Thursday, February 11, 2016



As darkness blankets the holy city of Charleston, South Carolina, Brack Pelton, an Afghanistan War veteran, steps out of a rundown bar after a long night. Before he gets to his truck, he finds himself in the middle of a domestic dispute between a man and a woman on the sidewalk. When a little girl joins the couple and gets hit by the man, Brack intervenes and takes him down. But the abuser isn’t finished. He pulls a gun and shoots the woman. Brack saves the little girl, but his world has just been rocked. Again.

The next day, while sitting on a barstool in the Pirate’s Cove on the Isle of Palms, his own bar, Brack scans the local paper. The news headline reads: Burned Body of Unidentified Hispanic Man Found at Construction Site. Nothing about a dead woman in the poor section of town. Brack feels a tap on his shoulder and turns around to see an eight-year-old girl standing behind him. She’s the little girl he rescued the night before, and she wants him to look into her sister’s shooting.

Violence and danger make up Brack’s not-too-distant past. Part of him craves it – needs it. And that part has just been fed. Things are about to heat up again in the lowcountry. May God have mercy on the souls who get in the way.


Brack Pelton is a widower, an ex-Marine from the Afghanistan War, and an ex-racecar driver. Six-foot, two-hundred-ten pounds, dark hair and dark eyes, he smokes Cuban and Dominican cigars and drives very fast cars while chasing the bad guys or when trying to get away. He also owns a beach bar and does a very poor job of keeping out of trouble and from being shot at.

main character in Burning Heat

Brack, how did you first meet your writer?
Funny story. It was about fifteen years ago. David and some friends were in the Pirate’s Cove, my uncle’s bar on the Isle of Palms.  At the time, I worked summers there during college to help my uncle out and to get beer money. Plus it was the beach so of course I’m going to pick the beach. David, drunk, stumbles between two guys about to fight. Everyone laughed at him. He got there before I could and diffused the situation.  After that, he always got a free beer. He’s a teetotaler now, but back in the day, well . . .  Anyway, a few years ago, I haven’t seen the guy in more than a decade, he comes around and interviews me to be a character in his book.  And here we are.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
When Mutt and I “borrowed” Jon-Jon’s Ferrari and left it in Myrtle Beach. Now that was fun!

Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
More like I had to have a serious talk or two with him about NOT including a few scenes. Just because something happens doesn’t mean it has to be included in the book. David argued that it wasn’t fair to the “reader” not to include the whole story. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but he seemed adamant so I let it slide.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Spend time on the beach with my dog, Shelby. Some of the junk that has happened in my life, like my loved ones dying and war, make me appreciate the little things that much more. I’d be a basket case without Shelby.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
That’s like saying if I could relive something differently. Yes, there are some things. I tend to lose the really good women in my life. I wish that weren’t the case.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
Brother Thomas can be a real pain in the rear, sometimes. But he’s usually right. His heart is the biggest thing about him, and that’s saying something — he’s like six-three, three-hundred-and-fifty pounds.

Mutt is a desert dog, like me. A real scrapper. He’s saved my bacon more than once. I think he’s forgiven me for knocking him out when we first met. Or he’s just waiting for a chance to get me back, one of the two.

Darcy is Darcy. Anything I say about her could be held against me so I’ll plead the fifth.

My Aunt Patricia is the only family I’ve got left. At least, the only family I still talk to.

Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
I want to get back into racing. Now that I have some time and a little money, the track is calling.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
That mostly describes my life these days. That is, until Brother Thomas comes calling with some crazy scheme and I get shot at again.

What are you most afraid of?
Losing someone else I love.

What’s your author’s worst habit?
He needs to get out of the house more. Spends too much time behind his laptop. I’ve asked him to hang around the bar again, maybe get shot at once or twice. Could change his whole outlook on life.

What aspect of your author’s writing style do you like best?
I hate to admit it, but he’s got the story down cold. Even the parts I’d rather not talk about.

Describe the town where you live.
I live on the Isle of Palms. It’s paradise, and I’m not joking. We’ve got the ocean, a great beach, million dollar homes. The city of Charleston is only a few miles away. Talk about history! There is no place on earth like the lowcountry of South Carolina. So, stop by my bar, the Pirate’s Cove. It’s beach front!

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?
Well, Burning Heat is the sequel. I thought I was done with all that nasty business after the first book, Southern Heat. But then the whole thing about Willa Mae happened. And, unfortunately, more has happened since. David is putting the finishing touches on the third book. Don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll just say my life has a whole lot more going on than just suntans and beaches.


David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.

Connect with the author:
Webpage   |   
Facebook   |   
Goodreads   |   

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016



A bead bazaar turns bizarre when jewelry designer and glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell discovers a dead body beneath her sales table. Suspected of murder, Jax and her friend Tessa scramble to find the killer among the fanatic shoppers and eccentric vendors. They have their hands full dealing with a scumbag show promoter, hipsters in love, and a security guard who wants to do more than protect Jax from harm. Adding to the chaos, Jax’s quirky neighbor Val arrives unexpectedly with trouble in tow. Can Jax untangle the clues before she’s arrested for murder?


Janice, how did you get started writing?

Several years ago, I took a class at the Corning Glass Studio in upstate New York. You may recognize the name Corning — it’s the manufacturer of Pyrex glass baking dishes and measuring cups. While working in the studio, I had an epiphany — the perfect way to kill someone! And while I didn’t have plans to murder anyone in particular, I decided that I wanted to write a murder mystery. As happens in life, it took me a few years before I sat down to write the story, but finally I did in November of 2011, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). During that month, you make a commitment to write 50,000 words. As I wrote, I realized how much I enjoyed the process and went on to revise the story so that I could self-publish it. I added to the plot and subtracted a great deal of rubbish that I wrote during my month-long sprint to write a book. As I wrote, I imagined other adventures for my main character, Jax, and her friends, so I decided to keep writing. I now have two published novels and a short story.

What have you recently completed and what are you working on now?
I just completed a free (on Amazon and iTunes) short story that has been released in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s called "Be Still My Beading Heart." It was fantastic writing something short and fun without having to worry about all the complexities of a full length novel. I’m working on book three in the Glass Bead Mystery Series now, it’s called Off the Beadin’ Path. It’s in pretty rough shape right now, but I’m sure once my editor gets ahold of it, she’ll whip it into shape. I’m really looking forward to making more progress on that book. It’s been on hold while Booktrope re-released High Strung, and published A Bead in the Hand.

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?
Once when I was on a trip to Thailand, I found some money on the street. Thai money is a little hard to decipher, and I didn’t look carefully at the bill. I went to a cafĂ© and tried to use the money to pay for lunch. The cashier told me “No, no, no,” and pushed the cash back to me. And that’s when I realized: I was trying to pay with pretend money — there was a picture of cartoon character on the bill! It was very embarrassing. Fortunately, I had real money in my wallet so that I could pay for my meal.

What’s your favorite Internet Site?
Other than Facebook, I’d say my favorite site is eBay. I’m a collector of vintage glass fruit jewelry. I know this is a very unusual thing to collect, but I love these necklaces because they are made from the same Italian glass that I use to make beads. And, the vintage pieces are from Venice, one my favorite places in the world, other than San Francisco, where I live. The jewelry pieces were made in the 1930s and 1940s and they simply aren’t manufactured anymore. I have a Pinterest board of full of them.

Do you have any tips you could pass on to indie authors?
When I originally self-published High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery in 2014, I had in mind a strategy in which I would self-publish my book, then when it was popular and well-rated I’d take it to an agent who would help me find a traditional publishing house. What I found out the hard way was that most publishers do not want to re-publish already self-published books, and do not want to publish a series starting with the second book. Fortunately, I was able to find a publisher, Booktrope, that was willing to publish my series even though the first book had been originally self-published. The best advice I can give is that if you choose to self-publish a book, you must make a commitment to that title as self-published for the long term.

What’s your favorite beverage?
That depends on the time of day. If it’s any time before noon then that’s a non-fat latte. I usually have one about ten o’clock every day. If I’m out and about it is pretty much a requirement for me to get one at our local Peet’s Coffee. I’m not much of a fan of Starbucks, but it will do in a pinch if I ask the barista to put an extra shot of espresso in the cup. Any time after noon — okay usually not until after four o’clock — I absolutely love a glass of red wine. We make our own wine, so we always have some on hand. In fact, we have a ridiculous number of bottles stored in our hall closet. We need a wine cellar, but I don’t think that will be happening any time soon. I especially love having a glass of wine on my back deck while my fire pit blazes and my friends and husband sit with me talking, laughing, and listening to music.

What your biggest pet peeve about writing?
My biggest pet peeve is that I can’t see my own typos. I’m a notorious typo-ist. I can see the easy ones, like the ones that spellcheck finds. But the ones that spellcheck can’t find, like missing words or small substitutions such as using in when I mean it, I simply cannot see them. I have an awesome proofreader who finds all of these problems. And in a strange twist of fate, I’m terrific at finding typos in other writers’ work, just not in my own. It’s such a weird form of blindness that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to cure.

Do you procrastinate?
Let me get back to you on that. Just kidding . . . yes, I do procrastinate. I like to make elaborate to-do lists, adding even the simplest tasks — sometimes I even add tasks that I’ve almost completed so that I can cross them off my list. It feels good to cross easy things off the list. The most important tasks, which are often the most difficult, are left languishing on my list. I eventually buckle down and get my tasks done, but oftentimes I am sliding in at the eleventh hour.

Do you have any secret talents?
I worked in the broadcasting industry for quite a while as a rock disc jockey. I loved it. It was so much fun playing records on the radio (yes, way back in the day when there were vinyl records). I got to interview bands, and the very first band I ever interviewed was the Ramones. I was absolutely petrified climbing into their tour bus with my tape recorder, but I survived! Because of my radio experience, I’m very tempted to spend some time and record my novels as audio books. But, first I’d have to find the time!

What five things would you never want to live without?
I’ll avoid the obvious ones: laptop, car, chocolate, cell phone. Here goes: dental floss (I have high-maintenance teeth), fleece socks (I can’t sleep if my feet are cold), espresso machine (mine was broken for a period of time and those were dark days), prescription glasses (I refuse to go through life as Monet did: half-blind and painting blurry pictures), light bulbs (because lamps don’t work without them).

Do you have any secret talents?
Some people may know this since I write books about a glass beadmakers. But, just in case — I’m a glass beadmaker. I use a 2,000 degree torch to melt glass that I sculpt into multicolored glass beads. I started making beads in 1992, and I absolutely love it even after all this time. When I’m writing, I use a different part of my brain than when I’m working with glass. I love going to my studio and getting my hands on real objects and making things that require a wordless part of my brain, allowing me to think about — to feel — colors, patterns, movement. 


Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, the first book in a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.

When Janice Peacock isn’t writing about glass artists who are amateur detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several museums. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three cats, and seven chickens. She has a studio full of beads . . . lots and lots of beads.

High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, will be 99 cents from February 7th through 11th and $1.99 from February 12th through 15th. Be Still My Beading Heart, A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery short story is free on Amazon and iTunes. A Bead in the Hand is available for the discounted price of $2.99 through February 15th.

Connect with Janice:
Website  |   Blog  |  Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Pinterest  |  Instagram  |    Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble 

Monday, February 8, 2016



Police Chief David O’Callaghan and Chelsea Adams’ wedding day is fast approaching. Unfortunately, at the last minute, David discovers that there is one small problem to be taken care of before he can tie the knot—divorce his first wife!

Lauren Carr takes fans of the Mac Faraday mysteries to the Big Apple in this nail biting adventure. In Cancelled Vows, David, Mac, and Gnarly, too, rush to New York City to dissolve David’s marriage to an old girlfriend—and he’s got five days to get it done. When murder throws up a road block, it is up to David’s best man, Mac Faraday, and Gnarly, K9-in-waiting, to sort through the clues to get David to the church in time!


Lauren, what do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?

Timing. I write full time. However, even so, it is difficult because when I really get going at a certain spot in a storyline and the words are flowing freely, reality will come crashing in. My son gets home from school and I need to stop in the middle of a conversation. Or I’m in the middle of a pertinent scene or shootout and suddenly, it’s six o’clock in the evening, I have people bleeding out on the streets, and I’ve taken nothing out of the kitchen to cook for dinner.

Seriously, not only is it frustrating, but it is those types of interruptions that can cause the type of mistakes in continuity that readers may pick up after the book is released. For example, in Kill and Run, in one scene, one reader noticed that Jessica sat down twice during a conversation without standing up before sitting down the second time.

I have no choice but to blame my family for picking up this nasty habit called eating. It wouldn’t be so bad if they knew how to cook.

I hear you. What’s more important – characters or plot?
Characters! Hand down!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I thrive on finding unique and interesting murder cases for my books. So plot is very important. You can have a fabulous group of characters but if the plot doesn’t grab you, then you aren’t going to stick around. I have read books with fabulous, interesting characters—but it was very hard to read the books because as great as the characters were, nothing happened.

However, no matter how great the plot is, if you don’t care what happens to the characters, then you aren’t going to get past chapter three. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve stopped reading because I really didn’t care if the characters lived or died.

I have found that really intriguing, interesting, fun characters, once they come to life — which is if they are fully developed, will make a great plot. That happened in Cancelled Vows. Dallas Walker started out as a minor character, who ultimately stole the book and took it on a roller coaster plot because she is such a great character. That wouldn’t have happened if she wasn’t such a fascinating character.

What do you think makes a good story?
Twists and turns in the plot that leave the reader breathless. I have a rule when I write. When my reader expects me to go in one direction, I purposely take them in the opposite direction.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Being an author is a business — treat it like one. When I first started getting published, my husband, who is my business manager and has a law degree in business law, kept telling me that this is a business. He wanted receipts and when I would be offered a personal appearance I would be so excited — until he started asking questions like, “How far away is that? How much gas are you going to use getting there? How many books do you expect to sell? Are we going to make money or lose money?”

I considered him a wet blanket. After all, I was an author — an artist! Once, I accepted a speaking engagement at a library that was over five hours from my home. I drove five hours there in the pouring rain, spoke to a full house. They were so engaged and had so many questions, I was there twenty minutes longer than expected. Then, they all rushed out to borrow my book. I sold one book. I didn’t even make enough money to pay for the gas.

Now, I do treat my writing and book promotion like a business. I rarely make public appearances because I get more promotion for my time spent online via blog tours and guest blogs. I’m still an artist—an author, but I’m also a business person.

I agree wholeheartedly with that. Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Think of marketing as one of those chores that’s all part of the business — not an option. In every profession there are things that you have to do because it is part of taking care of business. Lawyers have to keep up on new laws — otherwise, they could make mistakes that will land their clients in jail. Doctors have to deal with insurance companies and forms or they won’t get paid for their services.

Authors have to deal with marketing or readers won’t know about their books and if readers don’t know about their books, they won’t buy them. If readers don’t buy your books, then you won’t make money.

A best-selling author told me to spend one hour a day working on marketing — using social media and the Internet. Within a year of taking her advice, my books started making best-sellers’ lists, and I am now in the top-100 police procedural authors on Amazon. I now spent three-four hours a day working on marketing.

How often do you tweet?
Every single day. I have an assistant who does my tweeting using Hootsuite. But I get in every day to promote fellow authors via retweeting their posts.

What do you love about where you live?
The beauty and silence of the mountain—and the view of the valley, too.

What’s your favorite thing to do on date night?
Going to a fabulous new restaurant, getting waited on, and trying something I have never eaten before — followed a sinful dessert. Then, going home to a clean kitchen and not have to wash dishes.

What's your favorite treat for movie night?
Ice cream encased in chocolate fudge Magic Shell.

What's the biggest lie you ever told?
I don’t know if this would constitute as my biggest lie, but it my most embarrassing lie. Years ago, some friends of ours moved, and they gave us a propane gas tank for their gas grill. It was an older tank and didn’t fit our gas grill. My husband tried exchanging it for a tank that would fit our grill, but no place would take it. He tried taking it to the dump, leaving it with the garbage collector — no one would take it. We had this tank literally for years, and it was rusting, and we couldn’t get rid of it. So, one day, I was taking one of our empty gas tanks in to exchange it for a fresh tank and my husband suggested that I take this old tank and just leave it on the curb at the exchange when no one was looking and let them deal with it.

Well, my then seven-year-old son went with me. When we got there, I carried the one tank in and placed it next to the bins with the gas tanks, and the other, I just took out of the car and placed it over on the other side, in plain sight, but far enough away from ours in order to pretend I had nothing to do with it.

Well, when the clerk came out to unlock the bins to take out a fresh tank, he saw the old tank and of course, asked if it was mine. I said it wasn’t.

Right then, my son says, “Yes it is.”

“No, it not,” replied.

Tristan then looks worried. “Don’t you remember, Mom, you took it out of the back seat of our car and put it right there.”

He looked at me like I had lost my mind. “Don’t you remember, Mom? It was only a few minutes ago when we first got here, before you went inside.”

Meanwhile the clerk is looking at me.

Finally, I said, “Sorry, I don’t recall that at all.”

Then I took Tristan home and told him to talk to his father — after all, it was all his idea!

What drives you crazy?
My son is seventeen years old. That about covers it.

Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
I’m a gourmet cook, and my husband says he married me for my cooking.

I am really bad at cleaning up after I cook. I’m horrible at cleaning, period. Yet, my husband was a navy officer and had done three tours on aircraft carriers. So, he is very particular about cleaning, which makes it worse. For that reason, a cleaning lady is a necessity. No matter how bad things are financially, a cleaning service has to be in our budget.

What’s your least favorite chore?
Cleaning—because I am really bad at it. I simply do not see dirt.

What are you working on now?
For 2016, I am aiming for four books, one for each series. Cancelled Vows is the eleventh installment for the Mac Faraday Mysteries. At the end of April, Lovers in Crime will see the third installment for that series, Killer in the Band. Readers will get to know more about Joshua Thornton Jr (J.J.), Murphy’s identical twin brother. J.J. has graduated at the top of his class from law school and is returning home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to the Thornton’s shock and dismay, J.J. decides to move in with Suellen Russell, a lovely widow twice his age. The move brings long buried tensions between the father and son to the surface. When a brutal killer strikes, the father and son must set all differences aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the crosshairs of a murderer.

In September, fans of the Thorny Rose Mysteries will see the second installment for that series, A Fine Year for Murder. I’m also planning to close out the year with a November release of Murder for the Holidays. This is a Mac Faraday Mystery that will include some flashback to an earlier case involving Patrick O’Callaghan and Robin Spencer.

Then, in November, Mac Faraday fans will see a Christmas mystery entitled, Murder for the Holidays. This mystery will include a flashback to an older murder case involving Patrick O’Callaghan (Mac and David’s father) and Robin Spencer.



Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries and the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real live Gnarly!) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: 
Website    |   
Blog    |    Twitter     |   Goodreads 

Lauren's page    |   Gnarly’s page   |   Lovers in Crime Page  |    Acorn Book Services page  

Buy the book: 

Sunday, February 7, 2016



The food truck craze has reached the charming coastal town of South Cove, California, but before Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More — can sample the eats, she has to shift gears and put the brakes on a killer.

Now that Kacey Austin has got her new gluten-free dessert truck up and running, there’s no curbing her enthusiasm — not even when someone vandalizes the vehicle and steals her recipes. But when Kacey turns up dead on the beach and Jill’s best friend Sadie becomes the prime suspect, Jill needs to step on it to serve the real killer some just desserts.

Murder on Wheels
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (February 2, 2016)
Paperback: 198 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1601834201


Lynn, do you have a writing routine?

I goal for 2,000 words a day, 10,000 words a week. I get up early and write, then try to finish up at night after dinner.

Do you write every day?
If I’m on deadline and/or I’ve blown off other days when I should have been writing. So mostly, yes.

What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
Listened to the advice of branding and only publish in one genre. Right now I have cowboys, witches, a medical romance, and of course, my cozy mysteries. But honestly, I don’t know what story I wouldn’t have written. Each one has added to my maturity as a writer.

How often do you read?
Every day when I drive into work. I’m a big audio book fan!

I am too. Love them. What do you think makes a good story?
It’s characters who you care about. With the Tourist Trap series, I feel like I’m going home every time I start writing the next book. I like catching up and seeing what’s going on in their lives.

What five things would you never want to live without?
Flavored sparkling water (Dasani Black Cherry is my fav); contacts; unlimited supply of books; notebooks; yoga pants.

Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
I’m really good at planning. Event planning, process management – I’m your girl.  I’m bad at the networking thing. I want to like everyone, I just want to like them on my time and in my own way. It’s an author thing . . .

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
Is there ever nothing to do? I’m always looking for time. I guess I’d make cookies. Or finish a quilting project. Or maybe clean my office.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
My inability to diet.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Puff pastry that I bought to make an appetizer with. It may or may not go bad before I use it.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Never give up, never surrender.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
This is easy, the central library in Indianapolis. When the zombie apocalypse comes, that’s where I’m holding up. They have a fiction reading room that’s lovely. A fire place, and a glass atrium where we can grow crops inside.

If you had a talk show who would your dream guests be?
Diane Keyton, Oprah, Miranda Lambert, Caroline Kennedy, and Tina Fey.

How do you like your pizza?
Full of fresh veggies. Minus the olives. 

Oh, we'd get along great! What are you working on now?
As you read this, I’m deep into writing the second book in The Cat Latimer Mystery series. Cat, my heroine, runs a writer’s retreat in a Victorian mansion in a small Colorado college town. Love this setting and my cast of characters. 


Lynn Cahoon is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. Guidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series won the Reader's Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015.

She's also the author of the soon to be released, Cat Latimer series, with the first book, A Story to Kill, releasing in mass market paperback September 2016.

She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies.

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

Buy the book:

Friday, February 5, 2016



Everybody needs to run away from home at least once. Susan Corbett told people she was out to save the world, but really she was running – running from her home as much as to anywhere. Like many women, she was searching for meaning to her life or for a good man to share it with. In Africa, she hoped to find both.

Compelling and compassionate, In the Belly of the Elephant is Susan's transformative story of what happens when you decide to try to achieve world peace while searching for a good man. More than a fish-out-of-water story, it's a surprising and heart-rending account of her time in Africa trying to change the world as she battles heat, sandstorms, drought, riots, intestinal bugs, burnout, love affairs, and more than one meeting with death.
Against a backdrop of vivid beauty and culture, in a narrative interwoven with a rich tapestry of African myths and fables, Susan learns the true simplicity of life, and discovers people full of kindness, wisdom and resilience, and shares with us lessons we, too, can learn from her experiences.


Susan, how did you get started writing?
I've been writing in journals since I was 10 years old. I kept detailed journals the five years I lived and worked in Africa, not thinking I would write a book, just needing to write down my feelings and what I was experiencing. When I came home from Africa in 1982, people would ask me, "How was it?" How do you explain five years of an experience that changed your life in one brief conversation? In 1991, after I had married and had my 2 boys, I quit working full time to be with my small children. I started reading my journals again and realized I wanted to share my story with the world. So, at the ripe old age of 40, I took every local writing class I could find, joined a critique group, and started going to writing conferences. It took me ten years to write In the Belly of the Elephant

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I really enjoy structuring a story, figuring out the story arc and plotting it all out. I have flip charts all over my house outlining chapters, events, and characters. Then, once I get myself in front of the computer, I love the actual act of writing, just spilling my heart and creative soul into the words.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
The biggest challenge for me is to actually sit down and WRITE! Writing is a creative process, but first and foremost, it is a discipline. The discipline of writing 3-4 hours every day can be hard to do (especially if you have a day job,) but is essential if you're ever going to finish the book. And, I have found, the more I write, the more my creative juices get flowing. Regarding my memoir, In the Belly of the Elephant was hard to write at times because I felt I was exposing my soul to the world. Not always an easy thing to do.

What do you think makes a good story?
For me, three things make a good story:
a) I love stories with complex characters that learn something and grow.
b) A good sense of place that the reader can become part of. I love stories where the place is a character in the story, by that I mean, the place has a profound effect on what happens to the main character and how the character changes.
c) The best stories have universal truths sprinkled throughout – insights the main character thinks about or learns that the reader can relate to their own life, or life in general.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Join the Peace Corps when I was 23 years old and go off to live in the deep jungle of West Africa. Although, at the time, it did not seem daring to me. I wanted an adventure.

Who is your favorite fictional character?|
I love Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. I know, I know . . . such an old book, but Elizabeth Bennet has all the traits I admire most in women – independence, stubbornness, willing to challenge societal conventions, loves to read books, loves to dance, loves to take long walks, and is willing to admit when she's wrong. She's awesome!

I agree! What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
My dog in a park full of snow.

What is your favorite movie?
That's a tough one. So many! I love the movie, Stranger Than Fiction. It's about a writer (Emma Thompson) whose main character is actually living. It's funny, touching, and really fun to watch if you're a writer.

Do you have a favorite book?
Certainly one of my top books is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Incredible writing, wonderful characters.

What are you working on now?
My latest book, The Ghosts of Santa Maria Del Mar is the first in what I hope to be a mystery series. During the feast of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, young girls begin to mysteriously go missing, and someone is leaving long dead skeletons all over town while a mismatched crew of five American women (Melissa, Liza, Josie, Tina, and Sam) are on vacation in Mexico. Unresolved guilt from a thirty-year-old murder of a high school friend sets the group on a series of misadventures. They grapple with the town's handsome police captain, a troubled street youth, the Catholic priest, the town's pot dealer, a seance medium, a rich landowner, and the local ghost to unravel a mystery that goes farther back in time and place than December, 2015 and the small town of Santa Maria Del Mar.

These books will be full of my life experiences, my perspective, my love of place and travel, and the lessons I want to share with the world. They have strong characters and sense of place with a historical unsolved mystery woven throughout. I have chosen the fiction/mystery path because it is easier on the body and soul to write than memoir and more fun.


A writer, community organizer, and consultant in program management, micro-enterprise development, family planning, and HIV/AIDS education, Susan Corbett began her community development career in 1976 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, working in a health clinic in Liberia, West Africa. In 1979, she joined Save the Children Federation as a program coordinator for cooperative and small business projects in Burkina Faso. In 1982, Susan returned to the States where she has worked with local non-profits in drug and alcohol prevention for runaway youth, family planning, homelessness prevention, and immigrant issues. Susan has traveled to over 40 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean, and Central and North America and has lived and worked in ten African countries over the past thirty years (Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, The Gambia, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Liberia). She lives in Colorado with her husband, Steve, her sons, Mitch & Sam, and her dog, Molly.

Connect with Susan:

Website  |  Goodreads

Wednesday, February 3, 2016



Founding Father is a historical fiction set in 1801's Richmond, Virginia, where one of the founding fathers of our young nation, George Wythe, finds his fine-woven, Old South existence starting to unravel at the hands of treacherous political enemies, conspiring in-laws and outlaws, and several seductive Southern belles.

It has been 25 years since Wythe was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and 13 years since he was a delegate to the United States Constitutional Convention. He, the mentor to two U.S. presidents (Jefferson and Monroe) and to the Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court (John Marshall}, has reached a point in his illustrious career where he can rest on his laurels. So, George and his wife retreat to the sanctum sanctorum of their manor house among the gentry in the genteel City on the James.

But Lady Luck and Lady Karma sling sand into the machine of Squire Walker's comfortable, Old South paradise. Throwing grit into his squiredom's ordinarily hum drum, friction-less machinery is a villainous arch-rival, who crosses swords with the "founding father," a no-account nephew, who manipulates his Uncle George's bank account, a dancing girl, who quickens George's pulse to a fever pitch, and a femme fatale, who tempts the founding father.

Upon the death of George's wife, the ravishing 23-year-old slave girl, Lydia, becomes the only female in Wythe's 5th and Grace Street mansion to do her master's bidding.

George wrestles with his desire to remain faithful to his deceased wife, to maintain his obedience to the code of the Old South, and to refrain from exploitation of the young Lydia, all of that versus his carnal desire for the girl.

Lydia struggles with her perceived subservient role versus her desire for the wealthy master to liberate her two young estranged sons from bondage.

Will George and Lydia lead each other into temptation? Can anyone deliver them from evil?


Ken, you're not my husband, brother-in-law, or father-in-law. We're not related in any other way are we?
I live in Western Maryland, where I believe all of my Metz ancestors were born (as far back as my records go, at least).

Then it's highly doubtful we'd have any common ancestors. I believe my ex-husband's family came from Germany to Louisville, where his family stayed. Okay, with that out of the way, tell us how you got started writing?  
My grandson, Kade, who has a degree in literature and on his way to a degree in philosophy, was supposed to write this book, until he informed me that he did not want to write history or romance, but that I should. Well, I just laughed, laughed because I had never ever written a word of history or a word of dialog in my life. But after a period of laughing, my wife convinced me that if Kade was not going to do it then I should. Thus began my year of research.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
Discovering – and  completely unexpectedly – that I began to care about my characters, imagining myself in their place, feeling their emotions. When they were sad, I worried about them, when they were glad, I smiled – even teared up once as I typed one short sentence delivered by my female protagonist.
Do you have a writing routine?

No – only that I write about any time that food is not on the table. While at the keyboard, I can be alone or surrounded by wife, children, and/or grandchildren. In the wee morning hours my wife sometimes would come to the computer room asking when I was coming to bed. My answer was always something like, "When they stop talking to me." Surprisingly, the dialog was the easiest of all of the things I had to do.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
Finding ways to smoothly transition from sentence to sentence, from paragraph to paragraph, from chapter to chapter.

What’s more important – characters or plot?
For my historical novel it was the plot. It was the first thing to jump out at me from my research and formed the foundation of my starting outline. Although, early on it was clear about the basic roles of my male and female protagonists, their character traits seemed to evolve from whatever path that the plot was taking them.  
How often do you read?

During most of my adult life, I have read almost exclusively non-fiction, in particular science non-fiction related to my high school biology and earth science teaching. I have read very little fiction, for which I am glad because I believe that has prevented me from inadvertently "borrowing" from other authors.
What is your writing style?
Third person narrative, with as much dialog as I can incorporate.

What do you think makes a good story?
Because I have written nothing but historical fiction, I try to insure that the reader become familiar enough with the actual history in my story to be able to follow the plot but then to be surprised when the fictional deviates from the historical.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
To review and edit my work from a printed hard copy, not just from a computer monitor. Mistakes that I missed on that screen jumped out at me when I saw them on paper. 

Very true. Do you have any secret talents?
In everyday life, I cannot resist using silly plays on words and simple puns -- much to the chagrin of friends and family. But that "talent" allowed me to interject some humor into Founding Father. Whatever degree of humor that was, it was merely tangential to whatever was going on in the story and almost as an afterthought. Five female readers, however, have told me that they laughed in several places in the story.

Incidentally, those same five women said that they also cried in other places. 

Is writing your dream job?
No, my dream job is after the writing is done, namely in promoting the book. By  promoting I do not mean marketing, I simply mean telling other people about my research, my writing, my characters, my story. 

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Although I have met hundreds of people from "touring" to Richmond, Virginia, where my story takes place and to Wytheville, Virginia (named after my male protagonist, George Wythe),I have been able to promote my book to an equal number of people locally. So, don’t forget to make yourself available to libraries, schools, book clubs, etc. closer to home.

For what would you like to be remembered?
It doesn’t matter – I just do not want to be forgotten.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
It comes from one of George Wythe's law students, Patrick Henry, in his speech at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia on March 23, 1775: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
Do you have a favorite book?
Jared Diamond's Pulitzer winning Guns Germs, And Steel, a discourse on how the advantages and disadvantages of local geography and local biology have shaped human history. 

What are you working on now?

Historical fiction titled If This be Treason: Benedict Arnold And George Washington's Spies. The novel sheds light on The Culper Spy Ring's role in foiling the infamous treasonous conspiracy by Benedict Arnold, Peggy Arnold, and Britain's Major John Andre. If This Be Treason should appeal to fans of the American Movie Classics Channel's series, called TURN.


Ken was born 1940 and holds a B.S. degree in biology and an M.S. degree in geology. He's a retired high school science teacher, father of three, grandfather of seven, great-grandfather of one. Ken had not written a word of history or dialog until this, his first novel. Even more than his love of the year of researching and the year of writing Founding Father is his love of promoting the book and telling people about the story.  

Connect with Ken: 

Website  |  

Buy the book:
The Founding Father