A Step Beyond by John Molik – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

Dr. Brigitte Sheen, an ambitious scientist, and her colleague develop a gene therapy system to extend human life spans. Money owed by a Chinese investment conglomerate for bearer bonds taken from the shadow government known as the Horsemen never gets paid—but for good reason. The Chinese want the anti-aging system, but so do the Horsemen. In a fierce battle of East versus West, the future of mankind is at stake. Pursued by a crazed super soldier with enhanced physical abilities, Dr. Sheen, with help from her husband, Jeremy Hughes, Nikita Patel, and others, must overcome dark intentions of unseen powers… But are those intentions really that evil?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Brigitte had a look of wonder and astonishment. It was as if all the world stretched before her like the open palm of her hand.

Again, they silently gazed at each other for a reaction.

Brigitte spoke first. “Look, I know how this might sound…” She looked at Gerald for assurance. “But we’ve decided that the treatments, the anti-aging system, will be offered at a reasonable and affordable price so that the largest amount of people possible can benefit from it.” She paused for effect, then looked at the webcam. “We’re looking at two thousand dollars for the initial epigenetic therapies, with an additional five to seven hundred dollars per year for the maintenance, which is my piece of the puzzle and contains the mRNA anti-glycoxidation boosters.”

Gerald nodded his head in a spastic manner. His thick neck flapped in and out like Jabba the Hutt scarfing down chicken nuggets. “Yes, yes. This is our mission, Mr. Faber. Like my esteemed partner here, I would have it no other way.” He took a quick look at Brigitte, and with straight faces they both nodded in confirmation.

Ken, the astute lawyer, thought for a moment and got up from his desk. He stood, placing both hands on the desk. Peering straight down into his MacBook Air’s webcam, he sighed and then said, “That’s all well and good, guys. Honestly, I think your intentions are admirable, to say the least, but”—he paused—“and it’s a big ‘but’, not as big as, say, Kim Kardashian’s, but it’s a big ‘but’ nonetheless.” He looked up. “Like I said, there will be some real heinous opportunists that are going to be coming at this thing like leviathans afloat. So, I’d watch your backs if I were you.”

Gerald gulped while Brigitte nodded.

“Look,” replied Brigitte. “I think you know that I am quite capable of defending myself.”

Ken waggled his eyebrows. “You got that right.”

“And, well, I’m just saying that as long as we can maintain tight control of TSS, and thoroughly vet each and every one of our potential investors, then I see no reason why we can’t get these therapies out to everyone at the best possible price. In fact, I see TSS actually lowering its prices as new and
improved methodologies come into place.”

“And competition,” reminded Ken, “but, until there is another fundamental breakthrough, any me too systems will need to pay you royalties. That patent is good for twenty years.”

Brigitte smiled. “I have a feeling that both you and Roger will be quite busy in the next few years assisting us getting our baby off the ground.”

Ken nodded. “I look forward to it.” He paused and smiled. “Today marks history. The beginning of an entirely new way of thinking about our lives, our futures and on what we can accomplish.” He hesitated. “The legal issues and eventual opportunists, some with spurious agendas, well, these challenges will not take away the magic that is this moment, for you two, and for the rest of the world.”

He picked up his MacBook and brought it up to eye level. “Congratulations, guys! Now, go make us all live to a hundred!”

“Two hundred,” replied Brigitte in an unblinking stare.

About the Author: John grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and has worked in numerous corporate finance and project management positions in the consumer electronics and IT industries. In 1990, he took an extended backpacking trip of the South Pacific before attending graduate school. He met his future wife in New Zealand, and they were married in 1991. They settled in Laguna Niguel, California. In 2003, John and his family (now with two kids in tow) relocated to Christchurch, New Zealand.

John’s interest in writing began when he was a student at UC Davis and worked as a feature writer for the California Aggie newspaper. Possessing the desire to write again and with a goal on his bucket list to eventually try his hand at thriller novels, he took the plunge and began writing his first novel, The Fiduciary Delusion, in 2014.

John’s interests also include science, existential philosophy, health, and both Western and Eastern holistic medicine. John also plays guitar, piano, sings, and writes music. In addition, a self-confessed “gym rat,” John can be regularly found lifting weights, trudging up hills, sea kayaking, and getting out and about enjoying the beautiful wild outdoors.

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Rik’s by dhtreichler – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $30 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.

The entire affair began with sheep brains and falafel — Saddam Hussein’s favorite dish.

It is 1990 and in Baghdad two lovers are separated by the impending First Gulf War. CIA operative Rik Bogart is desperately seeking television correspondent Ingrid Johannson — but is instead picked up by Saddam’s Secret Police and thrown into Abu Graib — the Prison of the Dead. Ten years later, he must make a fateful decision after finally reuniting with her — one that may keep them apart forever. How far would YOU go for your true love?

This iheart-pounding thriller is written by a former international defense contractor who brings incredible realism and thrilling insights into the days leading up to Saddam’s brutal regime downfall and provides a chilling account of life inside the infamous Prison of the Dead.

“It’s as much a love story as it is a runaway thriller.” Midwest Book Review

Enjoy an Excerpt

Baghdad, 1989 — The Eve of Saddam’s Invasion of Kuwait

The waiter appeared within seconds and poured the glass of water for Tariq.

“Do you study the desert, Rik?” he asked as soon as we were seated.

“I try to learn its lessons.”

“Then you know sands shift quickly, often for no apparent reason.”

“It seems there is usually a wind somewhere.”

Tariq seemed genuinely delighted. “Ah! You not only observe but seek to understand why.”

I answered, “It’s one of my gravest faults,” as Tariq took a sip of water.

Looking at me as if trying to judge me, Tariq finally responded, “There is much about the desert one cannot fathom. Trying to understand everything is fruitless.”

I finally had a glimmer of where he wanted this to go. “But you seem to understand more than most, Tariq. Perhaps for the right price you can enlighten me?”

Tariq seemed to consider a series of memories. “We have indeed exchanged many valuable things over the years,” he observed.

“How valuable is this one?” I inquired.

He motioned to the waiter, who arrived instantly. “Lamb kebobs and falafel.” Tariq motioned so the waiter knew he ordered for both of us. When the waiter disappeared inside, Tariq answered, “I understand you are not a connoisseur of sheep brains.”

“Hasn’t made my list of favorite foods yet,” I responded.

He nodded his happiness that he had another piece of information about me correct and could display it for me.

About the Author: As a defense contractor, award-winning screenwriter and novelist, dhtreichler has wandered the world, visiting garden spots and more. Having lived and worked with our intelligence agents and soldiers, witnessing the conflicts and the turmoil of recent decades, he paints vivid backdrops for his stories. Like him, the men and women he portrays attempt to make sense of our fast-changing world. He has held a lifelong interest in the profound influence of rapidly changing technology on our lives and relationships. Exploring that power (what has changed and what might come) forms an insightful theme of his novels. His stories also reflect the universal desires and fears of real people everywhere.

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Remnants by Carolyn Arnold – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team are called to Savannah, Georgia, when body parts belonging to three separate victims are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River. As the case takes one dark turn after another, Brandon finds himself embroiled in a creepy psychological nightmare.

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PERIMETER MALL, ATLANTA, GEORGIA
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 11:30 AM EASTERN

THE TIME HAD COME TO select his next victim. He had to choose carefully and perfectly—he wouldn’t get a second chance. The mall was teeming with life, and that made for a lot of eyeballs, a lot of potential witnesses. But he supposed it also helped him be more inconspicuous. People were hustling through the shopping center, interested solely in their own agendas. They wouldn’t be paying him—or what he was doing—much attention.

He was standing at the edge of the food court next to the hallway leading to the restrooms eating a gyro. The lidded and oversized garbage bin on wheels that was behind him would ensure that anyone who did notice him would just think he was a mall janitor on his lunch break.

The pitchy voice of a girl about eight hit his ears. “Daddy, I want ice cream.”

Trailing not far behind her were a man and woman holding hands. The woman was fit and blond, but his attention was on the man beside her. He was in his twenties, easily six feet tall with a solid, athletic build. He’d be strong and put up a fight. Yes, this was the one. And talk about ideal placement—he was across from the Dairy Queen.

He wiped his palms on his coveralls and took a few deep breaths. What he was about to do wasn’t because of who he was, but rather, because he had to do it.

And he had to hurry. The family was coming toward him.

“It’s almost lunchtime,” the woman said, letting go of the man’s hand.

“Daaaaaaddyyyyy.” A whiny petition.

The man looked to the woman with a smile that showcased his white teeth. “We could have ice cream for lunch?”

The little girl began to bounce. “Yeah!”

“Really, Eric?” The woman wasn’t as impressed as the girl, but under the man’s gaze she caved and smiled. “All right, but just today…”

“Thank you, Mommy!” The girl wrapped her arms around the woman’s legs but quickly let go, prancing ahead of her parents and toward the DQ counter.

“Brianna, we wash our hands first.” The woman glanced at him as she walked by and offered a reserved smile. Had she detected his interest in them?

Breathe. She thinks you work here, remember?

Smile back.

Remain calm.

Look away and act uninterested.

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

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

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

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

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Drama Muscle, the audiobook by Joe Cosentino – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino as he celebrates the recent audiobook release of Drama Muscle, book two in the Nicky and Noah series. Post a comment about why you like listening to audiobooks. The one that tickles our funny bone the most will win an audiobook of Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah comedy mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Michael Gilboe, published by Lethe Press.

DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, now an audiobook
by Joe Cosentino and performed by Chip Hurley

When a novel sells well and it’s time for an audiobook version, the author feels like a parent leaving a child at the first day of school. You are entrusting your “baby” (that took you nine months to produce) to a total stranger. The author offers instructions (and lots of prayers) while the performer records the novel. When the process is completed, you hold your breath while listening to each chapter for any notes to the narrator. After any corrections are made, the audiobook is submitted and hits the market. Again, the author wrings his/her hands waiting for reviews and sales information.

I have been incredibly lucky to have only worked with the best audiobook performers in the business. Award-winning Joel Leslie performed my The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland, A Home for the Holidays, and the upcoming In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press). Talented actress Charissa Clark Howe narrated my Paper Doll and the upcoming Porcelain Doll, Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press). The versatile Michael Gilboe did my Drama Queen, first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press). In each case I was incredibly satisfied with how well those performers brought my words to life.

So when it came time to search for someone to perform/produce the audiobook version of Drama Muscle, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, I searched until I found Chip Hurley. What impressed me about Chip’s clips from his audiobook work was his crisp diction, warm and sexy voice, spot on comic timing, creative character voices, and crystal clear connection to the Nicky and Noah style of humor. So I contacted Chip and asked him to do the audiobook, and I was thrilled when he said yes. Next, I gave Chip a character biography for each character, and we discussed the humor, mystery, and relationships in the series. Then Chip went to work on his state of the art equipment to record and edit the audiobook. When he sent me the audio files for approval, I was overjoyed. Don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself. Chip does an amazing job bringing out the sweetness, comedy, mystery, and romance in the novel. It’s laugh out loud funny. His character voices are spot on, and his timing is perfect. And I was elated when the listeners and reviewers agreed with me!

Do you need to have read or heard Drama Queen (book one) before enjoying Drama Muscle (book two)? No. They are separate stories. However, why not start at the beginning and hear both?

The Nicky and Noah mysteries, published by Lethe Press, are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. It is a gay cozy mystery comedy series, meaning the setting is warm and cozy, the clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver. Along the way, Nicky and Noah fall in love, as I’ve heard the readers fall in love with them.

In the first novel, Drama Queen, college theatre professors are dropping like stage curtains, and amateur sleuths/college theatre professors Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills, including impersonating other people, to figure out whodunit.

In book two, Drama Muscle, Nicky is directing bodybuilding students in Treemeadow College’s annual Bodybuilding competition on campus. Bodybuilding students and faculty drop faster than barbells until Nicky figures out the identity of the murderer, as well as Noah’s secret revolving around Van Granite, one of the bodybuilding professors. Noah’s hysterically funny parents visit from Wisconsin and are drawn into the action, and Nicky and Noah reach a milestone by the end of the novel.

I am currently contracting an audiobook of book three, Drama Cruise, where Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard a cruise to Alaska, and dead college theatre professors pop up everywhere from the swimming pool to the captain’s table. So stay turned for more on that!

It is my joy and pleasure to share this audiobook with you. So take your front row seat. The curtain is going up on young bodybuilders at Treemeadow College. Lights (and weights) up!

It could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah’s parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky’s suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!

Length: 6 hours

Praise for Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention):

“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine

“Joe Cosentino has done it again! He has created another brilliant masterpiece for us all. A cozy sleuth mystery combined with humor and attractive themes.” Urban Book Reviews

“Book 1, Drama Queen was always going to be a hard act to follow with its belly ache laughter approach but in this “smirkathong” – yes I was smirking throughout the book, my top lip still aches – the author succeeded in delivering another comic classic!” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“a perfect balance of humor and romance into a continuously twisting plot.” “Cosentino will keep you entertained and guessing until the very end.” 3 Chicks After Dark

“If you like a fast-paced, humorous mystery with some quirky characters, lots of twists and the hot, sensual, man-sex, this is definitely for you. I promise you a laugh a minute!” Cathy Brockman Romance

“As with the first book, there are laugh out loud, completely funny sections. And enough of the mystery and suspense that keeps me reading” “I look forward to the next story” The TBR Pile

“laugh out loud funny” “Readers will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the killer to be revealed.” “As a romance, readers will love seeing Nicky and Noah settling in to living together in their Victorian home.” “I highly recommend this series.” Joyfully Jay Reviews

“Such a well woven story that is literally laugh out loud funny.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

“Joe Cosentino offers his readers something original and very different to the generic contemporary M/M romances out there and because of that I can’t recommend Drama Muscle enough; it is another moment of genius by Joe Cosentino!” Kirsty Loves Books
“This is a wonderful addition to the series! I fell in love with Nicky in the first book and he just gets better. Filled with humor and action. Noah evolves in this story, his character grows into a more mature yet still adorable sidekick to Nicky. They are perfect together, in detective work and in family situations. I hope that there are more to follow.” Crystals Many Reviewers

“This book is a comic romp that simultaneously celebrates and lampoons a mash-up of genres: the bloodless murders (in this case six) of Agatha Christie and her ilk, the screwball movie mysteries of Nick and Norah Charles (it’s Nick and Noah here), and the simile-rich voice-overs of film noir– all updated for a gay context.” Elisa Rainbow, Rainbow Awards

“Everything about this story is wonderfully over the top! The murders, the hilarious romances, each scene funny as the body count gets higher….Need a dose of slapstick and romance in your life (and at the moment who doesn’t)? Make your acquaintance with Nicky and Noah and their Mystery series. You could start here. It certainly works as a stand alone but starting at the beginning (with DRAMA QUEEN) is so much fun. Grab up both and read them together. And let the chuckles ensue!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas In My Heart: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland; the Cozzi Cove series Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Jana Lane mysteries Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose 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. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015. He has won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions, including for Drama Muscle. Upcoming is Drama Luau (the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery).

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A Staged Murder by Jo A. Hiestand – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jo will be awarding a handmade lapis lazuli necklace on a bamboo cord to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour – International giveaway. The cord is adjustable and the necklace is comprised of three stones ranging in length from 1 5/8″ to 2 1/8″. (It’s like the one Brenna Taylor in the book wears). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Bonfire Night! The four hundred-year-old tradition of burning the straw effigy is beginning in Upper Kingsleigh, England. The torch extends… But it’s no mock figure at the end of the rope; it’s the body of a man, an American tourist. Brenna Taylor, Derbyshire C.I.D., is assigned to the case on a team of detectives under Detective-Chief Inspector Geoffrey Graham. It is the chance Brenna has been waiting for, and she is anxious to impress him.

Most villagers suspect an outsider as the killer. But when the frost-covered body of a resident is discovered, apprehension shifts and suspects multiply. Among them are the American’s brother-in-law, still angry over his sister’s death; the husband, who fears his wife will desert him for the American; the inebriated, penniless uncle, who clings to his nephew’s fortune tighter than a cork in a wine bottle. Then Brenna becomes the target of a series of frightening pranks–the work of a harassing male colleague, or a deadly warning to leave the case? Her hunt is personal now.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Talbot’s cottage lay in a thick pocket of the woods, at the end of an earthen track driven clean of grass through hundreds of trips. Tree branches and leaves littered the edges of the lane, barely allowing room for my passage. Once I had to stop mid-point, the engine of my Mini idling in the quiet as I got out to drag a large tree limb from the road.

There was a rustling in the undergrowth to my left, as though I had disturbed some animal’s evening foraging. But no eyes glared at me, no angry retort came. I heaved the limb into the woods, the leaves—crisp from frost—crunching under my feet. I wiped my hands on my trousers and glanced at the sky. Stars seemed to balance high overhead on bare branches, as tips of fairy wands. I got back into the car and turned up the heat, the scene seeming suddenly desolate. Minutes later, Talbot’s house emerged from the gloom.

It was of gray stone, half submerged in Virginia creeper, and half hidden by elderly oaks. A kind of witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel, with a large wood pile leaning against the southern side to protect it from winter’s blast. A curl of smoke seeped from the stone chimney that sat in the middle of the slate roof. Two windows, like giant eyes, stared into the woods from either side of the front door. Below the windows was the remnant of a small flower garden, its wizened stalks and leaves barely visible above the forest’s castoffs. The door glistened bright yellow in the glare from the car’s headlights.

About the Author: A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British. Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folksinging stint. This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of the Peak District mystery series.

Jo’s insistence for accuracy–from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area–has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.

In 1999 she returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president. Besides her love of mysteries and early music, she also enjoys photography, reading, creating recipes, and her backyard wildlife. Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.

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Strangest Experiences by p.m. terrell – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. p.m. terrell will be awarding Celtic necklace containing the Tree of Life. USA only to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Strangest Experiences

A funny thing happened this morning. Given a list of blog topics to choose from, the oddest memories began creeping into my consciousness. For example, when I considered my favorite recipes, all I could think about was my mother’s cooking. She was the only mom in the neighborhood that would make grilled cheese sandwiches for all the neighborhood kids and forget to put the cheese in. Then there was the time that she remembered but didn’t realize each slice of cheese was individually wrapped. In both instances, the expressions on my friends’ faces were priceless.

Mom was thrilled when cake mixes were introduced. But when she read the instructions about adding eggs, she thought that certainly you weren’t expected to add raw eggs to a cake, so she scrambled them. The result was layers about the depth of pancakes with large lumps of scrambled eggs interspersed throughout.

Then there was the meatloaf. While biting into a chunk, my tooth hit something hard—a penny. Turned out, it had several nickels and pennies in it. I had this vision of Mom tossing in bread crumbs and money with the ground beef.

Long after I was married with a son, we visited my mom. I remember my son biting into macaroni and cheese and asking me why it crunched the way it did. I told him to inspect every bite because her cooking was always suspicious. Fortunately, no one was ever harmed; no one ever broke a tooth or had to have their stomachs pumped out.

I eventually became a good cook, or so I’m told, by watching cooking shows and following cookbook recipes, though anything more than five ingredients makes me panic. And I don’t believe I have ever cooked a full meal without thinking of my mom and wondering what she was thinking as she cooked. She passed away ten years ago, and I still miss her cooking.

CIA operatives Vicki Boyd and Dylan Maguire are back in the 6th book of the award-winning Black Swamp Mysteries Series. Vicki and Dylan journey to Ireland for their honeymoon and while they are there, they agree to pick up a package from a Russian spy containing plans for Russia’s latest stealth technology. But when the Russian decides to defect, they find themselves trying to get him safely out of the country. They also discover the Kremlin has uncovered their identities and now Vicki and Dylan flee across the island. With breathtaking descriptions of Ireland’s rugged coast and the Northern Lights, romance and suspense come together again.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Dylan set the kettle on to boil and made his way to the kitchen door. He opened it quietly, lest he awaken Vicki, and stepped outside onto the small stoop. It was half past seven but the skies were still dark; it would be another hour before the sun had fully risen. It had rained during the night, leaving behind a heady perfume of wet sod and sweet winter jasmine.

His eyes traveled the length of the tree-lined winding drive, watching the branches dip as though bowing to an invisible monarch. He wasn’t able to see beyond the far lawn; a person could be standing just on the edge of the grass and the mists would obscure him completely. But that’s the way it was here in Ireland, he thought. The mists and the fogs could morph in front of one’s eyes and if he allowed himself to go there, they would take his mind into places better left alone.

A sudden gust rounded the corner of the house and struck him fully and for the briefest moment, his weight was shifted to his toes as he fought to keep his balance. Ah, the wind, he thought as he settled again. She was as much a part of Ireland as the rain. Never referred to as it, it was always she: She’s a blustery one today or She must be sleepin’, she’s so slow. She because the winds were just like a mistress: they could wrap their cool arms around you and calm your nerves; they could give you that extra push up the hill or propel you down one; or they could change in an instant from cajoling to wicked, catching you when you were least prepared. And then there were the lazy winds; the winds that rolled in from the Atlantic or the North Sea on a bitter winter day; lazy because they wouldn’t take the time to go around you, they’d go straight through you instead.

He looked up, registering the gray clouds against the dark skies. She’s comin’ in from the Atlantic, he thought as he watched them roil and tumble toward the east. But there was no more rain in her, at least not now; perhaps later in the day, there would be a mist or two. Now, she was simply playing; skittering across the fields, rippling the grasses, awakening the sheep and the cows as they were set out to pasture half-groggy with sleep.

The teakettle began to whistle and reluctantly, he moved back inside and removed the kettle from the massive stove. He would keep the stove on for awhile, at least; it helped to chase away the chill that inevitably found its way into every nook and cranny. Besides, there was breakfast to be made.

While his tea steeped in a china cup, he placed another peat brick in the fire. The fireplace was along the wall between the kitchen and the living area and visible from both rooms. His eyes dropped to the bearskin rug that lay rumpled in the living area.

He could still see Vicki lying there as she had last night, the fur soft against her skin, the glow from the fire illuminating her curves, her long hair tumbling over her breasts. He had kissed and licked her nipples until she was writhing under him; he had followed those curves with kisses, spreading her legs to find her filled with desire. She had pulled him down to her, her moans filling the air, her fingers threading through his hair, kneading his back, feeling his want. The world around them ceased to exist, his vision filled only with her: amber eyes radiant, silky skin glistening, legs that wrapped him in a cocoon of love.

About the Author: p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books in several genres, including suspense, historical and non-fiction. Prior to becoming a writer, she owned two computer companies in the Washington, DC with a specialty in combatting computer crime. Her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. Technology is often woven through her suspense thrillers. Terrell is of Irish descent, and Ireland often figures prominently in her books as well. She has been a full-time author since 2002 and currently travels between her home in North Carolina and Northern Ireland, the home of her ancestors. She is also the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina’s Writers Conference and Book Fair and The Novel Business.

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Never Go Alone by Denison Hatch – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Denison Hatch will be awarding a physical copy of the Jake Rivett Series, Flash Crash and Never Go Alone, (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Read our review of this book, here.

THE FIRST RULE IS: NEVER GO ALONE.

“Never Go Alone is an explosive return for both Denison Hatch and his hero.” – BestThrillers.com

A rash of elaborate cat burglaries of luxury buildings in Manhattan has the city panicked.

When a group of social media obsessed millennials–a loosely organized crew that call themselves “urban explorers”–are suspected in the heists, undercover NYPD detective Jake Rivett is assigned the case.

Rivett dives deep into the urban exploration scene in pursuit of the truth. But what, and who, he finds–deep in the sewers, up in the cranes above under-construction skyscrapers, and everywhere else in New York–will change not only Jake, but the city itself.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The explorer gazed down the gleaming city from the Upper West Side, all the way through Midtown and into Chelsea. It was more than a place now, more than a landscape. By this point at its evolution, Manhattan represented a geospatial-and-social coordinate on the razor’s edge of modernity. It was no longer what the future could be. It was the future itself, right now, happening in front of one’s eyes and reaching the stage of infinite singularity. As the years had gone on, the surfaces of the metropolis had become smooth, the lights perfect, the façades utterly complete. It no longer beckoned for the masses humbly—it repelled them. The construction site the explorer had ascended from would soon consist of glass, marble, and sex. That was all, and that was everything, and if one was rich enough, one could buy it. The new culture didn’t care for culture itself. It did not bow to subtlety of argument or freedom of soul. It only knew money—astronomical levels of money. The only people who could afford to live here would be the progeny of sovereign wealth fund managers, tech moonshot winners, and industrial titans. Nothing was free, for anyone—not even the views.

About the Author:Denison is a screenwriter and novelist. He has a number of feature and television projects in development, including his original screenplay, Vanish Man, which is set up at Lionsgate. A graduate of Cornell University, he lives with his wife and a big dog in a little house in Hollywood. He is presently working on the third Jake Rivett thriller.

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Buy the books at Amazon: Never Go Alone Flash Crash

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Interview with Jane Larsen from Weave a Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome back Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks, who is sharing an interview with us today with Jane Larson. Take it away, Ken and Anne!

*****
Anne and I are very happy to have Jane Larson with us today for an interview. Jane is the star of our three books, Weave A Murderous Web, Mind Me, Milady, and Praise Her, Praise Diana. In her spare time, she likes to run, especially around the New York City reservoir.

Anne: Welcome, Jane.

Jane: Thank you for having me.

Anne: Tell us a little about yourself?

Jane: Objection, overbroad!

Ken: Huh?

Jane: The question is overbroad, so I objected. I’m a lawyer, remember?

Ken: Okay, okay. You were born and raised in New York City, correct?

Jane: Objection, leading!

Anne: Omigod.

Ken: (To Anne) What’s wrong with her?

Jane: Hey! I heard that. I’m sitting right here, you know.

Anne: Why are you giving us such a hard time? We’re trying to give you some good publicity.

Jane: Sorry. I’m a lawyer. All lawyers hate to testify. It makes them nervous.

Ken: You’re not under oath or anything.

Jane: What the heck is that supposed to mean? Are you calling me a liar? I always tell the truth. It’s probably my biggest personality defect.

Ken: It’s got a lot of competition.

Anne: (whispering) Hush!

Jane: What’s the matter, Ken. You don’t like strong women? You’re lucky my mother isn’t here. Now there was a strong woman. She wouldn’t even let me call her mom. I had to use her first name: Martha. The other kids thought she was great. Their parents thought she was nuts.

Anne: Tell us more about her.

Jane: Martha lived on 92nd Street when I was born. She had a law office on the ground floor of a tenement building. We lived in an apartment on the second floor. She had an incredibly busy law practice. Unfortunately, she liked working for people who weren’t able to pay so we never had a lot of money for the little extras. Actually, we didn’t have money for any extras.

Ken: So I guess you went to public school.

Jane: Actually, I started in Catholic school. Martha said our local elementary school was a joke, which was true, but I think she wanted me to get some ethical training among other things.

Ken: Good idea.

Jane: What is that supposed to mean?

Anne: Please continue. I didn’t realize you went to Catholic school.

Jane: Just through grade five. I hated it so much that I worked really hard to learn as much as I could to pass the exam to get into Hunter High School. I did well at Hunter and got a scholarship to Columbia University.

Anne: Wow. Congratulations.

Jane: Thanks. I think it was all part of Martha’s plan. She could be very sneaky sometimes. For example, she never told me that working for a large firm and making lots of money was bad for the soul. But I knew the kind of life she had lived, and when I had the law job for the big bucks, I found it hard to sleep at night. So here I am, in her office in the old neighborhood, still representing the people who need it the most and have the least money.

Anne: Martha would be proud of you.

Jane: Maybe. You never can tell with her. (Looks at her watch). Anything else? I’ve got a conference in Supreme Court on a new matter.

Ken: How’s the social life?

Jane: Why do you think there’s something wrong with my social life? My social life is fine.

Ken: Why are you so weird? I never said that.

Jane: But you thought it. You thought that because I’m not married and in my late thirties that I worry all the time about my social life. About having a kid while I still can? Right? For crying out loud, you think my whole life should be defined by a man? (Turning to Anne). Why do all men think that the whole world revolves around them?

Anne: (smiling). It’s a puzzle isn’t it? Thanks for coming in today, Jane. We appreciate it.

Weave A Murderous Web is a mystery novel by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks. It is one of three books in the Jane Larson series, published by Melange Books.

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support.

Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dad’s hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous.

Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

Enjoy an Excerpt from the first book in the series Weave a Murderous Web

I was in my office at Adams & Ridge talking on the telephone when Francine entered. At the moment, my friend, Lee, was on the other end of the wire, yakking up a storm in my ear. Her rant covered already familiar terrain. My man, my David, was drifting dangerously away from me while I did nothing to win him back. As we say around the courts, Oy.

Francine tiptoed forward and placed on my desk a two-day-old copy of The Daily News opened to the item concerning Mark Samuels’ death.

“I gotta go, Lee,” I said.

While Francine waited for me, she had backed into a corner of my office, leaned against the wall, and tried to make her six feet of lanky body less noticeable. Two large metal buttons were pinned to her heavily braided cotton sweater. One read Stop Fracking New York and the other protested against the annual Canadian seal hunt with a scarlet X through an image of a baby seal whose brains had been battered to a pink pulp.

I pointed at the newspaper and gave her a questioning glance, but she quickly averted her eyes to stare at the floor.

“Have you been listening to me at all?” Lee demanded. Her voice rose to a kind of exasperated wail. “David has been dating someone. I think he may be getting serious.”

“David was born serious, Lee,” I said.

“Stop it, Jane,” she shouted so I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Even Francine raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean.”

“I’m sorry, Lee.”

“I don’t understand why you’re taking this so nonchalantly. You know you still love him. You could get back together in a heartbeat if you’d just spend a tenth as much time on a relationship as you spend on your career.”

“I’m a lawyer, Lee. Not a—”

A sharp intake of breath followed. “Not a baby maker?” Lee demanded. Anger replaced the plaintive wail. “Is that what you were going to say?”

Would I ever admit that the word had been on the tip of my tongue?

“No. I was going to say, ‘not a librarian’, or the owner of some other nine-to-five job. The hours come with the territory, Lee. David knows that, but deep down in that wonderful heart of his, he also thinks the hours spent at the office are A-okay for the guy, but not for the girl. In any event, Martha didn’t raise her daughter to compete over a man.”

The sound of a whale breaching the surface erupted from the phone. “You’re maddening, Jane.”

“No, I’m busy,” I replied.

Lee sighed. “Well, I have to go too. Laurie is home sick and I’m taking her to the doctor. We’ll talk more later, Jane. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to my two best friends in the world. I’m going to fight, Jane.”

“Goodbye, Lee.”

She disconnected.

Actually, I wasn’t busy at all, or I wouldn’t have spent even that much time on the phone being lectured by Lee. She’s an old friend from Columbia Law, but enough is enough.

A major litigation I had been working on had settled just a day before and the client and powers-that-be at Adams & Ridge were very happy with me—especially Seymour Ridge. The old man himself had hammered out the settlement shortly after I made the CEO of the party suing our client look like a doofus on the witness stand. So, I had some time on my hands until I was given another assignment.

About the Authors:Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years. Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set.

Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The first two books in the series are Weave A Murderous Web and Praise Her, Praise Diana, both published by Melange Books, LLC. A third novel, Mind Me, Milady, will be published in early 2017.

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Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding autographed copy of PURR M FOR MURDER (hardcover – US ONLY)to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Enjoy an Excerpt

We were in the doorway now. A large desk was at the far end of what appeared to be an office. The light was coming from a small lamp perched on the edge of the desk, and as we crossed the threshold, it flickered and then went out. Kat shone the pencil thin beam of the flashlight around the room, letting out a sharp cry as it hit the wall nearest us. “Lightswitch,” she squealed, and a minute later the room was filled with a harsh fluorescent light.

I glanced around. Yes, this was definitely an office, and not a very tidy one at that. There were several file cabinets pushed up against the far wall, and two of the drawers in the one on the left were half open. Papers were strewn across the desk, and some file folders had dropped onto the floor and were scattered across the Oriental rug.

“Good Lord,” my sister exclaimed. “For someone always so fastidious about his appearance, he certainly likes to work in a mess.”

I frowned. “It looks more to me like it’s been ransacked. Someone was searching for something. What do you think, Kat? Kat?”

My sister had moved over to the far corner of the room and was standing before a large wardrobe. “Wow, this is beautiful,” she said, lifting a hand to run it over the smooth exterior. She balled her hand into a fist and rapped it against the wood. “Solid oak. I saw a picture of one like this in a catalog. French, dates back to the late 1800’s. I wonder what it’s doing in his office?”

“Who knows? Maybe he keeps his suit jackets in it,” I said. “Why do you care, anyway?”

“It’s such a beautiful piece,” my sister murmured. “Too good for that rotter. It seems out of place in this office.”

“Maybe it just came in and he’s got it here for pricing,” I ventured.

“Maybe. I wouldn’t mind having something like this,” Kat said, running her hand once again across the smooth wood. “It looks deep enough – I wonder if the doors swing out all the way? It would be great to put a TV in.”

I eyed the piece. “That thing looks hand-carved. He probably wants an arm and a leg for it.”

“Probably.” She gave the handle a tug. “Hm. The doors seem to be stuck.”

I waved my hand impatiently. “Oh for goodness sakes, leave it alone. Must you examine it now?”

Her lower lip thrust forward. “Yes. Who knows, I might not get another chance.”

I shot her a sharp look. “You’re not thinking of buying this, are you?”

She sighed deeply. “I suppose not. Littleton will probably want some astronomical figure for it. But I might never get another opportunity to see such a finely made one up close.” She shot me an appealing look. “Give me a hand, won’t you? You’re strong. Maybe if we both pull on the handle at the same time it’ll open.”

I knew my sister. Once Kat made up her mind about something she was like a pitbull with a bone. I knew when it was futile to argue with her. “Okay, fine. But if we get this open, one quick look and then we’re out of here.”

She nodded and I placed my hand on top of hers. “On the count of three, give it all you’ve got. One, two—three.”

We both tugged at the same time and suddenly the door flew open. We went staggering backwards at the same time the body of Trowbridge Littleton, his eyes bulging almost out of their sockets, tongue lolling to the side, hit the floor at our feet.

About the Author: While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM. #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.com and < ahref=”http://www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com”>www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com.

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Outcome by Barbara Ebel – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Ebel 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.

Fierce weather stalks Karen Puno and her dog, Putt-Putt, as they flee their home and reach the barrier island’s bridge where both their destinies change. Karen is about to give a woman named Jennifer Barns a gift that she’s been praying for … a new liver.

As a cascading medical crisis begins, it interlocks the lives of Karen and Jennifer’s college-aged children, an anesthesiologist, a crafty surgeon, and a feisty pilot involved with the organ harvest procurement.

Will Jennifer live through the heart-stopping surgical tension in the O.R.? Will Putt-Putt find shelter from the devastating storm and circumvent the horrific events that befall him? From tragedy to triumph, Outcome is an intense, heart-wrenching, and climactic novel.
*****
Has it been a long time since a book made you cry, or cheer, or make you regret finishing the last page?

If it has, then put OUTCOME on your reading list. It’s an emotionally-charged novel about the families, health-care team, and pilot involved with a liver transplant. Keep a box of tissues within reach. You’ll also need them for the heartbreaking yet glorious plight of the donor’s dog who goes missing in the original disaster.
*****
This is a totally new edition of Outcome which was first published in 2011.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Okay boy, we’re going for a ride,” Karen gestured. Putt-Putt readily jumped in the back behind piled-high back seats. She threw in his leash and closed the hatchback. Upon opening the garage door, she sulked at Rick’s Corvette because she was unable to drive it away from potential harm. She backed out and speed dialed Rick, who answered immediately with a groggy voice.

“I’m leaving the island,” Karen said loudly, pulling onto the main western road of the overbuilt sand bar. Crashing waves to her right sounded like muffled thunder and the sand blew hard, pelting her vehicle.

“Be careful,” Rick said, but she barely heard him. “Call me later, anytime.”

“I love you,” she yelled.

She pieced together his response of, “I love you, too,” as the connection severed and she saw a vehicle’s tail lights further ahead. Putt-Putt whined in the back and she checked the rear view mirror to see his wide-open eyes glued on her.

Karen felt terrorized by all the sights and sounds. She trembled and her heart rate sped. As she began ascending the steep bridge incline to cross the bay, waves chased in her direction, towering south in the Gulf to what would eventually be fifty-two foot monstrosities.

The wind and turbulence helped push Karen’s car as she descended the summit of the beach bridge going to the larger barrier island of Gulf Breeze. There police Officer Kent Milton was parked perpendicular to Karen’s northbound lane and monitored the evacuation.

About the Author:Barbara’s Ebel’s writing draws heavily from her experience as an anesthesiologist. As a physician, speaker, and former chemist, she sprinkles credible medicine into the background of her fiction where plots and vivid characters take center stage and her O.R. scenes shine.

She penned the Dr. Danny Tilson novels before the Annabel Tilson novels DEAD STILL and DEADLY DELUSIONS. Her Dr. Danny Tilson novels have received a multitude of accolades including but not limited to: Collateral Circulation was the National Indie Excellence Award 2015 Finalist for medical thrillers and Operation Neurosurgeon was the top finalist for best-selling medical mystery books in 2012. (Best Selling Books’ blog announced on PR Buzz Press Release Wire, Chicago, IL).

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In addition to her adult writing, she has illustrated and penned a children’s book series called Chester the Chesapeake. The books developed during her philanthropic visits with her therapy dog, Chester. The dog books continue to inspire adults and children alike. Along with her husband and four pets, ‘Doctor Barbara’ lives in a wildlife corridor in middle Tennessee.
You may find Chester at Dog Books for Children.

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