Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Release Day Blitz


Purchase on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1uDW62G
Purchase on iBooks: http://bit.ly/1L5c3DE
Purchase on B&N: http://bit.ly/1xLum7S
Purchase on Kobo: http://bit.ly/1upZf01

About the book:

Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.
Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?  

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.   When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.  

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.  

About Rachel Higginson 

Rachel Higginson is the creator of The Star-Crossed Series, Love & Decay Novella Series, The Starbright Series, The Siren Series, Bet on Us and the soon to be released, The Five Stages of Falling in Love! She is also the co-creator of the podcast "Zach & Rachel Take Over the World."  

She was born and raised in Nebraska, and spent her college years traveling the world. She fell in love with Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, but came back home to marry her high school sweetheart. Now she spends her days raising four amazing kids. In the few spare moments she has to herself, she is either reading for hours on end or writing her own stories.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Post by Gustavo Florentin

About the book:

Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared. After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony. As she closes in on the killer who has taken Olivia, Rachel becomes his next target.

Guest Post: The Amateur Sleuth

There are two essential questions that have to be addressed in order to make an amateur sleuth believable. Motivation--why would someone with a regular day job get involved in solving a crime? And how could this person solve a crime where the police could not? The first question rests on immediacy. In The Schwarzschild Radius, my protagonist, Rachel, is an eighteen-year-old Columbia engineering student whose sister disappears. Here is her motivation. She is willing to do anything to get her back. The police investigation is so far fruitless so she must take matters into her own hands. Now comes the second question. What can she do that the police can't do better? After all, they have a gun and a badge, training, court orders and virtually unlimited resources that a single person without law enforcement authority does not have.

In Rachel's case, her advantage is her age and sex. She is vulnerable. She can enter a youth shelter posing as an underage homeless girl to gather information. The police cannot do this. In addition, she is willing to take a job in a sex emporium as a stripper to get more leads. Again, no police investigation will go this far. Finally, because she is so smart and computer-savvy, she can hack into the PCs of suspects and gather more incriminating evidence. The police certainly have the know-how to do this, but evidence gathered in this way without a warrant would be inadmissible in court and undermine the entire case against the suspects. So here again, my amateur sleuth has the advantage over the police.

Finally, it is essential that the amateur sleuth solve the crime herself, and if she gets into trouble, has to extricate herself from it without the cavalry coming to the rescue. Rachel manages to do this as well, using her resourcefulness. In short, a number of difficult criteria have to be in place for an amateur sleuth story to be plausible. In a thriller, there has to be a final confrontation between the protagonist and the antagonist. How does an untrained, 110 pound eighteen-year-old girl prevail against a former special forces mass murderer? Again this has to be made believable by laying the groundwork well before this climax. You can't reveal at that moment that your amateur sleuth is also a world-champion Aikido expert and able to dispatch a 200 pound killer with her bare hands. Everything can fall apart if this confrontation is not believable. I won't give away how Rachel handles this moment, but the reviews would indicate that it was both believable and satisfying to the reader. Obviously, it is easier to write a story where your protagonist is a former cop or martial artist or has some specialized training that makes him a match for the antagonist.

The pluses of writing an amateur sleuth are that right from the start, you can have a very sympathetic and vulnerable character who can also surprise the reader in plausible ways. So all these points have to be worked out before you start writing an amateur sleuth story, especially a thriller, where the hero's life is in the balance.

About the author:

Gustavo Florentin was born in Queens, New York and received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic University of New York. He spent a decade in the defense industry working on the F-14 fighter jet and classified electronics projects. After the fall of the Soviet Union, many thought America wouldn't need weapons anymore, so while others waited for the peace dividend, he moved on to the financial sector in New York where he is currently a network engineer. His passions include violin, travel to exotic places and exploring worldwide conspiracies. He lives in New Jersey where he is working on his third novel. His thriller, In the Talons of the Condor, won the following awards: 

WUACADEMIA--Prix d'Or Best Novel

The Verb First Chapter Contest--First Prize

Mount Arrowsmith Best Novel 4th place

The Writing Show--Second Prize best first chapter of a novel.
Second Prize--16th Annual International Latino Book Awards

Connect with Gustavo:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  | Barnes & Noble


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Spotlight on: Carolyn Arnold

About the book

From bestselling author Carolyn Arnold…
Strap in for an adventure that will take you to the beautiful island of Jamaica and have you wanting a piƱa colada.

Jimmy finally takes a vacation–and a chance on love–only to be abducted. His female companion originally thinks he had cold feet about their relationship, but Sean and Sara know there’s more to it. Jimmy isn’t the type to just up and disappear, let alone leave a lady stranded.

Setting out on their private jet, Sean and Sara reach the tropical paradise of Ocho Rios, Jamaica with sightseeing as the last thing on their minds.

With a gold coin being their initial tie to Jimmy’s kidnapper, Sean and Sara even speculate about the involvement of pirates. Yet as the hours pass, and there’s no word from Jimmy’s captors, Sean and Sara will need to figure out the real motive before it’s too late.

With help from their friend, Adam, back in Albany, the pieces come together and not a moment too soon.

8th in the Amazon Bestselling McKinley Mystery Series

About the author

Carolyn Arnold is the bestselling author of the Madison Knight series, the Brandon Fisher series, and the McKinley Mysteries. Her love for writing dates back to her teen years, but her passion was reignited in 2006 when a fellow employee said “tell me a story.” Since then Carolyn has never looked back.

Her writing has since been compared to New York Times Bestsellers such as JD Robb, Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and more.

Carolyn was born in 1976 in a rural town of Ontario, Canada, and she currently lives with her husband and two beagles in a city near Toronto.

For more information on the author visit https://carolynarnold.net/

Buy the book:
Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Featured Author: Thomas Maurin

About the book:

This is a story about three smart, successful people who were once fast friends in college and have now been thrust together again in an unlikely, multi-layered investigation with far-reaching international implications and billions of dollars at stake. One is a forensic accountant for the SEC, one beta tests hardware and software for the US Department of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defense, and the third is a wildly successful entrepreneur, software developer and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

They get caught up in the hunt for a corrupt Swiss banker intent on finally unloading the last of the gold stolen by his father in World War II; a violent, narcissist leader of a Mexican drug cartel making his move to take over as the head of all cartels in Central America; and the daughter of a murdered Bulgarian arms dealer making the deal that will give her mother financial stability and get them both out of the increasingly unstable arms business. 

The plot unfolds as financial crimes committed by insiders put common criminal activities to shame in a world where technology has increasingly insinuated itself into our lives to good and bad effects.

Interview with Thomas Maurin

Thomas--or should I say Mike and Bonnie, since Thomas Maurin is the pen name for a husband/wife team--where’s home for the two of you?
Mike and Bonnie spend the winter and spring in Venice Florida, an island on the Gulf Coast, and summers and falls at their vacation home in Eugene Oregon.

Where did you grow up?
Mike grew up in Anderson, Indiana.  Bonnie grew up in Pocatello, Idaho.

What’s your favorite memory?
Our favorite memory is our wedding in 2005. At the rehearsal the evening before, a double rainbow appeared. The wedding itself was filled with love, close friends and family, music and poetry, great food and wine, with lots of champagne. We still consider ourselves newlyweds.

What do you love about where you live?
In Venice, we live in a penthouse condo that has 240 degrees of water and faces west.  Pelicans and osprey fly right past our windows and herons and other gorgeous birds nest in the rookery on the Intracoastal Waterway right below us. We see dolphins, manatees and lots of boats that are coming from the Gulf into the Intracoastal Waterway. And the sunsets are fantastic.

In Eugene, we live on a hill that looks out onto hills and mountains. We are surrounded by evergreens and live on the same street with Bonnie’s brother and sister (and their respective spouses). Our vacation home is filled with musical instruments, art and plants. And the sunsets are terrific.

Sounds wonderful! Have you been in any natural disasters?
Bonnie was in a minor earthquake. Mike has lived through several hurricanes and earthquakes.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, both Mike and Bonnie have worked with wealthy families for 30 years. Mike is an investment advisor and serial entrepreneur who serves as trustee for family trusts.  Bonnie is an educator and advisor to families on family dynamics, governance, and creating entrepreneurial legacies.

How did you two meet? Was it love at first site?
We met in San Francisco during a client engagement in early 2005. It wasn’t love at first site, but there was definitely chemistry. We married several months later and still work with that client.

What brings you sheer delight?
Hanging out with our three grandchildren.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be? 
We love where we live now. We also spend two weeks a year in Grand Cayman. We like the idea of spending a month in the autumn every year in New York. We love spending time in Paris, London, Idaho, Barcelona, Santa Fe, and San Francisco. We could spend part of the year in any of those places.

How did you create the plot for this book?
We first started discussing the idea for the book after we saw an exhibit in the Brussels Museum of Money about Belgian gold that had been seized by the Nazis. Some of it disappeared and has never been found. Some has been in litigation for decades and sits in a vault in New York. Then, we started creating the three characters who would be involved in finding some of that missing gold. After that, we wrote the first several chapters and realized we needed to learn more about writing fiction, so we hired an editor who helped us learn how to create character story arcs and story boards that linked the plot and story arcs we had created in a format that allowed us to continue writing. One of the biggest challenges we faced was that Broken Trust takes place in multiple venues and the characters are constantly moving from one time zone to another. The storyboard (and our editor) helped us manage logistics.

Do you have a routine for writing? Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
We tend to write in bursts. We both work full time, so we dedicate two weeks a year to write in Grand Cayman. Since our work has predictable times when we are less busy, we carve out time to write during those periods as well. Bonnie tends to write most of the dialogue; Mike tends to write the action scenes. We both edit our own and each other’s efforts before we give the manuscript file to our editor. Then she edits it, and we edit it again. We like to write at home, either in Venice or Eugene, but also write in hotel rooms, in the car (but not while driving!), and sometimes on planes. 

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write? Why?
Bonnie: The hardest thing I had to write was my mother’s eulogy. My mother requested that one of her children write her eulogy and speak at her funeral. I was blessed that I was able to discuss it with her and with my siblings before she died. Their insights and suggestions helped me frame how and what I wanted to say. It was even harder to read what I had written at her funeral. This was also one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to understand my mother’s life in a much deeper way and to honor her as a mother, a daughter, a sister, a grandmother, an artist, a musician, and a teacher who loved life and loved us.

Mike: My dad’s eulogy. It was hard because I was trying to do something for a lot of people while emotionally distressed, to perform this duty when I would rather have just been grieving.

Why did you decide to self-publish?  What steps did you take?
We decided to self-publish after spending considerable time looking for an agent or a publishing house. Bonnie had published one book with a major publisher so we were open to that, but also understood realistically that getting a first novel published that way would be challenging.

We already had a small publishing house for our non-fiction books so we knew how to sell on Amazon and iBooks, how to register copyrights, how to pour Word texts into electronic and traditional book formats, how to get book covers designed through 99 Designs, and texts formatted, how to create websites to sell books, and lots of other parts of the publishing puzzle.

Since we travel a lot, live in Florida and Oregon, and work with an editor who lives in California, Mike created an intranet site where we could all save and review files while we wrote and edited Broken Trust. That way everything was saved in one place and we didn’t have to send texts as attachments to emails. Our editor found our independent reviewers and managed that process very well. Mike created a survey for them to track their experience on Survey Monkey. Laura also found the man who formatted Broken Trust for different electronic publishing formats. We didn’t know how to market a novel, but at our editor, Laura Matthews’s suggestion we contacted Penny Sansevieri at Author Marketing Experts. 

Are you happy with your decision to self-publish? 

What are you working on now? 
We are working on the next two books in The Three Musketeers Series, Broken Web and Broken Code. We are also working with our editor on the movie script for Broken Trust.

About the author:

Thomas Maurin is the pen name of husband and wife writing team Bonnie B. Hartley, Ph.D., and Michael T. Hartley, CFP®. They both write non-fiction books and articles regarding financial and family business topics and have delivered talks on those subjects internationally over the last thirty years.

Connect with them:  Website   |  Twitter 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Featured Author: Dianne Harman

About the book:

Kelly pulled into the harbor parking lot next to the pier and noticed that Amber’s car wasn’t in its usual place and there was no sign of her. She was usually standing at the door of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, waiting for Kelly to open up. Wonder what that’s all about, she thought.

The local residents of Cedar Bay come to Kelly’s Koffee Shop for breakfast, lunch, and lots of gossip. Kelly serves it all up as she works to solve the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen. The townspeople can’t believe what has happened in their sleepy little Oregon seaside town. She identifies five prime suspects, but which one did it?

Follow Kelly, her boxer dog, Rebel, and her boyfriend, Mike, the county sheriff, as they try to determine who the killer is in a murder that’s shocked the town.

Kelly’s Coffee Shop is a mouth-watering cozy mystery with recipes!

Interview with Dianne Harman

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
Although the book is part of a series, I always write a standalone book. It’s a personal thing. I don’t like to feel that I have to buy the next book and the next book and . . .

Where’s home for you?

Huntington Beach, California

Where did you grow up?
The Midwest – Denver and Kansas City

If you had $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
More books!

What do you love about where you live?
The ocean is within walking distance!

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Trekking in Nepal and getting within one day of Mt. Everest!

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
It really doesn’t matter what people think of you as long as you’re happy in your own skin.

What makes you bored?
Having someone tell me the same thing in a number of different way when I understood it the first time!

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
I don’t think I’d redo anything. Whatever I have done has led me to this time, and I’m very happy where I am now.

What makes you happy?
Having people appreciate what I do.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
No. I am very fortunate to be able to write full time. The children are grown, and I don’t have an outside job. I really admire writers who can do this as well as care for a family and work outside the home.

How did you meet your spouse?
I met Tom in college. We got married six weeks later, and it’s lasted for a long, long time!

If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?

Probably whatever animal I had at the time.

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
A lonely genius.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“It is what it is!”

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I have several going at the moment. Just finished Gone Girl Gone and was blown away by it. I have become a huge e-book fan.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Books that aren’t properly edited with misspellings and other errors.

Do you have a routine for writing?
Yes. I wake up early, put my contact lenses in, make some coffee and try to get a couple of hours in before I do household things.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I think my best writing comes early in the morning. I write at the computer in my office.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
When someone tells me they couldn’t put the book down.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
I think the stupidest thing is when someone says they don’t like that genre and then give a book a bad review. If you don’t like the genre, don’t pick up the book, and for sure, don’t review it! My husband was a California Senator for many years, so I’ve developed a pretty thick skin over the years.

Why did you decide to self-publish?
I have control over the book.

Are you happy with your decision to self-publish?
I’m very happy with my decision. A mentor of mine told me to self-publish because he had gone with a publisher and the publisher had taken out bankruptcy. My mentor lost a lot of money and was quite emphatic that self-publishing was the way to go. Unless you’re in the Stephen King league, it seems to me that you’re still going to have to do the marketing, etc., so you might as well get all of the profits rather than giving a large part of a publisher.

What are you working on now?
The second in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery series, Murder at Jade Cove.

Other books by Dianne Harman


About the author:

Dianne lives in Huntington Beach, California with her husband Tom, a former California State Senator, and is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Spotlight on: Twisted Threads (A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery)

What reviewers are saying . . .

The town, the people, most of the relationships, and the crimes all ring true, and the mystery was challenging enough to keep my interest without being unrealistically complex. I’m impressed . . . 
~The Bookwyrm’s Hoard

I adored this book the characters are great working together and they draw you into the book.
 ~Bab’s Book Bistro

You will be drawn in by this crafty whodunit that will keep you wanting to read just one more chapter until the end. What a terrific start to a great series, eagerly awaiting the next one!
 ~Shelley’s Book Case

I really enjoyed this mystery but I’m even more excited to see where the series goes. 
~I Wish I Lived In A Library

I didn’t want to put it down. There were so many things happening in this book, my head was almost spinning.
 ~Melina’s Book Blog

I adored this book! The characters were charming and the settings were delightful. 
~Brooke Blogs

. . . loved this book! It was such a rush of a story, and I loved all of the intricate detail the author put in to it . . . ~Marie’s Cozy Corner

. . . Did I enjoy Twisted Threads, and am I looking forward to the sequel, Threads of Evidence, coming out in August of 2015? Heck, YEAH, I am!
 ~Back Porchervations

I always enjoy a well written cozy mystery and Twisted Threads by Lea Wait is definitely one of them!
~Mysteries Etc.

I loved the characters and relationships . . . ~Community Bookstop

About the book:

After leaving a decade ago, Angie Curtis has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, who raised her following her troubled mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.

The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with her grandmother, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Gram and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case.

About the author:

Lea Wait lives on the coast of Maine. A fourth generation antique dealer, and author of the Agatha-nominated Shadows Antique Print mystery series, she loves all things antiques and Maine, and she’s learning to do needlepoint. She also writes historical novels for young people set in nineteenth-century Maine. Lea adopted her four daughters when she was single; she’s now the grandmother of eight, and married to artist Bob Thomas.

Visit Lea's website

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kindle Countdown for Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction

January 18: .99

January 19: $1.99

About the book:

Goose Pimple Junction is just recovering from a kidnapping and a murder, its first major crimes in years, when trouble begins anew. Life is turned upside down in the quirky little Southern town with the arrival of several shifty hooligans: A philandering husband intent on getting his wife back, another murderer loose in town, a stalker intent on frightening Martha Maye, and a thief who’s stealing the town blind of their pumpkins, pies, and peace. Together, they’re scaring the living daylights out of the residents and keeping the new police chief busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic. Suddenly, he has his hands full trying to apprehend a killer, stop a stalker, and fight his feelings for the damsel in distress.