The Role of Critics and Criticism by Colleen J. Shogan – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Colleen J. Shogan will be awarding a $50 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.

The Role of Critics and Criticism

Anyone who writes, acts, or produces creative content has to deal with critics and criticism. The two are actually distinct, at least in my mind. Criticism can be quite helpful to a writer. After I’d written a draft of my first novel in my mystery series, Stabbing in the Senate, I sent it to a handful of agents. One wrote back to me and said he liked it, but there were some big flaws I needed to fix. He offered me valuable criticism. If I hadn’t changed the beginning of the book to fast-forward to the action, I don’t think it would have ever been picked up for representation or publication.

I’ve found that fellow mystery writers typically offer this type of constructive criticism. The best criticism points to examples, perhaps in other books, which can show the writer how to move forward. General comments, such as “this is bad writing” or “show, don’t tell” means nothing if there isn’t concrete instruction for improvement.

Critics are a different story. They often label creative enterprises as “trite” or “shallow” without providing evidence detailing why their opinions are valid. Literary critics engage in this type of behavior at times, but in this day and age, everyone has credentials to be a critic. All that’s required is an Amazon or Goodreads account.

If someone writes a negative review, I don’t ignore it. I read the review and oftentimes, the reviewer has a point. There’s nothing wrong with those types of exchanges, because hopefully as writers, our work continues to get better as time goes on.

What is disappointing is when a critic asserts an opinion without substantiating his or her thoughts with examples or explanation. When that happens, I find it helpful to watch this scene from the Academy Award winning movie, “Birdman.” In it, Michael Keaton goes off on a critic who is threatening to trash his new play. His diatribe is probably the best invective against an unhelpful and mean-spirited critic. Keaton’s character also reminds creative people that we have the more difficult job because we actually produce content for other people to enjoy and consume. That task is ultimately more burdensome than reacting or opining.

Ignoring criticism isn’t a viable option, especially if the goal is to write more interesting stories over time. However, ignoring critics that assign nasty labels without substantiated claims is recommended.

MediaKit_BookCover_HomicideInTheHouseDuring a government shutdown, Kit’s congresswoman boss is found standing over the dead body of a top staffer she tangled with in front of the press. The police are about to name her as the prime suspect. The weapon was the Speaker’s gavel, an item entrusted to the congresswoman the previous night. The killer knows Kit is on the case. Can she solve the mystery in time to save her job and her life?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Smartphones are great time wasters. I fiddled with various apps as I waited. The next level of “Angry Birds” was within my grasp when I heard footsteps and voices across the hallway. I got up and stood in the doorway to greet my boss.

From the look on her face, she was not pleased. She charged like a linebacker to the exit of the Speaker’s lair with Jack Drysdale on her heels.

“Stop, Congresswoman Dixon. You’re not listening to reason!” From behind, Drysdale placed his hand on Maeve’s left shoulder in an attempt to prevent her from leaving the suite.

Maeve had impressive reflexes. She turned her body toward him and grabbed his wrist with her right hand. “Don’t touch me! Is this how the Speaker’s staff treat members of the House?” Her voice was loud and filled with vitriol.

The gaggle of reporters who had been relaxing inside the anteroom trailed behind me. This was better than a boring pen and pad session. One of them murmured, “I think that’s Dixon from North Carolina.”

This was not a good development, but Maeve didn’t know that the press had a front row seat to her implosion.

Maeve clutched Drysdale’s wrist for several seconds until she let it go. Apparently her physical assault didn’t intimidate him. He ran ahead and stopped directly in front of her.

Stretching his arms out wide to slow her down, Jack made his last stand. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have done that. Please come back in the office so we can sort this out. You’re a valuable part of this caucus and the Speaker wants to work with you on this deal.”

Maeve shook her head. “You guys in House leadership are typical politicians. You can’t take no for an answer. I’m not ready to make a decision. Now get out of my way.”

Unmoving, Drysdale locked eyes with Maeve. She didn’t look away and squared her shoulders. I could almost feel the tension around me as the reporters anxiously waited for the outcome. What was Maeve going to do? Knee him in the groin if he didn’t back down?

After a moment that seemed like an eternity, Drysdale gave in and stepped aside. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and hurried into the hallway to catch up with her. As we exited the corridor, I glanced back to the doorway where I’d been standing. Every reporter was on his or her phone, ostensibly calling in the most salacious story of the shutdown thus far. A junior member of Congress and the Speaker’s top aide had nearly come to blows in the Capitol. A high school reporter could make that story fly.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HomicideInTheHouseColleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She writes the Washington Whodunit series published by Camel Press. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.

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Two Cozy Mysteries from Lyrical Press – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding digital copies of both books on the tour 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_MurderAtTheMansionFortunes, fineries, and foul play . . .

It’s whale-watching season in Redwood Cove, and B&B manager Kelly Jackson’s battening down the hatches for the tourist rush at Redwood Heights—a Victorian-style estate owned by her boss. And due to recent jewelry thefts, her duties include keeping track of the many dust-covered artifacts spread throughout the property. But when Kelly finds Sylvia Porter’s lifeless body, menial tasks don’t seem so terrible.

Enlisting the help of a ragtag group of brainy retirees, aka the “Silver Sentinels,” Kelly’s on the hunt for clues hidden behind the mansion’s glamorous façade and for a killer who may want to make history of her next!

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Welcome, everyone. My name is Lily Wilson, and I’ll be leading the tour today. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them. There’s a sign-in sheet on the check-in counter. We’ll be starting at one o’clock, which is in five minutes.” She turned in my direction and said, “I’d like to introduce the manager of one of Resorts International properties, Kelly Jackson. She’s in charge of Redwood Cove Bed-and-Breakfast.”

The members of the group smiled an acknowledgment. A short man in a denim shirt and khaki pants raised his hand. Lily smiled at him and asked, “Is there something you’d like to know?”

He pointed to the entrance to the parlor. “What is that shield above the doorway?”

“Redwood Heights was built by Reginald Brandon. That’s the family coat of arms,” Lily said. “There is an official Brandon crest on file. However, Mr. Brandon wanted to design his own to reflect life in the West. On his shield he chose to put the silhouettes of two rearing stallions, symbols of strength. Rifles instead of swords crossed over the top of them—the weapons of that era. Tall redwood trees filled in the area behind them and were the source of his wealth. You can see his motto for loyalty and honor on the banner.”

I enjoyed her explanation. It added another dimension to an object that had just been an interesting piece.

A tall woman with a long brown braid down her back pointed to a picture. “Is this Mr. and Mrs. Brandon?”

“Yes, that picture is of the Brandons,” Lily replied. “The woman in the picture is the second Mrs. Brandon. As with many wealthy families and historic estates, there are questionable stories in their past. Redwood Heights is no different.”

“How so?” asked the woman.

“We don’t have any pictures of the first Mrs. Brandon. She was the belle of glittering New York high society who found herself in remote Redwood Cove. She disappeared not long after arriving. Some say she ran off with a lover. Rumors cropped up that she took a sizeable amount of Brandon’s money, changed her name, and left to enjoy San Francisco’s growing attractions.”

The cadence of Lily’s voice took the story beyond a runaway wife. Her tilted head and arched eyebrow led you down a path of mystery and intrigue. The visitors moved a little closer.

Lily leaned toward them and whispered, “Some say she never left at all.” Her words lingered in the dead silence.

Everyone was still—frozen in that past time. Goose bumps popped up on my arms. Someone coughed, and the spell was broken.

“After a time, Brandon married again. They had no children and, alas, the house went to a distant cousin.”

I’d been mesmerized by the tale. Snapping out of it, I looked around. Sylvia still wasn’t there.

“The tour will meet in the parlor. Restrooms are down the hallway to your right,” Lily instructed the group.

I walked up the carpeted stairs to the second floor, running my hand over the smooth oak railing. It had taken hundreds of polishings to develop the fine patina and rich glow.

Sylvia’s room was the first door at the top of the staircase. I knocked quietly. When there was no response, I knocked harder. She must really be a sound sleeper. I tried the door, but it was locked. I rushed downstairs, retrieved her room key, and glanced at my watch. If Sylvia hurried, she’d still have time to make the start of the tour. Arriving back at her door, I knocked again.

“Mrs. Porter, it’s Kelly. The tour is starting in a couple of minutes.” I got no response, so I unlocked the door and peeked in. Sylvia was sitting in front of her dressing table, her back to me.

I opened the door a little farther. “Mrs. Porter?” I stepped inside the room. In the filtered light from the curtained windows, Sylvia’s image reflected in the mirror. Her eyes were closed, and her head rested on her shoulder. She must have dozed off before making it into bed for a nap.

My attention was drawn to a brooch on the left side of Sylvia’s blouse as I approached her. I hadn’t noticed it before. It was a lovely piece—a large egg-shaped pearl surrounded by a burst of red.

I touched Sylvia’s shoulder. No response.

“Mrs. Porter?” I gently shook her.

Sylvia’s head rolled forward and hung down. Her dangling hair covered the side of her face.

I gasped, and my heart began to pound. I looked more closely at her. The burst of red wasn’t part of a pin—it was blood.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MurderAtTheMansion

Janet Finsilver and her husband live in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and Ellie, a boxer/coonhound mix. Janet enjoys horseback riding, snow skiing, and cooking. She is currently working on her next Redwood Cove mystery.

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MediaKit_BookCover_TeaCupAndCarnageThe quaint coastal town of South Cove, California, is all abuzz about the opening of a new specialty shop, Tea Hee. But as Coffee, Books, and More owner Jill Gardner is about to find out, there’s nothing cozy about murder . . .

Shop owner Kathi Corbin says she came to South Cove to get away from her estranged family. But is she telling the truth? And did a sinister someone from her past follow her to South Cove? When a woman claiming to be Kathi’s sister starts making waves and a dead body is found in a local motel, Jill must step in to clear Kathi’s name–without getting herself in hot water.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Limping home, I saw Greg’s truck parked at City Hall. I went in through the side door that took me to the police station. Amy kept going, heading home to shower before returning to her job as city hall receptionist.

Greg stood by Esmeralda’s desk and raised his eyebrows when he saw me. “Rough workout? I’m glad I was too busy to go today.”

“Oh, you’ll get yours. Don’t think demon trainer didn’t notice you were gone.”

“Okay. So why are you here?” He pushed a curl back out of my face. “Too far to walk home after the workout?”

“You’re just mean, you know that right?” I sank into the couch. It did feel amazing just to veg for a second or two. Okay, so Greg could have been right about my real motives for the impromptu visit. “Actually, I wanted to know about your call-out last night. I’m assuming this was a murder and not an old guy dying in his sleep.”

“And you deduced that from?” He watched me closely.

Shrugging, I sank deeper into the cushions. No wonder Greg didn’t mind sleeping in his office every so often. The couch was amazing. “No one blabbed, if you’re thinking of blaming Toby. You didn’t call, and you’re still wearing last night’s clothes.”

He chuckled. “You’re right. I guess I’m more transparent than I thought. We don’t know much about the murder, except the guy checked in a few days ago under a false name. Of course, the motel doesn’t ask for any verification or even a credit card. Cash only out there.”

“So he’s not a local.” For some reason, this made me feel better. Sure, it was sad someone had died, but people died all the time. I just didn’t want it to be one of my friends.

“Not that I can tell. But I think it’s the biker who’s been racing up and down Main Street. He fits the description.” Greg shrugged and grinned. “And, there’s a bike parked outside his room. Yep, I’m a trained investigator, I notice these things.”

“Big guy?” I thought about how the elderly woman had almost been smashed by the rider just a few days ago.

“Nope. He’s tall, maybe six feet, but if he weighs more than a hundred fifty soaking wet I’ll buy you dinner.” Greg groaned as he stood and walked across the room to his desk. He pulled me to standing. “I hate it when you do that.”

“Do what?” Now that I was upright, my stomach growled reminding me I hadn’t eaten all day. I dug into my tote and pulled out a protein bar.

“Trick me into telling you more than I should.” He pointed to the door. “Out of here. I’ve got work to do.”

I took a bite of my protein bar as I walked out. Pausing at the door, I turned back to look at him. He was already typing into some document. “I take it I won’t see you for dinner?”

“Not tonight. But I’ll be over on Sunday at the latest.” He paused. “Are you working the festival that day?”

“Just the morning shift. We’re closing the main store and only running the food truck that day.” I adjusted the strap on my tote, feeling the weight on my screaming shoulder blade. I walked out of the office and wondered how bad the murder had been. Just because it was a stranger that lay in the morgue, didn’t mean someone from South Cove hadn’t been involved or known the guy.

Or why else would he have been here?

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TeaCupsAndCarnageNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho expat. She grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she’s living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series, won the 2015 Reader’s Crown award for Mystery Fiction.

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Ten Things People Don’t Know About Stephen Leather – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephen Leather will be awarding a $50 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.

Ten Things People Don’t Know About Stephen Leather

1) I can fly a plane. I got my pilot’s licence while I was living in Baltimore, Maryland.

2) I have parachuted four times. The first three times were with the RAF freefall team. I jumped from a Rapide biplane which meant climbing out onto the wing before jumping.

3) I have a brown belt in Shotokan karate. My kicks aren’t very good, though.

4) I have a cat called Peanut Butter who sits next to me while I am writing.

5) I do almost all my writing while sitting in front of the TV. I was a journalist working in noisy newsrooms for ten years or so and I still need noise around me while I write.

6) I am one on Amazon’s Top 10 UK independent publishers and my book The Basement is one of the Top 10 bestselling self-published UK eBooks of all time.

7) My self-published book The Basement has topped the Kindle charts in the US and the UK.

8) I tried my hand at writing erotica because I figured that eReaders would see more people buying sexy stories (because no one can see what you’re reading on an eReader). The stories are available but they don’t sell very well.

9) I was once the Business Editor of the South China Morning Post

10) Martin Campbell (who directed Bond movies Goldeneye and Casino Royale) is making a film of my book The Chinaman starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. It’ll hopefully be in cinemas by the end of the year.

MediaKit_BookCover_NewYorkNightTeenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. New York Night is the seventh novel in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Cheryl Perez pulled the cork from the bottle of Chianti and sloshed it into a glass. She drank some and went through to her sitting room. She pulled open the drawer of a side table and took out the framed photograph of herself and Eric. It had been in the drawer for over a month – a new record. The photograph had been taken on New Year’s Eve three years earlier. They’d flown to Vegas for the weekend and seen in the New Year at a show in the MGM Grand. The casino’s logo was in the bottom right hand corner of the photograph. They were both a little drunk and they were holding hands either side of a champagne bucket that Perez was fairly sure contained their second bottle. Maybe their third. They had got so drunk that they had collapsed on the bed in their clothes and woken up the following morning still clothed and wrapped in each other’s arms. ‘You bastard, Eric,’ she whispered. ‘How could you leave me?’

She took the photograph over to the dining table and stood it in the middle. She sat down, drank some wine and then picked up one of the two pencils there. She drew a cross on the page, dividing it into quarters. She wrote YES in the top right and bottom left quarters, then wrote NO in the top left and bottom right. She took another drink of wine, then smiled lopsidedly at the photograph. ‘I know, I know, it’s stupid and my soul will burn in Hell, but I have to try, don’t I?’

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_NewYorkNightStephen Leather is one of the UK’s most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan “Spider’ Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.

Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country’s most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.

Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London’s Burning, The Knock and the BBC’s Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV.
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Jack Nightingale, the main character in New York Night has his own website. (NOTE: It’s addictive!)

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Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak – Q&A and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops on the tour.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I normally don’t watch a great deal of TV, except during an election season—I’m a political junkie. On a regular basis I do follow a few of the reality shows, particularly Survivor. I think it’s very well done and psychologically balanced in the casting. They always seem to include just enough dysfunctional players to make it interesting.

What is your favorite meal?

I eat a lot of sushi, and enjoy checking out new sushi bars when traveling. For a special occasion, it has to be Osetra Caviar.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

I’ve written a draft of a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq, which is designed to be the first of a series. I’m still not totally convinced that the material is appropriate, though: it’s very tricky to deal with plots that deal in politics and refer to very recent history, because personal feelings tend to take over.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

I wouldn’t say I idolize Hemingway, at least not anymore, but he’s been a huge influence. The clarity and sharp focus of his prose guided me in the right direction when I was starting out.

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

Children of the Sixties will recognize the reference to the Grateful Dead Song of the same name. As they said: “A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine.”

MediaKit_BookCover_FriendOfTheDevilIn 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

Enjoy a mouth-watering excerpt:

He perused Chateau de la Mer’s large and mostly incomprehensible menu. Changed every few weeks, handwritten in Avenzano’s elaborate cursive before being photocopied, it closely resembled an annotated Medieval manuscript. Finally, he acceded to the staff’s offer to prepare a tasting menu for him, accompanied by the appropriate wines.

He was presented with a sculpture of dried vegetables in the shape of a bird’s nest, filled with a combination of wild mushrooms and chopped truffles, bathed in an intensely reduced demi-glaze. The carrots, zucchini and peppers had been cut into paper-thin strips, intertwined and allowed to dry, yet retained a surprising intensity of flavor.

He consumed a dish of tomato, basil and egg noodles, bathed in a light cream sauce, perfumed with fresh sage and studded with veal sweetbreads.

He ate an astonishing dish of butter-poached lobster, remarkably sweet and perfectly underdone, flavored with sweet English peas and garnished with a ring of authentic Genoese pesto.

He was served a slice of Avenzano’s signature Bedouin-stuffed poussin—a turkey stuffed with a goose, in turn stuffed with a duckling, in turn stuffed with a poussin, or baby chicken, with a core of truffled foie gras at its center, covered with an Etruscan sauce of chopped capers, raisins and pine nuts. This dish had been the source of much controversy over the years, since it bore a close resemblance to a Louisiana terducken. It predated the terducken, however, and was supposedly inspired by a creation first served to the French royal court. For good measure, Avenzano had added influences from the cuisine of the Middle East.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FriendOfTheDevilMark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.

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Marionettes by Kerry Alan Denney – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kerry Alan Denney will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_MarionettesResuscitated after he drowns and dies in a flood, David Flint discovers he has returned from the other side with an uncanny ability: He can “jump” into people’s bodies and minds, and control their thoughts and actions.

David believes it’s a gift, and wants to use it to help people. Then four members of a ruthless drug ring savagely attack his fiancée and leave her in a coma, and David tries to use his new power to destroy the whole ring. But the ringleader, a voodoo priest known as the Zombie Master, is a formidable man with a deadly secret: He has the same incredible ability as David.

When the two human marionette masters clash in a brutal bloody showdown, using the ring’s members as their puppets, David discovers he’s battling for much more than his life—he’s fighting to rid the world of an evil human abomination.

Marionettes illuminates the greatest achievements of the human spirit and the darkest corridors of our minds, and answers the age-old question: What are the consequences of absolute power?

Enjoy an excerpt:

My whole life changed after I drowned and died in the flood.

Upon my resurrection, I thought I was dreaming. My head felt fuzzy. A little man inside it was drilling away at my brain with a tiny but immensely effective jackhammer. My mouth felt like it was glued shut, my tongue ten times normal size and made of sandpaper. A crew of little men sliced furrows in my throat with dull rusty swords, cackling merrily as they destroyed my trachea.

Some sadistic bastard apparently burned a branding iron into my corneas.

It was far worse than any hangover I ever had—and I’d had some doozies since Karin died and left me alone, lost, and unmoored in a callous world.

When I woke, the acrid tang of antiseptic mixing with an unpleasant odor stung my nostrils. Through a crimson haze, I saw a pretty nurse gaze down at me and smile. She looked like an angel.

“Hi, David!” she sang, her perfect white teeth gleaming as if lit from within. “Welcome back.” She caressed my face with a warm hand, glanced at some monitoring equipment beside the bed I lay in, and turned and hit a switch behind me. “Laura, page Dr. Yamaguchi. Mr. Flint’s awake.”

The angel turned back to me. “I bet you’re thirsty. We’ll fix that shortly, okay? After the doctor sees you, maybe we can give you some ice chips.”

I shut my eyes to block out the combined glare of her smile and the overhead fluorescence. When I opened them again, an attractive Asian woman in her forties with close-cropped black hair streaked with gray stood over me. Her brow wrinkled, a tentative smile curling the corners of her lips upward.

“Welcome back, Mr. Flint,” she said. “I’m Dr. Yamaguchi. You’re lucky to be alive. It’s a miracle the couple who brought you in were able to resuscitate you. We almost lost you twice last night. Apparently you lead a charmed existence. Don’t try to speak yet.”

I tried anyway, but couldn’t. The miniature swordsmen in my throat were having a blast trying to cut their way out. I nodded, then grimaced as the movement made the mad Lilliputian with the jackhammer pound more little holes in my brain. I shut my eyes again and drifted off.

It was all surreal. I remembered my name and profession, but I couldn’t remember what happened to me. Every time I strained for the memory, it receded while raging torrents of dark waters overwhelmed me.

Consciousness was an assault upon my senses. But in what I initially mistook for dreams, my perception and sense of taste, touch, and smell were immaculate.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MarionettesColleagues and readers have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney The Reality Bender. The multiple award-winning author of the paranormal thrillers Dreamweavers (Juju Mojo Publications, August 2015) and Soulsnatcher (Juju Mojo Publications, April 2014), the post-apocalyptic sci-fi/ horror thriller Jagannath (Permuted Press, February 2015), and numerous short stories published online and in anthologies, Kerry blends elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his work: speculative fiction at its wildest and craziest. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers, even when the voices don’t compel him to. His protagonists are his children, and he loves them as dearly as he despises his antagonists… even when he has to kill them.

On July 24, 2015, Jagannath became a #1 Amazon bestseller. On March 31, 2015, Soulsnatcher won 2nd Place as 2014 Book of the Year in The Drunken Druid’s International Book Award competition. Jagannath and Soulsnatcher each received a rave blurb from New York Times bestselling author James Rollins.

Kerry lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia with his golden retriever Holly Jolly, a veteran professional Therapy Dog, where he is currently writing his next supernatural thriller… and deciding who to kill in it.

Be on the lookout for Kerry’s new post-apocalyptic/ paranormal thriller A Mighty Rolling Thunder, coming December 3, 2016 from Burning Willow Press.

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Buy the author’s books on Amazon: Dreamweavers | Jagannath | Soulsnatcher | Marionettes

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Pork by RS Anthony – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_PorkHigh school is torture for Steven Walthurst, and home isn’t a whole lot better. The only place that offers respite is an abandoned tree house at the edge of town. But something lurks in the nearby woods, and the long line of elm trees has a clear message for Steven: keep out.

Then one day, Steven finds a little girl lying unconscious, perilously close to the woods. As the two get to know one another, Steven experiences real friendship for the first time—and gets closer than ever to knowing the darkness that skulks between the trees.

He dedicates himself to keeping his new friend safe, but the tranquility of their fragile hidden world doesn’t last long. When an act of cruelty pushes Steven to his limits, his secrets—and those of the dark woods—come close to unraveling, threatening to destroy the one thing making his teenage life bearable. Can Steven save everything he’s built from crumbling under the pressure?

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

“I’m sorry, little girl. I have nothing today. I didn’t even bring my homework,” he said, sitting on a ledge by the door. The girl crouched at his feet, legs folded underneath her. Steven felt uncomfortable and raised his feet up onto the ledge. She stared up at him with her bright blue eyes as his misted. “You must be hungry. I’m sorry,” he said again and dropped his head. The little girl climbed up the ledge, crouched next to him, and watched his face with innocent eyes.

“My momma got real upset with me today. She called me a thief and threw me out. I didn’t have a chance to grab my backpack or prepare any sandwiches.” When he didn’t say anything else, the girl planted her palms on the ledge and rocked forward to him, shifting her weight to her palms. She looked into his eyes and offered a big, toothy grin. Two of her front teeth were broken and the rest were crooked to some degree. She looked pretty nevertheless.

Steven smiled at her, and she raised a finger to touch the tip of his nose. He wiggled his nose and they both chuckled. When they had stopped laughing, she traced her finger to the spot where his momma had hit him earlier and stroked it gently. Her touch was light, like a butterfly’s feet, and warm. He placed his palm on her finger, smiling, but she pulled back and settled on her knees again. Steven leaned his back against the wall and stretched his legs out on the ledge.

“Pork,” the little girl said suddenly.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_PorkRosemary Anthony writes suspense fiction with a twist. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Management from the University of Science Malaysia and recently made the jump from writing official documents to writing fiction novels. Blessed with 17 nephews and nieces, she finds the world of young adults to be a thrilling source of inspiration for her books.

Rosemary lives in a small town in Malaysia and travels as often as possible to broaden her cultural horizon.

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What people are saying:

“Stay with this new author. She’s impressive.” – G. Harp

“The plot is elaborate leading to an unexpected twist in the end which I loved. It is a very good read– you won’t be disappointed!” – D. Mantzari

“…makes for an entertaining read, just prepare yourself to have a few WTF moments while enjoying the experience…” – Book Mafia Blog

“The author has a lovely writing style with clear, sparse prose that allows the story to breathe. Bit by bit each character plays a part in unraveling the mystery…” – The Welshbird

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My Writing Space by Michael Ross – Guest Blog and Giveaway



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

My writing space

After undertaking a “blog tour” for the release of Hand Over Fist I was surprised to note how many times I was asked about my writing space, which led me to realise that over the last year or so I have spent a quarter of my life in that writing space.

All the bad luck and harsh times I endured for many years, have now had a happy ending, because I cannot think of anywhere I would prefer to work at my writing than this writing space.

A dozen or so years ago I went from being a millionaire to an insolvent within an eighteen month period. A period much too painful on which to dwell, but as one example I lost over $300,000 just in lawyer’s fees. With hard work I managed to fight my way through it and avoid bankruptcy, but I was left with no choice but to leave the vibrant, exciting and historical city of Bristol and move to the Welsh Valleys, where property prices were one third of those in Bristol.

It was not something I wanted to do, it was a financial imperative, and to start with I hated living in the back of beyond. However my partner Mari was enthusiastic about the new house and the new beginning. I always had faith that she knew best, and she did. The builder was halfway through constructing the house when he came to us and said that it would not take much to add an extra floor to the building and create a large room at the top of the house. The extra cost was minimal and my writing space was born.

The room has skylights on all four sides with fantastic views of the hills and mountains around us. I have space for my desk, a couple of armchairs and a bed settee. And importantly I am out of the way, so I can have my music blasting away without upsetting Mari; she is a professional musician (violinist) and hates background music of any kind. I know I don’t get it either.

So, at the end of the day, the events that conspired to nullify my life, have actually led me to the ideal writing space, with the freedom and views which most authors could only dream about.

When an old friend disappears, Martin learns nothing is what it seems…

Martin Russell can barely face the future. With dismal life prospects and an estranged family, he is at the end of his rope. When an old friend, Hannah, elbows her way back into his life, Martin’s luck begins to turn around.

Hidden within the shadows of evil, there must be some good…

Ex-policeman Bobby Tanner lost everything one rage-filled night. Now he runs a reading group for alcoholics where he meets a young drug dealer, Zack, who disturbs him in a way that’s hard to define. Bobby soon discovers the teenager is in over his head and has been dealing with a despicable individual known as The Chemist.

The roots of evil run deeper than we imagine…

Martin’s lucky streak begins to unravel when Hannah suddenly goes missing, and he turns to a friend of a friend, Bobby, for help. Thrust into an underworld empire of corruption and half-truths, he learns his friend may not be who he thought she was.

In a shadowed world of deception, stalkers, and despicable drug dealers, Bobby and Martin must uncover the truth, and fast…

Several lives depend on it.

Enjoy an excerpt:

A large part of The Chemist’s wealth came from something that started out as a petty sideline but now provided an ever increasing income—money lending, loan sharking, pawn broking. It served a double purpose. Obviously it created wealth, but it also increased the footfall of deprived humanity passing through the front door of Shortcross Drive. This meant that when the police did a stop-and-search on visitors leaving The Chemist’s house, all they found were small amounts of cash in new white envelopes. Positive feedback within the local police force went up the line, and it was duly noted that local drug related problems were on the decline. Statistics made fine reading at County Hall and everyone was happy. No matter how much Mario increased the interest rates to his borrowers, people paid their debts. It was an undisputed fact. No matter how much financial difficulty The Chemist’s borrowers were in, they always found a way to pay up. If anybody at County Hall had bothered to correlate the figures, they could

surely not have missed the numbers showing that criminal break-ins and burglaries within a twenty mile radius had increased even more markedly.

The largest amount Mario had ever lent to one person was £1,000. It went to a young local tearaway who was quite happy to agree to repay Mario the sum of £1,200 within three days. The young thug duly turned up on the Friday with the cash and a nice bottle of champagne to go with it. Next day, while Mario was sitting down with his copy of The Sun, he read that there had been a robbery at a Post Office in the Peak District, and that the Post Mistress was in a coma after being attacked with a sledge hammer. The paper stated that the thieves got away with over £6,000. Mario felt something akin to parental pride. Mario carried on lending monkeys and tons to his regulars until he received a phone call that came out of the blue. The request came as something of a shock, even to Mario’s fireproof ears.

“Hello, my name’s Jeremy. I’d rather not go into any more detail over the phone, but I was given your name by Eddie Parsons.”

Eddy Parsons, The Peak District thief.

The rather snooty voice continued, “I want to borrow ten-thousand pounds for ten days. I can pay you back the second of next month. Guaranteed.”

About the Author:

It was a strange and twisting road that led to the publication of my first novel. From my humble beginnings, as an office clerk, to ownership of a multi-million dollar business I always maintained my love for literature.

Born and raised in Bristol, England. I spent most of my life in business, my companies turning over in the region of $500 million. The majority of that time marketing cars, eventually owning the largest Saab specialist in the world, before a bitter divorce forced me rethink my priorities. Particularly between 2003 and 2005 when I had to accept that I was no longer a millionaire but literally penniless. I avoided bankruptcy by the skin of my teeth and slowly rebuilt my life.

This led me to the life changing decision to leave the bustling city and move to live halfway up a mountain in the Welsh valleys. At the same time I started a part time six year English Literature course at Bristol University, and attended creative writing classes at Cardiff University. I left school at sixteen and this was my first taste of further education and an immense challenge.

I eventually adjusted my thinking to the academic life, and on 30 June 2015 had confirmation of my 2.1(Hons) degree from Bristol University. At the same time I also won the prestigious Hopkins Prize for my essay on Virginia Woolf and the unsaid within her text. Now the university courses are finished it will, with any luck, gives me plenty of extra time that I can devote to my fiction writing.

Thanks to the university experiences, my interest in English literature has flourished over recent years. Hopefully I have evolved as a writer from my earlier work in short stories (over ninety of them.) Although interestingly my first three novels have all been developed from a long forgotten short story.

Life is, once again, very good, and I live very happily halfway up a mountain, in the Welsh Valleys, with my wonderful partner Mari, and our rescue dog Wolfie.


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Similarities and Differences between Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, whose newest book Mother was recently released. Leave a comment or ask the authors a question for a chance to win

Tamara Thorne first published in 1991 and has authored such bestselling titles as Haunted, Moonfall, and Candle Bay, among many others. Alistair was published in 2012. The following year, we began writing together, and have no plans to stop. We’re currently working on our fourth collaborative novel, as well as the ongoing Ravencrest Saga serial, and we are each penning a solo novel as well. We are constantly told by readers that they can’t figure out who wrote what – to be honest, neither can we. Though we live several states apart and grew up in different circumstances, we are continually surprised by the similarities between us, not just in our writing styles, but in our sensibilities. We are so similar that we decided to make lists of what makes us the same – and what differentiates us – because we really didn’t know.

Our similarities

#1 We were both adopted by new kittens on the same day in 2013. Both were black females, and arrived at our homes, demanding entrance, and have been with us since.

#2 Neither of us can stand the thought of anything touching our necks. We have no idea what this is about, but there it is …

#3 We used to be able to tell who wrote what if certain words were used. For instance, if “hollered” or “tedious” were used, we knew Alistair had written it. We can’t tell anymore because we’ve each picked up on the other’s favorites and now use them freely.

#4 We seem to be connected at the brain. Frequently, one of us picks up the phone just as a text comes in from the other. We do it so often that we take it for granted, but it blows other people away. Also, we both refer to phones as “text machines.”

#5 We both had excellent mothers, but our relationships with our fathers were strained.

#6 We are both huge fans of lemon desserts – of any kind.

#7 One of the things that drew us tightly together was a mutual hatred of drama. We both got involved with the same type of people in our pasts – people who left us with absolutely no tolerance for histrionics. The only drama we allow in our lives takes place in the pages of our books!

#8 We have never argued, in part because both of us loathe arguing, but mainly because there’s never anything to argue about. Our tastes are too similar. The biggest disagreements we ever have is about the color of Belinda’s sweaters in The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Those last about half a second because we resolve them by asking Belinda what she wants to wear.

#9 Neither of us can write short. Our first collaboration was meant to be a short story, just to see if we could write together. It sprouted legs, began growing, and took on a life of its own, eventually becoming a full novel. We haven’t looked back since.

#10 We both love The Walking Dead now but didn’t care for it the first time around.

Our differences:

#1 Tamara loves roller coasters. Alistair hates them.

#2 Alistair and Tamara’s musical tastes are similar but Alistair likes his rock mellow while Tamara prefers it hard. Big and hard.

#3 Tamara loves Star Trek. Alistair has never seen it, and doesn’t want to. Tamara thinks he’s crazy but loves him anyway.

#4 Alistair runs. Tamara walks.

#5 Alistair has a slight preference for writing female protagonists while Tamara prefers being in masculine points of view.

#6 Tamara loves Family Guy. Alistair can’t stand it.

#7 Alistair is over six feet tall, and Tamara is over five feet tall. Alistair’s nickname for Tamara is Hobbit. Tamara’s nickname for Alistair is Treebeard.

#8 Alistair is male. Tamara is female.

#9 We’re trying hard but we can’t think of any more differences.

6_1 motherBookCoverA Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother …
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever …
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse …
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger – and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

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My Pet Peeves by Libby Fischer Hellmann – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Libby will be awarding a $50 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.

Some of My Pet Peeves
Writing pet peeves:

 Writers who repeat the same mistakes over and over

 Mistakes in grammar and punctuation (even though I know I am guilty of it myself)

 Misspellings… I am a pretty good speller so I suppose I’m a spelling snob.

 Reading a blurb about a book that says it’s the best thing since sliced bread then being disappointed in the story and/or writing.

In general

 People who are not courteous – the increasing lack of civility, courtesy, and good manners makes me very sad.

 Traffic (I used to tell my kids the ONLY time it was acceptable to curse was when you’re stuck in traffic)

 Narcissists – I think that speaks for itself.

MediaKit_BookCover_JumpCutChicago video producer, Ellie Foreman, has been absent from thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann’s repertoire for almost a decade. Now she’s back…and soon entangled in a web of espionage, murder and suspicion that threatens to destroy what she holds most dear. Hired to produce a candyfloss profile of Chicago-based aviation giant, Delcroft, Ellie is dismayed when company VP Charlotte Hollander, the architect of a new anti-drone system for Delcroft, trashes the production and cancels the project. Ellie believes Hollander was spooked by shots of a specific man in the video footage. But when Ellie arranges to meet the man to find out why, he’s killed by a subway train before they can talk. In the confusion, she finds a seemingly abandoned pack of cigarettes with a flash drive inside that belonged to the now dead man.

Ellie has the drive’s contents decrypted, but before long she discovers she’s under surveillance. Suspecting Delcroft and the ambitious Hollander are behind it, she’s unconvinced when Hollander tells her the dead man was a Chinese spy. Ellie and her boyfriend Luke try to find answers, but they don’t realize how far into the dangerous echelons of hidden power they have ventured. When Ellie’s daughter is kidnapped and Charlotte Hollander disappears, it becomes terrifyingly clear that Ellie is in way over her head, and more lives are on the line, including her own.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Monday

Before my gangstah-rap neighbor emptied his AK-47 into his buddy, the most exciting thing to happen in our village was the opening of a new grocery store. The store hired a pianist who played Beatles tunes, no doubt to persuade shoppers to part with their money more easily. My neighbor, rapper King Bling, was helping his fans part with their money too, but the shooting ended all that. Once he made bail, he moved and hasn’t been heard from since.

And so it goes in my little corner of the North Shore, about twenty miles from downtown Chicago. There are benefits. The King, as he’s known to his disciples, gave our cops something to do besides ticket speeders. And the new grocery store gave me the chance to buy prepared dinners so I could dispense with cooking.

Both of which come in handy when I’m producing a video, as was the case now. We didn’t finish the shoot until seven. I raced up the expressway toward home, dropped into the store, and was eyeballing a turkey pot roast—the only one left—when my cell trilled. I fished it out of my bag.

“Mom, where did you get the shoes?” I heard chatter and giggles in the background.

“What shoes, Rachel?”

“The ones you gave Jackie.” My daughter, Rachel, had successfully, if unbelievably, graduated from college and lived in an apartment in Wrigleyville. Jackie was her roommate. “Everybody thinks they’re awesome.”

About the Author:Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Twelve novels and twenty short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first. She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few. *

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_JumpCutWith the addition of Jump Cut in 2016, her novels include the now five-volume Ellie Foreman series, which she describes as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24;” the hard-boiled 4-volume Georgia Davis PI series, and three stand-alone historical thrillers that Libby calls her “Revolution Trilogy.” Her latest release, The Incidental Spy, is a historical novella set during the early years of the Manhattan Project at the U of Chicago. Her short stories have been published in a dozen anthologies, the Saturday Evening Post, and Ed Gorman’s “25 Criminally Good Short Stories” collection.

* She has been a finalist twice for the Anthony, twice for Foreword Magazines Book of the Year, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Daphne and has won the Lovey multiple times.

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Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting – Guest Post and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sandra Bretting will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What kind of writer am I?
By Sandra Bretting

In the fable of the tortoise and the hare, I definitely identify with the tortoise when it comes to writing.

I’d love to be able to sit down at my computer and whip out a few thousand words every day. Charles Dickens did it in his time. Stephen King still does it.

My reality is far different. My reality involves logging six or seven hundred words on a good day. Here’s why: I can’t move on to creating new passages until I’m happy with the old.

Blame it on my birth sign…I’m a Virgo. Virgos strive for perfection. While it may not be possible, or even practical, we’ll torture ourselves until we can come reasonably close before calling it a day.

Which means I’ll spend two or three hours every morning rewriting passages from the day before. Only then can I move on to the next scene.

All is not lost, however. I recently found out I’m in good company. No less than Ernest Hemingway once said he was happy to complete five hundred words a day and would walk away from his typewriter after that.

Whew! If Papa Hemingway could write The Old Man and the Sea a few pages at a time, I should be able to complete a two-hundred-and-fifty-page cozy mystery using the same schedule. It may not be as good as his book, but it will be the best I can make it.

(Besides…Stephen King probably writes most of his words at night, when he can’t sleep since he’s already scared himself silly.)

The trick is to make the words sound effortless, as if they really did just roll off the computer screen fully formed and ready to go to press. It’s definitely a high-wire act, when you know a performer has spent hours practicing a routine, but makes it look impromptu.

I guess the moral of my story is I’ve decided to embrace my writing style. I may write slowly, but it will come surely. By the time one of my books goes to press, I know I’ve not only turned over every stone as far as word choices, phrasing and sentence structure, but I’ve pretty much upended every pebble and flipped over every boulder, too.

If that makes me a tortoise, so be it. I seem to recall it was the tortoise who won the race.

MediaKit_BookCover_MurderAtMorningside Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana’s Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder?

Hired to craft a veil for a socialite getting married at Morningside Plantation means Missy can bask in the height of antebellum atmosphere. But when the bride is found dead in a women’s bathroom, Missy the milliner finds herself entangled in one unfashionable murder. With the list of suspects thicker than the sweltering Louisiana heat, including a gaggle of bridesmaids shedding nary a tear and a family with no shortage of enemies, it seems anyone at the mansion may have done away with the bride-to-be. While Missy has Southern charm to spare, she’s going to need more than manners and a manicure to put a hat pin on this murderous affair . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

Time rewound with each footfall as I began to climb the grand outer staircase at Morningside Plantation. The limestone steps, burdened with the history of five generations, heaved their way toward heaven.

At the top lay a wide-plank verandah supported by columns painted pure white, like the clouds. By the time I took a third step, the digital camera in my right hand began to dissolve into the sterling silver handle of a ladies parasol. The visitors’ guide in my left hand magically transformed into a ballroom dance card bound by a satin cord.

Another step and the Mississippi River came into view as it flowed to the Gulf, languid as a waltz and the color of sweet tea. Could that be a whistle from a steamboat ferrying passengers past the plantation? If so, a turn and a wave wouldn’t be out of the question once I reached the top of the stairs, and good manners would dictate it.

I was about to do that when I realized the whistle was only my friend’s cell and not a Mississippi riverboat. “Ambrose! Turn that thing off. Honestly.”

“Sorry.” He shrugged. “I always forget you were Scarlett O’Hara in a past life.”

The mood was broken, though, and the sterling silver in my hand returned to plastic while the linen dance card hardened to a glossy brochure.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MurderAtMorningsideSandra Bretting works as a freelance feature writer under contract to the Houston Chronicle. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and wrote for other publications (including the Los Angeles Times and Orange Coast Magazine) before moving to Texas.

Her Missy DuBois Mysteries series debuts from Kensington/Lyrical Underground in May 2016. Bretting’s previous mysteries include Unholy Lies (2012) and Bless the Dying (2014).

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