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




a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Monday, April 12, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: JEREMY RHYNE

 


ABOUT THE BOOK


When a rattlesnake almost kills his best friend, Caesar "Cwiz" (pronounced Quiz) Ruiz, author Jeremy Rhyne can't help but recall all of the wild times they shared growing up in Southern California—and the profound impression Cwiz has made on his life. Starting with a covert one-man band in a high school health class that had the entire room laughing, Cwiz always kept Jeremy on his toes. Through near-death experiences, Bible-study pranks, a kidnapping, hijinx across Europe and Asia, crashing the OJ trial, and game show dating to falling in love and finally growing up, Cwiz and Jeremy came of age together in surprising and hilarious ways.
Now Jeremy has collected all of their unbelievable stories into one book that ultimately charts Cwiz's journey from class clown to respected and well-loved community member. His Name Is Cwiz is the remarkable story of a lifelong friendship with a remarkable man—part jester, part sage—and the valuable life lessons learned along the way.


Book Details

Title: His Name is Cwiz: Lessons from a Lifelong Friendship

Author: Jeremy Rhyne

Genre: memoir/biography/humor

Publisher: Circuit Breaker Books (April 13, 2021)

Print length: 328 pages





LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY RHYNE


Things you need in order to write: a laptop, airpods, and Radiohead.
Things that hamper your writing: text messages.


Things you love about writing: getting into the flow and losing track of time, laughing to myself like a maniac at the keyboard, chipping away day by day.
Things you hate about writing: the creeping doubt and fear that I suck.

Things you love about where you live: the ocean—full of all sorts of wildlife—is so close by.
Things that make you want to move: the lack of space and solitude, and of course, the traffic.


Things you never want to run out of: M&M’s.
Things you wish you’d never bought: M&M’s.


Favorite foods: Carne Asada with chips and guac.
Things that make you want to throw up: salmon.

Favorite music: Radiohead.
Music that make your ears bleed: K-pop.

Favorite beverage: chai tea latte.

Something that gives you a pickle face: coffee.

Favorite smell: the sea.

Something that makes you hold your nose: that complex stench that wafts out of the Bath & Body Works store at the mall.

Something you’re really good at: standup paddling.

Something you’re really bad at: golf.


Something you wish you could do: dance like Twitch (guy on Ellen show); someday I’m going to secretly take hip hop classes, like three hours a week, become an absolutely off the hook dancer, then wait until I’m like 68 years old, and then when I’m at some relative’s second or third wedding, I’ll bust out the hip hop routine (if hip hop is still a thing) and just destroy!
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: learning to love Diet Coke, in retrospect, was not good.

Last best thing you ate: my wife’s lasagna.

Last thing you regret eating: nothing comes to mind, her hee.

Things to say to an author: You made me laugh.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: You’re boring.

Favorite places you’ve been: Istanbul and Chiang Mai are two of my favorites.

Places you never want to go to again: New Dehli.

Favorite things to do: being on the water (boat, paddleboard, jetski, arm floaties).

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: going to a multi-level marketing seminar in a church basement.

Things that make you happy: planning a new paddle camping expedition.

Things that drive you crazy: unnecessary meetings.

Proudest moment: one of my proudest moments was completing a solo circumnavigation of Catalina Island on my standup paddleboard.

Most embarrassing moment: spending a week in the hospital after doing too many pushups (long story).




ABOUT THE AUTHOR  


Jeremy Rhyne is an attorney living and working in Orange County, California. When he is not fighting for truth and justice in the courts, he enjoys standup paddling, reading, running, traveling, and listening to Patrick O’Brian novels on a loop. He is married with two daughters. His Name Is Cwiz is his debut book.

Connect with Jeremy:
Website Blog  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |   Instagram 

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: JEFF MARKOWITZ


 

ABOUT THE BOOK


When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect. Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife. Set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Viet Nam, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counter-culture. As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, everyone else in the town of Dutch Neck that summer of 1970 has the same question. Who is responsible for the death of Rosalie Bayard?

Book Details:
Title: Hit Or Miss
Author: Jeff Markowitz
Genre: mystery
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (December 2020)
Print length: 278 pages

 



TWENTY QUESTIONS/ONE WORD INTERVIEW WITH JEFF MARKOWITZ


1.     Where is your cell phone? Misplaced.
2.     Your hair? Misplaced.
3.     Your workplace? Home.
4.     Your other half? Fabulous.
5.     What makes you happy? Vaccine.
6.     What makes you crazy? Crowds.
7.     Your favorite food? Baigan bharta.
8.     Your favorite beverage? Scotch.
9.     Fear? Quicksand.
10.  Favorite shoes? Barefoot.
11.  Favorite way to relax? Poolside.
12.  Your mood? Subjunctive.
13.  Your home away from home? Beach.
14.  Where were you last night? Home.
15.  Something that you aren't? Troubled.
16.  Something from your bucket list? Orient Express.
17.  Wish list item? Enlightenment.
18.  Where did you grow up? Long Island.
19.  Last thing you did? #18.
20.  What are wearing now? Fedora.





EXCERPT FROM HIT OR MISS

Thousands of young people were on the mall, and more were streaming in by the minute. Willow, and her hippie friends staked out a spot near the Lincoln Memorial. Emily wandered the length of the National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capital Building and back again, determined to take it all in. There was a buzz in the morning air. The President appeared unannounced on the Ellipse at dawn and chatted with a small group of demonstrators. He wished them an enjoyable stay in the nation’s capital. Everyone Emily met on the Mall claimed to have seen him. The day was hot; the Mall was dry and dusty. There were crowds of people everywhere, an uneasy mixture of antiwar protestors, soldiers and police units, newsmen and onlookers. Protestors flashed peace signs and sang the fish cheer. Young Republicans responded with middle-finger salutes.

Emily didn’t know most of the speakers at the demonstration, but she like the message. End the Cambodian incursion. End the war in Vietnam. She located a pay phone and used her spare change to call Ben.

“It’s amazing. You should be here.” She had to yell to be heard. Demonstrators continued to pour into the Mall. “Is anything happening in Dutch Neck?”

“You need to come home.”

“Don’t be like that.”

“That’s not what I mean. It’s your mother.”

“What about my mother?”

Ben didn’t answer right away. The phone line crackled with static.

A scuffle broke out on the Mall. Police moved in quickly, weapons at the ready, cutting the small group of protestors off from the larger crowd. The confrontation pulled Emily’s attention away from the phone call.

“Your mother is dead.”

Later, the news would report that there were more than one hundred thousand demonstrators on the national mall, but at that moment, amidst the pushing and shoving, Emily felt like she was alone in the world. Without more change to feed the phone, the line went dead. She dropped the pay phone and turned, nearly bumping into a cop.

“Stay back,” he ordered, his hand on his weapon.

“She’s dead,” she replied and kept walking.

He pointed the gun at Emily’s head. “Who’s dead?”

She could feel anger in the policeman, but also restraint. Days removed from Kent State, it was as if no one wanted to provoke the next shooting. The policeman holstered his weapon. Shouts of “pig” were replaced by prayers for peace. Emily breathed a sigh of relief and answered the officer’s question.

“My mother.”

“Do you have a way to get home?”

Emily told the officer about Miss Cooper and the apartment on C Street. He offered to give her a ride. If anyone saw her in the patrol car, she would tell them that she had been arrested.

No one answered when she knocked on the apartment door. The apartment manager was polite, but firm. She would have to leave.

“Do you need money for a bus ticket?” The officer reached for his wallet. “I’ll drop you off at the bus station.”

When Emily left Dutch Neck, her mother had been alive. If she got on a bus, she would be admitting that her mother was dead. She wasn’t prepared to deal with that. Not yet. So she decided to spend another night in DC. As long as she remained in DC, she told herself, she could pretend that nothing was wrong at home. And maybe, just maybe, she could help end the war.

With no place else to go, she retraced her steps.

The crowd at the National Mall was smaller. There was a chill in the air, the midday heat a distant memory. It was a tough night, out on the mall, trying not to think about her mother. Instead she thought about the American boys who were spending the night in rice paddies on the other side of the world, probably trying not to think about their mothers too, and she knew that this was a small price to pay to end the war. At four in the morning, an older man approached. He was dressed like an off-duty policeman heading out to play a round of golf.

“Are you here to end the war, miss?”

“Yes, I guess I am,” She took a closer look at the middle-aged man and jumped to her feet, “Mr. President?”

President Nixon chuckled quietly.

“But, what…”

“I couldn’t sleep. I thought some fresh air would do me good.”

“But…”

“You know, sometimes I think you young people actually believe that I like being at war.”

Emily didn’t know how to answer the Commander in Chief. “Begging your pardon sir, but it does sometimes seem that way.”

“Let me tell you something miss… by the way, we haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Richard Nixon and yours is?”

“Emily Bayard.” She started to raise her fist in protest, like Bug, during the demonstration, but couldn’t extend her arm, not while she was standing face-to-face with the President. She looked around, grateful that Willow and her friends weren’t there to see her pitiful attempt at protest.

“Well, Emily, let me tell you something. I think I hate this war more than you do. But sometimes war is the necessary thing to do.”

“But you could end the war, sir. You could end the war today.”

“General Westmoreland tells me we need two more years to achieve our goals. You wouldn’t want us to leave now, without achieving our goals. Give me two more years Emily, and I’ll end the war. You have my word on it.”

“I don’t think I can do that, sir.”

President Nixon shook his head in sadness. “You young people can be so impatient.”

“In a few weeks, I’ll be graduating from college.”

“Congratulations. And then?”

“I don’t know. But I have classmates… friends… They’ve been called up. In two years’ time, they could be dead.”

President Nixon didn’t have an answer at the ready. “I’d best be on my way.” The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon. “Before my Secret Service detail realizes I’ve slipped out.”

President Nixon turned to leave. He took a few steps and then turned back to face Emily. “I’ve just had an idea. Are you hungry? Would you like to have breakfast with me?”

“You mean, like, in the White House?”

The President grinned. “I have the best chef. What would you like? You can have anything, anything at all. After all, I am the President.”

“This isn’t some sort of photo op, is it? You know what I mean, antiwar activist sees the error of her ways after breaking bread with the President.

“I see what you mean. It would sure look good in the papers. Lord knows I could use a good story in the papers.” The President chuckled. “No. No photos. No press release. You have my word.”

And so it came to pass, on Sunday morning, before taking a bus back to Long Island to bury her mother, Emily had breakfast with the President. Mr. Nixon had poached eggs and corned beef hash with a cup of coffee, black. Emily had blueberry blintzes and a cup of chamomile tea. And all the while, they argued about the war.

“Would you like seconds?”

But she had put it off long enough. “I’m needed at home.”

***

Excerpt from Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz.  Copyright 2020 by Jeff Markowitz. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Markowitz. All rights reserved.




 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Markowitz is the author of five mysteries, including the award-winning dark comedy, Death and White Diamonds. His new book, Hit Or Miss, was released in December 2020. Part detective story, part historical fiction, part coming of age story, on its release, Hit Or Miss was an Amazon Hot New Release in political fiction. Jeff spent more than 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children with autism, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing. Jeff is Past President of the New York chapter of Mystery Writers of America.


Connect with Jeff:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble




Sunday, April 4, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: ELEANOR KUHNS



ABOUT THE BOOK


September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Though he's reluctant, Will's wife Lydia convinces him to go . . . on the condition she accompanies them.

Upon arriving in a small community of absconded slaves hiding within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will and Lydia are met with distrust. Tensions are high and a fight breaks out between Tobias and Scipio, a philanderer with a bounty on his head known for conning men out of money. The following day Scipio is found dead - shot in the back.

Stuck within the hostile Great Dismal and with slave catchers on the prowl, Will and Lydia find themselves caught up in their most dangerous case yet.


Book Details:

Title: Death in the Great Dismal

Author’s name: Eleanor Kuhns

Genre: historical mystery

Series: Will Rees Mystery Series
, book 9
Publisher: Severn House (January 5, 2021)

Print length: 218 pages



    


LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH ELEANOR KUHNS


Things you need in order to write: music and a cup of tea.
Things that hamper your writing: people talking to me.


Things you love about writing: creation of a world.
Things you hate about writing: it is so solitary.

Easiest thing about being a writer: having ideas.

Hardest thing about being a writer: getting published.


Things you love about where you live: yard with a lot of trees.
Things that make you want to move: very close to my family.


Things you never want to run out of: eggs and coffee.
Things you wish you’d never bought: jalapeno potato chips.


Words that describe you: blonde, creative.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: overweight.

Favorite foods: any kind of bread.
Things that make you want to throw up: mac and cheese.

Favorite beverage: coffee.

Something that gives you a pickle face: beer.

Favorite smell: lavender.

Something that makes you hold your nose: mold.

Something you wish you could do: snowboard.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: clean.

People you consider as heroes: Mother Teresa.

People with a big L on their foreheads: liars.

Last best thing you ate: lobster.

Last thing you regret eating: doughnut (but it was good).

Things you always put in your books: I also include one of the professions common at that time, usually that no one does anymore. (Barrel stave maker, coppicer.)

Things you never put in your books: graphic sex or violence.

Things to say to an author: I love your books.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Why don’t you do this in your next book?

Favorite places you’ve been: Crete/Greece.

Places you never want to go to again: so far every place has been interesting.

Favorite books: mysteries, SciFi and fantasy are my favorites.

Books you would ban: as a former librarian, I don’t believe in banning any book. But I don’t read Erotica.

Proudest moment: winning the 2011 MWA/Minotaur prize for best first mystery.
Most embarrassing moment: when I talked over another presenter at a conference.


Most daring thing you’ve ever done: zip lining in Costa Rica over seven mountains.

Something you chickened out from doing: skiing one of the taller mountains as Belleayre.

The last thing you did for the first time: zip lining in Costa Rica.

Something you’ll never do again: It may be zip lining. I was terrified.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR


A lifelong librarian, Eleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Mystery Writers of America/Minotaur First Crime Novel competition. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and dog.

OTHER BOOKS BY ELEANOR:
Circle of Dead Girls


Connect with Eleanor:
Website Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads

Website:
Blog:
Facebook:
Twitter:
Goodreads: 

Buy the book:

Amazon Barnes & Noble




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

FEATURED AUTHOR: LORI DUFFY FOSTER



ABOUT THE BOOK



Lisa Jamison has done well for a single mom who got pregnant at fifteen.

She’s a reporter at a well-respected newspaper, and her teenage daughter is both an athlete and honors student. Though their relationship is rocky these days, Lisa has accomplished what she set out to do. She has given her daughter the kind of life she never had.

But all that changes when Lisa sees her daughter in the eyes of a dead man.

The cops call it a drug killing, but Lisa doesn’t believe it. She knows her ex-boyfriend was no drug dealer even though she hadn’t seen him in sixteen years. Lisa ignores warnings from her medical-examiner friend. She fails to heed barely veiled threats from the sheriff of a neighboring county. Instead, she risks her life and the lives of her daughter and their closest friend on a dangerous quest for answers.

The investigation leaves Lisa fighting for her family in a morbid, black market world she never knew existed. She learns that trust is complicated and that she, despite her cynical nature, has been blind. She trusted the wrong people, and now she might have to pay with her life.


Book Details

Title: A Dead Man’s Eyes

Author: Lori Duffy Foster

Genre: mystery/suspense

Series: The Lisa Jamison Mystery Series, book 1

Publisher: Level Best Books (April 13, 2021)

Print length: 228 pages






LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH LORI DUFFY FOSTER


Things you need in order to write: I need either silence or the din of a café. Once I really get into the writing, I tune everything out anyway. So, it no longer matters. I once wrote eight hundred words a napkin in a McDonald’s play area, surrounded by bunches of kids and the smell of ketchup. I hate the smell of ketchup, but I wrote anyway.
Things that hamper your writing: guilt is my greatest obstacle—guilt over not spending enough time with the kids, guilt about dirty dishes, guilt about not exercising enough. I am good at feeling guilty.

Things you love about writing: I love exploring human nature through writing, but I also the love craft of it. The rhythm of writing soothes me—manipulating and shaping voice, tone and pacing. It is the same kind of sensation I get swimming underwater. A sense of lightness, of freedom.
Things you hate about writing: I hate that I can’t do it all the time. I hate that sometimes I get stuck and can’t make forward progress. I hate that no work is every really done. There is always something that can make it better.

Things you love about where you live: we live on more than one-hundred and fifty acres amid rolling hills, old hayfields, and forest in a timber frame hybrid house with a wraparound porch. I can garden, hike on my own property, spend days in my PJs without worrying that anyone will see me, and sing as loudly as I want to when no one is home without fear that neighbors will hear my horrid voice. I often watch the deer while I write, sometimes spotting a bear or a bobcat. My husband has set up a campfire movie theater in the woods for summer evenings with the kids. I love where we live.
Things that make you want to move: I miss cafés, where I can write, and the variety of take-out foods in urban areas. The nearest café that is suitable for writing is forty minutes away. And I miss Target, but I am probably saving a lot of money by being an hour away from the nearest store.



Favorite foods: I am a rice fanatic. It’s the one food can’t live without. I also love most all vegetables and cheeses along with Indian, Mexican and Thai foods made with chicken or that are vegetarian.
Things that make you want to throw up: eggplant and shellfish make me ill. I have tried to like both, but they always make me sick to my stomach.

Favorite smell: I love the smell of a pine forest in late summer after a rainstorm. It takes me back to my childhood in the Adirondack Mountains of NY State. 

Something that makes you hold your nose: raw beef. Yuck!

Something you like to do: I would like to run again. I ran six marathons before I had kids, but life gave me a bunch of extra weight and two foot surgeries that have hampered my running ability. I am hopeful though. I might even register for a 5K this summer.

Something you wish you’d never done: I “borrowed” my oldest sister’s bike once when I was a kid to visit a friend who lived in a mountainside neighborhood. Unfortunately, the brakes were broken. On the way home, I flew down the hill and over a ten-foot wall, landing in intensive care for four days. So, I guess I wish I had never “borrowed” that bike.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lori Duffy Foster is a former crime reporter who writes from the hills of Northern Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. She was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, where a part of her heart remains. Her short fiction has appeared in the journal Aethlon, and in the anthologies Short Story America and Childhood Regained. Her nonfiction has appeared in Healthy Living, Running Times, Literary Mama, Crimespree, and Mountain Home magazines. A Dead Man’s Eyes, the first in the Lisa Jamison mystery/suspense series, is her debut novel. Look for book two in the series, Never Broken, in April of 2022. Her first standalone thriller, Never Let Go, releases from Level Best Books in December of 2022. She is also author of Raising Identical Twins: The Unique Challenges and Joys of the Early Years. Lori is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers and Pennwriters She also sits on the board of the Knoxville (PA) Public Library.



Connect with Lori:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble