Tuesday, September 15, 2020




Known for its mouthwatering traditional breads, the Yeast of Eden bakery has gained fame across Northern California’s coast. Now the shop is bound for Reality TV—but a murder may kill its reputation . . .

People come to the beach town of Santa Sofia as much for the healing properties of Yeast of Eden’s breads as for a vacation getaway. And now a cable food channel has selected the bakery as a featured culinary delight for a new show. Baking apprentice Ivy Culpepper is excited as the crew arrives, ready to capture all the ins and outs of the renowned bread shop. But instead they capture something much harder to stomach: the attempted murdered of the show’s cameraman just outside Yeast of Eden . . .

With no motive and no clues, and the town craving answers, it will be up to Ivy to sift through the evidence to find the truth. But she’ll have to move quickly before someone else is targeted or the wrong person gets the heat—and the business collapses like a deflated soufflé, right before her eyes.

Book Details:

Author: Winnie Archer

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: A Bread Shop Mystery, book 5

Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2020)

Print length: 352 pages



If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would love to talk with Agatha Christie, the queen of mystery. I’d like to learn how she came up with so many amazing plots and characters, and where here inspiration came from.

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
I have had another career: middle school English teacher. If, for some reason I couldn’t continue as a writer, I’d definitely go back to teaching. I loved teaching and miss it sometimes. Not right now during the pandemic, though!

If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose?
I am on the board for our town’s Friends of the Library. I volunteer in the book donation room, at book sale events, and do whatever else is needed. I really enjoy it!

If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book?
I’d definitely choose one of my own fictional towns, but it would be a toss up between Santa Sofia, a coastal town in California from The Bread Shop mysteries, or Devil’s Cove, from the upcoming Book Magic mysteries, an island village in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I’m a small town girl, which means the towns I create for my books have qualities that really appeal to me.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?

Oh gosh. I don’t know! I love where we live now—in North Carolina. I’d love to live on the coast here (minus the hurricanes, of course). Three of my kids live in Los Angeles. If I could live in an awesome house on the beach there, I might go for that. Or a beach town in Europe somewhere would be awesome. Apparently I want to live by the ocean!


5 favorite possessions: 

  • my Nook
  • my wedding ring, which was my grandmother’s
  • my computer (can’t live without it!)
  • my yoga mat
  • any one of my mother’s water color paintings that are on my wall

5 things you love about writing:  

  • being able to be home with my dogs (Bean the pug and Dobby the chug) everyday
  • being able to spend times with the fictional friends I’ve created in my books
  • working from home because I love my house
  • having wonderful writer friends
  • being able to share the stories and characters that live in my head

5 things you love about where you live:  

  • I live in North Carolina and I love
  • the trees
  • being so close to so many cool places
  • the little lake we live on
  • having so many wonderful friends
  • our cute town

5 things about you or 5 words to describe you:  

  • determined
  • considerate
  • compassionate
  • creative
  • loving

5 favorite places you’ve been:  

  • Girona, Spain
  • Prague
  • North Carolina coast
  • Montpelier, France
  • the mountains in Virginia


What’s one thing that very few people know about you? 

I recently finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I wasn’t sure at the end that I actually wanted to teach yoga, but I’m teaching once a week (socially distanced) and am really enjoying it.

What’s the most beautiful sound you’ve heard? 

The rushing water of a waterfall. And the sweet crying of each of my newborn babies <3

What’s your favorite meal? 

Depends on the day. I love my tacos, pizza from our new pizza oven, egg burritos, and baba ganoush come in at the top.

What’s your favorite snack?
Lately it’s been Honeycomb cereal. It’s pretty low cal and meets my sweet craving!

What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?

Binge on a great TV show!

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?

I have a great photograph of my kids walking down these cool steps when we were in Valencia, Spain a few years ago. I love the photo and have it as all my screensavers!

What do you collect?

I’m not a big collector, but I have taken a fancy to cute teapots lately. I just found a super quirky one of three chefs (!) at an antique store in Staunton, Virginia when we were there last weekend!

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: homemade pizza with an Ooni pizza oven. Cooks at 900 degrees and in one minute. SO good!
Music: I’ve been listening to the Bridge on Sirius XM.
Movie: Chef. I love this movie!
Book: Circe. Just read it and enjoyed it a lot.
Audiobook: anything by Liane Moriarty
TV: old The Closer episodes.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: I’m currently loving In the Dark


Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and by night she’s the author of the Bread Shop Mystery series. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in Colorado. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

Connect with the author:

Website   |  Facebook Kensington

Buy the book:

Saturday, September 12, 2020




Waylon Jenkins has a problem. Well, he's got a few of them. The ghost of Betsy Ross lives in his house, he's pretty sure his favorite client is the victim of ongoing domestic violence, and he's been roped into helping the police investigate a series of murders. 

And his penis fell off in the shower this morning. He needs a new one, but none of his friends are willing to donate theirs to the cause. 

In case it isn't obvious by now, Waylon Jenkins is a zombie.

He's also one of the most highly respected and in-demand makeup artists in Hollywood, and that keeps him busy, no matter how dead he is. But now he needs to find out who's committing a string of murders, and make sure nobody hurts Mitzi (one name only), one of his most faithful (and famous) clients. 

He also needs a new penis. 

Pluck & Cover is the first in the Zombie Cosmetologist Novellas, a new series by J.D. Blackrose, author of The Soul Wars and The Devil's Been Busy.

Book Details

Title: Pluck &Cover

Author: JD Blackrose

Genre: humorous fantasy/cozy

Series: Zombie Cosmetologist

Publisher: Falstaff Books (March 5, 2020)

Print length: 126 pages


A few of your favorite things: books, books, all the books!
Things you need to throw out: books, books, all the books! Well, maybe not throw them out, but donate or sell. 

Things you need in order to write: two monitors. I have to be able to Google things or look at my Evernote files while I’m writing.
Things that hamper your writing: Facebook and Twitter! Social media sucks up time like nothing else.

Things you love about writing: creating a story out of your own head and sharing it with other people. It’s the closest thing to magic I know.
Things you hate about writing: finding a way to convey all the details you see in your mind to your reader without dumping ten pages of stupid, boring stuff.

Easiest thing about being a writer: making things up.

Hardest thing about being a writer: not making any money doing it.

Things you love about where you live: I live in Cleveland, and it is a fabulous place to raise a family. It is affordable and has culture and outdoor spaces. The Midwest is great.
Things that make you want to move: snow. I’m so over it.

Things you never want to run out of: fresh water, toilet paper, food, basic medical supplies.
Things you wish you’d never bought: for some reason, I own approximately seven meat thermometers. I’m pretty sure I could pare down on those.

Words that describe you: compassionate, driven, caring.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: impatient, insecure, occasionally inattentive.

Favorite foods: I like almost everything except . . .
Things that make you want to throw up: anise, fennel, and black licorice because they have the same flavor. I’m literally repulsed by it. I can’t even smell it.

Favorite smell: Bath and Bodyworks Jasmine/Vanilla body wash. It’s my favorite, and it is discontinued!

Something that makes you hold your nose: a dirty catbox. There is almost nothing worse.

Something you’re really good at: I’m a good cook. I love cooking and experimenting with different recipes and flavors. 

Something you’re really bad at: sewing. If it has to do with a needle and thread, I’m terrible at it. I can sew a button on but that is about it. Cook a dinner for twelve? No problem. Hem a pair of pants? Not on your life. 

Things to say to an author: I love your books. I recommended your books to my friends. I really enjoyed that scene when . . .
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I think you should have written your book differently. I have an idea for a story that I’m going to tell you and you should write it. I really liked the story, but I gave your book a one-star review because it arrived at my door in bad condition. (Authors have no control over shipping!)

Favorite places you’ve been: Italy. Oh, Italy.

Places you never want to go to again: Newark airport. Sorry, Newark.


J.D. Blackrose is currently writing a new urban fantasy series for BellBridge Books. She published The Soul Wars, The Devil’s Been Busy, and two Zombie Cosmetologist novellas through Falstaff Books. Her short story, "The Ghost Train," was published by Third Flatiron in their Spring 2019 Anthology and their Best of 2019 Anthology. She spends a lot of time chatting with the imaginary people in her head and is often accused of having a hearing problem. As a survival tactic, she has mastered the art of looking interested. She credits her parents for teaching her to ask questions, and in lieu of facts, how to make up answers.

Connect with the author:
Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon author page 

Buy the book:


Thursday, September 3, 2020




A quiet night in the city of Colby is shattered by a crime that leaves a young man dead and a cop looking for answers. Hitting a stone wall at every turn, Officer Mike Collins and the Colby Police Department follow the trail of one young man's criminal act to discover a crime that leaves a family in shambles. Police officers know evil exists, they face it every day, but the evil that looms in the city of Colby may be more than they can handle. 

Book Details:   

Title: Family Secrets: A Colby PD Novel

Author: Ronnie Ashmore

Genre: crime fiction, crime thriller, mystery, suspense

Publish date: June 2020

Print length: 166 pages


A few of your favorite things: spending time with my family, golf, and reading.
Things you need to throw out: anything that doesn’t contribute to overall happiness.

Things you need in order to write:
a quiet place and a busy mind.
Things that hamper your writing: the internet and research can kill my writing time. 

Things you love about writing:
telling a story that hopefully makes much more sense in written form than thought form.
Things you hate about writing: finding a way to not have cliches fill my writing.

Easiest thing about being a writer: having that first spark of an idea. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: turning that initial spark into a full story.

Things you love about where you live: it’s Texas. That is all that needs to be said.
Things that make you want to move: nothing, except maybe the Texas summers.

Things you never want to run out of:
love from my family.
Things you wish you’d never bought: I don’t really think of things in that fashion. Everything is a learning experience.

Words that describe you: honest.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: short.

Favorite foods: most anything my wife makes. She is a great cook.
Things that make you want to throw up: certain smells that you experience in my line of work that as I get older seem to bother me more.

Favorite music: love all kinds of real music. Sinatra, country music, southern rock, jazz.
Music that make your ears bleed: most of the new stuff that is being mass produced these past few years. Although there are some great singers among the mess.

Favorite beverage: water.

Something that gives you a pickle face: sour things.

Favorite smell: leather.

Something that makes you hold your nose: some of the same things that make me want to throw up.

Something you’re really good at: poker and most trivia games.

Something you’re really bad at: running marathons. Never done it, never will because . . .  well, why?

Something you like to do: I like to play golf. I am not very good at it, but I enjoy it. 

Something you wish you’d never done: quit college.

Things you always put in your books: I try, though not always possible, to include something that connects to what inspired the story whether a person or a saying or whatever.

Things you never put in your books: anything that seems fake.

Things to say to an author: loved the book.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Wow. That story sucked.

Favorite things to do: travel, golf, and spend time with the kids and wife. 

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: spending time with fake people.

Things that make you happy: my kids laughter, my wife’s smile. A good cigar and a nice drink. 

Things that drive you crazy: being put on a schedule.

Proudest moment: being a father. Not to sound sappy, but a lot of my pride and joy is wrapped up in my wife and kids. 

Most embarrassing moment: this involves a story from my younger days in patrol and is too lengthy to get into, but it involves a snake and an elderly woman. 


Ronnie Ashmore is a two-time chief of police who started his law enforcement career as a jailer working his way up through the ranks. He has written short stories, poems, and books.

When he is not working or writing and has some spare time, he enjoys playing golf, fishing, and traveling with his wife and kids.  You can contact him at ronnieashmore@mail.com

Connect with Ronnie:
Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Goodreads 

Buy the book:

Tuesday, August 25, 2020




Chased by a group of angry men. Saved by quite a hunk.

This is not the résumé Ginger Halloway ever imagined having. But thanks to a miracle pill, which makes her size 22 body instantly sexy, that’s what happened.

Yet, now Lance Franklin is showing interest in her, and she can’t figure out if he really likes her for her, or if it’s just because of a bizarre drug.

And her wild bunch of friends, The Misfits…well, they’re always getting her into some interesting situations.

So, yep, business as usual. Except for the guy. What the hell should she do about him?

As for Lance, he believes he’s lucky to have found Ginger. But can he convince her they should go for it?

With some new attention from the hottest guy she’s ever met, Ginger can’t help but wonder…is this all too good to be true?

(CONTENT WARNING: Watch for foul language, steamy scenes, and a pesky yet messy ability to choke on your dinner while laughing. If you’ve come expecting just a lighthearted, slapstick romance, you may not get that here. The author approaches sensitive topics in the best way she knows how. Just be prepared for all the feels to be deeper than usual for this genre – an emotional romantic comedy. No unruly cliffhangers, HEA guaranteed.)

Book Details:

Title: Chasing Ginger  

Author’s name: Marie Lavender

Genre: Steamy Romantic Comedy, Adult Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, BBW/Curvy/Rubenesque Romance, Billionaire Romance

Series: The Misfits Series

Publish date: March 10, 2020

Print length: 441 pages


Things you need in order to write: quiet, paper or a notepad, a gel pen, and dark chocolate.
Things that hamper your writing: a lot of people talking or too much noise, stress, not knowing enough about the character’s environment or background.

Easiest thing about being a writer: being in the zone, when the muse is talking, or when the words are flowing through me.

Hardest thing about being a writer: waiting for anything to happen in the publishing process—it drives me crazy not being in control of the final product.

Things you love about where you live: my office is quiet enough to get something done.
Things that make you want to move: my neighbors are crazy.

Things you never want to run out of: gel pens.
Things you wish you’d never bought: non-fiction books that I’m afraid I will never read.

Words that describe you: creative.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: laser focus.

Favorite foods: chicken Oscar, or anything from The Cheesecake Factory.
Things that make you want to throw up: spinach, peppers and onions.

Favorite music: most songs by OneRepublic.
Music that makes your ears bleed: twangy country music.

Favorite beverage: Earl grey decaf tea.

Something that gives you a pickle face: lemon-flavored anything.

Favorite smell: chocolate.

Something that makes you hold your nose: canned asparagus

Something you wish you could do: play the piano.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: how to pump gas into a car.

Last best thing you ate: Blaze pizza.

Last thing you regret eating: Campbell’s Chicken and stars soup – but not because it’s bad. I had the stomach flu.

Things you’d walk a mile for: chocolate.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: spiders.

Things to say to an author: I love your book!

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Wow, your last book was . . . um, different.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Helen Keller, at least if she was still alive. Maybe Nora Roberts and J.R. Ward. We’d have some interesting topics to share between us, I’m sure.

People you’d cancel dinner on: social media trolls who’ve body-shamed me.

Favorite things to do: shopping or reading a book.

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

Proudest moment: the moment I landed a traditional publishing contract in 2012! Woo hoo!
Most embarrassing moment: probably when I flubbed up the lyrics while singing a solo at my high school graduation.

The last thing you did for the first time: got on a TOP 5 Authors list on a website.

Something you’ll never do again: swim in a lake that doesn’t look all that clean.


Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 18 other books. Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 21 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. An avid blogger on the side, she writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She also contributed to several anthologies. Though Marie has standalone titles on the market, her current published series are The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series, The Misfits Series, and The Blood at First Sight Series, but she has many others planned. Her Victorian maritime romance series is returning, and the second editions of the trilogy will be released soon under her new publisher, Foundations Books.

Connect with Marie:
Website  |  iLoveRomance Blog  |  MarieLavendar Blog  |   BooksAndOtherThings Blog Facebook Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, August 18, 2020



To die, or not to die? Georgia B&B proprietor Nina Fleet turns amateur thespian to bring the curtain down on a Shakespearean actor's killer.

It's nothing short of inevitable that Cymbeline, GA, hosts an annual Shakespeare festival. But stage-struck Nina Fleet is about to learn that putting on an amateur theatrical production can be murder. Nina's anticipating showbiz glamour and glitz when a community Shakespearean troupe arrives for a two-week stay at her B&B. But the lights dim when she learns the company's director is her nemesis, struggling actor Harry Westcott--who still claims to be the rightful heir to Nina's elegant Queen Anne home.

Meanwhile, the troupe members are not content to leave the drama upon the stage. Accusations of infidelity and financial malfeasance make a shambles of rehearsals. And then, two days into the troupe's stay, the lead actor is found dead in Nina's formal Shakespeare garden. Natural causes...or murder most foul?

Nina uncovers evidence that something is indeed rotten in the town of Cymbeline. Too bad Harry is the only one who believes that she's not going completely off script. And exposing the truth isn't easy when the remaining troupe members say the show must go on...particularly when all of them seemingly had a motive for wanting their fellow actor to permanently exit stage right. Determined to keep the killer from making a curtain call, Nina and her trusty Australian Shepherd, Matilda, join forces with Harry to sleuth out the murder plot. Will they succeed before someone else shuffles off this mortal coil? Find out in Anna Gerard's delightful second Georgia B&B mystery.

Books Details:

Title: Peachy Scream

Author: Anna Gerard

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Georgia B&B Mystery, book 2

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (Aug 11, 2020)

Print length: 320 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could talk to someone (living), who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d like to talk to the Dalai Lama and ask him for some words of wisdom for our current times.

If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would like to talk to my mom and dad, who have both been gone for several years, and ask them how they are doing, and can they sometimes hear me talking to them. I would ask them about what happens after you die, except I’m pretty sure there’s a rule against their telling me.

If you could live in any time period which would it be?
I’d like to live in the American West sometime between 1870 and 1900. I love Texas/New Mexico/Arizona/Colorado, and the time period is close enough to modern times that I’d be able to fit in. Plus maybe I’d get to meet my great-grandparents. 

If you could time travel for an infinite period of time, where would you go?
I would go anywhere and everywhere to be a witness to the world’s major events since the time of Christ. I’d want to meet the Tudors and Shakespeare, hang with Jane Austin, hear Abraham Lincoln speak, witness Gettysburg, see the shootout at the OK Corral. And that barely scratches the surface.

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?

I took violin lessons in grade school—little talent, but lots of enthusiasm—and I think it would be fabulous to be Concertmistress of a major orchestra. 


5 things you need in order to write: 
    •    my laptop
    •    a diet Coke
    •    a cat
    •    internet access
    •    someone to cook supper when I’m on deadline

5 things you love about writing: 

    •    hearing from happy readers
    •    seeing my books on the bookstore shelf 
    •    getting a great review
    •    getting in the groove for the downhill slide that is the book’s final chapters
    •    writing THE END

5 favorite foods:  
    •    ice cream
    •    cheese 
    •    salads 
    •    stir fry
    •    Tex-Mex

5 favorite places you’ve been: 
    •    Marfa Texas
    •    Bimini Bahamas
    •    New Orleans Louisiana
    •    Tombstone Arizona
    •    Vienna Austria

5 favorite authors:  
  •    Barbara Michaels
    •    Mary Stewart
    •    Shakespeare 
    •    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  
    •    Sylvia Boorstein


What’s your all-time favorite movie?
Princess Bride.

What’s your favorite beverage? 
Diet Coke.

What’s your favorite ice cream? 
Publix’s Peppermint Stick.

What’s your favorite hobby or past-time?

What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?
Binge watch bad TV.

What’s your favorite candy bar? 
Peanut Patties.

What’s your favorite color? 

Yellow…no, red…no, black.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
My book covers.

What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror?
I like them all but probably comedy first and then adventure.

What book are you currently working on?
My next Tarot Cats mystery, Magician’s Quarrel.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: The stuffed mushrooms my husband makes – based on the recipe for the mushrooms served at Longhorn Steakhouse.
Music: Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – you must hear their version of the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Movie: John Wick Chapter 3 (but you must watch Chapters 1 and 2 first).
Book: White Guilt by Shelby Steele.
TV: I’m currently hooked on Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel—a soap opera combined with survival—what’s not to love.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Last thing I binged on Amazon Prime was the first season of iZombie that I missed, so it’s been awhile.
Miscellaneous: YouTube episodes of Thrifty Business hosted by Jason T. Smith.


Peachy Scream by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard

Fool’s Moon by Diane A.S. Stuckart 


Diane A.S. Stuckart is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (writing as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her new Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with Fool’s Moon. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series written as Anna Gerard debuted in July 2019 with Peach Clobbered. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 2 in the series, Peachy Scream, will be on the shelves August 2020.

Connect with Diane:
Diane Stuckart Website  |  Georgia B&B Mysteries Website  |  Facebook  

Buy links:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 14, 2020




What do you do when you know you’re on a serial killer’s hit list?

Six women are dead, and Wren Addison is the next victim on the SMS Killer’s list—or so she’s been told after waking in a pool of blood with no memory of the events that have transpired.

Newly separated and struggling to start her life over after her husband’s infidelity, Wren tries to remember what happened to her, but nothing is adding up as more horrors unfold around her. With her life on a timer and the murderer taunting her, she realizes there is nothing typical about this serial killer.

Wren is pushed to the edge as she dances between knowing she's likely to die and fighting to be the first to survive. As the truth starts to emerge, she rises to the challenge and decides not to go down without a fight.

Someone is going to die, and she’s determined it won’t be her.

Book Details:

Title: Carnal Knowledge

Author: Rachael Tamayo

Genre: psychological thriller

Series: The Deadly Sins Series 

Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing (July 11, 2020)

Print length: 296 pages

On tour with: Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours



A few of your favorite things: family, good food, sunshine, movies in the dark with a blanket.
Things you need to throw out: clothes that don’t fit, toys kids don’t play with, and a towel with holes in it I keep washing. LOL.

Things you need in order to write: access to OneDrive and Microsoft Word. If the mood hits me, I can write anywhere.
Things that hamper your writing: figuring out what my characters will do in a given situation.

Things you love about writing: everything! Creating a world, telling an amazing story. Making someone say, “Wow what a story!”
Things you hate about writing: the fear of people hating what I write. To be a writer is to expose a part of yourself to the world. It’s always risky.

Easiest thing about being a writer: there isn’t much easy about being a writer. LOL. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: explaining that I have no idea where the ideas come from; they just come to me.

Things you love about where you live: mild winters! No snow, warm days. Sunshine, 30 minutes from the ocean. Texas hospitality. The way everyone helped one another during Hurricane Harvey.
Things that make you want to move: I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Things you never want to run out of: food, money, love, joy, smiles.
Things you wish you’d never bought: slime for my kids. LOL. 

Favorite foods: hamburgers, tacos, fajitas, ice cream, Dr Pepper.
Things that make you want to throw up: Brussels sprouts, cooked cabbage, rare steak.

Favorite music: I am pretty all over the place with music. Songs in my play list hit on every genre of music there is. I absolutely love “Hypnotic” by Notorious BIG though. I love music that makes me want to move.
Music that make your ears bleed: Death Metal.

Favorite beverage: Dr Pepper. 

Something that gives you a pickle face: Big Red.

Favorite smell: black cherry, pipe tobacco, leather.

Something that makes you hold your nose: my dogs when they come in from playing in outside when it's hot. Phew!

Something you’re really good at: cooking.

Something you’re really bad at: folding laundry.

Something you wish you could do: sing.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: can’t think of anything I would want to unlearn. At some point I think everything is useful in its own time.

Something you like to do: Sleep! 

Something you wish you’d never done: dropped out of college. I don’t as much regret it as kinda wonder what would have happened if I'd finished.

People you consider as heroes: those who stand up for what is right no matter what. Mothers, single fathers. 

People with a big L on their foreheads: People that think of nothing but how a situation impacts them and don’t care about anything else. 

Last best thing you ate: the pizza that gave me a headache. LOL 

Last thing you regret eating: the pizza I had recently—not realizing it had gluten in it—gave me a terrible gluten headache.

Things you’d walk a mile for: my family.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: flying cockroaches.

Things to say to an author: I got a book hangover from your book! 

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: You don’t make much doing that, do you?

Favorite places you’ve been: Hamilton Pool in Texas. 

Places you never want to go to again: A funeral for a loved one.

Things that make you happy:
seeing my kids happy.

Things that drive you crazy: seeing them sad because someone was mean to them.

Find the first book in this series here.


You really don’t know how you feel about some things until they happen to you. You can guess. You can pretend you’d be strong, that you’d stand on the rooftops and shout your indignation as you shake your fist to the skies, but those are only guesses. Hopes. What we think we know about ourselves. They say no one ever really knows anyone. I think it’d be a safe bet to say that we don’t really know ourselves either. You think you do. The “Oh, I’d never do that! Look at how she’s acting. If I were in her shoes….” but you don’t. No one does.

I said the same things to myself when I walked out on my husband, Ricky, months ago. Those thoughts went through my head as I closed the door behind me for what I told myself was the last time. I wouldn’t let myself cry as I said goodbye to him, only feeling the first tears fall when I heard the click behind me, the locking of the door to what used to be our home together. When he didn’t chase me and beg me to stay.

I wept in that moment, wondering how much pain a person could take.

Over the days that followed, it faded into something more akin to numbness as I found an apartment and got a new checking account. As I arranged to find movers to get my things while he was at work, all while thanking God that we had no children.

Now I find myself in that place once more, though for an altogether different reason. Something has happened to me, something that leaves my body sore and my head feeling as if I have a hangover. These are the moments that tell you who you really are, leaving you exposed to your own darkness.

I found that out about myself. No one ever imagines themselves in this position. You’re not prepared. No amount of self-defense can prepare you for the shock that is the next morning, waking up in a bloody mess, knowing you’ve been sexually assaulted.

I can’t even say it out loud. I won’t. I refuse to do it. It makes it real, and I don’t want it to be real. I want it to be some horrible nightmare that I can wake up from.

But it’s not.

It’s the middle of the night. I’m sitting on the floor of my shower, the water finally not running pink anymore. My face feels puffy from crying as I carefully wash the wounds, the soap burning. I wince and then stand up before the water turns cold. Sitting here won’t accomplish anything.

I look down at the mark on my left breast, swollen and purple. The definite outline of teeth, broken skin, tender to touch. It’s not the only place I’m hurting, but it’s the only one I can easily see. The only one I can’t really hide from. It’s a slap in the face, a calling card from someone I can’t remember. A face that won’t ever haunt my dreams.

So, what do I do now? It’s about 4:00 a.m. Do I call someone? The police? My friend Lily? My husband? Maybe Alex? Surely she would believe me.

I blink away tears, dipping my head back into the hot spray to wash the blood out of my hair.

No, I won’t tell anyone. It’s too embarrassing. Too humiliating. This big foreboding thing happened to me. What they warned us all about. My drink was tampered with, and someone hurt me. I broke the rules, and I got this for it.

I should have listened, I suppose.

I feel sick knowing what someone did to me while I was asleep. Or was I? Maybe I did fight and just can’t remember. I’d fight, surely. I wouldn’t just lie there and take it, right? The thought gives me some minimal sliver of peace, like passing through the eye of the hurricane—you know it’s not real, not the end, but you relish it just the same.

By the time I get out of the shower, I realize I haven’t really slept. My alarm will go off at seven for work so I can catch the bus and be on time for the morning meeting. I could get three hours of sleep before that, maybe.

I shut off the water, suddenly a bit afraid. Knowing someone was here gives me the creeps. Makes me wish I’d gotten that gun Ricky tried so hard to get me to agree to, the one I refused. I wouldn’t give in, fearing some horrible accident. He kept his locked up, and I never bothered to learn to shoot. He begged to teach me, tried to get me to hold his Glock to “get the feel of it.” Nope. Now I regret it.

In the months I’ve lived here, I haven’t been afraid to be on my own until now. Someone got to me. I’m without defense in my own home.


Excerpt from Carnal Knowledge by Rachael Tamayo.  Copyright 2020 by Rachael Tamayo. Reproduced with permission from Tangled Tree Publishing. All rights reserved.



 Rachael Tamayo is an international bestseller and award-winning author.  She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and their two small children. 

Connect with Rachel:

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Friday, August 7, 2020



Zuleikha arrives in the US from Lahore, Pakistan, by marriage, having trained as a pianist without ever owning a real piano. Now she finally has one-a wedding present from her husband-but nevertheless finds it difficult to get used to her new role of a suburban middle-class housewife who has an abundance of time to play it.

Haunted by the imaginary worlds of the confiscated contraband books and movies that her father trafficked in to pay for her education and her dowry, and unable to reconcile them with the expectations of the real world of her present, she ends up as the central figure in a scandal that catapults her into the public eye and plays out in equal measures in the local news and in backroom deliberations, all fueled by winds of anti-Muslim hysteria.

The Black-Marketer's Daughter was a finalist for the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize, and praised by the jury as a "complicated and compelling story" of our times, with two key cornerstones of the novel being the unsympathetic voice with which Mallick, almost objectively, relays catastrophic and deeply emotional events, and the unsparing eye with which he illuminates the different angles and conflicting interests at work in a complex situation. The cumulative effects, while deliberately unsettling to readers, nevertheless keeps them glued to the pages out of sheer curiosity about what will happen next.

Book Details:

Author: Suman Mallick

Genre: literary fiction

Publisher: Atmosphere Press (October 13, 2020)

Print length: 166 pages


A few of your favorite things: my daughter, dog, family and friends. My books and cameras.
Things you need to throw out: old clothes. I have some that are frayed and over 20 years old, but I hate shopping and hence they remain in my closet (a friend’s wife gave me a new shirt for Christmas last year because apparently my clothes are a joke between her and her husband—enough said!).

Things you need in order to write: coffee if in the morning. Space to pace. Music when taking a break.
Things that hamper your writing: things that have happened in the last 30 minutes while I’m trying to work on this: my daughter asking me where she can find a box of tissue, if I want to try her jasmine tea, if she can borrow my coaster. I have limited time to write (a few blocks set aside each week) and used to be almost militant about protecting them. But over the years I’ve learned to accept that I’m not a full-time writer and will not be one until I retire (and probably not even then), and therefore distractions will be just a part of life. The trick is to embrace them and get over them instead of letting them rile me up, ruin my day, and kill the creative process.

Things you love about writing: I love playing with language, the sense of accomplishment that comes from making progress on a piece (despite the distractions) and completing it, the idea of having created something meaningful (to me at least) that cannot be taken away even if it’s never published.
Things you hate about writing: I am yet to find it.

Easiest thing about being a writer: absolutely nothing; if it was, I’d have probably lost interest in it a long time ago. As Thomas Mann said, a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people, and I’m not one to argue with that guy.

Hardest thing about being a writer: rejection emails, or worse—no replies, from a submission I had such high hopes for when submitting it. I’m sure all of us have experienced this. I think of it as learning how to die a little in a hundred days, and hope to practice it often enough so that when I come down with a deadly disease (hopefully at the end of a long, otherwise healthy life), I’ll not freak out and cause unnecessary drama, and instead deal with the process of actually dying as a rejection note from life.   

Things you love about where you live: proximity to my close friends and some family—it’s the only reason I came back after leaving for five years. But I do also appreciate the thriving multicultural scene here, starting with the DSO, and my work.
Things that make you want to move: the 100-degree days in between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Favorite foods: I love all cuisines but have been a practicing vegan for three years now with an occasional exception for seafood, so I’d say sushi.
Things that make you want to throw up: nothing unless it’s gone bad.

Favorite song: too many to count, but here’s one that cuts to the bone every time I listen to it, (which is often): Miles Davis’s take on Rodrigo’s "Concierto de Aranjuez" in the album Sketches of Spain.
Music that make your ears bleed: I’ve never gotten country music.

Favorite beverage: I’d like to answer this in 3rd person, if I may: he likes any drink that has his key and a drop of water in it.

Something that gives you a pickle face: almost anything too sweet.

Favorite smell: old Speyside scotch, fresh rain, a subtle perfume, saffron, jasmine, and believe it or not—fish, almost any fish that’s not rotten.

Something that makes you hold your nose: strong cologne or perfume and smell of cigarette smoke never fails to give me a headache, greasy food.

Something you’re really good at: too many to note, but I was raised to not brag about myself.

Something you’re really bad at: also too many, but shopping would be #1 on the list.

Something you wish you could do: play the piano like Glenn Gould or the flugelhorn like Miles Davis or the guitar like David Gilmour.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: swing a golf club.

People you consider as heroes: there are quite a few, but how about my daughter, who can write prize-winning poems like this, and somehow on her own has managed to be the exact replica of the person that her mom would tell me she was as a child, despite losing that mom at two? It’s enough to make me believe in the existence of miracles.

People with a big L on their foreheads: Nah! Let’s not ruin this perfectly fun interview by answering this one.

Things to say to an author: who do you read?

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: done any living lately?

Favorite places you’ve been: too many to count. The silent stillness and vast majesty of the Yukon Territories (where my daughter was conceived) and the Grand Canyon probably win over all else, with the Na Pali Coast Trail (Kalalau) being a close third.

Places you never want to go to again: Hong Kong, because I fear it’ll never again be what it was in the last century.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: sticking to only my dream living guests—from the writing world: John Maxwell Coetzee, Alice Munro, Karl Ove Knausgård, Jhumpa Lahiri, Tim Parks, Haruki Murakami, George Saunders; from the music world: Arvo Pärt, Roger Waters, Killer Mike, Gustavo Dudamel, Khatia Buniatishvili; from the acting world: Roberto Benigni, Tabu, Halle Berry, Laura Linney, Ricky Gervais; from the world at large: Barack Obama, Pankaj Mishra, Ray Dalio (despite the risk that this name will get me cancelled in some quarters), and the historian William Dalrymple. I just have a lot of questions for all these people, that’s all :) Lastly, my best friends would have to be at this party as well.

People you’d cancel dinner on: nobody. I’d put up with the most odious and vile character for a meal to see if I can find their humanity and learn something about their code of living.

Favorite things to do: spending time with my daughter, dog, friends, family, on two wheels, behind a lens, at the theater or symphony, on or near water, being out in the rain.

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

Things that make you happy: rain, cooking with my daughter.

Things that drive you crazy: IT problems (which always leads me to re-watch an episode of The IT Crowd), going to a mall, traffic.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I try not to lie, but I once told someone that I no longer loved her, when the truth was that I still did, but just could not live with her and was afraid that I’d stop loving her if we kept at it. The falsity of it has stayed with me after all these years.

A lie you wish you’d told: none since. I’d rather speak my truth even if it means losing someone forever, as I’d be comfortable knowing, were it to happen, that we are better off without each other. (It’s what Stephen Covey would call a “win-win or no deal” situation).

Best thing you’ve ever done: decided, at fifteen, to make it on my own or die trying, which inspired me to get into a great boarding school on full scholarship at sixteen, which, in turn, gave me the confidence to decide, at eighteen, to go to a backup university choice on a full-ride instead of a top one that would require me to take money from family. I’ve been able to live more or less on my own terms ever since, and deal with whatever has come my way.

Biggest mistake: too many to list, but my mistakes are the result of taking chances with my own life, and they’ve only ever really hurt me. I haven’t made one that required a serious apology or making reparations to someone else, and I hope to keep it that way.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up in one day in the 120-degree, trapping heat of July with two of my best friends (and very nearly dying from it)
Something you chickened out from doing: I don’t chicken out, and am not just saying that (unless you call backing out of an invitation to dinner in an enclosed space in the middle of a pandemic “chickening out.”) Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll agree.

The last thing you did for the first time: try to skateboard on my niece’s Ripster Caster Board on my surgically repaired ankle.

Something you’ll never do again: try skateboarding, or try another special brownie.


Suman Mallick's debut novel The Black-Marketer's Daughter was shortlisted for the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize, and praised by the jury as a "complicated and compelling story" of our times. It is scheduled to be released October 13, 2020 by Atmosphere Press.​
He makes his home in Texas with his beloved daughter and dog. His homes away from home are Calcutta, India, and Portland, Oregon.

Connect with Suman:
Website  |  Twitter Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble