Dungeon of Horrors by Hawk MacKinney – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A randomly drawn winner will receive a $20 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The bank’s newest Trust Officer Terri Stanley prepares the requested department’s internal audit. Finding puzzling inconsistencies and a jumble of misappropriations and unexplained offshore accounts, she follows protocol and immediately punches in the listed number for the Executor-Trustee, Craige Ingram.

Wealthy land owner/parttime PI Craige Ingram reaches the file back to homicide Lt. Grayson MacGerald after finishing a quick read-through of the preliminary forensic report from Coroner Fred Dinkins on the unexpected death of bank President Royce Sedgewicke. Dinkins’ meticulous autopsy findings verify that a massive apparent heart attack was not from natural causes, confirming what these longtime SEAL buddies suspected.

When Ingram gets a call from Terri Stanley, the bank’s attractive, newly-hired Trust Officer, wanting to discuss in confidence possible account irregularities discovered during her audit, he never imagines the twisted world of money and greed that would involve a psychopath’s trail of bloody body parts strewn along Ingram’s river property, or that Terri and her son would disappear.

Confronted by a race against time, Ingram fears that Terri might become one more on the list of dead who crossed a twisted mind bent on thrill-kills and retribution.

Read an Excerpt

Death is seldom dignified, even less so if it’s felony murder. There was no such thing, exSEAL-turned private investigator Craige Ingram believed, but he sometimes forgot how personal death could get. This time, however, it blind-sided a lot of people—including him.

For the annual charity event of the Silver Bluff Museum of Southron Art, the master of ceremonies grandious CEO Llewyn Royce Sedgewicke and PI Craige Howelle Graeme Roynane Ingram seldom moved in the same black tie social circle. Chances were slim to none that Royce Sedgewicke would’ve ever been invited to the sprawling riverfront domains that had once been Grannie Ingram’s dogtrot Moccasin Hollow that she left debt-free to her gran’son Craige.

Unlike his collection of mounted big game trophies along the walls of his profligate mancave, portly Royce Sedgewicke’s food-bespattered tuxedoed carcass stretched out like public roadkill amid the crash and smash of food, china, crystal and splayed floral pieces, and very dead. Last-breath gurgles clung around his gagging tongue as smart phones madly clicked, flooding social media before the emergency ambulance arrived. First edition headlines the next morning made big local news and an avid up-tick in morning papers. Purloined forensic photos of his corpse showing Sedgewicke’s swollen tongue and his bare overstuffed derrière grabbed a growing audience for more about his secretive lifestyle, squandering what little decorum he never had. That mess was bad enough. His passing sent more than a few local bigwigs scrambling to cover their backsides—and their offshore accounts.

Complications and felony murder cinched more-snug when Graysen MacGerald, head of Buckingham Parish Metro Law Enforcement, Investigative Support Team, paid an off-the-record visit to his grown-up-together SEAL Commanding Officer Craige `Peadinger’ Ingram. The death certificate said heart attack. It wasn’t.

About the Author

Internationally acclaimed author and public speaker, Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspapers. Following graduation, he served in the US Navy for over 20 years. While serving as a Navy Commander, he also had a career as a full-time faculty member at several major state medical facilities. He earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history and has taught postgraduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem, Israel.

In addition to professional articles and texts on fetal and adult anatomy, Hawk has authored several novels that have received national and international recognition. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award.

Known for his terrifying suspense and unique “Southron” dialog, Hawk has published five novels in the Moccasin Hollow Mysteries: Hidden Chamber of Death, Westobou Gold, Curse of the Ancients, Dead Gold, and Blood of the Dragonfly.

In a change of direction, Hawk has also published three books in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series: The Bleikovat Event, Volume I; The Missing Planets, Volume II; and The Inanna Phantom, Volume III.

His latest work is a series called the Moccasin Trace Mysteries. Dungeon of Horrors is the first book in the series, and the second book – Blood in the Shadows – is in development.


Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Private License by Kevin R. Doyle – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kevin R. Doyle will award a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

All Lorie Jones wants is a little help with her divorce. Some extra information, a bit of ammunition to take into court against her no-good husband. And when she hires the biggest and best investigation firm Kansas City has to offer, that’s exactly what she gets. But after their operative wraps up Lori’s case, he decides he doesn’t want to move on, and Lori soon realizes that she’s got an even bigger problem than she had before, one that threatens her privacy, and maybe even her life.

It’s up to Sam Quinton, one-man detective agency, to take on the largest firm in the business, and as Sam digs into the background of Lori’s harasser, he soon finds something bigger, and much more dangerous, than one overzealous guy who just can’t let go.


Enjoy an Excerpt

Lorie hadn’t reported the latest invasion of her home. Maybe she was tired of running to the police and getting nothing accomplished, but when I considered the last intrusion and threatening note had happened before Karyn Roberts had suggested coming to me, my stomach fluttered a bit.

“Not exactly the kind of stuff you go to local cops for,” I said. “No offense.”

Sloan grunted. “None taken, mainly because you’re right. And actually, she didn’t initially bother us with the first two incidents.”

I nodded. “It was the third went over the top for her.”

“Yeah.” Sloan closed the file. “Which kind of fits because messing around with someone’s home is cop business. The rest of it lies with the post office and the banking people.”

“So what did you do?”

“About what?” Sloan looked up at me.

I sighed and managed to keep myself from shaking my head. And here we’d been getting along so well. “Did you look into her allegations?”

“These would be the allegations that a respected employee of a respected firm in the city was screwing around with her mind and emotions.”

“No,” I said, dropping my voice an octave or so. “Those would be the allegations a licensed private investigator, an ex-cop at that, was harassing and intimidating his own client.”

“You implying somehow we slow walked this because the guy she mentioned used to be a cop?”

About the Author:

A retired high-school teacher and former college instructor, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of four novels in the Sam Quinton mystery series, all published by Camel Press. He’s also written four crime thrillers, including And the Devil Walks Away and The Anchor, and one horror novel, The Litter, along with numerous short horror stories published in small magazines over the years. The first Quinton book, Squatter’s Rights, was nominated for the 2021 Shamus award for Best First PI Novel, and the fifth in the series, Private License, will be out in August of 2024.

Website | Facebook
Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Murder at the College by P.H. Turner – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. P.H. Turner will award a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A detective has a smooth-talking heartbreaker for a client, but there’s a problem.

Quinn has scorch marks from her last relationship and plenty of chemistry with Ben, but he could have killed his twin brother. He demands to work the case with her, claiming it’s his life on the line.

A partner is the last thing Quinn wants. What she wants is to prove him innocent. But she’s finding plenty of evidence he isn’t.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Suddenly, thunder cracked so loudly that she felt the wall tremble beneath her hand. As the rumbling faded, she heard the soft scuff of a shoe and felt that awful sensation of being watched.

Even the building seemed to be holding its breath.

There, a scrape. Then, a rustle. Somewhere in the dark, someone was moving. Fear skittered down her spine. Inside the heavy drapes, she couldn’t discern whether it came from behind her or below her in the trap room.

Suddenly, the air was heavy with a malevolent presence.

Now, a rush of air from behind her. Then a hard shove, and Quinn tumbled down the stairs, whacking her head on the first curve, picking up speed as she rolled pell-mell, spiraling toward the bottom. Her left shoulder crashed into the unforgiving steel when she rounded the second turn. Sharp pain took her breath away, but she grabbed a rail, righted herself on the bottom step, and waited until her eyes grew accustomed to the dim light in the trap room.

Creak, shuffle.

Someone was hurrying across the wood-floored stage above her head. She stood and scanned the ceiling, tracking the footsteps moving above her.

With a few more steps, the person would be over the trap door in the center of the stage.

A shuffled step above her, then another. Quinn held her breath, waiting in place under the trap door.

Now! She yanked on the steel drawbar, dropping the trap door with a bang.

A screaming figure landed in a heap on a stack of old blankets at Quinn’s feet.

About the Author: P.H. Turner (Pat) writes contemporary mysteries spiked with long-held grudges, secrets, and murder. With roots in a Texas farm homesteaded in the 1850s, she calls Austin home. When she’s not writing, she’s cooking for family, or taking care of a pair of hairy mutts, or in her garden coaxing roses to bloom in the Texas heat.

Pat is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America.

Amazon Author Page | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Conflict of Interest by Dean L. Hovey – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dean L. Hovey will award a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When the body of a missing cheerleader is found in a ditch, the local police turn the investigation over to the Pine County sheriff’s department, fearing that the girl’s relationship with the son of a local politician could compromise their objectivity.

Upon arriving at the scene, Sergeant CJ Jensen quickly finds herself embroiled in the politics of the girl’s murder and kidnapping. Calling in Pam Ryan to assist with the investigation, the two veteran officers dig into the girl’s obvious relationship with the politician’s son. While the boyfriend’s shaky alibi seems paper thin, their interviews with the victim’s friends have them questioning other aspects of her life.

A missing laptop computer piques their interest, making them think the murderer’s motive may be buried in her on-line activities.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Deputy Teddy Lawrence, recently appointed Field Training Officer and senior Kanabec County night shift deputy was on patrol with the county’s newest hire. Teddy, a homebred Mora boy, was now in charge of showing the ropes to the sheriff department’s rookie, Kayla Peterson. She was fresh out of Alexandria Technical College’s nine week “skills” training course, and she was eager to be patrolling northwest of Ogilvie.

Kayla stretched and asked, “Why do we even check this dead-end road to Ann Lake Wildlife Management area? No one drives out here this time of year. There’s not even access to the lake from this side.”

“I’ve caught high school kids drinking, smoking dope, and necking out here. It’s also the perfect place to ditch a stolen car or to dump an unwanted appliance or garbage,” Teddy replied. Noticing a rolled-up carpet lying in the ditch, Teddy pulled the unit over.

Kayla looked around, trying to discern the reason they’d parked. “Why did you stop? All that’s here is some old carpet the road cleanup people will bag up when they come through. It’s not a police issue.”

Teddy got out of the car and led Kayla to the ditch. “Life out here is boring, Kay. You might as well check this out. Maybe the owners rolled a piece of mail inside with their address.”

“Yeah, right. Maybe they left a note admitting they were littering.” The rookie hesitated at the edge of the ditch, looking at the dirty water trickling down the gully. When she realized Teddy wasn’t following her, she asked, “You’re not coming with me?”

About the Author:Dean Hovey is a Minnesota-based author with three mystery series. He lives with his wife south of Duluth.

Dean’s award-winning* Pine County series follows sheriff’s deputies Floyd Swenson and Pam Ryan through this police procedural series.

Dean’s Whistling Pines books are humorous cozy mysteries centered on the residents of the Whistling Pines senior residence. The protagonist is Peter Rogers, the Whistling Pines recreation director.

In Dean’s latest series his protagonist, a retired Minnesota policeman, is drafted into service as a National Park Service Investigator after a murder at a National Monument.

* “Family Trees: A Pine County Mystery” won the 2018 NEMBA award for best fiction.

Publisher Author Page

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No Good Deed by January Bain – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. January Bain will award a randomly drawn winner $25 PayPal. click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A gripping tale where good deeds intertwine with hidden crimes and a quest for truth…

Katie Kelly finally has the career and house of her dreams, but it’s a life built on a shaky foundation. Everything she holds dear could be stripped away in a split-second if the truth were to become known and her secrets exposed. Her best friend, Sadie, is also involved in hiding the past. The pair have managed to move on since that day of reckoning that occurred when they were just teenagers, by helping others to escape bad situations.

When a young woman runs to Katie and begs for her help, Katie is compelled to come to her aid and hides her in a safe room, locked away from her abusive boyfriend.

But then the past rises up and threatens to derail her best efforts to help the young girl, exposing her and her best friend to the vulgarities of fate as the girl is discovered to have an unexpected agenda, harboring secrets of her own. Katie is left with few choices. With her entire life crashing down around her ears, she must act to save not only herself, but her dear friend as well. Can Katie stop the past from destroying all hopes for a future?

Discover the chilling consequences of one woman’s altruism in the face of hidden crimes. Join Katie Kelly as she navigates the shadows of her past, compelled to make a choice that could change lives forever. Grab your copy now.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I’m doing it all over again. A shocking thing that should never be done once in a lifetime, let alone twice. I’m making a body vanish in the dark. And I’m praying like mad my actions will never see the light of day.

As I dig the hole, struggling with the spade to cut into the cement-like soil we call prairie gumbo, I keep asking myself why did it happen again? Why? I’d tried so hard to live my life aboveboard since that terrible time nine years ago.

The droning chorus of insects hidden in the trees provide no answer to my mental query. My mind drifts back into the past, reliving a nightmare that never goes away.

It was just before I graduated from high school, finally free to leave my hometown behind, when everything had come tumbling down around me like the famed walls of Jericho. Now I’m all too aware of how guilt eats at you, leeches all the color out of your day. Your life. I’ve tried to be a good friend, a good wife, helped my family whenever I could, and yet here I am, in a worse situation than the first time it happened.

My thoughts are scattered now, like the disturbed soil laying all around the freshly dug grave. The body is wrapped up, laying still nearby, a testament to my doing what I had to do to survive. My body’s tired, dead tired, breaking down, bleeding from the gunshot wound. But I have to persevere, protect those I love until my last dying breath. I swipe at the sweat beads breaking out on my forehead, blinking against the sting of salt dripping in my eyes.

Who should I blame? A young woman thinking she can change a man for the better? The foster system throwing innocents to the wolves long before they’re ready because they aged out? Or the whole of society for allowing abuse behind closed doors and not appearing to give a damn?

No, I blame me.

My spade hits another rock left over from the last ice age, jarring my entire body. I can only hope my wound doesn’t open up again. I have to ignore the burning pain in my side which is growing more insistent with each movement, each memory, echoing the one lodged in my heart.

False dawn is about to arrive in the east and I know I must hurry this along. But my mind stays focused on memories of another night, so eerily similar to this one it defied the odds. I can still smell the stench of bodily fluids, see the dark waters of the fast-flowing Red River, and hear the sounds of the body splashing into the cold depths before disappearing forever below the oily surface.

What’s the most important thing to have in life? I’ve asked myself the question many times since that fateful day that forever changed my world. When I was with my husband, it was security, to be kept hidden safe and sound, removed from the world. And look how that turned out. It was a fantasy, an unrealistic life that collapsed around us all too soon, with my secrets pushing him away and into the arms of another woman. Or at least that’s how he tells it.

When I’m with my best friend, it’s to support each other, to have a place to weather the inevitable storms of life, have a mutual understanding. Respect.

And when I’m alone, without anyone to focus on, my greatest need is for courage. The courage to forgive myself.

About the Author: January Bain is an award-winning author who firmly believes that stories unite us, that good stories help us to discover the commonality of the human experience by supporting values, empathy and understanding. She writes with her heart, mind, and soul, hoping that her novels will touch your life, giving you moments of freedom as you fly with her to other worlds.
Bain has had the pleasure of select novels being turned into games, and her work is also available in different languages.
January and her husband live in rural Canada on peaceful acreage where a variety of wildlife comes to visit regularly and expect to be fed and paid attention to.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Author Facebook | Goodreads | Istagram | TikTok

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One Take Jake: Last Call by Jay Hall – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jay Hall will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Avenging the death of his sister, Lance, a once successful musician turned vigilante killer, has never denied his guilt…but knows now he could’ve handled things differently.

With dwindling hope after two years in the joint – and three life sentences ahead of him – Lance seizes his one opportunity for a life out of chains. With the help of loyal friends – straight-laced Reg and ex-druggie Jenny – Lance busts out of prison. He then begins his journey with Jenny to New York, where her street-wise Uncle Dusty will provide a safe hiding place, fake IDs, and a plan to get across the Mexican border.

However, it isn’t long before Jenny’s bad habits resurface, bringing heat on them both. They lose Dusty as an ally after he’s tortured by gangsters over money Jenny had supposedly stolen. In a strange country with Feds and gangsters on his tail, Lance is forced to lead the rapidly deteriorating journey south.

Just above the Mexican border, the two are cornered at a motel, their chances of survival slim. Still, Lance has hope. That is, until he learns the awful truth – a truth that leaves him alone in his final, desperate fight for freedom.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Waking up in my six-by-eight cell this morning, I wasn’t sure if I’d have the balls to go through with it.

But with everything to gain and nothing to lose, I’d be a fool to pass up the one chance I have at freedom.

Strategy, patience, and timing are everything. There are always eyes watching, especially when you’re a convicted murderer.

* * *

The bell chimes for chow-time, but I stay in my bunk. It’s all part of the plan. A couple of bulls stroll past my door and casually glance at me, then continue on down the cell block.

I close my eyes and drift into the safe rooms of my mind. I’ve had this interesting riff playing on a loop in my head for weeks. I grin and tap my fingers on my chest.

The only rhythm in this soul-sucking institution is the hum of electricity that seeps from the industrial lighting overhead.

A sudden pain stabs my eyelids. In the arid chill of my cell, the headaches coupled with nosebleeds are a welcoming reminder that I can still feel.

I turn to the brick wall and use my imagination to draw another line, marking another day spent in this hell hole. I’ve managed to survive two years and a month toward my life sentence. Keeping track of time is like throwing stones into a bottomless pit and waiting to hear them hit bottom – they never do. Still, I refuse to accept that I’ll live out my days in this institution, watching my body rot and my soul be slowly absorbed into the cold cement walls to join the poor bastards who’ve succumbed before me.

I’ve only got one hat-trick. A one-off scheme that others have tried and failed at repeatedly. But I’m nothing like my fellow inmates. Granted, I butchered three people and left a hell of a mess – too sloppy. I was careless and made mistakes. But for the most part I’ve navigated life with logic and forethought; the same approach I’ll be using to execute my plan.

About the Author: Jay Lang grew up on the ocean, splitting her time between Read Island and Vancouver Island before moving to Vancouver to work as a TV, film and commercial actress. Eventually she left the industry for a quieter life. She fell in love with creative writing and spends her days hiking and drawing inspiration for her writing from nature.

Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Embarrassing Situation by Eden Monroe – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Eden Monroe will award a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

An Embarrassing Situation

One of my most embarrassing situations happened many years ago and involved a pair of winter boots. They were tall and white and I polished them every night to keep them looking nice. They laced up the front, with metal eyelets, like a pair of figure skates, only these boots went all the way to my knees. The laces had begun to stretch quite a bit so I’d lace them to the top and then back down to somewhere in the middle where I’d tie them off. One morning I was running really late for work so I laced the boots to the top, then tied a bow which made a couple of big bunny ears on each boot. I left them like that before hurrying out the door.

I was making good time and only had a few more blocks to go. On King Street East the sidewalk was on a slight downhill grade, then turned into a walkway on a sharper decline which was my shortcut through the park. All of a sudden, just as I started onto the walkway, one of the bunny ears on my left boot looped around a metal eye on the right boot and effectively tied my legs together, turning my stride into a hop. I couldn’t get stopped without falling flat on my face. Since I had momentum, it meant hopping all the way to the bottom of the walkway. It was more than just a few feet I can tell you, but I couldn’t get stopped until I was on flat ground. Anyway, when I did get stopped I undid the binding and everything was fine. I don’t know how I managed to keep from falling.

The sidewalk and subsequent walkway through the park were busy at that time of morning and people must have wondered why one second I was striding along and the next I started hopping. There was no way anyone could tell I was having a wardrobe malfunction, and that I had been hobbled. It must have been quite a sight, me in my tall white boots and mini skirt hopping down the hill.

I should use that sometime. Like they say, nothing is ever lost on a writer.

By the way, I wasn’t late for work.

The motion picture, Retribution, could be the big break Alexandra Martel has been waiting for. A Canadian movie star and strong female lead, even greater success may be within reach. But she also envies her married sisters, and has been hoping to meet her own soulmate.

Dr. Beau Remington, handsome male lead is the hometown veterinarian. He’s been contracted by motion picture execs to be on set when animals are called for, so when he and Alexandra eventually cross paths there is undeniable chemistry. However, Hollywood heartthrob James Langford has already laid claim to the striking young actress and tries to stop the budding romance.

Then everything changes at sunrise one morning when Alexandra goes for a run alone in the picturesque Belleisle, New Brunswick countryside. That’s when the man who’s been stalking her for weeks finally makes his move. She must endure the terrifying ordeal of being kidnapped and drugged in this Eastern Canada romantic suspense.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The old dog, soaked from a tumble into the icy water and limping badly, continued to pick its way along the creek that rushed between steep boulder-strewn banks. Beau Remington, far above on horseback, spotted the bedraggled canine and quickly dismounted, clamouring down the embankment toward it. With one arm wrapped around a sturdy yellow birch to anchor himself, he stretched forward to scoop up the small dog and slipped it inside his jacket. Steadying the terrified animal with one hand he then began the climb back up to the trail where his horse, Chance, waited patiently.

He talked to the dog soothingly, the rich timbre of his voice comforting as the shivering slowly began to subside within the warmth of leather on a cool spring day. Beau urged the gelding into a trot for the final half-mile to his ranch nestled deep in the rolling hills of Belleisle, New Brunswick, Canada’s picture province. He loved the quiet solitude, but soon the area would have some unlikely visitors when they started shooting the movie, Retribution, a few miles up the road. As a veterinarian he’d already agreed to be on set when animals were scheduled to appear in the movie, so it should be an interesting experience.

The dog whimpered plaintively against him, reigniting Beau’s anger at the insensibility of some selfish, cold-hearted pet owners. This had definitely been a dump, an old dog, half-blind and likely no longer wanted. The poor thing had either been lame before being abandoned, or injured in the fall, and it was because of situations like this that he’d dedicated his life to animals.

About the Author:Eden Monroe writes about real life, real issues and struggles, and triumphing against all odds. A proud east coast Canadian, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, and a good book.

Website | Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Hardest Part of Writing…by Kirsten Weiss – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kirsten Weiss will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Hardest Part of Writing…

The hardest part about writing is what comes afterward. And I’m not talking about the editing.

Unless you hit Steven King or Nora Roberts status, authors today need to do some heavy lifting when it comes to book promotion. Even when I was published through a big NY house, most of the marketing was on me. That’s even more true when I indie publish a mystery like Legacy of the Witch.

I like to think of writing as an art. But it’s a business as well. And if no one knows about your books, then no one’s going to buy them. However, I’m beginning to think that book promotion is an art too. Ads that work amazingly for one author fall flat for another. As soon as you think you’ve figured it out, the algorithm changes and you’re back at square one.

This is not a lament. I actually enjoy marketing. The embarrassing part is I have an MBA with a specialty in international marketing. I got that MBA before the Internet was ubiquitous, but while tactics have changed, strategies remain the same.

Rule #1: Know your reader. Know where they like to hang out online. What tropes and styles of writing do they enjoy? Do they skew young or old? What other books do they like to read?

Rule #2: See Rule #1.

And while that’s sort of a joke, it’s really not, because everything you learn from Rule #1 needs to be applied to your promotions. For example, if your current and potential readership is largely on Facebook, spending a lot of time on Tiktok might not be the best investment. If your readers avert their gaze at sex scenes, throwing a spicy back-of-the-car moment into your novel might end up alienating them. All the tactics in your toolkit—whether be Amazon ads, giveaways, covers, and writing the novel itself—depend on knowing your audience.

Currently, I’m trying to expand my audience. In the past, I’ve written paranormal and witch mysteries, and they’ve always had a certain metaphysical bent. The magical practices I described were rooted in current and historical magical practice and theory.

With my current book, Legacy of the Witch, I’m leaning into the metaphysical fiction side. The book includes not only an UnTarot app for readers to play with, but also the downloadable magical worksheets that the heroine receives from her mystery school.

I’m hoping people interested in personal and spiritual growth will be hooked by my new mystery. I also believe my current readership will enjoy the same small-town vibes, light romance, and strong female characters that are hallmarks of my other books. Now, I have to get to know those potential new readers better. So if you like a page-turning mystery and personal and spiritual growth, tell me a bit about yourself in the comments!

Seeker: As societies grow increasingly fragmented, hopelessness, nihilism, and division are on the rise. But there is another way—a way of mystery and magic, of wholeness and transformation. Do you dare take the first step? Our path is not for the faint-hearted, but for seekers of ancient truths…

All April wants is to start over after her husband’s sudden death. She’s conjuring a new path—finally getting her degree and planning her new business in bucolic Pennsylvania Dutch country. Joining an online mystery school seems like harmless fun.

But when a murdered man leaves her a cryptic message, she catches glimpses of another reality she’s unwilling to acknowledge. A reality where bygone enchantments cast cryptic shadows, and the present brims with unanswered questions.

As April works to unearth the mystery, every step brings her closer to a truth she’s been evading. And to a conspiracy of hexes that may end in her demise.

Legacy of the Witch is a spellbinding, interactive tale of a woman’s midlife quest to understand the complexities of her own heart. A paranormal women’s fiction murder mystery for anyone who’s wondered if there might be more to their own life than meets the eye…

Book 1 in the new Mystery School Series featuring the UnTarot, a deck of cards for meaning making. Start reading now!
UnTarot deck app included!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Of all the life-ruining mistakes I’d ever made, being late was not going to be one of them.

I double checked the campus map. My advisor’s office should have been directly ahead of me. Instead, there was a wide swathe of grass dotted with crimson leaves and way-too-young students.

At least they seemed too young to me. They had to be too young, because the alternative was that at forty-seven, I was too old. Too old to start over. Too old to rid myself of my growing collection of ghosts. Too old to get a degree. Too old to use that degree as a springboard for my dream business and dream life and dream whatever the hell I was doing.

But I couldn’t think that way. I had to have hope or I’d be stuck in the purgatory of widowhood.

I crumpled the campus map in my gloved hand. What was I doing? Everything was shifting—inside and out, above and below, and—

About the Author: I believe in free-will, and that we all can make a difference. I believe that beauty blossoms in the conscious life, particularly with friends, family, and strangers. I believe that genre fiction has become generic, and it doesn’t have to be.

My current focus is my new Mystery School series, starting with Legacy of the Witch. Traditionally, women’s fiction refers to fiction where a woman—usually in her midlife—is going through some sort of dramatic change. A lot of us do go through big transitions in midlife. We get divorced or remarried. The kids leave the nest. Our bodies change. The midlife crisis is real—though it manifests in different ways—as we look back on where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the time we have left.

Now in my mid-fifties, I’ve spent more time thinking about the big “meaning of life” issues. It seemed like approaching those issues through witch fiction, and through a fictional mystery school, would be a fun and a useful way for me to work out some of these ideas in my own head—about change and letting go, faith and fear, and love and longing.

After growing up on a diet of Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie, I’ve published over 60 mysteries—from cozies to supernatural suspense, as well as an experimental fiction book on Tarot. Spending over 20 years working overseas in international development, I learned that perception is not reality, and things are often not what they seem—for better or worse.

There isn’t a winter holiday or a type of chocolate I don’t love, and some of my best friends are fictional.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where Ideas Come From by Dana King – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dana King will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Ideas Come From

It’s kind of a running joke with writers that one form or another of “Where do ideas come from?” is their least favorite question. I saw the late Robert B. Parker tell this story many years ago:

Parker and Elmore Leonard both had books come out the same week. Both were booked onto the same early morning local talk show. In the Green Room before going on, one of them commented (I forget which) that he hoped he wasn’t asked where he gets his ideas; the other agreed.

They went on camera and the first thing the perky hostess did was ask Leonard where he gets his ideas.

“Utica,” he said, straight-faced. “There’s a little shop off the main drag. We all get our ideas there.

Unfazed – or inattentive, take your pick – the interviewer turned to Parker. “What about you, Mr. Parker?”

“Same place.”

It’s a funny story if only for the rap on morning TV hosts. I can also see why writers with the footprints of Leonard or Parker would tire of that question, as for most writers it’s the simplest thing in the world.

Well, I don’t have footprints anywhere near that big and I’m not tired of talking about it, as I have things to say some readers have found interesting in the past.

Think of the imagination as a muscle and, like any other muscle, the more it is exercised the more useful it becomes. Writers use their imaginations all day, every day, in a manner and at a level most readers never have to fuss with. So ideas eventually come easier to us.

But where do they come from? The truth is, anywhere. I have generated story ideas from these sources:
• Current events
• True crime stories
• Social media
• Court cases
• Fiction (TV/movies/books) where I think the story might have been better had it gone in a different direction. (Changing the names and circumstances. I’m endorsing creativity here, not plagiarism.)
• Fiction (TV/movies/books) that could serve as backstory for something I’d like to write. (Same plagiarism warning applies.)
• Song lyrics, especially country songs. (Case in point: I have a story in the upcoming edition of Dark Yonder magazine based on the song “Bartender Blues” sung by George Jones.)
• Discussions/arguments
• Walks
• Showers
• (Breaking news: As I was working on this post, it occurred to me the current “Shohei Ohtani’s translator has a serious gambling problem” story could have legs for me.)

The point is, ideas are everywhere; we’re practically tripping over them. I come up with a few good ones a week, and I am far from the most creative person I know. Coming up with the idea is the easy part. The hard work lies in making two decisions:

1. Is this something I want to dedicate a year of my life to? You don’t want to get six months down the road and realize you’re sick to death of this idea and have no stomach for finishing it. Don’t kid yourself. Authors fall out of love with ideas all the time.

2. Is this an idea that lends itself to my skill set? I write hard-boiled crime fiction, so I am not likely to do well with a time-travel romance, or even a mystery where a cat solves the crime. Nothing wrong with those kinds of stories; they’re just not in my wheelhouse. I discard quite a few ideas every year because, while I like the premise, as I noodle it out I realize someone else could write that story better.

I was at a conference several years ago and heard the following story. I’d tell you who the writers were but there had been some drinking done and who I thought it was said it wasn’t him, so I’m leaving names out altogether. The story holds up without them.

Anyway, two well-known authors who are good friends were having dinner. Author A gets to talking about an idea he has. Author B loves it, wishes he’d thought of it, good luck with the book.

A few months go by. They’re at dinner again and Author B asks how the book is coming. A says, “It’s not. The more I get into it, the more I realize it’s not for me.”

B asks if it’s okay if he gives it a shot. A gives his blessing, B rips through the book without difficulty, and it does well for him.

Here’s the thing: legally, B did not have to ask permission. You cannot copyright an idea, only what you do with it. For those of you old enough to remember the Twentieth Century, the classic TV show The Sopranos premiered January 10, 1999. On March 5, 55 days later, the movie Analyze This came out. Both are stories about mob bosses who see psychiatrist. I suppose the end results could be more different, but not much and still be based on the same idea.

Ideas are crucial; there can be no fiction without them. What’s more important is execution. What experienced writers have going for them that newbies do not is a better-developed ability to figure out quickly which of the multitude of ideas clamoring for attention they want to live with, and which suits them best. As with most things, experience is the best way to avoid a bad decision and, as we all know, experience most often comes from bad decisions.

I never said it was easy.

Nick Forte has lost his detective agency and makes ends meet doing background checks and other paperwork. He pays for everything else through jobs he takes for cash and without any written contract. What starts out as a simple investigation into a traffic accident exposes Forte to people who have truly lost everything and have no viable hope of reclaiming their lives. That doesn’t sit well with Forte, leading him and his friend Goose Satterwhite to take action that ends more violently than anyone expected.

“The return of Chicago private detective Nick Forte, the tough protagonist of two Shamus Award nominated novels, is well worth the wait. Nick’s latest escapade Off The Books—the first in nearly six years—will surely earn additional praise for the acclaimed series.”
-J.L .Abramo, Shamus Award-winning author of Chasing Charlie Chan.

“Nick Forte reminds me of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser: a PI with a finely tuned sense of justice who doesn’t take anyone’s s***. Any fan of hardboiled detective fiction is in for a helluva ride.”
–Chris Rhatigan, former publisher of All Due Respect Books

Enjoy an Excerpt

I told Jason Worthington I’d find his daughter in a week. I surfed the internet and searched flophouses, cathouses, bar rooms, pool rooms, jails, hospitals, morgues, and SRO hotels. Found her in a pay-by-the-hour motel at 10:48 p.m. two days after her father and I spoke.

Worthington would have preferred me to find her alive.

Cindy’s body was warm, the spike still in her arm. She looked as if she’d fallen asleep waiting and didn’t hold my tardiness against me.

I did what any real-life professional investigator would do, and what no fictional private eye would even consider.

I called the police.

The cops kept me at the scene half the night, at the station until dawn. They asked the same questions both places and got the same answers.

“Why were you there?”

“Her father asked me to find her.”

“Why was the father looking for her?”

“My guess would be to keep what happened from happening. You’ll have to ask him yourself to be sure.”

The usual bullshit.

I called Worthington on my way out of the police station. Told him I had news but would prefer to deliver it in person. I didn’t suppose I needed to tell him anything after that, but it wouldn’t hurt to allow him time to prepare before I scarred the rest of his life.

He answered the door already dressed for work. Navy suit, white shirt with French cuffs, gold links. His tie was blue with small designs, maybe horses, gathered in a perfect four-square knot. Red suspenders. A suit coat hung from the newel post behind him. His forehead gleamed beneath a silvery hairline. His teeth were as white and straight as a Klan meeting.

About the Author:Off the Books is Dana King’s sixth Nick Forte private investigator novel. Two of the earlier books (A Small Sacrifice and The Man in the Window) received Shamus Award nominations from the Private Eye Writers of America. Dana also writes the Penns River series of police procedurals set in a small Western Pennsylvania town, as well as one standalone novel, Wild Bill, which is not a Western. His short fiction appears in numerous anthologies and web sites. He is a frequent panelist at conferences and reads at Noirs at Bars from New York to North Carolina.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon or read for free on Kindle Unlimited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Background/inspiration of the book by Mark Towse – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Background/inspiration of the book

To get straight into this, it’s me on the pages of this book: the same upbringing, the same claustrophobic and uncomfortable environment, all dictated by my iron-fisted mother. If I left crumbs on the counter or a cup next to the sink without washing it, my life would not be worth living. And God forbid if someone parked outside our house or started playing loud music. In those cases, the day, possibly week, would be ruined. My mother even uttered the words, “When will the chaos end?” at one point, thus the multiple references in the story. Nobody would believe how bad it was. My teachers often asked my parents if everything was okay at home. “Oh yes,” my mother would sing like butter wouldn’t melt. My dad was just a shell, much like the character in Chasing The Dragon.

So there you go, that’s really the inspiration for the Simon Dooley character.

Writing this, as you might imagine, was at once painful and cathartic. It brought back a lot of rough memories and a cocktail of emotions encompassing anger, disappointment, alienation, and loneliness. I was never allowed friends around, regardless of the number of times I spent at their houses. This invited further alienation, making me feel even more alone.

When things got really bad, I imagined myself as a superhero—pure escapism but a portal into a different world where I wasn’t meek and vulnerable. That’s where Reformo comes into the equation.

That said, it was vital that our wannabe hero was flawed throughout each chapter. I didn’t want him to become two-dimensional just because he wore the cape. I’ve seen that too many times in the movies.

Initially, the harder her tries, the harder he fails. Being more than a little naïve, he assumes people will get behind him and his message of bringing hope back to town. But people have given up hope, fearing to tread outside when the sun goes down. I think those initial interactions Reformo has with the residents are the most hilarious exchanges in the book. He’s just trying his best, but the pushback and the general reception he receives… priceless.

Life is imperfect, and so are we.

This is a traumatized man-child just doing his best. One thing is for sure: people are falling in love with Reformo.

A town on its knees, dread’s bony fingers wrapping around its throat and squeezing, death rattles soon to follow.

Drugs, filth, and a lack of human decency are starving it of hope.

Introducing Simon Dooley, our trauma-driven wannabe superhero, the relentless voice of his dead mother pleading with him to “end the chaos.” Dressed in a leotard and armed only with a dozen dog poop bags, Simon’s plight will find him falling in love and going head to head with the seediest characters walking the streets.

The town needed a hero… it got Reformo.

Enjoy an Excerpt

It’s happening. It’s finally happening.

I strip off in front of the full-length mirror, part self-admiration for my new frame and part sorrow for the shy and squeamish young boy who first walked the corridors of the youth detention centre.

Okay, not The Rectifier. What then? Captain Justice has been done, you muppet! The Shadow? Nope. Been done, too. The Silhouette? Too jazzy. Unable to wait any longer, the hairs bristling on the back of my neck, I carefully lift the costume from the bed and slip my arms through.

Oh, yes!

It’s as though electricity runs through my veins. I feel alive, reborn. I feel—

“I’m a superhero.”

About the Author:Mark Towse is an English horror writer living in Australia. He would sell his soul to the devil or anyone buying if it meant he could write full-time. Alas, he left it very late to begin this journey, penning his first story since primary school at the ripe old age of forty-five. Since then, he’s been published in over two hundred journals and anthologies, had his work made into full theatrical productions for shows such as The No Sleep Podcast and Tales to Terrify, and has penned fourteen novellas, including Nana, Gone to the Dogs, 3:33, and Crows. Chasing The Dragon is his debut novel.

Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Website | Instagram | Facebook
Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway