Monday, May 28, 2018

FEATURED CHARACTER: LINDA LOVELY’S “PAINT” PAYNTER




ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s been seven months since Brie Hooker, a vegan, moved to Udderly Kidding Dairy to live with her feisty Aunt Eva, a confirmed carnivore. But tonight there’ll be no family feud over dinner entrees. Udderly’s hosting a campaign fundraiser for Eva’s best friend, who hopes to be South Carolina’s next governor. The candidate’s son, a pro quarterback, is flying home for the wingding. And Brie’s eager to get a close-up view of the cute tush she’s admired on TV, even though she’s reluctantly sworn off even more tempting local beefcake.

The campaign fundraiser promises to be a huge success until a pitchfork attack turns the goat farm into a crime scene—again. To protect her friends, Brie puts her sleuthing skills to work. Will she live long enough to find out who’s behind a vicious assault, a kidnapping, blackmail, and multiple murders?


BOOK DETAILS

Title: Picked Off

Author: Linda Lovely

Genre: Humorous cozy mystery

Series: Brie Hooker Mystery series, book 2

Print length: 270 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours








ABOUT DAVID “PAINT” PAYNTER

When David Paynter was still wearing short britches, he was nicknamed Paint. The name stuck. Paint is the handsome, 33-year-old owner of Magic Moonshine, a thriving legal purveyor of white lightning as well as fruit-flavored versions of ’shine. He lives in a cabin in the woods with Lunar, an orphaned wolf he’s raised from a pup. For purposes of his Magic Moonshine brand, he promotes a ‘bad boy’ image and reminds people he’s the grandson of a notorious moonshiner. However, he has an MBA and is an accomplished businessman.

Paint’s also a charming flirt and playboy, who’s never been tempted to limit himself to one woman until he meets Brie Hooker. Paint’s best friend since kindergarten is Andy Green, a veterinarian, who is also interested in Brie. Not long after meeting Brie, the boys start a good-natured competition for her affections. But the more time Paint spends with Brie the more enamored he is.  He seriously wants to win the girl.  



INTERVIEW WITH LINDA LOVELY’S “PAINT” PAYNTER


Paint, how did you first meet Linda?

She stopped by my legal moonshine store in Upstate South Carolina. Like a lot of folks, she couldn’t resist checking to see if we really kept goats on the roof of a retail store. The goats offered a logical common denominator between the moonshine owner and the goat dairy where Brie Hooker would soon come to live. Of course, I’m much more interesting—and sexier—than any actual moonshiners Linda Lovely might have met.

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
My guess is that I share some traits with the man the author married four decades ago. I can make her laugh and she seems to think I’m sexy. She also likes that I don’t fit neatly into any stereotypes.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
My favorite scene in Picked Off is when I take Brie for a drink at a B&B to do some undercover sleuthing.

Did you have a hard time convincing Linda to write any particular scenes for you?
No. I just have to keep reminding her that I deserve equal time with Andy Green, my best friend and rival for Brie’s affections. Actually, I don’t understand why Linda doesn’t see that I’m the best match for Brie. In just a few pages she could make us a couple.

What do you like to do when Linda's not writing about you?
I like to fish, hunt, and waterski.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
I’d be the one who escorts Brie into the forest on a drone-spy mission. That way she’d fall on top of me when she tumbles over a log.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I like to spend time with most of them. Have a great time ribbing Andy, Aunt Eva, and Mollye. I’ve known Andy and Mollye as long as I can remember and we know each other’s secrets.

Do have any secret aspirations that Linda doesn’t know about?
She recently discovered that I’m planning to expand my business to include fine whiskies and plan to open an outlet in the South Carolina Lowcountry. If she doesn’t have Brie fall for me soon it could complicate our relationship.

If you had a free day what would you do?


Well, my preference would require a little cooperation from Brie.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?
A young George Clooney.

Describe the town where you live.
I don’t actually live in the Town of Ardon. My place is out in the country. I love the woods and nature. Much of Ardon County is rural. But that’s changing fast. Our county butts up against fast-growing areas of Pickens and Greenville Counties, which means there’s a big development push into our undeveloped areas. Lake Sisel has become a big draw for wealthy retirees who like our climate and scenery. Of course a lot of the locals don’t like the newcomers. Okay some of them actually hate the new arrivals, especially if they’re rich and from the North. I say people are people, no matter their accent or where they were raised.

Will you encourage Linda to write a sequel?
She’s already working on the third book in this series, which is due out in the first quarter of 2019.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail. Picked Off is the second humorous installment in her new Brie Hooker Mystery series. An active member of Sisters in Crime, Lovely served as her local chapter’s president for five years. She also belongs to International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Linda:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest  | Amazon

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble




Saturday, May 26, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: CHARLIE DONLEA




ABOUT THE BOOK

From acclaimed author Charlie Donlea comes a twisting, impossible-to-put-down novel of suspense in which a filmmaker helps clear a woman convicted of murder—only to find she may be a puppet in a sinister game.



The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence. 

As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong. 

Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life.


BOOK DETAILS

Book title: Don’t Believe It

Author: Charlie Donlea

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: Kensington Publishing (May 29, 2018)

Print length: 340 pages


On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours 








INTERVIEW WITH CHARLIE DONLEA


Charlie, what’s the story behind the title of your book?

My editor and I have created a little theme of fighting over the titles of my books. We went back and forth on my first novel, and he finally won the battle with the title Summit Lake. Another war ensued over the title of my second book. He won again, with The Girl Who Was Taken. I grew to love each title, but was prepared to dig in my heels for the fight over what to call my third book. But just as I started brainstorming title ideas, my editor sent me an email. “What do you think of Don’t Believe It?” he asked.

Damn, I thought. That’s good! It captures perfectly the did-she-or-didn’t-she question that runs through the entire story.

So, we went with it. No fights. No arguing.  

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
That formal education is important, but does not have to dictate what you do or where you go in life. 


What makes you nervous?
My writing deadlines.


What makes you happy?
Beating my writing deadline.

What makes you excited?
Writing the first sentence of my next novel.

How did you meet your wife? Was it love at first sight?
We met in college. Yes, it was love at first sight for me. For her? She didn’t even notice me.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Books aren’t written. They’re rewritten.” —Michael Crichton 

What’s your favorite line from a book?
“Have you ever made love on the beach?” –Mitch McDeere’s wife asks him this in the closing scenes of The Firm. Mitch scrambles to say no, but of course he has. The line is a great reminder of how much The Firm actually changed him despite his efforts to fight against everything it represented.
The Firm is my all-time favorite suspense novel.

What would your main character say about you?
“He’s a real son of a bitch.”

How did you create the plot for this book?
I’m a huge fan of True Crime. From Serial to Making a Murderer, I’m an addict who can’t stop listening to podcasts and binge watching documentaries. So I came up with the idea of a protagonist who is true crime documentarian looking into a gruesome murder from ten years ago. She ends up producing a television series that becomes the most watched documentary in history. The only problem is that what she ultimately uncovers about the decade-old crime is not exactly what she, or her network, planned on. 

One of your characters has just found out you’re about to kill him off. She decides to beat you to the punch. How would you die?
She’d give me have a heart attack after a computer glitch causes me to lose my 500-page, nearly finished manuscript the day before my deadline.

Who are your favorite authors?
John Grisham, Nelson DeMille, Daniel Silva, Gillian Flynn, Denise Lehane, Mary Kubica and Carl Hiaasen.


What book are you currently reading and in what format?
The Sandman by Lars Kepler, e-book.

Do you have a routine for writing?
1. I’m an early morning writer. Four or five AM. I hate writing in the afternoon, and only when I’m way behind do I ever write at night.
2. A thousand words a day keeps your editor at bay.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
“I read your book in one sitting.”

At first, when I heard that someone read my book in a day or two I’d think: That’s a year of my life that you just breezed through in a few hours. But now I love hearing about a reader cruising through one of my books. It’s means they couldn’t put it down.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
A reader posted a review that said one of my books wasn’t worth the fifteen-cent late fee the library charged her after she kept it too long.

I loved the jab so much that I included it in a discussion on Mean Book Reviews that I did with Mary Kubica during a book signing. Look it up on YouTube. 






OTHER BOOKS BY CHARLIE DONLEA

Summit Lake
The Girl Who Was Taken






ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Charlie Donlea is the USA TODAY and International bestselling author of Summit Lake, The Girl Who Was Taken and Don't Believe It. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two young children, where he is busy writing his next novel.

Connect with Charlie: 

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble












Friday, May 25, 2018

FEATURED CHARACTER: MEG MACY’S SASHA SILVERMAN




ABOUT THE BOOK

As autumn air settles into the quaint small town of Silver Hollow, there’s nothing more popular than Sasha’s teddy bears—and murder in cold blood . . . 
 


Silver Bear Shop and Factory manager Sasha Silverman is cozying up to the fall season by hosting Silver Hollow’s Cranbeary Tea Party, the opening event of the village’s Oktobear Fest—a too-cute celebration themed around teddy bears. She barely has a moment to agonize over the return of her former high school rival, Holly Parker, whose new toy and bookstore in town could spell big trouble for the Silver Bear Shop and her cousin’s small bookstore . . .
 


But when Sasha discovers Holly’s shop assistant dead with a knife plunged in her body, the unpleasant woman suddenly looks like a real backstabber. So does Sasha’s ex-husband, rumored to have rekindled the fiery extramarital affair he once had with the victim. Now, before a gruesome homicide case takes the fun out of both the Fest and her personal life, Sasha must identify the true culprit from a daunting suspect list—or risk becoming as lifeless as one of her stuffed bears . . .
 




Book Details

Title: Bear Witness to Murder

Author: Meg Macy

Character’s full name: Sasha Silverman

Genre: cozy mystery

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours









INTERVIEW WITH MEG MACY’S SASHA SILVERMAN


Sasha, how did you first meet Meg?
Meg chose the teddy bear shop before me, believe it or not. First I was a widow and then I became a divorcee instead. Given my ex-husband’s wackiness, I rather wish she’d stuck with widowhood. I think she named me Kit at first, and then Julie, but I prefer Sasha – a nickname for “Alexandra Victoria”. I adore my dad and sister. Mom’s another story.

What do you think of Meg?
I can’t complain too much, because Meg did come up with a neat guy for me in book 2, Bear Witness to Murder. But I’m the one in the hot seat, stumbling over dead bodies and getting labeled as a “corpse magnet.” Here’s hoping someone else finds the next one in book 3, Have Yourself A Beary Little Murder.

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
I’m pretty lucky, living with family and friends in a small town, selling shamelessly adorable teddy bears – I love seeing kids hugging a new toy! – and planning bear-themed events for Silver Hollow’s seasonal celebrations.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
That’s tough – I loved all the fun at the village’s annual teddy bear picnic in book 1, and seeing all the painted fiberglass statues in the Parade of Bears in book 2. I guess my favorite, though, was seeing the kids having a blast with their teddy bears at the Cranbeary Tea Party.

Did you have a hard time convincing Meg to write any particular scenes for you?
Nope, Meg includes me in everything. I would rather convince her to exclude me from finding the next dead body. (wink)

What do you like to do when Meg's not writing about you?
I love to relax with a bowl of popcorn and a classic movie like My Fair Lady, or any Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, or Astaire/Rogers films. But I want to try my hand at painting – not the walls, though. My sister Maddie is an artist, and I’m going to convince her to host a “paint” party in book 3. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Absolutely. If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Um . . . finding the body. That was awful, on a foggy morning, and my poor teddy bear dog led me right to her. (shiver) Way too soon after finding our company’s sales rep’s in our shop’s factory – stuffed to death! Murder’s a nasty business.

I'll say! Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I love my sister Maddie – she’s so creative and fun, pixie-petite and adorable. I’m lucky to have two wonderful besties, Mary Kate and Elle, and we are so needing a Guilty Pleasures Gossip Club meeting again. We’ve all been swamped, and I haven’t had a chance to share my news about Jay Kirby.

Do have any secret aspirations that Meg doesn’t know about?
I’m not about to spill. Not yet! That’s what secrets are for . . .

If you had a free day, what would you do?
Go to Mackinac Island! But that would take a whole weekend. For a day off, I’d take my dog Rosie to the local dog park. Or pack a picnic basket, a book to read, plus my gravity chair, escape to Hudson Mills Metropark and find a remote spot with a shade tree, and chill away from everything.


What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
They’d find me open and friendly, easy-going. If they knew me for a while longer, they’d know I was reliable and willing to drop everything to help in a fix.



What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?
Finding my ex in our bed with one of our bridesmaids, on New Year’s Eve, a mere nine months after our wedding day. Flynn Hanson cheated regularly, but I’d been blind to it until that fateful day. Ugh. He thinks he’s God’s gift to women. I wish I could say I’ve learned to be less trusting, but nope. Must be a built-in flaw.



Tell us about your best friends.
My besties are the best! Mary Kate Thompson is a first class baker at Fresh Grounds, the coffee shop she and her husband manage. She has an adorable baby, too. Elle Cooper is married to my first cousin, and they own The Cat’s Cradle, a children’s bookstore. Elle has two adorable daughters. How do they manage careers and kids? I’m jealous! I want a family, but need to find a decent, honest guy I can trust first.



What are you most afraid of?
Not having a child – I love kids, and my biological clock is ticking away. I really want to pass on the family business and keep it running for future kids and families, but if a son or daughter had other plans. . . Sigh. But so far, Maddie and I haven’t had much luck in the love/marriage game.



What’s the best trait Meg has given you?
I’d have to say my independence, despite being close with family.
What’s the worst?
My worst, being vulnerable and way too trusting.



What do you like best about Jay Kirby?
I have to admit I was intrigued by Jay Kirby when he showed up at the end of Bearly Departed with our new mailbox. Hand-carved, a mother bear and two cubs, unique and stunning! I vaguely remembered him from woodshop class back in high school, which I dropped after a month. He remembered me, though! Hmm. Or was it my banged-up thumb? We’re so busy, I hope we have time to get to know each other more. We’ll see.

What’s Meg’s worst habit?
Too much time on Facebook with friends! (LOL)



How do you feel about your life right now? Is there anything you would like to change?
I love my life, my family, my friends. But I really wish some woman would marry Flynn Hanson, my ex, and take him out of state. Or out of the country.

What do you like best about Meg's writing style?
I love all the details – especially the outfits, hats, and designer purses she lets me wear. But my sister Maddie always looks more stylish. Hmm.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?
If it can’t be Audrey Hepburn, then I guess Emily Wickersham of NCIS.

Describe the town where you live.
Silver Hollow – a quaint, Southeastern Michigan town where most of the streets are named for Teddy Roosevelt’s family, everyone knows everyone else’s business.

What's an average day in your life like?
I roll out of bed, yawning like crazy, take a shower, dry my hair or gather it in a wet ponytail, get dressed for work – black jeans and one of our silver logo tee shirts – and then drag my lazy pooch outside. Rosie’s not a morning dog! Breakfast is coffee, a bagel with peanut butter, or a muffin from Fresh Grounds, maybe string cheese or a hard-boiled egg. Shop opens at ten, and I’m busy until the lunch hour when I take Rosie for a walk to the Courthouse square. I usually take along a sandwich and a bottle of water. Then it’s back to work, sometimes leading a tour of the factory and shop, and then dinner with my sister, mom, dad, aunt and uncle – unless they’re all busy doing something else! Maddie does our shop’s social media and graphics, and she’s swamped with painting her statue for the Parade of Bears. I love going for a bike ride after work, or a swim at the Y, or just watching my favorite TV shows like NCIS or a Brit series on Netflix. That’s a typical day, but only if there’s not something crazy going on that puts sleuthing on the agenda.

What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?
There aren’t any other cozy mysteries with someone who manages their family’s teddy bear shop and factory!

If you could be “adopted” by another writer, who would you choose?
Sharon Farrow of the Berry Basket mysteries. I love berries of all kinds, and the small town of Oriole Point sounds wonderful. I love the Lake Michigan coast.

Will you encourage Meg to write a sequel?
I believe Meg is working on book 3 now – set at Christmastime. My favorite season!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close ​enough ​to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter – the area she chose for the setting of her Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear cozy mysteries for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series; two​ books, Wouldn't It Be Deadly and Get Me to the Grave On Time​ ​were​ Agatha Award finalists​ for Best Historical​. Meg's first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America.


Connect with Meg:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble






Wednesday, May 23, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: NANCI RATHBUN



ABOUT THE BOOK

A missing husband. A suspicious obituary. She’s not the only one hunting down a dead man’s footsteps.

As a divorcee, Angelina Bonaparte knows firsthand the lengths some men will go to escape responsibility. When a worried mother wants the private investigator to track down her missing husband, she’s eager to bring the deadbeat dad to justice. But even after she discovers the man’s obituary, she refuses to believe it until she sees the body. Tracking down the nurse who last saw him alive could be the missing puzzle piece to her client's broken family.

But as she digs deeper, she realizes there’s something darker at play than dodging child support payments. And she may not be the only one hunting the man down. To close the case and reunite her client's family, she must track down the missing husband without falling prey to the same ruthless hunter.

Honor Kills is the third book in the captivating Angelina Bonaparte Mysteries series. If you like bold female detectives, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and unexpected twists, then you’ll love Nanci Rathbun’s gripping novel.





Book Details

Title: Honor Kills

Author: Nanci Rathbun

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Series: Angelina Bonaparte Mysteries, book 3

Publisher: Dark Chocolate Press LLC (May 1, 2018)

Page count: 284

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours








INTERVIEW WITH NANCI RATHBUN


Nanci, tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
Honor Kills is the third book in the Angelina Bonaparte Mysteries series. It can be read as a standalone without having read the first two. That’s not just my opinion–reviewers have commented to that effect.

Where did you grow up?
I’m an Army brat, so I grew up all over the US and the world. My sister and I were born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but my dad’s posting took us on an overseas trip to Germany. I can’t remember that time, but my mom told me that I learned to speak English with a German accent.

From there, we moved to Orleans, France, where we lived from the time I was six until I turned ten. I have fond memories of French bread and can still sing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, in French. That’s about the extent of what I remember of learning the language, though.

We returned to the States from there, to an assignment at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. That was a fairly upper-class area, and I definitely felt like an outsider, since living on a Sergeant First Class’s income didn’t quite measure up to my classmates standards.

After eighteen months, we went to Seoul, Korea. Unfortunately, we were pretty isolated from Korean culture and life while stationed in there. I got little chance to see how the life or learn the language there.

Then my mom, my sister, and I moved back to Milwaukee to care for my grandfather, who died a couple of years later. Meanwhile, my dad developed severe heart disease and retired from the Service. My wandering youthful days ended in Milwaukee, where Dad joined us after mustering out.

What’s your favorite memory?
The memories I’m making with my granddaughters are the most precious to me. Holding each girl in my arms, watching them take their first steps, and now hearing them shout ‘Nana’ when I come in the door are sweet, indeed.


If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
Books. A meal with my sister. An occasional pedi. Movies with my granddaughters.


What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
That you don’t need to be perfect. Sometimes, just showing up and giving your best is all that’s needed.

What do you love about where you live?
Northern Colorado has so much natural beauty, that outdoor life is lived to its fullest here. I especially appreciate the arts communities in Fort Collins and Loveland, with their abundance of opportunities for writers to connect. And I love the seasons here. Winters are much kinder than in Wisconsin!



What is the most daring thing you've done?
Taking early retirement from a very well-paying but stressful IT job to pursue ministry and writing.


What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
That I should force myself out of my introvert shell a little and that others weren’t really as focused on me and my failings as I thought.

What makes you bored?
Having nothing to engage my mind. I make it a point to have an ebook and a print book on hand whenever I go out.


What is your most embarrassing moment?
My first job after high school was as a payroll clerk for the local phone company. At lunch on my first day, I tipped a bowl of chili all over myself in the cafeteria line. Mortified!


If someone gave you $5,000 and said you must solve a problem, what would you do with the money?
I’d contribute to clean water initiatives in Africa.



What makes you nervous?
Medical checkups.


What makes you happy?
My family.

What makes you scared?
School shootings, especially now that my older two granddaughters are in grade school.

What makes you excited?
Reading a review by someone who loves my book.

What are your most cherished mementoes?
Because we moved so much in my childhood, my mom kept few mementoes. I love the photographs I have from those years and from my parents’ youths.

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

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
I’d have to vote for lonely genius, since I can’t imagine being an idiot, and because my introverted self can deal with solitude and not feel lonely.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde



What’s your favorite line from a book?
Gandalf to Frodo: “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you." – The Fellowship of the Ring
Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
The main Milwaukee Public Library stands on Wisconsin Avenue, with two huge stone lions guarding well-worn steps. Inside, the marble floors and staircases give it a stately, formal feel. As a girl in late grade school, it was my first taste of the wonders of a large, well-organized library. I spent many a Saturday browsing the stacks and using the card catalog–yes, I’m that old! I found some favorite writers there: Elizabeth Peters and her neighbor on the shelf, Ellis Peters, and Ngaio Marsh, to name a few. It was a wonderland to me.

What are you working on now?
I’m starting work on the fourth Angelina Bonaparte Mystery, with a working title of Art Kills.


EXCERPT FROM HONOR KILLS


One

PI Angie and her intern, Bobbie Russell, need to access information at the nursing facility where Hank Wagner died. They’re undercover outside, waiting for the on-duty aide to move away from the entry area.

Padua Manor’s parking area held a beat-up Chevy Silverado. I pointed and whispered, “One person on duty.” Bobbie acknowledged with a nod.
The Manor’s windows were black, save for one. The bluish-white flickering of a fluorescent tube escaped from between the slats of its partially closed blinds, casting alternating stripes on the patio. I spotted movement inside.
I sat back on my heels, glad that the slats angled slightly downward, allowing me to see into the room. A man wearing scrubs filled a coffee cup and walked over to a brown vinyl sofa. I tugged on Bobbie’s arm and he joined me near the ground.
“We’ll have to wait until he leaves the room.” I spoke in low tones.
Bobbie’s only response was “Crap” as he settled on the cold concrete. The next ninety minutes were an eternity in the bitter January cold. The aide refilled his cup, he took a sandwich from the small fridge and ate it, he plugged coins into a vending machine and devoured a Snickers bar, he flung a magazine to the floor and settled on the couch again, covering his upper body with a coat. He tossed, he turned, he adjusted himself, but he never left the blasted room!
My mind wandered to Wukowski. How did he stand up under frigid surveillance conditions? Or did he have someone less senior take care of the routine work? I doubted it. He valued control far too much.
That led me to consider how Wukowski would view this venture. Of course, what we were about to do was illegal—if we ever got inside, that is. But was it wrong? By my standards, we were searching for the truth in a situation filled with lies. I saw no conflict with my own ethical code, as long as we did nothing to harm an innocent person.
Bobbie tapped my hand and motioned for me to follow him. Staying in the shadows, we slipped to the other side of the apartment building. I started when Bobbie wrapped me in an embrace, but he leaned down and whispered, “We’re lovers, remember?”
“We’re going to be frozen popsicles if that guy doesn’t move. When in blazes does he check the residents?”
“My guess,” Bobbie said, “is right before the morning shift is due. We can’t wait that long, Angie. Our only hope of getting inside is if he leaves the room. We need Augusta.”
The finality of his tone penetrated my cold-induced stupor. “You’re right,” I told him. “Even if one of us creates a diversion, he might not hear it from the breakroom. It’ll have to be Augusta.” Within the shelter of Bobbie’s parka, I pulled up her number in my Contacts list and placed the call.
She answered after three rings. “Terry?” Her voice wavered.
“That’s right,” I said, happy that she remembered to use my pseudonym. “Are you all right? It’s awfully late for you to pick up so quickly.”
“It’s Myrna. She’s having a bad night. I’m in her room. It calms her.”
“Augusta, I need your help for a minute or two. No longer, I promise.”
“I wouldn’t want to leave the Manor. I’m in my nightclothes. Perhaps we can meet tomorrow.”
“It isn’t a meeting that I need tonight. Can you rouse the aide on duty and get him out of the break room? Maybe make him come down the hall to see if Myrna needs medication.”
“She probably does, poor thing, but the doctor refuses to prescribe. Benadryl is all they give her, to make her sleepy. I can ask for that.”
“Would you, please?”
“Of course. Can you tell me why?”
“Not now, but I will, I promise. As soon as I can. Meanwhile, the less you know, the less involved you’ll be.”
“You just leave it to me. I’ll keep him down here for at least five minutes, more if I can.”
“You’re a dear. I’ll call you tomorrow.” If I’m not in jail.
We returned to our observation corner. Within seconds, Augusta steamed into the room, clad in an ankle-length, deep purple, quilted robe and matching quilted slippers. We watched as she stood, hands on hips, then finger pointing out the door, then hand tugging the man’s sleeve as she bent down to chastise him.
Afraid for her safety—she was petite and fragile, one push would send her to the floor—I held my breath until he levered himself up and slowly moved to follow her. As they disappeared from view, Bobbie and I sprinted to the card reader on the outside wall. The battery was more than an inch away when we heard a satisfying click and the lock disengaged.



OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:



Truth Kills
– Angelina Bonaparte Mysteries #1
Amazon Kindle  |  Amazon print  |  Audible audiobook
Cash Kills – Angelina Bonaparte Mysteries #2
Amazon Kindle  |  Amazon print  |  Audible audiobook







ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nanci Rathbun is a lifelong reader of mysteries – historical, contemporary, futuristic, paranormal, hard-boiled, cozy … you can find them all on her bookshelves. She brings logic and planning to her writing from a background as an IT project manager, and attention to characters and dialog from her second career as a Congregationalist minister. 

Her first Angelina Bonaparte mystery, Truth Kills, was published in 2013. Cash Kills is the second book in the series and was published in November of 2014. Both novels are available in paperback and ebook formats, and fans of audiobooks can find Truth Kills on Audible.com. Cash Kills was released there in April. The third Angie novel, Honor Kills, released on May 1, 2018. Readers can enjoy the first chapters of all three books on her website. 

Nanci is a longtime Wisconsin resident who now makes her home in Colorado, with her Maltipoo, Teeny. No matter where she lives, she will always be a Green Bay Packers fan.



Connect with Nanci:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  





Monday, May 21, 2018

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH ERIN JOHNSON'S HORACE



ABOUT THE BOOK

The big day has finally arrived, and Imogen, Iggy and the bakers head to the Fire Kingdom for Hank and Shaday’s wedding. Imogen is totally fine with it—or so she keeps telling herself.

Even the murder of a famous wedding guest can’t stop the impending nuptials. So when Imogen’s repressed feelings magically ruin her baking and she’s banned from the kitchen, she sets herself to finding the killer.

Her search leads her through the desert kingdom’s bustling marketplaces and the maze-like raid, to discover underground movements, shady characters, and more secrets about the people around her than she thought possible. Could the killer be the clever journalist or the rebellious palace maid? Perhaps it’s a member of the royal family.

With the Fire Kingdom’s people churning for change, a mysterious artifact missing from the museum, and a dastardly plot brewing, Imogen begins to feel the heat. When Horace contacts her and makes her a tempting offer, she struggles to choose between him and her new friends.

Imogen’s choice will have enormous consequences over a deadly plot that threatens the people she loves. Will she stop a killer and find a happy ending in the process? Or will an ancient legend come to life and destroy them all?


BOOK DETAILS

Title: Full Moons, Dunes & Macaroons

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: A Cozy Witch Spells & Caramels Mystery, book #5

Publisher: Self Published

Print Length: 248 pages







ABOUT HORACE

Horace is the leader of the Badlands Army and an antagonist who creates lots of issues for Imogen and her friends. With a troubled past and lots of secrets, he tiptoes the line between good and evil.



INTERVIEW WITH ERIN JOHNSON'S HORACE


What do you like to do when Erin isn't writing about you?
Wouldn’t you like to know? I go wherever I want to, undetected through the kingdoms with my powers of disguise. I spend a good amount of time in the mysterious Badlands, home of the Badlands Army, though I have no home myself.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
I don’t rest. And I won’t rest until the whole truth is brought to life. Getting revenge for my parents’ deaths and what happened to me is my life’s mission, and it consumes my every waking moment. I don’t have time for vacations.



Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I think Imogen needs to wise up to how mediocre her friends are. They’re part of the system I’m trying to take down. I think Imogen has potential—I’m trying to show her the truth, so that she’ll join me of her own free will.

What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
People seem to find me either quite attractive or quite off-putting. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. I’d like to think that people come to respect me, though I can’t think of a single person who I’d say truly knows me.

What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?
After I lost my entire family as a boy, I was forced to be a child soldier in a roaming gang. I learned to trust no one and to be strong.

Tell us about your best friend.


I have no friends, only followers.


What are you most afraid of?
Failing to get my revenge on the man who owes me everything.

What’s Erin’s worst habit?

She wastes an inordinate amount of time on her furry companions. She provides her dogs food, housing, attention…and in return for what? Hair? Drool? They’re not even magical dogs.

How do you feel about your life right now?

I feel that I can almost taste my revenge. I’m pleased…except, I wish Imogen could understand me better.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?
Cillian Murphy.

Will you encourage Erin to write another book in the Cozy Witch Spells & Caramels mystery series?
Absolutely. I have more work to do.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Connect with Erin:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Buy the book:
Amazon








COZY WITCH SPELLS & CARAMELS MYSTERIES BY ERIN JOHNSON




Saturday, May 19, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: KATHLEEN VALENTI




ABOUT THE BOOK

Former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is losing sleep. Constantine’s aunt is a multitasking sleepwalker who, in addition to wandering her stately home, prepares meals, folds laundry and, one winter night, stumbles across her husband with his throat slit. 

It’s a rude and gruesome awakening that’s upsetting to Aunt Polly. And interesting to the police. 

Maggie and Constantine work to uncover who killed the cosmetic surgery mogul and why. As they dig into the lives of those who knew him best, they discover that the truth is only skin deep and doctoring perception is a treatment with deadly side effects. 

A gripping page-turner with more twists than a surgeon’s suture, 39 Winks is a tale of lies, betrayals and greed that will keep you up at night. And looking over your shoulder.



BOOK DETAILS

Title: 39 Winks

Author: Kathleen Valenti

Genre: Medical Mystery/Thriller

Series: Maggie O'Malley Mystery, book #2

Publisher: Henery Press (May 22, 2018)

Print Length: 298 Pages
On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours







LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH KATHLEEN VALENTI


Things you need in order to write:
To write, I need a steady supply of coffee and licorice, not necessarily in that order. Peace and quiet also help, but those are in short supply when my children are around.
Things that hamper your writing:

For me, distractions are public enemy number one. Whether it’s Facebook, losing myself in another author’s book or going down the rabbit hole of research, distractions seem to lurk around every corner. They’re like Styrofoam. No matter how hard you try to get rid of them, they’re always there. 


Things you love about writing:
Creating the kinds of stories I love to read.
Things you hate about writing:
Deadlines! Like vegetables, they are a necessary evil.

Things you love about where you live:
I live in one of the most beautiful, amazing places on earth. (Of course, I could be a little biased.) It’s in a rain shadow at the foot of sleeping volcanoes and has so many recreational opportunities that it’s become one of the West’s favorite places to play.
Things that make you want to move:
All of these wonderful attributes have created growing pains for our area. Whether it’s burgeoning traffic or shrinking housing options, these changes can impact quality of life. Even paradise isn’t perfect.



Favorite foods:
Do wine and coffee count as foods? What if I freeze them? Seriously, though, other than my favorite diuretic beverages, I’m a big fan of pizza, chips, and the kind of candy kids tend to favor. (Think FunDip, Laffy Taffy, etc.). Other than my beverage choices, I have the palate of a seven year-old.
Things that make you want to throw up: 
I refuse beets, lima beans, and Brussels sprouts. Yes, yes, you probably have a special way to prepare them that I’ll just love. I’ll have to take your word for it.

Favorite music or song:
I’m a huge Led Zeppelin fan. In fact, before I was an author many of my social media handles were Led Zeppelin homages, making them now very embarrassing.
Music that make your ears bleed:
I’m not wild about country music. No disrespect to the genre. Just not my thing. Or thang, maybe.

Favorite smell:
I love the smell of lavender.
Something that makes you hold your nose:
Looking at roses: delightful. Smelling them? Not so much—at least for me. I find them to be too sweet and cloying.


Something you’re really good at:
Besides writing? (Shameless plug.) I’m a darn good flutist (although a bit rusty) and armchair psychologist. I can also hold my breath for a really long time.
Something you’re really bad at:
Parallel parking. Seriously. I have literally driven away in shame in order to find an alternative to my embarrassing 14-point parking maneuvers. 



Something you wish you could do:
I wish I could play the guitar.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:
I wish I hadn’t learned to proofread. I automatically correct the grammar on reader boards, menus and pamphlets.

Things you’d walk a mile for:
I’d walk many a mile for a great book.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
Conflict sends me running for the door.


Things you always put in your books:
My books always have humor. Sometimes it’s witty repartee. Sometimes it’s the gallows variety. 

Things you never put in your books:

I don’t really have sexy-time stuff in my books.


Things to say to an author:

“I love your books!” Or “How cool that you write!”


Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:

“You wrote a book? What a cute hobby!”


Favorite things to do:

I love to hang out with my family and friends, read and do Jazzercise. (Not even kidding.)


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

I find public speaking very painful, which is inconvenient since I now do a lot of author events. Fortunately, people are awesome and make me feel right at home. Which means I leave the gasoline pants at home.

Most embarrassing moment:

How to choose? I have so many. A memorable one involves sheerer-than-I-realized exercise leggings, white granny panties and being asked to demonstrate downward dog for a yoga class. I’m still mentally scarred. 


Proudest moment:

Having my debut novel, Protocol, nominated for an Agatha and a Lefty was probably my proudest moment.

Best thing you’ve ever done:

Having children is by far the best thing I’ve ever done.
Biggest mistake:

This isn’t the biggest mistake, but a memorable one featured a lunchtime makeover in which the artist “played up” my features by overdrawing them, after which I had to go to a client meeting.


Most daring thing you’ve ever done:
I’ve done some shipwreck scuba dives, which I found pretty daring.


Something you chickened out from doing:

I never finished working toward my pilot’s license.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley mystery series. The series’ first book, Agatha- and Lefty-nominated Protocol, introduces us to Maggie, a pharmaceutical researcher with a new job, a used phone, and a deadly problem. The series’ second book, 39 Winks, releases May 22. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running.

Connect with Kathleen:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook Twitter  |  Goodreads 

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




Other books by Kathleen Valenti:

Protocol


Thursday, May 17, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: SHAWN POLLOCK



ABOUT THE BOOK

"We could go to Elbe River." Kohler didn't have to say the rest. After a baleful stare, the captain did it for him. "You want to surrender to the Americans." Kohler gulped. In 1945, World War II is ending but not in favor of Germany. Hans Kohler is a young Mormon German who knows more about farming than being a soldier. A worn copy of the Book of Mormon is the only thing that brings him comfort. Captain Christoph Meier seems to be the perfect German soldier. His pristine Aryan features and strong family ties to the Nazi Party should have placed him at a far better post than this unit. Instead, he's leading broken veterans and inexperienced greenies. When the Russians attack their unit, it leaves Meier and Kohler trapped behind enemy lines. To get past snipers, the Nazi SS, and the Russian Army, they need to use all of their skills, including believing that God wants them to survive.





BOOK DETAILS


Title: The Road to Freedom

Author: Shawn Pollock

Genre: Historical/LDS fiction

Publisher: Cedar Fort (December 12, 2017)

Page count: 224









INTERVIEW WITH SHAWN POLLOCK

Shawn, where did you grow up?

I grew up in Cache Valley, in northern Utah.



What do you love about where you live now?

We have our pick of schools and music teachers for our kids, and tons of options for shopping (malls, Walmart, Target, Costco, Winco, Smith's, Rancho Market, Trader Joe's, Sprouts, lots of ethnic markets), hospitals, and pretty much anything we need within a few minutes of us.



Have you been in any natural disasters?

I don't think they qualify as disasters, but I've been in a lot of earthquakes.

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?

I'd keep myself stocked in soda and download lots of songs from iTunes. Either that or save up for a trip to Japan.



What is the most daring thing you've done?
I went to Japan for a year to teach English. It's not too wild or risky but that's not really my nature anyway.


What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
I shaved a week's worth of whiskers with nothing but cold water before a date (long story, but that was all I had available at the time). She was not the one, though, so it was all for nothing in the end.

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
That if you look and act pleasant, you can create a positive association between your presence and good feelings in people. I was more about being true to my sullen teenaged self, which did me no favors.

What’s one thing you wish your younger writer self knew?
The first draft doesn't have to be perfect, or even good. Just get words on page.

What makes you bored?
Going to lunch with coworkers and listening to them talk shop.


What is your most embarrassing moment?
When I worked as a bag boy in a grocery store, I drank a lot of soda one day on a break. Then I approached a customer, opened my mouth to ask, "Paper or plastic?" but all that came out was a massive burp. I was so mortified, I couldn't do anything except walk away laughing.


What choices in life would you like to have a redo on (other than drinking all that soda on a break)?
I'd like to go back to my college days and just relax and enjoy them. I was always so stressed about the dating game and putting my best foot forward socially that it felt more like work than fun.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
I also work as an instructional designer for a software company.

What are your most cherished mementoes?
All the pictures and crafts from my kids.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
I'd like to return to Cache Valley. I would also like to live by the ocean in various places as disparate as Puerto Vallarta or Maine.

How did you create the plot for this book?
My dad came up with the initial scenario. He had mapped it out to a certain point and had me take it over. There were certain plot points I wanted to hit, and I knew how I wanted it to end early on but "pantsed" everything in between. I think that's my favorite part of writing: working your way toward a destination without knowing the way, and constantly surprising yourself with what develops as you go.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
The character of Hans Kohler is loosely based on my grandfather. He wasn't German, but he was a big guy who grew up ranching and working outdoors, and who never had enough to eat during his time in the war.

Is your book based on real events?
It’s a historical novel, so while the main characters don’t participate in any real events, some of their experiences were inspired by real events. I also make reference to several real events in the course of the narrative.

Who are your favorite authors?
Steve Hockensmith is my favorite author. He writes really enjoyable mysteries that don't get into smut or excessive cursing.


What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I’m currently reading Fearless Jones by Walter Mosely, in hardcover.

Do you have a routine for writing?
I try to write between 9:30 and 10:30 every night. It's not my preferred time to write, since by then my brain's batteries are getting low, but the alternative is to get up at 6 AM and I'm not much of a morning person.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I write at the kitchen table because it’s the easiest place to set up the computer I prefer to use. I like to write after the kids go to bed (which is getting later and later).

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
One of my English professors stopped me at the door as I was leaving class and asked me how I learned to write so well. There have been others but that was a pretty good one.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
I've had the word "cliche" pointed at me a couple of times, which wasn't fun, but I couldn't exactly argue with it. I also turned in a chapter of my WIP to my critique group that had a lot of last minute changes that weren't very good and they let me know. These things are there for us to learn from, though, and to keep us grounded. I just tried harder next time around, and things worked out.

Why did you decide to publish with Cedar Fort?
Back in the early 2000's, I attended a League of Utah Writers meeting as a one-off thing, and a rep from Cedar Fort was there. She said they liked new authors, and I kept that in mind.

A few years later, I wrote a novel and sent it to various publishers. Most sent back the standard rejection, but Cedar Fort's letter included some personal feedback that I used when I wrote The Road to Freedom. That made them my first choice when I was ready to submit that novel. I've been happy working with them and feel like things have gone well.

What are you working on now?
I'm working on a novel with the working title Rise Up, My Love. It is a crime story with some elements of romance as well.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Pollock grew up in Cache Valley, Utah, served a mission in Japan, and graduated from Utah State University with degrees in Professional Writing and Instructional Technology. He works as an instructional designer in the software industry. His short story, "Hats," won first place in The New Era magazine's fiction contest. Any time not devoted to work and family goes to cooking, reading about history, and participating in the League of Utah Writers. The Road to Freedom is his first novel.



Connect with Shawn:

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads


Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble