’m one happy camper.”

“Are you a plotter or a pantser?” I wondered.

“I started out as a pantser, and wrote all my first books that way. However, I’ve since become more of a plotter, and I think it’s greatly improved my writing. I don’t map out every little detail in advance, so there’s still a fair degree of “pantsing” going on when I write, but I’m far more structured now than I’ve been. Working with Tony Healey was a huge help in that department. When we worked together on Planet of Ice, I was playing in his Broken Stars sandbox, and so I had to stick to his pre-existing “rules of magic.” Tony gave me so much leeway to make the story my own, but he wanted to see an outline before turning me loose. That was a completely new experience for me at the time, but I found it to be so helpful, and I can’t imagine not plotting in advance anymore. I honestly have no idea how the hell I managed to work as a pantser for so long!”

David lives in Port Townsend and he told me that it is an “absolutely stunning Victorian seaport town on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.” He likes to call himself a “defective Pacific Northwesterner,” because he doesn’t hike or canoe or even really like the outdoors all that much.

“However, the natural beauty of this place is so inspiring,” he explained. “It’s no wonder so many writers and artists end up here, and no surprise at all that Port Townsend continually ends up on many ‘Best Small Towns in America’ lists.”

It’s the winter of 1947 in Ashley Falls, West Virginia, and a teenage girl has gone missing. Local private detective Miller Brinkman takes the case, quickly uncovering a string of bizarre clues. A hidden diary, cryptic riddles, and buried secrets all pique Miller’s interest, but one key detail gives him pause: the girl’s parents haven’t reported her disappearance to the authorities.

As the case deepens, Miller’s investigation begins to poke holes in the idyllic picture of his beloved hometown. No longer certain whether anyone in his community can be trusted, Miller dives headfirst into a desperate search for the truth that extends far beyond the borders of Ashley Falls. He soon discovers that his missing persons case is not an isolated incident, but part of an otherworldly mystery—one that, if confronted, may threaten the very future of humanity.

About the Author:David K. Hulegaard is an American author and paranormal investigator. His Noble trilogy has garnered comparisons to the works of Philip K. Dick and Stephen King. In 2016, he collaborated with best-selling author Tony Healey on the novel Planet of Ice.

David previously worked at BioWare, a premiere video game development studio known for creating the popular Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. He now lives in the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, Washington with his wife Jennie, and their banana-obsessed Welsh Terrier, Tobi. In his spare time, he enjoys video games, professional wrestling, and photography.

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Shadow of a Thief by Norman Green – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norman Green will be awarding an e-copy of Sick Like That & The Last Gig by Norman Green to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Combining his pitch perfect voice for the characters who live in New York’s underbelly with a compelling new protagonist, Norm Green’s Shadow of a Thief grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go

In a previous life, Saul Fowler was a thief-for-hire with an impressive client list, including the US government. When he seeks shelter from his addictions up on the coast of Maine, his past come back to haunt him in the form of his estranged stepfather, Reverend McClendon. “Someone killed my daughter,” says the rev. “Find out who did it Saul, I know you can help me. Please?” None of this would be Saul’s problem, except that the girl might be his half-sister.

Back in NYC, a place he never thought he’d see again, Saul delves deep under the surface of the dead girl’s life. Before long he finds himself contending with gangs, pimps, prostitutes, the NYPD, and just maybe, the fifth fundamental universal force. Finding the truth will either change his life forever, or end it.

Gritty and unputdownable, this is perfect for fans of James Lee Burke and Robert Crais.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The safest time to walk lower Manhattan’s Avenue D, in Corey Jackson’s opinion, was early in the morning. Early in the morning, chances were, the ghouls who ruled the projects at night would be passed out somewhere, not roaming around looking for entertainment the way they were now. Half an hour to midnight, Avenue D, a white kid from South Carolina with his African girlfriend, even the cops would tell you that you were asking for it, and for no good reason. But at the tender age of twenty-three Corey already knew enough about women to know that there were some arguments you weren’t gonna win. “Babe,” he said. “Babe, where the hell are we going?”

“This way,” she said, and she kept on walking.

Corey could not wait to get back to Batesburg.

Two more semesters, that’s what he kept telling himself, two more semesters and he would be a real teacher, with the degree to prove it, and that would allow him to move out of the purgatory otherwise known as New York City. A degree would give him a leg up, a toehold in the middle class, a degree and a job teaching high school science and he just might be the first of the Batesburg Jacksons not to live in a trailer since the damn things were invented… It sounded like a good plan, it had always sounded good and sometimes you had to take a shot, but you never knew when you were gonna hit a pothole somewhere. You never knew when you were gonna wind up walking down a sidewalk in a neighborhood where you and everybody else knew you didn’t belong.

About the Author: Norman Green reports this about himself: “I have always been careful, as Mark Twain advised, not to let schooling interfere with my education. Too careful, maybe. I have been, at various times, a truck driver, a construction worker, a project engineer, a factory rep, and a plant engineer, but never, until now, a writer.” He lives in Emerson, New Jersey, with his wife, and is hard at work on his second novel.

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Deadspeak 2 by Ruth Bainbridge – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly chosen commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

DEADSPEAK2. The chilling new entry in the Deadspeak Mystery Series

Things look different when you’re dead.

It’s Halloween and a group of teens throw a party at Harbinger Falls’ most celebrated haunted estate. It’s all fun and games until a session with a Ouija board guides the partygoers to the body of a young girl hidden in the attic.

Detective Kimberly Trent is assigned the case and quickly discovers that all is not as it seems. First, there’s the connection between the death and a string of petnappings terrorizing the neighborhood. Then there’s the suicide note that only leaves more questions than answers. A visit from Kimberly’s ghostly friend Griff Lindon sheds an unwelcome light. It seems she’s had a run in with the newly deceased who tells her she’s been murdered.

This is the second in The Deadspeak Mysteries. The entries are meant to be read in sequential order and do not standalone. In each book, you’ll find a new murder for Kimberly Trent to solve. You’ll also find the continuing search for who murdered Kim’s sister Elizabeth. Each book will take you closer and closer to finding out the identity of The Hex Killer, the serial killer who ended Elizabeth’s short life. It will also bring you to the heart of the evil that’s come back to life to wreak revenge.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“No, you can’t come over to explain! I know what I saw!”

Mia Chaukes, the pleasant girl with the quiet demeanor, was shouting. It was unusual for the sixteen-year-old to raise her voice or be this upset, but she wasn’t backing down. She couldn’t. Not after what she’d witnessed.

It went against everything she believed in.

Her eyes traveled the length of the pink walls. It had been her favorite color when she was younger and always put her in a good mood, but would it still work today?

She sought comfort from the color—and from the shelves lined with the vestiges of her past. Unicorns, teddy bears, and other stuffed toys were there with sunny smiles and arms outstretched for a hug, but they only served as a reminder that things had changed and would never be the same.

“Don’t you dare tell me that!” she blasted as more desperation came through the receiver … desperation and elaborate excuses.

Anything but the truth.

She wouldn’t be lied to … not anymore.

“Don’t you dare tell me I’m imagining things! I’ll hang up … I mean it!”

What would have happened if she hadn’t taken that way home? Or if she’d left earlier or later? Endless possibilities, one worse than the other, shot through her mind, each making her sick to her stomach. But before the nausea disappeared, an equally disturbing question rose to the surface.

What did happen?

About the Author: Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury, and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

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Ties That Bind by Carolyn Arnold – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carolyn will be awarding a paperback copy of In the Line of Duty valid in US, Canada and UK to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).

BLURB for Ties That Bind:

The hunt for a serial killer begins…

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed with the same brand of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the sergeant and the chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if the murderer is going to be stopped.

Enjoy an Excerpt from chapter 1 of Ties That Bind (Detective Madison Knight series)

SOMEONE DIED EVERY DAY. Detective Madison Knight was left to make sense of it.

She ducked under the yellow tape and surveyed the scene. The white, two-story house would be deemed average any other day, but today the dead body inside made it a place of interest to the Stiles PD and the curious onlookers who gathered in small clusters on the sidewalk.

She’d never before seen the officer who was securing the perimeter, but she knew his type. The way he stood there—his back straight, one hand resting on his holster, the other gripping a clipboard—he was an eager recruit.

He held up a hand as she approached. “This is a closed crime scene.”

She unclipped her badge from the waist of her pants and held it up in front of him. He studied it as if it were counterfeit. She usually respected those who took their jobs seriously but not when she was functioning on little sleep and the humidity level topped ninety-five percent at ten thirty in the morning.

“Detective K-N-I—”

Her name died on her lips as Sergeant Winston stepped out of the house. She would have groaned audibly if he weren’t closing the distance between them so quickly. She preferred her boss behind his desk.

Winston gestured toward the young officer to let him know she was permitted to be on the scene. The officer glared at her before leaving his post. She envied the fact that he could walk away while she was left to speak with the sarge.

“It’s about time you got here.” Winston fished a handkerchief out of a pocket and wiped at his receding hairline. The extra few inches of exposed forehead could have served as a solar panel. “I was just about to assign the lead to Grant.”

Terry Grant was her on-the-job partner of five years and three years younger than her thirty-four. She’d be damned if Terry was put in charge of this case.

“Where have you been?” Winston asked.

She jacked a thumb in the rookie’s direction. “Who’s the new guy?”

“Don’t change the subject, Knight.”

She needed to offer some sort of explanation for being late. “Well, boss, you know me. Up all night slinging back shooters.”

“Don’t get smart with me.”

She flashed him a cocky smile and pulled out a Hershey’s bar from one of her front pants pocket. The chocolate had already softened from the heat. Not that it mattered. She took a bite.

Heaven.

“What are you doing here, anyway?” she asked with her mouth partially full.

“The call came in, I was nearby, and thought someone should respond.” His leg caught the tape as he tried to step over it to the sidewalk and he hopped on the other leg to adjust his balance. He continued speaking as if he hadn’t noticed. “The body’s upstairs, main bedroom. She was strangled.” He pointed the tip of a key toward her. “Keep me updated.” He pressed a button on his key fob and the department-issued SUV’s lights flashed. “I’ll be waiting for your call.”

As if he needed to say that. Sometimes she wondered if he valued talking more than taking action.

She took a deep breath. She could feel the young officer watching her, and she flicked a glance at him, now that the sergeant was gone. What was his problem? She took another bite of her candy bar.

“Too bad you showed. I think I was about to get the lead.”

Madison turned toward her partner’s voice. Terry was padding across the lawn toward her.

“I’d have to be the one dead for that to happen.” She smiled as she brushed past him.

“You look like crap.”

Her smile faded. She stopped walking and turned around. Every one of his blond hairs were in place, making her self-conscious of her short, wake-up-and-wear-it cut. His cheeks held a healthy glow, too, no doubt from his two-mile morning run. She hated people who could do mornings.

“What did you get? Two hours of sleep?” Terry asked.

“Three, but who’s counting?” She took another large bite of the chocolate. It was almost a slurp with how fast the bar was melting.

“You were up reviewing evidence from the last case again, weren’t you?”

She wasn’t inclined to answer.

“You can’t change the past.”

She wasn’t hungry anymore and wrapped up what was left of the chocolate. “Let’s focus on this case.”

“Fine, if that’s how it’s going be. Victim’s name is Laura Saunders. She’s thirty-two. Single. Officer Higgins was the first on scene.”

Higgins? She hadn’t seen him since she arrived, but had been her training officer. He still worked in that capacity for new recruits. Advancing in the ranks wasn’t important to him. He was happy making a difference where he was stationed.

Terry continued. “Call came in from the vic’s employer, Southwest Welding Products, where she worked as the receptionist.”

“What would make the employer call?”

“She didn’t show for her shift at eight. They tried reaching her first, but when they didn’t get an answer, they sent a security officer over to her house. He found the door ajar and called downtown. Higgins was here by eight forty-five.”

“Who was—”

“The security officer?”

“Yeah.” Apparently they finished each other’s sentences now.

“Terrence Owens. And don’t worry. We took a formal statement and let him go. Background showed nothing, not even a speeding ticket. We can function when you’re not here.”

She cocked her head to the side.

“He also testifies to the fact that he never stepped one foot in the place.” Terry laughed. “He said he’s watched enough cop dramas to know that it would contaminate the crime scene. You get all these people watching those stupid TV shows, and they think they can solve a murder.”

“So is Owens the one who made the formal call downtown, then?” Madison asked.

“Actually, procedure for them is to route everything through the company administration. A Sandra Butler made the call. She’s the office manager.”

“So an employee is even half an hour late for work and they send someone to your house?”

“She said it’s part of their safety policy.”

“At least they’re a group of people inclined to think positively.” She rolled her eyes. Sweat droplets ran down her back. Gross. She moved toward the house.

The young officer scurried over. He shoved his clipboard under his arm and tucked his pen behind his ear. He pointed toward the chocolate bar still in her hand. “You can’t take that in there.”

She glanced down. Chocolate oozed from a corner of the wrapper. He was right. She handed the package to him, and he took it with two pinched fingers.

She patted his shoulder. “Good job.”

He walked away with the bar dangling from his hand, mumbling something indiscernible.

“You can be so wicked sometimes,” Terry said.

“Why, thank you.” She was tempted to take a mini bow but resisted the urge.

“It wasn’t a compliment. And since when do you eat chocolate for breakfast?”

“Oh shut up.” She punched him in the shoulder. He smirked and rubbed his arm. Same old sideshow. She headed into the house with him on her heels.

“The stairs are to the right,” Terry said.

“Holy crap, it’s freezing in here.” The sweat on her skin chilled her. It was a refreshing welcome.

“Yep, a hundred and one outside, sixty inside.”

When she was two steps from the top of the staircase, Terry said, “And just a heads-up—this is not your typical strangulation.”

“Come on, Terry. You’ve seen one, you’ve—” She stopped abruptly when she reached the bedroom doorway. Terry was right.

About the Author: CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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Snakes Can’t Run by Ed Lin – Guest Post and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ed Lin will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

Why do people say turn the other cheek? If someone wants to strike you again, make them go through the effort of adjusting their stance to get at your unbruised cheek.

I am a really nice guy. Almost everybody likes me, for some reason. Every once in awhile, though, I run into someone who is just out to give me a bad day. That’s fine. But I like to imagine getting back at them in my writing.
And negative book reviews? Well, many comments about books aren’t well thought-out ideas, honestly. “This book sucks” and “What a waste of my time,” are what I often see. I try to figure out who these people are. I’ll Google ‘em, try to find pictures of their faces and go to LinkedIn to see what jobs they’re at. If they went to college, I’ll search through the archives of their college newspaper to see what sort of stupid things they had to say then.

I’m all for freedom of speech. I’m all for saying what you think. But readers should know that if they publicly share their negative criticism of a mystery writer in a venue where said author can read it, they are fair game for being rendered a jerk/victim/villain in said author’s book. Sometimes I like to imagine panic in their eyes when they realize what I’m fictionally doing to them.

I certainly don’t want the negative criticism to stop. That would be a big blow to my writing process.

Set in New York City in 1976, Snakes Can’t Run finds NYPD detective Robert Chow still haunted by the horrors of his past and relegated to tedious undercover work. When the bodies of two undocumented Chinese men are found under the Brooklyn Bridge underpass, Chow is drawn into the case. Most of the officers in his precinct are concerned with a terrorist group targeting the police, but Chow’s investigation puts him on the trail of a ring of ruthless human smugglers who call themselves the snakeheads. As Chow gets closer to solving the murder, dangerous truths about his own family’s past begin to emerge. Steeped in retro urban attitude, and ripe with commentary on minorities’ roles in American society, this gritty procedural will appeal to fans of George Pelecanos and S.J. Rozan.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The mind is a funny thing. After I got on the wagon and fell in love with a girl, I started seeing my father out in the streets. I didn’t literally see his ghost walking around, but I’d see his nose in profile on another guy’s face. Sometimes I’d be walking behind someone who had his slouchy shuffle, his spotted ears, or the back of the head that looked like an elderly porcupine with spikes gone soft and white.

One time, a hand reached out to my shoulder and touched me exactly where he used to touch me from his chair after dinner to ask me to get him a beer from the fridge.

Of course it wasn’t my father. It was an older guy who wanted to know if I was the guy whose pictures used to be in all the Chinese newspapers. The man was almost completely bald and had two light brown spots on the top right of his head that looked like an imprint from a woman’s high-heeled shoe.

He called me the Sheriff of Chinatown. I tried to get away from him as soon as possible, but he was one of those people who liked to say good-bye and then ask another question just when you’re about to part. The guy ended up grabbing both of my hands twice before I was able to make the corner and get away. I checked that my wallet was still in my pocket, though, just in case he had been working me with a partner. I guess he was genuinely glad to meet me.

 

About the Author: Ed Lin, a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards and is an all-around standup kinda guy. His books include Waylaid and This Is a Bust, both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Snakes Can’t Run and One Red Bastard, which both continue the story of Robert Chow set in This Is a Bust, were published by Minotaur Books. His latest book, Ghost Month, a Taipei-based mystery, was published by Soho Crime in July 2014. Lin lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and son.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/robertchow
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ed-Lin-80513225734
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edlinforpresident/
Website: http://www.edlinforpresident.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/112827.Ed_Lin

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What Kind of Writer am I? by Robin Ray – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Robin Ray will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What kind of writer am I?

That’s an interesting question simply because I’m not sure what a writer is supposed to be like. Do some writers cloister themselves when they’re trying to get work done? I sure feel like doing that from time to time, especially when it seems people want your attention just at that moment you’ve decided to start writing. I know I’m definitely the kind of writer that hates distractions, and this is also to the point where I often prefer to write in abject silence. I’ve tried writing in the quiet and serenity of parks and lakes but, when my neck starts hurting from straining over my laptop, it’s then I realize I’d rather write with my laptop sitting on a desk or table. I’d say I’m a relatively disciplined writer in that I could sit at a desk for hours trying to get something right. It wouldn’t at all be unusual for me to sit from 7 PM to 6 AM trying to get something done. The research I often have to do necessitates that kind of discipline. In the past, I’ve had to take crash courses on Arkansas quartz mining, the Mossad in South America during the early 60’s, quantum physics and the possibilities of interdimensional travel, the history of shipwrecks in the Bermuda Triangle, the Mayan history of the Camazotz, Jain cosmology, the landscape of Bangladesh, and many others. Also, since I sometimes write stories where people speak languages other than English, I’ve had to study and write what someone would say who speaks German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, the Native American language of the Lummi people, and several others. As far as my writing style is concerned, I’m a plotter. I sketch my stories out from beginning to end and use illustrations if necessary. Sometimes, I even do blocking. In the scriptwriting world, blocking refers to writing out a serious of action in detail. For instance, in the novella “Stranded in Paradise,” I’ve had to physically “block” the movements of five people who were on the bridge of a cruise ship in order to get the sequence of events right. Hopefully, no one saw me standing in my room by myself kicking, chopping, and slashing the air like Jet Li. That would’ve been odd!

No one ever “re-dies” in Heaven; unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to singer Amy Winehouse. Her death, an unprecedented event in Heaven’s history, has thrown a once docile world into unfortunate chaos. Because of the new uneasy alliance between angels and citizens, a freshly-arrived detective in the rock & roll town has been tasked with investigating the prime suspects, the members of the 27 Club – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. To make matters worse, a powerful angel from one of the upper levels of Heaven will soon arrive to make her ten-year inspection, a task that fills the other angels with dread since she has the power to banish anyone of them to the underworld. So, with time running out, the PI and his newly acquired sidekick, both aided by rock legends such as Eddie Cochran, Mama Cass, Kurt Cobain, Karen Carpenter and others, must quickly uncover the mystery that threatens not only to close Heaven’s doors forever, but promises to send a ripple effect through the entire universe that can rip it apart.

Enjoy the Excerpt

Plants of varying shapes and sizes sprouted everywhere, some just knee high, some as tall as mango trees. Rows of narrow pipes across the ceiling misted the foliage every minute. A few customers were sampling some of the edible flowers while others were reading manuals or informational tags about the unusual plants. Towards the back, the good PI spotted an employee who was busy pulling off the dead leaves from several botanical specimens. The clerk, he noticed, was very colorful with her psychedelic bamboo slippers, purplish pants, flowery blue and white tunic, rows of bangles on each wrist, several beaded chains around her neck, and a pink strip of cloth enmeshed in her long brown hair. As Gregory neared her, he could hear her humming along to the music playing over the virtual speakers high up in the corners of the center.

“Excuse me,” he introduced himself, “I was told Janis Joplin works back here.”

The employee turned and glanced at him. “You found her, babe.”

“Hi, Janis,” the PI introduced himself. “I’m Gregory Angelicus. And…”

“Oh, Lord,” she moaned, flinging the twigs in her hand down. “Another angel. What’d I do now?”

“Oh, no,” he stated quickly, “I’m not an angel. I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”

“About what?” she asked, eyeing the intruder with suspicion through her circular yellow sunglasses.

Gregory looked around momentarily. “Is there some place we can talk?”

“Sure,” she answered, crossing her arms. “You’re standing in it.”

About the Author: Robin Ray emigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago at the ripe old age of 12. Already steeped in the rich culture and mysteries of his native land, it would only be a matter of time before he, too, became a musician and storyteller. After a short stint at Iowa State University, he became a nurse for practical purposes but never abandoned his musical and literary aspirations. Eventually, he did play guitar in several bands, committing himself to localized tours and album releases. Leaving the music world behind, he delved headfirst back into his second love – writing. To date, he has authored six screenplays, two novels, seven novellas, around fifty short stories and many poems. Thus far, he’s published six books – five fiction and one non-fiction, all available in paperback and e-book formats. His latest novel, Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven, can be purchased for only $0.99 at Amazon.

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