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

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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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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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Perfectly Twisted by Kristine Mason – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_PerfectlyTwistedWhat do you get when you mix a snake-handling reverend, a necrophiliac, a cop and an ex-con? Something perfectly twisted…

Sound like the start of a bad joke? Not to Shane Monahan. The ex-con and newest recruit to the underground criminal investigation group, A.T.L. or Above the Law, has it bad for Collier County Deputy Beth Price. But ex-cons and cops don’t mix, especially when this particular ex-con is looking at going back to prison for his involvement with A.T.L.

All Beth wants is a fun distraction from the stress of her job and law school. She thinks she’s found that when she meets Shane during an airboat tour through the Florida Everglades. But Shane’s a felon, a man who could destroy her career as a deputy, and jeopardize her future as an attorney. She doesn’t know what to do—until dead bodies start showing up around the county.

When three abused corpses are found with snake remains inside them, the discovery brings a murderer out of retirement. The Reverend, as he calls himself, doesn’t like his kills being mimicked, especially by a man who abuses the dead—after all, the Reverend does have a reputation to uphold and a congregation to scam. Now it’s time to teach his copycat a deadly lesson…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Before Vlad dug himself into a deep hole, Shane touched Beth’s arm and motioned toward the wooden ramp leading to the dock. “Don’t mind Vlad,” he said, once they’d distanced themselves from the Russian.

“It’s kind of hard not to when the man said that you’d like to kiss me on the boat.”

“That’s not what he said.”

She stopped when they reached the dock. “That’s what I heard.”

Damn it. He was going to have to have a serious conversation with his brother about Vlad. “I apologize if Vlad made you uncomfortable. I never told him I wanted to kiss you. Vlad has a thing for the Kiss song Beth. He also does this weird thing with peoples’ names. He calls my brother Captain Ryan, and my future sister-in-law Asian Lola.”

“Why does he call her that?”

“Because she’s Asian.”

Beth laughed. “Isn’t Vlad the master of the obvious? I love it. Okay, so Vlad nicknamed me Kiss Beth and you don’t want to kiss me. Gotcha.”

“I didn’t say that.” Smooth, Monahan. Screw it. He wanted to see her away from the boat shop, take her out to dinner, find out more about her and, yes, kiss her.

When her lips tilted in a sexy smile, he relaxed. She turned and climbed onto the airboat, then settled on the cushioned bench seat. “For the record, I wouldn’t turn down a kiss from you,” she said, and reached for the headphones used to block the loud sound of the airboat.

Maybe not right now, but once Beth found out about his past, she would probably run in the other direction. What woman would want to kiss a convicted murderer?

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_PerfectlyTwistedKristine Mason is the bestselling author of the popular romantic suspense trilogies, C.O.R.E. Shadow and Ultimate C.O.R.E. She is currently working on her next trilogy, C.O.R.E. Above the Law, along with a series of Psychic C.O.R.E. novellas.

Although Kristine has published a few contemporary romance novels, she focuses most of her energy on her romantic suspense stories, which she loves for their blend of dark mystery/suspense and sexy romance. She is fascinated with what makes people afraid, and is famous for her depraved villains whose crimes present massive obstacles for her heroes and heroines to overcome.

Kristine has a degree in journalism from Ohio State University and lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, four kids, and two dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s chauffeuring kids, gardening, or collecting gnomes. Oh, and she makes a mean chocolate chip cookie!

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The Kaleidoscope by BK Nault – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Harold Donaldson unwillingly becomes the custodian of a beautiful, handcrafted kaleidoscope that changes the viewer’s future and becomes the focus of evil operatives intent on capturing the kaleidoscope for nefarious purposes. Brilliant but socially inept, Harold has distanced himself from any connection to his dysfunctional childhood. Abandoned by a father accused of his mother’s death, Harold trusts no one until the ’scope forces him to accept a circle of friends he must rely on. To protect all their lives from imminent danger, Harold must discover the source of the ’scope’s mysterious powers. Just as he is on the verge of learning how it works and why his past connects to his future, he must face disturbing truths he’s run from all his life.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She yanked off the scarf and dropped it into his lap, climbed up on the bench and began leaping from one bench to the next, her sandals slapping the concrete.

Harold was afraid she would slip and fall, and wondered whether he should first call someone, or check her for ABC’s if she did. But she jumped lightly, a sprite among the forest of potted birds of paradise. Airway, breathing, c…what was the C for?

“I’ve always wanted to do this! Haven’t you?” Where the benches were too far apart, Pepper scissor- kicked to the ground and danced. Harold could breathe as long as she was safely on the ground, her arms aloft, her body swaying. Then she would leap up again, the sun reflecting off bald spots between shags of spirally hair. And she laughed. Not a scary, maniacal sound, but a child-like whiffle that whisked Harold back to the elementary school when Edna Velasquez had tried to jump around the lunchroom but fell and broke her arm when she slipped in pudding. Harold was the only one Edna didn’t pester to sign her cast. Circulation. That was what C stood for.

Pepper collapsed next to him, panting, her caramel skin aglow. She was a china doll with kewpie lips and taffy-pulled earlobes. “That felt good, Harry.” She dabbed at her upper lip with the scarf, a tiny rattle in her breath. “You should dance more. We should all dance more.”

The warmth from her body awoke something in him that had long been dormant. Confused emotions tangled somewhere in his soul, and he met her gaze.

“What makes you dance, Harry? What stirs your soul?”

She’d dared to pull at the thread he’d buried underneath years of proving himself worthy, smart. Sane. “I find satisfaction in my work.”

“And what is that? No, wait. Let me guess. You’re a Pez-head designer. No, a sign spinner for discount plastic surgeons. I could use one of those by the way.”

He knew better than to acknowledge her cosmetic surgery remark. Honest answers to conversations beginning with “Am I pretty enough?” and “I’m thinking of getting work done” had never gone well with Georgia. “I’m a fraud investigator.”

About the Author:

Bev’s a graduate of Texas A&M University and is multi-published in both fiction and nonfiction. She’s the co-author of the best selling and award winning, “Lessons from the Mountain, What I Learned from Erin Walton,” with the actress Mary McDonough. A former business writer, she’s dabbled in many things from working as a theatre set dresser and props mistress to riding horses at pre-Olympic levels, judging for the Miss America/California pageants, and escorting her kids to work in Hollywood as professional extras. Married to her high school sweetheart, they’ve lived in two countries and 6 states, but promise they’re not running from the law. A member of the RWA and ACFW, she also blogs, tweets, and Pinterests when she’s not dreaming up new stories or planning a ’round the continent RV trip when said husband retires.

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Buy the book at The Wild Rose Press or Amazon.

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Donna Ball on Rejection — guest post and giveaway

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

On Rejection…

Rejection letters, as everyone knows, are part of being a writer, and I’ve certainly had my share. But my top five favorite rejection letters were all on the same book! I mean, really, how bad could it have been? Here are excerpts from the letters the publishers sent my agent:

Publisher # 1

Dear Emmy,
Thank you so much for sending me Deja Vu by Donna Ball. While I thought the characters were vivid and engaging, I ultimately found the plot weak and derivative…

Publisher # 2

Dear Emmy,
Thank you for allowing me to look at Deja Vu by Donna Ball. What a brilliant, original plot! But unfortunately, the characters were cardboard and the style completely off-putting…

Publisher #3

Dear Emmy,
I return herewith Deja Vu by Donna Ball. Although I am a huge fan of her style and find her voice original and compelling, I just can’t see this as a fit for our list…

Publisher # 4

Dear Emmy,
I must reluctantly pass on Deja Vu by Donna Ball. As you know, we have been looking for a book in this genre to complete our fall list, and I had great hopes this might be the one. While I thought the plot was very clever and the characters rich compelling, I found the writing style dull and unsophisticated…

Publisher #5

Dear Emmy,
Enclosed please find Deja Vu by Donna Ball. While I agree Ms. Ball is a very talented writer, and she certainly knows how to make characters come alive inside a taut, well-constructed plot, I honestly just didn’t like this book. I can’t exactly say why. Please keep us in mind for future projects….

Talk about not being able to win for losing! Deja Vu continued to be returned by publisher after publisher with such alacrity that you might’ve thought the envelop in which it was mailed contained toxic waste. Eventually I moved on to other projects, and asked my agent not to forward rejection letters to me any longer. They were just too confusing. But I like to use this experience as a cautionary tale to other writers who place too much emphasis on the opinions of publishing professionals. Sometimes editors just don’t know what they want (or don’t want, as the case may be).
But seriously! How bad could it have been??

Almost two years ago the sleepy little community of Dogleg Island was the scene of one of the most brutal crimes in Florida history. The only eye witnesses were a border collie puppy and a police officer. Since that time Flash has grown from a puppy into a vital part of the Dogleg Island Police Department, and has lived happily with the two people who rescued him on that horrible night: Deputy Sheriff Ryan Grady and Police Chief Aggie Malone.

Now the trial of the century is about to begin. The defendant, accused of slaughtering his parents in their beach home, maintains his innocence. Aggie and Ryan, the top witnesses for the prosecution, know he is lying. But only Flash knows the truth.

And with another murder to solve, a tangle of conflicting evidence to sort out, and a brutal storm on the way, the truth may come too late… for all of them.

 

Enjoy an excerpt:

If the call had come four minutes later, Aggie would have missed it. This close to end of shift, no one would have blamed her had she ignored it and headed on in, and in fact she considered doing just that. She glanced at her dashboard clock: 6:56 A.M. Then she saw the street sign coming up she muttered, “Crap.” She punched the radio mike. “Unit four, responding. ETA, thirty seconds.”

The radio crackled again. “Hey, Aggie, you still beachside?”

It was Ryan Grady, her morning relief for beach patrol. Relief was of course a relative word; he’d been nothing but a pain in the ass since she’d joined the Murphy County Sheriff’s Department eighteen months ago. She worried what it said about her that she was actually starting to get used to him—and worse, even to enjoy his inanities. Secretly, of course.

She switched on her flashers and made the turn onto Harbor Lane. The swirl of color bounced off the early morning fog, painting tree trunks and the tangled jungle of vacant lots in eerie explosions of blue. “Amazing powers of deduction, Sherlock. ETA now twelve seconds.” And she wasn’t even hurrying. The one thing she loved about Dogleg Island was that there was rarely any need to hurry. Very little was more than ten minutes away in any direction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Donna Ball is the author of over a hundred novels under several different pseudonyms in a variety of genres that include romance, mystery, suspense, paranormal, western adventure, historical and women’s fiction. Recent popular series include the Ladybug Farm series by Berkley Books and the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series. Donna is an avid dog lover and her dogs have won numerous titles for agility, obedience and canine musical freestyle. She divides her time between the Blue Ridge mountains and the east coast of Florida, and lives with a variety of four-footed companions. You can contact her at http://www.donnaball.net, or follow her on Facebook at Donna Ball Author Page.

FLASH is available at Amazon and other retailers: http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Donna-Ball/dp/0985774894

 

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Writing One Murder More by Kris Calvin – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcome Kris Calvin whose debut mystery One Murder More was released yesterday.

*****
Reading came naturally to me. Writing did not.

In college I studied economics and psychology. I wanted to be a community college professor, but couldn’t find a position. Divorced, with two young children, I needed a paycheck. It was a downtime in the economy and over several months I applied for 100 jobs. (I counted.) In the end, I was asked to interview at a newspaper, a childcare center and a statewide medical association. The last made me my only offer, to become their Director of Mental Health Policy.

The title “director” was evidently honorary, as I had no one to direct—like Yertle the Turtle, I was in charge of all I could see, which wasn’t much. But the job did require me to write. A lot. I analyzed research and laws regarding health care and wrote policy briefs and memos. More recently, I’ve been CEO of a nonprofit in children’s health active in politics and advocacy in Sacramento, California’s capital. I’ve also served as an elected official on my local school board. Both required a near-daily production of nonfiction writing. Still, despite reading two to three novels a week (my primary entertainment in downtime from my job or my kids), it didn’t occur to me to write fiction until three years ago, when I picked up Kate Atkinson’s mystery novel Case Histories.

Atkinson challenges her readers to engage across multiple stories that come together in the end. That book sparked something in me. I thought about my depth of experience in politics, and the insider stories I had to tell.

I sat down the next day, and wrote for three months. The result was the first draft of One Murder More. I was happy with it. However, there was a problem: evidently, it wasn’t any good. A development editor directed me to books like How to Write a Novel and How to Write a Mystery. I couldn’t believe that I had to go to the beginning, the very bottom to learn.

I’m not a crier, but I wept for a day.

Then I went back to work— I had no idea whether fiction/creative writing could be learned (similar to my experience with “business writing”), but I had things I wanted to share. I wanted to try.

That led to two years of writing and rewriting my original manuscript, attending conferences and workshops. The result is my debut novel, same title as the original draft, One Murder More, but a different book—even the identity of the murderer has changed.

I wasn’t a born writer, but I had stories to tell. I think that’s where it has to start—identify your stories. And know that you can learn a way to convey them. It might be through writing, poetry, music or art. If you’re like me when that happens it will be a wonderful feeling, like no other. And worth reaching for. (Book two, here I come…)

6_2 one murder moreIn Kris Calvin’s debut mystery One Murder More, a beautiful legislative aide is found stabbed to death in California’s Capitol building. Maren Kane, a lobbyist for a fledgling Sacramento-based toy company, is in the midst of a legislative fight that could make or break her career. She doesn’t have time for a coffee break let alone involvement in a murder investigation.

But when police arrest Maren’s colleague for the crime, she’s certain they have the wrong man. The cops suspect a crime of passion―love gone wrong. Maren knows that in the capital, money and power drive all things tragic and scandalous. Sex and love are little more than window-dressing.

But will she be able to prove her theory―and free her friend―before she becomes the next victim?

About the Author: 6_2 Kris CalvinA former local elected official, debut author Kris Calvin knows politics from the inside out. She lives minutes from Sacramento, capital city of California and has been honored by the State Assembly and the California Governor’s office for her leadership in political advocacy on behalf of children.

Educated at Stanford and UC Berkeley in psychology and economics, Kris Calvin uses her training to create “characters that all stand up in an emotionally rich and gripping novel” according to Kirk Russell, critically-acclaimed author of eight thrillers.

One Murder More is the first in Kris Calvin’s new Maren Kane mystery series. She is working on Maren Kane’s next adventure, A Timely Murder, the second novel in the series.

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Interview and Giveaway: Ellie Eden

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Ellie Eden, author of the romantic suspense Letting Evil In. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

Ellie started writing when she was a teenager, and her first book was published twelve years ago. She’s written more than 24 published books. They are written as Ellie Crowe; this romantic suspense book is written under a pen name (Ellie Eden). Letting Evil In, is based partly on real life and the chaos caused by Internet affairs.

“I found it fascinating and frightening that a laptop is a wide open window into your home. All sorts of people can come creeping in–people you would never, ever normally encounter,” Ellie explained. “My heroine, Kristi, gets caught in the fallout of her husband’s internet affair. Michael, the unfaithful husband, has spent the cold New Jersey winter in hot Brazilian chat rooms. His romance with Nara, a young drug dealer he would never have met in real life, exposes his family to terrible danger.”

She spent a year researching the book reading newspapers and magazine articles about Brazil and crime in Brazil. She also visited South America to get the flavor of the places she was writing about and talked to Brazilians.

“What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing the book?” I wondered.

“For some weird reason it was easier to write about the bad guys. I really loved writing about Nara and her world. I loved her casual and quirky attitude to life.”

She choose romantic suspense because it’s the genre she enjoys reading.

“Those are the books I always read – the hot alpha hero who makes you melt, the dangerous situation that keeps you breathless,” she explained. “I think the next best thing to making love is reading or writing about it. In Letting Evil In I found that one of my bad guys was surprisingly hot too. In real life, maybe not so much so! But on paper, safe in a book – maybe! And then there are all the fascinating things that can and will happen to the hero and heroine. That’s why I love Romantic Suspense.”

She’s also written a number of travel books about Hawaii. Those books too, she researched thoroughly in archives and in libraries and online.

“When writing a book, I feel totally in that world. I persuade my husband and kids to discuss the characters and the plot constantly! Their views lent enormously to the research.”

I asked her if she heard from her readers much.

“I really appreciate hearing from readers. I love people who take the time to write a book review. It makes me feel bad in a way as before I became a writer I would read and love a book but never think of writing a review. I do now. My favorite people, friends and strangers, are those that are kind enough to review my books. And when they actually discuss the plot animatedly, it’s the best!,” she assured me.

She shared her favorite fan letter with us:

Gripping story with well-described locations! Other reviews have mentioned the thrilling plot (very true!), but I also want to note the fabulous descriptions in the book. This book has an amazing sense of place. The story takes place in New Jersey, Florida, Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian jungles, and each location is described in such detail that you could easily picture it in your mind. (Including the mausoleum—eek!) The author truly paints pictures of the locations with her words. Highly recommended!

She always wanted to be a writer. Since she grew up in a very small town without much to do, she read.

“If I am not in the middle of a book I feel as if something is missing in my life,” she told me. “A book to escape into, whether I’m reading it or writing it, is another world that I need.”

“Ebook or print?” I asked, “And why?”

“My travel, children’s and middle grade books were all print books first and had a happy time on shelves in bookstores. I miss that. I miss the book signings. I miss visiting the bookstore to check if my books are in stock and sneakily rearranging them so they have a nice visible position on the shelves. You can’t do that when your ebook is sitting up there on a cloud. My romantic suspense book has started out as an ebook and I hope will shortly be brought out as a paperback.”

“What was the scariest moment of your life?” I asked.

“In my twenties I shared a house in Sydney, Australia, with another girl. In the middle of the night, my bedroom door opened. I saw the dark silhouette of a large man approaching the bed. He was holding a flashlight. His hand covered the light and it glowed red. I didn’t know whether or not to scream. What if I screamed and no one came? I didn’t know if my roommate was home. I didn’t know the neighbors and their house was dark. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. He left the room. I could see him and his flashlight moving around the living room. I didn’t know what to do. Should I try and climb out of the window? I was wearing just a flimsy PJ top. And if he heard a noise, he might return to my bedroom. Earlier, I’d been wearing a hairpiece of ringlets to a party. Not being very tidy, I’d left it on the floor. I tiptoed over, grabbed it, and put it on the pillow and then arranged my quilt to look as if I was in the bed. I thought if he attacked the hairpiece, I’d know I might as well scream. Otherwise I was better off silent. Then I spent the night quivering under the bed. It was a great relief finally, at dawn, to hear my roommate calling – Hey, why’s the front door open?”

Finally, I asked, “Could you ever co-author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?”

“I co-authored a book, Hardcore Inventing, with a volcanologist and inventor. He is quite the alpha male and the book featured his and other inventors experiences and advice. He was fun to work with as he let me run with it. Otherwise, I find it hard to write with other authors. A publisher once asked me and two friends to write a book with a story featuring a line of children’s products he wanted to bring out. Everyone had a different thing they wanted to do first. One friend wanted to consult an attorney. One wanted to work on the characters first. I wanted to work on the plot first. Eventually we each wrote out own books and submitted all three to the publisher! Although he paid us, none of the books were ever published. So that wasn’t a very successful experience!”

Enjoy watching the book video:

5_28 LettingEvilIn_ByEllieEden-800x1200 (1)When Michael goes on a photographic assignment to Brazil and fails to return, Kristi and her son fly to Rio de Janeiro, desperate to find him. Instead she finds that during the cold New Jersey winter, her husband has spent his time in steamy chat rooms with Nara, a young woman desperate for attention and involved in the Rio drug world.

As she searches for Michael in exotic but crime-ridden Rio, Kristy finds herself way out of her league. She turns to Italian-Brazilian Federal Agent Tony Lamazzo for help. As the harsh truth of her marriage brings a dose of reality to her life, she finds the temptation of getting closer to the strong, capable—and totally hot—Tony difficult to resist. She’s in Brazil on the Day of Dead, a day when Brazilians go wild. Why shouldn’t she go wild with Tony, for just one night, before returning home to start the new life alone she’ll have to learn to make for herself?

But when her son vanishes too, Kristi doesn’t know where to turn. Michael’s affair with drug-dealing Nara has exposed them all to the murderous wrath of a ruthless drug lord, and while she longs to trust Tony, she can’t trust his powerful and politically corrupt family. But in the dangerous slums and rainforests of Brazil, the danger mounts for both Kristi and her son, and a cold-blooded enemy has an agenda of his own. If she trusts Tony, she might save her son. Or it might just get them all killed…

About the Author:5_28 eyes photo Ellie Eden thinks the next best thing to hot romance is reading or writing about it. And she finds it even better to be somewhat scared or totally petrified at the same time. That’s why she loves Romantic Suspense. She favors strong, protective alpha heroes, but finds murderous but good-looking bad guys fun too, at least on paper. And she loves to escape into an exotic, preferably crime-ridden, location.

In another life, Ellie Eden is the best-selling author of two travel books and a number of award-winning biographies about mostly alpha heroes. She lives in Hawaii, spending a lot of time with family in California, and has two daughters and a son.

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