Sunday, May 16, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: TERRI BLACKSTOCK


 

ABOUT THE BOOK


A devastating explosion.
Three best friends are at the venue to hear their favorite band. Only one makes it out alive.

A trunk full of evidence.
When police stop Dustin Webb with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows there’s been a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when the officers find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.

An attorney who will risk it all for an old friend.
Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first person he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?


Book Details:
Title: Aftermath
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre: suspense
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 11, 2021)
Print length: 332 pages




 

TWENTY QUESTIONS/ONE WORD ANSWERS INTERVIEW WITH TERRI BLACKSTOCK


1.     Where is your cell phone? Nearby.
2.     Your hair? Blonde.
3.     Your workplace? Home.
4.     Your other half? Ken.
5.     What makes you happy? Finishing.
6.     What makes you crazy? Distractions.
7.     Your favorite food? Waffle Fries.
8.     Your favorite beverage? Diet Coke.
9.     Fear? Covid.
10.  Favorite shoes? Ankle boots.
11.  Favorite way to relax? Doodle.
12.  Your mood? Content.
13.  Your home away from home? Daughter’s.
14.  Where were you last night? Home.
15.  Something that you aren't? Unopinionated.
16.  Something from your bucket list? Empty Nest.
17.  Wish list item? Healing.
18.  Where did you grow up? Air Force, then Mississippi.
19.  Last thing you did? Ate.
20.  What are wearing now? Pajamas.


EXCERPT FROM AFTERMATH


Chapter One

Taylor Reid’s phone flashed as she snapped the selfie with her two friends, their heads touching and their backs to the stage. The shot from the third row, with the lead singer in the background and the three of them in the foreground, was perfect. No one would believe their seats were so close.

They turned around to face the band, dancing to the beat of the song they’d been listening to in the car on the way to Trudeau Hall.

Taylor quickly posted the pic, typing, “Ed Loran targets nonpoliticals for his rally with band Blue Fire. Worked on us!”

She put her phone on videotape and zoomed onto the stage.

“I don’t want it to end!” Desiree said in her ear.

“Me either!” Taylor yelled over the music.

“Maybe they’ll play again after his speech,” Mara shouted.

The song came to an end, and the crowd went crazy, begging for one more song before the band left the stage.

But an amplified voice filled the auditorium, cutting off the adulation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next president of the United States, Ed Loran!”

The crowd sounded less enthusiastic as the band left the stage and Ed Loran, the Libertarian celebrity magnet, made his entrance. Taylor kept cheering and clapping, letting her enthusiasm for the band segue to him.

It happened just as the candidate took the stage. The deafening sound, like some confusing combination of gunshot and lightning bolt, a blast that blacked out the lights and knocked her to the ground. Smoke mushroomed. Screams crescendoed—shrieks of terror, wailing pain, shocking anguish . . . then sudden, gentle silence, as if she were underwater. A loud ringing in her ears filled the void.

She peered under the seats, choking for breath as dimmer lights flickered through the smoke. Even from here, she could see the fallout of whatever had happened. Blood pooling on the ground, people hunkering down as she was, feet running . . . What was happening? An explosion? A crash? She looked around and couldn’t see her friends.

She clawed her way up and looked over the seat. Smoke and fire billowed from the stage into the crowd, and heat wafted over her like some living force invading the room. Muffled, muted sounds competed with the ringing.

Get out! Now! She dropped back down and crawled under two rows of seats until she came to someone limp on the floor. She felt herself scream but couldn’t hear her own voice. Scrambling to her feet, she went to her left to get to the aisle, but her foot slipped on something wet. She grabbed the seat next to her to steady herself, then launched into the frantic crowd in the aisle. The room seemed to spin, people whizzing by, people under her, people above her, people broken and ripped and still . . . She stepped and fell, crawled and ran, tripped and kicked her way to the bottlenecked doorway, then fought her way through it.

The ringing in her ears faded as she tumbled downstairs, almost falling into the lobby below. The sound of crying, coughing, wretching, and the roaring sound of pounding feet turned up as if some divine finger had fiddled with the volume.

She set her sights on the glass doors to the outside and pushed forward, moving through people and past the security stations they’d stopped at on the way in. She made it to the door and burst out into the sunlight.

Fresh, cool air hit her like freedom, but at first her lungs rejected it like some poison meant to stop her. At the bottom of the steps, on the sidewalk, she bent over and coughed until she could breathe.

After a moment, the crowd pushed her along toward the parking garage until she remembered that her car wasn’t there. She had parked on the street, blocks away. She forced her way out of the flow of people and ran a block south. Where was it?

She turned the corner. Her car was here, on this block. Near the Atlanta Trust Bank. Wasn’t it? Or was it the next block?

Sweat slicked her skin until she found her silver Accord. There!

She ran to it and pulled her keys out of her pocket, wishing she hadn’t lost the key fob. Her hands trembled as she stuck the key into the passenger side lock and got the door open. She slipped inside on the driver’s side, locked it behind her. Instinctively, she slid down, her head hidden as if someone were coming after her.

What just happened?

One minute they’d been taking selfies and videotaping the band, and the next they were on the floor . . .

Where were Mara and Desiree? She hadn’t even looked for them! Should she go back for them?

No, that would be insane. She could smell the smoke and fire from here. They would know to come to the car when they got out.

Call the police!

She tried to steady her hands as she swiped her phone on.

“911, what is your—”

“An explosion!” she cut in, her voice hoarse. “At the Ed Loran rally at Trudeau Hall!”

“Where are you now?” the woman asked in a voice that was robotically calm.

“I got out. There’s fire . . . People are still in there. Please send ambulances!”

“Ma’am, did you see what exploded?”

“No . . . the stage area, I think. I don’t know where my friends are. Please . . . hurry!”

“We’ve already dispatched the fire department and police, ma’am.”

She heard sirens from a few blocks away and cut off the call. She raised up, looking over the dashboard for the flashing lights. She couldn’t see any, but the sirens grew louder.

She knelt on the floorboard, her knees on her floormat and her elbows on her seat, and texted Desiree.

I’m at the car. Where are you?

No answer. She switched to a recent thread with Mara and texted again.

Got out. At car waiting. Where are you?

Nothing.

She dictated a group text to both of them.

Are you all right?

They were probably running or deaf, fighting their way out like she had. She tried calling them, but Mara’s phone rang to voicemail. When Desiree’s phone did the same, she yelled, “Call me! I’m waiting at the car and I’m scared. Where are you?” She was sobbing when she ended the call.

***

Excerpt from Aftermath by Terri Blackstock.  Copyright 2021 by Terri Blackstock. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Terri Blackstock is a New York Times and USA Today best-seller, with over seven million books sold worldwide. She has had over thirty years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five and has had a successful career ever since.
 
Connect with Terri:
Website  |   Facebook  |   Goodreads
 
Buy the book:
Amazon  |   Barnes & Noble

Monday, May 10, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: W. CRAIG REED


ABOUT THE BOOK

What’s the next nightmare after the coronavirus? An NCIS agent and British scientist must stop an AI-controlled Russian submarine from exposing hundreds of millions to a deadly fallout far worse than any virus.

Deep beneath the Arctic Ocean, a covert team of Chinese operatives uses stolen U.S. technology to capture Russia’s newest attack submarine. Loaded with massive torpedoes carrying city-destroying payloads, the sub is headed west. The Americans want to sink her, the Russians want her back, and the Chinese claim they’re not responsible.

NCIS Special Ops agent Jon Shay is a former SEAL Team Two operator. Activated for a mission in the Arctic, he pairs with British scientist Kate Barrett to battle a ticking clock, trained operatives, and three naval armadas. Together, they must find and stop the world’s most lethal submarine. The stakes are raised when they learn that the Russian sub is controlled by an infected AI system bent on completing its mission to annihilate hundreds of millions.

Book Details:
Title: Status-6
Author: W. Craig Reed
Genre:
Military Thriller
Series:
NCIS Special Ops Thriller series, book1
Published by:
Post Hill Press (April 13, 2021)
Print length:
256 pages




EXCERPT FROM STATUS-6


With his legs sore and lungs burning from the cold, Jon arched his back and stretched when the group finally stopped marching thirty minutes later. To his right, about a quarter-mile distant, the bright blue stripes covering the mess tent signaled the location of the ICEX camp. Two holes, three feet in diameter, had been carved into the ice a few feet from where the group now stood. Jon surmised they were the spent practice torpedo holes drilled by Navy Divers. Liang and company must have parked the ASDS nearby and used the holes as infiltration points. Also, Liang must have had some inside help to deactivate the intruder detection system surrounding the holes. But who? Rinaldo? When would she have had access to that system? More unanswered questions.

Rinaldo approached and said, “Since you’re the former Navy SEAL, why don’t you help our female guest suit up?”

Jon crossed his arms. “This has gone far enough. Time for some answers, Rinaldo.”

Rinaldo pointed her M-16 at Kate’s head. “How’s this for an answer—she suits up or dies.”

Jon uncrossed his arms and fought to quell the ire-stoked coals in his chest. He turned toward Kate. “Are you a certified diver?”

Kate’s nose and cheeks were red. She shivered. “I hate water.”

“Drinking or swimming?” Jon said, hoping to diffuse Kate’s angst.

It didn’t work. Kate looked like a small child being forced to brave a dark alley. “I can’t do this.”

While donning a dry suit, Rinaldo cocked an ear. “What’s the problem?”

Kate stared at the hole in the ice. Frigid blue water lapped against the sides. She backed up and turned away.

“I think she has a water phobia,” Jon said.

“Get her over it,” Rinaldo said.

Jon bristled. The muscles in his face tightened. He grabbed Kate’s suit and brought it to her. Facing her back, he said, “Turn around.” Shaking, Kate remained facing away.

“Please, turn around.”

Kate turned.

“Good,” Jon said. “Now look at me.”

Kate’s eyes met his. Though full of fear, they were riveting, like a blue morning sky touching the edges of a Nebraska corn field. Jon felt his heart flutter. He tried to hold on to the feeling, but it refused to linger. A year had come and gone since he’d lost his wife, but the pain in his chest still held the high ground.

“I’m not setting a foot in that water,” Kate stammered. Her eyes burned with defiance.

“What about a toe?”

Kate crossed her arms and said nothing.

“Just put on the suit to keep the witch happy while I think of something,” Jon said.

“Something?”

“Yeah, something.”

“Like what, mate?”

Rinaldo called over from the other side of the ice hole. “Five minutes, Shay.”

Jon held up the suit. “Just put it on, please. I promise I’ll think of something.”

Kate rolled her eyes and held out her arms. “Fine, but you’d better not be lying to me.”

“Who’s your colleague?” Jon asked as he moved in close to help Kate don the dry suit.

“Bobby Ruppert. He’s a bit rough around the edges and goes into panic mode in stressful situations, but he’s a brilliant engineer.”

While Jon zipped up Kate’s dry suit, the scent of her perfume conjured a memory. He shivered.

“Now what?” Kate said. Her bottom lip quivered. Annelia had also done that when she was frightened.

Jon pulled on his suit. He stepped toward Kate and said, “Let’s just put on our SCUBA gear and then I’ll make my move.”

“Your move?” Kate shot back.

Jon said nothing as he helped Kate into a BC vest, saddled up her tank, and held a Kirby Morgan diving mask in her direction. “Put this on.”

Kate’s tone turned urgent as she grabbed the mask. “You said you’d think of something.”

“Just follow my lead.” Jon pulled on his tank and ran through a system check. The action felt like a visit from an old friend and reminded him of dozens of missions survived.

Kate shook her head in defiance as she sucked in a breath. The hiss of compressed air echoed off nearby shards of ice pushed skyward by Mother Nature.

One by one, Liang’s men entered the water. Jon watched Kate recoil with each splash.

Rinaldo approached. “Ready?”

Kate’s eyes widened. She held her palms up as if to say, “Something?”

Now fully suited, Jon led Kate toward the water. He had to drag her the last few feet. He turned toward her, lifted up his mask, and said, “I’ll hold your hand all the way. This will all be over in five minutes.”

Her eyes still wide, Kate tried to step backward but Jon held onto to her hands and gently kept her in place.

“Just follow me,” Jon said. “I’ve done this hundreds of times.”

Kate shook her head as she dug her heels into the ice.

Rinaldo slapped Jon’s back. The gesture did not feel friendly.

Jon slowly guided Kate toward the hole’s edge. She fought to pull away. He held on tight and looked into her eyes, assuring her in silence that she could do this. Tears streamed down Kate’s face and dripped onto the mask’s rubber lining. Her breathing was erratic. Jon’s heart ached with compassion and guilt. He felt like a jailor forcing an innocent victim into a torture chamber. The bitter taste of choler filled his mouth as he stole a glance at Rinaldo. The beast in his gut grumbled and demanded to be set loose. Jon closed his eyes and slowly breathed in and out to quell the angst.

He opened his eyes, lifted his mask again, and focused on Kate. Softening his voice, he said, “Close your eyes.”

Kate stared at him through her mask. Jon could tell she wanted to trust him, but fear remained her master. He had seen this kind of panic before on the faces of green wannabe SEALs learning how to dive the Navy way. None of them had ever made it through training. For sure, none of them would have survived a dive in Arctic waters.

“Close your eyes and trust me,” Jon said. “Don’t open them until we’re out of the water.”

Trembling, Kate closed her eyes. Jon pulled on her fins and helped her into a seated position with her legs dangling into the water. He did all this with slow movements so as not to make a splash. Rinaldo stood by and watched with impatient indifference. Jon slipped into the hole…

***

Excerpt from Status-6 by W. Craig Reed. Copyright 2021 by W. Craig Reed. Reproduced with permission from W. Craig Reed. All rights reserved.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

William Craig Reed is the New York Times bestselling author of thrillers and non-fiction military and business books including Spies of the Deep: The Untold Story of the Most Terrifying Incident in Submarine Naval History and How Putin Used The Tragedy To Ignite a New Cold War and the critically acclaimed Red November (HarperCollins). Also, The Seven Secrets of Neuron-Leadership (Wiley), an award-winning business book, and Tarzan, My Father (ECW) co-written with the late Johnny Weissmuller, Jr.

Reed served as a U.S. Navy submariner and diver during the Cold War and earned commendations for completing secret missions, some in concert with SEAL Team One. Reed’s military experience and inside contacts help infuse his writing with intrigue and realism, and inspired his next non-fiction book, Also, this novel: STATUS-6 about a former SEAL Team Two operator turned NCIS agent that teams with a British female scientist to stop a Russian submarine controlled by an infected artificial intelligence.

Reed holds an MBA in Marketing and was a former vice president and board director for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association. Reed is the co-founder of Us4Warriors, an award-winning Veterans Non-Profit and serves on the Board of Aretanium, a wellness firm that leverages the neuroscience he wrote about in his leadership book to provide personalized wellness and professional development programs to accelerate brains, careers, and relationships.

Connect with Craig:
Website Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thursday, April 29, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: DR. ROBERT KILTZ

 


 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Living Your Best Life: How to Think, Eat, and Connect your Way to a Better Flow will provide the resources necessary to help create the ideal you by focusing not only on the body but on the mind and the soul as well. Dr. Kiltz applies a holistic approach to medicine, working collaboratively on his patients’ physical being as well as their emotional and spiritual selves. In his book, Dr. Kiltz provides guidance on various self-help techniques such as the power of mediation, eliminating stress, the benefits of yoga, and listening to your inner voice. 

Book Details:
Title: Living Your Best Life: How to Think, Eat, and Connect your Way to a Better Flow
Author: Dr. Robert Kiltz
Genre: self-help
Publisher: Waterside Productions (April 20, 2021)
Print length: 227 pages



DR. ROBERT KILTZ, M.D. SHARES 6 WAYS to BRING MINDFULNESS to MEALTIME

 
Slow Down
Take the time to chew and enjoy your meal. Sit down with it and allow your senses to take over. How does the meal smell, taste, and feel? Make mealtime a tactile experience and don’t rush to eat. Stay in the moment with your meal. If you find your thoughts drifting away from your meal or bouncing into the future with what you are going to do next, gently bring your focus back to the meal. Notice the smells; savor the taste and texture in your mouth as you are eating. Bringing the focus to the present moment while you eat will help you slow down and enjoy your food. This connection also helps you appreciate your food and creates a positive vibrational frequency, which results in happier mealtimes.
 
Say Thank You
You don’t have to be religious to say grace before a meal. Simply saying thank you for this abundant meal and respecting the source from which it came is an empowering way for you to connect to your food. Thank the farmers who grew your vegetables or raised your cattle. Think about everything that your food has gone through before arriving on your plate, and take a moment to appreciate and respect that process. Saying thank you will fill you with abundant joy and love and will make you feel a greater connection to the universe and your food.
 
Avoid Multitasking at Mealtimes
Put down your mobile phone, switch off the television, and close your laptop when you are eating. When you are distracted, you cannot consciously eat your meal and enjoy it the same way you can when you are solely focused on it. Avoid engaging in activities that are distracting or noisy while you are eating, and seek some solitude with your food. If you are eating with your family or loved ones, focus on sharing the experience of the meal with them. Talk about the taste, texture, and smell.
 
Find the Joy in Your Food
We focus so much on what we shouldn’t eat that often we get stressed or anxious at mealtimes because we have created a negative association with our food. This negative association ends up being the reason that we do not enjoy our meals because instead of focusing on the experience of the food, we are focused only on what we are not allowed to consume. We think about all of the things we cannot eat or shouldn’t eat and then reach for something healthier, not because we choose that food, but because we are acting on conflicting motivations. Learn to seek out the joy in your food. If you are at the stage where you don’t feel good about eating healthy because you feel deprived, try branching out and experiencing varying types of healthy options until you find something that you really enjoy. Enjoying food is as much about taste as it is about the way it makes you feel. Unhealthy food may make you feel happy while you are eating it, but shortly afterward, we often feel tired, sick, or sluggish. This is not the case with healthy food from the earth. Our energy is boundless and carries us throughout an entire day. Fresh food makes us feel alive and creates an inner vibration of wellness.

Don’t focus on what you can’t or shouldn’t eat. That is not the way to look at it. Instead, think about the world of options that are available to you and how those things resonate with your being. Experience the joy in the food that you eat and experiment with different types of vegetables and ingredients until you find something that makes your body, mind, and spirit feel harmonious. When experimenting with food, notice all of the flavors and textures—truly allow yourself to stay in the moment with your meal. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even when they are outside of your comfort zone. Experience the joy in your food by eating the things that make you feel happy and connected to your spirit.
 
Trust Your Intuition

When it comes to your diet, trust in your intuition. Your higher self knows what is best for you, and you will have a sense when you eat something if your body likes it or not. A lot of it will be common sense, but sometimes you may have to listen to the cues that your body is providing you. Don’t keep trying to eat something because it is good for you. Sometimes you will simply not like a certain food, and that is okay. Move on to something else. Healthy eating provides us with a world of opportunity; it’s not just about salads and nuts. There are many great websites that can help you find easy and delicious recipes using the ingredients that you like most. Listen to the inner wisdom of your body to guide you with your eating. If you feel bad about eating something or that you shouldn’t, it may be that your body is trying to tell you to reach for a healthier alternative.

When we look after our homes and our cars, we spend a lot of time finding out what the problem is, asking questions, and getting to the core of the matter. Why would we not do the same with the most important asset of all, our bodies? We take our bodies for granted and spend our lives treating symptoms that would disappear if we were to eat and nourish them the way they really need to be nourished. Our hospitals and waiting rooms are packed with people seeking help for physical symptoms related to poor eating choices. Type 2 Diabetes is a man-made disease that is a direct result of a poor diet. It has been said that our bodies contain everything they need to repair and heal themselves, so long as they are properly nourished.

Follow your intuition and lead your body to a place of higher vibration by eating food from the earth that is plant-based and high in nutrition. Just listen to how your body responds when you allow yourself the luxury of eating this way.
 
Food and Sharing
Have you ever noticed the way you feel when you are sitting around a dinner table with good friends or family sharing an incredible home-cooked meal? Sharing in the experience of a meal is a great way to connect with your food and enhance the experience by enjoying it with others. Our hearts expand and our spirits soar when we share and give to others, and there is no greater gift you can bestow on someone than the gift of a home-cooked meal prepared with love and attention. When you go to a fast-food restaurant, the experience of sharing a burger and fries with your family is not the same as having a picnic with them in a park with things that you have prepared in the home. The energy that you bring to the food when you prepare it, cooked or not, is paramount to the experience of sharing a meal. Your intention when you cook for others is to make them happy and fulfilled. That intention carries such a positive vibration that it permeates through the food and into the people who ingest it. This is why the experience of sitting down to a meal with family is very different than going out to a fast-food restaurant. Have you ever noticed that you can taste the passion of a chef at a really great restaurant? The food tastes brilliant because they love what they do and they love to share that passion with diners.

Consider all of the ways in which you interact with food. What is your relationship like currently? How can you improve the experience of eating and enjoying your meals? We all eat on a daily basis and go through our days getting hungry, eating, and drinking. Conscious eating can completely change the way we interact and feel about our meals and bring us to a place of light and love. Food is a spiritual experience, and so your relationship to food should be one of respect, appreciation, and enjoyment. Healthy eating isn’t meant to be miserable and make you feel unhappy. In fact, it is meant to be the opposite. Healthy eating should make you feel amazing and uplifted; it gives you the energy and vitality you need to be more and do more. Your higher self only wants the best for you in this human life, and eating a diet that is loaded with fat, carbohydrates, sugar, and sodium only takes away from your quality of life here on earth. Your higher self knows this, and your body knows this and repeatedly attempts to communicate this to you when you mistreat it.

We are getting better as a society and have been placing a greater emphasis on locally grown produce, gardening, and clean food. Our collective consciousness has been rising, and so too have our standards for what we are willing to accept in our lives. We know that the way we have been doing things is not sustainable and does not help the planet or each other. Every time we visit our grocery stores, we have a choice to make. We can buy locally grown organic produce, or we can buy vegetables that have been shipped from thousands of miles away and have been sitting on trucks for days. Similarly, we can buy meat that is born from unhealthy conditions and negative karma, or we can buy meat from ethical conditions where the animals actually get to enjoy their lives and feel good. When you head out to the store to buy your groceries, think about every item that you put into your cart. If you are unsure about something, find out. Know what you are putting into your body. It is your right and your responsibility to know this, and it is perhaps one of the best things you can do to honor and love yourself, ensuring a long and healthy life.

 

Excerpt from Living Your Best Life: How to Think, Eat, and Connect Your Way to a Better Flow by Dr. Robert Kiltz Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Robert Kiltz. Reproduced with permission from Dr. Robert Kiltz. All rights reserved.


 

ABOUT DR. ROBERT KILTZ


Dr. Robert Kiltz is a board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist who has earned recognition outside of the fertility world for pioneering the holistic health movement and the keto lifestyle. In his latest book Living Your Best Life: How to Think, Eat, and Connect your Way to a Better Flow, Dr. Kiltz provides guidance to help you to live your best life and bring your mind, body, and smile into balance.

Connect with Dr. Kiltz:
Website  |  Facebook  |    Twitter  |  Instagram  |  YouTube

Buy the book:
 Amazon
 
 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: CAROLINE FARDIG



ABOUT THE BOOK


The latest thriller in the Ellie Matthews series from USA Today bestselling author Caroline Fardig.

Criminalist Ellie Matthews has turned over a new leaf. For the first time in her life, she’s working on herself and putting the past behind her with the encouragement of the new man she’s seeing, FBI Agent Vic Manetti.

Her first attempt at competitive running is cut short when a woman is found dead along the trail. At first, the case seems to be open and shut. But when a gruesome photo of the victim goes viral, tagged with a chilling caption threatening more violence, Ellie must delve into the mind of a deranged killer to get to the truth.

Though Ellie’s relationship with Detective Nick Baxter has been strained to its breaking point, the two find themselves teaming up once again in a race to bring down the killer before he takes another life.


Book Details:

Title: Dead Sprint

Author: Caroline Fardig

Genre: mystery (police procedural)

Series: Ellie Matthews Novels
, book 3
Published: May 18, 2021

Print length: 302 pages





LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH CAROLINE FARDIG


Things you need in order to write: my laptop, a pretty notebook, a dog at my feet, and coffee.
Things that hamper your writing: noise, interruptions, the internet, and frequent puppy potty breaks.



Things you love about writing: my favorite part of it is going back over what I’ve written and tweaking it. My second favorite part is throwing on some music and daydreaming about new storylines and new scenes.
Things you hate about writing: having to stop when I’m on a roll.

Things you love about where you live: acres of woods and 4 mostly lovely seasons.
Things that make you want to move: the call of the ocean and year-round warm weather.

Things you never want to run out of: locally roasted coffee beans, episodes of Community (which I’ve already run out of), love <3.
Things you wish you’d never bought: my ugly family room sectional that is breaking piece by piece, ”new” high-waisted mom jeans (news flash—they’re just as unflattering as they were back in the day).



Words that describe you: laid-back, funny (unless you ask my kids).
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: always hungry, often lazy.

Favorite foods: carbs—specifically muffins, cakes, cookies, scones, and breads. Also, and please don’t laugh, cheesy grits. I eat them every morning for breakfast.
Things that make you want to throw up: feta cheese, red pepper, salmon.

Favorite music: I like lots of music (I’ve got a music degree, although I don’t use it). My favorites are singer-songwriter/coffeehouse style music and jazz, although I don’t mind indie bedroom pop, new country, and some hard rock/metal.
Music that make your ears bleed: old country, Eminem, and Jewel.

Favorite beverage: pretty much any kind of coffee.
Something that gives you a pickle face: seltzer, hard or otherwise.

Favorite smell: anything with carbs baking in the oven, and also puppy breath.

Something that makes you hold your nose: cilantro (it smells like stink bugs).

Something you like to do: biking, hiking, boating, jetskiing, scootering, canoeing, pretty much any warm weather vacation activity.

Something you wish you’d never done: horseback riding—I was constantly in fear of falling off for 2 HOURS STRAIGHT, and snow skiing—the only way I could stop was to crash.



Last best thing you ate: cheesy grits this morning :)
Last thing you regret eating: I regret nothing.

Things you’d walk a mile for: a mile is not really that far, and my mile time is not too shabby . . . so . . . most things?
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: politics and cats.

Favorite places you’ve been: Hilton Head (I WILL live there someday), Nashville, Hawaii, Niagara Falls, Greece.
Places you never want to go to again: Memphis; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; anywhere on a cross-country train.

Things that make you happy: dogs and family.

Things that drive you crazy: dogs and family (see what I did there?).



ABOUT THE AUTHOR 


Caroline Fardig is the USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen mystery novels. Fardig’s Bad Medicine was named one of the "Best Books of 2015" by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.



Connect with Caroline:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |   Goodreads  |  Instagram  

Buy the book:
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Friday, April 23, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: GENE DESROCHERS


 

ABOUT THE BOOK



In this harrowing Caribbean noir murder mystery, we meet Private Investigator Boise Montague, a man on the brink who is trying to get his life together after his wife died. He has returned to his childhood home, and he’s started a private investigator firm of one. Since returning, his drinking has accelerated and he needs clients desperately before the life insurance money dries up.

Enter Junior Bacon, grandson of Francine Bacon of the Bacon sugar and rum empire. Granny’s gone missing and Junior wants Boise to figure out what happened.
As Boise delves into the mystery of the missing matriarch, a reporter associated with her winds up dead in his new office, dramatically raising the stakes. Now Boise must contend with questions from the police, the newspaper president, and the reporter's widow.

As Boise investigates he uncovers surprising truths about a woman seeking redemption, a family on the brink, and why no matter how hard we try, the past can sometimes never be fixed.

In the end, Boise must not only confront a killer, but the island's dark history and his own inner demons.

Book Details:
Title: Sweet Paradise   
Author: Gene Desrochers
Genre: detective mystery   
Series: Boise Montague, book 2
Publisher: Acorn Publishing (April 6, 2021)
Print length: 305 pages




 

TWENTY QUESTIONS/ONE WORD ANSWERS WITH GENE DESROCHERS


1.    Where is your cell phone? Couch.

2.     Your hair? Kinky.

3.     Your workplace? Court.

4.     Your other half? Priest.

5.     What makes you happy? Sex.

6.     What makes you crazy? Sex.

7.     Your favorite food? Doughnut.

8.     Your favorite beverage? Orange juice.

9.     Fear? Coffin.

10.  Favorite shoes? Kurus.

11.  Favorite way to relax? Read.

12.  Your mood? Mellow.

13.  Your home away from home? Rome.

14.  Where were you last night? Traitor.

15.  Something that you aren't? Glacial.

16.  Something from your bucket list? Moon.

17.  Wish list item? Corvette.

18.  Where did you grow up? Virgins.

19.  Last thing you did? Smell.

20.  What are wearing now? Ring.






EXCERPT FROM SWEET PARADISE

The first coat was drying. More droplets of sweat rivered between my shoulder blades as I slugged water and Guinness alternately. Two in the afternoon was no time to be painting in the October heat, but I didn’t know what else to do and sitting around worrying about my looming penury seemed pointless.

The used old-timey clock radio I’d picked up at Bob’s Store babbled on about hurricane warnings as reception fizzled in and out. It was the latter part of hurricane season and we’d seen minimal storm damage in the region. We might dodge hurricanes for one or two years running, but it was never long enough to truly get complacent about them the way places like New Orleans had.

The overhead fan whirred. Outside my door sunlight filtered thinly through a cloud, illuminating the traffic circle a faint ocher. As I considered the faded lines denoting parking spaces and the cracked pavement, a young man bobbed into my line of sight. He was one of those people who walked on his toes at all times, like the tendons in his calves were so tight his heels couldn’t touch the ground for more than an instant before popping up again. He squinted at the building, turning his head back and forth, then perusing a sheet of paper clutched in both hands. A green Osprey backpack hung loosely off his shoulders. People in California used them for hiking. He tugged at the built-in sippy straw and sucked. The bubbly slurping of the last drops of water in his pouch filtered up to me. Disappointment clouded his face.

His attention snagged on my door. I grinned and gave myself a mental pat on the back. He shifted one hand to his hip and gave a slight lean. I wasn’t sure whether I should let him see me in my ratty painting outfit, but figured that could be explained by the wet door. A spooge of cantaloupe paint dominated the center of my gray t-shirt. I eased the door open a couple more feet.

“Help you?” I asked. “You look lost.”

“Nice door.” He pointed at his forehead and swirled his finger around. “You got some.”

He was college-aged and his face was sunburned, as were his arms. He wore a Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants, a classic tourist outfit.

He continued to stand in the same spot, squinting and considering the sheet of paper. I returned to my inner office, needing another sip of water and the breeze from the fan. Out my open doorway, I could barely make out the top of his Caesar-style haircut.

“You should get a hat!” I hollered out.

His head rose up from the paper and he pushed up on tip-toes so I could see his eyes. “The sun’s doing a number on you,” I said. “Want a drink of water?”

He stared at me a while with a strange stillness, like he was in no hurry as he weighed every option. This boy was a local and he would pull me into events that would rock one of the largest industries in the Virgin Islands.

“Do you have Perrier?”

***

Excerpt from Sweet Paradise by Gene Desrochers.  Copyright 2021 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.

 

 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.

After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. Sweet Paradise is Gene’s second published novel in the Boise Montague Series.

He lives in Southern California with his wife, step-daughter, and two cats.

Connect with Gene:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads
 
Buy the book:
Amazon  |   Barnes & Noble




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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: J. LUKE BENNECKE

 


ABOUT THE BOOK


When Californians start getting sick with flu-like symptoms, traumatized engineer Jake Bendel is once again forced to work with the FBI to discover the cause. With his new desalination plants behind schedule and searing pressure from the California Governor, Jake uncovers a secret network of vengeful terrorists planning catastrophic genetic modifications.

But before Jake can find a way to cure the masses, he himself is injected with the virus, forcing him to dig deep to track down the leader of the terrorist group. Using strength from recent losses in order to save the lives of millions, Jake overcomes drone strikes and bunker bombs to discover the mastermind behind the plot, but not until the very end does he realize he’s been chasing someone who can’t possibly be caught.

“The breakneck pace will surely thrill and delight many.” — Sarasota Magazine

“Bennecke was able to create a suspenseful story that was driven by an action-packed plot. The book pulled me in and left me eager for the next installment.” — OnlineBookClub.org

Book Details

Title: Waterborne: A Jake Bendel Thriller

Author: J Luke Bennecke

Genre: mystery/thriller/technology 

Publisher: Black Rose Writing (April 22, 2021)

Print length: 329 pages






LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH J. LUKE BENNECKE


A few of your favorite things: the smell of fresh gardinia flowers, the sound of a lonely chirping cricket at dusk, pepperoni/olive pizza, and cookie-dough ice cream.

Things you need to throw out:
tax returns from more than 3 years ago, an old pair of jogging shoes, and some well-worn drumsticks with nicks and abrasions.

Things you need in order to write: a computer, peace and quiet, complete lack of stress and a creative mood to “get in the zone.”

Things that hamper your writing: noises, stress, a vibrating cell phone (I have ADHD, so it’s challenging to concentrate with distractions).


Things you love about writing: the creative process, the magic of storytelling, and how I become a conduit for my characters and their voices.

Things you hate about writing: nothing. I dislike having to delete entire sections of work I’ve written in order to keep a proper pace and plot arc, but I don’t really hate anything.

Easiest thing about being a writer: typing (I took typing class in seventh grade . . . four months of whacking away on a manual typewriter . . . then word processors were invented!)

Hardest thing about being a writer: learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry.


Things you love about where you live: the view of the desert and mountains, fresh snow a couple times a year, and swimming in my pool.
Things that make you want to move: the heat can get pretty bad in the summer months.


Things you never want to run out of: after going through the COVID-19 shortages last year, toilet paper! And, of course, peanut butter, clean underwear, and cat food.
Things you wish you’d never bought: A GMC truck in 1996 . . . everything that could’ve broken down did break down, especially the 50k-mile-warrantied transmission at 51k miles.


Favorite foods: pizza, ice cream, tacos.
Things that make you want to throw up: pickled beets, menudo, red wine.

Favorite song: this changes every few months, but right now it’s a song by a band named Cannons called “Baby.”
Music that make your ears bleed: anything country western. I must have been abused by a cowboy as a child but repressed the memory.

Favorite beverage: my home-made fruit protein smoothies.

Something that gives you a pickle face: buttermilk.

Favorite smell: perfume on my favorite wife.

Something that makes you hold your nose: vomit or feces.

Something you’re really good at: kicking footballs or soccer balls, doing character voices, flying small airplanes.

Something you’re really bad at: singing.


Something you wish you could do: play the drums like a pro.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: twirl my pen in my hand when I’m nervous.

Something you like to do: travel with my wife.
Something you wish you’d never done: played football in high school. I endured multiple injuries that still haunt me to this day.


Last best thing you ate: strawberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream.

Last thing you regret eating: a chocolate donut.

Things you’d walk a mile for: a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: a zombie army led by Dracula.

Things you always put in your books: a splash of humor.

Things you never put in your books: death of a dog.

Things to say to an author: Your book really resonated with me, and I cried when I read the chapter when . . .
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: You pace your novels the same way my grandmother walked her cat.

Favorite places you’ve been: Rome, Paris, London, New York.

Places you never want to go to again: a heavy metal concert.

Favorite things to do: watch It’s A Wonderful Life with my brother every year at Thanksgiving, collect coins, take walks with my wife, share memories/stories with my daughters, pet a purring kitty, take a nap on Saturday afternoon after a hot round of golf, fly my drone in FPV mode, sit in a steaming hot jacuzzi tub, and every time I start reading a new thriller.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: washing dishes, cleaning toilets, paying higher taxes.

Things that make you happy: winning a new engineering contract, watching the stock market rise, taking a deep breath, and waking up next to my beautiful wife every morning.

Things that drive you crazy: getting 2nd place on a proposal for an engineering contract, watching the stock market go down, and traveling without my wife.

Proudest moment: tie between holding each of my two daughters after they were born and hugging my grandmother after getting my MBA.

Most embarrassing moment: not paying attention one day in high school—staring at the cheerleaders practicing—I walked into a basketball pole.



Best thing you’ve ever done: finish college.

Biggest mistake: having kids so young.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: flew a Cessna 172 solo into a storm with only 15 hours of experience—while practicing stalls, going into a spin, but miraculously coming out of it.

Something you chickened out from doing: applying for a PhD program.

The last thing you did for the first time: got a COVID-19 vaccination shot.

Something you’ll never do again: get raging drunk at a party.


BOOK TRAILER





ABOUT THE AUTHOR 



J. Luke Bennecke is a native Californian and veteran civil engineer. His first book, Civil Terror: Gridlock, became an Amazon Bestseller. Bennecke currently resides in Southern California with his wife of 30 years, whom he enjoys traveling with, and three spunky cats. Waterborne is his second novel. 

 

Connect with J. Luke:
Website
  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads 


Buy the book:

Publisher Site  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: COLLEEN COBLE



ABOUT THE BOOK

Book three in the gripping romantic suspense series from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

A chilling murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.

Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.

Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murdered and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything.

It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.


Book Details:
Title: Three Missing Days
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: romantic suspense
Series: Pelican Harbor, book 3
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 6, 2021)
Print length: 350 pages



 

TWENTY QUESTIONS/ONE WORD ANSWERS WITH COLLEEN COBLE


1.     Where is your cell phone? With me.
2.     Your hair? Layered.
3.     Your workplace? Recliner.
4.     Your other half? Wonderful.
5.     What makes you happy? Grandkids.
6.     What makes you crazy? Rudeness.
7.     Your favorite food? Mexican.
8.     Your favorite beverage? Coffee.
9.     Fear? Spiders.
10.  Favorite shoes? Sneakers.
11.  Favorite way to relax? Read.
12.  Your mood? Happy.
13.  Your home away from home? Arizona.
14.  Where were you last night? Bed.
15.  Something that you aren't? Blond.
16.  Something from your bucket list? Australia.
17.  Wish list item? Pottery.
18.  Where did you grow up? Indiana.
19.  Last thing you did? Showered.
20.  What are wearing now? Nightgown


.



EXCERPT FROM THREE MISSING DAYS

“I know what you did.”

The muffled voice on her phone raised the hair on the back of Gail Briscoe’s head, and she swiped the perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand. “Look, I’ve reported these calls. Don’t call me again.”

She ended the call with a hard finger punch on the screen and stepped onto her front porch. The late-May Alabama air wrapped her in a blanket of heat and humidity, and she couldn’t wait to wash it off. She should have left the light on before she went for her predawn run. The darkness pressing against her isolated home sent a shudder down her back, and she fumbled her way inside. Welcome light flooded the entry, and she locked the door and the dead bolt with a decisive click that lifted her confidence.

She stared at the number on the now-silent phone. The drugstore again. Though there weren’t many pay phones around anymore, the old soda shop and drugstore still boasted a heavy black phone installed back in the sixties. The caller always used it, and so far, no one had seen who was making the calls. The pay phone was located off an alley behind the store by a Dumpster so it was out of sight.

The guy’s accusation was getting old. Counting today, this made seven calls with the same message. Could he possibly know about the investigation? She rejected the thought before it had a chance to grow. It wasn’t public knowledge, and it would be over soon. She clenched her hands and chewed on her bottom lip. She had to be vindicated.

But who could it be, and what did he want?

Leaving a trail of sweaty yoga shorts and a tee behind her, she marched to the bathroom and turned the spray to lukewarm before she stepped into the shower. The temperature shocked her overheated skin in a pleasant way, and within moments she was cooled down. She increased the temperature a bit and let the water sluice over her hair.

As she washed, she watched several long strands of brown hair swirl down the drain as she considered the caller’s accusation. The police had promised to put a wiretap on her phone, but so far the guy hadn’t stayed on the phone long enough for a trace to work. And it was Gail’s own fault. She should have talked with him more to string out the time.

She dried off and wrapped her hair in a turban, then pulled on capris and a top. Her phone vibrated again. She snatched it up and glanced at the screen. Augusta Richards.

“I got another call, Detective. Same phone at the drugstore. Could you set up a camera there?”

“I hope I’m not calling too early, and I don’t think that’s necessary. The owner just told me that old pay phone is being removed later today. Maybe that will deter the guy. It’s the only pay phone in town. He’ll have to use something else if he calls again.”

“He could get a burner phone.”

“He might,” the detective admitted. “What did he say?”

“The same thing—‘I know what you did.’”

“Do you have any idea what it means?”

Gail flicked her gaze away to look out the window, where the first colors of the sunrise limned the trees. “Not a clue.”

“Make sure you lock your doors and windows. You’re all alone out there.”

“Already locked. Thanks, Detective.” Gail ended the call.

Ever since Nicole Pearson’s body had been found a couple of months ago, no one needed to remind Gail she lived down a dirt road with no next-door neighbors. No one wanted to buy the neighboring place after such a lurid death, so the area remained secluded other than a couple of houses about a mile away and out closer to the main road.

She stood back from the window. It was still too dark to see. Was someone out there?

Pull back the reins on your imagination. But once the shudders started, they wouldn’t stop. Her hands shaking, she left her bedroom and went to pour herself a cup of coffee with a generous splash of half-and-half from the fridge. She had a stack of lab orders to process, and she couldn’t let her nerves derail her work.

The cups rattled as she snatched one from the cupboard. The coffee sloshed over the rim when she poured it, then she took a big gulp of coffee. It burned all the way down her throat, and tears stung her eyes as she sputtered. The heat settled her though, and she checked the locks again before she headed to her home office with her coffee.

No one could see in this tiny cubicle with no window, but she rubbed the back of her neck and shivered. She’d work for an hour, then go into the lab. The familiar ranges and numbers comforted her. She sipped her coffee and began to plow through the stack of papers. Her eyes kept getting heavy. Weird. Normally she woke raring to go every morning.

Maybe she needed more coffee. She stretched out her neck and back and picked up the empty coffee cup.

Gail touched the doorknob and cried out. She stuck her first two fingers in her mouth. What on earth?

The door radiated heat. She took a step back as she tried to puzzle out what was happening, but her brain couldn’t process it at first. Then tendrils of smoke oozed from under the door in a deadly fog.

Fire. The house was on fire.

She spun back toward the desk, but there was nothing she could use to protect herself. There was no way of egress except through that door.

If she wanted to escape, she’d have to face the inferno on the other side.

She snatched a throw blanket from the chair and threw it over her head, then ran for the door before she lost her courage. When she yanked it open, a wall of flames greeted her, but she spied a pathway down the hall to her bedroom. Ducking her head, she screamed out a war cry and plowed through the flames.

In moments she was in the hall where the smoke wasn’t so thick. She pulled in a deep breath as she ran for her bedroom. She felt the cool air as soon as she stepped inside and shut the door behind her. Too late she realized the window was open, and a figure stepped from the closet.

Something hard came down on her head, and darkness descended.

***

Excerpt from Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble.  Copyright 2021 by Thomas Nelson. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.


Connect with Colleen:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads
 
Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble