Interview with David K. Hulegaard – Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes David K. Hulegaard who has stopped by to chat with us today. David is giving away 5 signed copies of the book (digital copies for international winners) – just leave a comment! Check out our 5 star review of the book!

David had never really set out to be a writer. In fact, when he was growing up, he wanted to be a professional baseball player.

“I lived and breathed baseball growing up, and we used to play pick-up games in the middle of the street every day after school,” he remembered. “Unfortunately, I never got to play organized sports, so I never really developed any actual skill or, more importantly, any actual athletic ability. Once I realized that door was closed for me, I moved on to other interests.”

He did, however, have a tremendous fear of flying so, if he had to travel for work, he would take other forms of transportation, usually alternating between train and bus, depending on the distance.

“Because these forms of travel are much longer, you get to meet and spend time with some very colorful characters. I’d show up for these work events with all kinds of stories because, inevitably, something bizarre would happen to me on the trip. After several years, my stories became part of the business functions, with partners all wanting to hear what happened this time. One year, a partner said, ‘You should write a book with all these stories.’ I’d never thought about writing a book before, but for some reason, the idea really struck a chord with me. I didn’t do it right away, but within a couple of years, I began dedicating free time to writing and discovered that I loved it. Once I got going, I couldn’t stop!”

David began exploring fictional ideas he’d come up with over the years and started writing some every night until his first novel was completed in 2010. He’s written six more since then.

He told me that his books all start with a single idea, but where that idea comes from varies.

“As a child, I suffered from pretty nasty night terrors,” he said, “and a lot of those dreams have stuck with me ever since. As I’ve gotten older, the night terrors are gone, but from time to time my subconscious will blast me with something intense, and I’ll wake up sweaty and out of breath. When that happens, I immediately write down as much as I can remember, and with any luck, I’ll have something that may or may not fit into a larger story. Sometimes I get something that I can work with right away, and other times I get something that collects dust in the ‘idea box’ folder on my hard drive. I hope someday to deplete that sucker, but the sad reality is that one lifetime wouldn’t be enough to use everything in my idea box.”

I asked David what advice he would give to a new writer just starting out.

“You’re going to hear lots of advice from other writers. Some of it good, some of it bad. Only you will be able to determine what’s going to work best for you, so take all advice with a grain of salt. Use this advice as a guide to get you started, but once you’re feeling comfortable at the helm, be selective with what advice you take to heart. Always remember that not one single writer has all the answers. Writing is not a one-size-fits-all process.”

He admitted that he had been fortunate because he’s never suffered from writer’s block, even though he’s known plenty of other writers who have – sometimes to the point of completely crippling their project.

“For me, I think it’s been helpful to do a lot of prep work before actually starting to write,” he said. “I start with things like character bios and a very rough, basic outline of where the story is going. By doing this, I always have a good idea of the story’s direction, and filling in the blanks to get there is the fun part! However, if I ever do start to feel as though I’m approaching a block, I’ll shift focus and work on something else for a little while. Sometimes a bit of time apart can help me regroup and come back with a fresh perspective.”

David had been retaining bits and pieces from books he’s read is whole life, but he can specifically recall reading Bernard Schaffer’s Guns of Seneca 6.

“All of a sudden something just clicked. It’s hard to explain, but there was a rhythm to his writing that I’d never noticed before, and it was kind of like seeing the ‘raining code’ from The Matrix. In that moment, I understood everything I’d been doing wrong as a writer, and immediately knew how to improve upon my existing work. At least in a structural sense. After that, it was a matter of learning how to create a compelling narrator, which is something I’ve reached outside my genre for. I’ve attended several classes taught by Julie Christine Johnson, who is absolutely amazing. She just gets it. Doesn’t matter the genre, she can read your work and pinpoint your areas of opportunity right away. Learning from her has been a tremendous help, and I think my writing reflects that.”

When David’s not writing, he plays his guitar a lot – he thinks it’s just another way of scratching the creative itch in his brain. Music plays a large part in his life and has ever since he was a teenager. He also finds time to do some video gaming.

“I’m a nostalgic guy, so I’m more of a retro gamer, though,” he explained. “Give me an hour or two with Final Fantasy VII or a couple races in Super Mario Kart, and I’m one happy camper.”

“Are you a plotter or a pantser?” I wondered.

“I started out as a pantser, and wrote all my first books that way. However, I’ve since become more of a plotter, and I think it’s greatly improved my writing. I don’t map out every little detail in advance, so there’s still a fair degree of “pantsing” going on when I write, but I’m far more structured now than I’ve been. Working with Tony Healey was a huge help in that department. When we worked together on Planet of Ice, I was playing in his Broken Stars sandbox, and so I had to stick to his pre-existing “rules of magic.” Tony gave me so much leeway to make the story my own, but he wanted to see an outline before turning me loose. That was a completely new experience for me at the time, but I found it to be so helpful, and I can’t imagine not plotting in advance anymore. I honestly have no idea how the hell I managed to work as a pantser for so long!”

David lives in Port Townsend and he told me that it is an “absolutely stunning Victorian seaport town on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.” He likes to call himself a “defective Pacific Northwesterner,” because he doesn’t hike or canoe or even really like the outdoors all that much.

“However, the natural beauty of this place is so inspiring,” he explained. “It’s no wonder so many writers and artists end up here, and no surprise at all that Port Townsend continually ends up on many ‘Best Small Towns in America’ lists.”

It’s the winter of 1947 in Ashley Falls, West Virginia, and a teenage girl has gone missing. Local private detective Miller Brinkman takes the case, quickly uncovering a string of bizarre clues. A hidden diary, cryptic riddles, and buried secrets all pique Miller’s interest, but one key detail gives him pause: the girl’s parents haven’t reported her disappearance to the authorities.

As the case deepens, Miller’s investigation begins to poke holes in the idyllic picture of his beloved hometown. No longer certain whether anyone in his community can be trusted, Miller dives headfirst into a desperate search for the truth that extends far beyond the borders of Ashley Falls. He soon discovers that his missing persons case is not an isolated incident, but part of an otherworldly mystery—one that, if confronted, may threaten the very future of humanity.

About the Author:David K. Hulegaard is an American author and paranormal investigator. His Noble trilogy has garnered comparisons to the works of Philip K. Dick and Stephen King. In 2016, he collaborated with best-selling author Tony Healey on the novel Planet of Ice.

David previously worked at BioWare, a premiere video game development studio known for creating the popular Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. He now lives in the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, Washington with his wife Jennie, and their banana-obsessed Welsh Terrier, Tobi. In his spare time, he enjoys video games, professional wrestling, and photography.

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Shadow of a Thief by Norman Green – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norman Green will be awarding an e-copy of Sick Like That & The Last Gig by Norman Green to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Combining his pitch perfect voice for the characters who live in New York’s underbelly with a compelling new protagonist, Norm Green’s Shadow of a Thief grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go

In a previous life, Saul Fowler was a thief-for-hire with an impressive client list, including the US government. When he seeks shelter from his addictions up on the coast of Maine, his past come back to haunt him in the form of his estranged stepfather, Reverend McClendon. “Someone killed my daughter,” says the rev. “Find out who did it Saul, I know you can help me. Please?” None of this would be Saul’s problem, except that the girl might be his half-sister.

Back in NYC, a place he never thought he’d see again, Saul delves deep under the surface of the dead girl’s life. Before long he finds himself contending with gangs, pimps, prostitutes, the NYPD, and just maybe, the fifth fundamental universal force. Finding the truth will either change his life forever, or end it.

Gritty and unputdownable, this is perfect for fans of James Lee Burke and Robert Crais.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The safest time to walk lower Manhattan’s Avenue D, in Corey Jackson’s opinion, was early in the morning. Early in the morning, chances were, the ghouls who ruled the projects at night would be passed out somewhere, not roaming around looking for entertainment the way they were now. Half an hour to midnight, Avenue D, a white kid from South Carolina with his African girlfriend, even the cops would tell you that you were asking for it, and for no good reason. But at the tender age of twenty-three Corey already knew enough about women to know that there were some arguments you weren’t gonna win. “Babe,” he said. “Babe, where the hell are we going?”

“This way,” she said, and she kept on walking.

Corey could not wait to get back to Batesburg.

Two more semesters, that’s what he kept telling himself, two more semesters and he would be a real teacher, with the degree to prove it, and that would allow him to move out of the purgatory otherwise known as New York City. A degree would give him a leg up, a toehold in the middle class, a degree and a job teaching high school science and he just might be the first of the Batesburg Jacksons not to live in a trailer since the damn things were invented… It sounded like a good plan, it had always sounded good and sometimes you had to take a shot, but you never knew when you were gonna hit a pothole somewhere. You never knew when you were gonna wind up walking down a sidewalk in a neighborhood where you and everybody else knew you didn’t belong.

About the Author: Norman Green reports this about himself: “I have always been careful, as Mark Twain advised, not to let schooling interfere with my education. Too careful, maybe. I have been, at various times, a truck driver, a construction worker, a project engineer, a factory rep, and a plant engineer, but never, until now, a writer.” He lives in Emerson, New Jersey, with his wife, and is hard at work on his second novel.

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Buy the book at HarperCollins.

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Deadspeak 2 by Ruth Bainbridge – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly chosen commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

DEADSPEAK2. The chilling new entry in the Deadspeak Mystery Series

Things look different when you’re dead.

It’s Halloween and a group of teens throw a party at Harbinger Falls’ most celebrated haunted estate. It’s all fun and games until a session with a Ouija board guides the partygoers to the body of a young girl hidden in the attic.

Detective Kimberly Trent is assigned the case and quickly discovers that all is not as it seems. First, there’s the connection between the death and a string of petnappings terrorizing the neighborhood. Then there’s the suicide note that only leaves more questions than answers. A visit from Kimberly’s ghostly friend Griff Lindon sheds an unwelcome light. It seems she’s had a run in with the newly deceased who tells her she’s been murdered.

This is the second in The Deadspeak Mysteries. The entries are meant to be read in sequential order and do not standalone. In each book, you’ll find a new murder for Kimberly Trent to solve. You’ll also find the continuing search for who murdered Kim’s sister Elizabeth. Each book will take you closer and closer to finding out the identity of The Hex Killer, the serial killer who ended Elizabeth’s short life. It will also bring you to the heart of the evil that’s come back to life to wreak revenge.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“No, you can’t come over to explain! I know what I saw!”

Mia Chaukes, the pleasant girl with the quiet demeanor, was shouting. It was unusual for the sixteen-year-old to raise her voice or be this upset, but she wasn’t backing down. She couldn’t. Not after what she’d witnessed.

It went against everything she believed in.

Her eyes traveled the length of the pink walls. It had been her favorite color when she was younger and always put her in a good mood, but would it still work today?

She sought comfort from the color—and from the shelves lined with the vestiges of her past. Unicorns, teddy bears, and other stuffed toys were there with sunny smiles and arms outstretched for a hug, but they only served as a reminder that things had changed and would never be the same.

“Don’t you dare tell me that!” she blasted as more desperation came through the receiver … desperation and elaborate excuses.

Anything but the truth.

She wouldn’t be lied to … not anymore.

“Don’t you dare tell me I’m imagining things! I’ll hang up … I mean it!”

What would have happened if she hadn’t taken that way home? Or if she’d left earlier or later? Endless possibilities, one worse than the other, shot through her mind, each making her sick to her stomach. But before the nausea disappeared, an equally disturbing question rose to the surface.

What did happen?

About the Author: Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury, and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

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Ties That Bind by Carolyn Arnold – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carolyn will be awarding a paperback copy of In the Line of Duty valid in US, Canada and UK to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).

BLURB for Ties That Bind:

The hunt for a serial killer begins…

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed with the same brand of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the sergeant and the chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if the murderer is going to be stopped.

Enjoy an Excerpt from chapter 1 of Ties That Bind (Detective Madison Knight series)

SOMEONE DIED EVERY DAY. Detective Madison Knight was left to make sense of it.

She ducked under the yellow tape and surveyed the scene. The white, two-story house would be deemed average any other day, but today the dead body inside made it a place of interest to the Stiles PD and the curious onlookers who gathered in small clusters on the sidewalk.

She’d never before seen the officer who was securing the perimeter, but she knew his type. The way he stood there—his back straight, one hand resting on his holster, the other gripping a clipboard—he was an eager recruit.

He held up a hand as she approached. “This is a closed crime scene.”

She unclipped her badge from the waist of her pants and held it up in front of him. He studied it as if it were counterfeit. She usually respected those who took their jobs seriously but not when she was functioning on little sleep and the humidity level topped ninety-five percent at ten thirty in the morning.

“Detective K-N-I—”

Her name died on her lips as Sergeant Winston stepped out of the house. She would have groaned audibly if he weren’t closing the distance between them so quickly. She preferred her boss behind his desk.

Winston gestured toward the young officer to let him know she was permitted to be on the scene. The officer glared at her before leaving his post. She envied the fact that he could walk away while she was left to speak with the sarge.

“It’s about time you got here.” Winston fished a handkerchief out of a pocket and wiped at his receding hairline. The extra few inches of exposed forehead could have served as a solar panel. “I was just about to assign the lead to Grant.”

Terry Grant was her on-the-job partner of five years and three years younger than her thirty-four. She’d be damned if Terry was put in charge of this case.

“Where have you been?” Winston asked.

She jacked a thumb in the rookie’s direction. “Who’s the new guy?”

“Don’t change the subject, Knight.”

She needed to offer some sort of explanation for being late. “Well, boss, you know me. Up all night slinging back shooters.”

“Don’t get smart with me.”

She flashed him a cocky smile and pulled out a Hershey’s bar from one of her front pants pocket. The chocolate had already softened from the heat. Not that it mattered. She took a bite.

Heaven.

“What are you doing here, anyway?” she asked with her mouth partially full.

“The call came in, I was nearby, and thought someone should respond.” His leg caught the tape as he tried to step over it to the sidewalk and he hopped on the other leg to adjust his balance. He continued speaking as if he hadn’t noticed. “The body’s upstairs, main bedroom. She was strangled.” He pointed the tip of a key toward her. “Keep me updated.” He pressed a button on his key fob and the department-issued SUV’s lights flashed. “I’ll be waiting for your call.”

As if he needed to say that. Sometimes she wondered if he valued talking more than taking action.

She took a deep breath. She could feel the young officer watching her, and she flicked a glance at him, now that the sergeant was gone. What was his problem? She took another bite of her candy bar.

“Too bad you showed. I think I was about to get the lead.”

Madison turned toward her partner’s voice. Terry was padding across the lawn toward her.

“I’d have to be the one dead for that to happen.” She smiled as she brushed past him.

“You look like crap.”

Her smile faded. She stopped walking and turned around. Every one of his blond hairs were in place, making her self-conscious of her short, wake-up-and-wear-it cut. His cheeks held a healthy glow, too, no doubt from his two-mile morning run. She hated people who could do mornings.

“What did you get? Two hours of sleep?” Terry asked.

“Three, but who’s counting?” She took another large bite of the chocolate. It was almost a slurp with how fast the bar was melting.

“You were up reviewing evidence from the last case again, weren’t you?”

She wasn’t inclined to answer.

“You can’t change the past.”

She wasn’t hungry anymore and wrapped up what was left of the chocolate. “Let’s focus on this case.”

“Fine, if that’s how it’s going be. Victim’s name is Laura Saunders. She’s thirty-two. Single. Officer Higgins was the first on scene.”

Higgins? She hadn’t seen him since she arrived, but had been her training officer. He still worked in that capacity for new recruits. Advancing in the ranks wasn’t important to him. He was happy making a difference where he was stationed.

Terry continued. “Call came in from the vic’s employer, Southwest Welding Products, where she worked as the receptionist.”

“What would make the employer call?”

“She didn’t show for her shift at eight. They tried reaching her first, but when they didn’t get an answer, they sent a security officer over to her house. He found the door ajar and called downtown. Higgins was here by eight forty-five.”

“Who was—”

“The security officer?”

“Yeah.” Apparently they finished each other’s sentences now.

“Terrence Owens. And don’t worry. We took a formal statement and let him go. Background showed nothing, not even a speeding ticket. We can function when you’re not here.”

She cocked her head to the side.

“He also testifies to the fact that he never stepped one foot in the place.” Terry laughed. “He said he’s watched enough cop dramas to know that it would contaminate the crime scene. You get all these people watching those stupid TV shows, and they think they can solve a murder.”

“So is Owens the one who made the formal call downtown, then?” Madison asked.

“Actually, procedure for them is to route everything through the company administration. A Sandra Butler made the call. She’s the office manager.”

“So an employee is even half an hour late for work and they send someone to your house?”

“She said it’s part of their safety policy.”

“At least they’re a group of people inclined to think positively.” She rolled her eyes. Sweat droplets ran down her back. Gross. She moved toward the house.

The young officer scurried over. He shoved his clipboard under his arm and tucked his pen behind his ear. He pointed toward the chocolate bar still in her hand. “You can’t take that in there.”

She glanced down. Chocolate oozed from a corner of the wrapper. He was right. She handed the package to him, and he took it with two pinched fingers.

She patted his shoulder. “Good job.”

He walked away with the bar dangling from his hand, mumbling something indiscernible.

“You can be so wicked sometimes,” Terry said.

“Why, thank you.” She was tempted to take a mini bow but resisted the urge.

“It wasn’t a compliment. And since when do you eat chocolate for breakfast?”

“Oh shut up.” She punched him in the shoulder. He smirked and rubbed his arm. Same old sideshow. She headed into the house with him on her heels.

“The stairs are to the right,” Terry said.

“Holy crap, it’s freezing in here.” The sweat on her skin chilled her. It was a refreshing welcome.

“Yep, a hundred and one outside, sixty inside.”

When she was two steps from the top of the staircase, Terry said, “And just a heads-up—this is not your typical strangulation.”

“Come on, Terry. You’ve seen one, you’ve—” She stopped abruptly when she reached the bedroom doorway. Terry was right.

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

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

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

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

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Snakes Can’t Run by Ed Lin – Guest Post and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ed Lin will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

Why do people say turn the other cheek? If someone wants to strike you again, make them go through the effort of adjusting their stance to get at your unbruised cheek.

I am a really nice guy. Almost everybody likes me, for some reason. Every once in awhile, though, I run into someone who is just out to give me a bad day. That’s fine. But I like to imagine getting back at them in my writing.
And negative book reviews? Well, many comments about books aren’t well thought-out ideas, honestly. “This book sucks” and “What a waste of my time,” are what I often see. I try to figure out who these people are. I’ll Google ‘em, try to find pictures of their faces and go to LinkedIn to see what jobs they’re at. If they went to college, I’ll search through the archives of their college newspaper to see what sort of stupid things they had to say then.

I’m all for freedom of speech. I’m all for saying what you think. But readers should know that if they publicly share their negative criticism of a mystery writer in a venue where said author can read it, they are fair game for being rendered a jerk/victim/villain in said author’s book. Sometimes I like to imagine panic in their eyes when they realize what I’m fictionally doing to them.

I certainly don’t want the negative criticism to stop. That would be a big blow to my writing process.

Set in New York City in 1976, Snakes Can’t Run finds NYPD detective Robert Chow still haunted by the horrors of his past and relegated to tedious undercover work. When the bodies of two undocumented Chinese men are found under the Brooklyn Bridge underpass, Chow is drawn into the case. Most of the officers in his precinct are concerned with a terrorist group targeting the police, but Chow’s investigation puts him on the trail of a ring of ruthless human smugglers who call themselves the snakeheads. As Chow gets closer to solving the murder, dangerous truths about his own family’s past begin to emerge. Steeped in retro urban attitude, and ripe with commentary on minorities’ roles in American society, this gritty procedural will appeal to fans of George Pelecanos and S.J. Rozan.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The mind is a funny thing. After I got on the wagon and fell in love with a girl, I started seeing my father out in the streets. I didn’t literally see his ghost walking around, but I’d see his nose in profile on another guy’s face. Sometimes I’d be walking behind someone who had his slouchy shuffle, his spotted ears, or the back of the head that looked like an elderly porcupine with spikes gone soft and white.

One time, a hand reached out to my shoulder and touched me exactly where he used to touch me from his chair after dinner to ask me to get him a beer from the fridge.

Of course it wasn’t my father. It was an older guy who wanted to know if I was the guy whose pictures used to be in all the Chinese newspapers. The man was almost completely bald and had two light brown spots on the top right of his head that looked like an imprint from a woman’s high-heeled shoe.

He called me the Sheriff of Chinatown. I tried to get away from him as soon as possible, but he was one of those people who liked to say good-bye and then ask another question just when you’re about to part. The guy ended up grabbing both of my hands twice before I was able to make the corner and get away. I checked that my wallet was still in my pocket, though, just in case he had been working me with a partner. I guess he was genuinely glad to meet me.

 

About the Author: Ed Lin, a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards and is an all-around standup kinda guy. His books include Waylaid and This Is a Bust, both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Snakes Can’t Run and One Red Bastard, which both continue the story of Robert Chow set in This Is a Bust, were published by Minotaur Books. His latest book, Ghost Month, a Taipei-based mystery, was published by Soho Crime in July 2014. Lin lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and son.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/robertchow
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ed-Lin-80513225734
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edlinforpresident/
Website: http://www.edlinforpresident.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/112827.Ed_Lin

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What Kind of Writer am I? by Robin Ray – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Robin Ray 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.

What kind of writer am I?

That’s an interesting question simply because I’m not sure what a writer is supposed to be like. Do some writers cloister themselves when they’re trying to get work done? I sure feel like doing that from time to time, especially when it seems people want your attention just at that moment you’ve decided to start writing. I know I’m definitely the kind of writer that hates distractions, and this is also to the point where I often prefer to write in abject silence. I’ve tried writing in the quiet and serenity of parks and lakes but, when my neck starts hurting from straining over my laptop, it’s then I realize I’d rather write with my laptop sitting on a desk or table. I’d say I’m a relatively disciplined writer in that I could sit at a desk for hours trying to get something right. It wouldn’t at all be unusual for me to sit from 7 PM to 6 AM trying to get something done. The research I often have to do necessitates that kind of discipline. In the past, I’ve had to take crash courses on Arkansas quartz mining, the Mossad in South America during the early 60’s, quantum physics and the possibilities of interdimensional travel, the history of shipwrecks in the Bermuda Triangle, the Mayan history of the Camazotz, Jain cosmology, the landscape of Bangladesh, and many others. Also, since I sometimes write stories where people speak languages other than English, I’ve had to study and write what someone would say who speaks German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, the Native American language of the Lummi people, and several others. As far as my writing style is concerned, I’m a plotter. I sketch my stories out from beginning to end and use illustrations if necessary. Sometimes, I even do blocking. In the scriptwriting world, blocking refers to writing out a serious of action in detail. For instance, in the novella “Stranded in Paradise,” I’ve had to physically “block” the movements of five people who were on the bridge of a cruise ship in order to get the sequence of events right. Hopefully, no one saw me standing in my room by myself kicking, chopping, and slashing the air like Jet Li. That would’ve been odd!

No one ever “re-dies” in Heaven; unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to singer Amy Winehouse. Her death, an unprecedented event in Heaven’s history, has thrown a once docile world into unfortunate chaos. Because of the new uneasy alliance between angels and citizens, a freshly-arrived detective in the rock & roll town has been tasked with investigating the prime suspects, the members of the 27 Club – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. To make matters worse, a powerful angel from one of the upper levels of Heaven will soon arrive to make her ten-year inspection, a task that fills the other angels with dread since she has the power to banish anyone of them to the underworld. So, with time running out, the PI and his newly acquired sidekick, both aided by rock legends such as Eddie Cochran, Mama Cass, Kurt Cobain, Karen Carpenter and others, must quickly uncover the mystery that threatens not only to close Heaven’s doors forever, but promises to send a ripple effect through the entire universe that can rip it apart.

Enjoy the Excerpt

Plants of varying shapes and sizes sprouted everywhere, some just knee high, some as tall as mango trees. Rows of narrow pipes across the ceiling misted the foliage every minute. A few customers were sampling some of the edible flowers while others were reading manuals or informational tags about the unusual plants. Towards the back, the good PI spotted an employee who was busy pulling off the dead leaves from several botanical specimens. The clerk, he noticed, was very colorful with her psychedelic bamboo slippers, purplish pants, flowery blue and white tunic, rows of bangles on each wrist, several beaded chains around her neck, and a pink strip of cloth enmeshed in her long brown hair. As Gregory neared her, he could hear her humming along to the music playing over the virtual speakers high up in the corners of the center.

“Excuse me,” he introduced himself, “I was told Janis Joplin works back here.”

The employee turned and glanced at him. “You found her, babe.”

“Hi, Janis,” the PI introduced himself. “I’m Gregory Angelicus. And…”

“Oh, Lord,” she moaned, flinging the twigs in her hand down. “Another angel. What’d I do now?”

“Oh, no,” he stated quickly, “I’m not an angel. I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”

“About what?” she asked, eyeing the intruder with suspicion through her circular yellow sunglasses.

Gregory looked around momentarily. “Is there some place we can talk?”

“Sure,” she answered, crossing her arms. “You’re standing in it.”

About the Author: Robin Ray emigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago at the ripe old age of 12. Already steeped in the rich culture and mysteries of his native land, it would only be a matter of time before he, too, became a musician and storyteller. After a short stint at Iowa State University, he became a nurse for practical purposes but never abandoned his musical and literary aspirations. Eventually, he did play guitar in several bands, committing himself to localized tours and album releases. Leaving the music world behind, he delved headfirst back into his second love – writing. To date, he has authored six screenplays, two novels, seven novellas, around fifty short stories and many poems. Thus far, he’s published six books – five fiction and one non-fiction, all available in paperback and e-book formats. His latest novel, Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven, can be purchased for only $0.99 at Amazon.

Website | Goodreads

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: A Recipe for Murder by Jo A. Hiestand


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December bullies its way into the village in a swirl of snow and biting wind, threatening to cancel the annual St. Nicholas festival. But winter’s slap pales when a body is discovered in the candlelit church. Someone is not living up to the seasonal wish of ‘peace on earth, good will towards man.’

But the village harbors more than Christmas gifts, DS Brenna Taylor discovers as she and her colleagues from the Derbyshire Constabulary begin working the case. There is the feud between two rival authors; a wife’s open disdain of her husband and his secret comfort in the arms of another woman; the pent-up emotions of a vicar’s wife forced to conform to idealistic conceptions; the tacit threat of a troubled teenager and his delinquent girlfriend.

Brenna also discovers emotions she didn’t know she had when DS Mark Salt, her harassing macho cohort, makes overtures of genuine friendship. Now Brenna must not only examine her love for her boss, DCI Geoffrey Graham, but also consider the likelihood of its ever being returned.

As if sorting through the affairs of the heart and the tangle of motive and suspects in the case weren’t hard enough, a series of arsons threatens the very village itself. And Brenna wonders if they are looking for two felons or just one very disturbed individual.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: An Unwilling Suspect by Jo A. Hiestand


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McLaren’s fiancee tragically died one month ago. Trying to heal emotionally from her death, McLaren settles into a rented farmhouse in the woods near picturesque Lake Windermere, in Cumbria. But he’s barely had a chance to rest when Helen, the woman in the neighboring cottage, is killed…and is discovered near his front door. Because McLaren had spent much of the previous day with her, and his snowy footprints lead to and from her house, he becomes the prime murder suspect in what the police label a frustrated romantic advance. Motives for Helen’s murder are as chilling as the outdoor temperature. There’s the hands-on garage mechanic who’d like to put his hands all over her, the affluent fishing guide, and Helen’s former boyfriend who wanted to renew the relationship.

Can McLaren find the killer before the police jail him for murder?

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: A Staged Murder by Jo A. Hiestand


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Bonfire Night! The four hundred-year-old tradition of burning the straw effigy is beginning in Upper Kingsleigh, England. The torch extends… But it’s no mock figure at the end of the rope; it’s the body of a man, an American tourist. Brenna Taylor, Derbyshire C.I.D., is assigned to the case on a team of detectives under Detective-Chief Inspector Geoffrey Graham. It is the chance Brenna has been waiting for, and she is anxious to impress him. Most villagers suspect an outsider as the killer. But when the frost-covered body of a resident is discovered, apprehension shifts and suspects multiply. Among them are the American’s brother-in-law, still angry over his sister’s death; the husband, who fears his wife will desert him for the American; the inebriated, penniless uncle, who clings to his nephew’s fortune tighter than a cork in a wine bottle. Then Brenna becomes the target of a series of frightening pranks–the work of a harassing male colleague, or a deadly warning to leave the case? Her hunt is personal now.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Clementine’s Shadow by Peggy Rothschild


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In a scorched landscape of played out silver mines and dry riverbeds, Deputy Casey Lang hunts for a child snatched by a predator. As the temperature rises, three unlikely heroes emerge to help.

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