No Reason to Hide by P.H. Turner – Spotlight and Giveaway

 


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 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.

A Special Note from the Author:

Amazon’s Kindle Scout program has accepted my latest mystery, No Reason to Hide. Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published by Kindle Press. Please click my link https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3J7NFQQ1E13CJ   and vote for my novel by clicking the Nominate Me button. My book stays in the Kindle Scout program until May 22.You’re not committing to purchase the book. As a thank you from Amazon and me, you will receive a free ecopy of No Reason to Hide if the book is accepted for publication. Please share with friends and thank you!

Evil knows your name,

Navajo cop Jessica Akee finds the body of a young male sprawled in the weeds behind a convenience store on the Reservation. What at first looks like just another gang killing is a far more disturbing murder. On loan from the Phoenix PD, top cop Charlie Stone partners with Jessica to find the killer. She harbors a dark secret, but Charlie isn’t going to let her keep it…

he extends his hand,

Jessica’s younger brother runs with a Native gang, dabbles in rituals best left alone, and ignores Jessica’s pleas for him to turn away from the razor’s edge between good and evil.

and charms you into the abyss.

When her brother lifts the veil between the two worlds, the Shadow Warrior slips in seeking revenge. All that is human of Ricky is stripped away, and Jessica believes the last card has been played, but the Shadow Warrior turns his vengeance on her. Can Charlie save her before the demon claims Jessica as his own and returns to the bottom of the abyss?

Enjoy an excerpt:

My younger brother’s grin was triumphant. “Don’t play yourself or me for stupid. I’m a Cobra.”

“Where were you last night?”

“Oh, so now you’re not my loving caretaker. You’re a cop.” He jacked his pants up to his waist. Buttoning and zipping with only one good hand was hard for him.

“Don’t you ever talk to me like that. Knowing where you were last night is caring for you. Answer me.”

He barked, “I was home. Mom was there. She can vouch for me. She’s working days.”

If Mom was working day shifts, she could back him up—if he was telling the truth. If he wasn’t, well, I didn’t want to think about it. “I’ll ask Mom.”

“Yeah”—he sneered—”you do that. Check up on the little bro.”

“Stop acting like a jackass. You have a family who loves you, and you have opportunities if you don’t screw them all up. Here, throw your shirt around your shoulders. I’m taking you home, and then I’m going back to work.”

“Is Mom going to be at home?” He sounded like a little boy, and his eyes were rounded with fear.

“Mom will be home after work. Would you like me to pick you up a burger? You can eat before you go to bed. I’ll call and check on you until Mom gets home.”

“Yeah, I’m hungry.”

Still not a thank you, but less mouthy. He needed help getting up on the running board and into my police unit. I drove through Burger King and then on to Mom’s house. She lived on the Nation in a weather-beaten single-wide where the three of us had grown up. I vividly remembered the day the front door banged shut behind my Dad. What I hadn’t known was his back was the last I would ever see of him.

About the Author:

I call Austin, Texas home now after working on the East and West coasts, the Rocky Mountains, and an island in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve come full circle to live and work close to the farm my family settled in the 1850’s.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and years in the news business provided lots of peculiar characters and stories to write about. My books are set in my favorite places, the desert canyons and high mountains of the American West.

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The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_TheMadnessOfMercuryAstrologer Julia Bonatti never thought her chosen profession would bring danger into her life, but her outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of San Francisco’s recently-arrived cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. The followers of the power hungry preacher will stop at nothing to quell the voices of those who would stand in his way and Julia’s at the top of his list. She’s willing to bet the charismatic Reverend is a Mercury-ruled individual, and she knows all too well that Mercury wasn’t just the messenger of the gods, he was a trickster and a liar as well.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The second floor hallway was dim, lined with dark wood wainscoting and lit only by a few wall sconces leading to the top of a curving staircase. A stained glass window filtered outside light onto the landing. It was only mid-afternoon, but the sky had grown dark, muting the brilliant reds and blues of the window. Heavy Pacific storms were closing in from the north and San Francisco would be buffeted by wind and rain through the holidays.

At the foot of the stairs, I called to Dorothy. She didn’t answer but a sweet and toasty aroma filled the foyer. I followed the short hallway toward the rear of the house and pushed through the swinging door to the kitchen. At the other end of the room, a wall of windows overlooked the back garden and beyond that, a view of the city and the bay to the north. Black clouds, roiling and heavy with rain, were visible beyond the Golden Gate and the Marin headlands. The storm would hit within a few hours.

Dorothy worked at the center island, kneading dough, a full length white apron tied over her loose slacks and long-sleeved red sweater. She looked up and smiled then spread her dough carefully over the board. An apple and cinnamon mixture was warming on the stove top and my stomach was reminding me I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. “What are you making?”

“Apple pastries, little turnovers. I make them every Christmas. My aunts love them. I thought it might cheer Evandra up especially . . .” The sound of a gasoline-powered mower drowned out the rest of Dorothy’s response.
Dorothy glanced toward the windows. “Damn. What’s he doing?”

“The gardener?”

“Yes. Luis.” Dorothy walked to the windows and peered out into the garden. “He probably wants to finish the lawn before the rain starts.”

A low stone wall formed the perimeter of the back garden, delineating an edge where the ground dropped off to a steep cliff marked with rocky outcroppings. I joined Dorothy at the window and followed her line of sight. The power mower was running, unattended, butting against the stone wall. A red bandanna hung from the vibrating handlebar of the machine.

Dorothy looked puzzled. “He shouldn’t leave that thing like that. Where did he get off to?” She tossed her dishtowel on the table, heaved a sigh and opened the back door to the garden.

“Luis . . . Luis,” she called.

I followed her out the door and joined her on the lawn. The wind was whipping fiercely across the hillside and the sky had grown even darker. In the distance, the sea churned black in the bay. Dorothy’s apron billowed like a sail in the wind. She strode purposefully across the grass to the mower, and hit the control, silencing the monster. She turned her head to speak to me and hesitated, then turned back and peered over the low wall. Something had caught her eye. She was still for a moment and then took two steps backward.

“What is it, Dorothy?”

Her face had drained of color. “It’s Luis. He’s down there.” Her voice quivered. “I think he’s dead.”

Meet the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPic_TheMadnessOfMercuryConnie di Marco is the author of the upcoming Zodiac Mystery series from Midnight Ink featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. The Madness of Mercury, first in the series, will be released on June 8, 2016. Writing as Connie Archer, she’s also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in both The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

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Discovering Characters by Alison Bruce – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Alison Bruce 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.

Discovering Characters

By Alison Bruce

 

Character-TeeI don’t create characters—at least not my main ones—so much as I discover them. They seem to breed in the petri dish of my unconscious mind. They are the offspring of family, friends, enemies, frenemies; people in movies, on TV shows and out of books. I should wear a t-shirt warning people: “Anything you say or do may be used in the creation of a character.”

I have literally dreamed up some of my favourite characters, including Kate Garrett and Jake Carmedy of Deadly Legacy and Deadly Season.  When we dream, our minds churn up random thoughts and images then strings them together in new ways. Other people may sleep on a problem and wake up with an answer. I wake up with a character—or the beginning of one.

Once I’ve discovered my new characters, I have to investigate them. We’re all shaped, not only by our genetic code, but by the time, place and culture of where we live. That can be researched.

Kate and Jake haunted my dreams for a few nights before I decided I had to write about them. I knew Jake was a warrior. (In my dreams he was Wolverine of the X-Men.) I decided to make him a former soldier. I researched the Canadian Armed Forces. Me being a bit of a research junkie, I covered all branches including Special Forces. (This came in handy when I wrote A Bodyguard to Remember.) Then I started looking at some of the worst places Canadians have served. Jake hasn’t talked about his tours of duty, but I have to have a sense of what he was doing before he became a private investigator.

Kate started off being me if I was a police detective. (My dream, remember?) The trouble was, I knew much more about the Canadian Armed Forces than I knew about Canadian Police practices. I had briefly been a soldier. I had never been a cop.

I knew I had to talk to a real police officer. While I tried to hunt one down, I read everything I could about the RCMP, OPP, and Guelph and Toronto Police Services. This is not an easy task. When I finally managed it (a story for another time) other characters came to me. Once I got started, there was no stopping me. I was button-holing cops in coffee shops, parking lots and, once, at a family funeral. Mostly I’d ask specific questions that wouldn’t take up too much of their time. None of my law enforcement characters are based on any one person I interviewed, but their stories, appearance and mannerisms got added to the petri dish that would spawn several characters in three of my books, but especially the Carmedy and Garrett Mysteries.

MediaKit_BookCover_DeadlySeasonLast month Kate Garrett was a Police Detective. Now she’s a Pet P.I.?

Kate recently inherited half her father’s private investigation company and a partner who is as irritating as he is attractive. Kate has been avoiding Jake Carmedy for years, but now her life might depend on him.

Kate and Jake are on the hunt for a serial cat killer who has mysterious connections to her father’s last police case. Kate’s father had been forced to retire when he was shot investigating a domestic disturbance. Is the shooter back for revenge? And is Kate or Jake next?

Other Books by Alison Bruce

Deadly Legacy
Under A Texas Star
Hazardous Unions (with Kat Flannery)
A Bodyguard to Remember

About the Author: Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. She is the Canadian author of mystery, romantic suspense and historical western romance novels. Three of her novels have been finalists for genre awards. Deadly Season is a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Awards – Best Novella.

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Sometimes the Past Should Stay There by Carolyn Arnold – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carolyn Arnold will be awarding  $25 PayPal to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sometimes the past should stay there…
During the time I was working on Violated, I went through a hard time on a personal level. If any of you reading this have a pet, you know that they are so much more than that. They are family. Well, my female beagle, Chelsea, was in a fight for her life. When I first took her to the vet, I had just expected them to say she had a bug or an infection and that a dose of medication would have her feeling well. But that wasn’t to be the case. In fact, the vet didn’t even know what was wrong with her, at first. It took blood testing to show the underlying cause of her health issues and the prognosis didn’t look good. Yet, she was only five and a half years old. We weren’t ready to lose her; she was family. And there was a spark of hope…

For two weeks, we were at the vet’s almost every day getting her fluids. She fought courageously, even bounced back, but, unfortunately, not to her full health, and then had a quick decline. Sadly, the time came and we had to say good-bye to her. Needless to say with her passing, I went through the what-ifs and if-onlys and they weighed heavily on me for some time. And this was even knowing—from a logical standpoint—that we had done everything possible.

But as I went back to my manuscript, I reflected on the quote that I had chosen. Now, please know, that I’ve never chosen a quote for my books before, but I was moved to do so with Violated, and that was before I knew Chelsea was unwell.
Here is the quote:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” —Søren Kierkegaard

Wow! There would be no advantage to revisiting the past. Nothing could change the outcome and the fact that I couldn’t bring her back. And really, that’s the premise behind my latest release: we can’t do anything about past choices, they are behind us, all we can do is move forward. This isn’t to say that the what-ifs and if-onlys won’t wash over us at times, but we don’t need to let them drown us. And it doesn’t mean that the pain or heartbreak will completely disappear, but hopefully we will realize we can choose to release some of this.

Regarding the loss of Chelsea, I’m still working through my grief, and there are times I can still cry over her (like now, while writing this post), but I am full of gratitude for the time I had with her. And she gave me and my husband everything she had, she spent her entire life with us, and how could we ever ask for more than that? She was a sweet, caring beagle who will never be forgotten. She’s why Violated is dedicated “To Chelsea.”

Sometimes the past should stay there…

The murder is one of the most heinous Brandon Fisher has ever seen, but that’s not why it has his and his colleagues’ attention. The FBI’s interested because the prime suspect is one of their own, Paige Dawson.

But Paige didn’t go to Valencia, California to kill anyone. She had set out on “vacation”—her new lover in tow—only to confront the man who had raped her friend twenty-some years ago. While the hands of the law are tied, she wants him to face the fact that he destroyed a young woman’s life and know that, as an FBI agent, she’ll be watching his every move. But instead of accomplishing her goal, she wound up in the back of a police cruiser.

Now Paige must face off with a hard-nosed detective determined to stick a murder charge to a fed. But with the trained eyes of the FBI on the case, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the evidence lends itself to a serial killing, not an isolated incident. And as long as the local authorities are focused on Paige, the real murderer is still out there, possibly waiting to strike again…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Paige blinked the tears from her eyes. It couldn’t be. She wiped her wet eyes, her gaze not leaving the necklace in her hand. The chain was a common style, but the heart pendant and the letter N…

Still, it didn’t mean this one had been Natasha’s…

Paige swallowed. But she remembered when Natasha had realized she’d lost it. She had dropped on the end of the hotel bed as if all the weight of the world were piled on her shoulders. It was the morning after the rape.

Tears now fell freely down Paige’s cheeks. There was no doubt in her mind that the necklace she now held had been Natasha’s.

Paige cried as the past washed over her and continued to do so until rage replaced her sadness.

Somehow, she would make this son of a bitch pay for what he had done. She was past the point of keeping within the shades of the law and would circumvent legal means if that’s what it took to hold him responsible.

She clasped the necklace around her neck. Had Ferris kept it as some sort of sick notch in his bedpost? If so, that showed a psychology to him that confirmed he was a repeat offender. And if that was his mentality, prison wouldn’t have rehabilitated him, and that meant there were likely date-rape drugs here to prove it.

She stormed from the bedroom and toward the bathroom.

Beyond the point of caring anymore if she left her fingerprints behind, she emptied the contents of the medicine cabinet, and his toiletries now filled the sink.

Nothing.

She rushed back to his bedroom and tore it apart. The drugs were here somewhere. A man like Ferris wouldn’t stop raping…

Several minutes passed as she searched, and when she was finished, his bedroom looked like a tornado had struck. But still no pills.

Maybe she was being ridiculous, hoping to find something where there was nothing. And even if she found the drugs, what did she hope to accomplish? While possession of date-rape drugs was illegal, her means of getting them would make them inadmissible in any court. But she couldn’t stop. All she could see was her friend’s body in that casket—the way her face, even in death, showed her tortured existence.

She hurried downstairs to the kitchen. There was no way she was stopping now.

She searched each cupboard and drawer, pulling out items and rooting to the back. She had one place left to look, and as she opened it, she saw that it was a catchall drawer. Stuffed with anything and everything from a meat thermometer, to sandwich bags, to tin foil, to… She pulled out a sleeve of pills. She flipped them and read the stamp on the silver backing. Allergy pills.

She continued working through the contents of the drawer until she reached the last item. It was an Aleve bottle. That was an inconvenient place to keep a pain reliever… She opened it and looked inside. It was only the medication. She was still holding the bottle in her hand when she recalled the one on the counter. She exchanged one for the other, not about to give up. Just because the bottle was labeled one way… She twisted the lid.

Police sirens wailed somewhere nearby, and she paused. Her instinct told her to leave this alone and get out of his house immediately. But it was too late, the whooping sirens were on top of her now, and then the patio door slid open on the other side of the dining room. Two police officers entered the house, guns drawn.

“Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department! Put your hands on your head!”

“What’s—” The strength drained from her legs, and her head spun. She was under arrest?

Oh God. That woman must have called the police.

“I said, put your hands on your head!” the same officer shouted.

Another officer went around behind her, stripped her of her gun, passed it off to the second officer, and proceeded to cuff her. “You have the right to remain silent—”

“This isn’t what it looks like.”

“It looks like you’re ransacking the house of a dead man.”

A dead man?

“I’m an FBI agent. I can explain—”

“You can do that down at the station.”

About the Author:

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and beagle. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nesly will be awarding a signed paperback copy of When The Serpent Bites to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_WhenTheSerpentBitesFrederick Starks has it all—a gorgeous wife who was his high school sweetheart, three beautiful children, a mansion and cars others envy, millions in the bank, respected in his community, admired by his employees, loved and respected by loyal friends. He revels in the hard-earned power and control he’s acquired. As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” which Starks discovers when gut-wrenching betrayal by his wife sends him over the edge and into a maximum security prison. There, Starks is a new “fish,” stripped of nearly everything he’s always relied on. In that place, where inmates and guards have their own rules and codes of conduct, Starks is forced to face the darker side of life, and his own darker side, especially when the betrayals, both inside and outside the prison, don’t stop. He must choose which path to follow when the line between right and wrong becomes blurred: one that leads to getting out of the physical and emotional hellhole he finds himself in or one that keeps him alive.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

How often his grandfather had repeated that old adage while Starks was growing up. Perhaps that was the seed of the twisted tree his and Kayla’s marriage had become, he thought. They’d each ignored the meaning of that phrase intended to make reasonable people pause before they acted. They’d both failed miserably.

Somewhere in the recesses of his mind he recalled hearing someone say, though he couldn’t remember who, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they will.”

Damn easy to say. Not so easy to practice.

His father’s absence from his life was one he never meant to copy, and certainly never in this way. Starks’s father stayed with his wife and son until Starks was three. Then he left; removed himself from their lives, as though he’d never existed.

Starks’s mother had struggled to support them. When Starks was five, she moved them into her father’s house, at his insistence, and where several other relatives lived within a small radius.

His grandfather had never gone beyond fourth grade—he’d quit school to help his family with their farm, which they lost—and was why he, along with his daughter, was strict with Starks about education. That time had formed habits and beliefs about a work ethic, which he demonstrated to a young Starks by rising each morning at five to get some chores done and to get to work a half hour earlier than his 7 a.m. shift at the clothing factory. He woke his grandson as well.

A sleepy six-year-old Starks asked, “Why do you get up so early. Why do I have to get up too?”

“Better to start early, Freddy. You get a lot done that way.”

“But why do you go to work so early?”

“I go a half hour early because I don’t own the factory. If I owned the factory, I’d go two hours early. It’s a discipline you want to practice. You want to take good care of your family when you’re a man, don’t you? Want them to be proud of you, don’t you?”

“I guess. Can I have some cereal?”

The old man poured cereal into a bowl. “You practice now so it becomes natural to you later.” He added milk. “Practice now to build stamina and character. A man’s character’s his calling card in life.”

Every weekend, holiday, and summer break, no matter the weather, Starks did yard work and chores at his home and for a few older relatives. His services were unpaid—“So you learn the true value of being paid for your labors”—his grandfather told him. The older and stronger he got, the more work the old man found for him to do, until Starks was legally old enough to get one or more part-time jobs that paid. He was allowed to keep a small amount of what he earned to use as walking around money. The rest went into savings.

The other relatives, for the most part, were old-school. This included how they felt about divorce: It just wasn’t done. This, however, didn’t prevent husbands from cheating on their wives and not being bothered about doing so. Even if wives felt shamed by their husbands’ infidelities, they shared the belief that it was even more shameful to divorce, and equally shameful to remarry. How many times had he listened to these matters discussed by the older relatives over coffee at their kitchen tables? They’d practically spoon-fed such beliefs to him.

Starks’s mother, Lynn, remarried anyway. The relatives showed leniency in her situation, since her husband had abandoned her and her child. It was a short-lived union, lasting long enough to provide Starks with two stepsisters for a couple of years. The three children had been close, until the divorce and his stepsisters’ move with their father to the opposite coast ended any interaction.

He still believed the philosophy of the men in his family, his role-models: satisfy your curiosity and appetites; no point in going hungry when life’s a buffet.

They should have told him to be discreet.

And he should have listened to his family’s initial opinion about Kayla.

About the Author: Nesly Clerge received his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, and later pursued a doctoral degree in the field of chiropractic medicine. Although his background is primarily science-based, he has finally embraced his lifelong passion for writing. Clerge’s debut novel, When the Serpent Bites, will be available in 2015, with the sequel to follow in 2016. His debut novel explores choices, consequences, and the complexities of human emotions, especially when we are placed in a less-than-desirable setting. When he is not writing, Clerge manages several multidisciplinary clinics. He enjoys reading, chess, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his significant other and his sons.

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Killer Pursuit by Jeff Gunhus – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jeff will be awarding a $10 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_KillerPursuitWhen a secret webcam is found in the Georgetown bedroom of a murdered high-society call girl, everyone in Washington, DC wants the recording…especially the killer.

After a high-society call girl is brutally murdered in her Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The second is a webcam with an encrypted connection…and no-one knows who’s on the other end. Whoever has the recordings has embarrassing leverage against some of the most powerful men in DC, not to mention a video of the murder showing the identity of the killer.

FBI Special Agent Allison McNeil is asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record investigation of the murder because of the murder’s similarity to a case she worked a year earlier. Allison knows the most direct path to apprehending the killer is to find the videos, but rumors that the victim’s client list may include some of Washington’s most powerful men makes her doubt the director’s motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she’s not the only one pursuing the recording…but that the most aggressive person racing against her might be the murderer himself.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Allison McNeil tensed when she spotted the first shadow dart through the mist and take cover behind a tree. In the early-morning light it took her a while to pick out all six members of the Hostage Rescue Team approaching the cabin, but within a minute she could clearly see the tactical team converging on their target.

The small building stood on a rise, up from the swampy, flood-prone land around it. Wood-slated walls tilted precariously inward, twisting the windows into deformed rectangles. Moss and dead leaves covered the roof. The place smelled and looked like decay, well on its way to inevitable reclamation by the weeds and vines choking the cabin to a miserable death.

And, if Allison was right, the place deserved what it got. Hell, if she was right, she had half a mind to take a match to the place after everything was done.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_KillerPursuitJeff Gunhus is the author thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 100 on Amazon and have been Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

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The Purse by Julie A. Burns – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Julie will be awarding 1 printed book of The Purse or 2 ebooks (The Purse and a second of their choice) from RRPI to a randomly drawn winner (international) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When Lydia Blackwell visits her dying father for the last time, he reveals the deeply hidden truth about her mother. After the funeral, the stranger Derek Meade gifts her with a gorgeous antique purse. But before she has the chance to connect with the man who knew her father intimately, Lydia finds Derek murdered in his home.

Lieutenant Sonja MacIntosh is assigned to investigate Mr. Meade’s death, but her career on the force never prepared her for Lydia Blackwell. As Sonja works to solve the murder, Lydia takes the greatest risk of her life in leaving Chicago to search for clues to her mother’s past. Their instant attraction surprises them both, but even through the chaos Lydia can’t deny the intensity of her feelings for the strong willed Lieutenant.

Lydia’s possession of the antique purse throws her already chaotic life into a whirlwind of kidnapping, blackmail, vengeful mob bosses, and mind-numbing revelations. Through it all, Lydia must find the strength to accept herself – and those closest to her – despite their darkest secrets.

Enjoy an excerpt:

At thirty-eight, Lydia Blackwell was a striking woman, taller than most, but not quite six-foot, with long, flowing black hair and hazel eyes in which many men could lose themselves. Many men, however, would not. It took several years for Lydia to realize that men didn’t make her heart beat faster. It wasn’t until college that she discovered her real self, thanks to a beautiful, blonde study-partner. Something in her had captured Lydia’s heart and she was never the same again. To many of her friends, it had just been “experimenting”. But this was Lydia’s life, her soul, and her very being. Still, it wasn’t everything.

For years, Lydia kept her innermost thoughts and her secret life to herself. Her father would never have understood her way of thinking—of being. It was possible he could have made the assumption. After all, there were no men around and no children. There were so many things she couldn’t discuss with her father, nothing resembling emotions, or even people about whom she’d felt emotional. No, nothing like that. Certainly not even Danielle. Oh Danielle. Lydia’s mind drifted away as she traveled the open road closer to her father’s house.

Danielle Baldwin certainly had issues, but issues were Lydia’s specialty. Lydia was a psychotherapist and ran her own practice in a posh suburb of Chicago. Five years had passed since she first saw Danielle smile, and now Lydia held therapy groups out of her home. So much had changed, yet somehow the feelings remained the same.

About the Author:

Julie A. Burns is a native Iowan born in Marshalltown, Iowa and raised in Davenport, Iowa. After her parent’s divorce at age 7, she took to writing, whether it was her diary or poems about people she met or situations that bothered her. After graduating from high school in 1983, she spent time working as a Nurse’s Aide in different nursing homes in Iowa. In 1989, she gave birth to a daughter, Brittany and raised her as a single parent. In the same year, she enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1994. Since then, Julie has spent time working with developmentally disabled adults and the mentally ill throughout Iowa and also in Wyoming, where she lived for 6 years. Julie currently lives in Waterloo, Iowa with her spouse. When she’s not writing, she enjoys being a grandmother to 3 year old Sophie.

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Porcelain Doll by Joe Cosentino – Q&A

Joe Cosentino has just released the second book in the Jana Lane mystery series, Porcelain Doll, and has stopped by to visit with us.

Can you tell us a little bit about creating the Jana Lane mystery series?

As a child I loved child stars like Shirley Temple, Hayley Mills, and Patty Duke, seeing their movies over and over. So I created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL the secret behind that attack is exposed.

In PORCELAIN DOLL, it is 1982 and Jana is thirty-nine years old, living in a mansion in Hyde Park, New York. She makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo. The other suspects include Jana’s James Dean type young co-star, her older John Wayne type co-star, her children’s Eve Harrington type nanny, the film’s gossipy makeup and hair artist, a local reverend trying to stop the film’s production, and Jason’s agent.

In SATIN DOLL (not yet released), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the ex-professional football player detective.

In CHINA DOLL (not yet released), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off.

Through the course of the books, Jana not only solves the mysteries, but also reclaims the courage and fortitude she had as a child. This is an important message for all of us. As one reviewer wrote, she starts out as a wounded bird, and ends as tiger.

Was PAPER DOLL well received?

Yes, here are a few of the rave reviews: “Paper Doll is a superbly crafted mystery with an eclectic cast of characters that will engage you and elicit some very emotional responses as you are completely caught up in the events that unfold in these pages. Everyone has secrets and the people in Paper Doll have them in spades!” Fresh Fiction

“If you like novels that are filled with new and old Hollywood, and a range of sub-plots, you are going to love this!” Saguaro Moon Reviews

“I liked that there was enough evidence for each of the suspects to keep me guessing until the very end.” Molly Lolly Reviews

“Joe Cosentino knows how to keep his readers’ interest with every page.” Universal Creativity Digital Magazine

“The setting, the characterization and the plot keep you turning the pages.” The Book Mistress

“Joe Cosentino has crafted an engaging tale of secrets, lies and deceit set in that crazy, ego driven scene called Hollywood.” Deb Sanders

“Mr. Cosentino has produced a masterpiece of mystery” “The story gripped me from the start and there were enough twists and turns, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, to keep hold of me until the end of the book.” “Great book, can’t wait for book 2.” Readers’ Favorite

Who is your favorite character in PORCELAIN DOLL? And why?

Jana’s agent, Simon, is my favorite character for five reasons. He is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, loyal to Jana, and most importantly, I want to play him in the movie version!

Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write? And why?

Reverend Charlton, the reverend protesting Jana’s film, was difficult to write since he is so frightening. I could never understand why some people use religion to try to attack and demonize others.

Do you think Christians would be offended by his character?

I sure hope not. Jana seems like a true Christian to me since she tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help the downtrodden and outcasts. Reverend Charlton doesn’t seem very Christian to me since he uses his power and wealth to demean others.

Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? And why?

Jana’s young co-star, Trevor, was fun since he has such a huge ego and is certainly a rebel without a cause

You’ve acted with Bruce Willis (A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM onstage), Nathan Lane (THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT onstage), Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T Industrial), Holland Taylor (ABC-TV movie MY MOTHER WAS NEVER A KID), Charles Keating (NBC’s ANOTHER WORLD), and Jason Robards (Commercial Credit Computer commercial) to name a few. Did you use your background as an actor to write PORCELAIN DOLL?

Definitely! As one reviewer of PAPER DOLL wrote, I used my knowledge of show business to devilish ends. Actually, I used my background in each of the Jana Lane novels, since I know the ins and outs on a movie set. Thankfully nobody was murdered on my sets.

Why did you set the books in the 1980’s?

I love the music, hair styles, clothing, and decadence of that era. I had great fun writing about Jana’s mansion, wardrobe, makeup, and hairstyles. I was also able to incorporate some of the music, films, television shows, Broadway shows, and political and social events of the era, including the AIDS epidemic. I needed to do my research and remember back (though I was a mere child in the 1980’s-hah).

What are the difficulties in writing a series?

On the positive side, the leading characters are so real to me, each book is like visiting with old friends. I love Jana and I enjoy every moment with her. On the negative side, for continuity I need to keep a notebook full of information on each character and the various repeat locations—i.e. every room in Jana’s Hyde Park mansion.

How have the reviews been?

Amazing so far. Here are two examples. “Porcelain Doll is Joe Cosentino at his finest. We are drawn back to the fashions and attitudes of the 1980’s in a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion.” Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine

“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

How are the Jana Lane mysteries different from the Nicky and Noah mysteries?

Each of the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In DRAMA QUEEN theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE (not released yet), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

Have you written other books besides mysteries?

Yes. My MM romance novellas are published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION, A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. I also have my novels set in a New Jersey beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! Nine Star Press is the publisher of COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORARD (not yet released).

What are you writing now?

Ragdoll, the next Jana Lane mystery, where Jana stars in a TV murder mystery series. You guessed it! Life imitates art yet again.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

Most of my reviews and reader response have been incredibly positive, which fuel my writing. What a gift it is for a reader to post a positive review on Amazon or Goodreads, relating how something I’ve written has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, think about something new, or changed their life. I can’t think of anything better. As for the few bad reviews, I don’t read them. As my mother always told me, if you don’t have something nice to say about somebody, don’t say anything. I can’t imagine why anyone would continue reading a book after chapter one if he/she doesn’t like it. Just put it down and read something else. Why attack a book someone has poured his/her blood, sweat, and tears into? As the saying goes, just say no.

Who is your ideal reader of your books?

My ideal reader is a lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

How can your readers contact you?

I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.

3_18 porcelain dollIs art imitating life in 1982? Jana Lane, ex-child star, is doing a comeback film about murder. When a crew member is killed on the set, it looks like Jana could be next. Thickening the plot is Jana’s breathtakingly handsome and muscular leading man, Jason Apollo, whose boyish, southern charms have aroused Jana’s interest on screen and off. Will Jana and Jason stop the murderer before the final reel, or end up on the cutting room floor in this fast-paced whodunit with a shocking ending?

Enjoy an excerpt:

As Jana sat waiting for Jack to call for action, she looked up at Jason’s encouraging face. She again was taken aback by his incredible beauty.

Reverend Charlton and Gloria reentered the study.

Jack called for quiet and action. Jana and Jason played the scene, where the detective notifies her of her husband’s death. Jason delivered his lines with warmth, vulnerability, and obvious affection for Jana. In turn, Jana listened then reacted with deep emotions, conveying shock, loss, fear, and hysteria while being comforted by the man she trusted. Jana clutched onto Jason with such force, her fingernail accidently tore a hole in his jacket.

“Cut!” Jack hollered.

While the wardrobe woman repaired Jason’s jacket, Jana noticed Reverend Charlton step out of the study again, this time with Ryan O’Halloran.

After the two men returned, and the jacket was mended, Jack called for slate and action for take two. Jana and Jason did the scene two more times. Each take was more realistic and heart-wrenching than the next, and each appeared as if it were the first time Jana was given the sad news.

After the third take, Jack shouted, “Cut! It’s a wrap. Ryan, let’s move on to the next location.”

Jana wiped the tears from her cheeks.

Jason placed his hand on the side of her face. “You’re amazing.”

“You’re not so bad yourself, partner.”

“You make me better,” he said with adoration in his true-blue eyes.

They shared a smile as again people hurried around the room like ants after a picnic.

Suddenly, Jana heard a loud crash followed by a scream. Leaping from her chair, she followed the horrified gazes of the others in the room to Ryan O’Halloran lying motionless on the floor with a Fresnel tungsten shuttered light next to his head, and blood dripping from his scalp onto the hardwood floor.

About the Author: 3_18 joeAmazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (The Wild Rose Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), An Infatuation & A Shooting Star & A Home for the Holidays & The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Nine Star 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 Satin Doll the third Jana Lane mystery (The Wild Rose Press), China Doll the fourth Jana Lane mystery (The Wild Rose Press), Drama Cruise the third Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press).

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Once Upon a Lie by Michael French – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael will be awarding a $10 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_OnceUponALieOnce Upon a Lie is about a smart, ambitious sixteen year old, Alexandra, who chooses to keep silent when she learns terrible secrets about both her father and her mother, whom she grew up adoring. The price of keeping her “perfect” family together soon unravels her well-planned future, and puts in jeopardy the life of a young stranger whom she befriends and ultimately falls in love with. We learn how your life can end at any time, and it can end more than once. And then it can be saved.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jaleel began to wonder if running away was the smartest thing. Detective Patterson might have forensic evidence, but he couldn’t have any real proof that Jaleel had killed his father. But what Texas jury would believe the story of a twelve-year-old black kid?

Come on, focus, Jaleel thought as he studied a map from the glove box. His plan was to travel northwest, cross into New Mexico, and ditch the Chevy. He would take a bus to Arizona or California. He would find a place to live, get a job, and go to school. He just hadn’t figured out the details. Maybe he’d have to lie about his age to get work. How expensive were apartments? He had never been completely on his own. He hoped that inside him was a gyroscope, the kind he had read about, with an interior spinning wheel to keep him steady.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_OnceUponALieMichael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family. In addition to publishing over twenty titles, including award-winning young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies ad self-help books, he has written or co-written a half-dozen screenplays, including Intersection, which has won awards in over twenty film festivals. He has also had a long business career in real estate, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His passions include travel, collecting rare books, and hanging with friends and family. He describes his worst traits as impatience and saying “no” too quickly; his best are curiosity, taking risks, and learning from failure.

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I Wish I Could Have a Do-Over by Lisa Regan – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lisa Regan will be awarding a $25 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.

I WISH I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER

That time in 1994 when I sent out one of my crappy YA novels to literary agents and got a call from one of them—only to blow them off. DOH! Lesson: follow through and don’t be an idiot!

That time I sent my 175,000 word second draft out to agents before it was ready. Lesson: keep your word count down and use CPs!

That time I accidentally sent Agent John Doe before-and-after photos of my living room after my husband rehabbed it. That’s right. I had put Agent JD on my email contacts list since he had taken TWO YEARS to reject me, and when I was sending out the photos I accidentally clicked his name along with the names of various family members. I’m hoping that he deleted it without reading it. I like to pretend that didn’t happen. Lesson: manage your email contacts better!

That time an agent rejected me after two years and I didn’t ask for a referral. Lesson: if an agent has been considering signing you for a really long time, has been willing to go through revisions with you and you feel you have a rapport, but they reject you anyway, ask for a referral!

That time I sent my book to agents when half of it was a psychological thriller and the other half was a romance novel. Lesson: know your genre and stick with it.

That time I had a blog on my website for like, a year and didn’t get any traffic whatsoever besides my mom and my best friend. Lesson: if you’re going to blog, do it where people will see it and cross-promote on social media sites.

That time I had a moment of raging insecurity after an agent told me she couldn’t stop thinking about my book but wanted to take baby steps. I emailed her and asked her if there was something off-putting about me. I thought she would say, “There is NOW!” but she was very gracious and reassuring that I was just fine. My book just needed work. Lesson: we’re all insecure, writers most of all. Keep it to yourself or within your close circle of friends.

That time I didn’t use commas. Like, at all. 430 pages, no commas. Lesson: commas are your friend.

That time I did a very lengthy, in-depth critique for someone in a rush and then when she did my book, she put in a comma and sent it back. When I asked her for something more, like her overall impressions, she stopped returning my emails. Okay, so maybe she needs a do-over on that one. Lesson: not all critique partners are created equal so if you find a good one, make sure to keep that person happy!

MediaKit_BookCover_ColdBloodedFourteen years ago, high school track star Sydney Adams was gunned down in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. The investigation yielded useless clues, and the case went cold. But homicide detective Augustus Knox never gave up on finding Sydney’s killer. Now, retired from the police force and with only months to live, he enlists the help of private investigator Jocelyn Rush to clear the case once and for all.

Armed with little more than a theory as to who murdered Sydney, Jocelyn tries to lure a killer into the open. But unraveling the mystery means facing off against a cunning psychopath whose ruthlessness knows no bounds. When more bodies start to pile up, Jocelyn has to decide just how far she’s willing to go to catch a cold-blooded killer.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She stumbled, crying out as her left foot tangled with a rogue tree root poking up through a crack in the concrete. Her hands shot out, prepared to break her fall, but her legs stuttered, almost of their own volition, finding purchase. She stopped, leaning against the offending tree. Her chest heaved. Sweat ran down her forehead and into her eyes, irritating them. Laughter erupted from her diaphragm. How many times had she run this path? Hundreds. Sprained ankle by way of tree root was a rookie move. This was exactly the problem. This distraction.

Pop.

It sounded like a firecracker and registered as a searing, stabbing pain in the back of her right thigh. Like a hot poker. Before she could react, another pop sounded, this one closer. Then two more. She suddenly tasted dirt in her mouth, and her temple was resting on that damn tree root before she could even begin to process what was happening to her. Her legs wouldn’t work. Panic, hot and frenzied, closed in on her. What was happening?

“Help,” she said, but her voice came out small and squeaky. She thought she heard footsteps approaching from behind. Sydney willed her legs to move, to stand, to scramble, to run. She reached forward with her right arm, feeling for the base of the tree. She had to get up. As her surroundings began to fade to an inky, charcoal blackness, she felt a tug on her lower body.

“Please,” she croaked.

Then the darkness swallowed her.

About the Author: Lisa Regan is an Amazon bestselling crime/suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, Finding Claire Fletcher won Best Heroine and was runner up in Best Novel in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards for 2013. Her second novel, Aberration won Best Twist in the 2014 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent Book Awards. Her third novel, Hold Still was released by Thomas & Mercer in 2014 and has been translated into German. She is at work on her fifth novel.

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