Saturday, December 8, 2018



For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Book Details:

Title: One Taste Too Many

Author: Debra H. Goldstein

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: A Sarah Blair Mystery, book 1

Publisher: Kensington (December 18, 2018)

Print length: 304 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: Pizza and ice cream.
Things you need to throw out: The clothes that are too small on me.

Things you need in order to write: Show music.
Things that hamper your writing: Life’s obligations.

Things you love about writing: The joy of when I’m in the zone.
Things you hate about writing: When the words don’t flow.

Easiest thing about being a writer: Coming up with ideas.

Hardest thing about being a writer: Sticking to a schedule. It’s very easy for me to put off writing for days on end.

Things you love about where you live: I love that we rarely get snow and that the people are so gracious and kind.
Things that make you want to move: There really is nothing that would prompt me to move. Having lived in different places throughout the country, I feel a sense of peace and happiness in the South.

Things you never want to run out of: Dark chocolate and kisses from children and grandchildren.
Things you wish you’d never bought: The on the stove smoker (used once); my kitchen (infrequently used – may still have tags on some of the appliances).

Words that describe you: Judge, author, wife, step-mom, mother of twins, innovative, and loyal.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Pudgy.

Favorite foods: Dark chocolate, pizza, and ice cream.
Things that make you want to throw up: The smell of fish cooking and cottage cheese. 

Favorite music or song: I love show music.
Music that make your ears bleed: Heavy metal.

Favorite beverage: Coca-cola.

Something that gives you a pickle face: Lemonade.

Favorite smell: The powdery smell of a baby; the unexplainable smell of a print book.

Something that makes you hold your nose: Rank garbage–a bag that’s been sitting around for a day or two with fish or Chinese food.

Something you’re really good at: Reading fast.

Something you’re really bad at: Dancing.

Something you wish you could do: Be in more places at the same time.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: For me, everything is an experience. I could do without having learned the concept of hatred, but most everything else, good or bad, is something I wouldn’t trade.

Something you like to do: Enjoy time with family and friends.
Something you wish you’d never done: Fall on my bottom trying to skate with grace and beauty.

Things you’d walk a mile for: To help someone; being able to obtain a good book.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Realizing I’m in a gym and I need to exercise.

Things you always put in your books: Humor.

Things you never put in your books: Intentional slurs.

Things to say to an author:
“I enjoy your work.”
“Wow! Do you write well. I couldn’t put your book/story down.”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “Your writing stinks.”

Favorite things to do: Reading; going to a musical; sharing reading; and attending shows with others.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Most kinds of exercise.

Things that make you happy: My family; a good book; a quiet moment; being told my words or actions have impacted someone.

Things that drive you crazy: Stupidity, people who simply don’t care.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: “I like your book.”

A lie you wish you’d told: “I like your book.”

Best thing you’ve ever done: Being honest; Enjoyed something through the eyes of a child or grandchild.

Biggest mistake: Trying to cook a dinner, I made soup from scratch but then I threw noodles in at the last minute and it soaked up all the broth. My appetizer became chicken flavored seasoned noodles.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: Walking away from my lifetime appointment as a judge to follow my passion for writing.

Something you chickened out from doing: Skydiving.


Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Connect with Debra:

Website  |  Blog Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Books-a-Million  |  IndieBound  |  Walmart Hudson Booksellers

Thursday, December 6, 2018



When Emmaline Cagney's father dies on her graduation day, she foregoes college and heads to Honduras to volunteer with Nicaraguan refugees. It's 1986. The Sandinista-Contra war rages in the jungles all around her. But when General James Wilkinson reenters her life during a hurricane, can she trust him? Or should she flee?

Because of his unsolved death, Wilkinson is stuck in an in-between world called Nowhere, a place he's always used for his evil designs. Will he stick to his mission to help the Contras? Or will he ditch his mission to finally possess Emmaline?

As they fight to keep refugees safe and American involvement with the Contras secret from Congress, Em and Wilkinson careen toward a showdown that outstrips space and time, a place where nothing she knew about herself is true. And Em must confront the one person she never wanted to see again: her craven mother. Will Emmaline outwit the two people who peddled her childhood innocence before she runs out of time?

Book Details:

Title: I Am Number 13

Author: Andra Watkins

Genre: Thriller

Series: Nowhere Trilogy

Publisher: Word Hermit Press LLC (November 13, 2018)

Print length: 272

On tour with: Pump Up Your Book


Q: Andra, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
I Am Number 13 features the Biggest Scoundrel America Ever Produced. James Wilkinson worked for the first 5 Presidents of the United States while taking millions from a foreign enemy. He committed treason his entire career. His Spanish patrons called him Agent Number 13.

Q: Tell us about your series.
What would you do if your life ended, but you were given the chance to have another adventure? What would you do?
I started wondering about those questions, particularly as they relate to historical characters who died too young. What might they have done with another chapter?

My Nowhere Series crafts afterlife stories for people from history who died mysteriously. I think the books are best enjoyed in the following order: Hard to Die, To Live Forever, and I Am Number 13.

Q: What is the most daring thing you've done?
I walked the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a federal parkway. I walked with cars, trucks, and camper vans in 15-mile increments for 34 days. Even though the Trace is 10,000 years old, much of it is still very remote. I almost died multiple times.

I did the walk to launch my debut novel To Live Forever, but I ended up having a life-changing adventure with my eighty-year-old father. My New York Times best selling memoir Not Without My Father chronicles that experience.

Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
I wet my pants while reading in front of my entire second-grade class. I’d worn panty hose and culottes that day and thought I was so grown up. When I got about to go to the bathroom, I was too shy to ask my teacher and couldn’t hold it until I finished my reading. By the time I asked my teacher if I could go to the toilet, a little boy stood up in his chair at the front of class and screamed, “She’s doing it right there!”

Q: If someone gave you $5,000 and said you must solve a problem, what would you do with the money?
Pay off part of my debt from launching a book while being on chemo and steroids. I wasn’t able to promote the book. Hard to Die was dead-on-arrival, because I wasn’t well enough to promote it. Nor was I healthy enough to dig out of that hole for about a year. 

Q: Do you have another job outside of writing?
: I’m also an accomplished public speaker and entertain groups all over the United States. My programs are high-energy motivational talks. I don’t do book tours or readings, though I usually talk about my writing process with book clubs and library groups.

Q: How did you meet your spouse?
I was on a date with someone else, but he was late. My now-husband came into the restaurant. He said hello. I said hi. It was a nice moment.

My date showed up, and I ended things pretty quickly. The next week, I got an invite to lunch from my now-husband via email. Because I couldn’t figure out how he got my email address from “hello” and “hi,” I decided I had a stalker and stood him up.

Eventually, I reached out to him and invited him to lunch. I’m glad he didn’t stand me up, because we clicked. He’s the best thing about my life.

Q: If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
My husband.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
If money were no object = Copenhagen, Denmark
Realistically = Barcelona, Spain
If I had to flee the country on short notice = Quito, Ecuador

Q: How did you create the plot for this book?
I Am Number 13 took two years to create. As I mentioned above, I had a serious incurable health issue. Drug treatment scrambled my brain. For over a year, I couldn’t write. I holed up in a residency in Switzerland and imagined my blockage as a lion pacing in front of my door. For two weeks, I wrote and sobbed. Everything I wrote was gibberish.

But the third and last week, my husband sent me the idea to set this book during the lead-up to Iran Contra, and everything clicked. I wrote 50,000 words in a week, polished everything last December, sent the book to beta readers, polished some more, sent it to my editor, polished even more, and here it is.

Q: Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Several of my characters in I Am Number 13 were real people. General James Wilkinson is known as the Biggest Scoundrel America Ever Produced. Theodosia Burr Alston also appears in the book. She was Aaron Burr’s tragic daughter and subject of the song “Dear Theodosia” in the musical Hamilton. Oh, and Ronald Reagan has a cameo.

Q: Is your book based on real events?
I Am Number 13
is based on real events in that it is set during Iran Contra. I read several books on that scandal and the CIA’s role in Honduras and Nicaragua. The hurricane that starts the book even happened. But my storyline is a thriller/fantasy.

Q: What are you working on now?
I’m working on a travelogue-memoir about the places I’m going to find hope with a hopeless situation. I have an incurable parasitic disease that’s causing me to go blind. The memoir chronicles the adventures I’m undertaking in search of peace, hope, and maybe even a miracle. Stay tuned.


To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis
Hard to Die
Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time
Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace

All books can also be purchased direct from Ingram Lightning Source via the Word Hermit Press shop! Paperback and e-book format.


New York Times best selling author Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University.
She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater. Her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films.

She’s the author of five books and counting. Her acclaimed first novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press on March 1, 2014. Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is a memoir about her dysfunctional family adventure; it is a National Book Award nominee and a New York Times best seller. Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time is a book of photography, shot during her 15-mile daily hikes on her 444-mile Natchez Trace walk. Hard to Die is a prequel to her first novel To Live Forever. I Am Number 13 rounds out the first Nowhere trilogy.

Connect with Andra:
  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Ingram Lightning Source via the Word Hermit Press shop

Tuesday, December 4, 2018



From New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble, Ask Me No Questions is the first in the Lady Dunbridge Mystery series featuring a widow turned sleuth in turn-of-the-twentieth century New York City.

A modern woman in 1907, Lady Dunbridge is not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm.

From the decadence of high society balls to the underbelly of Belmont horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

Book Details:

Title: Ask Me No Questions

Author: Shelley Noble

Genre: Historical mystery
Series: Manhattan Gilded Age

Publisher: Forge (October 16, 2018)

Print length: 352 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: Fuzzy socks, walks on the beach, pen and ink drawings (I have a lot on my walls), my comfy reading chair.
Things you need to throw out: Things I thought I needed but didn’t and now feel bad about not using, wearing, eating, looking at, listening to, etc. and hope I might someday, though know I probably won’t.

Things you need in order to write: Quiet, my desk cleared from the day before, an energetic brain and coffee!
Things that hamper your writing: Ambient noise, being interrupted, when my surroundings feel cluttered

Easiest thing about being a writer: The commute from bed to kitchen to desk.
Hardest thing about being a writer: Explaining to people that even though your office is at home, it doesn’t mean that you can pick up the kids at soccer, or  stop to chat or have lunch or volunteer for  a million things because after all “you make your own schedule.”  Writers don’t; our process makes our schedule. Sometimes we’re free, but when we’re not, we’re not.

Things you love about where you live: I just moved. I used to live at the beach and loved that, but it was very solitary, so I just moved back to a more urban area, closer to NYC. I love the energy, and the access to film, music, theatre, and friends.
Things that make you want to move: The traffic, but even that doesn’t make me want to move, I’ve just gotten unpacked.

Things you never want to run out of: Coffee, friends, compassion.
Things you wish you’d never bought: All those panic-shopping clothes that I bought for a special occasion, because I was between trips on a deadline or didn’t have time to do the laundry. They very rarely turn out to be something I’d actually enjoying wearing more than once.

Favorite foods: My favorite meal is brie, pate, baguette, and  a good cabernet. But I also love peanut butter, lasagna, and chicken and dumplings.
Things that make you want to throw up: Tomato aspic (I grew up in the South) and marshmallows.

Favorite beverage: Coffee.
Something that gives you a pickle face: Milk.

Favorite smell: Lavender
Something that makes you hold your nose: Mildew and sour milk.

Something you’re really good at: Besides procrastinating? I  am good at doing  detailed projects.

Something you’re really bad at: Making decisions and cooking.

Something you like to do: Walk on the boardwalk.
Something you wish you’d never done: That’s a hard one. A lot of things I wished undone at the time, but I think you learn from those times or situations even if you don’t want to, and come out better for them.

People you consider as heroes: People who stand up for their own and others’ beliefs and in a rational, compassionate, inclusive way.

People with a big L on their foreheads: Bullies of all kinds.

Last best thing you ate: Mozart Keugeln, a special Marzipan treat that I discovered on tour in Vienna years ago. Saw them in the check out aisle at a big box store and couldn’t resist.

Last thing you regret eating: Onion rings, they were really good while eating them. Not so much a half hour later.

Things you’d walk a mile for: Besides coffee? 
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: People with loud, grating voices.

Things you always put in your books: Several generations of characters.

Things you never put in your books: Graphic violence.

Things to say to an author: I loved your book and wrote a review on all the internet review sites and social media.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: When are you going to get a real job?

Favorite things to do: Reading, tai chi, girls’ weekend away at the beach,  dinner with friends
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Laundry.

Things that make you happy: Music, a good book, people who do good things.

Things that drive you crazy: Mean people.

Proudest moment: Making the New York Times best seller list (a totally self centered moment of  Yay me!).
Most embarrassing moment:
There have been so many

The last thing you did for the first time: Went to Disney World. I had a blast.

Something you’ll never do again: Yikes! Never say never.


Shelley Noble is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of women’s fiction. (Beach ColorsWhisper Beach, Lighthouse Beach,) and her latest, Lighthouse Beach. As Shelley Freydont, she  has written over sixteen amateur sleuth and historical mysteries.
Ask Me No Questions is the first of a Manhattan Gilded Age series and written as Shelley Noble.
A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore and loves to discover new lighthouses and vintage carousels.

Connect with Shelley:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram  

Buy the books:

Sunday, December 2, 2018



Up-and-coming news reporter Angie Bryant is determined to get the scoop on what's really happening in Darfur, no matter the risk. After all, it's the kind of story that will catapult her career to the next level. Jason Russo is a disillusioned NGO doctor stationed at a refugee camp in eastern Chad. While he tries to help where he can, Jason finds it difficult to get the support he needs to make a difference. But when the pair witnesses Janjaweed soldiers gun down a dozen Darfurian refugees in cold blood, everything changes. Suddenly, the only assignment that matters is telling the world about the current conditions in western Sudan — at all costs. Angie and Jason find themselves racing against time as they work to uncover a sinister secret hidden deep in the Sahara. Their efforts put them directly in the path of a lethal Janjaweed commander. If they want to share their shocking discoveries with the global community, they'll have to get past him first.

Book Details:

Title: Evil Winds: Tradecraft Phase Two

Author: Michael Shusko

Genre: Thriller

Series: Tradecraft, book 3

Publisher and publish date: Self, (May 21, 2018)

Print length: 274 pages


Q: Michael, what’s the story behind the title of your book?

Tradecraft, by definition, is the way things are done in the world of espionage — the skills you use to gather intelligence and extract information from the world around you to gain a solid knowledge and understanding of what's going on beneath the surface. My Tradecraft series, which will include six titles, follows the intertwining lives of modern day heroes and villains as they try to outwit each other on the international stage. The first three books in the series, Vector, Shifting Sands, and Evil Winds, are available now, and the fourth title, The Fifth Column, will be coming out early next year.

Q: Tell us about your series.
A: Within the framework of the main story which plunges the reader into the murky world of terrorism, international intrigue, espionage and clandestine operations, the books also explore social injustices and other contemporary issues occurring in the world. The core of Vector: Tradecraft Phase Zero, the first book in the series, is the good and the bad of genetic research and how it can be used or misused depending on whose hands wield its power.

In Shifting Sands, Tradecraft Phase One, the second title in the series, I highlight how international struggles can affect individuals and families, and how propaganda released to the population of some nations can demonize the population of another, resulting in deeply instilled prejudices that are very difficult to overcome — even when it's necessary that two individuals from those respective populations work together to resolve an international crisis.

Evil Winds: Tradecraft Phase Two reflects the fear and anguish the villagers in Darfur live throughout their lives, every day waiting for the Janjaweed to sweep into their world like the wind across the desert.  The novel covers the horrific situation in Darfur, Sudan, the atrocities of human trafficking and child soldiers, the nearly impossible hurdles faced by humanitarian relief response teams who arrive on the scene to help — and how big hearts and brave souls can make a difference in the darkest of times.

Evil Winds follows Angie Bryant, a young reporter who goes to Africa to report on the atrocities in the Darfur. There, she meets doctor Jason Russo working in one of the refugee camps. Together, the two brave the harsh Sahara desert to find the hidden truth about what is really going after villages are razed and children go missing while various warlords, terrorists and underground organizations battle for control of Sub Saharan Africa.

The books in the Tradecraft series are numbered Phase Zero to Phase Five in reference to the standard phases of a military mission or operation, be it combat, humanitarian or other.

Q: Are the books standalones or do readers need to read the series in order?

The books are stand alone, each with its own plot, but many of the characters weave in and out of each book and the plots are linked to form a central story line that ties the six novels together.

Unbeknownst to most of the characters, their individual stories in each book are a small part of something much larger. As the protagonists move through the six phases of a military operation, just how much is at stake is revealed. Over the course of the series, their tradecraft skills are tested to the penultimate limit — and their roles in resolving the crises become magnified to a greater extent than any of them could have ever imagined.

Q: Do you have another job outside of writing?

I am a physician in the U.S. Navy. I have been in the military for 33 years, serving as a Marine for the first 13 years.

Q: Where’s home for you? 

Having spent my adult life in the military, including many tours overseas, home is where ever I have family and friends.

Q: Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the Jersey Shore.

Q: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

That people, at their core, are basically good. While there is much diversity and differences among us, deep down people are the same. We all have the same basic needs in life, work, care for our families, live and love.

Q: What’s one of your favorite quotes? 

"Do or do not. There is no try." –Yoda

Q: How did you create the plot for this book?

I’ve spent some time in Africa. Seeing some of the hardships that the people there endure motivated me to write Evil Winds. But it’s not just about the Darfur. There are a number of important issues highlighted in the book that I feel need to be addressed. Child slavery, human trafficking, terrorism, genocide. These atrocities occur throughout the world and affect millions.  

Q: Are any of your characters inspired by real people?

Many of my characters have attributes of individuals I have interacted with over the years. Some more than others. Like the places and events in the novels, there is the occasional truth and reality hidden in between some of the pages. 

Q: Is your book based on real events?

While the story is fiction, the backdrop of the conflicts in Sub Saharan Africa is based on real world events.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

Stephen King, Tom Clancy, David Baldacci, Tess Geritsen.

Q: What’s one pet peeve you have when you read? 

I like realism in the books I read. Places I can experience through the pages of a novel, people that seem genuine and could be someone you meet in a store or on a sidewalk. I’m not a huge fan of unrealistic action scenes.

Q: Do you have a routine for writing? 

I wake up early in the morning and write for a few hours before work. I find I do my best writing during the quiet hours while everyone else is asleep. After I’ve had my coffee, of course.

Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?

That the people, places, and emotions depicted in the stories seem realistic and relatable.

Q: Why did you decide to self-publish?

I was new to writing when I decided to self-publish. I wanted to maintain control over the books, characters, titles, and even the release dates between the books in the series.

Q: Are you happy with your decision to self-publish?
I am happy with my decision to self-publish. It has not been an easy road. With a busy work schedule, it has been difficult balancing writing with the other aspects of self-publishing: marketing, production, etc. Fortunately, I have had some great people assist me in these other areas.

Q: What are you working on now?
The 4th book in the Tradecraft Series, The Fifth Column, is going through the production stages now, and I’m just about done with the 5th book, An American Hero. I have also completed two novels outside of the series and will work them into the production schedule soon. There are a number of other stories I’d like to get to once the Tradecraft Series is finished with book #6: Wilderness of Mirrors.


Michael Shusko, MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACOEM, is an author, medical doctor and decorated Marine and Naval officer who has worked on intelligence and medical missions across the globe. Fluent in Arabic, he holds a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern studies from Rutgers University. Post-undergrad, Dr. Shusko transferred from the Marines to the Navy Medical Corps and attended medical school at Wake Forest University, obtaining his medical degree in 2002. He also studied at Harvard University, earning his Master's of Public Health degree in 2013.

Dr. Shusko's Middle Eastern experience and language skills coupled with his background in special operations and intelligence keep him busy deploying around the world. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. Dr. Shusko has been awarded the Bronze Star twice for service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently lives in the D.C. area with his wife and triplet sons.

Connect with Michael:
  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Friday, November 30, 2018



Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!
Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring.

Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.

Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. You’re just in time for the week-long Christmas Festival, and nowhere is Christmas celebrated with such unrestrained merriment as the village which bears its name. Mayor Cobblestone and Sheriff Fell will be somewhere nearby, doing all they can to make sure you’re safe during your stay.

Provided you haven’t booked a room at Plum Cottage.

Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.

Presently lodging at the cottage are: the juggler, the acrobat, the magician, the psychic, the strongman, the manager, and the pretty assistant. In town as festival entertainment they’ve each brought their own bag of tricks. And a closet full of skeletons.

When the entertainers begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.

Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But has she finally met her match at Plum Cottage?

Can you figure out whodunit before Maribel does? If you’re up to the challenge, here’s your first clue—the key to unlocking the secret of the murderer’s identity lies in figuring out how the murders were committed. Good luck!

If you’re looking for a fun, baffling read that’s cozier and more mysterious than the usual fare, replete with diagrams of the murder scenes and a one-of-a-kind BOOK GROUP CHALLENGE, then Slay Bells is the perfect gift to buy yourself this Christmas.

Book Details:

Title: Slay Bells

Author’s name: T.C. Wescott

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: A Christmas Village Mystery, book 1

Publisher: Better Mousetrap Books (November 24, 2018)

Print length: 273 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: Christmas, Halloween, fresh air, history, my dogs, cats, and ferret!
Things you need to throw out: Old clothes, but I’ll donate them instead.

Things you need in order to write: My computer and a comfortable seat.
Things that hamper your writing: An uncomfortable seat and an uncooperative computer. And sometimes the TV. I struggle between wanting the background noise and getting sucked into a program. 

Things you love about writing: The creative process. Challenging myself. And those rare moments when I write a line that dives a little deeper into the emotional pool.
Things you hate about writing: Editing and proofreading. Ugh. A necessary evil but it’s the opposite of fun. And it keeps me from writing!

Easiest thing about being a writer: Reading back what you have written and realizing it was better than you thought. That never gets old.
Hardest thing about being a writer:
The fact that it’s a solitary vocation and by virtue of that you are taken away from everyone and everything else. 

Things you love about where you live: Pretty much anything I could need or want is within two miles of my home. If you read my Running Store Mystery books I’m describing the town in which I live, except that I change the names of the businesses. Living in one of the top-rated small towns in America means I don’t have to tax my imagination at all to conjure up the small-town vibe and can instead put my ‘little gray cells’ towards the matters of murder and mystery.
Things that make you want to move: Tornadoes. I haven’t personally seen one yet, but at least once a year I have to crouch at the bottom of my stairwell while listening to sirens go off.

Things you never want to run out of: Ideas! And readers. What good is an idea without someone to share it with?
Things you wish you’d never bought: The elliptical machine in my living room that murdered my legs and now serves as the clunkiest coat rack you’ve ever seen.

Words that describe you: Ambitious, creative, sweet, compassionate, obnoxious.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Distracted.

Favorite foods: Spaghetti, Rib eye steak, BBQ ribs, mac & cheese.
Things that make you want to throw up: Raw fish, raw beef, sauerkraut.

Favorite music: KISS, Sarah McLachlan, Warrant, Jim Croce. Don’t judge!
Music that make your ears bleed: 90% of Top 40 songs from the past several years.

Favorite beverage: Water!

Something that gives you a pickle face: Lemonade made by someone who’s never made lemonade before.

Favorite smell: A garden in the spring.

Something that makes you hold your nose: My ferret’s little surprise packages.

Something you’re really good at: Playing guitar.

Something you’re really bad at: I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.

Something you wish you could do: Draw, paint, sing.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Learning is never a bad thing!

Something you like to do: Aside from write? Reading always tops the list.

Something you wish you’d never done: I went with the lowest bidder on a bathroom remodel. Went an entire month with no bathtub. Always go with a middle-range bid!

People you consider as heroes: Those who leave a field better than when they found it. Take it seriously, learn to do it well, and do your best to do it better than others. And encourage others to do the same along the way. 

People with a big L on their foreheads: Hypocrisy is always obvious. If you talk the talk you should walk the walk, or else risk waking one morning with the dreaded scarlet ‘L’ on your forehead.

Last best thing you ate: Rib eye steak at Outback!

Last thing you regret eating: Blue cheese wedge salad at Outback.

Things you’d walk a mile for: Exercise, to vote, and to get food for my pets.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Big spiders, housework, corrections from my editor!

Things you always put in your books: Murders, humor, life.

Things you never put in your books: Swear words, sex, gory descriptions.

Favorite genre: Classic mystery from the 1920s to 1960s. 

Books you would ban: Books hurriedly written, with not even a modicum of proofreading, and uploaded to Amazon with generic covers and with the mistaken notion that readers aren’t savvy.

Favorite things to do: Write, read, walk beside the lake and along a wooded path, visit old and even abandoned buildings, and, of course, pet animals!

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Proofreading another writer’s work. I don’t envy my own editor!

Best thing you’ve ever done: Take the plunge into writing longform works.

Biggest mistake: Not starting my writing career in my 20s when I first got the bug.

The last thing you did for the first time: I flew on an airplane by myself this year! Yeah, I know, like I’m 10 or something. But it was a first for me.

Something you’ll never do again: Buy cheap shoes!


T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series will launch in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple - mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.

Wescott is also (under his full name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as a slew of essays and articles.  

Connect with the author:

  |   Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:


Wednesday, November 28, 2018



Professional pet sitter Daphne Templeton loves the holidays in Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania. And nothing gets her into the spirit more than the town’s annual Bark the Halls Ball. The whole community will be there to wag their tails, especially this year’s special guest—Celeste “CeeCee” French, founder of a national chain of pet care franchises, who’s returning home to announce plans for a bright new flagship store.

But not everyone’s celebrating CeeCee’s homecoming. Daphne’s friend Moxie Bloom, owner of Spa and Paw, a unique salon for people and their pets, has plenty to growl about. So when CeeCee is found face down under Sylvan Creek's town Christmas tree, stabbed with a distinctive pair of professional-grade pet shears, suspicion lands squarely on Moxie. Despite Daphne’s promises to Detective Jonathan Black, she quickly reprises her role as amateur sleuth. Ably assisted by her basset hound sidekick, Socrates, she must hurry to prove her friend’s innocence before a killer barks again . . .

Book Details:

Title: A Midwinter’s Tail

Author’s name: Bethany Blake

Genre: Cozy mystery

Publisher: Kensington (November 27, 2018)

Print length: 324 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: A sparkly little snowman who holds my paperclips.
Things you need to throw out: Old journals with ideas I’ve rejected.

Things you need in order to write: Music and coffee.
Things that hamper your writing: Finding the right music and going for more coffee.

Things you love about writing: Creating fun worlds filled with characters who become like friends.
Things you hate about writing: Deadlines and more deadlines.

Favorite foods: French fries, pizza and pasta.
Things that make you want to throw up: The slimy rice-paper wrappers on spring rolls.

Favorite smell: Sandalwood.

Something that makes you hold your nose: My dog’s face after she gets skunked – which keeps happening!

Something you’re really good at: Parallel parking.

Something you’re really bad at: Using a computer when someone is watching.

Last best thing you ate: No-knead homemade bread from a recipe I found on the Internet.

Last thing you regret eating: A whole bunch of “Mexican hot chocolate Chex Mix.” It was so delicious, but I gained two pounds!

Favorite places you’ve been: India, Italy and England.

Places you never want to go to again: My attic! There are squirrels up there, and they aren’t friendly!

Favorite things to do: Reading, cooking and writing
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Laundry. Thankfully, my teenagers are very good at it!

Proudest moment: Probably when I earned my Ph.d., and my daughters were in the audience cheering their old mom!
Most embarrassing moment:
I rolled out of a chair at a job interview, doing a complete backward somersault. No one told me it was broken.



 Moxie Bloom might’ve been caught off guard by the unexpected appearance of an imperious and wealthy, not to mention impeccably dressed and perfectly coiffed, high school bully, who wasn’t supposed to arrive in Sylvan Creek before the Bark the Halls ball, according to Moxie’s rumor mill. Yet I had to give my best friend credit for grace under pressure when CeeCee French rudely brought up cheating with Moxie's old boyfriend - a topic that most people would’ve been ashamed to mention.

“How have you been, Celeste?” Moxie asked politely, her voice level but her chin high. She wisely ignored CeeCee’s reference to Mike Cavanaugh, whom Moxie certainly did remember. She forced a smile, trying hard to be kind. “It’s been a long time.”     

CeeCee took a moment to coolly survey the lobby, her angular jaw jutting as she absently stroked her poodle with long, red-tipped fingers. Her toes, encased in sharply pointed, distinctive crimson shoes that contrasted with her black, form-fitting shift, tapped the thick carpet, as if she was already impatient with the whole affair. I supposed that I should’ve been awed by our multi-millionaire classmate, but, to be honest, I couldn’t muster more than mild curiosity and a bit of disappointment to learn that she was still arrogant, and, let’s face it, mean.

“Yes, it has been a while,” CeeCee finally agreed, again looking Moxie and me up and down, her cool gaze taking in Moxie’s vintage outfit and my old barn jacket. “And I find that nothing’s changed.” The corners of her lips twisted upward, and she got a knowing, almost secretive gleam in her dark eyes. “At least, nothing’s changed... yet.” 

Excerpt from A Midwinter's Tail, reprinted with permission from Bethany Blake.


Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she's not writing or riding horses, she's wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Connect with Bethany:
Website  |  Facebook Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Monday, November 26, 2018



The son of a notorious Nazi fugitive is running for U.S. President. A Secret Service agent sworn to protect him meets a beautiful Mossad spy determined to stop him.

Book Details:

Title: The Devil’s Son

Author: Charles Kowalski

Genre: Thriller (political/espionage)

Publisher: Seabridge Press (July 27, 2018)

Print length: 345 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours


Q: Where’s home for you?

A: I’m a writer in exile, having spent most of the last 20 years in Japan.

Q: What do you love about where you live?
A: The richness of the language and culture, that you could spend a lifetime studying and still barely scratch the surface. (Not to mention safety, convenience, and universal healthcare!)

Q: What is the most daring thing you've done?
A: Driving a rental car through Jerusalem Old City while researching Mind Virus. (And I lived to tell the tale.)

Q: What’s one thing you wish your younger writer self knew?
A: My answers to this question and the question, "What choices would you like a re-do on?" are essentially the same. I would like to talk to my younger self, toying with the idea of someday becoming a serious writer, grab him by the collar and say, “What the hell are you waiting for?”

Q: Do you have another job outside of writing?
A: I teach English at a university near Tokyo.

Q: Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?

A lonely genius. (I already know how it feels to be lonely, so it would be nice to try the genius part on for size.)

Q: What’s one of your favorite quotes?
A: "A writer is a world trapped in a person.” – Victor Hugo

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?

Ideally, I’d have a pied-a-terre near Washington, DC – just for convenience when researching political thrillers – and a writer’s retreat on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Q: What would you like people to say about you after you die?
A: I’d like them to say that a book of mine made a difference in their lives. (And I’d like to go on living, and writing, long enough that they’ll have plenty to choose from!)

Q: What would your main character say about you?
A: I doubt she would take much notice of me. She’s way out of my league.

Q: How did you create the plot for this book?
A: For the past couple of years, I had a plot in the back of my mind involving a Secret Service agent who comes to realize that his two mandates of upholding the Constitution and protecting the President are mutually incompatible. That story, however, never really came together in a way that satisfied me. Then, while I was visiting the States last summer and saw the news from Charlottesville, another idea occurred to me: “What if the President were a Nazi – as in a real one, on the run from the Mossad?” At first, I dismissed that as unfeasible; he would be too old and ineligible for the presidency if he wasn’t a natural-born citizen. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone, and I started thinking about taking the conflict into the next generation: the son of a Nazi fugitive vs. the child (I eventually decided on daughter) of the old, washed-out Nazi hunter who narrowly missed him. Then it occurred to me that these two plots could be combined, to make a tale of intrigue pitting the Mossad against the U.S. Secret Service. After that, the story practically wrote itself.

Q: Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
A: Any similarity to any actual persons, events, or presidents is purely coincidental.

Q: I see! Is your book based on real events?
A: Real events have caught up with the book – and overtaken it, in frightening ways that I couldn’t have foreseen. As C.S. Lewis once said, “The trouble with writing satire is that the real world always anticipates you, and things that were meant as exaggerations turn out to be nothing of the sort.”

Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: I’ve been inspired by other writers of thrillers with a religious angle, like Dan Brown and Daniel Silva. I’ve also been encouraged by other Japan-based thriller writers whose scope has expanded worldwide, like Barry Eisler and Barry Lancet; I hope I can do the same, even though my name isn’t Barry!

Q: What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
A: Since I live in Japan, I often get annoyed with writers who set stories here and get details of the language and culture wrong. Research, people! (But if I say that too loud, I’m sure someone will catch me on some similar solecism with Israel in The Devil's Son!)

Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?

One reader described her experience of reading Mind Virus: “It’s one AM already? Oh…one more paragraph!”

Q: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
The application for my mortgage.

Q: You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?

Harry Potter, especially if it can be a day when he has a vial of Felix Felicis (the “liquid luck” potion).

Q: Good choice! What would your dream office look like?

It would be a quiet place in the woods, with a view of the sea – that’s the Mainer in me – and it would have plenty of room to pace, because I think better when I’m up and moving than when I’m sitting in a chair staring at a screen. In the winter, a fireplace would be a big plus.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: After two highly charged, research-intensive thrillers, Mind Virus and The Devil's Son, I’m working on something lighter and hopefully non-controversial: a middle-grade historical fantasy set in 17th-century Japan, featuring Simon Grey, an English boy who runs away to sea to escape from his “gift” of seeing ghosts.



Azriel “Azi” Horowitz grimaced as his partner’s Zippo flared in the darkness beside him. He had never been a smoker, and in the confines of the Ford Mainline – a clunker, but the best rental they could find, and not out of place in the working-class Olivos neighborhood in Partido Vicente Lopez – the fumes from the Lucky Strikes nauseated him.
“Yaki, you know I have a little problem with noxious gases in closed spaces.”
Yaakov Lavan shrugged, with his usual easygoing grin. “We’re just two old friends having a chat, right, Azi? And we have to do it in the car, because my wife won’t let me smoke near the baby.”
Horowitz had to concede the point, although he still thought it was a rather thin cover story. One small mercy of operating in Argentina was that the sight of two men conversing in a parked car at night was not altogether uncommon, but every little extra touch of realism they could add was vital. If anyone accosted them, they would have a lot more explaining to do than either of them could manage in Spanish.
Lavan took a deep drag from his cigarette, held it for a moment, and slowly exhaled a white cloud with a look of supreme contentment. As much as Horowitz hated the smell of tobacco, he felt a touch of envy for his partner, and wished he had some similarly portable means of calming his own nerves. His mind continually flitted over the long journey that had brought them to this moment – the years of detective work that had traced their targets to Argentina, the months of secretly stalking and planning in their theater of operations – and all the hundreds of things that could still go wrong.
In addition to the unease in his mind, Horowitz felt another kind in his body: he desperately needed a bathroom break. Thanks to one of the men they were waiting for, his kidneys had stopped growing at the age of seven.
Their targets called themselves Carlos Vasquez and José Mendoza, and had the identity cards to prove it, but Horowitz had first made their acquaintance under different names. One was SS Hauptsturmführer Karl Weiss, #7278, the sadistic Lagerführer – deputy commandant – of Auschwitz. The other, holding the same SS rank, was Josef Mengele, #317885, a living desecration of the title of “doctor.” Anyone who had ever passed through the gates of Auschwitz knew him by yet another name: der Totesengel, the Angel of Death.
If all goes well, Horowitz thought, tonight will be a night for the history books. With luck and the blessing of the Almighty, they would soon have their targets in hand and be on their way to the safe house code-named Tira – “castle” in Hebrew – where Mengele and Weiss would go straight into an improvised holding cell, to join the worst of the worst: SS Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann, “the Master,” architect of the Holocaust, personally responsible for the murder of millions.
The Israeli government naturally regarded Eichmann as the grand prize, but Horowitz had a personal score to settle with Mengele and Weiss. As soon as the cattle car arrived in Auschwitz, Weiss had sent Horowitz’s mother and father directly to the gas chambers, but knowing Mengele’s notorious fascination with twins, kept Azriel and his sister Rachel alive as subjects for his experiments. Mengele had tried to change Rachel’s eye color by injecting her eyeballs with a substance that left her blind, and then infected her with typhus, keeping a careful record of her wasting away. When her end was near, rather than let the disease claim her, Mengele passed her on to Weiss, who used her in one final experiment to see how long it would take to die from a new type of lethal injection.
It had taken twelve minutes and nineteen seconds before she stopped screaming.
“Look,” came Lavan’s voice, bringing Horowitz sharply back to the present. “Is that them?”
Horowitz gazed through the windshield and saw two figures staggering tipsily along the route from the Hofbräuhaus, the German restaurant Mengele and Weiss were known to frequent, towards the guest house where they lived. At first, the darkness and distance made it impossible to make out their features. Then they stepped into the light of a street lamp, and Horowitz risked a quick glance through his binoculars. At the sight of their faces, he felt a sudden burning pain in his left forearm.
Fifteen years had passed since Horowitz last saw those faces, but there could be no mistaking the granite jaw and ice-blue eyes of Weiss. Nor was there any doubt about the gap-toothed smile that gave Mengele the appearance of a little boy – one who delighted in torturing anything smaller and weaker than himself. Many children in Auschwitz had seen that smile on the face of their self-proclaimed “Uncle Josef” as he sat them on his knee, gave them sweets, stroked their hair – and in a soft, soothing voice, ordered an aide to inject them with poison.
“It’s them,” Horowitz said.
“You’re sure?”
Lavan stubbed out his cigarette. He turned around in the driver’s seat, pointed a hooded flashlight at the car behind them, and gave it two quick on-off bursts. The crew in the second car would relay the signal to Tabor and Rosen, who were waiting around the corner.
Right on cue, they appeared a moment later, Tabor in a suit and fedora, Rosen in a coat that would allow her ample freedom of movement. They sauntered toward Mengele and Weiss, with the same relaxed, unsteady gait as their targets, pretending to be absorbed in conversation, occasionally leaning on each other for support. To all appearances, they were a couple coming home from a party with a few too many drinks under their belts, too wrapped up in each other to take much notice of their surroundings.
They would maintain this masquerade until they passed their targets, right between the two cars. Then they would turn and grab them from behind, as the driver of the rear car switched on the high beams to blind them. Horowitz, and the other strongman in the rear car, would jump out and help Tabor and Rosen subdue their targets and bundle one of them into each car. They would apply an ether mask to knock them out, and the two cars would take off on separate routes to Tira, where they and their captives would stay until the plane was ready to take them all back to Israel.
And then, Horowitz thought, all the stories you thought would lie buried with your victims will be told to the world, from a courtroom in Jerusalem. The world will know what we mean when we say, “Never forget.”
He pulled on a pair of gloves. The May night was chill enough to warrant them, but more than that, he might have to use his hand to muffle Weiss’s screams. It revolted him to think of his bare hands touching the mouth that had ordered his parents gassed and his sister tortured to death.
Tabor and Rosen were fifty paces away from their targets and closing.
Forty paces.
Horowitz heard the roar of a motorcycle approaching from behind. He tensed, and took an anxious glance in the rear-view mirror. The last thing they needed at this moment was for the police to pass by. The upcoming celebrations for Argentina’s hundred-fiftieth anniversary, which had all of Buenos Aires in a festive mood, had proven to be a double-edged sword for Horowitz and his team. The diplomatic entourage from Israel, one of many visiting from all over the world, had provided the perfect cover, but the influx of high-level international visitors also meant the constant menace of police patrols and checkpoints. The Mossad team was conducting this operation without the knowledge or approval of the Argentine government, and if they were found out, they might well go to jail. And, far worse, their targets might well go free.
The motorcycle passed by the lead car. Horowitz took a sidelong glance and saw no police insignia, just a single rider driving rather unsteadily. He breathed a little easier, but his heart was still pounding.
Twenty paces.
“Get ready to meet the real Angel of Death, you sons of bitches,” Horowitz muttered aloud.

Excerpt from The Devil's Son by Charles Kowalski.  Copyright © 2018 by Charles Kowalski. Reproduced with permission from Charles Kowalski. All rights reserved.


Charles Kowalski is an active member of International Thriller Writers. His debut thriller, Mind Virus, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Colorado Gold Award, and was a finalist for Killer Nashville's Silver Falchion Award for Best Thriller of 2017. His latest, The Devil's Son, was shortlisted for the 2018 Adventure Writers' Competition Grandmaster Award. He divides his time between Japan, where he teaches at a university, and Downeast Maine.

Connect with Charles:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book: