Things I Like to Do When I’m Not Writing by K.D. Rose – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. K.D. Rose will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

For my blog topic today, I chose to go over the things I like to do when I’m not writing. So much of what I do relates to writing or reading (because as a writer I read a lot!) or marketing, using social media—all related to being an author, but life exists outside the author world too! So here are a few things that will let you know I’m a real live human being too!

Things I Like To Do When I’m Not Writing
1. The husband and I like to relax with The Big Bang Theory! We’ve been watching this show for years and it never fails to entertain and make us laugh. Yes, we are geeks!

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We also like to watch new sequels to old favorites so you better bet we’ve already had our mini-marathon of all the Jurassic Park movies in preparation for:

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We can’t wait to see it!

2. Music is my life. Well, ok, writing is kind of my life but music comes in a close second. I know this video is kind of an older one now but let me tell you why I love it (and it spent a year on the top of the charts in the UK!) Not only is it great lyrics and I’m a big fan of Ed Sheeran, and not only is the dance exquisite, but being the metaphorical person that I am I really saw the dance as this perfect representation of life. See how the couple does their own thing, comes back together, never lose track of each other, all the while impressing the heck out of us? Just love it.

3. Work on the House. Ok, maybe “like” isn’t the right word but we bought a fixer-upper and fixing it up is requisite for our life and weekends. And we love our house. Even though we literally spent a year without a kitchen and four years with the windows painted over (until we installed new windows) it’s all been worth it. We had to do it all as we could afford it. I do not recommend this way of fixing up a house!

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4. Garden. Okay, I don’t really do much but weed, it’s mostly my husband but I uh, participate! Look, I took this picture. LOL Most of my Instagram pictures are of our plants and flowers.

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5. Pool! After garden and house, the pool is awesome. Full disclosure: we never wanted a house with a pool. The though never even entered our minds. But the fixer-upper we fell in love with happened to have one. So you bet we are making the best of it! So if I’m not writing, I might just be drifting by somewhere in the backyard. 😉

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BookCover_ATasteForMysteryA TASTE FOR MYSTERY Two Novellas

A Taste For Killing

Mystery and Romance blend together when competing detectives Carolyn Woods and Jack Heart are both hired to solve a murder, only to realize they are working the same case. To complicate things, Carolyn and Jack have an on again, off again relationship. Then there is Evan Jones, a handsome architect— but he’s also a suspect.

Can Carolyn solve the case as more and more murders pile up? Will her relationship with Jack hinder their investigations? And what about Evan Jones? He seems like the perfect man, but could he actually be the murderer?

One thing is for sure: someone close to Carolyn and Jack has a taste for killing.

A Taste For Danger

Jack Heart drinks to excess daily. His apartment is in shambles, he’s isolated himself from all his friends, and he stumbles to the couch every night to sleep off an alcoholic stupor. All that changes when he receives a phone call with a job offer from a man he barely knew. Asked to go undercover in an elite business, Jack is thrown into the deep end and hasn’t a clue what he’s in for— or looking for— until he starts asking questions.

Suddenly, Jack must track down an embezzler inside a swanky corporation riff with politics, game-playing, and treachery. The deeper Jack goes, the more dirt he finds. Can this out-of-place detective survive and still crack the case? Not to mention some of women he works with have plans for him—plans that are way more than he bargained for.

One thing is certain: Jack’s taste for danger will take him to the edge of disaster.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jack made sure to get his parking pass from the secretary for tomorrow. He wasn’t made of money, and today was gonna cost him twenty bucks. Cheryl followed him out, and they took the elevator down together. Jack thought this little get-together might be a good chance to interview her. What was she head of again? He couldn’t remember. He’d have to ask her. His instincts told him to wait until the bar.

Jack made sure to put his briefcase in the trunk. Cheryl brought a satchel with her and sat up front. She directed him out. Apparently she lived not too far away from him, although in the city, even a block of traffic could turn a short drive into an hour. Stuck in rush hour, Cheryl made small-talk.

“So you dined with the big cheese today?” She opened.

“Word gets around fast.”

“Yes, anytime someone from HQ comes, everyone knows it. Knows to be on their toes.”

“I see.”

“What they can’t figure out is whether to be on their toes around you.”

Now he got it. She was on a scouting mission for the office. He wondered if they drew straws. “I’m just a nobody,” he said.

“I doubt that,” said Cheryl, “or the Deputy VP wouldn’t have taken such an interest in you. So what are you here to do?”

She said it smiling and casual, but underneath he could feel the shark in her.

“I’m not allowed to discuss the details,” he said.

“Oh my,” said Cheryl and raised her hands as if she was being held up. “Never mind. I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

“Thanks,” he said, then stayed quiet. She didn’t try to pry anymore. He wondered if she would after a few drinks. Wait. That was his plan. Who was playing who here?

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ATasteForMysteryK.D. Rose is a poet and author who currently has published “Heavy Bags of Soul”, “Inside Sorrow”, “I AM”, “Erasing: Shadows”, “Anger’s Children: Three Shorts That Will Blow Your Mind”, “A Taste for Mystery: Two Novellas” and her new release, “The Brevity of Twit”.

K.D.’s book, Inside Sorrow won the Readers Favorite 2013 international Silver Medal for Poetry. With fellow authors around the globe, KD was also a founding member of the e-magazine, INNOVATE.

K.D. has an eclectic mind and loves language, physics, philosophy, photography, design, art, writing, symbolism, semiotics, spirituality, and Dr. Who. KD Rose is an avid supporter of music, the arts, cutting edge science, technology, and creativity in all forms. K.D also has a chronic illness but doesn’t let it get her down. K.D. considers herself a “Spoonie” on the lam.

Blog | Website | Twitter | Networked Blogs | Tumblr | Google+ | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads
LINKS TO KD ROSE BOOKS

New Release: The Brevity of Twit

A Taste For Mystery: Two Novellas

Erasing: Shadows

Angers Children: Three Shorts That Will Blow Your Mind

Inside Sorrow

I AM (Poetry in Motion)

Heavy Bags of Soul

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Shadows by Stella Barcelona – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

BookCover_ShadowsCataclysm. Now. Run.

A cryptic, urgent text message turns the peaceful life Skye Barrows has created for herself and her sister into chaos. She must follow her father’s instructions to the letter, but Sebastian Connelly is blocking her way. Telling Sebastian what she must do is not an option.

What He Doesn’t Know Will Get Them All Killed

When a prison break in the midst of a security system upgrade threatens to destroy the reputation of Sebastian’s company, Black Raven Private Security Contractors, he goes on the hunt for escaped prisoner Richard Barrows – a delusional and paranoid computer software genius.

Sebastian’s mission: find Richard Barrows and return him to prison, but stonewalled by Skye, who refuses to give him answers, and with the added complication of her special needs sister, Sebastian finds himself always a step or two behind vicious killers.

Nothing About This Case is Normal

For Sebastian, it should be simple, but this case will test him in ways he never imagined. As probing interrogation becomes urgent protection, the search for Barrows forces Sebastian and Skye into a murky world of shadows and illusions.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Cataclysm. Now. Run.

Her father had taught her to act first, worry later. A simple idea, and one with value, although he had the luxury of living in grand schemes and high ideals.

He’d left her to contend with the real world, and to say it was a damn inconvenient day to have to run was an understatement.

She shredded the paper where she’d written his message, put the pieces in her mouth, almost gagging on the wad of pulp. With all that was inside of her, she knew that chewing and swallowing paper as a means of destroying the message was ridiculous. Yet she was committed by blood and loyalty to following her father’s instructions, no matter how off-base, so follow them she did. She walked over to retrieve her personal ditch kit—cash, loose diamonds, gold medallions, and weapons—all packed in a backpack that was tucked in a locked trunk in her closet, under spare linens.

The location where cataclysm prompted her to run—a lake house on Firefly Island in Hickory Lake, near Nashville, Tennessee—had more supplies. For now, she just had to get there. Fast. She checked her backpack, put it by the bedroom door, and tried to calm herself by deep breathing. This first step of the cataclysm scenario—getting to the lake house within twenty-four hours and awaiting her father’s next instruction—would be a no brainer if she were alone. But she wasn’t alone.

AuthorPhoto_ShadowsStella Barcelona has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers. She has found an outlet for all of these aspects of herself by writing romantic thrillers.

In her day-to-day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans. She lives minutes from the French Quarter, with her husband of seventeen years and two adorable papillons who believe they are princesses. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, DECEIVED, was inspired by New Orleans, its unique citizens, and the city’s World War II-era history.

Her third novel, JIGSAW, a Black Raven novel, will be released in 2016.

www.stellabarcelona.com

https://www.facebook.com/stellabarcelona

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0996018514/

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The Last Dreamgirl – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Shane Hayes will be awarding a $20 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.

For every man there’s a girl who grips his imagination and his heart as no other girl ever did or will. She may be in her teens or a mature woman. He responds to her as a boy to a girl. Whether she comes early in his life or late, there is a throne in his subconscious that she takes possession of, without trying, often without wanting to.The image he forms of her reigns there in perpetuity, even if she has left his life, or this life. Her enchantment never fades or fails, and he is never immune to it. She may not be for him the last wife or paramour, but she is the last dreamgirl.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Traffic was light enough that Ron could pull out and follow Bower, a car or two behind. Bower drove to a local Acme supermarket, parked, grabbed a pushcart, and went in to shop.

Ron did the same. While he avoided trailing Bower through the aisles he effectively followed him by going down aisles that Bower was coming up, and sometimes pausing near Bower to search for products on one side of the aisle while Bower was scanning the shelves on the other side. Viewing the man’s features at close range Ron had no doubt that this was the Vulture. Ron got so close to him in the drug and cosmetics aisle that he made two notable observations. First, from a sharp side angle Bower’s deformed eye-placement could be seen under his dark glasses. Second, he was working from two shopping lists—which seemed to be in different handwriting. At a glance Ron perceived one as a small neat feminine hand, written in blue ink, and the other as a larger, though equally neat, hand—probably masculine—in pencil.

Ron’s heart leaped at the thought that the penned shopping list had been written by Sandra Moore. But he knew how much he wanted to find evidence of her being alive in Bower’s house and feared he might have seen what he wanted to see. Seconds after the observation, when he had moved down the aisle, he began to question it.

The fact that both lists were so neatly written made him doubt that they were done by different hands. The pencil versus ink could have created that illusion; and sometimes one’s mood and the size of the paper can prompt one to write smaller than usual….

Ron’s doubts about handwriting were resolved when he made his next pass of Bower’s cart near the feminine hygiene shelves and saw in it a box of women’s sanitary napkins. Why in God’s name would Bower be buying Kotex if he lived alone? There had to be a woman there and a menstruating woman at that. Ron couldn’t check but would be willing to bet that the Kotex had been written on the blue-ink shopping list in what had first struck him as a feminine hand. It was a feminine hand, and he would lay odds that it was Sandra’s.

Ron got right behind Bower in the checkout line and noticed that he had also bought a woman’s scented bath powder, a feminine underarm deodorant, and a supply of hairpins. Ron had to resist an impulse to cry out in joy and triumph. None of the female items were things a young man would bring to a girl he was dating. None was the equivalent of a bouquet, a box of candy, or a bottle of perfume. These were things a man would typically pick up for his wife or mistress, a woman he was living with. Or a girl he held captive.

About the Author:

A native Philadelphian, Shane Hayes earned his bachelor’s and his law degree from Villanova University, and studied for a year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He worked as a writer/editor for Prentice Hall and an attorney for the federal government. He is married, has four children, and lives in suburban Philadelphia. His nonfiction book The End of Unbelief: A New Approach to the Question of God was released by Leafwood Publishers in the fall of 2014.

Two young men meet on ship when both are recently out of college. They share a flaming ambition. Each aims to write novels that will be internationally acclaimed and win him a place in American letters. One of them, Paul Theroux, achieves the dream in all its glory: becomes world famous, writes over 40 books, and three of his novels are made into films. The other, Shane Hayes, fails completely, but keeps tenaciously writing, decade after decade, plowing on through hundreds of rejections. Then almost half a century later, Shane contacts Paul, who remembers him, reads three of his books, likes them, and praises them with endorsements.

In writing to agents and publishers Shane could now say, “Query for a novel praised by Paul Theroux.” No one offers a book deal because of an endorsement, so rejections keep coming. But more people let him send at least a sample and are predisposed to see merit in it. At his age, time is crucial. In the month he turns 75, Shane receives contracts on two of his books from different publishers. He will always be grateful to the literary giant who remembered ten days of friendship half-a-lifetime after it ended.

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Buy the book at Amazon (print)/(digital) or Barnes and Noble (print)/ (digital).

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Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

 

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura McNeill will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true.

In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The road rushes under the wheels. I rearrange snippets of the frantic conversation. Gash. Some blood. Breathing fine. Emergency room. A few more miles to the hospital.

I flash back to this morning. Packed sack lunch, flop of dark hair across his bare forehead, navy backpack slung over one shoulder. A surge of pure love courses through my heart. A stab of worry steals my breath. I force myself to focus.

The traffic light ahead flashes green to yellow. Intersection’s clear. I push the accelerator to the floor, glance in the rearview mirror. Air from the open window catches Sam’s wisps of hair. He smiles, showing off his first few baby teeth, and reaches a chubby hand at the rays of sunshine streaking by, trying to catch the light.

Thump. Thump. The Jeep jerks to the left. I guide the wheel, hold it steady, and take my foot off the gas. When I pull over and brake, the abrupt stop sends up a dust cloud.

“Uh-oh,” Sam says.

I unbuckle, jump out, and survey the damage. A glance at the tire confirms it. Flat. Dead.
Hands on my hips, I bite my lip.

Tentatively, I grab the jack from the back of the Jeep, the weight of it solid and heavy in my hands. I can fix this. After all, in my former life, as a school counselor at Mobile Prep, I was the problem-solver, crisis manager, and shoulder to cry on. I always handled situations. And I didn’t need help.

Then my eyes fall on Sam as he babbles and blows bubbles in the back seat. I hesitate, gripping the metal between my palms. As the sun beats down on us, heating my skin, my pulse begins to race. Maybe I was fearless because I didn’t know any better. I wasn’t a mom then. I didn’t have two children depending on me. Trusting me to do the right thing, be on time, and not screw up.

About the Author:

After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.

Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015. Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York. Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.

She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.

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Laughter is the Best Medicine by Joe Cosentino – Guest Blog and Giveaway

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
by Joe Cosentino

My parents were and are really funny. One December my mother said to me, “For years you’ve been returning my gifts. Tell me exactly what you want for Christmas, and I’ll get it.” I replied, “A red shirt.” She answered, “I don’t like red, I’ll get you a blue one.” When I told my father I received a faculty endowed chair from the college where I am a professor/department head, he replied, “What can college guys know about chairs? You better bring that chair to me, so I can fix it.”

Humor is the salve that gets us through life, including in the most tragic of circumstances. It’s what connects us with other people, the world, and our emotions.
Growing up in a home where my mother sang “Let Me Entertain You” from the musical Gypsy while mopping the floor, and my father did the hula with a cigar in his mouth and my mother’s sweater wrapped around his waist, it’s no wonder I became an actor. Nobody laughed harder than my parents at my comic antics in film, television, and theatre productions opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Rosie O’Donnell, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. No matter what role I played, including on NBC’s Another World as Carl Hutchins’ snitch, and a hotrod-riding punk in ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid, I found the humor in the character.

My acting career helped me realize comedy isn’t only for comedies. Humor can be injected into other genres like romance, drama, and mystery. After I moved on to playwriting and ultimately becoming a novelist, I did exactly that. Reviewers and readers called my Bittersweet Dreams romance novella from Dreamspinner Press, An Infatuation, “incredibly touching,” “pithy,” and “moving,” often citing the box of tissues they needed to finish it. At the same time they labeled Harold’s remembrance of his high school crush, Mario, as “hysterically funny.” When Harold and Mario met up at their comical high school reunion, readers screamed with laughter.

I have the feeling the same thing will occur when Dreamspinner Press releases my next Bittersweet Dreams romance novella this fall, A Shooting Star. College freshman/theatre major Bobby’s infatuation with senior star David Star will bring sad tears to readers’ eyes, but also tears of laughter.

In the same vein, when I created my two mystery series, humor was in the forefront. The Jana Lane romantic mysteries (Paper Doll and the upcoming Porcelain Doll and Satin Doll) place ex-child star Jana Lane in peril, as she uncovers who attacked her on the studio lot at eighteen and who is after her now at thirty-eight. However, her eccentric agent (who I want to play in the movie version), gay best friend, and devoted fan bring lots of yucks to these whodunit mysteries.

My current release, the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press, Drama Queen, uses humor to the max. Nicky and Noah panic as their college theatre professor colleagues drop like stage curtains. Since the local junior detective seems more interested in trying to get into Nicky’s well-endowed pants, it’s up to budding amours Nicky and Noah to solve the mystery. Through clues, red herrings, plot twists and turns, reversals, and a surprise ending, Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills to investigate, including impersonating other people. The cast of characters is exactly that—real characters ranging from a Playwriting professor with a split personality to a department office assistant who runs the department. As Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, hilarity ensues. Readers tell me they enjoy solving the (five!) murders in Drama Queen along with Nicky and Noah, while rooting for their budding romance and laughing at their high-jinks.

The series is wild and wacky, bordering on farce, while still maintaining realistic characters with an emotional connection. In the upcoming second novel, Drama Muscle, Nicky and Noah don their gay Holmes and Watson personas again to find out who is murdering musclemen in the Physical Education Department. In the third book, Drama Cruise, Nicky and Noah embark on a cruise to Alaska while putting on murder mystery dinner theatre—and solving a real murder mystery onboard ship. As is the case with Drama Queen, both of the subsequent novels include quaint characters, witty dialogue, and fast-paced shenanigans.

They say laugher is the best medicine, and I agree. Why save humor for the humor genre? I believe in spreading the wealth.

7_13 DramaQueencoverIt could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

About the Author:7_13 Joe Cosentino Joe Cosentino is the author of Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). 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. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), and Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press).

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Buy Drama Queen at the publisher, Amazon, or Smashwords. Audiobook coming soon!

Giveaway: Post a comment below by a week from today about humor in fiction. One winner will be chosen by us to receive from Joe Cosentino an ebook copy of his hit Bittersweet Dreams hit MM romance novella, AN INFATUATION, published by Dreamspinner Press.

The Violet Crow by Michael Sheldon – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael Sheldon will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $10 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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How do you solve the ultimate mystery, where the murder victim has no identity and there’s no physical evidence? You go psychic—deep psychic—and hire Bruno X. Sure, you’re going to have to put up with some Yiddish trash talk and recycled borsht belt shtick. But he’s the only one who can who can stop the crime spree in the ordinarily placid Quaker community of Gardenfield, New Jersey.

Follow Bruno X in Michael Sheldon’s fictional debut, THE VIOLET CROW as he fends off rabid journalists and feckless politicians; untangles webs of deceit in Professor Littlejohn’s Deviant Behavior 101 class; reveals why the Quakers are still fighting over decades-old military medical experiments; and finally, uncovers the secrets of the biotechnology firm whose symbol is The Violet Crow.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Introducing Gardenfield and Chief Buddy Black

The borough of Gardenfield is home to some 35,000 peaceful souls nestled in the friendly confines marked by Tiny’s Package Store to the north, the J. Kilmer Pub to the east, Lillian’s Tavern to the south, and the Tiki Lounge to the west. A Philadelphia suburb, it is a prosperous community with colonial roots and a variety of pretensions, including a prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages within Gardenfield proper. In fact, thirsty Gardenfielders simply have to drive past the town limits on any of the major roads, in order to enjoy a beer or a cocktail.

Buddy Black was not a drinking man by habit. Nor was he averse to dropping by a tavern from time to time, to see what the locals were up to and let off some steam after work. Tonight he made a beeline for Lillian’s. It had been a while. Lillian greeted him at the door. Rail thin and dyed blond, she appeared to be in her 60s and to subsist on nothing but whisky, cigarettes, and conversation. She welcomed Buddy with a hug. “Hi, hon. Nice to see you again. She’s expecting you.”

“How could she be expecting me? I only decided to come here 10 minutes ago.”

“We read the papers, too, y’know.”

“I’m that predictable…?” The Chief freed himself from Lil’s embrace and headed for the bar. “Daisy, did you really know I’d come here tonight?”

The woman behind the bar was dressed in tight jeans and a low-cut flower-print top. She was busy polishing a wine glass, and didn’t look up until she’d finished her task. Then she flashed a smile that was warmer than Lil’s rather spectral hug. “Buddy! I haven’t seen you since—what?—Bay of Pigs. It’s about time you came to see me.” Without asking she opened a bottle of Rolling Rock and set it down in front of the Chief.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheVioletCrowMichael was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey. His father was a dentist, which accounts for his sense of humor. His mother, a Jewish mother without peer, instilled in him the idea that the world doesn’t owe you a living—and a love of raw oysters and dry martinis. His training in the craft of storytelling came from reading the masters beginning with Chaucer and Rabelais, through Sterne, to MacDonald and Westlake.

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A Day in the Life of Dane Cobain – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Dane Cobain, whose No Rest for the Wicked was recently released.

A Day in the Life of Dane Cobain, Author of No Rest for the Wicked

Hi, folks! My name’s Dane Cobain, and I’m a writer, poet, musician and social media marketer from the UK. My debut novella, a supernatural thriller called No Rest for the Wicked, was released by Booktrope’s Forsaken imprint on June 11th, and so when I was asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post for Long and Short Reviews, I jumped at the chance!

I loved what Pearl R. Meaker did in her guest post, and so I thought that, as I’ve never done a post like that about my writing, I’d give it a go! What follows is my secret to cramming in 16-18 hours of work every day, so listen closely…

07:45 AM: My first alarm goes off. I grunt, turn the alarm off, roll over and go back to sleep.

08:10 AM: My second alarm goes off. At this point, I know that if I don’t get out of bed, I’m going to be late for work. I pull on some clothes, pick up my rucksack, put my book and my lunchbox inside of it and walk to the bus station.

08:35 AM: I jump on the bus to work.

09:00 AM: I arrive at work, log on to my computer and get to it. Even when I’m at work, I pick up all of my writer e-mails, and I tend to work pretty fluidly. It’s not unusual for me to be pushing my books on work time, but then it’s not unusual for me to be doing unpaid overtime at home, either.

13:00: Lunchtime. I use this opportunity to catch up with all of my personal e-mails and to do a few bits and bobs on my website. A lot of my writing buddies are from America, and so I tend to get loads of e-mails and notifications from them when I’m asleep, due to the time difference. My lunch break is my opportunity to catch up with them all. If I have any time left after that, I read my book for a while.

14:00: Back to work!

17:30: I finish work and leave at 5:30 on the dot.

17:37: My bus arrives and I head home.

18:15: I get home and hop pretty much straight on my computer – sometimes, I leave it turned on, so I don’t even need to wait for it to boot up. I have a unique method of working which I call ‘the schedule’ – basically, I listen to music while working, and I change activity at the end of each song, alternating between doing stuff on my computer, tidying my house and writing. I’m pretty obsessive about it, because it’s the only way to get things done! At some point, I cook dinner and make my lunch for the following day, I go for a jog (whilst memorising poetry) and a shower, and I spent half an hour listening to an audiobook.

23:00: This used to be my cut-off point – I didn’t do anything productive after 11, because I wanted to be able to sleep. Then, I realised that sleep is overrated, anyway! Now, between 11 PM and midnight, I work on the RPG game that I’m creating!

00:00: At this point, I do some work for Forsaken, the horror imprint that publishes my work. As well as being on the roster as an author, I also help to market the imprint and to guide our authors through the publishing process. There’s usually quite a lot for me to do!

01:00: 1 AM is the new 11 PM – it’s my cut-off point for productivity. At this point, I usually do some colouring in to help me to relax a bit, and then I go to bed.

So there you have it – that’s what I get up to on a typical weekday! As you can see, there’s always something going on. I have a lie in on the weekends (because Charles Bukowski said that you should never get out of bed before noon), but then I usually work until later into the night, too. Plus, I don’t have to go to work on weekends, so I get loads done – I wrote this article on a Sunday evening.

Thanks again to Long and Short Reviews for having me, and please do check out No Rest for the Wicked and let me know what you think! You can find me on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to keep up with me – at least, you can try!

Dane Cobain - No Rest for the Wicked CoverWhen the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.
Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.

The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.

When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

About the Author: Dane CobainDane Cobain is a writer, poet and musician from a place you’ve probably never heard of, somewhere in England. When he’s not writing books, he’s reading and reviewing them on his book blog – SocialBookshelves.com – or working at his day job in social media marketing. Find him at Facebook or follow him on Twitter @DaneCobain.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

How to Handle Negative Criticism by Kellie Larsen Murphy

NBTM_TourBanner_StayOfExecution copy

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

Please see our review of this book HERE.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

“Such flat-footed writing, dull vocabulary, lack of wit and style. Characters underdeveloped and pretty much interchangeable—just mouthpieces for the plot really.” (1)

Ouch. That’s not a favorable book review no matter how you slice it. Okay, so at least the reviewer implies there is a plot but still… These reviews aren’t much better:

“It’s not a horrible book. But it is not very clever and it is not very engaging.” (2)

“This was a huge disappointment. Plot was lacking, as was any sort of inspiration. I don’t know who wrote this book. Just isn’t good.” (3)

“The worst part was the writing. The dialog was riddled with speech which would not have been appropriate for the time or the class of the people speaking.” (4)

“Terribly written, rambling and thrown together. Absurd plot and entanglements. What a waste of my time.” (5)

Every one of the above reviews is bad and to make matters worse, they are all REAL one-star reviews posted on Amazon. Even more amazing is that each of those reviews is for books that currently sit on the New York Times Best Seller List! Wow! What’s my point? Simply put, it doesn’t matter how well-loved a book is, it will still have bad reviews. In recent weeks, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN has sat at the top or near the top of many bestsellers’ lists. It has earned more than 20,000 reviews on Amazon! Frankly, that number is just mind-blowing to me, but equally mind-blowing is realizing that more than 2,000 of those reviews are one or two-stars! Even so, I don’t think Paula Hawkins is too concerned. She has more reviews than most authors get throughout their entire career. Still, in spite of her success, there are readers who took the time to post negative reviews. So, what does that mean? To me, it means people are reading her book and at the end of the day, that’s what every author wants.

Yes, it stinks for an author when they get a bad review…or two…or dozens. So, how should the author handle it? Easy. LET IT GO. Yes, let it go—even if the review criticizes the writing but is filled with misspellings. Even if the reviewer clearly didn’t finish the book. Even if the review started with “I don’t like romances” and the book is science fiction. LET IT GO! Why? Because authors are supposed to be professional. Every reader (and I do mean every single one of them) is entitled to their opinion. As authors, we don’t have to agree or like it, but responding only makes the author appear thin-skinned and petty. And let’s be honest, that is a recipe for losing sales.

While it’s important to avoid responding to those negative reviews (take ten breaths, walk away, anything that works!), it is equally important to pay attention to them. If the number of one and two star reviews creeps over 25% of total reviews, the author may have a problem. Is there a common theme in those reviews? Is it something fixable? If the writer is an independent author, then they have the opportunity to swallow their pride and release a revised edition. If not, then the author should keep those reviews in the back of their mind when writing the next book. While it’s impossible to please every reader, aiming for the majority should be every author’s goal.
Negative reviews are no fun. They are deflating and discouraging, but trust me, LET IT GO and eventually the sting will fade. Even the classic, Maurice Sendak’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, got this review, “This book suckith!”

Reviews quoted above are for the following bestsellers:
(1) THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins
(2) LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE by Jessica Knoll
(3) BEACH TOWN by Mary Kay Andrews
(4) AT THE WATER’S EDGE by Sara Gruen
(5) THE BONE TREE (PENN CAGE) by Greg Iles

MediaKit_BookCover_StayOfExecutionLittle Springs was just a small college town, the kind of town where everyone knew everyone and violent crime was nonexistent–until a series of rapes and murders at the college. After an outbreak of fear and hysteria, only the arrest and conviction of Leo Spradlin, the “Co-Ed Killer,” could end the terror.

Years later, Spradlin is suddenly cleared based on unshakable DNA evidence, and no one is more surprised than Detective Mike Cancini. As new questions surround the identity of the true “Co-Ed Killer,” Cancini struggles to accept his role in the conviction of an innocent man. Suspicions mount when Spradlin’s release coincides with a fresh wave of rapes and murders at the college, eerily reminiscent of the original crimes. Cancini is drawn back to Little Springs, caught in a race against time to uncover the identity of the latest “Co-Ed Killer” before the next girl dies…

A tension-filled psychological mystery, STAY OF EXECUTION is also a novel about loyalty, deceit, and the darker side of truth.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The boy looked up at the tall trees, their branches thick and twisted, blocking the warmth from the sun. He pulled the strings of his knapsack tight and walked faster. Feet moving quickly over the slippery ground cover, he tripped, falling forward toward the round trunk of a large oak. “Stupid root. Stupid trees.” Picking himself up, he wiped his hands on his jeans, the brown, wet moss leaving marks on the worn pants. It was only then that he noticed what had caused his fall. Not a root. A leg. He stepped closer to see a bare leg, a woman’s leg, covered in dirt and leaves as though someone had tried to hide her. The boy’s eyes widened, and he screamed. Turning, he ran from the woods toward the first house he could find, still screaming.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_StayOfExecutionKellie Larsen Murphy is the author of A Guilty Mind and Stay of Execution, the first two books in the Detective Cancini Mystery series. She has written for several mid-Atlantic magazines and resides in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two very large, very hairy dogs.

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Buy the book at Amazon, digital or print, or Barnes and Noble, digital or print.

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Critique Groups by John L. DeBoer – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes John DeBoer as part of his virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win your choice of a $5 Amazon gift card or RAP swag item.

Critique Groups
by John L. DeBoer

If an author wants to make sure his manuscript is as polished as it can be before shopping it to agents and publishers, he has only two choices: share it with a critique group of other writers, or have a professional editor review it.

I say only two choices, because the other possible options don’t cut it, in my opinion. An author who tries to perfect his novel himself, to paraphrase that well-known line, has a fool for a reviewer. Emotional and too-familiar attachment to the manuscript will usually result in errors being missed. I know this to be true from personal experience. There is a tendency to see what is supposed to be written rather than what actually is.

And having confidantes – your relatives and buddies – review the WIP cannot be depended upon to furnish objective analysis. “Mom thinks it’s great, and she was an English major in college!”

This, then, leaves the critique groups and paid editorial services to provide unbiased opinions of your baby.
I prefer the critique group, based on the time spent with the online community in which I’ve workshopped all of my novels. It’s been a valuable resource for me and, in my view, deserves a lot of credit for getting publishers interested in my stuff.

For one thing, many of its members are not just newbie writers but are published authors who have demonstrated they know their way around novel-writing. Their critiques vary in focus and style, something one paid editor can’t bring to the table.

And they come from all walks of life, providing been-there-done-that life experiences that can be applied to my fictional characters that are in the same lines of work. Cops, lawyers, EMTs, school teachers (Yes, even English teachers!), the military, scientists of various stripes – all have contributed their expertise to my stories. Having been a surgeon in my former life, I can reciprocate with my medical knowledge.

Finally, there is the matter of cost. Okay, call me cheap, but my yearly membership, which would span the time it would take for me to get a novel reviewed, chapter by chapter, is far less than I would have to pay one editor, for one critique, based on his understanding of how a story should be written.

The editor can’t stay in business for long if his advice isn’t good, and if the rules of the road were carved in stone (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?), his intimate knowledge of them and his ability to communicate same would be sufficient to satisfy the needs of the writer. But times change, and so do what were once considered axioms. The Chicago Manual of Style keeps putting out new editions, after all. If your editor is old-school and has been doling out the same advice for years by rote, then perhaps a fresher outlook would be indicated.

The novelist can, of course, hedge his bets by hiring more than one editor and from their combined points of view whip his story into shape. And, of course, he can participate in the critique group AND hire an editor.

But for me, the workshop community gives me what I need to get my novel ready for a publisher. I’ve used it exclusively. Once that contract is signed, though, it’s time for the publisher’s editors to weigh in, and I welcome that – because, well, they’re pros. And I don’t have to pay them!

6_15 Skeleton-Run-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalTwenty years ago, four teenage boys left a baby behind in a crushed car after they caused the tragic accident that took the mother’s life. Ever since, they’ve guarded the secret that would’ve ruined their lives and destroyed their future careers. But when one of them succumbs to illness, a blackmailer makes contact, and the survivors realize that, somehow, someone else knows. Now, everything that matters to them is at stake.

Las Vegas billionaire Wendell Logan is pursuing the role of political kingmaker, and he’s selected his unsuspecting king: Alan Granger, governor of Pennsylvania. Granger confesses his closet skeleton to Logan, but the tycoon has invested too much time and money into Granger’s future presidential campaign to let him and his old friends endanger Logan’s power play.

It’s time to run.

Enjoy an excerpt:
Chapter 1

Late February 1995
Richmond, Vermont

Jeanne Favreau kissed her eighteen-month-old son and put him in his crib for the night. Exhausted from her long day at Bolton Valley, she flopped into her own bed across the room. Sufficient snow on the popular ski resort’s slopes kept the snack bar busy on Saturdays. At least she had the next day off. She quickly fell asleep.

The baby cried, and Jeanne’s eyes snapped open. No light crept through the blinds. She turned on the nightstand lamp and glanced at the clock radio: 10:15. Crap! She stepped to the crib, where Timmy stood gripping the side rail and emitting unhappy squawks.

“What’s the matter, sweetie?” Jeanne lifted him over the rail and held him to her shoulder while checking his diaper. Dry and empty. Then she felt his forehead. Hot.

Oh, Christ! Another ear infection? Probably. With a sigh, she carried Timmy into the bathroom and took the bottle of Tylenol suspension from the medicine cabinet. She closed the bathtub drain and turned on the water. She went into the small kitchen and deposited him into his highchair, where he rubbed his right ear with a fist.

“I know, Timmy. You don’t feel good,” Jeanne cooed, “but Mommy will make it better.” She opened a cabinet drawer, got a spoon, and poured the liquid Tylenol into it. The pediatrician had said he could have a full teaspoon. Unfortunately, Jeanne had become experienced dealing with ear infections. After successfully getting her child to take the medicine, she picked him up and returned to the bathroom.

***

From the back seat of the Toyota Land Cruiser, I gazed out the window at the passing forest. Though clouds intermittently obscured the face of the half moon, enough light bathed the landscape to provide a contrast between the smooth, untrampled snow and the skeletal stands of hardwood trees rising above it.

My buddies and I had taken full advantage of the good conditions on the slopes, and with the end of the season looming, we wanted to double down and continue skiing into the evening under the lights. But our social director had another idea in mind.

Alan Granger chuckled as he piloted the SUV down the Bolton Valley access road. “Hot babes in a hot tub. Doesn’t get any better than that. Didn’t I tell you? Stick with the Grange if you want to party? Bring your swim trunks just in case? I’m definitely going to give that Tammy a call tomorrow.” Tall and lanky, with a shock of unruly dark brown hair, a handsome face, and a gregarious personality, Granger was well known in our high school as a chick magnet. And starring as a wide receiver on the football team hadn’t hurt.

Bob Kretchman, sitting next to me, grunted and took a gulp from his beer can. With his intimidating size and ferocious tackling exploits for that same team, his nickname of “Crushman” had evolved naturally. He scratched his scalp through his blond crew cut. “Yeah, it was fun. But I can’t see us taking this any further. They’re college chicks, dude.”

“Get me one of those Buds, will you?” Granger said. As I reached into the Styrofoam cooler behind me, he continued, “What difference does a year make, Crush? In seven months, we’ll be in college, too. So we lie a little to get laid. You know, like we usually do.” He laughed again.

I popped the can and handed it to our driver.

“What about you, Jimmy?” he asked me. “Going to give Green Bikini a call? You two seemed to be getting it on pretty good.”

I smiled, thinking of those luscious tits practically rubbing against me as we “got to know each other” in the spa’s swirling water. The girls, Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters, were sophomores at the University of Vermont, all from out of state. They were staying in the ski condo belonging to the parents of Granger’s date for the weekend. Unfortunately, the father and his wife were also there, so we had to confine the frolic to the public hot tub. But we’d all said we would like to get together again in the near future—hopefully to take our newfound “friendships” to the next level.

“The lighting helped,” I replied, “since I don’t look ancient like the rest of you guys. But I don’t think my face could pass for a college stud in the light of day.”

Tom Webster faced me from the front passenger seat. He twiddled his index fingers in his cheeks and grinned. “Mr. Dawson, she’d just think you’re cute. Go for it, man. Sometimes you gotta go for the long ball.” The team’s quarterback turned his broad shoulders back to the front and nudged the driver with his elbow.

“Amen to that,” Granger responded.

“Hey, Jim,” Kretchman added, “you can’t always dance your way through the line. Somebody like me could be waiting for you, stop you in your tracks.”

I laughed at the ribbing, since I was used to it. They had been my friends since grade school. Though in good shape, able to hold my own in the weight room, and certainly not short in stature, I was the “little” kid among them and the youngest by four months. Not to mention my young-looking face. “Well,” I said, returning the linebacker’s grin, “if there’s a hole, I’ll be sure to find it.”

“Good one, Jimmy!” Granger laughed and took a pull from his can.

“And,” I said, “you seem to have forgotten that ninety-five-yard touchdown run I made against Essex. The Burlington Free Press certainly thought it was noteworthy. Didn’t the article say it was a school record? And how about those two—I repeat, two—kickoff returns for TDs against BFA? I can go long, too.” I gave him a light punch in the arm.

“Yeah, you’re a legend in your own mind,” Granger said over his shoulder. “Anyway, those girls do open up some possibilities.”

The car came to a stop at the bottom of the hill before turning right onto US 2. The exit for I-89, the route we’d take back to Burlington, lay just a few miles ahead.

***

At eleven p.m., after bathing Timmy in tepid water, Jeanne checked his temperature again with the rectal thermometer. 103.6! His fever had risen a full degree. Listless and lethargic, Timmy was no longer crying. Not a good sign.

She placed him on the bed while she quickly dressed and put on her parka. Then she wrapped a blanket around Timmy, picked him up, and went out the trailer door. Along with her child, the decrepit singlewide was all she had left to remind her of her ex-boyfriend, who’d run off as soon as she revealed the positive pregnancy test.

She secured Timmy in the rear-facing infant car seat of her beat-up Yugo and then drove out of the trailer park. The medical center in Burlington, just twenty minutes or so to the west, was her destination. Richmond didn’t have a hospital. But that’s what my baby needs, and soon.

***

The heavy beat of Meat Loaf erupted from the Land Cruiser’s CD player as snowflakes began to hit the windshield.

Granger turned on the wipers. “Where the hell did this come from?”

“Some freak snow flurry,” Webster said from the shotgun seat.

“More like a freakin’ storm.”

I leaned forward to peer through the windshield. The headlights’ illumination reflected back at us from the fluffy crystals. We appeared to be the only car on the road, so playing Follow the Leader wouldn’t help us pick our way through the wall of white. Roadside lights were non-existent.

“Better slow down,” I said. As Kretchman had implied in his metaphor, I was usually the cautious one. I preferred to call it the “voice of reason.”

As the car rounded a turn, Webster yelled, “Watch out!”

At the same moment, I saw it as well. A dim red glow penetrated the heavy snowfall directly in front of us. A car’s taillight.

Granger tromped on the brakes, but the SUV skidded on the slick asphalt. “Oh, Jesus!” he shouted, and we all watched helplessly, knowing a collision was unavoidable. The heavy Land Cruiser slammed into the rear of the much smaller car, sending it careening off the road and into a stout maple tree.

“Shit!” Granger regained control of the SUV, pulled onto the shoulder, and put the car in park but left the engine running. He scrambled out of the vehicle and headed toward the stricken sedan, his open parka flapping.

The rest of us followed. Snow crunched beneath my boots as I hurried to the car. The initial shock of the collision became full-blown panic as I feared the worst. The Yugo’s right headlight had escaped damage and sent its beam onto the cornfield beyond the tree. The front of the driver’s side of the car had received the full force of the impact. Snow continued to fall, its insulation imposing an eerie quiet. Except for our heavy breathing and the slight tick of the Yugo’s engine, no sound reached my ears.

We gathered around Granger and looked through the shattered driver’s side window. Faint light from the moon revealed a young woman pinned to her seat by the steering column. She wasn’t moving.

“Are you all right?” Granger spoke through the window as he tried and failed to open the door. No response came from the woman who appeared to be, at best, unconscious. “Bob, give the door a try.”

While Kretchman put his bulk into the effort, I went around to the other side and opened the front passenger door. The dome light came on, illuminating the woman, and my fear became real.

The collision had driven the dashboard assembly, including the collapsible steering column, into her chest. Her unblinking eyes stared ahead as if expressing shock at the sudden catastrophe. Med school was still more than four years away for me, but I didn’t need medical training to diagnose the obvious.

Still, I felt for a pulse in her cool, lifeless wrist. “She’s dead,” I announced.

“Oh, my God!” Granger wailed. “What’re we going to do?” He banged his fist on the roof of the car. “Shit!”

From behind me, Webster said, “Look in the backseat, Jimmy.”

Though I’d thought my despair couldn’t get any worse, it climbed to a new level.

Webster opened the rear door, and I leaned in. The infant car seat lay askew but still restrained by the seat belt. The child in it was motionless, eyes closed. Oh, Jesus, no! I put my ear close to the baby’s mouth, and the sound of rhythmic breathing rewarded me. Thank God! I didn’t see any apparent injuries. Granger and Kretchman came around the car.

“I think the baby’s okay,” I said as I backed out and stood upright. “Call 9-1-1 on your car phone, Al.”

“Yeah… all right… good idea.” He started for his car then came back to us. “Oh, man. We should think about this first. I killed somebody, for Christ’s sake! Vehicular homicide is what they call it.” He shook his head. “I’m in big trouble, guys.”

“It was an accident,” Kretchman offered. “Bad weather conditions, slippery road. That car came out of nowhere.”

“And it only had the one taillight,” Webster added. “We’ll back you up, man.”

“Except they’ll say I was going too fast for the conditions, since I rear-ended her. Slam dunk there. And I was drinking. Unlike you guys, I’m eighteen, so I’m screwed both ways. I’m not allowed to drink, but legally I’m an adult. I am totally fucked!”

I couldn’t argue with that assessment, and apparently, the others couldn’t either as indecision paralyzed all of us. I glanced at the baby. We had to do something for it and soon.

“Even if I can stay out of jail and my old man doesn’t disown me, there goes law school. Think I could get into Georgetown or any other top school with this on my record?” Granger put his hands on the sides of his head. “Oh, man. What am I going to do?”

“So let’s get the hell out of here,” Webster said. “You gotta make that call because of the kid, but do it when we’re on the road and keep it anonymous.”

“I think the cops can trace those calls,” Granger replied. “Can’t take that chance. I need to find a pay phone.”

“What about the baby?” I asked. “We can’t just leave it here. If something happens to—”

“Uh-oh, car coming,” Kretchman said.

I looked to the east. The trees lit up from an approaching car that had not yet rounded the curve. We watched as the car came into view and then reached our location. I held my breath, but it continued past us without even slowing.

Maybe the snow had obscured the driver’s view. Maybe something else had distracted him. Maybe he had issues of his own and didn’t want to get involved in our problem. Whatever—his appearance on the scene emphasized our precarious position.

“We better get going before a Good Samaritan or a state trooper comes by,” Granger said.

“The baby?” I asked again.

Granger looked at the sleeping infant. “He’s got a warm blanket.” He reached in to tuck the wool fabric around the kid. “It’s not that cold. Gotta be above freezing.” He gazed at the sky. “And the snow is letting up.” The panic in his eyes told me whose welfare he was really considering. “The kid’ll be okay. He’s not even crying, Jimmy. I’ll call 9-1-1 as soon as we hit town. Twenty minutes, tops.” He headed to the Land Cruiser. “C’mon, guys, let’s book.”

Kretchman must have sensed my hesitation. “Jimmy?”

I didn’t know what to say.

Webster grabbed my arm. “C’mon, man. I don’t like this any better than you do, but we’re all in big shit here. Al’s right. This is the only way out for us.”

It wasn’t right to just up and bolt, leaving the mess behind us. Okay, it was Al’s mess, really. But Webster had a point. We were all involved. Even though I had only been a bystander, I wasn’t innocent. I had been drinking, too, had even given the driver a beer. Because of us, a woman lay dead, and her baby had lost its mother. A terrible thing.

Guilt was one thing. I’d have that regardless. Suffering real-world consequences was another matter. In the short term, I’d be grounded for sure. But I could imagine how this incident could forever mar my reputation. I’d be one of “those boys”—the drunken teenagers on a joyride who killed a woman. And Al, my buddy, was right. He would be in a shit-pot full of trouble, legal and otherwise, if this got out.

Self-defense and loyalty finally won the debate. We could do nothing for the woman now, and the baby would be fine, I told myself. I leaned in once more to check the baby and made sure the blanket was secured around his sleeping form. I closed the door and said, “Okay, let’s go,” then followed the others to the car.

About the Author: 6_15 John DeBoerBorn on Long Island, early childhood in New Jersey, then high school, college and medical school in Vermont. General surgery training in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Left Uncle Sam’s employ after nine years (lieutenant colonel) for private practice. Recently retired, I now have time to pursue what I’ve always enjoyed – writing.

In addition to my highly literate, published-author (non-fiction) parents, I’d have to say my greatest influence was my ninth-grade English teacher, who made it her mission to drill the rules of grammar into us.

Though my education in the sciences and subsequent surgical career left little time to hone my writing skills, I kept my hand in over the years, including the publication of scientific articles for surgical journals and my annual Christmas letter to family and friends. These folks were so impressed by my rapier wit, they urged, “You should write a book.” So I did.

I chose the thriller/suspense genre, because that has been my favorite category of novels to read. Plus, since these books usually contain ample sex and violence, I thought it would be the easiest genre to tackle, following the axiom, “You should write what you know.”

Goodreads | Red Adept Publishing

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Lei Crime Series – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The Lei Crime Series: eight novellas, by eight different authors, is based on Toby Neal’s vivid and captivating Lei Crime Series.

Each week in June this tour will explore two different books in the series. This week the spotlight is on two Mystery/Suspense titles: Hidden Poppies by M. L. Doyle and Saddle Road by J. L. Oakley .

The authors will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please click on the banner to see the other stops on this tour.

Nothing about this kidnapping makes sense.

An army colonel’s daughter isn’t a typical target, and that’s only the beginning. FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott knows that ‘unusual’ also means unpredictable and that translates to dangerous.

Just when they need to be at their sharpest, Agent Scott’s partner, Special Agent Ken Yamada suffers from personal distractions. He’s had to make painful sacrifices for his career. When the young girl’s abduction brings him face to face with one of those sacrifices, Major Chuck Mathews, Yamada begins to question his choices.

In their desperate search for the girl, the agents face foes willing to use deadly force to protect their secrets. But what was hidden before can now be revealed and the truth could change everything.

There’s more to Hawaii than pretty beaches.

When a body shows up in Maui’s Kahului Harbor, it looks like just another bad day for some poor soul in paradise. Detective Lei Texeira and Lieutenant Michael Stevens identify the victim as a well-respected veteran from Washington State. Soon, they find themselves in the middle of a charity scam where someone’s skimming money meant for returning veterans with PTSD. During the investigation, Stevens enlists the help of an old buddy from the Marine Corps, Tom Harleson. The clues lead Tom, Lei, and Stevens to an exotic animal hunting club on the Big Island where they encounter the killer on the high lava deserts of Saddle Road.

 

M. L. Doyle has served in the U.S. Army at home and abroad for more than two decades as both a soldier and civilian and calls on those experiences in much of her writing. The Master Sergeant Harper mystery series has earned numerous awards and five star reviews from readers who enjoy a strong female lead in a noir mystery which happens to involve military life.

Mary is the co-author of two memoirs; A Promise Fulfilled; the story of a Wife and Mother, Soldier and General Officer (Jan. 2013) and the memoir, I’m Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen—My Journey Home (Touchstone, 2010), which was nominated for an NAACP Image award.

Mary has also authored a series of four adult romance novellas in The Limited Partnerships series. (Sept.-Dec. 2013). And she is hard at work on a new paranormal mystery series she hopes to launch in the summer of 2015.

A Minneapolis, Minnesota native, Mary current lives in Baltimore. You can connect with Mary via email at mldoyleauthor@yahoo.com or go to her website, www.mldoyleauthor.com where you will find links to all of her other social media connections.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Lei-Crime-Hidden-Poppies-Novella-ebook/dp/B00VQWUCOK/

Janet Oakley grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After college, she worked her way west to the Hawaiian Islands. While going to school there, she met her future husband and for a time they lived on the Big Island. They moved to the Pacific Northwest where they raised three sons. An historian as well as an award winning author, her writings appear in various magazines, anthologies, and literary publications. Her historical novel, Tree Soldier, set in 1930s Pacific NW, won the 2012 EPIC ebook Award and 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize. An 2013 Everybody Reads chosen by Pacific NW librarians, Tree Soldier is popular with book clubs around the country. It’s prequel, Timber Rose, is on the short list for the 2014 Chaucer Award. The Jossing Affair set in WW II during is in edits for summer publication.

When not writing, Oakley demonstrates 19th century folkways at parks, gives talks, and presents history workshops to school age students. Saddle Road is her first mystery.

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/J.L.-Oakley/e/B004CF0W0W

Twitter @jloakley https://twitter.com/jloakley

Website and blog http://historyweaver.wordpress.com

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Lei-Crime-Saddle-Kindle-Novella-ebook/dp/B00VQWUE5C

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