Wednesday, August 26, 2015



When the family SUV flips and Kimberlee is rushed to the hospital, Black Cat (Thumper) and his soul-mate are left behind. Black Cat loses all memory of his former life and the identity of the lovely feline companion by his side. “Call me Angel. I’m here to take care of you.” Her words set them on a long journey toward home, and life brings them face to face with episodes of joy and sorrow.

The two cats are taken in by John and his young daughter, Cindy, facing foreclosure of the family vineyard and emu farm. In addition, someone is playing increasingly dangerous pranks that threaten Cindy’s safety. Angel makes it her mission to help their new family. John’s prayers are answered in unexpected ways, but not until Angel puts her life at risk to protect the child, and Black Cat finds there are more important things in life than knowing your real name.


Elaine, how did you get started writing?

I’ve written poems and short stories since I was a child. I still have a manila folder with faded typed stories from my high school years . . . back when dinosaurs roamed and we had manual typewriters.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I’m probably the only author you’ll ever meet that actually enjoys the editing process. My editor/mentor makes suggestions regarding the characters thoughts and feelings or suggests changes to the scene. She’s usually right. Her suggestions are often met with much eye-rolling and anguish on my part, but after I do the work, the scene is always better.

What books do you currently have published?
Three cat mysteries: Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel.

Can you share some of your marketing strategies with us?
Handing out bookmarks whereever you find a bunch of helpless people standing in a line is often rewarding. The public loves to "meet a real author." I ask if they like cats or read mysteries, (who doesn’t like cats or mysteries?), then hand them a bookmark. They often go home and download the Kindle version. Seeking interviews, book reviews, and guest posts with enchanting websites helps.

How do you feel about Facebook?
Facebook is a place to put your name and your work in front of the public, but with care and thought before with each entry. Keep it clean, thoughtful, funny or comment on a subject consistent with your WIP. Share your author events, reviews, and awards, but don’t say “buy my book” so often as to turn anyone off.

For what would you like to be remembered?
Oh, wouldn’t it be great if folks remembered the pleasure of reading my books. Or, to remember how I helped mentor their writing, but mostly as a good mother, wife, sister, and friend.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I live quietly and don’t actively seek attention, but putting a microphone in my hand is like lighting a fuse. I love the sound of my own voice. (Confession is good for the soul, right?) I become an extrovert with the printed word, probably even worse than when someone mistakenly hands me a microphone.

Do you spend more on clothes or food?
Definitely food. I usually buy my clothes from the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, a high-end donation shop where the profits go to cancer research. Such good quality and great prices spoil me for shopping at other stores.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
I was a flirt and drove my 57’ Plymouth too fast. Married at 18 and a mother at 19, that was all pretty daring, but 53 years later, I still have the same husband and two great kids, so it was the right choice after all.

What is your most embarrassing moment? 
Most Embarrassing Moment award goes to . . . Elaine for spilling a whole can of paint on a friend’s carpet. Showing another friend how it accidently happened – I spilled another can of paint.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
Oh, goodness. It’s so much easier to write ‘funny’ than to write sad, so I don’t do much of that. Writing a few of my animal stories has made me cry. It’s terribly hard to write about the loss of things we love.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
I attended a conference where an influential editor from a major magazine reviewed submissions from each attendee. He couldn’t say a gracious thing about anyone. He smashed the hopes and dreams of a few. His mean comments made some cry. He hurt me such that I could not look at the piece I submitted for over a year. What did I learn? When asked to give an opinion of someone’s writing, tell the truth, but always find something good and encouraging to say. Offer advice and refer them to help with their writing. None of us have the right to destroy another’s dreams with cruel and negative comments.

Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?
What a neat conversation it would be – Agatha Christie, John Steinbeck, and Ellery Queen, though I’d be so intimidated, I’d probably choke on my salad.

What is your favorite movie?

Several come to mind as favorites. Gone with the Wind, The World of Suzie Wong, The Quiet Man, Bells of Saint Mary, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Do you have a favorite book?
Shogun,  Noble House, Grapes of Wrath, The Silent Meow, Captain from Castile. But, definitely, Black Cat and the Accidental Angel --right up there with my favorites.

How about a favorite book that was turned into a movie? Did the movie stink?
Captain from Castile was an awesome book, but the movie left much to be desired.

Do you sweat the small stuff?
I don’t always succeed, but try very hard to think, “Will this really matter six months from now?”

If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
Not a cliché’ but a bible verse to live by. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If only more people heeded that advice. What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m writing a book set during World War II, Mrs. Odboddy, an eccentric older woman sees herself as a hometown warrior and a scourge of the underworld, as she believes conspiracies and spies abound and her duty is to bring them to justice. The first, Mrs. Odboddy Home Town Patriot, will be published in spring, 2016.

Lightning round:
Cake or frosting? Cake
Laptop or desktop? Desktop
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Chevy Chase
Emailing or texting? Text whating?  Definitely, emailing.
Indoors or outdoors? Indoor
Tea: sweet or unsweet? Sweet
Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile


Elaine Faber is a member of Sisters in Crime, Cat Writers Association, and Inspire Christian Writers, where she serves as librarian and an editor for their annual anthology.
Elaine has published three cozy cat mysteries, most recently, Black Cat and the Accidental Angel. Her short stories are in multiple anthologies. She lives in Northern California with her husband and multiple feline companions.

Connect with Elaine:


Tuesday, August 25, 2015



Frantic flight, peaceful life. Act of treason on an island country. Cauldron of warring emotions. Exotic beauty, ace with a gun. Hunk with gifts for mockery and cooking.

Nine-year-old Leilani and her family mysteriously flee the island country of Costa Mora, leaving her father. Years later, her peaceful solitary life in California ends when she rescues Justin Halverson from thugs and she learns a devastating truth about her father. As she agonizes over her father, Justin comforts her, and they’re drawn closer together.

With Justin, she returns to her birthplace to get her father quietly out. There, she reconnects with her past, but can she forgive her father and accept him for who he is? Can she finally be at peace with who she is? Welcome, Reluctant Stranger interweaves a love story into a tale of past political intrigue and Leilani’s inner journey, accepting her past.

Our Inevitable Love Affair With Stories

by EJourney

We may very well be wired for stories. We have many uses for them. They can make us cry, laugh, get angry. They may change how we see things, draw us closer together, and push us to take certain actions.

There is power in stories. They can change our brains, say some social scientists who have studied brain cells and substances our bodies produce while we watch, read, or listen to stories. Researchers have shown:

People who read a lot of fiction tend to have higher levels of empathy and better social skills than those who don’t, probably because of the strengthening of the mirror neuron (brain cell for empathy).

Storytelling may have been and will continue to be essential to our evolution into compassionate beings.

But it’s not only listening to stories, reading, or watching films that’s proven of benefit to us. Writing stories, especially ours (as in a memoir), can also heal what ails us. How? Via a form known as “expressive writing.”  If you keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, then you have engaged in expressive writing.

Psychotherapists know this. They may include Writing Therapy (a formalized sort of expressive writing) in their arsenal of psychotherapy/counseling techniques, along with those based on art and music. Writing Therapy is effective, particularly for treating debilitating stress after traumatic events.

So, do you need to go into Writing Therapy for the act of writing to help you cope with trauma, emotional pain, grief, loss, or anything else that bothers you? Fortunately, the answer is no. Just take up pen and paper or your preferred electronic gadget and open your soul.

Here is what some authors say about what writing stories did for them:

“Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence.” Alice Walker, Pulitzer prize winner (The Color Purple)

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
” Graham Greene, British novelist shortlisted for Nobel Prize (25 novels)

“The more I wrote, the more I became a human being . . . I was getting the poison out of my system.” Henry Miller, American literary innovator (Tropic of Cancer)

Pouring a painful experience on paper or your computer is cathartic. Even the act of reading through what you’ve written can be therapeutic. When you go back later to a journal of your experience, you’re more detached and can see it with fresh eyes. Your perspective can change and you may realize there is a lesson you can learn from it.

I started writing my thoughts and feelings in a little notebook when I was a kid, to help me cope with the loneliness of an only daughter whose three brothers didn’t want to be bothered with a sister. I think I have finally become reasonably comfortable with myself. But writing has grown into a habit I’ve become addicted to.

Much has been written on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Here’s one you can find on the web:


E Journey is a realist who thinks she has little imagination. Credit that to her training (Ph. D., University of Illinois) and work in mental health, writing for academics and bureaucrats, and critiquing the work of others. She’s been striving ever since to think and write like normal people.

She’s a well-traveled flâneuse — a female observer-wanderer — who watches, observes, listens. And writes. A sucker for happy endings, she finds enough that depresses her about real life, but seeks no catharsis by writing about it. For her, writing is escape, entertainment. She doesn’t strive to enlighten. Not deliberately. But the bias of her old profession does carry over into her writing. So, instead of broad shoulders and heaving bosoms, she goes into protagonists' thoughts, emotions, inner conflicts, insecurities, and struggles to reach balance and grow.

Monday, August 24, 2015



Alex O’Hara finally gets a case that will give her bottom line a much needed boost. She might even be able to change her diet from ramen noodles to prime rib. All she has to do is track down a man who’s been missing for over ten years. Piece of cake . . . until an old flame arrives and a mugger roughs her up with orders to back off.


Diane, how did you come up with the title, The Case of the Bygone Brother?
I wanted something that sounded like a Nancy Drew book, my favorite books as a kid. The reader knows up front this is a mystery. I plan to use an alliterative title in future books.

How would you describe your book in a tweet?
Small town—Big case PI mystery. Find lost brother and make beaucoup bucks. Avoid old flame. The Case of the Bygone Brother by Diane Burton.

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it?
I sure did have a say. Since I’m self-published and have no artistic talent, I hired a cover artist. Florence Price from The Novel Difference has done three of my covers. She is great to work with. She really listens/reads my mini-synopsis and what I want on the cover. She’s come up with great ideas, too, often better than mine. I love the cover for The Case of the Bygone Brother. You can tell it’s a cozy mystery, not a thriller or dark & dangerous.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” ~Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It evokes so many questions. Where is Manderley? What is it? A city, village, estate? Why did the narrator dream about it? Is this a repeated dream? Why? I loved the book from the first time I read it and each time after.

How do you get to know your characters?
They reveal themselves as I write. I’ll have a basic idea about them then — wham! — my fingers will type something and I’ll think “Where did that come from?” It’s such a great feeling.

Yes it is. When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?
Never. I know the main characters, of course, and some of the secondary ones. But not everyone. Some characters demand names and others are identified by their occupation: the waiter, the driver, etc. Giving the person a names makes them more important. The story evolves and the characters reveal themselves. With The Case of the Bygone Brother, I use a lot of Dutch names because West Michigan was settled by immigrants from the Netherlands. In fact, I named the title character, Harry Anslyn, after one of my ancestors, Louis Anslyn who fought in the Civil War.

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?
Nick Palzetti from Bygone Brother. He has skills! And he’s not bad to look at.

That always helps! Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
When Nick returns after a long absence and finds Alex lying across the top of a lateral file cabinet trying to retrieve something behind it. He wise-cracks, and when he tries to help her down, she falls on top of him. Years ago, Alex had a giant-size teen crush on him. And now he’s back and finds her as klutzy as ever.

Who are your favorite authors?
Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Jayne Castle & Amanda Quick) — strong plot, intriguing characters. Linda Howard — stories with such emotion that I cry, great characters, and marvelous plot twists. Linnea Sinclair — best science fiction romance around, action/adventure in space. (BTW, I also write sci-fi romance.)

Which author would you most like to invite to dinner, and what would you fix him? Or her.
Madeline L’Engle. I’d ask her how she came up with the idea for A Wrinkle In Time and the rest of the books. I read it to my 6th grade class and to my children. Fascinating. BTW, you can come, too.

Thanks. What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I’m between books right now. I just finished Siren’s Call by Jayne Castle. Love her Rainshadow series, and this one is great. Even when books have other formats, I love reading on my Kindle. I’m supposed to be reading The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate for my book group. Since it’s in trade paperback (from the library) I haven’t started it yet. Yikes! Book group is next week. I’d better get cracking.

How do you handle criticism of your work?
Poorly. LOL I huff and whine and grouse — at my husband, never the critiquer or my freelance editor. Then I respond very politely “Thanks. I’ll consider that.”

Where’s home for you?
A Lake Michigan resort town, similar to Fair Haven (the fictional setting for The Case of the Bygone Brother) but a lot bigger. After moving many times because of my husband’s job and “power shopping” for a new house as soon as ours sold, we’d have to settle for what was available. This time we had a house built close to our grandchildren.

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?
A Killer Past by Maris Soule that features a 74-year-old heroine who literally kicks the butts of 2 gang members when they try to rob her. She has skills!

No Brakes: On the Wing by Ellen Ann Callahan. Wow. Debut book full of suspense and emotion, fast paced.

Released (Nogiku series, Book2) by S.J. Pajonas. This series is blowing me away. Post-apocalypse with hope.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Watch movies and read. I love to garden, but bad knees make it difficult. Now I “sidewalk supervise” my husband. Quilting, which I’ve neglected. I’m helping my 8-year-old granddaughter learn to sew clothes for herself and her American Girl doll, so maybe I’ll get back to quilting, too.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’m living right where I want to be, close to family. Unfortunately, only half my family. If money was unlimited (or I sell beaucoup books LOL), we’d live half the year in Michigan and the other half in Arizona with the rest of my family.

What are you working on now?
The next Alex O’Hara novel, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé. She gets into more trouble again. My plan is to release it in October. I need to do a little more revising on Christmas in Space, a novella to be released in late November. And I’m in the planning stage for the next Outer Rim novel, a science fiction romance. Too many stories, not enough time. LOL


She had trouble written all over her.

Like a scene out of The Maltese Falcon, a beautiful woman begs the P.I. for help. Shades of Sam Spade, with a slight difference. The elegantly-dressed woman pounding on my plate glass window was more than twenty years older than me and, even though my name is Alex O’Hara, I’m not male. But I am a PI —O’Hara & Palzetti, Confidential Investigations since 1965. Not that I’ve been around since 1965.

As soon as I unlocked the outer door, the woman burst through, a few maple leaves stuck to her Manolo’s. Frankly, I was surprised she wore only a sweater. She must have been freezing out there. In spite of the fact that it was mid-October, the temp had dipped that afternoon to the low forties. We might even get frost.

“Ms. O’Hara, thank God you’re still here. I was so afraid—” She broke off on a sob. Taking a small, white, lace-edged handkerchief out of her Louis Vitton purse, she dabbed at her eyes.

Now I’m not one to belittle a person’s worries. However, I thought she switched a little too quickly from imperious knocking to damsel in distress.

Damsel? Not quite. I pegged her around fifty-five, give or take a few years, and well-preserved. Even in her Manolo’s, she only came up to my chin. Next to her I felt like a hulking giant. Since I’m five-ten in my socks, I look down on most women. Despite her elaborate up-do, from my angle I could see her roots. A visit to her hairdresser might be in order. But I digress.

“What can I do for you?” I tried not to sneeze from her overpowering perfume. An oriental scent. Shalimar or Opium. I never knew which was which. I tried them on at the perfume counter at Macy’s. That’s the closest I’d ever get to wearing expensive perfumes.

“I need your help.” Her breathy voice reminded me of Marilyn. As in Monroe, not Manson.

Because Pop loved old movies, I became addicted to them. Just like I did with detective novels. I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew, moved on to the likes of Daphne duMaurier and P.D. James before graduating to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I watched Masterpiece Mystery on PBS and every movie Alfred Hitchcock made. In my teens, I watched reruns of Remington Steele. Once, I wore a fedora like Laura’s to work. The Pops laughed so hard I never did again.

I ushered the woman into my office with its mahogany paneling and closed the door. I held out my hand. “As you’ve guessed, I’m Alex O’Hara.” I looked at her expectantly.

She laid her hand in mine. I clasped hers firmly enough to reassure but gently enough not to crush the delicate bones beneath the cold skin.

“My name is Babette Rhodes. Babette Anslyn Rhodes.”

She perched on the visitor’s chair, her back finishing-school straight and knees pressed together. I took my place behind the desk in the big leather chair that had been Pop’s. While she twisted the handkerchief, I stacked the bookkeeping papers and tucked them into the top desk drawer. Once I placed a clean legal pad in front of me, I folded my hands on top ready for her story. A story that could solve my financial problems.

“Ms. O’Hara, I must ask you to keep what I am about to tell you in absolute confidence.”

“Of course.” Hadn’t she see the word confidential on the sign on the door?

“My brother is missing. I must find him.”


Diane grew up in the Detroit-area and has lived in Portage (MI), Sedalia (MO) as well as a brief stint in Chicago-land.  She’s been a Parks & Recreation supervisor, an inventory clerk for a flute store, and a long-time volunteer for Girl Scouts. Her last job was for an oil and gas exploration company where she discovered the cure for insomnia—reading oil and gas leases.  Her longest-running gig was as a teacher where she taught elementary kids for over 10 years.  She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and the Mid-Michigan and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapters of RWA. She met her own hero on a blind date. It was love at first sight--for her. It took him a little longer. They currently reside in West Michigan and have two grown children and three delightful grandchildren.

Diane has been a reader all her life and loves movies, especially action adventure, mysteries, science fiction, and romantic comedy. Castle, Firefly, and NCIS are her favorite TV shows. So is it any wonder that she writes science fiction romance and romantic suspense, both with comedic elements?

Connect with Diane:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Saturday, August 22, 2015





Chiari Warriors is an anthology of short stories by 18 authors from across the globe - the UK, the USA, Canada, and Europe. The tales they tell are both nonfiction and fiction. Many are based on real life experiences. Others are based on vision and a wondrous source of imagination that these very special authors bring to their readers. Some of the stories they tell will make you cry, others will make you laugh. But some of their writing will actually terrify you when you realize that some of the accounts they recall are actually true stories from real events in their lives.

Indeed, there's something for everyone here: tales of love and war, of honor and disobedience, of hate and humor, of desire and desperation. They have produced a roller coaster of emotion on their journey to complete this anthology. It's a book to savor and enjoy, page by page.

Above all, this anthology contains the true story of a young boy who suffers from Chiari Malformation - a condition for which there is currently no known cure. The work itemizes the condition and the problems associated with this horrible human condition. Written by the self-styled Chiari Warriors, the book seeks to raise funds for health practitioners and research analysts. Accordingly, proceeds from the sale of this work will be donated to the Birmingham Children's Hospital Research Unit (a registered charity in the UK) in order to fund dedicated research into this life-threatening condition. The results of this research are shared across the globe between UK institutions, the Chiari Institute in New York, and elsewhere. If you do nothing else today, download this one to savor while doing something worthwhile for the children of the future.

Paul Anthony and family meet with the Clinical Research Unit at Birmingham Children's Hospital.


Mike McNeff, USA

Amy Metz, USA

C.C. Champagne, Canada

Wayne Zurl, USA

Carter Novels, USA

Marion Tervitt, Scotland

Edward Lightfoot, England

Dave Miller, England

Joan Cook, Spain

Sandy Kilpin Miller, England

Ray Gregory, England

Steve Sharpe (with Ben)

Roger Price, England

Matt Shields
Harlequins Rugby Team
presenting his Wembley shirt to our Chiari Sufferer

Paul Anthony, England

Steve Borthwick - ex-England Rugby Captain and now Forwards
Coach for Japan Rugby Team, with his teammates,
sending a message from across the Atlantic:

Friday, August 21, 2015


Literary Fiction / Family Saga
Date Published: December 2014

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Joe Zizzi's childhood in the 1950s had everything a kid could want--pro athlete dad, wonderful mom, cool big bro. When the '60s kick in, this ideal life is violently shaken: a car crash claims his mother's life and his father's career, and brother Matt becomes distant and disturbed. Over the years, Joe learns to cope and carves out a niche for himself as a college sports star, and later as a coach and writer, but he can't quite shake the family legacy. Diagnosed with kidney failure, the semi-pro husband and devoted dad has life-and-death decisions to make--and life wins, though perhaps only by a slim margin.


It can’t be possible. I can't possibly have PKD. Dad wasn't symptomatic until he was about seventy or so. Here I am, I'm not much past fifty and here I am. I know with the spring term being on, I had to start coming out with it. I told the players about my condition. I’d done this in the fall also, telling them I wasn't well, but this term I told the kids the first meeting, complete with the official name for the thing. I told Sr. Frances about my condition. I told Father Arsenio about my condition. The word gets around, and the parents are all talking to me. My colleagues are beginning to avoid me. I sense distance once I let them know what was happening and the word starts getting out.

I'm on a low-protein diet, and I'm fatigued, having trouble sleeping. Between the low-protein and the little sleeping, I'm in a lot of trouble. An opposing coach catches me looking like I’m nodding out at the game. The opposing team is snickering. The kids win it for me; I’m the human interest story. They've probably never seen classic movies in their lives, but they're winning for me—the coach needs an operation! The kids are of course involved in normal real-time culture. They've named me J-Ziz and I accept it as the awesome name that it is. They worry about me. They want to know about the food restrictions. Sometimes I'm busted when they catch me eating the bad stuff in my office, which I do on a regular semi-regular basis. My standard speech is, “I'm not going to be one of these ‘do as I say, not as I do’ types with you. I'm on the straight and narrow a lot. But it's taking some getting used to. I gotta fall off the wagon sometimes or else (a) I'm not going to be human, and (b) I'm not gonna be happy." I'm entitled to this dog or murder-burger or whatever.

About the Author

Chris Six is a New York-based writer and the recipient of somebody else's kidney.

Contact Links

Purchase Links


$5 Amazon Gift Card

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Thursday, August 20, 2015



Jill Gardner — owner of Coffee, Books, and More — has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society — but not everyone is feeling so charitable . . .

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running . . . until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event — and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running . . . forever!


Lynn, tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?

Killer Run, like all the Tourist Trap mysteries, is a standalone within a series.

All of the books are set in South Cove, California, the best little tourist trap on the central California coast. The town folk include people you love, people you love to hate, and a few additions with each book. Guidebook to Murder won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction this year.

Where’s home for you?
Right now, I’m living in a historic river town on the Mississippi river. I love the small town atmosphere and the proximity to my job along with various shopping areas.

What’s your favorite memory?
I must have been pre-school as we moved out of this house by the beginning of third grade, but the front closet had an entrance to the crawl space below. The thick iron handle was recessed into the floor. I remember sitting in that closet and making up stories about how it was a portal to another land.  

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

The difference between writers and authors is determination. They keep getting back up when they get knocked down. This may not be your time, but it only takes one editor to love your book. All the rest is luck. Julia Quinn said in her keynote at #RWA15 this (or a version of this) – “You can’t please everyone, every time.”

Do you have another job outside of writing?
Currently yes. I license and title vehicles for a leasing company here in St. Louis. Not the most exciting work, but I get to play with my imaginary friends a lot while I’m working.  

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
Like most authors, I’d take the lonely genius. I do like my time alone because, let’s face it, if you’re thinking about your story, you have your characters to keep you company.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Never give up, never surrender. I just attended the annual Romance Writer’s convention and in different forms, I must have heard that sentiment daily at sessions.

How did you create the plot for this book?
I’m a pantser, but I go into the book knowing a few things. Like for Killer Run, I knew they were going to sponsor a run, that Jackie was going to be more active in the sleuthing part (Jill needs to keep an eye out on that one), and that a new business was being added to the mix.

I love finding out new and interesting things about my town and the people who live there. Harrold, the owner/operator of The Train Station is going to throw the gang a big curve. 

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
The middle of the book. Any book, every book. There’s a story called The Phantom Tollbooth and it talks about the Doldrums . . . I feel like I’m lost in that mythical country every time I hit halfway and my mind starts playing tricks on me.

That's where I am right now! What are you working on now?
Starting this week, I’ll be returning to South Cove for Tourist Trap #7. I signed a three-book contract extension at the beginning of 2015. So happy the readers are enjoying Jill and the South Cove gang because it means I can keep writing the series.


New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho expat. She grew up living the small town life she now loves to write about. Currently, she’s living with her husband and two fur babies in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. Guidebook to Murder, Book 1 of the Tourist Trap series won the 2015 Reader’s Crown award for Mystery Fiction.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015



Nat Sheppard’s world is turned upside down on the first day of the school holidays by the discovery of a secret room containing cave maps with clues to an ancient treasure. But Nat and her friends soon discover they’re not the only ones chasing the jewels. Professional treasure hunters are on the trail – and they’re prepared to eliminate anyone in their way.

My Brothers & The Secret of Sinbad's Cave

by Brydie Walker Bain

Accepted wisdom is to write what you know. Growing up as the oldest of five children, there’s one thing I know; brothers. I have a sister too, but she arrived too late to be a useful ally. For most of the time it was my three brothers and me, the four of us only six years apart.

There is a photograph of me, wearing my father's shoes at age twenty months. I am sitting on my newborn brother Joseph in the bouncinette. I don't look happy to see him. When Fraser arrived I was three. Five when Chad turned up. There was a brief moment of being able to dress them up, but that pliability soon vanished in a clatter of karate moves and skateboarding tricks.

My brothers created a whirlwind of energy that dominated our household. Joe's mates would start arriving in the back yard every morning before school while I was still having breakfast. En masse, they'd wander down the road together.

Saturdays were soccer game days, but every other day was for soccer training. I can still remember the thump of the ball as Chad practiced against the garage door.

Some things, though, are best forgotten. I was at high school when a mini half-pipe was built for Fraser. When I mentioned that to him a few months ago he stared at me.
'Yes, and you broke it.'
I frowned. 'Did I?'
Yes,' he said. 'Old fatty sister put her foot right through.'
I was amazed. I had happily erased that from my memory.

Car rides were the worst. My parents tried to show us as much of the country as they could, a noble idea, except for the journey. Trapped together for hours on end, the intense physical energy of my three brothers would condense into ruthless verbal barbs and then culminate in a perfect punch swung across the seats. My mother would sternly instruct me to ignore them, but how could anyone ignore a catapulting, teasing, pinching mass of arms and bad jokes?

I plotted vicious revenge. I constructed perfect mud balls to throw at them. They were round and rock solid, stored up for the right moment. But I was easily derailed. For example, I remember the intense jealousy I felt when Joseph learned to whistle before me.

My father would tell me that in years to come, my brothers would be my best friends. I'd laugh bitterly, as only a twelve year old could. But Dad was right. I love them more than anything. Any time we get together it is hilarious - often at each other’s expense. There are still punches and terrible jokes. Catching up with my brothers is one of the things I most look forward to. I just wish they could remember my birthday.

Having grown up in a household of leaping yelling boys, I was compelled to create characters in my YA novel that were funny, loyal, and cheeky too.

The Secret of Sinbad's Cave could be described as Treasure Island meets Famous Five - with a mystical twist. Nat Sheppard and her friends find a series of cave maps that leads to ancient jewels, but they are pursued by ruthless treasure hunters that will do anything to stop them.

There are three boys in my story; Nat's brother Jack, and two good friends, Barnaby and Elijah. Although they're all on Nat's side, they never miss a chance to poke fun at her either.

Following is a brief excerpt. I think you’ll be able to see from where I drew my inspiration.

Excerpt from The Secret of Sinbad's Cave

Nat pulled to a perfect stop in front of the three boys. ‘Hi,’ she said. Her heart was beating wildly.

‘Old Splattercat,’ said Elijah. His dark hair was short and spiked, and his olive skin still wore a summer tan. ‘Good to see you again.’

‘You too,’ said Nat. ‘How’s boarding school?’

‘Good,’ said Elijah. ‘I’m in the First Eleven. Not bad for a fifteen year old aye!’

‘Nice,’ said Nat. She couldn’t believe how much he’d grown; especially across his shoulders.

Elijah was calm and in control, but Barnaby was always up to mischief. He had the same olive skin as his older brother, but Barnaby was skinnier. His long scruffy hair made him look like a surfer.

‘Hi Splat,’ said Barnaby. ‘Been climbing recently?’

Nat groaned. Not again.

‘You’ve got natural Splatter ability,’ continued Barnaby. ‘Remember when we were out bouldering, and you boasted that you’d perfected that really hard climb?’

‘Was that the one she demanded we watch?’ asked Elijah. A massive grin spread across his face.

‘Yep,’ said Barnaby. ‘What happened next? That’s right, you fell and winded yourself so bad we almost called the ambulance.’

‘I was quite worried,’ said Elijah.

‘I was too,’ said Jack.

‘Yeah right,’ said Barnaby. They all laughed.

‘Anyway,’ said Nat. ‘What are you guys doing here?’

‘We were biking home when we found Jack crying ‘cos he’d lost his sister,’ said Elijah.

Jack scoffed. ‘Whatever.’

‘Do you all know Riki?’ asked Nat.

‘Long time, no see,’ said Elijah. ‘How’s it going?’

‘Good,’ replied Riki. ‘Are you guys up for a mission?’

‘Absolutely,’ said Barnaby. ‘Does it involve finding the cave Jack’s been going on about?’

‘Not yet,’ said Nat. ‘We’re going to the Glowworm Cave.’

The boys groaned. Repeated school trips through the cave had dimmed their enthusiasm for the glowworms and formations.

‘Let’s go to a real cave,’ said Barnaby.

‘You just want to play in the mud,’ said Jack.

Barnaby smiled. ‘Yep!’

‘The thing is,’ said Riki, ‘we’re going into the cave with a tour – but not coming out with one.’

‘We’re staying the night?’ asked Elijah.

‘Probably not.’ Riki lowered her voice. ‘We’ll bust out once we find what we’re looking for.’

Barnaby leaned forward. ‘Which is?’

‘Sinbad’s lost treasure.’

‘I’m in,’ said Barnaby. He glanced around the group. ‘I think we all are.’

‘Excellent,’ said Nat. ‘Listen up – here’s the plan.’


Brydie Walker Bain is a playwright, poet and children's author. She studied History and Theatre & Film at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and furthered her studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Brydie's plays have enjoyed readings in London, rave reviews and sell out audiences in Auckland, Hamilton and Waitomo. Her latest project is The Natnat Adventures. This young adult series successfully launched with The Secret of Sinbad's Cave, and continues with The Ship of Sight and The Hand of Shadow.

Contact Brydie:
Facebook  |  Goodreads  

Sunday, August 16, 2015



After taking over the fortune-telling parlor run by her late con-artist mother, Alanis McLachlan is trying to make up for her mom's con jobs by tracking down old customers and making amends. When Martha, one of the most loyal clients, comes looking for a way out of her abusive marriage, Alanis does everything she can to help. But helping Martha leads to unforeseen consequences . . . including murder. When Martha's husband is found dead, the police show up at Alanis's door. And things only get more complicated as she tries to clear her name from the top of the suspect list. With her growing mastery of the tarot and her own formidable con artist skills, can Alanis find her way to the truth before the killer gets to her first?


Steve, tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
Fool Me Once is the second novel in a series about a reformed con artist turned tarot reader turned crime solver. It picks up where the first book, The White Magic Five & Dime, left off. But you don't need to have read The White Magic Five & Dime to understand the new book. Readers can dive right in. To be honest, one of my least-favorite chores when writing a series book (I've written a bunch!) is weaving in all the necessary back story so that new readers won't be confused. But I do it anyway, every time. If someone stops reading for even a second to say "Chuh? Who is this person they're talking to?" then I'm in trouble. So I make sure it never comes to that!

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
Time. That's what I really need: about 20 more hours per week. At the moment, I'm writing these Tarot Mysteries with my friend Lisa Falco, writing a series of middle-grade mysteries with science educator "Science Bob" Pflugfelder, launching a series of middle-grade graphic novels with my friend Chris Kientz, working a day job with a long commute, raising kids, walking dogs and, every so often, trying to eat, exercise, and sleep. Know anyone who sells time in a bottle? I think Jim Croce was really on to something with that.

Who would you pick to write your biography?

Forcing a writer to do my biography would be cruel indeed. I'm so boring! So I would spare my fellow scribes and say that Antonin Scalia should write it. It would probably turn out to be a pretty nasty piece of work – like Scalia himself – but as long as he's writing about me, he won't be writing Supreme Court decisions.

What is your most embarrassing moment? Or moments.
Oh, it's definitely plural. I have soooooooo many – and it feels like I remember them all. A classic would be the time I was being interviewed by a blind fan for a radio show for people with visual impairments. He said something nice about my books, and I replied with something like, "You can't see it, folks, but he's reading that off a cue card I wrote." It was meant to be a joke about being interviewed for the radio, but it took me about half a second to realize, "Oh, my God . . . he's blind . . . and most of his listeners are blind . . . and I'm an idiot . . . "

What makes you nervous?

Heights. Crowds. Noise. Speaking in public. Speaking to strangers. Speaking to acquaintances. Speaking. Centipedes. Kirkus

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?

That's an interesting choice. I feel like I'm already both. It just depends on when you catch me. (I can also be a lonely idiot and a sociable genius. Or that's what it feels like sometimes, anyway.) I guess if I were forced to choose, I'd go with sociable idiot. I could live without having brains, but I wouldn't want to live without my family, friends and dogs.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people? 
I love quirky, cynical, sarcastic women, and Alanis, the hero of the Tarot Mysteries, was inspired by several I've known over the years. A few editors who took a look at the manuscript for the first book thought that her wisecracking, world-weary ways made her unlikeable and overly masculine. Well, [CENSORED] that! Fortunately, the fine folks at Midnight Ink didn't feel that way, which is why the series ultimately ended up with them.

Who are your favorite authors?
The author who had the biggest influence on me was Kurt Vonnegut, though I don't think you'd necessarily guess that if you read my books. I do stuff that's much more plot-driven. But little echoes of Vonnegut's humor and outlook on life show through from time to time, I hope. Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, and Arthur Conan Doyle were big influences, too. I'm also extremely fond of (presented with no particular rhyme or reason) Catch-22, David Sedaris, Little Big Man, Carl Hiaasen, Lonesome Dove,  Elmore Leonard, Fight Club,  Ursula K. Le Guin and True Grit.

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I'm reading two things at the moment. One's a history book about train robbers in the 1890s. It's on my Kindle so I can read it on the StairMaster at the gym. Unfortunately, it's the kind of history book that only historians should or even could read. The amount of research and detail is amazing . . . and overwhelming. A rip-roaring read it is not.

The other book is Tom Robbins' Another Roadside Attraction. I have it in my favorite book format: musty old used paperback. Man oh man, is it of its time. I'm enjoying it, but the forced hippie-dippy-trippiness of it can be a bit much. I'm going to the beach with my family in a week, so I'm looking forward to some lighter, more straightforward fare. I already have a bunch of Rex Stout and John D. McDonald paperbacks set aside for the trip, so I should be set.

What would your dream office look like?
Probably a giant banana. Or a monkey's armpit. I have weird dreams! If we're talking about the kind of office I'd like to have in reality, it would be small, quiet, and isolated. No windows. No neighbors. Not even any dogs. No distractions of any kind. Just me, four walls, a computer, whatever reference material I need, and a pot of coffee. Ahh . . . paradise.

What are you working on now?
I'm writing the sixth book in the middle-grade series I do with Science Bob. After that, I need to outline a story for the graphic novel series. Then I'll have to rush straight into the third Tarot Mystery. Once that's done, I plan to finally have my nervous breakdown. I've been meaning to squeeze it in for a while now, but I never have the time.


Steve Hockensmith is the author of 12 novels and dozens of short stories in a variety of genres. His novel Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the official prequel to the smash "mashup" Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, was a New York Times bestseller. His other books include the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies sequel Dreadfully Ever After, the Edgar Award-nominated mystery/Western Holmes on the Range and the science-adventure for kids Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab (written with frequent Jimmy Kimmel Live! and LIVE with Kelly and Michael guest "Science Bob" Pflugfelder). His writing has been called "clever" (by the New York Times), "intriguing" and "laugh out loud" (by the Los Angeles Times), "hilarious" and "delightfully offbeat" (by Entertainment Weekly) and "a hoot" (by the Washington Post).

Connect with Steve:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Friday, August 14, 2015



The national bestselling author of The Wedding Soup Murder returns to the Jersey Shore where a killer is stirring up trouble during a hurricane . . . 

At the Casa Lido, the end of summer means a party, and hit whodunit writer Victoria “Vic” Rienzi and her family are cooking like crazy for the restaurant’s seventieth anniversary celebration. As they chop onions and garlic, old family friend Pete Petrocelli stops by, saying he knows something that would make for a good mystery novel. Curious, Vic asks Nonna to elaborate on Pete’s claim and learns of a relative who mysteriously disappeared back in Italy…

The night of the party brings a crowd—and a full throttle hurricane. When the storm finally passes, everyone thinks they’re in the clear — until the first casualty is found, and it’s Pete. Remembering his visit, Vic isn’t certain Pete’s death was an accident and decides to dig deeper into his story. What she finds is meatier than Nonna’s sauce . . .


Rosie, what's your favorite thing about the writing process?
When characters “talk” in my head.

How long is your to-be-read list?

It’s a big stack!

What books do you currently have published?
Three Italian Kitchen Mysteries: Murder and Marinara, The Wedding Soup Murder, A Dish Best Served Cold

How long have you been a writer?

I have been a writer my whole life — journals, stories, bad poetry and a couple of unpublished manuscripts. But I’ve only been a published author for three years.

You have a day job . . . how do you find time to write?

I am a teacher, so I use my summers to write.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?

Duh. PBS.

For what would you like to be remembered?

Being a published author is amazing and a dream come true, but I’d rather be remembered for two really important jobs — teaching and mothering.

What five things would you never want to live without? 

Books, cheap chardonnay, cool shoes, my collection of costume dramas on DVD, and fresh pasta. (God, I’m shallow.)

If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
Next question, please!

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

An introvert masquerading as an extrovert.

Do you spend more on clothes or food?

Clothes, followed by shoes, are my weakness.

What's your favorite treat for movie night?
Brownies straight from the oven.

Oh yeah, I'm in total agreement. What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
My 80s perm and a few questionable boyfriends.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been,” said by George Elliot.

What would your main character say about you?
“Rosie, quit messing around and give me a real love life. Or at least a nice little dog.”

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
A eulogy for my great Aunt Marie, a wonderful and inspiring lady.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?

There’s the most wonderful library in Spring Lake, along the Jersey shore. I spent time there working on my first Kitchen Mystery. It looks like something out of Harry Potter. It has a big fireplace, leaded windows, and beautiful old wood work. I’d like to move in!

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
Elizabeth Bennet in the moment that Darcy proposes. But I’d say yes and then we’d lose half the book!

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
Oh, gosh, someone on Amazon or Goodreads called it “a waste of paper.” It was my first book, Murder and Marinara, and had taken me a year to write. But in the immortal words of Taylor Swift, “haters gonna hate.” So I took her advice and I shook it off!

My favorite line is "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will still be people who don't like peaches." Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?
Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf.  And I’d just sit back and listen!

What is your favorite movie?

Sleepless in Seattle. Sigh.

Do you have a favorite book?
Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion keeping duking it out for the number one spot.

Do you sweat the small stuff?

All. The. Time. But I’m working on it.

If you had to choose a cliche about life, what would it be?

“Life is long.” But I would add, “if we’re lucky.”

Lightning round:

Cake or frosting? I know I should be ashamed of myself — frosting!
Laptop or desktop? Laptop all the way.
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Jon Stewart. No offense, gentlemen.
Emailing or texting? Email.
Indoors or outdoors? Depends on the season.
Tea: sweet or unsweet?  Iced and sweet, courtesy of stevia! (But no day starts without coffee.)
Plane, train, or automobile?  Train travel — romantic, old school, and safe.


A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. Her series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her appreciation for good food and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a 2013 Best Pick by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. Her current release is Book 3 in the series, A Dish Best Served Cold. Rosie still lives in her home state with her husband and the youngest of her three Jersey boys.

Connect with Rosie:
Website  | Blog  | Facebook  |  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015



Beacon news reporter Lindsey Fox is on the verge of breaking a huge story of political corruption that will make her career and make her famous journalist parents proud — or she could be thrown in jail and fired. It really could go either way.

Her recent streak of bad luck continues when Lindsey finds herself facing a bogus contempt charge — and attorney Ben Gillespie is appointed to get her out of the slammer. They once had a bad date of epic proportions—stilted conversation, food poisoning, burglary, towed car. Then there was the incident with the pepper spray. Lindsey never believed she’d see the sexy lawyer again.

Ben can totally believe that Lindsey is behind bars. The woman is trouble. Now he has to get his new client out of jail, keep her out of the grasp of a crazed bike messenger and a shady P.I., help her save her job, and convince her to put down the pepper spray and give him another chance.


Ellie, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
A Good Kind of Trouble was not the original title I had in mind for this book. I was trying to go to sleep one night when I came up with what I thought was a great and hilarious title, but reviews were split on whether Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer was the best title. Since the book had morphed from a novella to a long novel and then to a series, I needed to find titles for the four (four!) other books that I planned for the Trouble in Twin Rivers series. Now the books are also linked by the word Trouble in the title.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
A Good Kind of Trouble is the first book in the Trouble in Twin Rivers series but readers will be able to read them as standalone books. The series revolves around Ben’s coworkers at the Fields Law Group. The second book is the story of Fiona Larkin, one of the other lawyers in the office, and FBI Agent Matt Pritchard. You can get a brief introduction to them in the first book.

Where’s home for you?
I’m a California native and am happy in any corner of my home state. And I’ve lived in most of those corners at one point or another.

What makes you happy?
Bad weather, especially fog and rain; dogs; travel. Good books, good food, and good friends. I’m generally a happy person, so this list could get out of hand.

What dumb things did you do during your college years?
Dropped out! I eventually went back once I developed more of an attention span and figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, I’m an attorney. While I’d love to write full-time, I do enjoy my job. But I sure wouldn’t mind working part-time at my day job so I could write more.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” — Edward Abbey

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

I did love Italy. And England. Oh, and Ireland! France was beautiful. Perhaps I’d live somewhere overseas with a Eurorail pass as my address.

Sounds nice! What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
An editor called A Good Kind of Trouble a “fun, modern twist on Moonlighting,” and I will forever be grateful for those words. It gave me confidence that readers would get me and would connect with my characters. 

What are you working on now?
I’m right in the middle of the third book in the Miranda Vaughn Mysteries series, tentatively titled Lucky Penny. Then I’ll be diving into the half-finished second book in the Trouble in Twin Rivers series, which I hope will be released next spring. I’m really looking forward to sharing Fiona Larkin’s story with readers in 2016!


Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories—journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the "happily ever after" that so often is lacking in her day job. When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on

Connect with Ellie:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  NewsletterGoodreads

Tuesday, August 11, 2015



Annabelle Aster has discovered a curious thing behind her home in San Francisco — a letter box perched atop a picket fence. The note inside is blunt — “Trespass is dealt with at the business end of a shotgun in these parts!” — spurring some lively correspondence between the Bay Area orphan and her new neighbor, a feisty widow living in a nineteenth century Kansas wheat field. The source of mischief is an antique door Annie installed at the rear of her house. The man who made the door — a famed Victorian illusionist — died under mysterious circumstances. Annie and her new neighbor, with the help of friends and strangers alike, must solve the mystery of what connects them across time before one of them is convicted of a murder that is yet to happen . . . and somehow already did.


Scott, what's your favorite thing about the writing process?
You know, I think the answer to that would change on any given day, to be honest, but being a more of a pantser than a plotter, I absolutely love the “eureka” moments, the ones where a plot twist or resolution leaves me rubbing my hands and cackling. Those are the best! The irony behind that, of course, is that I’m usually struck by inspiration at the most inconvenient moments. I can’t tell you how many of my plot twists came to me just as I was crawling into the shower.

Oh! I also love taking the words I’ve written and infusing them with my narrative voice. I want the reader to be as charmed by the words on the page, and the rhythm, as they are by the story line.

How do you feel about Facebook?

I’m an American living in New Zealand with my frustratingly perfect husband—a DOMA refugee, of sorts. (I’m serious, he is.  P-e-r-f-e-c-t.) Facebook and Skype are my salvation. Facebook allows me to be a part of my friends’ daily lives back in the states. It’s just one big conversation in which I learn about the flat tire they had the day before, or their niece’s graduation, or the new trendy coffee shop opening South Of Market. It’s so organic. I’m there, in their lives, experiencing it with them, and that’s pretty wonderful. Skype, on the other hand, is the lifeline to my family, my umbilical cord. I pretty much talk to them every day, usually while I’m making breakfast. I’ll sit my laptop next to the stove, call my parents back in Texas (can I get a shout out for San Marcos, folks?), and gab away while waiting on the eggs to scramble.

Who would you want to narrate a film about your life?
I’m thinking A. A. Milne. There was a peculiar boy who turned into an even more peculiar man . . . Something like that will do for starters. A. A. Milne can make even the most mundane things sound like a wakeful dream.

I love A.A. Milne. If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
OMG!  Why do I suddenly feel like I’m in a confession booth? Laughing out loud over this one. Give me a second to catch my breath . . .

Uh . . . I think I’d have to trade in my swear jar for a ginormous, expandable swear balloon. Having confessed that, you have to let me explain! (Otherwise, I’ll be hearing from my mom.) I was raised in a proper Southern family with my brother and sister. We were, all of us, confirmed in the church when we turned twelve, had our assigned household chores, never skipped school (except for my older brother), etc. And mom had a bar of soap and a toothbrush all ready to go if any of us succumbed to the rare verbal slip-up.

But writing is hard! It’s not just a little bit hard, it’s super hard! And I’ll have to confess to a wee bit of OCD. If the perfect words aren’t finding their way onto the page? Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing my little home office is sound proof.

I’m so embarrassed now . . .

Don't be. There are several Mark Twain quotes on swearing that I like, but this one is great: "There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It's dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that." Okay, moving on . . . Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I am, quite possibly, the most contrary thing ever put on this planet. I can overwhelm you with a deplorably excessive personality one second, and completely clam up the next. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. One of the characters in Lemoncholy — Christian Keebler — is burdened with a situational stutter. I drew on some of my life experiences to breath life into him. Another character, Edmond, can take a room by storm. And while I based him on a very dear, departed friend, some of his mannerisms are all me, if you know what I mean.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Are you kidding me? This!! I walked away from a pretty successful career (if you measure those things solely by the economics) to try my hand at writing. It was an act of desperation, really, once I realized I lacked the necessary meanness to go the distance in my industry.

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done (besides walking away from a successful career to be a writer)?
Depending on how things go after the book launch August 4th, the answer to this question may be the same as above, but one can hope for the opposite! All kidding aside, whether my book takes the world by storm, or I only sell a single copy (to my mom), I have no regrets.  This has been a magical journey.

What would your main character say about you?
I can tell you what she’d say to me. “Listen to me,” she’d say. “You can spend all the time given you on earth making terrible sacrifices for others who, without ever having walked in your shoes, presume to decide what is right and wrong on your behalf — people who want the world only on their terms, parading their intolerance, their ignorance and narrow-mindedness while calling morality. Or you can set your own course. You know right better than anybody. It’s your particular genius. Promise me you won’t sacrifice your happiness for something as cheap as acceptance. Find your courage, Scott. To hell with everyone else.”

That’s exactly what she says to Christian, but I wrote it as if she were talking to me.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?

Maybe that which I just wrote above, because it took me nearly fifty years to realize the truth of it.

What is your favorite movie?
I’m only going to answer this question to prove to you that I’m not afraid to be the brunt of gender norm jokes. Keira Knightly’s Pride & Prejudice. I may or may not have watched it three times on a row one night. (It was a looong night.)

Oh my gosh! That's my favorite movie, too. LOVE it! What are you working on now?

Funny you should ask! I just sent a bunch of chapters and a synopsis to my agent! The working title is Easy Pickens, and tells the story of a young Southern man living in San Francisco who is burdened with the world’s only documented case of chronic, incurable naiveté — the result of a curious subtype of ADD and a lightning strike at the age of four. He becomes a shut-in and night owl when it becomes painfully clear early on in life that he’s a magnet and a sucker for every con artist who crosses his path.

He does manage to get out of the house at 3:00am when the rest of the world is asleep and safely out of reach to ride his tandem bicycle with banana seats and cow horn handlebars around the city. There’s a wicker basket between the front handlebars containing a bag of Cheetos, a diet cola, and individually wrapped slice of bologna, and an urn containing his mother’s ashes.

And he rides a tandem bike because his mother’s ghost joins him nightly, regaling him with stories of his childhood.

Lightning round:
Cake or frosting? DONUTS! (Or Cheetos.)
Laptop or desktop? Desktop
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? How could you even watch The Life Aquatic, The Grand Budapest Hotel, or even Zombieland and even ask that question?  Bill Murray is simply IT.
Emailing or texting? I do it old school. Email.
Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors.
Tea: sweet or unsweet? Really? You’re going to ask a Southerner this one? Puh-leez!  Sweetened.
Plane, train, or automobile? Just get me there, already!!! Plane.



Pray for Me, Father

May 16, 1895
San Francisco, California
Mission Dolores Basilica


I’ve not forgotten our quarrel, but I’m asking you to put that aside for the sake of scholarship and the friendship we once shared. You were right, I fear. I meddled in something beyond my understanding.  The time-­travel conduit works—­I’ve shaped it as a door—­but not, I suspect, by science or my own hand. You are the only person who won’t think me paranoid should I put words to my suspicion. Something slumbers within it. Something with designs of its own.
Words have power. You know that better than anyone. And I am beginning to suspect the ones the shaman spoke—­and which I foolishly copied into my journal’s companion piece, my codex—­were an invocation.
Please come soon, I beg you. Or don’t come at all. And if you don’t come, then pray for me, Father. Matters are coming to a head, and my instincts say this will not end well.

David Abbott


Cap’n — ­adolescent con artist extraordinaire, picker of any lock, leader of Kansas City’s notorious sandlot gang, and unofficial mayor to all its throwaways — ­plucked a wilted lettuce leaf from her hair as she peered through a break in the pile of rubbish where she was hiding.

Fabian didn’t look so good, she thought, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. He was lying in the mud, his legs bent at odd angles, and was staring down the length of his outspread arm, his mouth opening and closing in a creepy imitation of a fish on the chopping block. She couldn’t make out the words, but it was clear Fabian was telling her to flee.

He wasn’t going anywhere. Danyer had made sure of that. Whether it was a first or last name, Cap’n didn’t know. He just went by Danyer. He was Mr. Culler’s hatchet man, and he didn’t fight fair. Danyer wasn’t interested in fair, though; he was interested in results, and Fabian had failed. Cap’n knew it was a bad idea to let failure go unanswered in their line of business, but she never imagined it would come to this. Fabian was a moneymaker for Mr. Culler, after all.

Danyer towered over him, a granite block with meat-­hook arms, his legs straddling Fabian’s belly. As his boots rocked in the muck, Danyer’s duster swept back and forth across Fabian’s chest. His voice reminded Cap’n of a humming turbine—­deep and dangerous—­as he read from the letter they’d filched. “‘Please come soon, I beg you —­’” Danyer crumpled the paper, lobbing it into the air. It bounced off Fabian’s cheek and into the mud. “Where’s the journal?” He squatted, grabbing Fabian’s chin with his sausage fingers before slapping him lightly across the cheek. “Hmm?”

Cap’n said a quick prayer for her friend and started backing up. But it was too late. She stepped on a stick that lifted a crate at the base of the rubbish heap just a fraction of an inch, and she could only grit her teeth as a tin can toppled from its perch, tinkling down the pile of debris while making a sound like a scale played on a badly tuned piano.
She froze as Danyer pivoted to stare at the pile of rubbish. He turned back to Fabian, speaking warily. “And where’s Cap’n?” he asked. “Where’s your pet pickpocket?” She watched him slap Fabian’s cheek one more time, the muscles in her legs tensing as he turned and started to walk toward her hiding place. Five feet out, Danyer lunged, but all he got hold of was the remaining head of lettuce as she bolted from the mound, racing down the alleyway in a flurry of muslin, freckles, and carrot-­colored pigtails.

Three blocks later, she rounded a corner, waiting. When the crack of the gun echoed down the street, she ducked into a drainage pipe to collect herself. A cockroach crawled over her foot, its antennae waving. Fabian admired cockroaches, she remembered. He said they were survivors. Suddenly, a whimper broke from her throat, and she ground the bug into a mosaic of chitinous shards before huddling in on herself, sobbing. And just as suddenly, she sat upright, her mouth set in a grim line while she ran the back of her hand across her nose.

Tears were for kids, and she needed to make a plan. When Fabian turned up dead, and there was no doubt he would, Danyer would want to tie up some loose ends — ­namely her. She wasn’t too worried about that. She knew every hidey-­hole in Kansas City, and the gang would watch her back. She regarded what was left of the cockroach, one of its severed legs agitating as though not realizing the body it belonged to was already dead, and nodded to herself. It was time to put the shoe on the other foot, she decided. Something had to be done about Danyer and his boss.


Scott is an American expat living in New Zealand with his frustratingly perfect husband. A former national title holder in the sport of gymnastics whose left arm is an inch shorter than his right  — the result of a career-ending accident — Scott ditched the corporate world to “see where this writing will take me.” He is the author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, a commercial fiction novel with a fantasy premise releasing August 1, 2015 through Sourcebooks that tells the story of two pen pals who are fighting against the clock to solve the mystery behind the hiccup in time connecting their homes before one of them is convicted of a murder that is yet to happen . . . and yet somehow already did.

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