Friday, July 19, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: MARY FELIZ




ABOUT THE BOOK


When a hang-gliding stranger is found fatally injured in the cliffs above Monterey Bay, the investigation into his death becomes a cluttered mess. Professional organizer Maggie McDonald must sort the clues to catch a coastal killer before her family becomes a target . . .
 


Maggie has her work cut out for her helping Renée Alvarez organize her property management office. Though the condominium complex boasts a prime location on the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, aging buildings and the high-maintenance tenants have Renée run ragged. But Maggie’s efforts are complicated when her sons attempt to rescue a badly injured man who crashed his ultra-light on the coastal cliffs.



Despite their efforts to save him, the man dies. Maggie's family members become the prime suspects in a murder investigation and the target of a lawsuit. Her instincts say something’s out of place, but solving a murder won’t be easy. Maggie still needs to manage her business, the pushy press, and unwanted interest from criminal elements. Controlling chaos is her specialty, but with this killer’s crime wave, Maggie may be left hanging . . .





Book Details:

Title: Cliff Hanger

Author: Mary Feliz

Genre: Cozy Mystery


Series: Maggie McDonald Mysteries, book 5

Publisher: Kensington Lyrical Underground (July 16, 2019)


Print length: 205

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours










IFs ANDs OR WHATs INTERVIEW WITH MARY FELIZ


Ifs


Q: If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose?
Working in a nature preserve such as my local Elkhorn Slough.

Q: If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be one before and one below you?
Louise Penny.

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
Louise Penny. I could talk to her about anything. She’s so funny and kind. We’d do more laughing than talking.

Q: If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be?
Three Pines.


Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
I’m so lucky—right where I’m living right now. But I’d also be able to “apparate” (a Harry Potter skill that is like transporting on Star Trek, but without a transporter) to my children’s homes and my mom’s house if I were needed.  




Ands



5 things you need in order to write:
    •    coffee
    •    silence
    •    love
    •    something little to snack on (My favorites are dry Cheerios or blueberries.)
and
    •    a pad of paper next to my computer to write down things I need to do that aren’t related to what I’m working on. These distractions always pop up, and they’re often important enough that I don’t want to forget them, but not important enough to interrupt my writing. If I jot them down, the interruption is minimal.

5 things you love about where you live: 
    •    Blue Heron
    •    King Fishers
    •    Red-legged Stilts
    •    sea otters
and
    •    the ocean

5 things you never want to run out of: 
    •    love
    •    coffee
    •    fresh, clean ocean air
    •    imagination
and
    •   health

5 favorite foods:  
    •    raspberries
    •    strawberries
    •    fresh corn on the cob
    •    salmon
and
    •    chocolate

5 favorite books:
    •    any book by Louise Penny
    •    The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
    •    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
    •    Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
and
    •    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
    .
5 favorite authors:  
    •    Madeleine L’Engle, whose books reveal more every time I read them
    •    Connie Willis
    •    Harlan Coben
    •    Josephine Tey
and
    •    PD James
(and all the other writers I’ve mentioned in answering other questions.)



Whats


What’s your all-time favorite place?

 I’m lucky enough to live in my favorite place—within view of the beach at the apex of Monterey Bay. The temperature here can be chilly year-round, which I love. We’re famous for our June Gloom – a month of overcast days in which we see the sun briefly in the afternoon, if at all. I love it. We have more typical sunny beach weather later in the summer. It’s busy with families during the warm months, but in the offseason we have the place (mostly) to ourselves. I love the beach and the sea mammals and am rapidly becoming a bird geek – we have hundreds of species of migrating and resident birds.

What’s your all-time favorite place in your town?
The Monterey Bay shoreline.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?
The Princess Bride. It’s so perfectly structured and a great story. The more I learn about writing structure, the funnier it becomes. For example, just at the point of the movie where you’d expect to place what’s known as a “storming the castle” scene, Miracle Max sends the boys off saying “Have fun storming the castle.”

What’s your all-time favorite author?
Louise Penny. I miss her characters between books! I hope that my characters are at least half as vibrant as hers!

What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I’m a certified California Naturalist.


What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Politicians flouting the rules of logic.

What’s your favorite meal?
Breakfast for dinner.

What’s your favorite song?
"Lean on Me."

What author would you most like to review one of your books?
Louise Penny.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: Fresh produce from my home town! Strawberries grow at our doorstep.
Music: Classical, but also Leonard Cohen
Movie: Old: The Princess Bride New: On the Basis of Sex
Book: Still Life (the first in the series by Louise Penny)
Audiobook: Black Out by Connie Willis
TV: The Heart Guy
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Line of Duty

What books do you currently have published?

Address to Die For
Scheduled to Death
Dead Storage
Disorderly Conduct
Cliff Hanger





ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mystery series featuring a California professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. Address to Die For, the first book in the series, was named a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews. All of her books have spent time on the Amazon best seller list. Cliff Hanger, the fifth book in the series, released July 16, 2019. Mary shares her writing time with the distractions of living on the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. She is a certified California Naturalist.


Connect with Mary:
Website  |   Twitter Instagram  |  Bookbub 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 









Wednesday, July 17, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: SUZANNE TRAUTH




ABOUT THE BOOK


Restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has found her niche in the cozy New Jersey town of Etonville, creating menus that make a delicious double-act with the community theater’s productions. Now she’s ready for a vacation at the Jersey Shore town she called home before a hurricane hit. Sun, salty air, and seagulls make for a nostalgic escape from regular life—until a contingent from Etonville arrives to compete in a Jersey Shore theater festival.



Roped into helping her former boss cater the event, Dodie also gets a visit from her old flame, Jackson, who’s hoping to revive his charter boat business and is looking for a place to crash. Before Dodie can tell him that ship has sailed, Jackson’s partner is found murdered on his boat. Dodie knows her ex is a mooch, but she’s sure he’s no killer. But as she follows a trail of evidence that leads into her own past, Dodie stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy theory that could bring the festival to a shocking finale…


Book Details:


Title: No More Time


Author: Suzanne Trauth


Genre: cozy mystery


Series: Dodie O’Dell Mystery Series


Published: Kensington Publishing (July 23, 2019)


Print length: 213 pages


On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours














LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH SUZANNE TRAUTH



A few of your favorite things: comfortable clothes, Sketcher shoes, chewy brownies, walking in the park.
Things you need to throw out: old clothes, old birthday cards, drafts of already published books.


Things you need in order to write: a mug of tea, a clear mind, completed email, my favorite pen.
Things that hamper your writing: email, the Internet, my to do list.

Things you love about writing: self-expression, comic characters that make me laugh, completing a draft, proofing the galleys.
Things you hate about writing: starting, facing a blank page, getting stuck in the plot.

Easiest thing about being a writer: the second, third, and fourth hours writing; my characters.
Hardest thing about being a writer: discipline, clearing my mind, solving plot problems.


Things you love about where you live: close to NYC, close to the Jersey Shore, the cultural life—theatre, music, museums.
Things that make you want to move: traffic, construction, the tunnels into New York.


Things you never want to run out of: tea bags, bananas, my Pilot pens, energy.
Things you wish you’d never bought: shoes that are too small, leather pants.


Words that describe you: driven, sensitive, committed, good sense of humor.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: anxious, worrier, pleaser.

Favorite foods: brownies, fried halibut, Caesar salads, sweet potatoes.
Things that make you want to throw up: eggplant, liver.

Favorite music or song: 60s/70s music, Mamas and Papas.
Music that make your ears bleed: heavy metal.

Favorite beverage: tea.

Something that gives you a pickle face: beet juice.

Favorite smell: new mown grass.

Something that makes you hold your nose: garbage.

Something you’re really good at: juggling deadlines.

Something you’re really bad at: running.


Something you wish you could do: tennis.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: take on responsibility.

People you consider as heroes: my mother, Barack Obama, my sister.
People with a big L on their: people who are selfish and inconsiderate, narcissists.


Last best thing you ate: halibut sandwich.
Last thing you regret eating: corn.

Things you always put in your books: poker, theatre, food, comedy.

Things you never put in your books: overt violence, heavy swearing.

Things to say to an author: loved the book! Made me laugh (or cry).

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: made me yawn. It was too long.

Favorite places you’ve been: Barcelona, Paris, South of France, Tuscany, New Orleans.

Places you never want to go to again: Russia.

Favorite books:
mysteries, thrillers, Louise Penny novels.

Books you would ban: classics with no dialogue.

People you’d like to invite to dinner:
Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Judy Dench, Louise Penny
People you’d cancel dinner on: certain work colleagues.

Favorite things to do: read, watch movies or favorite TV series, yoga.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: vacuuming and dusting.

Things that make you happy: sunny days, the ocean, reading favorite authors, family.

Things that drive you crazy: sitting in traffic, waiting in lines.

Best thing you’ve ever done: got married, walking 60 miles for charity.

Biggest mistake: offering to read a friend’s manuscript.


OTHER BOOKS BY SUZANNE TRAUTH

Just in Time

Running Out of Time

Time Out

Show Time



ABOUT THE AUTHOR  


Suzanne Trauth’s novels include Show Time, Time Out, Running Out of Time, Just in Time, and No More Time. Her plays include La Fonda, Françoise, Midwives, Rehearsing Desire, iDream, Katrina: the K Word, and Three Sisters Under the Hood. Her screenplays Solitaire and Boomer Broads have won awards at the Austin Film Festival, among other contests, and she wrote and directed the short film Jigsaw. She is currently a member of Writers Theatre of New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights program. Ms. Trauth has co-authored Sonia Moore and American Acting Training and co-edited Katrina on Stage: Five Plays. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, League of Professional Theatre Women, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.


Connect with Suzanne:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Goodreads  


Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble










Monday, July 15, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: DIANNE ASCROFT




ABOUT THE BOOK




Out of Options is a prequel novella to the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, and introduces Lois Stone and her companions, Raggs and Ribbons, a pair of perceptive calico cats.

A dry district, a shocking secret, a missing person. When Lois Stone’s friend, Beth Darrow, arranges to meet her to reveal an astonishing discovery, Lois’s curiosity is piqued. Then Beth doesn’t keep their lunch date and Lois becomes worried. What has happened to her friend?

Middle-aged widow Lois is settling into life on her own in her neighbourhood and in the library where she works, and she is just about coping with her fear of strangers after her husband was mugged and died in the park at the end of their street. But her quiet existence is rocked when her friend and fellow local historical society researcher, Beth, arranges to meet her to reveal an exciting and shocking discovery she has made about the history of prohibition in West Toronto Junction, the last dry area in Toronto, and then goes missing before she can share her secret with Lois. There isn’t any proof that Beth is missing so the police won’t actively search for her. Only Lois and Beth’s niece Amy are convinced that Beth’s disappearance is very out of character, and they are worried about her. Where has Beth gone? Is she in danger? And, if she is, who might want to harm her and why? Lois knows she must find the answers to these questions fast if she wants to help and protect her friend.

And so begins a weekend of skulking in the park, apple and cinnamon pancakes, familiar faces staring out of old newspapers, calico cats, shadows on the windowpane, and more than one person who might want Beth to disappear from the quiet, leafy streets of the historic and staunchly dry West Toronto Junction neighbourhood.


Book Details:


Title: Out of Options 


Author: Dianne Ascroft


Genre: cozy mystery


Series: A Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries, prequel novella


Published: Independently Published (April 28, 2019)


Print length: 126 pages


On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours














GUEST POST BY DIANNE ASCROFT



What’s Prohibition Got To Do With Lois Stone?


Middle-aged librarian Lois Stone works in a library in the last ‘dry’ area in Toronto. For a neighbourhood in a large city, West Toronto Junction is an unusual place: restaurants don’t sell wine or beer with meals, you won’t find a single bar on any street and you won’t find a store that sells beer, wine or stronger spirits. The 1920s were the prohibition era in North America but in 1983 in West Toronto Junction, a municipality in the west end of Toronto, prohibition is still in full swing.

When you hear ‘Prohibition’ what do you think of? Maybe flappers wearing straight cut, shingled gowns and feathers in their hair, dancing and partying until the early hours of the morning? Or speakeasies – illegal bars hidden in cellars or behind well barricaded doors - where merrymakers carouse and the liquor flows? Or rum runners smuggling alcohol illegally across the border from Canada to the United States in the false bottom of a car trunk or ferrying it across one of the Great Lakes in a small boat or hauling it across a frozen lake on a sled?

These were all scenes from the Roaring Twenties, the Prohibition era in the United States. From 1920 to 1933 the nation prohibited the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages. Campaigners who fought to ban the sale of alcohol were trying to combat evils in society, particularly poverty and violence fuelled by alcohol.

But imposing prohibition spawned a huge industry that produced illegal alcohol and also smuggled alcohol into the country. It also enabled criminal gangs, who quickly gained control of the illegal alcohol industry, to flourish. The government’s efforts to curb the problems associated with alcohol had created more problems.

Around the time when the United States enacted its prohibition legislation, its northern neighbour, Canada, did the same. In 1918 the Canadian federal government passed a national ban on the production, importation and transport between provinces of alcohol. This ban was short lived. Within less than two years the federal law was scrapped. But this didn’t mean the end of prohibition throughout the country. Although the federal government had repealed the national law, most provinces still upheld their own prohibition legislation.

Out of Options is set in Ontario, a province that repealed prohibition in 1927. So why is West Toronto Junction still dry in 1983? That’s because Canadian law allows each municipality in the country the right to ban the sale of alcohol if the majority of the residents of the area vote to do so. West Toronto Junction voted to go dry in 1904. And in 1983 when Lois Stone, the main character in the novella is working there, the area is still dry.

Let’s imagine what life is like in a dry area near the end of the twentieth century. West Toronto Junction never had the swinging underground nightlife that characterised the Roaring Twenties in the United States and certainly doesn’t in 1983. So there is no gazing into your loved one’s eyes over the rim of a glass of wine during an intimate restaurant dinner, men aren’t standing in front of the television screen in their neighbourhood bar cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Toronto Blue Jays or the Toronto Argonauts, and you don’t stop at the shop on your way home from work to pick up a few beers for your backyard barbecue. Meanwhile a few bus or subway stops away from this neighbourhood licenced restaurants and bars are an accepted part of community life and there are easily accessible stores where you can buy alcohol. West Toronto Junction is a tiny time warp in the midst of a modern metropolis.

The ban on the sale of alcohol doesn’t really concern Lois Stone though. She’s busy at her job in the local library each day and goes home each night to her bungalow and her two calico cats in a municipality that isn’t dry. But there’s lots of other people in the neighbourhood where she works who have very strong views on the subject. Restaurant owners want to be able to sell alcohol on their premises to increase business. And other business owners believe that trade will improve for everyone if the ban is lifted. They are sure that customers will also visit local shops and cinemas when they come to the local restaurants and bars. On the opposing side, the temperance movement, which continually fights to uphold the ban, fears that without prohibition the community might sink back into the type of society that existed before the ban on alcohol was enacted in 1904: streets rife with violent crime, poverty, domestic abuse, general drunkenness and disorder.

While Lois is aware of the struggle between the two opposing camps in the area and their fierce antagonism toward each other, the issue doesn’t really impact on her until one weekend everything changes. The issue becomes a matter of life and death, and Lois fears she might never get home to her calico cats again.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dianne Ascroft is a Torontonian who has settled in rural Northern Ireland. She and her husband live on a small farm with an assortment of strong-willed animals.

She is currently writing the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series. Out of Options is a prequel to the series.

Her previous fiction works include The Yankee Years series of novels and short reads, set in Northern Ireland during the Second World War; An Unbidden Visitor (a tale inspired by Fermanagh’s famous Coonian ghost); Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories (contemporary tales), and an historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, which explores Operation Shamrock, a little known Irish Red Cross humanitarian endeavour.

Dianne writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and newspapers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys walks in the countryside, evenings in front of her open fireplace and folk and traditional music.

Connect with Dianne:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Newsletter Sign up 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |   Kobo








Sunday, July 14, 2019

COVER REVEAL: LIARS & LUNATICS IN GOOSE PIMPLE JUNCTION

COMING SOON!

LIARS & LUNATICS IN GOOSE PIMPLE JUNCTION


Book 5 in the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series







ABOUT THE BOOK



It’s election season, and newcomer Virgil Pepper is a charming and charismatic candidate, but also someone who will say anything (and mean none of it) to get what he wants. Three things top his list: to become mayor, to acquire Jackson Wright’s land, and to make Caledonia Culpepper one of his many conquests.

Wynona Baxter is back, and she’s a new woman. Now as Daisy, she has a new identity, new life, and new business–ironically named Killer Cupcakes. But the town soon finds out that isn’t the only kind of killer in town.

Book five of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series combines political hijinks, delicious cupcakes, Goose Juice moonshine, the ups and downs of finding true love, and, of course, murder.
 
It is said that “It’s a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what.” Lying in politics, lying for personal and professional gain, lying about an identity . . . What are the folks of Goose Pimple Junction willing to lie for . . . and what are they willing to die for?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
 
Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two grown sons. When not writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Pinterest and Facebook, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.





Watch for news:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Check out the series:
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junciton

Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction

Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction


Saturday, July 13, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: CHRISTINA FRANCINE



ABOUT THE BOOK


Special Memory is a playful, feel good story that suggests using positive memories to help in times of stress and difficulties. Positive memories can then provide strength and remind us “good” times will happen again.

Fiery five-year-old Emily is semi-cooperative when her mother announces the idea of making a Special Memory one summer morning. She doesn’t want to get used to getting up early for kindergarten. Despite herself, Emily finds dancing in the warm rain with her older sister and mother while wearing pajamas fun until the storm changes. Emily’s mother then pulls her daughters indoors and teaches them how special memories make a difference in our lives. Emily doesn’t think a Special Memory will help in kindergarten until her first day when she remembers sticky wet pajamas and hair, along with warm mud squishing between her toes.

Praise for Special Memory:

- “Young readers learn two lessons in this charming story (Special Memory). One,
  special memories can be deliberately created; and two, memories are great tools for
  offsetting fears and anxieties. And as a bonus, there is an activity guide at the back
  of the book that explores the themes therein, and, since the particular memory in the
  story is weather related, it also includes a great introduction to some climate
  essentials.” —Joan Schweighardt, No Time for Zebras, and several novels.

- “Readers will find “this tender story confidently illustrates the notion in a way that will
  be heartening to both child and adult. Parents will thank Christina Francine for her
  accessible gift of wisdom, which hides a transformative life skill in its gentle pages.”
  Create a special memory to help balance the fear. Special Memory is a modest story
  about helping an apprehensive child overcome her worry. It sounds easy enough.”                                    
                  ---Nina Fosati, Literary author and editor



Book Details:


Title: Special Memory


Author: Christina Francine


Genre: Children, picture book


Publisher: Waldorf Publishing (September 15, 2019)


Print length: 32 pages









LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH CHRISTINA FRANCINE


A few of your favorite things: coffee, herbal tea, nature.
Things you need to throw out: old to-do lists.


Things you need in order to write: coffee, quiet time alone or at a coffee shop, and longer periods of time without pressure of the to-do list.
Things that hamper your writing: day job, too much noise, and too much on my to-do list.

Things you love about writing:
I’ve always had a great imagination, and it’s fun to create. Learning that others were entertained and had fun reading my stories.
Things you hate about writing: the time it takes to do a good job without interference.

Easiest thing about being a writer: the creating has always been the easiest and most fun. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: finding the long periods of time to create and then polishing the finished product. It is difficult to finally set a work down and say it’s ready to send out for publication. I think I’m my worst critic.

Things you love about where you live:
in the spring and summer everything is so green, emerald really.
Things that make you want to move: although the Great Lakes have so many pluses, they are snow-making machines. Too much snow in the winter and too much humidity in the summer.
Taxes in New York State are terribly high.

Things you never want to run out of
: nature, coffee, herbal tea, pens, pencils, paper, family & friends.
Things you wish you’d never bought: this is difficult because I usually plan out purchases.

Words that describe you: deep thinker, studious, light-hearted and serious at the same time, determined. My daughters say I’m kind and their opinion is very important to me.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: too serious sometimes. I try to think about what my action and others have and make the best decision based on those. My aim is to be prepared and to do and give the best that I can.

Favorite foods: coffee, herbal tea, a wide variety of nuts and seeds, vegetables (love salads), most fruits, Kefer (high potency yogurt), chocolate.
Things that make you want to throw up: I’ve never liked asparagus or okra. This second is like eating snot. Who can check out the flavor when the consistency is slimy?

Something you’re really good at: teaching college/academic writing, riding horses, and being versatile. 

Something you’re really bad at: letting people fall. I’m a helper.

Things that make you happy: spending time with my family and friends, digging in flower, herbal, and vegetable gardens.

Things that drive you crazy: other drivers on the interstate who take chances and decide to put my life in danger  because they think they’re Nash car drivers or in a video game where “do-overs” are freely available.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR  




Christina Francine is an enthusiastic author for all ages. Her picture book, Special Memory debuts September 15, 2019, her level #3 Reader Mr. Inker Finds a Home early 2020, and Journal of Literary Innovation published her analysis on students’ writing across the nation in Spring 2016. She believes individual learning style may solve world problems. She teaches writing at University of Buffalo and at Buffalo State. Christina is a member of Hamburg Writer’s Group and of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers & Illustrators (BNCWI).



Connect with Christina:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  LinkedIn  |  Bookbub  |  Amazon


Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Waldorf Publishing


Thursday, July 11, 2019

CHARACTER GUEST POST WITH DEVON DELANEY'S POPPY ROBINSON




ABOUT THE BOOK




Sherry Oliveri has attained celebrity status after winning the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest with her delectable New England Crab Cake Sliders. But now that she’s back home in Connecticut, she’s got to deal with something else fishy . . .

Sherry’s making a guest appearance on a local radio show when the news comes in: Poppy Robinson has been found dead in the town’s community garden. Sherry was supposed to be taking questions about her win in the national cooking competition, but instead the callers start dishing dirt.

Poppy and Sherry were both involved in the vegetable garden, and while Poppy may have been a bit priggish, it wasn’t anything that called for a shovel to the back of the head. There was already trouble brewing, with the owner of the land threatening to renege on their agreement, and this murder has taken tensions to a new level. Now while Sherry’s organizing a Fourth of July cook-off event, she’s also got a murder investigation on her plate . . .

Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!



Book Details:


Title: Guilty As Charred


Author: Devon Delaney


Genre: 
cozy mystery

Series: A Cook-Off Mystery, book 3


Published: Kensington (June 25, 2019)


Print length: 304 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours











CHARACTER GUEST POST WITH DEVON DELANEY’S POPPY ROBINSON


Have you ever been misunderstood?  I’ll answer for you. Sure. Hasn’t everyone? But, right now, I feel like an entire town is misunderstanding me.

My name is Poppy Robinson. I live in the beautiful coastal town of Augustin, Connecticut. My dear father provided myself, my brother, Gully and my sister, Tessa, with a privileged, yet sheltered, childhood. When he passed away he willed us a wonderful house and enough land to give Augustin’s underserved population a community garden. I was raised to share my good fortune and I am doing just that. Being the Community Garden’s Board President ensures the project runs true to my father’s wishes.

Why then, do people think I’m aloof, hardheaded and, dare I say, mean?

Yes, if I see an injustice, I call out the offender. Don’t park your car over the line in a tight parking lot, or I’ll put a note on your windshield. And, certainly, don’t use an unapproved garden tool in the Community Garden. If I haven’t okayed it, don’t you dare! I will reprimand you and possibly rescind your membership.

I’m a stickler for rules. When I add a member to the Community Garden Board I make that perfectly clear. I ask a lot of my members. My newest addition, Sherry Oliveri, is someone my father admired. Before he passed away he followed her cook-off successes religiously. I hear she’s got some talent as an amateur sleuth. Never know when that might come in handy.

My adherence to certain standards hasn’t made me popular with my siblings either. Our father may have encouraged their free-spirited pursuits when they were younger, but it’s time to grow up. Until they do I must keep them from interfering in any major decisions made on behalf of the family.

In the end, being labeled as a difficult character, who is never satisfied, isn’t all bad. Keeps people around me on their toes. If a handful of people know the truth about me being a caring, generous perfectionist, that’s enough for me. So long as I don’t make true enemies, I can live with that.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Devon Delaney is a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester, recent empty nester, and lifelong resident of the Northeast. She has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years, including a full kitchen of major appliances, top cash prizes, and four trips to Disney World. She has also won the Grand Prize in a national writing contest for her “foodie” poem “Ode to Pork Passion.”



Connect with Devon:

Website  |  Instagram
Buy the book:

Amazon  |   B&N





Tuesday, July 9, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: CHRISTIN BRECHER




ABOUT THE BOOK




Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .

Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptials promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot-tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.

When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be canceling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.



Book Details:


Title: Murder’s No Votive Confidence 


Author: Christin Brecher


Genre: cozy mystery


Series: Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, book 1


Published: Kensington (June 25, 2019)


Print length: 400 pages


On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours









GUEST POST BY CHRISTIN BRECHER


Love the Ocean!

After spending months at a desk, working hard on the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, I’m taking some time to get my body moving with one of my favorite summer pastimes:  Swimming in the ocean.  For me, there’s nothing more exhilarating than running barefoot down the sandy beach to the surf ahead.  In those moments, I’m filled with both anticipation and dread for the first dive into the sea. I feel absolutely courageous as my body goes into shock from the cold, defiant waters for a brief moment, before surrendering to the waves.  Then, I wave to my husband who prefers to stand at the shore, arms folded, looking to the horizon for sharks before he joins me.  It’s one of the rare occasions where I’m the first to jump into something, as he’s usually the more impulsive of the two of us.

I’ve loved the ocean since I was a kid, and spent so much time in the waves off of Nantucket that I remember going to sleep at night feeling that I was still bobbing up and down in the water.  I’ve always loved that each swim is so different.  Sometimes, the waters hold me up and rock me peacefully as the sun sparkles against the water and warms my face.  Other times, I don’t know how quickly the next wave will come, if I’ll be to ride above the surface, or if I’ll have to dive below.  At the close of each summer, I think about how the waves are like a metaphor for the months to come.  Sometimes comforting, sometime challenging.  Sometimes they knock me out, but I still jump back in for more.  Sometimes I am peacefully alone in the sea, but the best times are those spent with friends and family. 

Wishing you a happy and healthy summer with great beach reads and maybe even a dip in the ocean!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christin Brecher was born and raised in New York City, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel.

Connect with Christin:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram  |  Bookbub

Buy the book:
 Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |   Kobo











Sunday, July 7, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: GAIL DALEY



ABOUT THE BOOK


An Amnesiac Merc on the run falls for a sorceress hiding deadly secrets.

Rebecca was born to the Magi in a land where it means slavery or death. All her life she has hidden from the Shan's Proctors who control the enchained Magi. To keep her family safe from them, she will risk anything, tell any lie even trick an innocent man into a forbidden marriage. She never expected to fall in love. But it happened. Now she and Andre must defy the Proctors with nothing but his skill with a blade and her untried magic.


Book Details:
Title: Spell of The Magi
Author: Gail Daley
Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery

Series: Portal World Tales – Magi of  Rulari , book 1

Published: self published, (January 14, 2018)

Print length: 260 pages








IFS, ANDS, AND BUTS INTERVIEW WITH GAIL DALEY


Ifs



If you could talk to someone (living), who would it be and what would you ask them?
Amanda M Lee, Jayne Ann Krenz, Nora Roberts.

If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
Georgette Heyer, Louis L'Amour, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
To the day I made the mistake of trying to prove something to my husband that didn't need proving.

If you could time travel for an infinite period of time, where would you go?
All over the United States, Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and France.

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
I wouldn't want to be anything else.

If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose? Working with the arts.

If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be one before and one below you?
Jayne Ann Krenz and Nora Roberts
.

If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
Georgette Heyer, character development.

If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book?
I think I would enjoy Hemlock Cove from the Witches of the Northeast
.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
On an island off the coast


.

Ands



5 favorite possessions:  
    •    computer
    •    library 
    •    truck
    •    The imaginary worlds I create
    •    and 
    •    the friends I make in books 

5 things you need in order to write: 
    •    solitude
    •    a computer
    •    minimizing interruptions
    •    a vivid imagination
and 
    •    time

5 things you love about writing:
    •    making new friends
    •    creating new places
    •    designing universes
    •    talking about books
and 
    •    introducing new books 

5 things you never want to run out of:  
    •    toilet paper
    •    food 
    •    meds
    •    friends
and
    •    good books to read 

5 things about you:
    •    I've been around a long time
    •    used to be a red-head
    •    I'm a klutz 
    •    I love most animals
and
    •     I hate snakes 

5 favorite foods:
    •    fried chicken
    •    taquitos 
    •    salt water taffy
    •    coffee
and
    •    sautéed mushrooms 

5 things you always put in your books:
    •    relationships 
    •    pets 
    •    humor 
    •    true love 
and
    •    friendships

5 favorite places you’ve been:
    •    Pismo Beach 
    •    Lake Michigan 
    •    Honey Lake Wildlife Area
    •    Oklahoma 
and 
    •    Texas 

5 favorite books:
    •    Anything by Georgette Heyer 
    •    A Princess of Mars
    •    Andre Norton's Witch World Series 
    •    The Baynes Clan series 
and  
    •    Airs Above the Ground

5 favorite authors:
Past:
 
    •    Georgette Heyer,
    •    Edgar Rice Burroughs,
    •    Luke Short,
    •    Louis L'Amour
 and
    •    Christopher Stasheff.   
Current:
    •    Amanda M Lee
    •    Anne McCaffrey 
    •    Amanda Quick aka Jayne Castle aka Jayne Ann Krenz
    •    Roberta Gellis
and 
    •    E.M. Foiner 

5 things that drive you crazy: 
    •    stupidity
    •    prejudice 
    •    ignorance
    •    willful disregard of others
and 
    •    selfishness 

5 people you consider as heroes: 
    •    Pat Nixon
    •    my Father 
    •    my husband 
    •    Rosie the Rivetor
and 
    •    Barbara Bush 

Whats


What’s your all-time favorite place? Pismo Beach.

What’s your all-time favorite memory? It's hard to choose. Probably, the day my son was born, the day he got his liver transplant, the day I got the copies of my first book from Create Space

What’s one thing that very few people know about you? I was molested as a child
.

What’s your biggest pet peeve? Selfishness.

What’s the loveliest sight you’ve ever seen? A new baby anything.

What’s the most beautiful sound you’ve heard? Birds in the early morning.

What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site? Amazon—you can get anything there
.

What’s your favorite time of day? Just before dawn.

What’s your favorite meal? Chinese food.

What’s your favorite song? Seattle.

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Somewhere quiet with lots of scenery.

What’s your favorite thing to do? Read, paint and watch TV.

What’s your favorite snack? Chips and milk.

What’s your favorite dessert? Lava cake.

What’s your favorite beverage?
Lemon water.

What’s your favorite ice cream? Sherbet.

What’s your favorite hobby or past-time? Reading.

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

What’s your favorite quote? "I have not yet begun to fight." -Captain John Paul Jones

What’s your favorite candy bar? Butterfinger.

What’s your favorite movie snack? Popcorn.

What’s your favorite social media site? Facebook. I'm too mouthy for Twitter, and I've never managed to post much on Instagram.

What’s your favorite color? Any shades of purple
.

What do you never leave the house without? Glasses, phone, purse.

What drives you crazy? Crowds
.

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

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I'm not damaged goods
.

What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror?
Action/adventure, and comedy.

What is your obsession? Keeping busy
.

What is a pet peeve? Door to door solicitation
.

What are your idiosyncrasies? I sit on my feet.

What do you collect? Books.


What smells remind you of your childhood? Horse manure, barn smells.


What author would you most like to review one of your books? Jayne Ann Krenz or Amanda M Lee
.

What book are you currently working on? No 2 in my Magi of Rulari series.

What’s your latest recommendation for: 

Food:  Fried Chicken
Music:  Baby Elephant Walk
Movie: Hatari
Book: The Quiet Gentleman
TV: Shame, Shame On The Bixby Boys (Made for TV Movie)


OTHER BOOKS BY GAIL DALEY


A Year & A Day
Forever And A Day
All Our Tomorrows
From This Day Forward 
To Love & Honor
Warriors of St. Antoni
Art Show Basics




ABOUT THE AUTHOR 


Gail Daley is a self-taught writer and artist with a background in business. An omnivorous reader, she was inspired by her son, also a writer, to finish some of the incomplete novels she had begun over the years. She is heavily involved in local art groups and fills her time reading, writing, painting in acrylics, and spending time with her husband of 40 plus years.

A recent bout with breast cancer and major stomach surgery has slowed her down a little, but she continues to write and paint.

Currently her family is owned by two cats, a mischievous young cat called Mab (after the fairy queen of air and darkness) and a Gray Princess named Moonstone. In the past, the family shared their home with many dogs, cats and a Guinea Pig, all of whom have passed over the rainbow bridge.


Connect with Gail:
Website  |  Facebook personal |  Facebook group  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest 

Buy the book:
Amazon 







Friday, July 5, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: STEVE STARGER





ABOUT THE BOOK


The bond of brotherhood is hard to break, but a lifetime of dealing with familial expectation, bitterness, and psychological disorders can bend and warp it into something nearly unrecognizable. This story tells the tale of two brothers: Melvyn, the elder, whose amalgamation of disorders leave him completely unable to function within society; and Stephen, the younger, whose own emotional and psychological issues are overshadowed to the point where he becomes little more than a pale and twisted reflection of his brother.



Book Details:


Title: Misfits and Supermen: Two Brothers’ Journey Along the Spectrum


Author: Steve Starger


Genre: Memoir


 
Publisher: Friesen Press
 (November 30, 2019)

Print length: 178 pages

On tour with: Pump Up Your Book!






   


LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH STEVE STARGER


Things you need in order to write:
something to write on and something to write with.

Things that hamper your writing: not having something to write on or with.


Things you love about writing: the act of storytelling, using language in creative ways.

Things you hate about writing: sometimes it’s just work. Editing, despite its importance.

Easiest thing about being a writer: when it flows, it’s glorious.
Hardest thing about being a writer: keeping the ideas flowing constantly.

Things you never want to run out of:
ideas, time.

Things you wish you’d never bought: an old car with no suspension, so it would never have passed inspection. (It didn’t, but I was in college, so . . . )

Words that describe you: introverted, dark sense of humor, empathetic.

Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: sometimes diffident.

Favorite music: being a musician, there are too many choices in too many genres.

Music that make your ears bleed: death metal, “easy listening.”

Something you’re really good at: writing, music.

Something you’re really bad at: all sports.

Something you like to do: discover something brand new to me.

Something you wish you’d never done: can’t answer that here.

Things you’d walk a mile for: a New York corned beef sandwich.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: a New England boiled dinner.

Things to say to an author: intelligent comments about the work. 

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: where do you get your ideas?

Favorite places you’ve been: Italy, California, New York City, Ireland, Israel, the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia.

Places you never want to go to again: I’d rather not say here.

Favorite books: literature of all cultures, hard-boiled noir, dark fantasy
.
Books you would ban: I would never ban a book.

Things that make you happy: writing, when people are civil to each other, intelligence.

Things that drive you crazy: bigotry, self-righteousness.

The last thing you did for the first time: soaring.

Something you’ll never do again: soaring.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  



Steve Starger has been writing since he was a child. He received his first professional byline from his hometown newspaper for a theater review when he was 19. He has had two long careers: journalist and musician, and has written fiction, nonfiction, plays, and songs. His biography of the comic-book artist Wally Wood – “Wally’s World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World’s Second-best Comic-book Artist – was short-listed for the Will Eisner Industry Award for Best Comics Related book of 2006.




Connect with Steve:
Website  |  Facebook   

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: CY WYSS




ABOUT THE BOOK

Inspector Lukas Richter is a San Francisco police detective with a cybernetic eye and heightened senses. Out of a dark and obscure past, he is the future of urban warfare: smarter and faster than his colleagues and more perceptive than a polygraph. If you’re guilty, he’ll see it.



In An Eye for a Lie, Richter’s first full-length novel, he is accused of cold-blooded murder when a firearms analysis confirms his gun as the murder weapon. In the background, the city is aflame over Richter’s shooting of an unarmed man, an incident some are calling “the Asian Ferguson.” Has Richter gone rogue? Or, is his insanity an unintentional side-effect of his augmentations?



In prose so smooth and descriptive you’ll be lost in this devious mystery from the beginning, An Eye for a Lie delivers on the promise of unforgettable characters, unexpected technologic twists, and unstoppable action. Intrigue abounds in this police procedural with a hint of cyberpunk. Pick up your copy today!


Book Details:


Title: An Eye for a Lie


Author: Cy Wyss


Genre: mystery


Series: Inspector Richter, Book 1

Publisher: Nighttime Dog Press, LLC (May 22, 2019)


Print length: 258 pages

On tour with: Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours



   




LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH CY WYSS



Things you need in order to write: really, all I need is my laptop. Everything else is vanity.
Things that hamper your writing: cats! (When they’re being really loving and decide to come sit on my keyboard.) Just kidding – I love my cats. But they can be absolute pests, usually when I have finally made a writing breakthrough and am raring to go.


Things you love about writing: I find journaling very relaxing. On the other hand, if I have inspiring music playing and am lost in my own little world, it is very stimulating. I feel almost euphoric, as if I’m about to enter a battle on the losing side.
Things you hate about writing: trying to find an audience. It’s like throwing darts at a huge wall in pitch blackness and hoping they hit this tiny little dartboard that is somewhere on the wall, but you have no idea where. Marketing drives me crazy. I suppose in some kind of masochistic way it is actually fun, but I would much prefer if there was a reliable way to get to your fans. I don’t mind working for it, what I mind is not knowing what will work.

Easiest thing about being a writer: first drafts, especially when I tell myself it won’t be published. I can write 100,000 words easily in a month (or more) and in 2018 my word count was over one million. Quantity is not the problem. And, it is fairly good quality – but it could always be improved. I’m a firm believer in practice. The more I write, the smoother it gets.

Hardest thing about being a writer: revising kills me every time. I grew up being told everything I wrote was gold, so I never learned to revise properly. That talent only takes you so far. Now that I’m writing for a living, it is crucial to be able to revise efficiently. Instead, I end up rewriting, largely from scratch. I do manage to improve successive drafts until I have something publishable, but the process is time-intensive and difficult. I don’t know if it is me or the process that needs an attitude adjustment.



Words that describe you: intelligent, charismatic, friendly, trustworthy. Also, stubborn, opinionated, and headstrong.
Words that describe you, but you wish they didn’t: short, fat, lazy, and out-of-shape.

Favorite music: For writing, it is definitely the “soundtrack” (or role-playing) music of Future World Music or Epic Score. Inspiring, made up, movie-esque soundtrack music.
Music that makes your ears bleed: I’m actually quite picky. There is something from every genre I love, but there is a lot from every genre I hate. What I hate most: other people’s music, even if I would ordinarily like it – because I don’t have a say in what it is, how loud, when, etc.

Something you’re really good at: writing and databases.

Something you’re really bad at: running (although I love it) and revising.


Something you like to do: design and create my own covers. I really love graphic design, it turns out. And, I’m getting better at it the more I do it. (I did the Richter cover myself.)

Something you wish you’d never done: I got sucked into one of those spam scams where they promise a gift card, all you have to do is sign up with your email address for a hundred so-called “deals.” Now my email address gets spammed daily with something like 500 emails I just have to delete. And, it is a good email address so I can’t transfer everything and delete it. Sigh. Stupid spammers.

Things you’d walk a mile for: junk food: cookies, chocolate, chips – all those yummy things I’m not supposed to have. I suppose if I walked enough miles for them, then I’d be fine, but, of course, I don’t.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: crowds. I am not really a people person (at least, not an acquaintance/stranger person).

Things you always put in your books: some kind of next-generation technology, which is something from our current level of technology just taken to its logical next step. Also, cats.

Things you never put in your books: I’m not sure anything is off the table. I have first drafts with some pretty far out things in them, ranging from the improbable to the downright taboo.

Things to say to an author: “I just wrote you a great review on Amazon!”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “It’s a good thing it’s only a hobby because you’ll never make money off of writing.”

Favorite genre: mystery and science fiction.

Books you would ban: religious agenda propaganda.

People you’d like to invite to dinner (living): Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch series), Joanna Penn (big indie author), Cathy Guisewite (cartoonist), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (literary fiction).

People you’d cancel dinner on: Donald Trump (do I need to explain?), Stephen King (he wrote that the best thing about a decent hard-boiled mystery is that it has no cats – not that cats are the be-all-end-all of fiction, but it just strikes me as rather closed-minded in a particularly patriarchal kind of way).

The last thing you did for the first time: I hired a friend to do a cover reveal for An Eye for a Lie. It went well! I’ll definitely hire her again. Love the idea of a cover reveal, where you post glimpses of the cover for a couple of days and have prizes for readers.

Something you’ll never do again: attempt to quit writing because I’m not seeing quick success. First of all, it takes effort and time. Secondly, success is in the eye of the beholder. If I enjoy it and have a niche to fit in – isn’t that ultimately all it takes?





EXCERPT FROM AN EYE FOR A LIE


"All units, active shooter in progress, be advised perp is SFPD . . ."
The police frequencies in Vessa's sedan couldn't get enough of the situation. She was hardly in her car before the address where Richter was came over the air. She headed there immediately, lights flashing, accelerator floored.
He was in a townhouse on ninth, near Tehama, only a handful of blocks from the Hall of Justice. The entire area was cordoned off and blanketed with police cars. Vessa badged her way through and got to Commander Bayes who stood with Deputy Chief Forrest several yards from the front door. The townhouse was painted lime green and the entrance stood ajar.
"Commander, what's the situation?" Vessa asked.
"He's holed up in there," Bayes shook his head toward the house. "Got a hostage."
"A hostage? You're kidding."
"Wish I was. Teenage girl, still up there. He let the rest of the family go."
Now, Bayes shook his head a different way, indicating Vessa should look near one of the ambulances. There was a man and a woman, firmly behind police lines. Both were slender with brown hair and the woman wore a red sweater. She was crying and the man and a paramedic were trying to comfort her.
"Commander, none of this makes sense. Can you imagine Richter taking a hostage? It doesn't feel right."
"C'mon, Agent Drake," Bayes said. "None of us can say we really know him now."
Vessa frowned up at the building. Between her and the front door lay perhaps twenty feet of tarmac and parked cars. Bayes turned to Forrest and they conferred. Before Vessa even knew what she was doing, she was off --crossing the street at a sprint.
"Hey!" Bayes yelled.
Forrest pointed. "Stop her!"
It was too late. She broke away from the lines and was at the door before anyone could grab her. She pushed the dark portal open and slipped inside, shutting it behind her, closing it fully so it locked. Inside, it took a couple of minutes for her eyes to adjust to the pale strobe lights coming through the front blinds and door windows. She was in an open living room. It was small and closely furnished with a dining room capping it off near the back of the building. She guessed the kitchen would be around the corner. To her right, a staircase led upward. The landing was dark.
Vessa had taken her gun out without consciously realizing it. Now, she stared at it in the undulating red and blue lights. What was she going to do with it? Shoot her lover when she found him?
She holstered the gun. "Oh, Luke," she said softly. As if in answer, something moved above her, making a dull thud on the floor. She startled.
Slowly, she made her way up the stairs. "Luke?" she called. "I'm coming upstairs."
There was no answer. At the top of the stairs were three doors. Two were dark and closed. Wan light traced the outline of the third door. She opened it cautiously.
"Luke?"
The door creaked on its hinges to reveal a seemingly empty bedroom. The air was stale although the room was tidy and sparsely furnished with a queen-sized bed and two nightstands. The fluorescent lights from the street diffused around the edges of a thick curtain drawn across a large window. The occluded light wasn't strong enough to dispel the rooms shadows.
"Luke?" Vessa noticed she was whispering. She cleared her throat and spoke with as normal a voice as she could muster. "Luke? Where are you?"
"Here," came a reply.
She was practically on top of him by that time. He sat with his back to a wall across from the foot of the bed.
Vessa jumped. "Oh! You startled me."
He was staring at her. She half expected his evil eye to glow in the dimness but instead, she saw only normal dark eyes glittering from his outlined face. He sat with his knees bent and his arms resting between his legs. In his hands was a mass of blackness-his gun. That ugly piece of metal was a cursed reminder of what was going on and why they were here, facing each other in this shadowed space.
Vessa craned her neck around but didn't see anyone else. "Where's the girl?"
Richter watched Vessa intently for several seconds before answering. "The couple's outside. I let them go."
"No, apparently there's still a teenager in here somewhere."
Richter's gaze dropped to the carpet in front of him. "That would explain why it's just you and not SWAT. They think I have a hostage. Well, I don't."
"You have me."
His head snapped up. "You're not a hostage. Why are you here, anyway?"
"I'm here to get you. I don't want them gunning you down."
"You're here to arrest me, Special Agent Vessa Belle Drake?"
"Oh, Luke. We'll figure this out."
Richter brought the gun up in his right hand and pressed it to the underside of his chin, angled back toward his brain.
Vessa gasped. "No!" She was rooted to the spot, eyes wide.
He stared at her. "I guess whether I do it or SWAT does it, it's still death by cop."
Tears burned her eyes. "No, Luke. No. Why would you even think it? There must be some mistake. There must be some reason why those bullets matched."
"I won't be locked up. I won't be put back in the cage and poked and prodded, and studied to death this time."
Vessa remembered the shaking man sweating beside her in his bed at night. Even though he didn't speak of them, she knew he was having nightmares. Was it possible he was actually capable of pulling that trigger? Her chin throbbed where he'd bitten her. She couldn't stand this. How could she have been so wrong? She was never wrong. She swallowed. Never before had she fallen for a guilty man. How was she so blinded by hubris that she could feel this way about Richter when he was a merciless killer?
He stared at her, gun in his hand. He didn't move. She shook slightly with the emotions flooding her. Here she was, at the cusp of what she felt was the most important moment in her life. The man she loved sat before her, ready to take his own life if she didn't do or say the right thing next. She was paralyzed-absolutely paralyzed. All her training, and here she was, a shaking, paralyzed ball of nerves.
She burst into tears. How utterly professional.
Richter frowned.
Vessa's nose and eyes ran uncontrollably and she heaved great sighs. She didn't dare wave her arms around and wipe her face. Instead, she simply stood there and let her emotions pour down her cheeks.
Richter sighed. He lowered the gun. He dropped it with a thud to the carpet and kicked it toward her.
"How am I supposed to kill myself with you crying like that?"
She rushed to pick up the weapon and tucked it into the small of her back, under her blazer. She faced Richter, this time allowing herself to wipe the fluids from her face with her hands and sleeves. She could only imagine how many shades of fired she would be if Bully Benson had seen her outburst. She almost felt like declaring herself unfit for duty on the spot.
"I can't stand it," she said. "I can't lose you this way."
He said nothing. What was there to say? They stared at each other. Tears fell from her eyes until the momentum of her outburst ran its course and she finally managed to get a grip on herself.
Richter sat, inordinately relaxed, leaning against the wall, hands folded innocently between his legs.
"What now?" he asked.
She glanced toward the thick curtains shielding them from the snipers across the street.
"I'll have to cuff you. Then you won't be seen as a threat. Keep your head down, and I'll stay between you and them."
He craned his neck and looked over the bed toward the window. He watched the dark cloth for several seconds.
"Is your eye working? What do you see?"
"It's working," he said. "And, I see only reflections. Your temperature is up, though."
She came over and stood beside him. "Stay low," she said softly.
He got up and they crossed the room with him crouched low. They entered the windowless landing. Vessa closed the bedroom door behind them. She looked at the other two doors. The girl was probably behind one of them, asleep or with her headphones on, completely oblivious. Vessa pulled her cuffs out. Richter stood tall.
"All right?" she asked. She needed him to cooperate. She wasn't about to subdue such a large man in such a small space.
"Just a second," he said.
He bent and kissed her. They embraced. Vessa wanted the floor to open up and swallow them so they could stay like this forever. Of course it did not, and the moment had to end.
He straightened up again, turned his back to her, and extended his arms behind him so she could easily cuff him.
"I didn't shoot him," he said.
Before she could even think about it, Vessa responded.
"I know. I believe you."
***
Excerpt from An Eye for a Lie by Cy Wyss. Copyright 2019 by Cy Wyss. Reproduced with permission from Cy Wyss. All rights reserved.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Cy Wyss is a writer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a Ph.D. in computer science and her day job involves wrangling and analyzing genetic data. Cy is the author of three full-length novels as well as a collection of short stories and the owner and chief editor of Nighttime Dog Press, LLC.

Before studying computer science, Cy obtained her undergraduate degree in mathematics and English literature as well as masters-level degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence. She studied overseas for three years in the UK, although she never managed to develop a British accent.

Cy currently resides in Indianapolis with her husband, daughter, and two obstreperous but lovable felines. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and walking 5k races to benefit charity.





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