Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Author: Ashley Fontainne

Ashley Fontainne is here with her newest release, Empty Shell, a suspenseful mystery just released on September 29.

About the book:

A pair of pink, silk underwear...

The quiet world of Melody and Jack Dickinson is about to be turned upside down. Twenty years of marriage hangs in the balance when Melody finds out about Jack’s infidelity. The betrayal is made worse when Melody discovers his lover is Serena Rowland, a young woman who works at Melody’s law firm.

A receipt from an overpriced hote...

Harsh words are exchanged before Melody storms off to work, determined to have Serena fired. But when Melody hears Serena was murdered over the weekend, everything changes. Serena’s body is found beaten and strangled with a pair of pink, silk panties, in the same hotel that Jack had admitted staying at over the weekend. Within seconds of hearing the news, Melody’s life spins out of control when Jack calls in a panic. The police are at their home to arrest him for Serena’s murder.

Pictures of a young woman’s scantily clad torso on a cell phone...

Was she married to a monster? One who beat and strangled the young woman to death, or was Jack set up? Did Melody’s own dark secret, hidden inside her heart for years, have something to do with the nightmare they suddenly find themselves in?

Melody and Jack are about to discover that one fateful mistake will destroy many.

Other books by Ashley Fontainne:

The Lie
Number Seventy-Five
Eviscerating the Snake trilogy:
Accountable to None (Book One)
Zero Balance (Book Two)
Adjusting Journal Entries (Book Three)

Interview with Ashley Fontainne:

Ashley, what’s the story behind the title Empty Shell
The main character, Melody Dickinson, experiences a series of tragic events that leave her mentally broken, her world turned upside down, and her heart and soul empty. Though the world sees her as a whole, complete person, Melody feels hollow, like an empty shell.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes. I still work a full-time job, though writing is my passion.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
“But the biggest catalyst of all was grief. It changed people. The overwhelming loss of a loved one caused all of us to do things completely against our personalities. Our internal moral compasses had been skewed by a heavy cloud of sorrow.”

How do you get to know your characters?
Oh, they take over my mind until I give in to their pleadings and unleash their stories on the page!

I hear you! Are you like any of your characters?
I have a few similarities with Melody. We both love to drive fast cars, adore history, classic rock, and have a strong Christian faith.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?
When I am older, I believe I will be like Jerlene Preston. An outspoken, aging southern belle who speaks her mind but still has a heart of gold.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
In Chapter 18, Melody recalls her first experience with death when, at the age of six, her grandmother dies. After the funeral, her mother explains the passing of a loved one in a very sweet, loving way using the life of a butterfly. After her mother shows Melody the empty chrysalis, she tells her: “So, don’t fret for what was inside the empty shell, darlin’ Melody. Rejoice in the glory of the new life and new beginnings that emerged from it.”

You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?
Yes, I did and I picked actress Sara Morsey. She narrated my trilogy, and I love her voice! The audio version of Empty Shell will be available shortly, and I can’t wait to hear Sara bring her sweet, southern accent to the characters!

Where’s home for you?
I live in a small town in Arkansas with my husband. Between us, we have 4 children (all adults) and three pets, so my life is full!

If you could only keep one book, what would it be?
The Bible.

Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?

What would your dream office look like?
A quiet room with a comfortable desk and computer chair, an enormous monitor, and a view of the ocean. Oh, and a Keurig fully stocked!

That sounds perfect! What’s your favorite candy bar? And don’t tell me you don’t have one!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Tahiti. Hands down!

What are you working on now?
A paranormal thriller entitled Growl. It is finished and in the editing stages. Here is the opening scene:

My name is Sheryl Ilene Newcomb. And yes, my initials are S.I.N. The initials were a funny little piece of whimsical humor my glam-eighties parents found amusing when I came into this world. Mom and Dad were just two high school sweethearts who adored their guns, their beer and their self-appointed titles of King and Queen of the Rebellious Rednecks. The day I was born, they didn’t think anyone in the town would have the mental acuity to put two and two together and discover their little inside joke. Shame on the pathetic excuses who called themselves teachers in this dreary city because Mom and Dad had been right: no one caught on to their little attempt at humor.

That is, until it turned out to be true. Looking back with wiser eyes now, my family and I came to the conclusion that the events that led up to my transformation started one night when I was around nine years old. But the day we realized there was a problem, and no turning back, was a week before I started my senior year at Junction City High. The day the fangs and claws appeared and the monster inside of me emerged. That day, my friends Barbara Ransford and Tami Roger’s bodies were found ripped to pieces, their mutilated corpses near a pile of brush down by Caney Creek.

And that day, I changed, forever. Because evil woke up and began to growl, its ominous rumblings heard by every living thing in Locasia County, Mississippi.

Book Trailer

About the author:

Award-winning and International bestselling author Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of mostly the classics. Ashley became a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters that lurk within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley's love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go when they seek personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated upon them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. For once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answered that question: far and wide.

Her short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five, touches upon the sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards contest and is currently in production for a feature film (

Her latest novel, a paranormal thriller entitled The Lie, won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense.

Look for the suspenseful mystery Empty Shell, in the Fall of 2014.

Ashley also hosts The WriteStuff, a popular BlogTalk Radio show, each Friday night at 10 p.m. CST.

Connect with Ashley:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |

Buy the book:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Author: Jessica Ashley Dafoe

Jessica Ashley Dafoe is on tour with CLP Blog Tours and she's here today with a guest post and an excerpt from her novel, The Tantalizing Tale of a Bitter Sweetheart. Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway for a $35 Amazon gift card at the end of the post.

About the book:

Successful, lucky in love, taking the world by storm?.....not quite. Portia Delaney is down on her luck, disgruntled in a dead end, mind- numbing career with little prospects and is not even close to finding a stimulating romance to take her mind off her lack-luster situation. Her defeatist attitude and unmistakable idiosyncrasies don’t help much either. 

But with rock bottom comes a choice, lie down and enjoy the cold and barren ground beneath, or climb that ladder of success to the top. Portia finally sets out to do just that. With a fantastic group of friends and a bit of fateful circumstance on her side, she begins her trek up and out of the despair filled trenches. But Portia soon finds out that with success, often comes hardships and unwelcome competition.

Guest Post 

by Jessica Ashley Dafoe

Leading Ladies of Inspiration

It is interesting that after taking a moment to reflect about all of the novels I have read over the years, and to select from those my most favourite of all, those that stand out among the others are of course novels which focus on a somewhat lost and inadvertently helpless, even seemingly hopeless, female heroine.

My love for Jane Austen and her romantically charged tales, which are plotted around the stringent rules in regards to class structure and expected decorum of her day, has been strong and true since the tender age of 14 when I picked up Pride and Prejudice for the first time. It most certainly was not the last time I would flip through its pages. I have read that novel countless times and with each read through it feels as though it's my first perusal. There is a magic behind Austen's writing.

It seems as though with each read the true agony I imagine to have been felt by Elizabeth Bennet during her passionate and heated exchanges with Mr. Darcy is more and more identifiable. Her yearning for him, so muddled by her confusion and misinterpretation of his intentions, leaves a young woman like myself feeling just as gutted and despairing as the adrift heroine seems to feel. The eloquent language and incredibly developed characters left me infatuated with the genius behind the work. I will forever view Austen as an icon to English literature. I must say, as a side note, that when I lived in London, England for a year, I fell head over heels for the great (x many) grandnephew of the very legend herself. Romance is in the Austen line, and this was proven to be the case as our relationship continued through the entirety of my time there. I suppose I may have been starry eyed from the get-go after being made aware of his connection to my icon.

The Brontes have also made a tremendous impact on my literary experience. Out of the three it is Charlotte's Jane Eyre which I esteem above the others. In Grade 12 English class I was asked to complete an independent study followed by a seminar presentation on this very novel. That seminar ran 30 minutes longer than allotted simply because I did not feel that only touching on the major events in the novel would do it justice. My seminar turned into ‘Story Time with Jessica’ as I verbally recounted the entire action of the plot right up to the mysterious unveiling in the final chapters. My English teacher at the time gave me an "A" even though I sorely misjudged the timing of the presentation. The "A" grade was allocated due to the enthusiasm with which I shared the extremely accurate and exact details of the plot. Jane Eyre, much like Pride and Prejudice is a novel I picked up to read and re-read many times over the years. The isolation and rejection initially experienced by a young Jane produces such compassion and sympathy. The seemingly pathetic, plain abandoned girl's journey is one of great victory in the face of uncertainty.
'I am not an angel,' I asserted; 'and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me - for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate."
-Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Finally, and this may seem a far cry from the two writing styles that I have previously focused on and deemed as being partly responsible for my inspiration to write my debut novel, yet Sophie Kinsella has managed to entertain and inspire me with her frivolous and witty tales involving female protagonists such as Rebecca Bloomwood. In The Secret Confessions of a Shopoholic, Becky is a hopeless wreck and not only that, she's got a keen eye for fashion. She is simply a character that I easily identified with as it was during my early-twenties that I discovered her; a time when my finances were in a dire situation, straight out of university with little to no income and still living at home with my parents. I had a love for shopping and not a spare dime to act on my impulse with. 

Kinsella made light of a horrendous situation in the life of Becky and the humour allowed me to escape from the less than perfect situation I found myself in. I continue to this day to be a hardcore Kinsella fan, ensuring to pick up a copy of her latest book as soon as it hits the shelves. Yes, Shopaholic to the Stars is next on my ‘To Read’ list!

"Ok, don't panic. Don't panic. It's only a VISA bill. It's a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be?"-Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic

I suppose the main character of my novel The Tantalizing Tale of a Bitter Sweetheart, encompasses aspects of all three female protagonists mentioned. Portia’s dream is much like that of Elizabeth's, her journey is much like that of Jane's and she is quirky, impulsive and somewhat of a mess, just like Becky Bloomwood. I love her just the same and am sure you all will too!

Excerpt from The Tantalizing Tale of a Bitter Sweetheart

“Portia!! Portia!! Get up already! You’re about a zillion minutes late for your first day. Come on you lazy imp!”

Oh, I hate being torn out of a lovely slumber when I’m in the middle of the most wonderful dream; woken up by the horrendous bellowing of none other than my meddling, unbearable roommate, Minnie. The dream was perfection, and waking to a reality that can only be described as the exact opposite of perfection, is highly undesirable, yet this similar feeling each morning as I come to, has been my lot in life.

I slowly open one eye to see a familiar, thin, curly haired red head glaring at me from my bedroom doorway. I quickly shut it and feign being back in a deep sleep. Why oh why can’t I wake up to a dark haired, charming and handsome man as opposed to this?

“I saw that, Portia Delaney!” she sounds frustrated. “Not only are you late, but you’re making me late too, because I’m doing my duty as your friend and roommate to be sure that you don’t screw this one up! Now get on with it! Up, up, up!”

At this point she has found her way to the bottom of my bed and is now dragging me by my perfectly pedicured feet, because you never know when you may end up on a date with a gentleman who is won over by a well-cared for set of tootsies, (although I haven’t been on a date with a “gentleman” in over 6 months), and has just about gotten me to the point of full on bailing off the bed when I give in.

“OK! OK! You maniac! I’m up and I can be ready in 5 minutes flat, so get your skinny rear out of my room and let me get myself together. Thank you and please be on your way now.” I quickly jump to my feet after Minnie has unhanded them, and sternly guide her out into the hall slamming the door behind her. “Have a lovely day!” I manage to say in a sharp and clearly irritated voice.

Minnie is a workaholic, freakishly organized, highly paid executive at an ad agency. Why she still wants or needs a roommate is beyond me. I suppose it’s because work is her life and any ounce of energy she has, she wants to be poured into her career, not her home life or even love life for that matter. Minnie is the power-hungry career oriented woman who honestly, no word of a lie, could not give a damn whether she ever marries or has a family of her own. Sometimes I wish I had that mindset, because I, Portia Delaney, am ever hopelessly focused on finding that one soul mate.

Now what? Dressed, yes I must choose an outfit for the first day at yet another mind-numbing, low paying office job at yet another medical office. I really want to be styling the rich and famous, not to mention designing clothes that are intended to be strutted down the runways of Paris and Milan; not to be stuck in a dead end job that has me working for pompous and self- absorbed doctors, who get to drive off in their luxury cars and head home to their glamorous trophy wives not to mention who give absolutely no notice of the front desk help. Why didn’t I listen to my heart instead of my nagging parents?

Alright, outfit, yes outfit. Well this is the most inexcusable tidbit of all. I’m here selecting an outfit for a first day at a job where my only selection can be from an assortment of various coloured scrubs, when I want to be making a selection between Gucci and Versace. Lavender it is, I suppose. With that disgruntled decision made, I reach for my terribly ordinary lavender scrubs, quickly pull them on, jet into the bathroom and whisk a brush through my hair while applying a pinch of foundation and blush. A bit of tinted lip gloss and a quick once over with the toothbrush and I’m set to go. Yes to go to my...well...bore of a career. Pay increase or not, just the thought of getting compensated to give up my dreams on a daily basis makes my stomach turn, and anxiety take over.

“But enough of this negativity Portia Delaney” I say out loud to my reflection in the hall mirror, “You are a successful, adorable, intelligent, creative and inspirational woman with amazing potential. For you nothing is impossible!” Ok, so do I actually believe this bunk...not a word. My shrink surely is trying to make me think I do, but let’s face it I’m at rock bottom with S.O.S. carved in the sand and flare guns blazing.

I suppose, however, there is nowhere to go but up.  Work is blah, love life is blah, family life is… well, is what it is. My friends are mostly amazing, but sometimes having great friends, who seem to have it all together, just help to highlight everything lacking in your own life. With that summation of my view on my life circumstance, I slip on my god awful, yet comfy crocs, grab my Mark Jacobs purse, because I must still demonstrate some good taste in my daily wardrobe, and strut out the door while working those lavender scrubs to the max.

About the author:

Jessica Ashley Dafoe resides in Toronto where she is an educator by day and a literary enthusiast and writer by night. She attained her BA in English Literature at The University of Ottawa and her B Ed at Brock and Queen’s University. 

When Jessica does not have her nose in a book or is not scribbling out her ideas for her newest tantalizing tales, she's most likely keeping busy trying out various exciting activities and delicious cuisine that the great city of Toronto has to offer or planning her next getaway to her immediate destination of choice. The traveling bug bites her often.

 A romantic comedy addict to the core, she enjoys all things silly, frivolous and emotionally endearing which is the reason she writes stories that encompass all of these qualities. 

Connect with Jessica:
Twitter | Linkedin | Goodreads | Google+

Buy the Book:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Guest Post with Susan Daffron

How Did You Get Here?

by Susan Daffron

In reviews, readers often comment about the town of Alpine Grove, which although imaginary does have some similarities to the small town where I live in northern Idaho. I even had one reader say she wants to move to Alpine Grove. There's no doubt that many people would love to move to a small town for the peace, quiet and sense of community.

I know I did.

In both my first novel, Chez Stinky, and the second, Fuzzy Logic, the main characters are actually transplants from somewhere else who subsequently fall in love with small town life and decide to stay.

I think that's true of many small towns. Where I live in Idaho, I have met only a few "natives" that actually grew up in this area. As a result, a popular topic of conversation is "how did you end up here?" Realistically, a town of 7,000 people is not exactly an employment mecca, so in most cases people have specifically chosen to live here.

Because it is such a key question in small towns, my books also include the answer to the question, "how did you get here?" as story elements. In Chez Stinky, Kat Stevens had been a tech writer but inherits a house in Alpine Grove. In Fuzzy Logic, Jan Carpenter graduates from college with a degree in library science and can't find a job anywhere except at the tiny Alpine Grove library, which it turns out she loves.

Most of the people I have met here in Idaho have a similar story. They move out here to the middle of nowhere, decide they love it, and never want to leave. We started a business so we could move here in the first place and not be dependent on the (nonexistent) local economy. Since 1996, technology has made it possible for us to do freelance work from our bedroom offices in our log home in the woods. Even with feeble bandwidth that makes other people cringe, we have managed to find ways to make money for almost two decades and through two nasty recessions.

In much the same way, the characters in all three of my novels have to figure out a way to continue to live in their small town of Alpine Grove. So readers, be advised that the little town of Alpine Grove is likely to turn into quite a little hotbed of entrepreneurial activity!

Excerpt from Fuzzy Logic

This is part of the scene where the main character, Jan, is on the plane to San Diego. She explains to the person in the seat next to her why she is taking the trip.

Ethel tilted her head, causing the ossified bluish curls on her head to shift in an unnatural way. “Why are you going to San Diego?”

Jan sighed a little too loudly. Maybe Ethel wouldn’t notice. “My mother is getting married.”

Ethel straightened in her seat and leaned closer to Jan. “That’s wonderful! I love weddings. Who is the lucky man?  What does he do? Are you excited? It’s beautiful to see such an expression of love. Where are they getting married?”

It was apparent that Ethel had not been retrieving breath mints out of her suitcase. Jan replied slowly, “Well, they are getting married on the beach. The man was actually her next-door neighbor many years ago. I knew him when I was growing up.” Jan shrugged. “I don’t know if I’m excited exactly. But it will probably be interesting.”

“Interesting? But weddings are so gorgeous. The flowers! The lovely food! How can you not just adore that?”

Jan twisted in her seat, leaning her back away toward the window. If she were any farther away from Ethel, she’d be outside the plane. Discussing anything related to her mother was never fun. “My mother tends to do things differently, I guess.”

“What do you mean differently? It’s a wedding! There are traditions. People say vows!”

“Well, I think for one thing, there will be a puppet show.”

The woman looked slightly taken aback, but then smiled knowingly. “Oh, is it one of those sex-puppet shows? I’ve never seen that at a wedding. But it could be fun.”

Jan didn’t know what a sex-puppet show was. And she didn’t want to know. She’d seen way too many puppet shows in her lifetime as it was. “No, no, nothing like that. My mother was on local children’s television for a long time. She was the assistant to The Farmer, the kid’s TV show in San Diego. She did the puppet shows with the sock-puppet farm animals.”

“You mother is the Farm Lady? I loved her. My kids loved her. My grandkids love her in the reruns. Oh my goodness me, I can’t believe I’m sitting next to the daughter of the Farm Lady. This is so exciting! Oh and the Farm Lady is getting married? How wonderful for her! Is she finally marrying the Farmer?”

After so many years, Jan was used to people knowing her mother as the Farm Lady with the sock puppets. And it never failed to embarrass her. Years of being teased at school by other kids making every possible form of revolting farm noise was hard to shake. The pig sounds were to the point that she still couldn’t eat bacon. And what people didn’t know was that the wholesome sweet TV persona was nothing like the real woman, Angie Carpenter. Responsible motherly farm matron, she certainly was not. “Maybe you didn’t hear, but Bob Myers, the Farmer, died a few years ago and the show went off the air. The man my mother is marrying is in the plumbing business.”

Ethel narrowed her eyes and gave Jan a knowing look, “Oh, plumbers make a lot of money. He must be a great catch. How did their love blossom? I’m sure there’s a romantic story there.”

“I don’t know how romantic it is. Like I said, we were neighbors a long time ago, but he was on television, too. They met again recently on a retrospective special that featured stars from old TV shows and commercials. If you saw the ads for the Toilet King years ago, that’s him.”

Ethel clapped her hands together, “My heavens! The Farm Lady is marrying the Toilet King! I can’t wait to tell all my friends. Does he still have purple hair and wear the blue jumpsuit? I just loved those commercials with the swirling and all that.”

“I haven’t seen him in a long time. I live in Alpine Grove now.”

About the author:

Susan Daffron is the author of the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies, a series of novels that feature residents of the small town of Alpine Grove and their various quirky dogs and cats. She is also an award-winning author of many nonfiction books, including several about pets and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northern Idaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat--the last three, all "rescues." You can read more about her on her website.

Connect with Susan:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | LinkedIn

Buy the book:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Author: M.C.V. Egan

About the book

"M.C.V. Egan twists truth and fiction until you question your is a story of real love, triumph and search for self." - Beckah Boyd @ The Truthful Tarot

5 out of 5 stars:  "An unusual yet much recommended read." - Midwest Book Review 

On August 15th, 1939, an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykøbing Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before, Hitler invaded Poland.

With the world at the brink of war, the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust.

The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve "one of those mysteries that never get solved." Based on true events and real people, The Bridge of Deaths is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through conventional and unconventional sources in Denmark, England, Mexico and the United States. The story finds a way to help the reader feel that s/he is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions.

Cross The Bridge of Deaths into 1939, and dive into cold Danish waters to uncover the secrets of the G-AESY.

Get the revised 75th anniversary of The Bridge of Deaths on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Guest Post

by M.C.V. Egan

Pondering on Peace and the Past

Pondering on peace after last year’s PEACE BLITZ in which around fifty bloggers from around the world wrote and posted their thoughts on peace, I came away with the distinct impression that peace can be a very personal and unique feeling or idea. The posts were as varied as can be and all of them were fascinating to me.

As I see it, peace can be described in a wide variety or ways: harmony, calm, freedom from disturbance, quiet, stillness and tranquility, to name just a few.  Any of those words convey pleasant and very different images to us all.

However, the words that describe war all seem to convey if not the same image then surely the same feeling: conflict, combat, confrontation, hostilities.

Pondering on that made me worry and wonder if in great part peace is so elusive in some way because it is visualized in such a wide variety of ways. There are, after all, different types of pacifists: absolute, conditional, selective, and active.

I would love to imagine that I could someday be the absolute pacifist my character Maggie is in The Bridge of Deaths, opposed to war all war and violent conflict. The fact of the matter is that I was born in 1959 and war has been excused in one form or another for as long as I had any awareness of the term. As a young kid watching the Vietnam conflict on T.V. as if it was ‘just the news’ I believe synthesized an acceptance of the inevitability or even excuse of certain conflicts. 

An absolute pacifist believes that it is never right to take part in war, even in self-defense. The value of human life is such that nothing can justify killing a person deliberately. As a parent, in self-defense or to protect my child, I cannot imagine I would not resort to any means—even violence.

I guess this might make me a conditional pacifist, which is embarrassing if not sort of convenient: A belief that one is against war and violence in principle, but that there may be circumstances when war will be less bad than the alternative.

I don’t think I am a selective pacifist and judge war by a matter of degree. I oppose violence and harm from small and large weapons. Apparently the selective pacifists only oppose wars involving weapons of mass destruction—nuclear or chemical and biological weapons—and it is unclear to me if this is because they see it as morally repugnant or as illogical because it is likely to have side effects far worse than whatever it could fix.

In a small way I am an active pacifist, but to really wear that label I feel the need to commit far more to the cause. Although some active pacifists have been known during war to take part in activities that seek to reduce the harm of war—such as driving ambulances or cooking for troops—some will refuse any involvement at all. I often heard of that growing up with stories of people who fled to Canada or Sweden to avoid the draft, and with great courage as a matter of principle and not one of fear.

But of course there are some “closet pacifists” afraid to act according to any beliefs or to refuse to fight. History has recorded many who have bravely chosen punishments or made their lives difficult rather than support wars or if drafted participate.

Nowadays, most democratic countries accept that people have the right of conscientious objection to military service, in some countries alternative forms of public service are available for objectors, but as we watch so much turmoil in the world today, I wonder how loud and powerful voices of peace would be if countries felt obliged to instill obligatory conscriptions.

The U.N. International Peace Day was first celebrated on September 21st 1982. At the time I was living in Sweden and working with small children. We taught them about peace and made white paper doves. At the same time the Catholic priest in my church was actively refusing to comply with the compulsory military service. He did so calling himself a pacifist and not a priest—he eventually left the priesthood but I can only imagine he has never left his pacifist views.

So I guess digging deep into my mind’s eye when I tailored the character Maggie as an absolute pacifist I did so with that man in mind. The only absolute pacifist I have ever met. 

About the author

M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan. Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, the sixth of eight children, in a traditional Catholic family.

From a very young age, she became obsessed with the story of her maternal grandfather, Cesar Agustin Castillo--mostly the story of how he died.

She spent her childhood in Mexico. When her father became an employee of The World Bank in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s, she moved with her entire family to the United States. Catalina was already fluent in English, as she had spent one school year in the town of Pineville, Louisiana with her grandparents. There she won the English award, despite being the only one who had English as a second language in her class.

In the D.C. suburbs she attended various private Catholic schools and graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland in 1977. She attended Montgomery Community College, where she changed majors every semester. She also studied in Lyons, France, at the Catholic University for two years. In 1981, due to an impulsive young marriage to a Viking (the Swedish kind, not the football player kind), Catalina moved to Sweden where she resided for five years and taught at a language school for Swedish, Danish, and Finnish businesspeople. She then returned to the USA, where she has lived ever since. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.

Maria Catalina Vergara Egan is married and has one son who, together with their five-pound Chihuahua, makes her feel like a full-time mother. Although she would not call herself an astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in the subject.

She celebrated her 52nd birthday on July 2nd, 2011, and gave herself self-publishing The Bridge of Deaths as a gift.

Find M.C.V. Egan and The Bridge of Deaths on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and online.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sptolight on: Jackie King

on Tour September 2014 with

The Corpse Who Walked in the Door


Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Deadly Niche Press 
Publication Date: June 2014 
Number of Pages: 206 
ISBN: 978-162016-112-8 
Purchase Links:    

About the book:

Former society wife Grace Cassidy is learning to live on the minimum wage she earns as a bed & breakfast inn-sitter. Grace finds her cat’s bloody paw prints leading away from a bathtub and wants to run for her life. But she can’t. Her 19-year-old son is accused of pushing his pregnant girlfriend down a flight of concrete steps and she won’t abandon him.

Excerpt from The Corpse Who Walked in the Door:

Blood colored paw prints trailed from the white tile bathroom onto the faux Oriental rug in the bedroom where Grace stood. The cat-feet marks immobilized Grace. She closed her eyes and prayed that she had been claimed by stress-induced insanity, that there were no dark-red blots before her eyes, but a hallucination. A nice long rest in a mental hospital didn’t sound too bad. Anything except another dead body in this inn where she worked.

About the author:

Jackie King loves books, writing tall tales, and murdering the people she dislikes on paper. Her latest mystery, The Corpse Who Walked in the Door, is available in ebook format. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Oklahoma Writers Federation, and Tulsa NightWriters.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Author: Clare Langley-Hawthorne

About the book:

Ursula Marlow thought she was done with death, but when her fiancé, Lord Wrotham, is arrested on charges of treason, her world is turned upside down. It is the winter of 1913, and the British Parliament, unsettled on the question of Home Rule for Ireland, is shaken over allegations of a plot to sell naval military secrets to Kaiser’s Germany and liberate Ireland from English rule. For the first time, Ursula must work together with Chief Inspector Harrison to uncover the truth about Lord Wrotham’s involvement, as well as his mysterious past.

As the investigation continues, Ursula is drawn into the shadowy world of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and a web of espionage and betrayal. She must race against time to clear Lord Wrotham’s name and thwart a plot that threatens not only British national security, but also her life.

Interview with Clare Langley-Hawthorne

Clare, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I was always writing stories as a child, and as a teenager all I wanted to be was a journalist or a writer – but then I became a lawyer and an economist and that career took over. It wasn’t until I quit my job to start a Ph.D. that my brain finally said “this is it!” and I wrote a novel instead. The Ph.D. totally fell by the wayside when I had twin boys and a book contract.

How did you create the plot for this book?

My husband and I traveled to Venezuela and went down the Orinoco River to stay at a lodge on the delta. While there, I found myself imagining what it must have been like to be Victorian explorers, and the plot for Consequences of Sin started formulating in my mind.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I love writing Sir Oliver Wrotham, as I get to create my own version of Mr. Darcy. I love writing scenes contrasting his dry sarcasm with Ursula’s wit and passion.

How do you get to know your characters?
My main characters have a way of walking into my head and just introducing themselves, more or less fully formed. I do write out backgrounders on each character, and this allows me to explore elements of the character’s past, their relationships, and education that helps me get to know them on a deeper level.

Are you like any of your characters?
My husband is convinced I’m Ursula. I like to think it’s because of my tempestuous nature, but it could be I’m just argumentative and opinionated, like her. Sadly, I don’t have Ursula’s wonderfully opulent Edwardian lifestyle!

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?
Ursula, of course! I think it was an incredible time for women – right on the cusp of such immense changes that would redefine their roles in society. Ursula is also lucky to have the financial means to stand by her principles, seek her independence and also live (and love) the way she chooses. She also gets to say and do things I never would!

Who are your favorite authors?
I find it hard to make a choice, but for now - Dorothy L. Sayers, E.M. Forster, and Georgette Heyer

How long is your to-be-read pile?
Long! I currently have Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the end of the Lane lined up. I have two non-fiction books I’ve been meaning to start – Zeppelin Nights by Jerry White (about London during World War I) and Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson (about Regency England). I also have a couple of YA novels on my bedside table that I’ve been meaning to get to...

You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?
Richard Armitage. It seems an odd choice to have a male narrator but I heard him narrate two Georgette Heyer novels, and he was just terrific.

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I’m on the last pages of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I have the hardback version of this.

Do you have a routine for writing?
My writing routine revolves around school drop-off and pick-up for my twin boys. I tend to do most of my actual writing in the evening and then edit during the day. I constantly set myself self-imposed deadlines to make sure I get done what needs to be done.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I find it very difficult to write in public or when other people are around, so my preference is to write alone at my desk at home. I would prefer to write in the morning, but typically this cannot accommodate everything else that needs to get done, so I end up writing late at night with the help of lots of caffeine.

What would your dream office look like?
It would be in a library in the turret of a castle overlooking a beautiful garden and the edges of a woods. I love being surrounded by books. I would also have to have my collie, Hamish, lying on the floor next to my chair. No office is complete without him.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to hike, practice yoga, walk Hamish, read aloud to my boys, and do the New York Times crossword.

What are you working on now?
I am working on a Middle Grade alternative history fantasy series and an adult mystery set on the home front during the first World War.

About the author:

Clare Langley-Hawthorne was raised in England and Australia. She was an attorney in Melbourne before moving to the United States, where she began her career as a writer. Her first novel, Consequences of Sin, featuring the Oxford graduate, heiress, and militant suffragette Ursula Marlow, was published in 2007. The second book in the series, The Serpent and the Scorpion, was published in 2008. Consequences of Sin was a San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area bestseller and a Macavity Award nominee for best historical mystery. Clare now lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, twin boys, and collie, Hamish.

Connect with Clare:
Website | Blog 1 | Blog 2 | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Other books by Clare:

Consequences of Sin (Ursula Marlow book #1)

The Serpent and The Scorpion (Ursula Marlow book #2)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Author: Lori Jones

Lori Jones was here with her first book, Growing Up Beautiful, A Novel About Models in Milan, and it's my pleasure to have her back to talk about the sequel to that book, The Beauty of a Second Chance.

About the book:

Sixteen years after their European adventure, ex-models Star, Joanne and Casey reunite over lunch and realize they have a lot to talk about.

On Star’s wedding day, her soon-to-be mother-in-law drops a bomb that threatens her marriage and future security. Joanne becomes a reluctant volunteer out to protect a park against development while hesitant to lower her guard for love. Casey struggles to find a job while trying to be her daughter’s friend instead of enemy, and wonders how she can get her son’s Little League coach to play fair.

Now, older and wiser, will these three women use this second chance at friendship to help one another find success and happiness.

Interview with Lori Jones

What’s the story behind the title The Beauty of a Second Chance?
The Beauty of a Second Chance is the sequel to Growing up Beautiful. I wanted to use a word that would tie the two novels together. "Beauty" captured the physical essence of the first book and the spiritual aspect of the second one.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
I wrote the sequel as a standalone book. With that said, there is a big surprise in The Beauty of a Second Chance that may alter the reading experience of Growing up Beautiful. As far as the series goes, I had no intention of writing another book about Star, Joanne and Casey. I changed my mind after repeatedly hearing one particular question from readers at book signings and book groups: “What happened to the girls after they returned to America?”

How did you create the plot for this book?
The plots are based on real life situations that I saw, heard about, and experienced myself. Once I had the basic information in place, I put my characters in scenes that would create the most conflict possible for their particular personalities.

What’s your favorite line from the book?
“All three of us trying to get our act together. It’s like frickin’ déjà vu, but with more wrinkles and less time.”

Is your book based on real events?
Yes. One storyline deals with a community divided after an influential and powerful individual wanted to build a private office - that included an amazing ocean view - on public parkland.
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

Honestly, there are so many scenes I really like, starting with Casey at the doctor’s office. It was based on one of my postnatal visits where I refused to believe I had gained ten pounds instead of losing ten. And yes, a nurse did get up on the scale to prove me wrong!

Who are your favorite authors?
Amy Tan, Lisa See, Sophie Kinsella. And of course the classics, Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Hemingway, and Margaret Mitchell.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
When I lay down to read, my cat likes to lie on top of the book and stare at me, making it impossible to do so.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?" ~ Sai Baba

Love that. What’s your favorite candy bar?
It’s not a bar but a bag of See’s Dark Bordeauxs.

What are you working on now?
I am the process of outlining my next book. It takes place in the 1970s and deals with teenagers who fall in love and try to deal with the ensuing problems created by their families' different belief systems. As always, I will search for the humor in this dilemma.

Connect with Lori:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads 

Buy the book: