Saturday, June 30, 2018



Essential oils distributor Dorcas Wiley is the boss everyone loves to hate. So when she turns up dead, killed by her own trophy, disgruntled saleswoman Cathy Broderick is the obvious suspect in her murder. Despite opportunity, motive and incriminating evidence, Cathy declares her innocence and enlists her mah jongg pals—Sydney Bonner and her cronies Marianne, Micki and Kat—to help save her from the death penalty.

Hot off a recent and nearly deadly investigation, the women are cautious about putting themselves in peril again. Syd’s spouse isn’t thrilled about another mystery in their lives, either, but he can’t resist the plea of Cathy’s husband. Soon, Syd is leading the way as they tangle with grumpy salespeople, the victim’s estranged husband and boyfriend, a mysterious housekeeper, a litigious customer, an annoyed sheriff and Cathy’s own arrogant lawyer.

The women have their own issues to deal with in their central Florida town of Serendipity Springs. Kat faces a health challenge, Micki fields a mysterious inquiry from her ex, Marianne has a chaotic anniversary and Syd wrestles with her husband over who’s really in charge. But nothing puts everyday life into perspective like the moment when their investigation brings them face to face with danger.

Book Details:

Title: Bamboozled

Author: Barbara Barrett       

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Mah Jongg Mystery, book 2
Publisher: self-published (April 3, 2018)

Page count: 268

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


Barbara, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
The Mah Jongg Mystery series features four retired female sleuths who play mah jongg. There are three suits of tiles in mah jongg: craks, dots, and bamboos. Each title of this series will feature a different mah jongg term, in this case, the bamboos. I started with the title and then found a plot that centered on someone who was “bamboozled.”

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
This is a standalone with background information about the four main characters in each book. 

Where’s home for you?
I currently reside in central Florida seven months of the year and central Iowa the other five. This mah jongg series is set in central Florida.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in southeast Iowa in the Mississippi River town of Burlington. It serves as the locale for my first contemporary romance series, The Matchmaking Motor Coach, about three brothers who customize luxury coaches. 

What do you love about where you live?
I love the sense of community. My husband and I decided to live in an intergenerational town rather than a gated, over-55 establishment so that we could be near families and enjoy a wide variety of things to do. When I first moved there, I knew no one except our real estate agent; I joined a mah jongg group to be more social and it has served as one of my favorite pastimes since. 

What is the most daring thing you've done?
More about the community in which I live in central Florida. My husband continued to work for five more years after I retired and was only able to visit me in Florida every few weeks. Since I didn’t know anyone, I had to push myself out of my sometimes introvert self and meet new people. I did this by joining several community activities. I already mentioned mah jongg. I also took part in forming a book club, a knitting group, and participated in numerous events and excursions. 

What’s one thing you wish your younger writer self knew?
To eat better and take better care of my body.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
When I was in high school, I played the violin and served as the orchestra’s concertmistress. My director pushed me to play a solo in the state contest. I wasn’t very good at memorizing music but attempted it just the same. A friend of mine accompanied me on the piano. I was so nervous, I had to stop and start three times. Finally, I was able to proceed by looking over her shoulder at her music. Although it was humiliating, the experience also taught me how to survive in the midst of adversity and terrible embarrassment.

What makes you scared?
The unknown. Deep down, I have enough confidence in my intelligence and ability to react to unexpected situations that I could probably survive and maybe even thrive responding to unknown situations, but I still worry. It’s probably my writer’s brain that imagines so many different possibilities that makes me uneasy.

How did you meet your spouse?
My spouse and I met during floor counselor training our senior year of college. Back then, “sensitivity” training was very popular. One of the exercises in which all the new counselors participated was non-verbal communication. Everyone was tasked with circulating through the room and letting others know who they were without saying anything. My husband stood out to me because he was freaking at the idea of not talking and wound up making goofy faces and hand gestures. Love at first sight? Not exactly. Shortly thereafter, our two residence hall floors had a mixer and we were chaperones. On the sidelines, since neither of us was into dancing, we got to talking and that led to his taking me home and asking for a date the next week. That was in the fall; not quite eleven months later, he proposed. 

What brings you sheer delight?
Hugs from my grandchildren.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Romans 12:6 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” I like to believe that every one of us has a special talent; the challenge is to discover it and then not be afraid to use it.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
I live in Paradise (central Florida) the way it is and Iowa to stay grounded. But if I could live anywhere else, it would be Paris. I’ve been there three times and still haven’t seen enough. But living in and visiting are two different things. I have visited England, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and soon, Canada, and all have been amazing experiences. I have also enjoyed seeing different parts of the United States, especially the Grand Canyon and Pacific Coast.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” Why does this appeal to me? I guess because it sort of says it all.

Are you like any of your characters?
I like to think there is a little bit of me in each of my four senior sleuths. I gave Sydney my leadership skills, Marianne, my analytical ability, Kat, my optimism and Micki, my inquisitiveness.

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
Kristen Hannah’s The Great Alone on my iPad. Trying to finish it before our Alaskan cruise.

What are you working on now?
Book 3 in this series, Connect the Dots. This time, the main protagonist is Micki Demetrius, and her attempt to help a fellow mah jongg player fight the developer that left so many items unfinished in her new condo and discover how her son really died.


Barbara Barrett started reading mysteries when she was pregnant with her first child to keep her mind off things like her changing body and food cravings. When she’d devoured as many Agatha Christies as she could find, she branched out to English village cozies and Ellery Queen.

Later, to avoid a midlife crisis, she began writing fiction at night when she wasn’t at her day job as a human resources analyst for Iowa State Government. After releasing eleven full-length romance novels and one novella, she returned to the cozy mystery genre, using one of her retirement pastimes, the game of mah jongg, as her inspiration. Not only has it been a great social outlet, it has also helped keep her mind active when not writing.

Bamboozled, the second book in her “Mah Jongg Mystery” series, features four friends who play mah jongg together and share otherwise in each other’s lives. None of the four is based on an actual person. Each is an amalgamation of several mah jongg friends with a lot of Barbara’s imagination thrown in for good measure. The four will continue to appear in future books in the series.

Anticipating the day when she would write her first mystery, she has been a member of the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America for over a decade. She credits them with helping her hone her craft. 

Barbara is married to the man she met her senior year of college. They have two grown children and eight grandchildren.

Connect with Barbara:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Newsletter

Buy the book:

Thursday, June 28, 2018



He’s just a soul whose intentions are good . . . Oh Lord, please don’t let him be misunderstood . . .

Joe has a problem. He is falling in love with his new housemate. Nothing unusual there, except for Joe is a poltergeist and this sort of thing just shouldn’t happen. Joe is suffering an existential crisis of no small proportion.

The object of his misguided affections - a feisty and self-assured teenager named Harriet. Will he be able to save her from something much darker than himself that lurks in the shadows of the Brighton house they share? Will she be able to help him on his newfound quest for redemption?

Book Details:

Title: The Mischief Maker

Author: Simon Maree

Genre: Paranormal

Publisher: The Famous Seamus  (February 1, 2017)

Page count: 217 pages


Simon, where’s home for you?

Hove in East Sussex, UK.

Where did you grow up?
I spent half my childhood trying to be a punk in South Africa (which was a tad scary under the apartheid regime) and the other half succeeding at being a punk in London. It wasn’t that difficult once I got the hang of it and had a few local role models.

What’s your favorite memory?
The day I met my wife. It was a baking hot summer’s day, and we met on the south bank of the Thames. She was almost an hour late, and her punctuality hasn’t improved one jot.

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
DVDs probably. I love cinema and have a frighteningly large collection specializing in classic horror. I also buy new releases that look promising, but more in hope than expectation. Most commercial modern horror leaves me cold. There’s some great indie stuff out there, especially from Scandinavia, France and the far east, but you really have to hunt them down.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Not to be a self serving, oblivious, hedonistic tosspot. It took me long enough.

Who would you pick to write your biography?
It might be a bit tricky logistically speaking, but Oscar Wilde.

What do you love about where you live?
Pretty much everything. I love being able to see the ocean from my front room window, and I love the free, Bohemian atmosphere down here. I think that, for the first time in my life, I might actually have a sense of community. Now if only we could get rid of all the damn hipsters.

Have you been in any natural disasters?
I once saw Bucks Fizz live. Does that count?

Hmm, not sure, but it may be the answer to this next question. Or maybe the next . . . What is the most daring thing you've done?
I’m a witch and a healer, and sometimes I have to deal with some pretty gnarly energies. I don’t know if counts as ‘daring’ as such, but it’s not easy to keep your shit together sometimes.

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Most of it.

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
That I was one very good looking teenager. Actually no, that would just have made me even more of an arrogant little prick than I was.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
The ones where people got hurt. I’ve never been a malicious person, but I’ve been selfish and thoughtless about the consequences of my actions on others more times than I care to remember.

What makes you happy?
My wife. True friends. Finding a really good film I’ve never seen before (the last one was The Transfiguration. I was expecting cheese and I got a gourmet four course cinematic feast).

What makes you scared?
Nothing I can’t breathe my way through.

Who are you?
A better person than I was five years ago, and isn’t that really all that matters?

Absolutely. What are your most cherished mementoes?
After my misspent youth; my fully functioning internal organs. I know many who’ve not been so lucky.

What brings you sheer delight?
Laughing and making others laugh.

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
How about a misanthropic hack? Can I be one of those? Oops, too late.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“When you’re going through hell; keep going” –Winston Churchill. I’m not a huge fan of the guy (Hitler bashing aside), but that’s one awesome f#*king quote.

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

What would you like people to say about you after you die?
I’d like to be remembered fondly on the whole, but I do hope there are rumours and scandals too. Just enough to keep ‘em talking for a while.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“Death played the empty chord” from Soul Music by Terry Pratchett.

How did you create the plot for this book?
There are so many books and movies about hauntings where everything is ultra OTT and incredible, whereas most real poltergeist cases are mundane, banal and really pretty pointless. I wanted to write something about a ‘smaller’ case, if you will. My eureka moment was deciding to make the actual entity both protagonist and narrator, and then giving him his own spiritual quest, as well as a sense of humour. That’s what made the book. Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, Clive Barker’s The Yattering of Jack and C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters are all also partially to blame.

Is your book based on real events?
There are several references to historic poltergeist hauntings and possessions that Joe (my beasty) seems to have a suspicious level of knowledge on, and Harriet (the object of Joe’s dubious affections) is pretty much a composite of everything you’d want in a real life DIY poltergeist attracting kit.

Are you like any of your characters?
Joe is, to an extent, my id. Thankfully, I don’t share his obsession with teenage girls, but hey, he’s a poltergeist. Cut the guy some slack. He’s just doing his job.

One of your characters has just found out you’re about to kill him off. He/she decides to beat you to the punch. How would he kill you?
Strangely enough, that’s one thing poltergeists struggle to do. Despite immense shows of strength and power, you could count the number of historical cases that have resulted in fatalities on your fingers (unless you were Jaime Lannister).

Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Oscar Wilde, Terry Pratchett, James Elroy, James Lee Burke, Henry Rider Haggard, H.G. Wells, Clive Barker, Herman Charles Bosman. Oh God, I could go on all day here.

What book are you currently reading and in what format ?
I’m actually listening to an audiobook of The Hunger Games, and I’d forgotten how good it was. The films sanitized the books completely. So much great social satire ignored at the expense of special effects and Jennifer Lawrence pouting a lot.
And the balls it took to write in the present tense! She pulled it off really well, made is very visceral.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
I’m a fast paced writer, so I don’t have a lot of time for long, flowery descriptions and overuse of adjectives. That Lovecraft features as one of my favourite writers is, I’ll admit, anomalous.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I write whenever my chain smoking harridan of a muse decides to pop by. I write in bed. In fact, my wife has started calling the bed ‘my desk’.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
The speech I made at my father’s funeral.

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?

What are you working on now?
I have anthology of paranormal short stories (They Also Serve) coming out for Halloween, and they’re not quite ready yet. I think one of them in particular might just be the best thing I’ve ever written though. It’s called ‘Silver Alice’ and it’s about a witch hunt. I’m very excited about it.


Simon Maree is half Irish / half South African, so he only ever had three options really: Rugby, Alcoholism or Witchcraft. And he has dabbled in all three.

He is a veteran of the punk rock wars and still has flash backs. You weren’t there man; you can’t understand.

In his time, he has been a care worker, a DJ, a security guard, and a record dealer, but he has ALWAYS been a writer.

He writes predominantly paranormal fiction. He tries to write horror. but he always ends up falling for his monsters, so he is basically constantly rewriting ‘Frankenstein’. Either that or his sense of humour takes over and it turns into a full-blown comedy.

Maree’s previous work, The Music the Machines Make is a steampunk parody set in an alternative reality (largely so that he wouldn’t have to do any research and could easily answer awkward questions). Simon new novel The Mischief Maker is a ghost story with a difference. Its protagonist and narrator is a witty, urbane and misunderstood poltergeist, who is falling hard for his latest focus.

Simon Maree does not enjoy talking about himself in the third person.

Connect with Simon:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:

Monday, June 25, 2018



San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled–the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life.


Title: Tail of the Dragon

Author: Connie di Marco

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: A Zodiac Mystery, book 3

Publisher: Midnight Ink (August 8, 2018)

Paperback: 336 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


Let’s call it what it is . . .

It’s murder. That’s what we love to read and that’s what crime fiction writers write. But have you ever wondered about all the euphemisms we have for murder and death? There’s a whole bunch. 

There are the obvious ones – Uncle Herbert passed on or maybe Uncle Herbert passed over.
And then of course we have these–
He bought the farm
He’s pushing up daisies
He met his maker
He kicked the bucket
He’s gone to his heavenly reward and if Uncle Herbert was a complete scoundrel then we can assume he’s now roasting in hell! 

So that led me to wondering why we’re all so fascinated with crime fiction, no matter the genre, whether we read it or whether we write it. 

Is it the puzzle itself? How many people in the mansion had access to the elderberry wine? The whodunit? Any one of the sewing circle could have skewered the victim when no one was looking. Is it the scary thrills and chills of suspense? Is my husband really who he says he is?  Is it the determined hunt we find in forensics and police procedurals? Or is it all of these? 

I know why I find it so fascinating. It’s the psychology of the act. The burning thing that drives an ordinary person to commit murder. The exploration of the mind of an absolutely normal, everyday person who finds himself or herself in dire straits and doesn’t see any other way out. I’m not talking about serial killers here. They’re just completely nuts. They need to be locked up forever so they won’t hurt anyone. But the fascinating thing for me is the inner workings of the mind of an average human being pushed beyond the pale. 

What about you? Why do you read crime fiction – whatever the genre? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 


Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. Tail of the Dragon, third in the series, will be released on August 8, 2018.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with Connie:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads Amazon

Buy the book:
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble  |  IndieBound  |  BookBub

Sunday, June 24, 2018



High school teacher Emma Lovett is finally recovering from her first year of teaching when she discovers another dead body. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this time, someone has killed a student, Kisten Hollis.

Emma and her best friend, Leslie, are desperate to solve this murder. But suspects abound. The perpetrator could be a teacher, an administrator, a member of Kisten’s zealous church community, or even another student.

Emma must juggle her teaching responsibilities, her new romance with handsome Hunter Wells, and interest from a hunky second suitor, all while searching for evidence to bring a killer to justice before someone else dies.


Title: Poison by Punctuation

Author’s name: Kelley Kaye

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing (April 24, 2018)

Page count: 263

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things:
Books, music, movies; any sort of live production of anything (plays concerts musicals).
Things you need to throw out: My worrywarting tendencies.

Things you need in order to write: TIME
Things that hamper your writing: LACK THEREOF


Things you love about writing:
Ideas and words and putting them together
Things you hate about writing: “Trying to get the word out” about my books. Argh!

Easiest thing about being a writer: Many, many ideas!

Hardest thing about being a writer: Too many ideas.

Things you love about where you live: Ocean, weather.

Things that make you want to move: Too many people, too many cars


Things you never want to run out of: chocolate
Things you wish you’d never bought: FIDGET SPINNERS


Words that describe you: Goofy, friendly, smiley, straighforward, happy
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Bossy, abrupt, flaky, spacey

Favorite foods: Anything chocolate or in the chocolate family (caramel, vanilla, etc...)
Things that make you want to throw up: Scallops, oysters GAH!

Favorite music or song: Anything 80s
Music that make your ears bleed: Rap and any steel guitar.

Favorite beverage: Dr Pepper.

Something that gives you a pickle face: Apple cider vinegar (but I drink it anyway. It’s good for your gut flora—helps prevent colds. None of that is true for Dr Pepper)

Favorite smell: Gardenias, ocean breeze, pine trees.
Something that makes you hold your nose: Little boy farts (and man, they fart A LOT)

Something you’re really good at: Listening, when I am conscious and self-aware
Something you’re really bad at: Listening, when I’m distracted or worried


Something you wish you could do: Speak fluent Spanish.

Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Clean toilets. (I had to clean offices for YEARS and now I save money specifically to pay someone else to do it.)

People you consider as heroes:
Anyone who spends more time thinking about helping others than helping themselves. Non-judgy people.

People with a big L on their foreheads: Anyone who is overly self-absorbed. Especially the ones who think they are not, but really it’s all just ME ME ME ME ME. Gah!

Last best thing you ate: Krispy Kreme chocolate frosted white kreme donut (and can I just COMPLAIN for a teeny second about autocorrect, or Siri, or whatever program thinks they know what I am trying to spell better than I do. I had to type this THREE TIMES and the computer kept changing it to “Kristy Keene” donuts. Grrr)
Last thing you regret eating: I don’t believe in regrets.

Things you’d walk a mile for: My boys
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: That ‘Farmers’ commercial. Eeeeeuuuw earworm!

Things you always put in your books: Shakespeare quotes
Things you never put in your books: Sad endings.

Things to say to an author: I’m on my way to review your book RIGHT NOW!

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I only read the first 10% of your book, but I hated it so much I went ahead and gave you a bad review anyway. (True story.)

Favorite places you’ve been: Capri and Sorrento, Italy, New York City
Places you never want to go to again: It’s really, really hard for me to spend much time in Phoenix-the heat makes me so ill, but I have to keep going back because that’s where my husband is from.

Favorite genre: Mystery, thriller, horror, YA.

Books you would ban: I would NEVER ban a book. I’ll just choose not to read it. I always advised my students (and their parents) to do the same.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: I really want to have dinner with Jon Stewart. He’s UBER smart and well-spoken and quick on the draw. I’d just like to know if I can hold my own in a conversation with him.

People you’d cancel dinner on: Emotional vampires and name droppers.

Favorite things to do: Reading, going to plays, concerts, ballroom dancing, karaoke
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Cleaning bathrooms.

Things that make you happy: Birds, flowers, books, my family, the ocean, music
Things that drive you crazy: Tailgaters, people who don’t use their turn signal or who slow the traffic light way down because they’re ON THEIR PHONE. Grrr.



Kelley Kaye is the pen name for the cozy mystery fiction of Kelley Bowles Gusich. Kelley taught high school English and Drama for twenty years in Colorado and California, but a 1994 MS diagnosis has (circuitously) brought her, finally, to the life of writer and mother, both occupations she adores, and both of which were dreamed of clear back at stories surrounding her Barbie and Ken. Her debut novel, cozy mystery Death by Diploma, was released by Red Adept Publishing February 2016, and is first in the Chalkboard Outlines® series. Book #2, Poison by Punctuation, was released April 24! She’s also writing YA under the pseudonym Kelley Kay Bowles. That novel, Down in the Belly of the Whale, arrived May 5. Yay, books! She has two wonderful and funny sons and an amazing husband who cooks for her. She lives in Southern California.

Connect with Kelley:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  BookBub

Friday, June 22, 2018



Career thief Jack Apple is offered a low-risk, six figure payout to heist a medical marijuana dispensary from the feisty and impetuous Diane Thomas after Diane steals the robbery plans from her shady ex-husband Alvin, hoping to beat him to the score.

Diane promises to stay out of Jack’s way but can’t help interfering, forcing them to take hostages inside the dispensary when the robbery is interrupted, inciting a media circus that deteriorates into a full-on urban riot.

To escape, Jack and Diane must negotiate the hostages, their agendas, law enforcement, the news media, crooked deals, corrupt politicians, rioters, Diane’s shady ex-husband, the business partners they didn’t know they had, and their growing attraction to each other.

Book Details

Title: Burn One Down

Author’s name: Jeffrey A. Cooper

Genre: crime fiction / heist / caper

Published: June 15, 2018

Page count: 271


A few of your favorite things: My family, laughter, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, avoiding traffic.
Things you need to throw out:
 My dream to be an underwear model. 

Things you need in order to write: Time. Desire. Coffee. Thick Skin. Duct Tape. 
Things that hamper your writing: The job that pays the rent.

Things you love about writing: You know those times when you think of the perfect comeback five minutes after you really needed it? I finally have something to do with all of those.
Things you hate about writing: Semicolons. They think they’re so cool.

Easiest thing about being a writer: Word processing software. I told my thirteen-year-old that I started writing using a manual typewriter. She looked at me like I was a caveman.
Hardest thing about being a writer: Staying awake at my computer.  

Things you love about where you live: There’s a lot to be said for seeing the sun every day.  
Things that make you want to move: The knuckle-dragger who followed the UPS guy and stole the box of books I had just ordered off my front porch. Something tells me he’s not a reader.

Things you never want to run out of: Hope. Gratitude. Toilet paper.
Things you wish you’d never bought: 
In 1977, I bought my dad an 8-track tape entitled, “How to C.B.”, effectively killing off two fads with one Christmas gift.

Something you’re really good at:
Something you’re really bad at: I had a mechanic who would charge me one rate if he worked on the car, and another rate if I worked on the car before he worked on the car.

People you consider as heroes:
 Anyone who serves our country, in both war and peace. Military, police, fire, EMT’s. Teachers. Doctors. Parents. Neighbors. Friends. Those who fight for others, and anyone that struggles for basic human dignity.  

People with a big L on their foreheads:
 Anyone who is proudly ignorant, willfully stupid, blindly racist, or who wears a man bun. And stop littering my planet, you slobs. It’s not the earth’s fault you suck.

Things you’d walk a mile for:
 A Primanti Brothers sandwich. A gas station. Pretty much anything of value. A mile isn’t far, except in Los Angeles. People here would drive to the bathroom if they could. At 85 mph.

Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
 When my hair catches on fire. “The meteor is about to hit Tujunga.” Ladies and gentlemen . . . Coldplay.

Things to say to an author: Is it okay if fifty of my friends review your book on Amazon and Goodreads? What can I do with this twenty million dollars? Got any ideas? 
If those don’t work, “I enjoyed your book, Wordsmith,” is just fine.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
 You wrote a book?  That’s great, I love to color. 
I haven’t read a book since high school! (Especially when it’s said proudly.)
 I’m the guy who stole that box of books off your front porch. (Shakes fist.)

Favorite places you’ve been:
 New Zealand. Australia. Mexico. Third row, center stage at a Rush concert in 1989.

Places you never want to go to again:
 (Unnamed), a Los Angeles area chicken restaurant. I was in the bathroom so long after eating there, I got my mail forwarded. 
The annual (unnamed) sun-tan lotion beauty contest for children, held in our local airport hotel ballroom. My darkest hour as a parent.The L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

People you’d like to invite to dinner:
 Carl Reiner. Banksy. Bob Dylan. Buzz Aldrin. We better have this dinner soon.

People you’d cancel dinner on:
 Anyone who suggested Ethopian food. Sorry. It looks like it’s been through someone already.


Chapter One

We are all thieves and criminals.
Jack Apple had too much pride to let people look down him because he’d been in prison. Most people were hypocrites. Their own lawbreaking might not extend past trivial offenses like unpaid parking tickets or racing past the posted speed limit, but if right was right and wrong was wrong then Jack Apple was someone who believed that everyone breaks the law at one time or another. People justified their behavior based on their own personal sense of morality just like he did. It wasn’t his fault that he aimed higher than they did. But that part of his life was over. Thievery and criminality were all behind him now. Jack Apple was a changed man.
At least he would be after tonight.
Jack swung himself over the top of the twelve-foot stone wall surrounding Leo Dorsey’s home and laid flat across the top for a good look at the property. Leo Dorsey was the owner of Ledo Luxury Automobiles, a limousine and hired car service that fronted for a long list of illegal activities including drug trafficking, gun running, extortion, prostitution and probably about six or seven other things. As a rule, Jack didn’t rob people in the trade out of professional courtesy, but Leo had stolen money from a friend of his, so Jack would let that rule slide on this one. If he really was ditching the trade for good, this was something he needed to take care of first. He planned this job before prison and knew there was a decent chance Leo would have the $80,000 he still needed to open his new business. In the trade, they called that a win-win.
The business Jack wanted to open was a gas station, positioned on the lower right-hand corner of a busy “Y” street traffic pattern that fed into two distinct thoroughfares, and was a popular route for locals to access the freeway. In addition to the pumps, a small retail store sold cigarettes, lottery tickets, energy drinks and lousy coffee. A service area hadn’t been operational since the days when they used real steel for bumpers, but it was a space ripe for expansion. The property had just been listed, and Jack knew it wouldn’t be on the market long. It had everything. What was the old adage?
Location, location, location?
The word came this morning that Jack needed to move on the property. Other parties were sniffing around, ready to make an offer, and there would be no time to raise money.
While Jack had money stashed away from his recent ATM fiasco, there was still a lot of heat on that job, and that money would need to stay buried for a while. He needed a quick score no one could trace, no one would report, and that he could do alone. Hitting Leo Dorsey was perfect. It had to be.
A series of motion detectors captured Jack’s movement and flooded the area with bright white light. Jack jumped down off the wall and hid behind tall landscaped shrubbery, waiting for a response. Instead, an automated voice spoke from a speaker sitting on top of the stone wall, giving Jack a terse warning in both English and Spanish.
“You are trespassing on private property. Security cameras are recording your movements. There is an armed response to all trespassers. Leave this property immediately.”
Jack moved toward Leo’s house and saw a large man in an open window staring into the yard. It looked like Leo, but Jack remembered a slighter man, guessing that this version topped out between three hundred fifty and four hundred pounds. Leo had become very successful since Jack had seen him last, but it did nothing for his disposition. Leo was still a miserable shit.
“Idiots! There’s something wrong with that security system!” Leo shouted at two haggard employees who were clearly showing early signs of PTSD. “Why do the lights go on for no reason? There it goes again! What don’t you simpletons understand? Get it fixed!” The employees looked at each other, certain that Leo was talking about the other one.
“Boss, I...,” one hapless employee pleaded.
“Get away from me,” Leo interrupted. “I’ve had enough stupid for one day. I’m going to bed now. Try not to burn the house down before I wake up. And make sure those dogs go out again, too. I don’t want them shitting all over my floors again.”
“Dogs,” Jack whispered to himself, grimacing. “Why is it always dogs?”
Jack slipped through the garden and climbed up to the veranda outside Leo’s bedroom with a backpack full of safecracking tools while he waited for Leo to finish browbeating his employees and go to sleep. Leo’s nightstand confirmed his notorious longtime habits of pills and a three-finger glass of Scotch was still current, telling Jack that sleep probably wasn’t far away.
Jack stretched out his shoulder. His thirty-five-year-old body was sending him reminders that it wasn’t about to put up with the kind of abuse he’d heaped on it all these years for much longer. While he tried to keep in shape in prison, his long, willowy frame strong from years of street running and urban gymnastics, Jack couldn’t do anything about getting older or the damage that twenty-three hours a day of lockdown did to a body. His guilty conscience chimed in, reminding Jack of everything he had risked: his health, his family, his freedom, his youth. All for money. Things. Shit. When would it be enough? Would it ever be enough?
Doubt. Crippling, stifling doubt. This was why he was getting out. He’d already been arrested and sent to prison once, so he obviously wasn’t the master thief he once thought he was. Could he even make it on his own? Jack always worked with partners and recent history would seem to indicate that he couldn’t work without them. He’d nearly been bested by a 70-year-old hermit and his English bulldog two weeks ago.
It was reasonable to ask that maybe his time in the trade had passed. He heard Leo through an open window, talking in drunk guy loudspeak.
“You think I dunno what you think I dunno but I know what you think I dunno ya know?” Leo enunciated every syllable as an almost empty glass of Scotch dangled from his fingertips, then dropped to the floor without breaking. He stumbled to a large double-door safe adjacent to his changing area, his head foggy from drink and drug. Leo focused on the keypad, entering the combination numbers at a slow, deliberate pace, then he pulled open the door with his right hand. Jack watched Leo through a monocular as he wrote the safe combination in pen on his pant leg, thankful that the tools in his backpack would no longer be necessary. It was nice of Leo to save him all that work. Maybe he’d send him a fruit basket later.
“I’ll be right outside if ya need me, Boss,” Leo’s other employee said, assuring him as he shut the bedroom door behind him. Leo said nothing. He wasn’t assured at all.
“Lock th’ door!” Leo barked with a pronounced slur. He took off his Patek Philippe watch and put it in the safe along with the bankroll from his bathrobe pocket. Leo inspected it all with a listless shake of his head then closed the large double doors, pulling on the handle again to make sure the safe was locked. He turned, his beefy feet squeaking along the marble tile as he stumbled back to his bed and fell face down on the mattress, fast asleep before his head even hit the pillow. His snores were deep and guttural. It was no mistake Leo slept alone.
Jack waited through several minutes of uninterrupted snoring next to a window underneath a security camera aimed  at the French doors leading to Leo’s bedroom. He picked the lock as he waited, sliding the window open with little effort and easing himself inside. He looked around, wary of alarms or motion detectors. Once he was confident he could move without disruption, Jack stepped forward and immediately set off a motion detector that turned the overhead lights on and lit the space with lighting dimmed for the evening hours. Jack moved back to the window, ready to bail out. He listened. Nothing. No sound. No movement. No one was coming. It was quiet except for Leo, who was fifteen feet away and snoring like a champ.
“Okay, no more surprises,” Jack whispered.
He moved into the large room with caution, gently walking past the bed straining under Leo’s sleeping body and toward the safe, where he zeroed in on the combination keypad and the numbers he’d scribbled in pen on his pant leg. Forty-two. Eight. Thirty-one. Five. Jack pulled the handle to open the safe door, but the door remained locked.
Maybe I entered the numbers wrong?
No. He wrote the numbers down exactly as Leo entered them. Jack tried the series again, re-entering the numbers one at a time and pulling on the handle, but the safe still would not open. This time the repudiation was accompanied by a message on a small LCD screen: BIOMETRIC ACCESS DENIED. Your BioMetric Identification has been declined for the second time. For your protection, the safe will be locked if additional biometric identification is refused.
Jack looked at the handle. At the top was a thumb pad with a painted-on thumbprint he hadn’t noticed during his previous attempts. The numbers he’d entered were correct. The safe didn’t open because it needed a thumbprint, specifically Leo’s thumbprint, to open the door. Jack wondered what the odds were of chopping Leo’s thumb off without waking him up. He sat, considering his options. Technology sure was making it tough for a fella to earn a living.
At close to four hundred pounds, getting Leo to the safe over fifty feet away from the bed was a challenge. Jack rolled Leo over on the bed and was startled to discover Leo’s eyes were wide open despite Leo being in a deep, sound sleep. Jack waved his hand in front of Leo’s face. Leo didn’t blink, and the snoring got even louder once there was no mattress to contain it.
Jack mapped out his strategy. An office chair on wheels, probably for Leo’s shell-shocked employees, would suffice for moving Leo across the marble floor. That part was easy. The challenge would be getting Leo into the office chair. It was like moving a Smart Car by hand.
Jack pushed Leo up off the bed and reached his hands around his barrel chest, clenching his hands together the best he could across Leo’s massive sternum. Jack bent his knees, took a deep breath, then pulled Leo to the edge of the bed. Leo greeted the move with a loud snort, then went back to a steady snore, his drugged eyes still open as wide as the sky.
“Pull him up, right into the chair,” Jack coached himself. He used the same strategy as before, which this time pulled Leo off the bed too fast. His momentum landed Leo right on top of Jack, who howled. Leo, for his part, wasn’t disturbed by the fall at all.
“You know, you’ve really let yourself go, Leo!” Jack wailed before pushing Leo off of him. Jack stood up, grabbed Leo’s arms and leaned back, groaning, using the remainder of his strength to hoist Leo into the office chair, which creaked under the strain. Jack backed away, hoping the chair would hold. It would be a long, slow drag to the safe otherwise.
Jack positioned himself behind the chair but struggled across the marble floor. The chair moved slow but steady, gaining momentum once Jack picked Leo’s legs up and pulled him instead of pushing. After a heroic effort from Jack and especially the chair, Leo was positioned in front of the safe. Jack caught his breath, hoping that he didn’t give himself a hernia.
The lock on the outer bedroom door clicked, and the door opened. Leo’s employees, having heard Jack’s howling, came to investigate. Jack swiveled the office chair toward the door, pushed Leo’s head forward and ducked behind Leo’s mammoth frame. The employees looked around until they saw Leo in the chair, his eyes still wide open, staring at them.
“You okay, Boss? I heard something. Everything all right?”
Leo, who was still sound asleep, said nothing. His snoring sounded like a growl, especially to these two. “Just making sure you’re okay, Boss,” the nervous employee said in his awkward rush to get out of the room.
Jack swung the office chair back around and stood up. He entered the series of numbers on the combination pad, then lifted Leo’s stubby hand and placed it on the handle, so Leo’s thumb pressed down on the biometric sensor. This time  the lock on the safe clicked and the doors opened. Inside the safe were three $10,000 stacks of hundred dollar bills and the large roll of money from Leo’s bathrobe, which Jack estimated at around $3,000. He could hock the watch, too. It wasn’t a bad haul, even though it was far less than Jack was expecting.
Isn’t it always less than you’re expecting?
Jack took what there was and left Leo on the overworked office chair in front of the open safe. He went back to the window he entered through and got out as easy as he came in, even taking time to re-lock the window behind him. The motion detector lights clicked on and  off as Jack climbed down from the second story veranda. That’s when Leo’s dogs, two female German Shepherds outside to do their evening business, saw Jack and started barking in a frenzy.
“Nope,” Jack said once he saw them at the bottom, waiting for him to come down. “No dogs.” He climbed back up to the veranda, content to find another way. The only people in the house were Leo’s employees who, from the sound of it, weren’t nearly as smart as the dogs. Jack slipped back into Leo’s bedroom, where Leo was still snoring heartily in the office chair that would be lucky to last the night. At the bedroom door, Jack heard voices in the hallway.
“Keep those dogs quiet before they wake him up!” The two employees were in a panic, apparently unaware of how deep and sound Leo slept after his bedtime snack of pills and Scotch. Their panic gave Jack an opportunity to get to a stairwell at the end of the hallway that he hoped would lead him outside. Jack listened first then moved quietly, soft-stepping his way down the stairs, peeking his head over the railing as he went. He saw the two employees at the stairwell door window on the first floor, so Jack slipped down another level to avoid them.
The stairwell emptied Jack into nondescript hallways of white concrete and white tile floors. The stairwell door locked behind him, so Jack had a choice of the single steel door ahead of him or a hallway that led off to the right. As Jack approached the hallway, the two German Shepherds sauntered around another corner from a hallway fifty feet away.
There was a moment of silent recognition. They all stood still, sizing each other up. The dogs looked at Jack, then to each other, then back to Jack. Everyone jumped at the same time. The dogs took off after Jack, who sprang into action, running down the hallway toward the door.
“Why is it always dogs?” Jack screamed.
Jack raced through the door and pushed it closed behind him. He didn’t suppose the dogs were smart enough to follow, but they figured it out, jumping up together to push open the door’s exit bar and continue their pursuit down the long hallway. The dogs, whose nails clicked like icy rain on paws that were slipping and sliding across the waxed hallway, were gaining ground. There were several doors along the hallway that Jack tried to open, but each one was locked. When Jack finally found an unlocked door, he got inside and pulled the door shut behind him, half a second before the snapping jaws of the German Shepherds took a sizeable bite out of him.
“Okay. Big dogs. Very big dogs,” Jack wheezed.
His hands felt around in the dark until Jack found the light switch inside the door frame, revealing the janitor closet that was now his safe refuge. “What did I ever do to a dog?” Jack panted, catching his breath. He opened the door slightly and saw a door leading to the outside thirty feet further down the hallway. “All right. I’ve been in worse situations,” Jack said. His voice activated the dogs, who barked as he shut the door. “I’ve never been food...”
The dogs paced back and forth outside the closet door, waiting for Jack to come out. They heard a sound; a scraping, grinding noise coming from deep inside the janitor’s closet. The dogs cocked their heads to the side, confused. The doorknob moved, and their ears perked up. The pin on the door unlatched, and the dogs sat crouched, ready to strike. When the door opened the dogs rushed in, then stopped all at once. From inside the deep janitor closet came the loud, abrasive growl of a stand-up vacuum cleaner that Jack parried out of the closet after them, and now was using to chase the German Shepherds back down the hallway.
“Ha-HA!” Jack jeered, quick on their heels. The dogs reached the exit door and jumped up against the bar to let themselves outside, but Jack wasn’t letting them off that easy. He went out after them, confident and mocking. “Mess with me, and you know what happens?”
The cord for the vacuum cleaner pulled taut and yanked out of the wall. The pitiful motor on the vacuum cleaner died down with a slow, agonizing, mournful wail. The two German Shepherds stopped to listen, then turned their heads around slow. Jack could swear they were licking their lips.
“Idiot,” Jack said. He jumped for the closing exit door, and the dogs were on top of him. One had Jack’s pant leg while the other held the bottom of Jack’s shirt. The shirt ripped when the dog tried to pull back, sending one German Shepherd onto her back, while the other dog tried getting a better grip on Jack’s pant leg. Loose for the split second he needed, Jack took advantage, getting inside and pulling the door closed, with the vacuum cord preventing the door from closing tight.
“Hey! Stop right there!” Leo’s two employees came through the first exit door and saw Jack pulling the exit door closed on the dogs.
Jack ran away. The employees were quick on his heels until they passed the exit door. The tenacious German Shepherds forced open the door at the exact moment the employees ran past, and the dogs sprang into action, jumping into the hallway and biting the first thing they saw.
“No! Him! Get him!” The first employee said as he was being mauled by the first dog.
“That one, girl! That one! Ow!” The second employee shook his free arm, pointing down the hallway. His other arm was firmly planted in the second German Shepherd’s jaw.
Jack’s only option at this end of the hallway was the window straight ahead of him. He pulled opened the window and looked out, craning his neck in both directions, but this was no time to get particular. Jack hoisted himself up and pushed through the window until momentum took over and he dropped ten feet to the ground. The soil was dry and loose, and Jack hit hard, flat on his back, before sliding down the sloped hill head-first and backward. The drop knocked the wind out of him, but Jack shook off the fall, spit dirt from his mouth, then scaled the twelve foot stone wall and jumped down on the other side. His pursuers knew Jack could still hear them.
“We know what you look like, pal! You’re on camera, dumbass! We’re gonna find you, you sonofabitch! You messed up bad, man, you messed up real bad!”
Jack ran for his life down the hill surrounding Leo’s house but couldn’t tell if the sounds he heard, of rustling trees, branches snapping, or running through fallen leaves was the sound of someone following him or the echo of the noise he was making all on his own. Jack turned his head to see the lead he had on his pursuers, but the night was dark, and it was difficult to see. What wasn’t difficult to see was the tree branch that caught Jack above the sternum when he turned back around, the one that clotheslined him flat to the ground. He slid down a steep, sloping hill, twisting and turning his body to avoid the rocks and tree stumps in his path before launching himself off an even larger, brush-covered hill.
Jack landed at the bottom of the hill next to a roadway, right at the feet of Diane Thomas, who stood next to her car like she’d been waiting there for him all along. Diane was dressed in black jeans and a black leather coat with a torn red t-shirt underneath. Her hair was long, with an easy, natural curl that fell over her flawless soft brown skin. Her necklaces and bracelets were tasteful; piled on but not overdone. Black boots were highlighted with metallic studs that covered the backs to the heels. She looked like trouble. Jack liked trouble.
“Something tells me you’re Jack Apple.” Diane stood in front of an idling muscle car, the headlights creating a silhouette that captivated Jack’s attention through his hazy thinking.
Jack asked, “Do I know you?”
“Not yet,” Diane said with a smile. “But you will.”

Excerpt from Burn One Down by Jeffrey A Cooper.  Copyright © 2018 by Jeffrey A Cooper. Reproduced with permission from Jeffrey A Cooper. All rights reserved.


Jeffrey A. Cooper’s first novel, How to Steal a Truck Full of Nickels was published in September, 2015 to stellar reviews, where it justifiably died a quick death. His feature film script, Better Man was a finalist in the Page International Screenwriting Awards competition that same year. Jeffrey co-created two television pilots executive produced by Emmy-award winning comedian Louie Anderson. Burn One Down is his second novel.

Connect with Jeffrey:

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018



Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible for this wicked Halloween homicide.

Meanwhile, very strange things are happening at the library―haunted horses are materializing in the marsh, the lights seem to have an eerie life of their own, and the tiny crew of a model ship appears to move around when no one is watching. Is Lucy at her wit’s end? Or can it be that the Bodie Island Lighthouse really is haunted? 

With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone’s minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone’s lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos if she wants to crack this case without losing her head in The Spook in the Stacks, the delightful fourth in national bestseller Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mysteries.

Book Details:

Title: The Spook in the Stacks

Author: Eva Gates

Character’s full name: Lucy Richardson

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: A Lighthouse Library Mystery, book 4

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (June 12, 2018)

Print length: 250 Pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


Lucy Richardson is the assistant librarian at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. A few months ago she left her long-promised fiancé on bended knee (literally) and quit her job at Harvard Libraries to seek escape in her favorite place in the world: The Outer Banks of North Carolina, with her favorite relative: Aunt Ellen. But Aunt Ellen isn’t one for indulging nieces, and she soon arranged for Lucy to meet Bertie James, library director at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, who just happened to be searching for a new assistant librarian.


Lucy, how did you first meet Eva?

I was a work-for-hire, meaning I was conceived in the offices of Penguin Random House. But Eva took to me instantly, and I felt that I could work comfortably with her. So she made me her own, so to speak, and now we get along just great. I was let go by Penguin, but was lucky enough to find a new home with Crooked Lane.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
Now that it’s all over, I can say that my favorite scene in The Spook in the Stacks is when I spot strange lights moving in the marsh. It wasn’t my favorite scene to live in, I can tell you. Scared the heck out of me. 

Did you have a hard time convincing Eva to write any particular scenes for you? 

She can be a bit prudish, so I have to push her to write romantic scenes between me and Connor McNeil. Let’s just say she’s still balking at that.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?

I’d be taller and thinner and have less unruly hair.

Do have any secret aspirations that Eva doesn’t know about? 

I wish I could stop finding dead bodies in my library.

If you had a free day what would you do? 

My favorite thing in all the world is a beach day at the Outer Banks with my cousin Josie and our friends, followed by dinner of shrimp and grits at Jake’s Seafood Bar with Connor and then a long walk along the beach at night.

Tell us about your best friend.

My best friend is my cousin Josie O’Malley. We’ve been close all our lives. I was born and raised in Boston, but we visited my mom’s sister and her family in Nags Head every summer. Josie and I grew up together on the beaches and in the dunes. One of the best things about living in Nags Head now is how close Josie and I are as adults. I love her to bits. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that she owns Josie’s Cozy Bakery in town. 

What’s the best trait Eva has given you?

Best and worse are probably the same. I can be tenacious. When I face a problem, I can’t let go until it’s answered. I suspect that Detective Sam Watson would say that’s a bad thing. 

What’s Eva’s worst habit? 

She doesn’t take anything too seriously. Come on, it’s my life we’re creating here, and she keeps throwing curve balls at me. 

Is there anything you would you like to change about your life right now?
I’d change nothing at all. I’m exactly where I want to be, for now. I love my job in the library, I love my tiny apartment on the fourth floor of the lighthouse. I love my friends and (most of) my co-workers. And I’m loving getting to know Connor. Some day I might want more, but for now I’m good. 

Describe an average day in your life. 

No such thing! At our library we’re as much of a community center as a public library. People are coming and going all day, using the computers, attending literacy programs or children’s programs, taking in one of our historical lectures, doing research in the rare books room. And, of course, wanting advice on books. An average day does not include finding a dead body in the library and trying to find out how it got there, but sometimes it seems as though it does.

What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?
Nothing really. I love being a cozy character.  My setting is somewhat unique though: our library is in a real-life place. Not just Nags Head, but in the actual Bodie Island Lighthouse. Which, I should mention, is not big enough to house a library and all that goes with it, including my fourth floor apartment. But it lives large in Eva’s and my imagination.

Will you encourage Eva to write a sequel?
No encouragement needed. She’s already finished Something Read Something Dead in which we are busy planning Josie’s wedding.  Eva has a contract for the sixth book with Crooked Lane. 


Eva Gates is the pen name for Vicki Delany, one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. Under her real name of Vicki Delany, she has written more than thirty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books. 

The fourth Lighthouse Library book, The Spook in the Stacks, was released in June 2018.

Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

Connect with Eva/Vicki:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Indiebound  |  Kobo

Monday, June 18, 2018



Newly minted lawyer Corrie Locke has taken a vow of abstinence. From PI work, that is. Until her best friend Michael finds his bully of a boss stabbed in the back after confronting him earlier that day. Michael panics, accidentally tampering with the crime scene…which could lead the cops to Michael instead of the real culprit. He turns to Corrie to track down the killer. She doesn’t need much coaxing. Her late great PI dad taught her the ropes…and left her his cache of illegal weaponry.

They return to the scene of the crime, but the body’s missing. Racing against time, Corrie dredges a prestigious Los Angeles college in pursuit of clues. All she finds are false leads. Armed with attitude and romantic feelings toward Michael, Corrie dives into a school of suspects to find the slippery fugitive. Will she clear Michael’s name before he’s arrested for murder?


Title: Murder Gone Missing

Author: Lisa Sideris

Genre: Cozy Mystery/Soft Boiled Mystery

Series: A Southern California Mystery, book 2

Publisher: Level Best Books (April 10, 2018)

Page count: 262 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


Unexpected Perks of Being Published

Holy moly, nearly three years ago, I realized a dream come true: the publication of my first novel. I could hardly believe it at the time, and I still need to pinch myself now and then. So what did I expect to happen after publication? Work. A lot of it. The ever present constants of marketing, promotion and writing, while working the day job and breathing and eating, being with my family, and sleeping now and then. What I didn’t expect were the marvelous byproducts.

A byproduct is something that happens as a result of something else. As a result of my publication, I started a Facebook account and reconnected with wonderful friends from long ago. And I discovered new ones. There are so many lovely people I never would have had the pleasure of encountering but for the book life. I’ve met other writers, bloggers, bookstore owners, bookstore visitors, readers, local postal employees, librarians, friends of friends, everyone at my local bank, a hostess at a popular restaurant and a multitude of others – an absolutely wonderful mix! All because they’d read or heard of my novel. It’s such a surprising, wonderful treat.

Recently, with the launch of Book Two in my series, I was being interviewed by a reporter at a local coffee shop. A copy of my latest novel sat on the table. A woman walked by and saw the book. She asked if I was reading it. I had the great pleasure of informing her I wrote it, which made her pull out her copy. She'd just purchased it from a nearby book store. A truly wonderful, almost surreal moment!

I’ve heard tales from other writers of unkind remarks by friends and strangers alike, but thankfully, I’ve not yet been subjected. Or maybe I have, but I haven’t noticed because I’m walking on cloud feet when I think about books and writing.

And another important perk? I’ve learned firsthand, the not so secret ingredient behind success, the magic that makes goals happen: persistence. I gave up several times during my drafting days. Especially the early drafting days. I even swore off writing forever a few times. Sometimes weeks would go by without my writing, and then something would draw me back. A quiet but necessary something. A burning desire.

There’s a ton of blood, sweat and tears that goes into that first book. But it's worth every last drop.


Lida Sideris is an author, lawyer and all around book enthusiast. She was one of two national recipients of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship for her first novel, Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters. Murder Gone Missing is the second book in the Corrie Locke series. Like her heroine, Lida worked as an entertainment attorney in a movie studio. Unlike her heroine, she keeps her distance from homicides.

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

Buy the book:
 Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Saturday, June 16, 2018



A controversial tourist resort. An unsolved beachside murder. Does she have the pipes to blow the whistle on a deadly conspiracy?

Everyone wants a piece of Ava’s skyrocketing star power… including her serious boyfriend and her deadbeat baby daddy. But when she visits the future site of a controversial resort and stumbles upon a dead body, Ava thinks she’s finally found a worthy cause for her newfound celebrity. Determined to catch the killer and stop the construction of the eco-unfriendly tourist trap, she plans to put her sex symbol status to good use.

Infiltrating the resort chain gala’s celebrity guest list, she teams up with a heavyweight boxer to dig up dirt on the investors. But her investigation takes a critical hit when her ex sues for full custody. Faced with the possibility of losing her daughter, she may have to give up the flirty persona she’s put to good use in wheeling out secrets from under the noses of corrupt investors.

To solve the murder and save her career, Ava must find a new way to take down the multi-million-dollar nest of corruption before her dead body joins the construction heap.

Knockout is the third book in Ava’s trilogy within the What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery saga. If you like strong single mothers, glamorous celebrity lifestyles, and hard-hitting whodunits, then you’ll love Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ award-winning series.

Buy Knockout to step into the spotlight for a star-studded mystery today!

Book Details:

Title: Knockout

Author: Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Genre: Romantic Mystery

Series: What Doesn't Kill You, book 3

Publisher: SkipJack Publishing (June 12, 2018)

Page count: 300


A few of your favorite things: Headbands. Funky boots. Pill cases. Big horses. Baby goats. Pushy donkeys. Rescue dogs. MY HUSBAND.
Things you need to throw out: Old makeup that I never use. Clothes the Boston terrier has gotten too chunky to wear. Half my pairs of brightly colored muck boots.

Things you need in order to write: Diffuser. Back massager. Teddy bear chair (my super comfy recliner). A view.
Things that hamper your writing: Wifi. Noise. Needy dogs. 

Things you love about writing: The End. Rewrites. Readers.
Things you hate about writing: First sentences. First drafts. Line edits.

Things you love about where you live: Wildflowers. Wildlife. Serenity. Seclusion.
Things that make you want to move: Crazy people. Snakes. Extreme weather.

Words that describe you: Energetic. Hermit. Animal lover. Loyal. Helpful.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Intimidating. Controlling. Pushy.

Favorite music or song: Dixie Chicks
Music that make your ears bleed: Opera

Favorite beverage:Mango Bai
Something that gives you a pickle face: Goat milk kefir (I make it for my husband.)

Last best thing you ate: Red velvet cake paleo doughnut.
Last thing you regret eating: Enough popcorn for an army while reading the other night.

Favorite things to do: Riding my horse. Hiking. Dancing.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing:
Handling raw meat. Washing dishes. Eating canned asparagus.

Best thing you’ve ever done:
Go on the first date with my husband (where we decided to get married).

Biggest mistake: Holding back from chasing my dreams.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done:
Sneak into the Texas capitol building after it was closed. There may have been youth and alcohol involved. Oh, or the time I jumped off the Willie T and earned a free t-shirt. I can’t blame youth, but I can assure you the alcohol was a huge factor.
Something you chickened out from doing:
Cliff jumping at Tie Hack reservoir. The water was dark and cold, the rocks were very high!


Pamela writes overly long e-mails, the What Doesn't Kill You romantic mysteries, and (possibly) hilarious nonfiction. She resides deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming. Pamela is passionate about hiking with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs (and an occasional goat and donkey), riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile.

Pamela's mysteries have won a lot of awards, from the 2017 Silver Falchion for Best Adult Mystery WINNER (Fighting for Anna) to the 2016 and 2015 WINNERS for USA Best Books Fiction: Cross Genre (Hell to Pay, Heaven to Betsy). With downloads of nearly 2,000,000 for the What Doesn't Kill You series, readers seem to enjoy her smart, sassy female sleuths.

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

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