Writing with Humor by Carl Schmidt – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Carl Schmidt, whose first book in his Jesse Thorpe Mystery series, Dead Down East, was released this summer.

Writing With Humor
by Carl Schmidt

Humor involves surprise and misdirection, and requires that the reader, or the listener, not take things too seriously. Consider the third verse in Bob Dylan’s song, “Memphis Blues” for example:

Mona tried to tell me
Stay away from the train line
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine
An’ I said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that,’
But then again, there’s only one I’ve met
An’ he just smoked my eyelids
An’ punched my cigarette

At this point in the song, Dylan doesn’t wait for you to get the joke; he charges into the chorus, “Oh, Mama…” while his droll juxtaposition of “eyelids” and “cigarette” is just beginning to take shape in your mind. This sudden change of direction makes the refrain even wittier.

When writing fiction in the first person, internal dialogue reveals the inner workings of the protagonist’s mind and is a great place to inject comedy into the narrative.

Jesse Thorpe is the narrator/private detective of my mystery novel, Dead Down East. Jesse has a cheeky sense of humor, which he allows to leak out now and again, not just because he likes to have fun, but also to maintain calm when things get perilous. The first really dicey moment for him occurs in the middle of chapter four, as he is trying to worm his way through an FBI roadblock. In the first draft, I had chosen that moment to insert a rather lengthy internal monologue, to expose the witty side of Jesse’s nature. I was having so much fun with it that by the time I was done, it was almost fifteen hundred words long. And while I liked the tension it created by suspending the dramatic moment in mid-air—for several pages—eventually I decided that it would be more effective as a prologue for the book. This way, on the very first page, the reader gets a preview of the inner workings of Jesse’s mind, a snapshot of his modus operandi and a quick peak at his girlfriend.

What follows are the first two paragraphs of that prologue. I hope it serves to demonstrate the use of humor in writing, and, most of all, I hope it tickles your funny bone.


Apologies and compliments are two remarkably effective devices for disarming adversaries in life and hecklers in bars. If you consider the socially adept people you know, you’ll see that they use these two conversational tools frequently and with ease. I remember the first time it fully dawned on me how valuable they could be.

Angele and I had been dating for a couple of weeks. Our next planned event was scheduled for Saturday night. So I was a bit surprised when she arrived unexpectedly at my place on Tuesday evening. I guess she decided that there was something that couldn’t wait until the weekend. The moment she walked through the front door, I began to suspect what that “something” was. She had a gleam in her eyes that seared me from the inside of my nimble imagination right down to my insteps. I surmised that she was either ovulating, or she had a sudden urge for a tour of the Thorpe habitat. I began to mentally review the floor plan of the house. “Now, where is my bedroom?” I thought. “I know it was here this morning.”

10_20-deaddowneast-cover-kindle-final-carl_schmidtDead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor or Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.

Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.

Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.

About the Author: 10_20-dead_down_east-carl_schmidt-author_imageCarl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow he studied mathematics at Brown University.

Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.

Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.

Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.

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Temporarily Insane by Vicki Batman – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Vicki Batman will be awarding a $75 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.

mediakit_bookcover_temporarilyinsaneNo man. Bad job. And Murder. Hattie Cooks is still searching for her dream job and one might be available…in the Big Apple, far from friends, family, and Allan Wellborn, the man who still makes her heart race. In the meantime, she finds temporary employment at an accounting firm where two auditor friends turn up dead.

Detective Allan Wellborn dropped Hattie for Blonde Bimbo who, coincidentally, is employed at NLB where fishy things are taking place. When Allan interviews Hattie, he must determine why
all signs point to her as a suspect.

Can Hattie discover why Allan dumped her and who is murdering auditors before death strikes again?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“We need to cover the ground rules.”

“Ground rules?” His brow vee-ed. “Is this normal?”

“Absolutely.” I nodded. “The ground rules are: No kissing. No hugging. No whispering lovey-dovey stuff in my ear. No nothing. Understand?”

“I understand, but I thought people in love do this.”

“Let’s set the record straight right now—we are not in love. And here’s another rule: don’t speak to anyone.”

“Don’t talk to anyone—why not?”

Noticing the bizarre look on his face, I relented. “Okay, you can talk. Just say one sentence.”

“Is this a weird family thing?”

“Nope. It’s a Hattie-who-is-being-nice thing.”

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_temporarilyinsaneAward-winning author, Vicki Batman, has sold many romantic comedy works to the True magazines, several publishers, and most recently, a romantic comedy mystery to The Wild Rose Press. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and several writing groups. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??”

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Cooking for Ghosts by Patricia V. Davis – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Patricia V. Davis will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $30 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

mediakit_bookcover_cookingforghostsA Vegas cocktail waitress. An Indian herbalist. A British chemistry professor. An Italian-American widow. Four unique women with one thing in common: each is haunted by a tragedy from her past. The women are surrounded by ghosts long before they step aboard, but once they do…

Read an Excerpt:

Somewhere in the Atlantic, 1949

In an ocean as dark and still as death, the Queen floated. The scythe-shaped moon engulfed in mist gave off only a dank tinge of light. Waves skimmed lazily along the Queen’s sides, like the careless caress of an indifferent lover. She was only fifteen years old, but she’d already witnessed so much misery: war, love lost to tragedy, and once, a vile murder that had left a stain on her no sea she traveled had ever washed away.

Now she was about to witness another. The killer’s rage was silent and patient. And yet, she could feel it. In desperation, the Queen willed her fog horn to blow…


Under the cover of the dimly lit stairwell on the deserted sports deck, the sailor waited. He’d timed it well. The watch wouldn’t make his rounds up here until after it was over.

Long before he could see his prey, he heard the click of her heels on the planked wood, echoing off the water as she approached. He pressed himself back further into the darkness as she came into view, her eyes focused on what he’d stolen to lure her, carefully placed so that it would be visible to her while he remained hidden. As she bent to pick it up, he stepped swiftly behind her and clamped his forearm around her throat, cutting off her scream and her breath as he pulled her into the shadows.

She felt her windpipe close up and the blood rush to her head. She couldn’t twist around to face him, but ─ oh, God ─ she knew who he was. How ironic. In a life as mousy as the color of her hair, the one impetuous thing she’d dared do, would end her. As dreary as her life had been, she didn’t want it to be over.

So she struggled. She dug her nails into Death’s rigid forearm and clawed at the skin on his elbow. But he only swore at the blood she’d managed to draw and kept that arm hooked resolutely under her chin, dangling her legs up off the deck, pressing even tighter against her throat as she kicked. He shook her and she felt the cool night air hit the sole of her foot as one of her shoes fell off. The thump it made against the deck startled him. He lost his vice hold on her for an instant and she tried again to scream. He slammed his other hand across her nose and mouth. With a rush of stinging pain, the salty iron taste of blood filled her mouth, mingled with the smell of his familiar aftershave. Who’d have thought Death would come wearing Old Spice? He’d groomed himself as carefully for her murder as he once had for her seduction. She went queasy with the realization that his arms were not the only part of his body that felt rigid against her.

But mere seconds later, she was too lightheaded to feel disgust or even fear. She now lay in his arms, compliant, his hand still pressed against her bloodied mouth and nose. Her head was tipped back as he continued to suffocate her and she could see the night sky, a depthless backdrop for the stars that flickered through the gauzy veil of ocean fog. And the moon looked like a grin. Lovers walking the decks below must think it all so romantic. Dimly, she could hear the band playing in the ballroom. She was amazed she could even recognize the tune ─ a new one, just come out that year:

“Some enchanted evening, you may meet a stranger…”

Her final act was to pray that he wouldn’t dump her before she was truly dead. As cruel as his arms were, at least they were warm. She didn’t want the ice cold water to be the last thing she felt.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_cookingforghostsPatricia V. Davis is the author of the bestselling Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss and Greece, and The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman Needs to Know. Her latest work, “Cooking for Ghosts: Book I in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy” first of three novels set aboard the RMS Queen Mary, is due to be released in October 2016. Despite the diversity of Patricia’s writing projects, they share the universal theme of “female dynamism,” a term she’s coined which signifies women taking positive action to support each other and better the world around them. To that end, Patricia also founded The Women’s PowerStrategy™ Conference.

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COOKING FOR GHOSTS is also available at retail book outlets.

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Brooklyn Heat by D. James Eldon – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

16_00000_BrooklynHomocide_Cover_r4_ToPrint.indd When a little girl is found brutally murdered, veteran NYPD homicide detectives Hiro Masimoto and Ryan Sullivan are determined, against all odds, to solve the case.

In the midst of the worst heat wave in New York City’s history and with personal and professional pressures mounting, the detectives pursue the mother’s ex-boyfriend and former criminal, Nick DeSantis.

But DeSantis, a two-time felon, has skipped town and the detectives struggle to collect enough hard evidence to extradite him before he slips completely out of their grasp.

With a cast of outlaw characters and more twists and turns than a coiled spring, Brooklyn Heat delivers a taut thriller of the highest caliber.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Dawn, hot as fresh blacktop, creeps over Brooklyn. Aggie Jones, in a worn yellow bathrobe, sits at her window enjoying the breeze from the air conditioner and watching the sky change color. The street below is empty of last night’s hipsters and thugs. Drunk vampires crawled back to whatever hole they sleep in, she thinks.

This is Aggie’s favorite time of day: quiet enough to hear the birds chirp; cooler and slightly less humid after the concrete has shrugged off the triple-digit temperature of the previous day. The noise and heat of the city is turned low for an hour or so between the denizens of night and citizens of day.

As the tea kettle begins to softly whistle, she sees a man leaving the house across the street. The one with that nice woman and her little daughter, she thinks. Seems awfully early to be leaving, unless you got somewhere very important to be.

The streetlights flicker off as the kettle screams. Aggie rushes to the kitchen, leaving the quiet and the changing sky behind.

An hour later, she’s squeezed into a seat on the 6 train with sweaty, unhappy others. The serenity of early morning is forgotten, as are the birds, sky, and the man across the street.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_brooklynheatD. James Eldon is a poet, novelist, and short-story writer from New York City. His work has been published online and in print, in the US, Canada, and Europe, in both English and French.

His debut novel, All The Way Gone, the first of the Brooklyn Homicide Investigations, is available as an ebook and paperback in English as well as paperback in French (under the title Sur Le Fil).

The latest Brooklyn Homicide Investigation, Brooklyn Heat, is available now in both ebook and paperback.

And, in 2017, look for the third Brooklyn Homicide Investigation, The Pope’s Guard.

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SPECIAL NOTE: The new paperback version of Brooklyn Heat is available at the CreateSpace eStore. During the month of October, take 20% off the retail price at this store only on the PRINT copy at CreateSpace (retail price is $15.99– with the 20% discount you can buy the paperback for only $12.79). The ebook retails for $4.99 and is not discounted.

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The Lizard’s Tale by Kurt Kamm – Q&A and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Kurt Kamm has stopped by to answer a few questions!

What are your favorite TV shows?

There is certainly nothing on network television worth watching. I watch the Bloomberg financial programs and like many of the BBC series, including Poldark and Downton. Ray Donovan and Homeland are also favorites. Now for a confession. If I am working out in my gym and need a distraction, I turn on Game of Thrones. What a crazy show. I have no idea what the plot is, but I can watch 15 – 20 minutes of any episode from any year and be entertained. None of it makes any sense, but there is always a great sword fight, a poisoning, people speaking strange languages, or a horde of warriors riding horses. Brainless entertainment, but entertainment for sure.

What is your favorite meal?

I’m big on carbohydrates because I exercise a lot. Every meal must have pasta, potatoes, or rice. Also, fresh/raw vegetables—snow peas, artichokes and avocados—are favorites. I don’t eat red meat, but seafood, fish or chicken is good. Barbequed lizard is not on the list for obvious reasons. Love desserts. Give me any dessert, I’ll eat it.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

There is no author I idolize because of his/her personal life, but James Salter is my favorite author for his ability to write beautiful, simple but elegant prose and create haunting tales. He has been called “an author’s author,” and I fully agree. I think he’s underrated and under-read.

How did you come up for the title of this book?

Part of the book deals with Jorge’s (the Mexican orphan) obsession with geckoes. Geckoes and most other lizards can lose their tails and grow them back. This is a defense mechanism to distract predators—the reptile can release its tail, which keeps twitching and draws the predator’s attention while the creature escapes. The Guatemalan Beaded Lizard, a much larger reptile, is itself a predator and cannot release its tail. From the very beginning, I liked the tail—tale pun and for a long time the name of the novel was The Tale of the Lizard. My editor shortened it to The Lizard’s Tale and it is a perfect name.

What would you like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I would like to have several major publishing houses bidding on my next book. After signing a seven-figure contract (excluding decimal points), the New York Times Book Review will devote not a single review, but an entire edition to my work. After that, Oprah will select my book and it will be a bigger seller than the Bible…..oh, sorry, I dozed off at my computer and just had a short dream. What would I like to accomplish next year? I have modest ambitions—start a new novel, have fun researching and writing it, and have at least one person tell me how much she liked it.

mediakit_bookcover_thelizardstaleKurt Kamm has written a novel that’s a literary crime novel, with a strong thread of non-fiction running through it. The Lizard’s Tale is a tale of crime—with an a wide-ranging cast of characters.

When the DEA goes up against the Sinaloa Cartel, an orphan and an endangered lizard are caught in the conflict. The action moves from Guatemala to Mexico to Catalina Island off the coast of California.

Alejandro, a middle class Guatemalan, wants his share, and makes a deal with the cartel. Now he’s risking his life to deliver the goods.

El Dedo, a brilliant financier, is the Sinaloa Cartel’s banker. He worries about what to do with the billions of dollars collecting dust in his underground vault.

Ryan, a DEA Special Agent, needs to make a high profile case to get a promotion. Is the big yacht headed for California carrying a Mexican drug shipment?

Kate, a wildlife officer on Catalina Island, smells smoke. When she heads out in the middle of the night to investigate a fire, she makes an astonishing discovery.

Jorge, an orphan from the streets of Mexico, is abandoned in the United States. Will he find his way back home and track down his mother’s killer?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Dedo was one of the few outsiders at the top of the cartel hierarchy. He came from a different background than most of the drug lords, who had grown up in poor towns in the Sierra Madres where people suffered a hard existence living in hovels made of cinderblocks. Dedo had no poverty to escape. He grew up in Mexico City and lived a blessed childhood. His father owned a small Mexican chemical business that grew large when it began to supply the Cartels with the ingredients used to make methamphetamine. His mother was Swiss, and had worked for a chemical company in Basle when she met his father. Dedo inherited his intellect and business sense from his father. His grey eyes came from his mother.

When his father brought him to the State of Sinaloa for the first time, Dedo stood in the dust and blasting heat and felt the moisture evaporating from his skin. “Those mountain highlands,” his father had told him, pointing off into the distance, “are ideal for growing poppies. All they need is sunlight and moisture.” Then he turned and pointed in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, and continued, “And out in those valleys between the mountains and the coast, the climate is perfect for growing marijuana.” Finally, his father looked at Dedo and told him, “Fortunately for us, sunshine and water don’t produce methamphetamine. For that, they need chemicals—a lot of chemicals—and that’s why we’re here.”

About the Author: mediakit_authorphoto_thetaleofthelizardMalibu, California resident Kurt Kamm has written a series of firefighter mystery novels, which have won several literary awards. His newest novel, The Lizard’s Tale, provides a unique look inside the activities of the Mexican drug cartels and the men dedicated to stopping them.

Kurt has used his contact with CalFire, Los Angeles County and Ventura County Fire Departments, as well as the ATF and DEA to write fact-based (“faction”) novels. He has attended classes at El Camino Fire Academy and trained in wildland firefighting, arson investigation and hazardous materials response. He has also attended the ATF and DEA Citizen’s Academies. After graduating from the DEA Citizen’s Academy in 2014, he began work on The Lizard’s Tale.

Kurt has built an avid fan base among first responders and other readers. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School, Kurt was previously a financial executive and semi-professional bicycle racer. He was also Chairman of the UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation for several years.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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The Fiduciary Delusion by John Molik – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. John 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_the-fiduciary-delusion An unambitious young man finally finds himself, only to nearly lose everything in an apparent web of international economic terrorism and intrigue. But, as his world begins to unravel, has he become genuinely delusional? Or is he really on to one of the most dangerous global conspiracies of all time? Against all odds, only love and a true friend’s faith can save both him and the world as we know it from the abusive power of evil.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

There was that strange odor again of sweet burnt beans and paint thinner. Jeremy Hughes had started noticing this strange aroma about a week ago. The location of his lecture hall at UC Davis was just a stone’s throw from the Coffee House, the local student dining hall and entertainment venue, so he was not immune to the unexpected food smells fit for starving students. But this odor was different. Hopefully, it wasn’t wafting down from the Chem lab. There were rumors going around that with the UC budget cuts, some of the filters at the lab were not being replaced regularly. Surely, these aren’t some sort of carcinogens, for heaven’s sake. Nevertheless, he made a mental note to ask around.

As Jeremy had only been a lecturer at UC Davis for just over a year, this placed him near the bottom of the academic employment hierarchy. He had little hope of surviving the next round of budget cuts. Last year had been a real drag too. The Department Chair had left after the second term to work in the private sector and Brigitte Sheen, his interim replacement, was a haughty cold bitch who had no qualms about showing who’s boss by playing mind games with her faculty. Brigitte Sheen was an imposing, solid, nearly six foot tall Korean American woman who, at first glance, looked like a cross between the gorgeous Moon Bloodgood and the Chinese Hercules. When Jeremy first met her, he looked carefully into her eyes. Someone had told him that if you could hold eye contact with her long enough, you could verify that she did in fact have horizontal pupils. Brigitte’s straw-thick, tea-colored bangs appeared to be cut with a 4 stroke line trimmer. Her solid, thick, musculature was formidable, and was built from 15 years of Olympic style weightlifting at the University of Washington, where she routinely lifted the equivalent of a completely loaded fridge/freezer over her head dozens of times per day.

Last year, on Jeremy’s first day, he received his first taste of venom.

‘You make a problem for me, I will make your life a living hell. If you are not prepared or call in sick to take day off to go Tahoe or something, it’s over. Just get in your car and drive away. Fast. I’ll do the paperwork,’ she had snarled. Brigitte was definitely a woman to avoid by strategically flying under her radar.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_thefiduciarydelusionJohn grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. Degree in Economics and has worked in numerous corporate finance and project management jobs in the consumer electronics and IT industries. In 1990, after taking an extended backpacking trip of the South Pacific before attending graduate school, he met his would be wife and in 1991 was married. They settled back in Irvine and South Orange County area of California. In 2003, he 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, having worked as a Feature Writer for the California Aggie Newspaper. Possessing the desire to write again, and with a bucket list goal of eventually trying his hand at thriller novels, he took the plunge, and in 2014, began writing his first novel, The Fiduciary Delusion. 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, John is an admitted “gym rat” and 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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An Interview With Rita Warren by Karen Randau – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

An Interview With Rita Warren
By Karen Randau

Deadly Deceit is told from the point of view of Rita Warren, a middle-aged woman whose mother receives only passing mention as a vegetarian hippie artist. In the book, Rita says that her mother schlepped her to a shelter for abused women during each of Rita’s father’s drug-induced rampages, then retreated to an artist commune after her husband’s overdose. While that’s the extent of the explanation, those childhood experiences had a major impact on Rita.

KR: Rita, tell us about your mother.

RW: Mom was beautiful and kind but all used up after the hippie revolution of the 1960s. Because she loved animals, she refused to eat them. My favorite photo of her shows a tall and slender woman with sleek, dark hair that hung down her back. In this photo, she held her hair back with a beaded headband, but I often saw her wearing a crown of flowers and a flowing, long dress made of handwoven cotton. Around the house, she sometimes wore nothing but a braided band around her hips. She rarely wore shoes, and I don’t think she owned a bra, even though she let me have one when I asked for it. Once my father died of a drug overdose, her anti-establishment rhetoric stopped, so I think that was more him than her. She retreated into her art after that, and I often felt ignored. When I disappointed her by marrying a bourgeois Marine, she moved to a nudist artist commune surrounded by a tall wall to protect residents from the world’s “bad vibes.” She seldom comes out.

KR: How did your mother influence who you are in Deadly Deceit?

RW: I didn’t want to be anything like my mother, but I now realize that I just managed to create my own flaws for myself. When I was growing up, we were poor and bought our clothes at a flea market. We moved a lot. After I married Jared, I started wearing only designer clothes. I embraced all that society had to offer me, including a big house with expensive furnishings, a luxury car, over-the-top vacations, and friendships with influential people. I love my children with all my heart and would never ignore them or their needs. I would do anything to protect my children, and nearly died in Deadly Deceit protecting my daughter.

In many ways, I am like my mother. I have a soft spot for dogs, pretty flowers, art that tells a story, and poetry. Everything I went through in Deadly Deceit helped me realize that my chaotic and unconventional upbringing made me stronger than I ever thought. I notice things because of the art and beauty my mother brought into my life. I always wondered why I chose a best friend like Gail Upton, who dresses tacky, speaks her mind, and loves to help me be me. Because of Deadly Deceit, I know it’s because Gail reminds me of all of the good in my mother, and of the simple life she tried to give me.

KR: Deadly Deceit has a scene where you’re in a shelter for abused women and children. How did that affect you?

RW: My mother took me to places like that when my father was out of control. I had blocked out those memories, and they flooded back during the few days I stayed at that shelter. But those days gave me a sense of purpose. I want to be part of the Abused Women’s Healing Network in my town of Rim Vista, Arizona. I want to help women and children to leave behind their days of abuse, to help set them on a path toward a bright and delightful future. I’m so glad I got a chance to do that in Deadly Deceit.

KR: And what about the detective who investigates your husband’s murder? How does Cliff Avery fit into your future?

RW: Cliff is a hunk of a man, that’s for sure. I started noticing his manliness fairly quickly in Deadly Deceit, but I was caught up in my grief over my husband’s death and finding out who was threatening my family. I lean on Cliff a lot to get through my various trauma situations. By the end of this first tale in the series, Cliff is much more than a treasured friend. He’ll be a big part of the stories I continue to tell in the Rim Country Mystery Series.

mediakit_bookcover_deadlydeceitA cocoon of naiveté shatters on Rita Warren’s thirtieth wedding anniversary, when a terrorist murders her ex-Marine husband Jared and thirteen other movie goers. Ensnarled in a cover-up that puts her in an assassin’s crosshairs, Rita must unravel a web of lies and connections that date back to Jared’s service in the Iraq war – before a mysterious kidnapper returns Rita’s daughter Zoe one body part at a time. This fast-paced story is one you won’t want to put down from beginning to end.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Through a stunned haze, I saw him look down at me and disappear. He returned with Zoe over his shoulder and rushed down the hill toward a black pickup parked on a narrow side road.

At last, I gulped in air and jumped to my feet. I remembered my gun, and pulled it from my purse. While running toward him, I forced a bullet into the chamber and fired. Missed. I continued running until he turned Zoe toward me, and I lowered my gun. He dropped her into the bed of the truck, slipped a gun from under his shirt and pointed it at me.

“Take the antiquities certificates to the same park bench. No tricks this time. You have until noon tomorrow.”

“I’ll do whatever you want, but please don’t take my daughter. She needs a doctor. Take me instead if you think you need a hostage.”

Gunfire cracked behind me, and the man grabbed his left arm. Blood oozed from between his fingers. “If I see any cops, I’ll kill her. Then come after you.” He slid behind the steering wheel, and I turned to see Cliff at the top of the hill, his gun by his side.

I ran toward the dust stirred up by the truck as it sped away and shouted into the wind. “This is about my necklace?”

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_deadlydeceitA native of the southwestern U.S., Karen Randau has been writing and telling stories since elementary school. She holds a degree in journalism/public relations from The University of Texas at Austin and has enjoyed a long career in marketing communications. In her work with an international non-profit, she has traveled to numerous developing countries, witnessing famines, violence, and hopeful people working to overcome abject poverty. She loves fast-paced mysteries and thrillers, especially those with intricate plots, lots of action, and rollercoaster-like twists and turns.

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Recall by David McCaleb – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. David will be awarding a digital copy of Recall 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_RecallMeet Red Harmon, a special ops veteran who learns he never left the call of duty . . .

To a trio of muggers, Red looks like just another suburban dad. But when they demand his wallet at knifepoint, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, two muggers are dead, the third severely injured, and Red doesn’t remember a thing. Once an elite member of the Det, a secret forces outfit whose existence is beyond classified, Red thought his active service was over.

But his memory is coming back—and a lethal killing machine is returning to duty . . .

Facing an unthinkable nuclear threat, a volatile international power play, and a personal attack against his family, Red has no choice. He must rejoin his old team, infiltrate the enemy camp, and complete the biggest mission of his life . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Tony “Red” Harmon yawned as he rubbed burning, fatigued eyes with a palm. His cuff slipped back from his watch. 9:47 P.M. Too late for the family to be out. Nick dragged his feet on concrete, cheeks puffy, hand gripping Red’s index finger. So tired he didn’t even ask for a treat as they walked out of Walmart, past the candy machines. He looked up, snot glistening under a pink nose. Red winked at him, surprised yet again how his son looked like he’d cloned his mother’s eyes.

The shopping cart was full of things they needed, but didn’t want. School supplies and vegetables. A wheel with a flat spot clacked a steady cadence as Red pushed it under a rush of warm air blowing from above, into the January chill outside. How’d he always end up with the broken ones? He pushed with one hand, straining his wrist to keep the thing straight, pulling Nick with the other. He stepped slowly, careful not to slip on the frozen pavement. Just ahead, little Penny held Jackson’s hand so tight his fingers were turning blue. Her head was high. She was obviously pleased Dad thought she was mature enough to guide her younger brother through the perils of the parking lot.

Hope his fingers don’t go numb, Red thought.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RecallDavid McCaleb was raised on a rural farm on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He attended Valley Forge Military College, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, and served his country as a finance officer. He also founded a bullet manufacturing operation, patented his own invention, and established several businesses. He returned to the Eastern Shore where he currently resides with his wife and two children. Though he enjoys drawing, painting, and any project involving the work of hands, his chosen tool is the pen.

Recall is the first novel in the Red Ops series.

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A Killer’s Grace and My Name is Wonderful by Ronald Chapman – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour to announce the release of two new books from Ronald Chapman being released simultaneously by Terra Nova Publishing: A Killer’s Grace and My Name is Wonder. The publisher commented, ““It is remarkable that these two books can be so very different but somehow speak to the same messages.” Ronald 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_AKillersGraceFrom the high desert of New Mexico comes a tale of mystery, murder and redemption. When journalist Kevin Pitcairn receives a disturbing letter from a serial killer, he is drawn into a compelling journey with profound psychological and spiritual implications, not just for the murderer, but for himself and society as a whole. As he tries to investigate and then tell the story, he finds himself battling his own inner demons and sordid history. Events conspire to propel an isolated matter to a national stage and audiences that are increasingly hostile. Forced to explore the roots of human psychology and sanity, Pitcairn must navigate moral and philosophical realms. What is the nature of evil? What powers of choice do humans actually possess? How may we be redeemed? And in the end, how do we reconcile with ourselves?

MediaKit_BookCover_MyNameIsWonderMy Name is Wonder chronicles the transcendent adventures of a little goat with big dreams. Join Wonder and his wisecracking guide, the mysterious crow Mac Craack, on a journey through the scenic landscapes of the American Southwest and into the heart of a mindful presence. Along the way, you’ll meet an unforgettable cast of creatures, each with an important lesson to teach.

Enjoy an excerpt from My Name is Wonder:

Oren turned back to Wonder and spoke gently. “First, little one, I must tell you that you are not Wonder.”

Wonder knew enough about Oren to know he spoke with the weight of the wisdom of generations. He had also heard that Oren was a philosopher. The gravity of the moment was not lost on the little goat as he considered this statement carefully. Somehow he knew that nothing but the truth would suffice.

“I don’t get it,” he said with a scrunched up face.

“Your name may be Wonder, but Wonder you are not.” He studied the kid, watching for any signs of dawning comprehension. Wonder cocked his head to one side, still puzzled, and the old buck continued. “The form you find yourself in is that of a goat, but you are not a goat. There is that which is, and then there is that which is truth. If you are to learn, you must learn to be absolutely clear about such matters.”

Oren fell silent, waiting.

Wonder blinked—once, twice—and then said, “Got it!”

The wise goat responded in an amused tone, “Do you now?”

“Yes, sir. My name is Wonder.” He grinned and then continued, “And I am not that.”

“Ha!” responded Oren. “I believe you do have it, young one, but let us see.” He almost, but not quite, grinned back at Wonder. It was hard to tell with the long, white beard. “What are you if not Wonder?”

The kid leapt at the answer. “Well sir, I don’t guess I know.”

“Indeed,” replied Oren, his yellow eyes dancing. “True wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.”

“Then I must be very wise indeed, sir.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RonChapmanRonald Chapman is owner of an international speaking and consulting company, Magnetic North LLC. In addition to international accreditation as a speaker and national awards for radio commentary, he is the author of two novels, My Name is Wonder (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016) and A Killer’s Grace (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016 and 2012), two works of non-fiction, Seeing True: Ninety Contemplations in Ninety Days (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2008) and What a Wonderful World: Seeing Through New Eyes (Page Free Publishing, 2004) and the producer of three audio sets, Seeing True: The Way of Spirit (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2016, 2005), Breathing, Releasing and Breaking Through: Practices for Seeing True (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2015), and Seeing True – The Way of Success in Leadership (Magnetic North Audio, 2005).

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“…a book for the ages, with profound truths simply stated. First there was Jonathan Livingston Seagull and then Yoda—Now there is Wonder…”
-Beverly Molander, Minister and Radio Host of Activating the Power of Yes

“…an exploration of human nature and into the allegorical realm that shows us how to be wise teachers and guides…”
-Paula Renaye, Author of Living the Life You Love

“Clarity is an aspect of love, it is seeing clearly. Ron Chapman sees with those eyes. He pays attention as few do to the miracles around us.”
-Stephen Levine, Author and Teacher

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LASR Anniversary: M Pepper Langlinais

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This post is part of Long and Short Review’s 9th Anniversary Celebration. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $100 gift card or other prizes.

Books in Season: Summer – M Pepper Langlinais

I’ve always felt that books, like movies, have a season. For summer, I prefer lighter fare, the stuff I can speed through, the “popcorn” of books. If I want a mystery, I’ll reach for Agatha Christie (John Le Carré is strictly fall/winter reading). If I want a thriller it had better be Michael Crichton or Tom Clancy or some similarly plot-driven tome. And I have a very particular memory of reading The Godfather while in Cancun one June. I also very much enjoy indulging in Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series while sitting outside on my chaise lounge.

My sense of books having seasons began with my father who each fall would pick up The Hobbit and read it and The Lord of the Rings trilogy over winter. Then in the summer he would return to things like Stephen King or the Conan the Barbarian novels. On summer nights we would sit out on the deck together, and Dad would set up the telescope so we could search for planets. And while we did that, Dad would tell me the stories from his books. I first learned of Bilbo and Frodo and Galadriel—oh, how I was obsessed with her power and beauty!—from my dad’s oral history, and I first heard the terrifying story of the rabid dog Cujo that way, too. (I still have never read Cujo, though I’ve enjoyed many Stephen King stories since.)

One particular night when I was in fifth grade, Dad told me a mesmerizing story of time traveling Nazis and later slipped me his copy of Dean Koontz’s Lightning with the caution, “Don’t let your mother catch you with this.”

My parents were both readers, my mother leaning more toward torrid romance until the day she decided it was too sinful and she switched to what would be called “sweet” romances now. I did eventually develop my own taste for Regency romances, and those are also good summer reads, or most of them anyway. The Christmas ones are better for the holidays, naturally. Victoria Holt, however, is fine summer fare, as is Jane Austen.

In truth, summer books really are like summer movies. They move fast and don’t require too much work on the part of the reader (or viewer). Just like summer itself slipping past at an impossible speed, the long days getting shorter, the darkness closing in so slowly we pretend it will never come, summer books fly by like pages ruffled in a stiff breeze. And that breeze grows just a little bit cooler, day by day, as we rotate toward autumn. So enjoy summer now, and the books that go with it. Because there’s almost nothing worse than picking up a book and realizing it’s out of season and you can’t read it yet.*

*Of course you can read a book any time. I realize that. But, at least for me, the mood has to be right. Ripe. Hence my sense of books having a season.

The_Fall_and_Rise_of_Peter_Stoller_by_MPepper_Langinais-500In 1960’s London, British Intelligence agent Peter Stoller is next in line to run the Agency—until he falls in love with cab driver, Charles, and his life goes off the road. When Charles is accused of treason, Peter is guilty by association. Peter manages to extract them both, but the seeds of doubt have been planted, and Peter is compelled to find out whether his lover really is his enemy. Is ignorance truly bliss or merely deadly?

About the Author: M Pepper Langlinais is the author of several Sherlock Holmes stories as well as a produced playwright and screenwriter. Her latest project is the YA fantasy series CHANGERS. She lives with her husband, children, hamster, and cat in Livermore, CA. Find her at PepperWords.com.

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