Saturday, October 24, 2020



Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself—she will write herself out of danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband's scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?
With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace's own, Saving Grace is, at its core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.

Book Details:

Title: Saving Grace: A Psychological Thriller

Author: D.M. Barr

Genre: domestic suspense

Publisher: Black Rose Writing (October 15, 2020)

Print length: 255 pages
On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: lobster, chocolate with sea salt, dogs, travel.
Things you need to throw out: everything I’ve been hoarding but never use.

Things you need in order to write: a computer, quiet, the seed of an idea.
Things that hamper your writing: the start of a pandemic, too many pulls on my time, a lack of sleep.

Things you love about writing: revision, being read, marketing my work.
Things you hate about writing: agents who don’t consider a work because it’s too original, finding an audience and snagging reviews.

Words that describe you: perfectionist, independent, non-conformist.
Words that describe you, but you wish they didn’t: perfectionist.

Favorite foods: lobster, chocolate, cream sauce with anything on rice.
Things that make you want to throw up: pumpkin, brussels sprouts, kale.

Favorite music: pop, new wave, classic rock.
Music that make your ears bleed: most rap (but I do like Eminem).

Favorite smell: fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Something that makes you hold your nose: my dog’s morning gift that I must remove from neighbors’ lawns during our morning walk.

Something you’re really good at: research.

Something you’re really bad at: being patient.

Things you always put in your books: diverse characters, humor, and puns.

Things you never put in your books: cruelty against pets or children.

Things to say to an author: where do I get your book and where can I leave a review?

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: The book arrived damaged from Amazon, so I’m giving it a one-star review.

Favorite places you’ve been: too many to mention; I was the daughter of a travel agent and was for many years, a travel writer. Maybe Tahiti, Venice, Paris, London.

Places you never want to go to again: every time I go to South America, something goes wrong so nothing against the countries, it’s just my bad luck.

Favorite things to do: writing, reading, traveling, playing Scrabble with my honey.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: skydiving, hot-air ballooning.

Things that make you happy: anything that makes me laugh.

Things that drive you crazy: people doing stupid or illogical things, people who are purposely helpless.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: publishing my first novel and opening myself up to criticism.

Something you chickened out from doing: underwater walk on my honeymoon.


Expired Listings: Revenge Begins at Home
Slashing Mona Lisa


One felony was all it took to convince Andrea Lin she was better suited to committing crime on paper than in person. As renowned mystery author Lynn Andrews, she understood conflict equaled good drama. Like her readers, she should have expected the hiccups, even relished them. What she hadn’t counted on was the accompanying agita, especially while sitting in her Bergen County kitchen, far from the action at the Bitcoin Teller Machine.

Her one job had been to place a single phone call when the money hit and tell the hacker to lift the encryption on Grace’s computer. Trouble was, her dozen calls remained unanswered until a few minutes ago, throwing their meticulous plan off schedule.

Andrea stroked the blue-gray Nebulung purring on her lap and tried to ignore the churning in her stomach. “Denver, the next time I consider helping a sibling with some crazy scheme, you have my permission to use my leg as a scratching post until I come to my senses. Agreed?”

Denver looked up, his green eyes filled with innocence, and answered with a single meow before leaping onto the table toward her plate of shortbread cookies.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” She sipped her tea, willing the sugar to sweeten the acrid taste in her mouth. The phone interrupted her meditation. No doubt a check-in from her brother, the extorter-in-chief.

“I figured you’d have called by now. Everything on track?” Joe’s strained voice conveyed his own jangled nerves. They’d agreed to be vague when communicating. In these days of Siri and Alexa, anyone could be listening.

“Finally. Took forever to get through to our friend, but she said she’d take care of ‘our project’ as soon as her meetings wrapped up. From here on out though, I’m sticking to fiction. Real-life intrigue is too stressful.”

Andrea missed Joe’s response, instead perplexed by her cats’ sudden change of behavior. Denver had tilted his head and leapt from the table; Vail and Aspen sat frozen, ears perked, staring toward the foyer. Then she heard it too, the sound of papers shuffling in the living room. She leaned forward, muscles taut, hackles raised, ready to pounce. “Joe, hold on a sec. I think someone’s in the house. I’ll call you back later.”


“Wait, what? Andrea??” Silence. The connection was dead.

After twenty minutes of weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic to travel one mile, Joe “Hack” Hackford pulled up outside his sister’s Ridgewood home. Adrenaline pumping on overdrive, he jumped from his car and sprinted toward the house. Door wide open—not an encouraging sign. He steeled his nerves and hastened inside. The living room looked like a hurricane’s aftermath, with furniture overturned and papers littering the carpets and floor.

“Andrea? Are you here?” He rushed into the kitchen, which lacked any signs of their celebratory dinner—no spaghetti boiling on the stove, no cake rising in the oven. Only the door to the backyard ajar and a shriek emanating from the next room, piercing the eerie silence. Hair stiffening at the back of his neck, he raced into the dining room where a redheaded woman stood frozen, staring across the room.

“Who the hell are you?” he growled.

The stranger remained wide-eyed and unresponsive. He followed her gaze to the floor, where he witnessed the unthinkable. His beloved sister lay in the corner, surrounded by a pool of blood, a kitchen knife stuck in her chest. Her eyes remained fixed on the ceiling. A trio of feline guards circled her lifeless body.

Hack’s knees turned to jelly, and he grabbed onto a chair for support, forcing back the remains of the snack he’d consumed only minutes earlier. Once the initial shock waned, he reverted his attention back to the intruder. At second glance, she did look somewhat familiar, though the woman he’d met a few weeks back—the missing heiress whose computer they’d just hacked—was brunette. Had she uncovered their con? With a bolt of fury, he reached forward and pulled the wig from her head. A thousand questions zigzagged in his brain, but only one forced its way past his lips:

“Oh my God. Grace. Oh my God. What the hell have you done?”


Excerpt from Saving Grace by D.M. Barr.  Copyright 2020 by D.M. Barr. Reproduced with permission from D.M. Barr. All rights reserved.



Who is D.M. Barr? By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense, and satire. Her background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations, and real estate. She was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And she needed to actually make money. Now they're off doing whatever it is they do (of which she has no idea since they won't friend her on Facebook), and she can spend her spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles her fancy. The main thing to remember about her work is that she is NOT one of her characters. For example, as a real estate broker, she never played Bondage Bingo in one of her empty listings, offed anyone at her local diet clinic, or run away from home to escape a homicidal husband. But that's not to say she hasn’t wanted to . . .

Connect with the author:

Website Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, October 20, 2020



Welcome to Bushwhack, New Mexico: home to tourists, the great outdoors, and murder...

Tourist season has hit Bushwhack and Andie Sullivan--owner of Sullivan's Adventure Company--is ready for her town to fill up with city slickers, snotty teens, and the dollars she needs to keep her business afloat after her messy divorce from Bucky Gunn--local celebrity rafting guide and Sullivan's main competition. With all her guided tours booked, it finally seems lady luck is on her side.

But then Bucky is found dead. Not great.

And she's the prime murder suspect. Double not great.

Being framed for murder sucks worse than a rabid chipmunk bite. Andie's determined to clear her name, and this time her survival training skills won't be used to fetch an ice pack. But how long can she stay one step ahead of a killer before she becomes the final victim?

Book Details:

Title: The Killer Outdoors

Author: Jodi Linton

Genre: cozy mystery 

Series: A Southwest Exposure Mystery, book 1

Published: October 5, 2020

Print length: 162 pages
On tour with: Great Escape Book Tours



If you could talk to someone (living), who would it be and what would you ask them? 

Easy. Reece Witherspoon. I find her to be a fascinating person. She’s a mom, businesswoman, and lover of books. She’s also from the south like me, and after reading her cookbook I know we’d have fun cooking together.

If you could live in any time period which would it be?
I’d like to visit the sixties so I could see my mom as a teenager.

If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
I’d revisit high school Jodi, and tell myself that everything will turn out just fine. You don’t have to impress anyone, just live your life for you. Everything else will fall into place. I’d also say don’t stress about not having a prom date, because one day you’ll meet a wonderful man and all thoughts about that silly prom will vanish.  

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
I’d be a chef. Cooking is a favorite pastime of mine. I have acquired many kitchen gadgets and cookbooks, and I love creating fancy dinners as well as fun everyday meals. My hope is to in a year to have a new kitchen (either move or remodel) so I can have more workable space.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
That’s a big question, and one I’ve thought a lot about. Before getting married and becoming a mom, I was a traveler. I visited several European countries as well as Turkey (which was a fascinating trip if I do say myself. But if I had to choose one place to live, I’d choose Greece. There’s something magical about the endless blue oceans and beach villages. To me it seems like a very relaxing place to live out your life. 


5 things you never want to run out of:
 •    coffee
 •    creamer
 •    gas in my car
 •    moisturizer
 •    lipstick

5 things you always put in your books:   
•    beer
•    sassy heroine
•    over-the-top town people
•    mullets
•    small town diner

5 favorite places you’ve been:   
•    Istanbul
•    Paris
•    New York
•    Disney World
•    Denver

5 favorite books:   
•    Little Fires Everywhere
•    Sharp Objects
•    No Exit
•    Salem Falls
•    The Doctor’s Wife


What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I was first published at the age of 14 when I won a poetry contest in Texas. 

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Red River, New Mexico, or Salida Colorado.

What’s your favorite quote?
“I think we can agree that all wine tastes the same, and if you spend more than $5 on wine, you are very stupid.” April Ludgate, Parks and Rec.  (This is so me. I always buy the cheap wine. Lol.)

What’s your favorite color?
Emerald green.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without?

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: Cauliflower pizza crust
Music: Flora Cash
Movie: Oldie, but Father of the Bride with Steven Martin. Just finished watching it with the kids. They are Steve Martin fans for life!
Book: My Lovely Wife
TV: Parks and Rec
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Dead to Me, Red Oaks
Miscellaneous: Wander Beauty Baggage Claim under the eye patches. I told my husband if I could only take one item to an island the eye patches would win over him. lol


Jodi Linton is an author of several romance novels and cozy mysteries. She pens funny, romantic, whodunnits during her days in between being a carpool mom. She lives in Texas with her husband, who she runs the family day business with, and two kids. When she isn’t writing her next page turner, she likes to delve into her hobby of finding all the cool, new makeup products to buy.

Connect with Jodi:
Facebook  |  Facebook group  |  Twitter Goodreads  |  Instagram  |  Newsletter  |  YouTube  |  Bookbub

Buy the book:

Saturday, October 17, 2020




Third Degree 3 Authors 3 Novellas:

Cut Loose All Those Who Drag You Down:
A crooked reporter who fronts for the mob and who’s been married eight times gets a visit from his oldest friend, a disgraced and defrocked shrink. The man is in deep trouble and it’s clear somebody is going to pay with his life.

After smuggling cigarettes, maple syrup, and coffee, Aggie discovers a much more sinister plot to exploit what some consider a precious commodity: the trafficking of under-aged children for the purposes of sex.

The Fifth Column:
Months after America’s entry into World War II, a young reporter uncovers that the recently disbanded German-American Bund might still be active and is planning a number of dangerous actions on American soil.

Book Details:

Title: Third Degree 3 Authors 3 Novellas

Authors: Ross Klavan, Tim O’Mara, Charles Salzberg

Genre: crime

Published by: Down & Out Books
 (October 5, 2020)

Print length: 320 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours


Charles Salzberg

If you could live in any time period which would it be?

I guess it would be Paris in the 1920s, when all the ex-pat writers and artists were bloviating their way through evenings at local watering holes: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Morley Callaghan, James Joyce among them. I’ve always been fascinated by the period, read everything I could get my hands on, and even wrote a satirical short story about the period called Looking Back. The reason? I’d like to cut through the myths and legends about them and see them for who they really were. And besides, it would be fun.
If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
I know this sounds self-serving, but I love meeting up with my co-writer and good friend, Ross Klavan. In fact, we actually do have a weekly lunch—even during self-isolation we Zoomed our weekly lunches. But I know this isn’t the answer this question is supposed to elicit, so I’ll try again. Most famous people, in my experience (as a former magazine journalist I did more than my fair share of celebrity interviews), don’t live up to the expectations you might have for them and so we’re probably better off not having coffee with them or a meal (even if they pick up the check). So, the only way to answer this is to tick off a few of my favorite writers and hope they were as interesting in real life as they are between the covers of their books. Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Djuna Barnes, Emily Dickinson and e.e. cummings. But as another, more realistic answer, as a result of Covid, I have a regular Monday evening Zoom with four other crime writers: Reed Farrel Coleman, Matt Goldman, Michael Wiley and Tom Straw, and I can’t think of any better people (including Ross in this) I’d like to have coffee with. In person.
What’s your all-time favorite city?
That’s easy. New York City, where I was born and have lived my entire life with the exception of four years of college in Syracuse and one year of law school in Boston (probably the worst year of my life).
What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
I have a friend who never leaves home without a notebook tucked in his pocket, so he can journal, and I’m sure that would be a good answer to steal, but I’m gonna go with honesty here. My first thought was to answer my phone, but I realize the real answer is my house keys.
What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
That I’m really very lazy and I hardly spend any time at the computer writing, and I can actually go days and sometimes weeks without writing something. Most who know me would say that’s ridiculous, because I’ve had almost forty books published over the years, not to mention scores of magazine articles and book reviews, but the explanation for that is that I’m an extremely fast typist, close to 90 words a minute, and I have an incredible facility to focus once I am at the keyboard. But as far as logging actual time in front of the computer with my hands on the keyboard, not so much.
What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?
Watch TV or take a walk in Riverside Park or Central Park, stopping every so often to do some reading.
What’s your favorite color?
What drives you crazy?
People who lack empathy. And rudeness.
What do you collect?
Fine art, (little known fact, Ross Klavan’s wife, Mary Jones is a fantastic artist, and I’m fortunate enough to own several of her paintings) music boxes (though not lately), books (I have way too many, but I’m loath to throw them out,) and baseball memorabilia. During this Covid period I did something really crazy. I took down all the books from all my shelves, divided them into fiction and nonfiction, and then put them back alphabetized. Just the thought of it now elicits a “what the hell was I thinking?” But the result is that now I can find just about any book I own.

5 things you love about writing:
It was Dorothy Parker who said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” And I can certainly understand that sentiment. For me, I actually like writing (when it’s going well), but I hate having to get to the computer to do the actual writing. Once I’m there, however, I really do enjoy it. I don’t labor over a blank page. I always put something down and have never had so-called writer’s block. But what I like even more than writing is rewriting. That, for me, is when the fun really sets in—unless, of course, what I’ve written is crappy and I’m left with the daunting task of either making it better or throwing it out altogether.
5 favorite books:
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth, Seize the Day, Saul Bellow, In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer, and anything by Dashiell Hammett. There are so many more, but these are the ones that first come to mind.
Netflix or Amazon Prime?
Netflix. But it’s a close race, with Hulu a close third.
What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: For ninety days during the self-isolation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic the only food I ate, since restaurants were closed, was food I prepared myself, so I’d have to say doctoring up frozen pizzas from FreshDirect, because they allow me to be creative in what I use as toppings.
Music: The new Bob Dylan album (or anything by Dylan), Nancy Griffith, and anything you can find by Dave Van Ronk.
Movie: Movie theaters haven’t been open for so long, it’s hard to remember what I’ve seen that I would recommend. But I have been watching a lot of older films and some of my favorites are  Goodfellas (as far as I’m concerned the best movie ever made about the mob, yes, better than The Godfather movies, because it’s more realistic), The Hustler (Paul Newman), In Cold Blood (from the Capote book) and Easy Rider and JoJo Rabbit.
Book: I recently finished my friend Matt Goldman’s Dead West, which I loved, The Third Rainbow Girl by Emily Copley Eisenberg, Furious Hours by Casey Cep. Oh, and I recently reread In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song, and they both hold up.
Audiobook: I don’t listen to audio books, but I have been hooked on true crime podcasts, and I’d recommend three: Someone Knows Something (all the seasons are great, but especially the season with the Dee and Moore case), In the Dark, about the Curtis Flowers Case, and American Skyjacker.
TV: I’d say the Charles Manson series on Epix.
Netflix/Amazon Prime:
Netflix: Babylon Berlin and Narcos, Amazon Prime: Bosch and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (tied with Glow).
What books do you currently have published?
Second Story Man (nominated for a Shamus: I lost, but it did win the Beverly Hills Book Award)
Devil in the Hole (named one of the best crime novels of 2013 by Suspense magazine)
Henry Swann series (in order)
Swann’s Last Song (nominated for a Shamus: I lost)
Swann Dives In
Swann’s Lake of Despair
Swann’s Way Out
Swann’s Down
Triple Shot
Three Strikes

Publisher: Five-Star, and Down & Out Books (The first three Swann novels were published by Five-Star, but Down & Out published the next two and has reprinted all of them in paperback, as well as Devil in the Hole and Second Story Man.)


Where did your interest in writing originate?
As a little kid, somebody gave me an old portable typewriter. I couldn’t read or write yet, but I liked carrying it around, and I was positive that somehow it made me important. Maybe I hit the keys once or twice and enjoyed the sound. But also I think like a lot of people who write, writing was ultimately an escape for me. So was reading. As a kid, I had some great old lady school teachers—of course, they were probably really 25 at the time—but I remember them all as wearing wire rim glasses with their gray hair in a bun. They made it seem like reading and writing were just incredible things to do, with the imagination close to magic. I wrote and got some praise for it—which was unusual—so I figured it was a good thing to do. Then a little later, the parents of a good friend started to recommend things to read—hardboiled crime stories, war novels, science fiction, horror, books with violence and sex and everything else. Books for adults. And all I could think was: Wow. Where’s my typewriter? 

Do you ever get writer’s block?
Years ago, in my late 20’s, I sold a screenplay and moved to London (England) to finish the rewrite and work on a novel. For some reason, I was suddenly writing about something that really bothered me, guys I knew in the Army who got screwed and sent to Vietnam (years later this became the movie Tigerland). I was also working as a radio journalist and my first marriage was breaking up. I sold a short story to the BBC, which was considered a very prestigious outlet. After a couple of years I came back home and weirdly, almost immediately went into a serious writer’s block. I could do journalism but nothing else. This wasn’t just like “oh-I-don’t-feel-like-it” or “poor-me-I-can’t-think-of-anything,” it scared the shit out of me. I went to see a psychoanalyst and ended up on the couch for eight years. At the end of it, I was writing again but much differently. My unasked for advice is, if you’re really stuck and you know down deep that the best thing to do would be walk into traffic (you know who you are), go “talk to somebody.” If not, just about all writing problems are solved just by writing. Even if you can’t stand what you put on the page, even if you feel that way for days, it’ll eventually unravel, and you don’t have to know the reason why.

What are some of your favorite films?
How about the films Barry Lyndon, Sweet Smell of Success and 8 ½ for favorites right now. This list changes from day-to-day and sometimes even includes the films I’ve written. But those three, for now. All of them have a feel for life that’s absurd and funny and mordant and heated and icy all at the same time. Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon is also gorgeous. He found a special lens that allowed him to shoot in candlelight and, of course, that also meant that for every take they had to get the candles burning down to the same length. Sweet Smell of Success is beautiful black-and-white and written in this fantastic style where the dialogue is like street poetry. And 8 1/2 (along with Dr. Strangelove which I should have mentioned) . . . just funny, sad, intense visions of the world.
Do you have any mentors?

I never had a mentor. I don’t have an MFA. Probably too bad, it would have saved me some time. The one genuinely famous author that I knew pretty well was James T. Farrell, who wrote Studs Lonigan among other books. I met him through my aunt—they’d both been Socialists during the 1930’s. He was an incredible guy, disturbingly feisty and articulate. Jim had fished with Hemingway, drank with Dashiell Hammett (who he didn’t like) and talked to Trotsky. I’d come away from our conversations feeling like the world was a better place. He talked a lot about how you could never actually reach out and get to some kind of Final Reality, it was all approximation and story. And the first time he showed me his writing room, he said (very starkly) “I come in here every day and I test the limits of my sanity.” He wasn’t kidding. It took me a long time to genuinely understand what he was talking about.
What's the most surprising thing you've learned from writing?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned from writing—about writing—is how incredibly difficult it is. And I’m not talking about great writing—just writing something that doesn’t make you want to drink detergent. I do some teaching now (The Maslow Family Graduate Creative Writing Program at Wilkes University) and I have to get students to realize that writing—how we’re talking about it—and other forms of writing like blogs, emails, twitter offerings . . . it’s the difference between running a marathon and walking across the street. Both actions use the same muscles and sort of similar movements . . . but for Writing (the marathon) you’d better train and take it seriously and put yourself into it. Otherwise, you’ll collapse.


 Excerpt from ”The Fifth Column” by Charles Salzberg:

I met with the managing editor, Bob Sheldon, and then he handed me over to Jack Sanders, the chief of the metro desk. Both nice guys. Both came from the same mold that gave us Dave Barrett and Bob Doering, my Litchfield bosses. I walked out of there thinking I’d done pretty good. As much as I hated to admit it, I think they were impressed with my having gradu- ated from Yale. “We don’t get many Ivy Leaguers wanting to work here,” the managing editor said. “I’d be happy to be the first,” I replied. And that was true.    

That afternoon, it was the Herald Tribune’s turn and I didn’t think went quite as well. I could tell they were looking for someone a little older, a little more experienced. And I was sure my nerves showed, not especially what you want when you’re trying to impress someone and convince them you’re the right man for the job.

That morning, as I was leaving for my interviews, my aunt asked what I’d like for dinner. “I’m sure you could use a home- cooked meal,” she said, then started to probe me for my favor- ite foods.
“No, no, no,” I said. “I’m taking you out for dinner...”

“I appreciate it, Jakey, but you really don’t have to do that.” “Are you kidding? I want to do it. And believe it or not, they actually pay me for what I do at the paper. So, I’ve got money burning a hole in my pocket and what better way to spend it than taking my favorite aunt out to dinner. Just think about where you’d like to go. And do not, under any circumstances, make it one of the local luncheonettes. If I report back to my mom that that’s where I took you, she’d disown me.”

“You choose, Jakey. After all, you’re the guest.”

I got back to my aunt’s around 3:30. She was out, so I decided to catch a quick nap. I was beat, having been up before five that morning, meaning I got maybe three fitful hours of sleep. And even the excitement of being back in the big city didn’t keep my eyelids from drooping. And I had no trouble falling asleep, despite the sound of traffic outside the window.

I was awakened by the sound of Aunt Sonia unlocking the door. I looked at the clock. It was 5:30 p.m. I got up, straightened myself out, and staggered into the living room just as she was headed to the kitchen carrying two large paper bags filled with groceries.
“Remember,” I said, “we’re going out for dinner.”

“Are you sure, Jakey,” she said as I followed close at her heels into the kitchen.

“One-hundred percent sure. Here, let me help you put those things away.” She smiled. “You won’t know where to put them,” she said as she placed both bags down on the kitchen table.

“You think with all the time I spent here as a kid I don’t know where the milk, eggs, bread, flour, and everything else goes? And even if I didn’t, I’m a reporter, remember? I think I can figure it out.”

“I’m sorry, Jakey. I guess I can’t get the little kid out of my mind. I’ll put this bag away, you put away the other.”

“So, what’s new around here, Aunt Sonia?” I asked as I ferried eggs and milk to the icebox.


“I mean, it’s not the same old Yorkville, is it?”

“I’m not sure what you mean, Jakey.”

“You do read the papers, don’t you? We’re at war with Germany, Italy, and Japan. This is Yorkville. It’s crawling with German-Americans, right?”

“Oh, that.”

“Yes, that.”

“I really don’t see much of a difference,” she said, stowing away the last of the groceries in the cabinet next to the stove. I got the feeling this was a subject she was not interested in dis- cussing, which made it all the more appealing to me. Maybe that accounts for my going into journalism.

“There’s got to be a little tension, doesn’t there? I mean,  wasn’t there that big Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden a few years ago?”
“I don’t really pay much attention to the news, Jakey. Of course, I read everything your mother sends me that you wrote. But the news, well, it’s very upsetting.” She shook her head back and forth slowly.

“That’s putting it mildly,” I said as I pulled out a chair and sat down at the kitchen table.

“Have you decided where we’re going?” Aunt Sonia said. I could see she was still uncomfortable talking about anything having to do with the war. And then it hit me. Her son, my cousin Bobby, who was several years older than me, pushing thirty, in fact, recently enlisted and was now somewhere in Eu- rope. No wonder she was reluctant to talk about it.

“I thought the Heidelberg might be fun. I remember you taking me there as a kid. It was like one big party. I remember someone was at the piano playing these songs I’d never heard before. And this very strange music...”

She smiled. “Oom-pah music. And you were so cute. You got up and started swaying back and forth.”

My face got warm. “I don’t remember anything of the sort,” I said, embarrassed at the thought of doing something so attention-grabbing.

“You can ask your mother if you don’t believe me. But just let me change and freshen up and we’ll get going.”


Excerpt from ”Third Degree” by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara and Charles Salzberg.  Copyright 2020 by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara and Charles Salzberg. Reproduced with permission from Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara and Charles Salzberg. All rights reserved.




Ross Klavan
has published two other noir novellas with Down and Out: “I Take Care Of Myself In Dreamland” and “Thumpgun Hitched” both in collections with Charles Salzberg and Tim O’Mara. His darkly comic novel Schmuck was published by Greenpoint Press in 2014. Klavan’s screenplay for the film Tigerland was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and was directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Colin Farrell. He’s written screenplays for InterMedia, Walden Media, Miramax, Paramount, A&E and TNT. As a performer, Klavan’s voice has been heard in dozens of feature films including Revolutionary Road, Sometimes in April, Casino, In and Out, and You Can Count On Me, as well as in numerous TV and radio commercials. In other lives, he was a reporter and anchorman for WINS Radio, RKO Network and LBC (London, England), and a member of the NYC alternative art group Four Walls. He lives in New York City.

Conect with Ross Klavan:
Goodreads  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

 Tim O’Mara is the Barry-nominated (he didn’t win) author of the Raymond Donne mystery novels. He’s also the editor of the short crime story anthology Down to the River, published by Down & Out Books. Along with "Smoked and Jammed," "Beaned" completes the Aggie Trilogy.

Connect with Tim O'Mara:
Website   |  Goodreads  |  BookBub  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Charles Salzberg, a former magazine journalist and nonfiction book writer, has been nominated for two Shamus Awards, for Swann's Last Song and Second Story Man. He is the author of 5 Henry Swann novels, Devil in the Hole, called one of the best crime novels of 2013 by Suspense magazine, Second Story Man, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award, and his novellas "Twist of Fate" and "The Maybrick Affair," appeared in Triple Shot and Three Strikes. His short stories have appeared in Long Island Noir (Akashic), Mystery Tribune and the crime anthology Down to the River (edited by Tim O'Mara). He is a Founding Member of New York Writers Workshop and is on the board of MWA-NY, and PrisonWrites.

Connect with Charles Salzberg:

Website  |  Goodreads  |  BookBub  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

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Thursday, October 15, 2020



With the pandemic that never seems to be leaving us anytime soon I’ve created worlds that might make you pause for thought. Dark stories told by the characters as they experienced their journeys into worlds that you might not want to live in a hopefully be happy in the one you’re in.

Book Details:

Title: What If?

Author: Fran Lewis

Genre: time travel/ sci fi

Published by: Fidelli (July 8, 2020)

Print length: 78 pages


Things you need in order to write: my note pad on my phone, my computer, some interesting thoughts and a long walk before I get started and possibly a graphic organizer fill: med with ideas.
Things that hamper your writing: when my mind gets overloaded with ideas and I need to focus on the ones needed to create my novels or stories

Things you love about writing: I love that what I write belongs to me, and I can share my work with everyone.
Things you hate about writing: I hate editing and rereading.
Easiest thing about being a writer: just relaxing with a cup of coffee close by and writing without thinking about the outside world.
Hardest thing about being a writer: getting publishers to publisher your work and getting readers to give you constructive feedback before getting your work published.

Things you love about where you live: it’s quiet, and most people stay to themselves.
Things that make you want to move: nothing that would make me want to move.

Things you never want to run out of: coffee, salads, fun foods.
Things you wish you’d never bought: some of the jackets I plan to get rid of. A bag that was really not what it was supposed to be.

Words that describe you: opinionated, hard working, bold, blunt, and yet stating my thoughts without hurting anyone’s feelings. I love working with authors and helping to promote their work.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: tough as nails, asks too many questions, and at times won’t stop until I get the answers I need to solve a problem.
Favorite foods: pizza and tuna.
Things that make you want to throw up: beets, olives and spicy foods.

Favorite music: classical music and opera.
Music that make your ears bleed: RAP.

Favorite beverage: black coffee.
Something that gives you a pickle face: salty foods.

Favorite smell: hot brewed coffee.
Something that makes you hold your nose: a skunk.

Something you’re really good at: helping others with projects, finding information on the net and doing research for my books.
Something you’re really bad at: driving a car.

Something you wish you could do: teleport myself anywhere I want so I can finally see my nieces and nephews.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: dancing lesson: I hated them.

People you consider as heroes: my dad who was my champion and taught me to let everyone hear my voice; my aunt Tommy who taught me to speak out and speak up.
People with a big L on their foreheads: people who are too opinionate and too negative and who never tell it straight.

Last best thing you ate: Sicilian pizza from Arthur avenue pizza.
Last thing you regret eating: chicken salad with too much mayo.
Things you always put in your books: something about me and my sense of humor.
Things you never put in your books: personal information and age questions.

Things to say to an author: your work is inspirational, thought provoking and definitely worth reading.
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: your writing is disjointed and your plot line is flat, poorly crafted and uninteresting.

Favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Last Scoop, Gone With the Wind.
Books you would ban: I never read porn or erotica.

People you’d like to invite to dinner (living): Dick Belsky, Jon Land, Marsha Casper Cook.

People you’d cancel dinner on: reviewers that are rude,  a relative that is deceptive and betrayed my trust.

Favorite things to do: reading, walking on a nice day, shopping.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: cooking, housework and talking to certain people.

Things that make you happy: texting my nieces and nephews, helping them with difficult assignments, just hanging out on the phone.
Things that drive you crazy: people that are always negative.

Proudest moment: completing my 4 masters and above.
Most embarrassing moment: burning dinner for date when I was single.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: telling someone they look lovely not to hurt their feelings.
A lie you wish you’d told: I try not to, I’m too honest.

Best thing you’ve ever done: becoming an educator and working with students with learning challenges.
Biggest mistake: retiring early.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: stock car racing.
Something you chickened out from doing: hang gliding and riding in a hot air ballon.




One Race: One World: The Year 2050

It was now 2050 and the world had really changed.  There were no more planes or trains.  All you needed to do was think about being somewhere and you were there.  The government, in order to save money on gas and fuel, had banned cars, buses, and any means of transportation, and implanted chips in everyone’s arms that helped transport them to wherever they wanted to go, including the past.

A huge explosion had occurred, and all that was left in the world were twenty countries,  with only twelve hundred people in each country. Most people had not survived the explosion, which had caused most of the countries to just disappear into space forever.  No one really knew if anyone was out there or if these people survived somewhere, and no one really cared enough to find out.

One man called The Ruler headed all the countries, and assigned one person as the Chief of Law and Enforcement in each country.  Under this person, five people helped to enforce the rules and the laws.

Then, one miserable day, someone decided there were too many wars, too many hate crimes, too many people being killed on the streets, and too much traffic and congestion on the highways.  The government hired several scientists to find a solution to the problem, and that was how everyone in the entire world wound up multicolored.

Because of all the wars and fighting and hate that took place in the past, the government created a way to eliminate the many different races in the world and opted for only one. Everyone looked the same.  Our faces might have looked a little different, but our skin colors were the same—multicolored.  They did this so that no one would insult, mock, or hurt anyone because of their skin color.  They eliminated houses of worship so that everyone was nonsectarian, and no one would be discriminated against.  However, what they could not eliminate were our thoughts and desires to make changes in our lives, even though they tried.

Everyone that lived here had a job that paid the same amount.  No one, no matter what they did or what career they chose, was paid more than anyone else.  We never had to worry about being laid off.  Unless we decided to move somewhere else our job stayed the same, and there was no room for advancement—ever.  Everyone did the same thing every day.  Nothing changed.  Life was supposed to be anger free, insult free, and most of all, calm and tranquil.  HOW DULL AND BORING!  (OH!  I am not supposed to say that.  Opinions are not allowed here.)

One morning I got up and got dressed to go to my boring job as an accountant with the only accounting firm in this city.  I went over the books daily,  entered my accounts in their daily ledgers, and did taxes for some of the companies in this city.  It was grunt work, and nothing exciting ever happened at work or anywhere else.

Walking to work as usual, I began remembering how it was only twenty years ago when there were cars, trains, and people running and yelling for cabs and trains to wait for them at the station.  I missed the newspaper people on the street and the vendors selling hot coffee and bagels from their pushcarts.  Those were the days.  I loved the way people had looked and the different races and nationalities that lived here.  Learning from other people was what made life exciting. 

Then the unexpected happened.  A new family with two children moved in down the street from me.  These two kids were not going to conform to our way of thinking, and decided it was time to shake things up—and they did.  One morning when going to school they each wore something other than the school’s drab gray uniform.  The girl wore a pink and green dress with flowers, and the boy wore something blue, and a shirt that said, “I hate being the same.  Different Rules.”

This did not go over well, and they were taken into custody by the guards in their school and promptly suspended.  This did not stop them.  They started screaming and yelling all sorts of words we had not heard before.  “One race is not what we are supposed to be.  I hate this planet.  I hate all of you.”

I could not believe my ears. This was grounds for banishment into the Devoid Zone.  These two children had painted stars all over their faces.  Their younger sister decided to paint her face one color.  Who in today’s world had a face that was one color?  Everyone here looked and dressed the same.  It prevented jealousy, arguments, and fashion wars.  How dare they go against the laws of this state?


Excerpt from What if? by Fran Lewis.  Copyright 2020 by Fran Lewis. Reproduced with permission from Fran Lewis. All rights reserved.



Fran Lewis taught for 36 years in a New York Public School as a dean, staff developer and reading specialist. She loved helping children with learning disabilities soar and rise to the top. Fran loves music and majored in music when she attended Hunter College and was a concert violist. Fran has a master’s in reading and learning disabilities, education, Administration and supervision and a PD in Administration and supervision. Fran enjoys doing book reviews, interviews on her network MJ network on Blog Talk radio, and she is currently writing her next Faces Behind the Stones book. Title to be decided.

Connect with Fran:
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Friday, October 9, 2020




How can she protect herself from an enemy she can’t see?

Law school graduate Whitney Garrison is a survivor. She admirably deals with an abusive boyfriend, her mother’s death, mounting student debt, dwindling job opportunities, and a rare neurological condition that prevents her from recognizing human faces.

But witnessing a murder might be the crisis she can’t overcome.

The killer has every advantage. Though Whitney saw him, she has no idea what he looks like. He knows where she lives and works. He anticipates her every move. Worst of all, he’s hiding in plain sight and believes she has information he needs. Information worth killing for. Again.

As the hunter drives his prey into a net of terror and international intrigue, Whitney’s only ally, Detective Leo Baroni, is taken off the case. Stripped of all semblance of safety, Whitney must suspect everyone and trust no one—and hope to come out alive.

Book Details:

Title: Everywhere to Hide

Author: Siri Mitchell

Genre: suspense

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 6, 2020)

Print length: 341 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours



Things you need in order to write: coffee.
Things that hamper your writing: having other people in my house. (Family, I love you, just not when I’m writing!)

Things you love about writing: the first draft.
Things you hate about writing: everything else.

Easiest thing about being a writer: listening to my characters talking in my head.

Hardest thing about being a writer: ‘Hey! You! Yes – you, a person I’ve never met before. Want to buy my book?’

Things you love about where you live: the history.
Things that make you want to move: it’s not the West Coast.

Favorite foods: leftovers – they mean I don’t have to cook.
Things that make you want to throw up: tripe in any form.

Something you’re really good at: untangling necklaces, the more knots the better.

Something you’re really bad at: keeping up with technology.

Something you like to do: swing on porch swings.
Something you wish you’d never done: ride the latest-greatest roller coaster at an area amusement park.

Last best thing you ate: a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food.

Last thing you regret eating: that second scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food.

Things to say to an author: “I was going to write a really bad review of your book because I didn’t get this one thing, but I decided to take advantage of {twitter, Facebook, email} and just ask you instead. Why did you ____________?”
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “I loved your book! I downloaded it for free on!”

Favorite places you’ve been: Paris.
Places you never want to go to again: any of the places I researched for my historical novels. The idea that there were ever ‘Good Old Days’ at any point in history is a myth.

Favorite things to do: hunt for treasures in thrift shops; look for new patterns on

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: dusting. It’s such a thankless task. It all comes back again.

Things that make you happy: purple, working out (no, I’m no kidding).

Things that drive you crazy: migraines.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I’m a writer. (Before, in fact, I was one.)

A lie you wish you’d told: ‘The voice you hear on your phone? Why yes, indeed. I am that Siri!’

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: hop on the metro in Tokyo all by myself with the intention of getting lost.

Something you chickened out from doing: walking up to a stranger to say, “Hi.” (Classic introvert non-move.)


The door was difficult to open. The tropical storm had transformed the alley into a wind tunnel, funneling the muggy air from one side of the block to the other. I raised a hand to pull my hair off my face and turned into the wind to keep it there, quickly turning my ponytail into a bun. As I stepped away from the door, I was surprised to see someone sprawled on the pavement in front of me.

He was lying face up. A red puddle had formed a halo around his head.

He wasn’t— was he— he wasn’t— was he dead?

As I stood there trying to process what I was seeing, the wind sent a recycling crate skidding across the cracked pavement.

I jumped.

I glanced up the alley, then down. Nothing was there. Nothing but the wind. And a dead man staring up at the cloud- streaked sky.

Behind me, I heard something scrabble across the low, flat roof.

I pivoted and glanced up. Saw a form silhouetted against the sky. Shock gave way to panic as I realized he had a gun in his hand. As I realized that he had also seen me.

I should have lunged toward the door.

But a familiar numbness was spreading over me. The prickle on my scalp, the sudden dryness in my mouth. I was living my nightmares all over again.

As I had done too often in the past, I reverted to form. I froze.

Please. Please. Please.

My thoughts latched onto that one word and refused to let it go.

If I could just punch my code into the keypad, I could slip back inside and pull the door shut behind me.

But I couldn’t do anything at all.

My fingers wouldn’t work.

Please. Please. Please.

I willed them to function, but they had long ago learned that in a dangerous situation, the best thing to do was nothing. Any movement, any action on my part had always made things worse.

And so I just stood there as my thoughts stuttered.



Excerpt from Everywhere to Hide by Siri Mitchell.  Copyright 2020 by Siri Mitchell. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.



Siri Mitchell is the author of sixteen novels. She has also written two novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo.

Connect with Siri:
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Buy the book:
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Thursday, October 1, 2020



He has always lived in mystery; will she be the one to discover his secret?

Robert Valmer moves from Rome to Beverly Hills in 2015, where against his better judgment, he falls for Alexis Roth, PhD, psychologist to the stars. But Alexis wants to know everything. Start from the beginning, she says. The beginning? Can he really tell her about how he fled France during the French Revolution in 1789 or about Italy during World War II? If he tells her even a little, will she think of him as a liar or a freak rather than a lover?

He tries to deflect her probes, pleading shyness, but she knows that reticence is often the veil behind which secrecy lurks. His practice of stonewalling only further ignites her burning curiosity.

As the pressure for honesty mounts, he does what he’s always done—flee. But Alexis is not a lover to be easily dismissed. She follows him to Europe, determined to track him down for an explanation. Where can she start when her quarry doesn’t want to be found? Each clue she uncovers leads her deeper into intrigue.
An Oddity of Some Consequence is a glamorous tale of mystery, romance, and the fountain of youth.

Book Details:

Title: An Oddity of Some Consequence

Author: Gary Dickson

Genre: time travel fiction/ time travel romances

Publisher: Pairings, Ltd. (September 14, 2020)

Print length: 239 pages


A few of your favorite things: Susie, my wife, Paris, Switzerland, literature, food, music, wine, wandering around.
Things you need to throw out: books that weren’t worth reading, old Tee shirts, worn shoes and boots, documents without pertinence, ties-does anyone wear one anymore? 

Things you need in order to write: time, computer, knowledge of where the plot is going, a good walk, a remembrance of something past, at times a little wine, a cozy fire, a beautiful vista.
Things that hamper your writing: confusion about the direction of plot or characters, not having an ending in mind, hunger, too much noise.

Things you love about writing: a voyage of the mind, endless puzzles to work out, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, when readers like my books, an endless search for ideas, makes you observant of everything.
Things you hate about writing: when the story ends, it’s bittersweet, its obsessive nature, it can’t be put aside, it’s always present.

Easiest thing about being a writer: writing after you have an idea and the ending.

Hardest thing about being a writer: self-doubt, rethinking, re-writing, seemingly thoughtless criticism, re-writing, going over the same things in your mind endlessly searching for an answer.

Things you love about where you live: Los Angeles: great climate year-round, sunshine, palm trees, ocean, mountains, great restaurants, stars both celestial and those that walk Rodeo Drive.
Things that make you want to move: I love Europe, particularly Paris and Switzerland. I love to speak the languages I know, and I love the proximity to so many interesting places when you live in Europe. And don’t forget the food . . . and the wine.

Things you never want to run out of: air, water, food, love, friends, empathy, interest, enthusiasm, money.
Things you wish you’d never bought: too many packages of M&Ms, desert boots, clear, round professor glasses, a very intimidating violin that only came out of its case for a few scratchy bars, innumerable hair restoration miracles, an inedible dinner at a highly touted restaurant in Paris, an unassembled swing set which consisted of thousands of parts, fruit by mail, I’ll stop here.

Favorite foods: filet mignon, lobster, cod, crab, lamb chops and chicken, Bibb lettuce, French green beans, French fries, ice cream, chocolate, cheese, caviar, smoked salmon.
Things that make you want to throw up: bad odors, horrific violence, rudeness, spoiled food.

Favorite music or song: “It Had to Be You.” Classical music and Rock n’ Roll.
Music that make your ears bleed: brass instruments and heavy metal.

Favorite beverage: red wine/Bordeaux.

Something that gives you a pickle face: persimmon.

Favorite smell: pheromones of Susie.

Something that makes you hold your nose: garbage.

Something you’re really good at: staying positive.

Something you’re really bad at: golf.

Something you wish you could do: live in Switzerland.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: exaggerate.

Something you like to do: travel with my wife.

Something you wish you’d never done: drove from NYC to Atlanta stopping only for gas after 09/11.

People you consider as heroes: the people that provide personal services to us all without much recognition or compensation.

People with a big L on their foreheads: disrespect.

Last best thing you ate: a three-pound Maine lobster.
Last thing you regret eating: the seven layer chocolate ganache cake that followed it.

Things you’d walk a mile for: a great dinner.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: formal dinners and balls.

Things you always put in your books: my best effort.

Things you never put in your books: violence and vulgarity. 

Things to say to an author: ask questions.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I’ve got a thick skin.

Favorite places you’ve been: Paris, Lausanne, Geneva, Zurich, Gstaad, St. Moritz, Florence, Positano, Marrakech, Venice, Vienna, Berlin.

Places you never want to go to again: Haiti, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico.

Favorite things to do: travel, dine, walk, write. 

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: going to the dentist, buying a car, renewing my driver’s license.

Things that make you happy: crisp sheets.

Things that drive you crazy: clutter.

Proudest moment: having my French poetry book published by a Paris publisher.

Most embarrassing moment: missing an appointment.

Best thing you’ve ever done: become a writer.

Biggest mistake: not starting sooner.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: skied down a black diamond in Grindelwald, Switzerland. 

Something you chickened out from doing: piloting a Cessna solo for the first time when I was eighteen.

The last thing you did for the first time: had plasma injected into my knee.

Something you’ll never do again: have plasma injected into my knee.


An Improbable Pairing

A Spy with Scruples

The Poetry of Good Eats


Gary Dickson is an inveterate traveler and a Francophile sans merci. Educated in Switzerland in history, literature, and the classics, Gary lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Susie.

Connect with Gary:
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Wednesday, September 23, 2020



In the final Enchantment Lake mystery, Francie's search for the truth about her mother--and herself--plunges her into danger during a North Woods winter

When she wakes in her aunts' cold cabin on the shore of Enchantment Lake, Francie remembers: everything about her life has changed. Or is about to. Or just might. Everything depends on the small, engraved silver box that she now possesses--if only she can follow its cryptic clues to the whereabouts of her missing mother and understand, finally, just maybe, the truth about who she really is.

Francie, it turns out, has a lot to learn, and this time the lessons could be deadly. Her search for answers takes her and her best friends Raven and Jay as far afield as an abandoned ranch in Arizona and as close to home as a sketchy plant collector's conservatory and a musty old museum where shadows lurk around every display case. At the heart of it all is a crime that touches her own adopted North Woods: thieves dig up fragile lady's slippers, peel bark from birches, strip moss off trees, cut down entire forests of saplings to sell for home decor. But Francie is up against no ordinary plant theft. One ominous clue after another reveal that she possesses something so rare and so valuable that some people are willing to do anything to get it. When Francie's investigation leads her into the treacherously cold and snowy North Woods, she finds out that she too is being pursued.

Book Details:

Title: The Silver Box

Author: Margi Preus

Genre: middle grade mystery

Series: The Enchantment Lake Mystery Series

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (October 6, 2020)

Print length: 200 pages


A few of your favorite things: my little writing house and everything in it.
Things you need to throw out: half of everything in my big house.

Things you need in order to write: paper & pen.
Things that hamper your writing: the phone.

Things you love about writing: you can do it from anywhere, be any age, and you can’t be fired.
Things you hate about writing: tendonitis.

Things you love about where you live: our woods and creek; proximity to trails and lakes, great neighbors, and I love Duluth!
Things that make you want to move: late March, April, sometimes May when winter hasn’t yet ended . . .

Favorite beverage: a cappuccino in the morning and a glass of good wine in the evening.

Something that gives you a pickle face: fermented things.

Favorite smell: the pine-scented air of the Northwoods.

Something that makes you hold your nose: lawn chemicals. Why? Why do people put poisons on their lawns and therefore into watersheds?

Something you’re really good at: throwing big dinner parties on short notice.

Something you’re really bad at: cleaning up afterward. (Fortunately my husband is good at it.)

Things you always put in your books: questions.

Things you never put in your books: a moral.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: so many people! Writers! Artists! Heroes! Writers: Louise Erdrich, David Mitchell, Philip Pullman, Amor Towles, Anthony Doerr, Colson Whitehead, Billy Collins, Celeste Ng, Margaret Atwood. . . the list goes on . . . (Fortunately I am good at throwing large dinner parties—see above.)
People you’d cancel dinner on: current resident of the White House and family.

Things that make you happy: being on water (preferably in a canoe or kayak); being on snow (preferably on skis); foggy days; sunny days; good food; good friends; family.

Things that drive you crazy: leaf blowers, fireworks all summer long, lawn chemicals (see above), clear-cutting, car locks that beep or honk, extraneous noise in general.


Margi Preus’s books for young readers include the Newbery-honor-winning Heart of a Samurai and its companion The Bamboo Sword, also West of the Moon, Enchantment Lake, and Shadow on the Mountain. Her books have been ALA/ALSC Notables, received multiple awards, landed on many “best of” lists, been featured on NPR, and have been translated into several languages. When not writing, she enjoys traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world.

Connect with Margi:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  
Bookshop  |  Barnes & Noble