Wednesday, October 16, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: RAQUEL RICH


ABOUT THE BOOK


Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why, Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague. Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.


Book Details:


Title: Hamartia


Author: Raquel Rich


Genre: Time Travel Thriller


Series: book one of two


Publisher: Words Matter Publishing (October 2018)


Print length: 338 pages







LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH RAQUEL RICH


A few of your favorite things: I’m a summer baby. I often plan my days around the weather, revolving around the sun like a planet. For this reason, most of my favourite things fall into the summer category. Ice tea, books to read by the pool, summer dresses, sandals, bikinis. And I’m obsessed with bikinis. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that I own enough bikinis to carry me through the Canadian summer months without repeating one.
Things you need to throw out: bikinis. lol


Things you need in order to write: a good night’s sleep + giant coffee = good writing day!
Things that hamper your writing: I’m a morning writer and I like to write alone. As soon as my hubby or kids (adult kids) come downstairs, I’m ruined. Their mere presence in the home, even if on the other side of the house watching a TV I can’t hear or see, distracts me. 


Words that describe you: strong; independent; wise; fighter; go-getter; results focused; open-minded; forgiving; loving.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: stubborn; cold; survivor. Let me explain that last one: survivor. It’s not that I wish I hadn’t survived. I wish I hadn’t gone through the tribulations in the first place. Cancer was no walk in the park. Neither is living with a chronic illness, MS. And those are just the beginning. 

Favorite foods: I’m Brazilian and my go-to dish is my mom’s rice and black beans. She snowbirds in Brazil, and before she leaves me for the winter, she cooks stockpiles of beans and freezes them for me. Other than Brazilian food, my next favourites would be Mexican followed by Jamaican.
Things that make you want to throw up: I have a texture thing which basically rules out most things living in the sea. The thought of mussels or slimy escargot or oysters—OYSTERS! Yuck! 

Favorite music: my music tastes vary depending on my activity. I have cleaning music, dog walking music, writing music, driving music. I guess my usual go-tos are salsa, meringue, and samba (the Brazilian shake-your-ass-at-carnival type, not that mellow jazzy crap). But I also love reggae (all kinds), I love old house, I love gangsta rap from the early 90’s. I can even get down with some ACDC and Aerosmith (I have a crush on Steven Tyler).
Music that make your ears bleed: Soca. Calypso. Heavy metal. I hate them all equally.

Favorite beverage: Water. Is that boring? Ok. I also like ice tea. And red wine.

Something that gives you a pickle face: I’ve never tasted monkey pee, but I imagine it would taste like Beer.

Something you’re really good at: problem solving. I’m the girl everyone comes to to bounce ideas off of (probably because I’ve tried most everything). I’m the girl everyone comes to for advice (probably because I’ve been through some crazy shit).
Something you’re really bad at: directions. I don’t lost very very easily.


Things you always put in your books: unpredictable plot twists. I love surprising my readers with wtf moments. 

Things you never put in your books: the main character’s race. I’m biracial. I hate that most stories have characters that don’t look like me. For that reason, I decided not to describe my main characters to fit into any one race. I want the reader to feel connected enough to my character that they assume the character looks like them.

Favorite places you’ve been: I’m a huge traveler. I’ve been to thirty-one countries and plan to reach fifty before I turn fifty. It’s super hard to pick a favourite, so I’ll give you my top five. Brazil, and the Canadian Rockies (yes, there may be some bias in my first two choices). Vietnam: been twice and would easily live there. New York City: just because. Budapest: I love the spas.  

Places you never want to go to again: sorry, Cancun. But your party scene attracts far too many of the types of tourists that make me cringe.

Favorite things to do: spending time with family and friends is by far my favourite pastime. Aside from that, I love going out anywhere and I love travelling anywhere. Any sentence that starts with “Raquel, do you want to go to…” is usually answered by a yes. I’m also a sun-worshipper and spend way too much time working on my tan by the pool. 

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: cooking. Not only do I hate doing it, but I truly suck at it. I’m a terrible cook and ain’t no one going to argue with me.

Things that make you happy:
my dog makes me happy. I love my fur baby. 

Things that drive you crazy: turtlenecks and balloons. They don’t just drive me crazy, it’s a full on phobia.


BOOK TRAILER FOR HAMARTIA





ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Raquel Rich is a full-time sci-fi author and occasional blogger. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. She’s married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy). Her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.

Raquel Rich is a proud member of Broad Universe: an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative genres.

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

Monday, October 14, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: ELIZABETH CROWENS




ABOUT THE BOOK


In 1914, the war to end all wars turns the worlds of John Patrick Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Rebecca West and Harry Houdini upside down. Doyle goes back to ancient China in his hunt for that "red book" to help him write his Sherlock Holmes stories. Scott is hell-bent on finding out why his platoon sergeant has it out for him, and they both discover that during the time of Shakespeare every day is a witch-hunt in London. Is the ability to travel through time the ultimate escape from the horrific present, or do ghosts from the past come back to haunt those who dare to spin the Wheel of Karma?

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones, sequel to Silent Meridian, combines the surrealism of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five with the supernatural allure of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell set during WWI on the Western Front.
—First Prize winner of the Chanticleer Review's Paranormal Fiction Awards.


Book Details:


Title: The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones


Author: Elizabeth Crowens


Genre: alternate history-mystery / fantasy noir


Series: The Time Traveler Professor, book 2


Publisher: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC (August 1, 2019)


Print length: 328 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours








   


LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH ELIZABETH CROWENS


Things you need in order to write: A Mac computer with a 27” screen.
Things that hamper your writing: Outside street noise, especially loud car stereos, jack hammers from construction, or from obnoxious neighbors. (I live in NYC.)


Things you love about writing: Traveling for research.
Things you hate about writing: Proof reading for typos and spelling mistakes. I’m not the best typist. Editing is different. I enjoy tightening a plot and making it better.

Easiest thing about being a writer: Justifiably getting away with being “a creative.”

Hardest thing about being a writer: Not earning as much as I’d like as a write. Also I loathe querying for a new literary agent.


Things you love about where you live: In New York City, I don’t have to own and drive a car to do everything I need to do. Much of my immediate necessities are within walking distance.
Things that make you want to move: Subways are much to be desired: rude and stinky people that will sneeze on you and get you sick. Overcrowding. Living space too small. Too hot and humid in the summer. I’d like to move to London if I start earning enough from my writing. People are much more polite. The Tube is cleaner and more efficient.

Words that describe you: Determined, ambitious, relentless, resourceful.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Pushy, aggressive, impatient. People always get the wrong impression about me. Don’t know why, but often they jump to conclusions that are incorrect.

Favorite music or song: Woodstock, Prog Rock, 70s Rock, Classical. Examples: Queen, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, David Bowie — mostly British rock. I also enjoy listening to movie soundtracks.
Music that make your ears bleed: Rap, Hip Hop, Disco and Pop. Oh yes, and people like Barry Manilow — stuff my mother would’ve listened to. Yeech!

Favorite beverage: Coffee.

Something that gives you a pickle face: Hard, strong liquor. I keep trying to train myself to love Scotch, because I love going to Scotland, but I can’t get the hang of it.

Favorite smell: Fresh garden roses, not the store-bought ones with no scent.

Something that makes you hold your nose: Skunks, sulfur — that rotten egg smell near stagnant ponds, and body odor.

Something you’re really good at: Photography.

Something you’re really bad at: Putting together Ikea furniture.


Something you wish you could do: Skiing (Never had the chance. Now my knees won’t let me.) Speak fluent Mandarin Chinese and Russian. (Never had the time, although I’m excellent with languages.)
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Superior-level CAD skills in textile design and home goods design. What a waste of education. I hated the industry and the people who ran it. I’d love to turn back the clock and erase that part of my history. One day, I’ll write a book about it.

People you consider as heroes: Oprah. Too bad she’s not running for president in 2020.

People with a big L on their foreheads: The Kardashians. They are worthless. I don’t understand their appeal whatsoever. Other reality TV stars fall into that category as well.

Things to say to an author: Quote from Buzz Lightyear: Never give up. Never surrender.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: You don’t have a fighting chance.

Favorite places you’ve been: Anywhere in Scotland, London (or anywhere in England).

Places you never want to go to again: South Florida, if I can avoid it. Sometimes I have no choice for writing conferences. Any place hot and humid, if I can avoid it, with the exception of New Orleans. Love that place and can’t wait to go back.

Favorite books: Hard to pin that one down. Time travel, of course, but anything that hooks me and keeps the pages turning until I’m yawning and need to turn in for the night.

Books you would ban: Fifty Shades of Grey. Although I saw the first film, I haven’t read the book and wouldn’t waste my time. Only reason why I saw the film was it was on cable, and I didn’t pay money in a theater.

People you’d like to invite to dinner (living): Oprah, Buzz Aldrin, Steven Spielberg, Former President Jimmy Carter, and Kamala Harris.

People you’d cancel dinner on: Kim and Kanye.

Best thing you’ve ever done: Publish my first novel.
Biggest mistake: Fall in love with the wrong guy.
Most daring thing you’ve ever done: Getting a black belt in martial arts in Japan.

Something you chickened out from doing: Diving off a high diving board.



EXCERPT



Chapter One: Kitchener’s Call to Arms

August 1914

“Have you ever killed a man before?”
I had, but close to three hundred years ago. So, I lied and just shook my head.
“Your name, son?” the recruitment officer asked.
“John Patrick Scott,” I said, with pride.
The officer handed me a card to fill out. “Write your date of birth, where you live and don’t skip any questions. When finished, bring this over to Line B.”
Born during the reign of Queen Victoria, somehow or other I managed to travel to the 23rd century, feudal Japan, and ancient China long before the Great War started. The army wanted to know all the places I had traveled, but it was doubtful that much information was required.
Since the war to end all wars commenced, recruiting centers sprang up like wildflowers. This one took over an Edinburgh public library. If unaware as to why the enthusiastic furor, one would’ve guessed the government gave away free land tracts with titles.
“Let’s see how clever you blokes are. Tell me the four duties of a soldier,” another enlistment administrator called out.
An overeager Glaswegian shouted, “Obedience, cleanliness, honesty and sobriety, sir!”
The chap next to him elbowed his side. “Takes no brains to read a bloody sign.”
Propaganda posters wallpapered the room with solicitous attempts at boosting morale. Kitchener wanted us and looked straight into our eyes. Proof of our manhood or perhaps stupidity. Queues of enthusiasm wound around the block. Impatient ones jumped the lines. We swore our allegiance to the King over a bible. As long as the war lasted, our lives were no longer our own.
Voices from men I’d never see again called out from the crowd.
“It’ll be over in six weeks.”
“Are you so sure?”
“Check out those men. All from the same cricket team. Play and die together. Medals of Valor in a blink. Local heroes with celebrations.”
“I’ll drink to that.”
A crusty old career soldier yelled out to the volunteers, “Does anyone speak Flemish?”
Suddenly the place got quiet. Then he looked at me. “Soldier, do you know anything besides the King’s English? French?”
“Fluent German,” I said. “That should be helpful.”
“Since when were you with the Bosches?”
“Fourteen years, sir. Before the war.”
“And what were you doing in enemy territory?”
“Worked as a teacher. A music professor and a concert pianist when I could get the engagements and sometimes as an amateur photographer. They weren’t our enemies then, sir.”
“Have you ever shot a rifle, son?”
“Actually, I have…”
“Find a pair of boots that fits you, lad. Hustle now. Time’s a wasting.”
The Allied and German armies were in a Race to the Sea. If the Germans got there first, then England was in danger of invasion. Basic training opened its arms to the common man, and it felt strange to be bedding alongside Leith dockworkers and farmers, many underage, versus the university colleagues from my recent past. Because of the overwhelming need for new recruits, training facilities ran out of room. The army took over church halls, local schools and warehouses in haste. Select recruits were billeted in private homes, but we weren't so fortunate.
Except for acquired muscles, I slimmed down and resembled the young man that I was in my university days except with a tad more gray hair, cut very short and shaved even closer on the sides. No more rich German pastries from former students as part of my diet. At least keeping a clean-shaven face wasn’t a challenge since I never could grow a beard. Wearing my new uniform took getting used to. Other recruits laughed, as I’d reach to straighten my tie or waistcoat out of habit despite the obvious fact that I was no longer wearing them.
While still in Scotland during basic training, I started to have a series of the most peculiar dreams. My boots had not yet been muddied with the soil of real battlefields. New recruits such as I, had difficult adjustments transitioning from civilian life. Because of my past history of lucid dreaming, trips in time travel and years of psychical experimentation I conducted both on my own and with my enthusiastic and well-studied mentor, Arthur Conan Doyle, my nightmares appeared more real than others. My concerns were that these dreams were either actual excursions into the Secret Library where the circumstances had already occurred or premonitions of developments to come.
The most notable of these episodes occurred toward the end of August in 1914. In this dream, I had joined another British platoon other than my own in Belgium on the Western Front. We were outnumbered at least three to one, and the aggressive Huns surrounded us on three sides.
Whistles blew. “Retreat!” yelled our commanding officer, a privileged Cambridge boy, barely a man and younger than I, who looked like he had never seen the likes of hardship.
We retreated to our trenches to assess what to plan next, but instead of moving toward our destination everyone froze in their tracks. Time was like a strip of film that slowed down, spooled off track, and jammed inside a projector. Then the oddest thing happened to our enemy. For no apparent reason, their bodies jerked and convulsed as if fired upon by invisible bullets over the course of an hour.
When the morning fog lifted, the other Tommies and I broke free from our preternatural standstill and charged over the top of the trenches with new combat instructions. Half of our platoon dropped their rifles in shock. Dead Huns, by the thousands, littered No man’s land long before we had even fired our first retaliatory shot!
I woke up agitated, disoriented and in a cold sweat. Even more disturbing was finding several brass shell casings under my pillow — souvenirs or proof that I had traveled off somewhere and not imagined it. I roused the sleeping guy in the next bed and couldn’t wait to share this incredible story.
“Shush!” he warned me. “You’ll wake the others.”
Meanwhile, he rummaged inside his belongings and pulled out a rumpled and grease-stained newspaper clipping that looked and smelled like it had originally been used to wrap up fish and chips.
He handed it to me with excitement. “My folks sent this me from back home.”
The headlines: “Angels sited at the Battle of Mons”
Almost as notable was the article’s byline written by my best friend from the University of Edinburgh, Wendell Mackenzie, whom I had lost track of since the war started.
He begged me to read on.
“Hundreds of witnesses claimed similarities in their experiences. There were rumors aplenty about ghostly bowmen from the Battle of Agincourt where the Brits fought against the French back in 1415. Inexplicable apparitions appeared out of nowhere and vanquished German enemy troops at the recent Battle of Mons.”
“This looks like a scene from out of a storybook.” I pointed to an artist’s rendition and continued.
“Word spread that arrow wounds were discovered on corpses of the enemy nearby, and it wasn't a hoax. Others reported seeing a Madonna in the trenches or visions of St. Michael, another saint symbolizing victory.”
“Now, I don’t feel so singled out,” I said and handed the newspaper articles back to my comrade.
For weeks, I feared talking to anyone else about it and insisted my mate keep silent. Even in wartime, I swore that I’d stay in touch with my closest acquaintances, Wendell Mackenzie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was easier to keep abreast of Arthur's exploits, because of his public celebrity. On the other hand, Wendell, being a journalist, could be anywhere in the world on assignment.
* * *
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie,
I regret having missed Wendell when he never made it over to visit Scotland, and you wonder if someone up above watches over us when we make decisions where to go and when. In my case it was when I decided to take a summer vacation and travel to Edinburgh before the war. Those without passports or proper documentation endured countless detours and delays getting back to their respective homelands. One of Mrs. Campbell’s lodgers had been detained in France.
With nothing to return to back in Germany, I joined the Royal Scots. Military training commenced in Edinburgh, and at least they had us wearing uniforms of pants tucked into gaiters as opposed to the Highland troops who wore kilts. Although I was born and bred in Scotland, as a Lowlander that’s one outfit you’d have to force me into with much duress.
Our tasks would be in the Scots Territorial units deployed on our coastline in case of an enemy invasion. Potential threats could come from spies or submarines, but most say that the worst enemy has been the frigid wind blowing off the North Sea.
As there is always talk about combining forces and transfers, my aunt can always forward letters. It would mean more than the world to hear from Wendell saying that not only is he all right, but also in good spirits.
Yours most devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Dear Arthur,
In our last correspondence, I conveyed that I was unable to return to my teaching post in Stuttgart. With your tour in the Boer War as my inspiration, I joined the military. We learned the basics: how to follow commands, first aid, march discipline and training in all matters of physical fitness. My feet have been in a constant state of rebellion, since my previous profession as a pianist was a sedentary occupation.
Deployment was supposed to be along the coast of Scotland, but the army reassigned me despite first promises because of too many staggering losses on the Western Front. I requested to be part of the air corps and a pioneer in new battle technology, but my recruiting officers had other plans. Our regiment left for Ypres in Belgium. None of the Tommies could pronounce the name of this place, so everyone called it Wipers. You’re no stranger to war, but everyone has been surprised that it lasted longer than anticipated.
Yours Most Devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Troops from all over under the wing of the British Expeditionary Forces piled on to ships to sail out to the continent. The locals from Edinburgh didn’t expect to leave bonnie ole Scotland. They told us we’d defend our shores from foreign invasions. I’d crossed the North Sea before, but then it was a sea of hope and a new life full of opportunity when I got my scholarship to continue my musical studies in Germany, now the enemy.
I turned to the nearest stranger, hoping that a random conversation would break the monotonous and never-ending wait until we set anchor in Belgium. “How was your basic training?”
“Three months at an abandoned amusement park,” the soldier replied. “We trained for the longest time in our street clothes and were told they ran out of uniforms. Probably sent recycled ones after the first troops died. Used wooden dummy rifles until the real ones arrived. What about you?”
“We used an abandoned dance hall. Never could get used to waking at 5:30 a.m.”
“Word got around that in Aldershot soldiers had luxury facilities with a billiards room, a library, private baths and a buffet. I suspect that was for the regulars, the old-timers, not new recruits like us.”
“I should’ve enlisted elsewhere,” I grumbled, not that it would’ve made much of a difference if we’d all die in the end.
He pointed to my face and examined my flawless hands. “You don’t look like much of an outdoorsman. Pale, hairless complexion. No scars.”
“I’m a concert pianist.”
“Not much use on the Front.”
“Probably not. Excuse me, I need some air.” I bundled up in my great coat, wrapping my muffler a wee bit tighter.
Wasn’t sure which were worse — the soldiers with their asphyxiating cigarettes or numbing sleet turning into ice pellets. Hadn’t gotten my sea legs, yet. Stormy swells churned my stomach. Sweet Scotland. Lush green grass and the sky the color of blue moonstone. Never thought I’d be so sentimental. Continued staring until brilliant hues of the shoreline merged into dismal grays of a foggy horizon. In the transition from civilian to soldier, I stepped through a door of no return unless I desired to come back home in a coffin.

Chapter Two: The Other Lost World

Ypres, Belgium Late fall, 1914

A sea of strange men, but all comrades-in-arms, all recent transplants marched to their assignments and followed orders without question to who-knows-where on the way to the battlefield sites. We sallied forth, anonymous troops with a distorted sense of time and distance through the streets of has-been cities, once thriving communities. Poetry in ruination.
As we marched through the Grote Markt (Grand Market) heading out toward the Menenpoort (or Menen Gate) I didn’t expect to get an education. The soldier to my left kept talking out loud and compared notes of local tourist attractions. He was probably unaware that anyone else had overheard his comments.
“That long, distinctive building with the church hiding behind it must be the Hallen… or their Cloth Hall. There were impressive paintings on the interior walls of the Pauwels Room depicting the history of this town and its prosperous textile trade.”
“How do you know this?” I asked, trying not to attract too much attention.
“I’m a historian. Used to teach at a priory school in Morpeth.”
Perhaps I was naïve, but I asked, “Why would the armed forces recruit someone with a background in history?”
“That didn’t influence my enlistment although I’m sure it’ll come in handy somewhere. Before the war, I traveled all over Europe when time permitted. I brought original postcards with me as to what this town used to look like. It’s frightening to see the difference.”
“Your name?” I asked.
“Private Watson. What about you?”
“Not John Watson, by any chance?”
“No, Roger Watson, why?”
I shook my head thinking about Arthur and bit my lip to hide a slight smile. “Oh nothing… My name is Private Scott, John Patrick Scott.”
“What brings you to this dismal corner of the earth?”
“Ich war ein Musiklehrer. Pardon me, sometimes I break into German. I’m from Edinburgh but was living in Germany as a music teacher. Can’t be doing that sort of thing now.”
“I suppose not.”
“Roger, sorry to have eavesdropped, but it sounded so interesting. Then you are familiar with the area we just marched through?”
“That was the central merchant and trading hub of Ypres and has been since the mid-fifteenth century. On the north side over there is St. Martin’s Cathedral. You can already see the damage from German attacks.”
There was no escaping the needless destruction by aggressive enemy bombing. We continued marching forward in formation. A little way beyond the city gate, we passed by the remains of a park and children’s playground. The soldiers took a rest break and snacked on portable rations.
Many of them took off their boots and massaged their feet. Not too far away, I found a shattered brick in the rubble of what had been a schoolhouse and brought it back to where everyone was having his makeshift picnic.
Watson noticed that I kept twirling the small fragment in my hand while intermittently closing my eyes. “Scott, what are you doing?”
“Pictures form in my mind similar to movies. It’s the art of psychometry,” I replied.
“Psycho — what?” Another soldier overheard us talking.
“Sounds like something from Sigmund Freud,” one called out.
“Not at all, it’s like a psychical gift or talent. It has nothing to do with psychoanalysis.”
“What’s the point?” the first one asked.
I felt under pressure to put my thoughts into words. “I can understand what building this brick was part of when it was intact and what was here before it was destroyed.”
“That’s incredible!” Watson exclaimed. “If you are able to uncover bygone times by psychical means, I am all ears.”
When everyone else discounted my talent, Watson gave it full praise. Others became impatient and weren’t interested in our sidebar history lesson.
“Can you use those skills beyond inanimate objects?” one soldier asked.
“Find me an object, someone’s former possession,” I said.
Another soldier found a broken pocket watch not far from a trampled garden. He tossed it over, and I caught it with both hands. When I closed my eyes, the images materialized in my mind’s eye.
“A loving grandfather was reading to his grandchildren from an illustrated story book. He was balding. Wore spectacles. Had a trimmed white beard.
“‘Time for bed,’ he said, looking at his watch. Tick tock, tick tock. It was a gift from his father.
“He kissed each grandchild on the forehead as they scampered off. Two girls, one boy, all in their nightgowns. The tallest girl was a redhead with… pink ribbons in her long, curly hair. Then the bombs dropped. Fire. The roof collapsed. All was lost. Then… then… Oh my God!”
“Scotty, what’s wrong?” Watson asked.
I looked at the blank faces around me. “You don’t see him?”
Watson was baffled. “See who?”
“That grandfather,” I said, horrified and clutching onto that timepiece. His ghost was standing right in front of me!
Then I realized that no one else was capable of seeing him. Inside, I panicked until my frozen fingers let go of the watch, and it tumbled into the dirt. That’s when his phantasmal form vanished, but there were still indelible memories impressed upon the ether that refused to fade with the passage of time.
Warning bells tolled from a nearby church. “Quick, run for cover!” our commanding officer shouted.
Double-time over to shelter. Incoming bombs whistled and boomed in the distance. Civilians followed, carrying their most precious possessions, also fleeing for their lives.
The sanctuary already suffered from shell damage that left large gaping holes in its roof. Birds nested above the pulpit. Cherished religious statuary had been knocked over and broken. Several nuns rushed up and motioned the way for us to take refuge in the basement. We joined the crowd of scared families, members of the local community.
“Isn’t Britain giving them haven?” I asked Watson. “I thought most of the civilians evacuated by now.”
“There are still the ones who want to hold out,” he explained. “Wouldn’t you if your entire life and livelihood were here for multiple generations? That’s why they’re counting on us, but the Germans are relentless. Ypres is right on the path of strategic routes to take over France.”
When several farmers brought over their pigs and chickens, our retreat began to resemble a biblical nativity scene. From inside the cellar, we could hear the rumble of the outside walls collapsing.
“We’ll be trapped!” People yelled out in panic.
A group of sisters prayed in the corner. Our trench diggers readied themselves to shovel us out if it came to that. One terror-stricken woman handed me a screaming baby.
“I found him abandoned.” At least that’s what I thought she said in Flemish, but none of us could understand her. Confused and without thinking, I almost spoke in Japanese, but that would’ve been for the wrong place and an entirely different century during a different lifetime.
“What will I do with him?” I said to her in German, but she didn’t comprehend me either. I couldn’t just place him down in a corner. We’d be marching out in a matter of minutes.
I approached a man with his wife and three other children. First I tried English, then German, random words of French, and then I tried Greek and Latin from my school days. Finally I resorted to awkward gestures to see if he’d take the child. But he shook his head, gathered his brood and backed off.
Troops cleared a path out of the cellar. We needed to report to our stations before nightfall.
“Sister, please?” I begged one nun, interrupting her rosary. To my relief, she took the infant.
“Oh Mon Dieu!” I cried out in the little French that I knew. “Danke, thank you, merci boucoup.” Then I ran off to join the others.
Watson slapped me on the back. “Looked like you were going to be a father, mate.”
“Not yet. Got a war to fight,” I replied.
***
Excerpt from The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens. Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Elizabeth Crowens has worked in film and television for over twenty years. She’s the author of the award winning alternate history/mystery Time Traveler Professor series, a regular contributor of author interviews for the online speculative fiction magazine, Black Gate, with short stories in the Bram Stoker Award nominated anthology, A New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. She is also writing a Hollywood suspense series.

Connect with Elizabeth:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads Instagram

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble
The Kindle version of book one in the series is discounted at $1.99 so readers can catch up and read the series in order, which is recommended.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: STEVE GROGAN



ABOUT THE BOOK


He was lost, directionless, unable to find his identity. He thought he found it in her, which was good because he was teetering on the edge of madness. She had no way of knowing her actions would push him over it.



This novella is part splatterpunk, part erotica, part psychological study of an unstable mind, told in Steve's highly visual and deeply emotional prose. 

Some stories have protagonists/narrators for which you can feel empathy, or at the very least you can feel sorry for them.



This isn't one of those tales.



This is a story about a young man who makes the mistake of depending on others for a sense of self-worth. It is a dark, disturbing story not meant for the faint of heart. The graphic content makes up only 15% of the prose, but it is some of the most harrowing writing ever committed to page.


Book Details:

Title: Maybe the Dream Knows What is Real

Author: Steve Grogan

Genre: horror


Published: June 24, 2018


Print length: 150 pages








IFs ANDs OR WHATs INTERVIEW WITH STEVE GROGAN


Ifs



Q: If you could talk to someone (living), who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. He and I had very similar lives, which is why I connect with their music so much. I would talk to him about those things, as well as issues like self-esteem and mental health.

Q: If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: Kurt Cobain. Since he committed suicide, I’d talk to him about mental health too, but maybe I’d be subtle about it. Basically, I would try to talk him out of making the decision that he made.

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: Full-time martial arts instructor, doing seminars around the world
.

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
A: Thomas Pynchon. I would like to talk about his writing process. His books are so layered that I wonder how he plans them.

Q: If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book?
A: Castle Rock from many Stephen King books. For being a somewhat small town, a lot of interesting things happen there!



Ands


5 things you love about writing:
    •    creating new worlds
    •    exploring ideas
    •    writing things that move people
    •    painting a picture with words
and
    •    escaping from reality

5 things you love about where you live: 
    •    quiet
    •    it’s my childhood neighborhood
    •    I know my way around
    •    I love the historical architecture
and
    •    since my house has been in my family for decades, there is no mortgage!

5 favorite books:  
    •    A Scanner Darkly
    •    Gravity’s Rainbow
    •    Imajica
    •    Money

and
    •    Naked Lunch

5 favorite authors:
    •    Thomas Pynchon
    •    Phillip K. Dick
    •    William S. Burroughs
    •    Henry Miller
and
    •    Martin Amis

5 people you consider as heroes:
    •    Bruce Lee
    •    Billy Corgan
    •    Thomas Pynchon
    •    Tony Horton
and
    •    my girlfriend

Whats


Q: What’s your all-time favorite movie?
A: A tough one, but I’ll go with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite author?
A: Thomas Pynchon.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite city?
A: New York City. For an artsy person like me, there is so much more there than where I currently live.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite library?
A: Albany Public Library.

Q: What’s your favorite song?
A: “Cherub Rock” by the Smashing Pumpkins. It inspired me to learn guitar.

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?
A: Arizona Diet Green Tea.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: “Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him.” (Thomas Carlyle)

Q: What’s your favorite movie snack?

A: Sweet Tart makes these things now that are like Red Vines, except of course they make your face pucker.

Q: What movie genre do you prefer?
A: Horror.


Q: What book are you currently working on?
A: A guide to help people build a piece of martial art training equipment called a wooden dummy. My guide is unique in that most wooden dummies have to be mounted on these huge, space-gobbling frames, but I show them how to build a freestanding version. It’s also meant to help them save money because buying a professionally made one can cost you easily $1,000 or more.

Q: What’s your latest recommendation for:
    •    Food: Lemon Butter Chicken
    •    Music: Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, the Tragically Hip
    •    Movie: It (2017 version)
    •    Book: Imajica
    •    Netflix/Amazon Prime: Stranger Things



OTHER BOOKS BY STEVE GROGAN


The Size Curse

The Lone Warrior: A Guide to Home-Based Wing Chun Training

How to Teach Wing Chun

The Search for the Warrior’s Path





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Grogan was born in the often-filmed city of Troy, New York. He started writing as far back as second grade. He has written in a variety of formats (novels, short stories, poems, screen and stage plays, blogs/articles) and genres (horror, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, drama). He has had several stories, articles, and poems published in print and online.

Steve is also a father, a boyfriend, a musician, a fitness fanatic, and a martial artist. He has been studying Wing Chun Kung Fu since 1995, and he maintains a blog/YouTube channel that describe his training habits, epiphanies, and advancement. It also candidly discusses his stumbling blocks, such as his struggle with nutrition and mental health issues.

He is no relation to the New England Patriots quarterback from the 1980’s.


Connect with Steve:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Buy links:
Amazon


Friday, October 11, 2019

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH TRACI ANDRIGHETTI'S FRANCESCCA LUCIA AMATO



ABOUT THE BOOK


It’s Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, but PI Franki Amato has too many problems to celebrate. A proven Sicilian lemon tradition hasn’t landed her a proposal, so her nonna has amped up the meddling to get her married, and pronto. Franki’s also under pressure to solve the strange murder of a family friend’s nephew, Nick Pescatore, who was found on a Mississippi River steamboat rumored to be haunted. When the sinister old boat sets sail on an overnight gambling cruise, Franki goes undercover with a motley crew, including a Mark Twainophile captain with a murderous past and a slimy galley chef with a mobster brother, not to mention an ex-stripper landlady with a newfound career as a memoir writer and all-too public speaker. Franki has to figure out what missing Civil War gold, a playing card, and a mysterious woman on roller skates have to do with Nick’s death. If she doesn’t, it’s anchors aweigh for Franki—down to Davy Jones’ locker.



Book Details:


Title: Galliano Gold

Author: Traci Andrighetti

Genre: cozy mystery


Series: Franki Amato Mysteries book 5


Publisher: Limoncello Press (October 1, 2019)

Print length: 340 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours












ALL ABOUT FRANCESCA LUCIA AMATO


Basic

Name: Francesca Lucia Amato
Nickname: Franki
Age: Almost 31—but not there yet
Height: 5’10”
Weight: Around 170, give or take ten pounds
Hair color: brown
Hair style: long and straight
Eye color: brown
Relationship status: she’s happy to be in one.


Name of romantic partner: Bradley Hartmann, but it’s complicated.

Neat or messy dresser? Franki is a casual dresser. She’s a PI, so she doesn’t want to stand out.


Does she have any mannerisms? She will occasionally do the scongiuri, and Italian gesture to ward off back luck. It looks like the Hook ‘em Horns gesture, but upside down.


Does she have any quirks? Lots. But who’s counting?

Does she have any speak with an accent? No, but her meddlesome Sicilian nonna does.
Is this a main character or supporting character? Franki is the main character in a cast of, well, characters.


Personality

Is she an introvert or extrovert? As a PI, Franki is an extrovert with some introvert tendencies.


Does she have any bad habits? She has a touch of hypochondria, although she doesn’t think so.


What is her motto? When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello. And drink it.


What is her sinful little habit? Drinking and eating sweets, often in large quantities.


What sense does she most rely on? Her gut.


What is her obsession? Nutella.


What is her pet peeve? Her family coming to visit.


Where’s her favorite hangout place? Thibodeaux’s Tavern, a bar across the street from her apartment.


Is she superstitious? Her Sicilian nonna taught her to be superstitious, but she doesn’t want to be. Nor does she want to believe in the supernatural, but some spooky things happen down in New Orleans.


Is she a messy or a neat housekeeper? Neat, but that’s because she’s not home much. And her mom and Nonna often drive down from Houston. When they do, they have a tendency to take over her apartment and run the show.


Describe her home. Franki rents a furnished apartment in a New Orleans fourplex owned by Glenda O’Brien, a sixty-something ex-stripper who dresses like she’s still onstage. The fourplex is across the street from a bar and a creepy cemetery. Her home can best be described in an excerpt from Limoncello Yellow, book 1 in the Franki Amato mysteries: 
“The room was the home-decor equivalent of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The walls were covered in fuzzy, blood-red wallpaper with shiny gold fleurs-de-lis, and hanging from the ceiling was a baroque red-and-black crystal chandelier. The couch was a rococo chaise lounge in velvet zebra print, and next to it was a lilac velour armchair with gold fringe that matched the drapery to perfection. On the opposite wall there was a mahogany wood fireplace with a hearth covered in white candles of various sizes and shapes. In front of the fireplace, a bearskin rug replete with a bear head covered the hardwood floors. The only thing missing was the red fluorescent light in the living room window signaling my availability for prospective clients.”


Is she serious or laid back? She’s both, depending on what kind of character or crime she’s dealing with.


What does she do first thing on a weekday morning? Go back to sleep.


What does she do on a Sunday afternoon? Sleep a lot more.


Does she prefer alcohol or soft drinks? Franki often drinks the Italian liqueurs and wines mentioned in the book titles.


Friends and Family

What is her perception of family? Frank is Italian-American and has a crazy family that she loves…most of the time.


Does she have any pets? She has a Cairn “terror” named Napoleon.


Who are her enemies? Detective Wesley Sullivan. He appears in books three through five, which are Amaretto Amber, Campari Crimson, and my new release, Galliano Gold. Whether he returns depends upon your interpretation of the Galliano Gold ending.


Is she in a relationship? Yes, with Bradley Hartmann, a banker by profession.


Has she ever had her heart broken? Twice, once by Todd in college and then by Vince after college. Both of them cheated on her, and she hasn’t forgotten that.


Does she have a sidekick? Franki has several sidekicks because she often investigates with other characters in the mysteries. But Veronica Maggio, her best friend and the owner of Private Chicks, Incorporated, the PI firm where Franki works, is her primary sidekick.


Conflict

How does she respond to a threat? She gets scared, but she leaps into action nevertheless.

What are her phobias? Health problems.

What is her choice of weapon? Her mouth.

Is she confrontational? When she’s confronted, which is often in New Orleans.

Does she carry a weapon? A purple Ruger. She thinks pink is too girly.


Work, Education and Hobbies

What is her current job? Franki is a private investigator in The Big Easy, which is hard.

What she think about her current job? She loves working for her best friend, and after her experience with her partner, Stan, as a rookie cop in Austin, being a PI is a thrill.

What are her hobbies? She doesn’t have time for hobbies. Investigating crime is a 24/7 job.

What is her educational background? She went to the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em), where she studied criminology and Italian.

Does she have any special training? As I mention above, she was a rookie cop, but she didn’t last long.

Does she have a natural talent for something? Eating, and poking her nose in other people’s business.


Possessions

What is in her fridge? An open bottle of Chianti and some pasta sauce. In her pantry is a year’s supply of Nutella.

What is on her bedside table? Her alarm, her gun, and her phone.

What is in her car? Nothing. It’s a 1965 cherry red Mustang convertible, and she’s afraid someone will cut open the top.


Miscellaneous

Is she comfortable with technology? Franki knows how to use her phone and laptop, but there are two Computer Science students from Tulane working at Private Chicks—David Savoie and Standish “The Vassal” Standifer—so she doesn’t have to be too tech savvy.

If she could call one person for help, who would it be? Her dad, but he’s busy running the family deli, Amato’s, in Houston. 


What would she do if she won the lottery? She would move out of her bordello chic apartment and buy a house.

What is her idea of perfect happiness? An evening with her love, Bradley, and a candle-lit Italian dinner.

What would she ask a fortune teller? Whether Bradley will ask her to marry her before the Sicilian lemon tradition her nonna tricked her into runs out . . .



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Traci Andrighetti is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Franki Amato Mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon Mysteries. In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is. Her latest capers are teaching mystery for Savvy Authors and taking authors on writing retreats to Italy with LemonLit.

Connect with Traci:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram  |  Bookbub  |  Amazon

Buy the book:
Amazon





Wednesday, October 9, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: PACO CHIERICI



ABOUT THE BOOK


In the world of fighter pilots, the most alpha of the alpha, competition is everything and the stakes are impossibly high. A Top Gun for the new millennium, Lions of the Sky propels us into a realm in which friendship, loyalty, and skill are tested, battles won and lost in an instant, and lives irrevocably changed in the time it takes to plug in your afterburners.

Sam Richardson is a fighter pilot’s pilot, a reluctant legend with a gut-eating secret. He is in the last span of his tour as an instructor, yearning to get back to the real action of the Fleet, when he is ordered to take on one last class—a class that will force him to confront his carefully quarantined demons.

Brash, carefree, and naturally gifted, Keely Silvers is the embodiment of all that grates on him. After years of single-minded dedication, she and her classmates can see the finish line. They are months away from achieving their life-long dream, flying Navy F/A-18 fighters. They are smart and hard-working, but they’re just kids with expensive new toys. They’re eager to rush through training and escape to the freedom of the world beyond, a world they view as a playground full of fast jets and exotic locales.

But Sam knows there is a darker side to the profession he loves. There is trouble brewing in the East with global implications. If they make it past him they will be cast into a dangerous world where enemy planes cruise the skies over the South China Sea like sharks, loaded with real weapons and hidden intentions.



Book Details:


Title: Lions of the Sky


Author: Paco Chierici


Genre: military thriller   


Publisher: Braveship Books (April 12, 2019)


Page count: 292 pages







LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH PACO CHIERICI


A few of your favorite things: the laughter of my family, the sound of an airplane engine, a basketball swishing through the net, a good book (series), movie night, a good cocktail.
Things you need to throw out: procrastination, taxes, any paperwork, politics, nagging home repair items, putting away my laundry.


Things you need in order to write: an organized desktop. I can’t compose a sentence if there’s clutter.
Things that hamper your writing: the f^[£!ng internet. It’s so compelling!


Things you love about writing: I love reading yesterday’s work and being pleasantly surprised.
Things you hate about writing: my first drafts. God they suck.

Easiest thing about being a writer:  coming up with a thrilling story idea. Ideas are easy!

Hardest thing about being a writer: taking that amazing concept and outline and putting the words to page. And the marketing. I’m glad I was never told how difficult it is to break through the noise. 


Things you love about where you live: NorCal is an amazing place. We have sea and snow, vineyards, and Silicon Valley, all within a tight radius. San Francisco is a world class city with amazing food, though not without its problems. And you can’t beat the weather.
Things that make you want to move: did I mention taxes!? I do miss the diversity of the east coast. 

Things you never want to run out of: good French and Italian red wine. Admittedly, it’s difficult to find a bad one, especially over there. 
Things you wish you’d never bought: anything with Styrofoam. I feel as if the cockroaches will be climbing around mountains of it after we’re all gone.  


Words that describe you: tall, gray, loving husband and father, forward looking, adrenaline junkie, competitive, pilot, writer.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: forward looking, dad bod, professional procrastinator, middle aged.

Favorite foods: anything Italian. Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, Saltinbocca alla Romana, Caprese, gelato.
Things that make you want to throw up: beets, radicchio, internal organs. 

Favorite music or song: I love music of most flavors, though it needs to have a good energy.  I like to listen to music as I write, and when I write action sequences I crank electronic music. 
Music that make your ears bleed: opera.

Favorite beverage: I may have mentioned French and Italian red wines. I also love a good Scotch.  
Something that gives you a pickle face: sweet cocktails. 

Something you’re really good at: I’m a pretty good pilot, though there’s a lot of potential hubris in that statement. I’ve known many pilots who crashed, and many were better than me. Fate is fickle.  I’m fairly good at being a dad, regardless of what my kids will tell you. I’m a good writer, but I have so much yet to learn. 
Something you’re really bad at: routines. My nature and my life have never allowed for a regular schedule. I can’t remember any more if that’s how I liked it or if I evolved to fit the demands.  

Something you wish you could do: I’ve always been jealous of people who can play an instrument.  Also, a New York Times bestseller would be nice. Not sure which is more unreasonable. 
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: watch sports on TV.

Something you like to do: I’ve always loved to travel. I enjoy the feeling of returning to a favorite haunt, but I relish discovering new places. 
Something you wish you’d never done: I’ve been fortunate in my life. There are definitely mistakes that I’ve made, but I feel as if I am better for them.  I am firmly in the camp that we are shaped by what we do after we fall down. 

People you consider as heroes: those who put the needs of others ahead of themselves (and especially their political parties)!

People with a big L on their foreheads: almost all politicians.



Last best thing you ate: my wife makes the most amazing soups.
Last thing you regret eating: a bad oyster in Hong Kong. Almost killed me.

Things you’d walk a mile for: my family.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: honestly, it’s politics these days.  I can no longer watch any of them on TV.  “How can you tell when a politician is lying…?”

Things you always put in your books: I love descriptions that pull readers into the action, so they feel as if they are participants rather than observers. Full, rich characters are a must, even though I write thrillers. 
Things you never put in your books: minutia and extraneous jargon. The world I write about, Naval Aviation, is full of details and acronyms. The challenge I love is to relay the essence of that world without burying the reader in stifling accuracy. 

Things to say to an author: “Loved it! Can’t wait for the next one. I’ve told all my friends.”

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
“I loved your book, but I would have done it this way…”

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Daniel Silva and Michael Connelly. I love their books!  
People you’d cancel dinner on: lobbyists and politicians. 

Favorite things to do: I love to read what I wrote yesterday. I love flying my planes. I love playing basketball and skiing. I love a good night at home for family movie night. I love going out to dinner with friends. 
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: organizing the garage, my office, any room in the house.

Things that make you happy:
genuine laughter. A great meal. A wonderful gathering with friends. Finishing a chapter.  

Things that drive you crazy: the screech of Styrofoam rubbing together. A messy desk.  Succumbing to procrastination. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Francesco “Paco” Chierici is the author of Lions of the Sky. During his active duty career in the US Navy, Chierici flew A-6E Intruders and F-14A Tomcats, deployed to conflict zones from Somalia to Iraq and was stationed aboard carriers including the USS Ranger, Nimitz, and Kitty Hawk. Unable to give up dogfighting, he flew the F-5 Tiger II for a further ten years as a Bandit concurrent with his employment as a commercial pilot. Throughout his military career, Paco accumulated nearly 3,000 tactical hours, 400 carrier landings, a Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star, and three Strike/Flight Air Medals. Chierici’s writing has appeared in Aviation Classics magazine, AOPA magazine, and Fighter Sweep. He also created and produced the award-winning naval aviation documentary, Speed and Angels. Currently a 737 captain, Chierici can often be found in the skies above California flying a Yak-50 with a group of like-minded G-hounds to get his dogfighting fix. He lives in Northern California with his wife Hillary and two children.



Connect with Paco:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Monday, October 7, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: ANG POMPANO




ABOUT THE BOOK


When his girlfriend dumps him and a dealer nearly rams him off a bridge, Al DeSantis quits the New Haven Police Department. Just as he plans to head for LA, he finds out the father who left when he was a kid has deeded him the Blue PalmettoDetective Agency in Georgia.

Al goes down to Savannah intending to sell fast and go west, but before he can, he discovers a strong, attractive detective named Maxine, a dead body on the dock—and his father, alive, suffering from dementia, and determined to help his “new partner Al” solve the crime. Al has a lot of adjusting to do when his traditional ideas are challenged as he has to act as his father’s caretaker, and finds that Maxine is his superior in the agency that he “owns.” When his father goes missing, Al and Max must team up to save his father–and capture the murderer.



Book Details:

Title: When It’s Time for Leaving

Author: Ang Pompano

Genre: traditional mystery


Publisher: Encircle Publications (October 1, 2019)


Print length: 274 pages




On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours








IFs ANDs OR WHATs INTERVIEW WITH ANG POMPANO



Q: If you could live in any time period which would it be?
A: I think one of the most fascinating time periods in history was the era that roughly follows Mark Twain’s lifespan. (1835-1910) The developments in technology, politics, and society in general in those 75 years was amazing. No wonder Twain had so much to comment on.

Q: If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
A: At first, I was going to say that I’d go back to visit the little boy that was me and tell him what wonderful things the future would bring including marriage, children, grandchildren, a teaching career, and even published stories and books. But as I write this I’m changing my mind. I don’t think I’d want to rob him of the joy of seeing how those things unfold.

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: I’ve dabbled in many other occupations from running a forklift, bartending, and factory work to construction. Of course, education was my main occupation where I worked in and out of the classroom and even ran the school TV studio. And while I’ve always been a writer and have been publishing stories and academic pieces for going on 30 years, I’m glad that I saved publishing my first novel for the time in my life when I could enjoy the ride.

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
A: I wish it were possible to meet Sue Grafton for coffee one more time. Several years ago she was our guest of honor at the New England Crime Bake in Boston. I was lucky enough to sit next to her at breakfast. She was so gracious. She wanted to hear all about what those of us at the table were writing. She talked to me more about my writing than hers, and she gave me pointers and suggestions. She made each person there feel they were important.

Q: If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book?
A: I think Kembleford from the Father Brown series would be a great place to live. Those old homes, and that 500 year old church blow my mind. My town of Guilford, CT is very similar, but thankfully without all of the murders. This is a picture of the oldest home in our town. Doesn’t it look like it belongs in Kembleford? That may be because the Guilford settlers who built it in 1639 came from England.



Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
A: I love it right here in the good ol’ U.S.A. but if I could have a second home it would definitely be on the Amalfi coast of Italy. It’s beautiful there with towns such as Positano and Amalfi clinging to mountain cliffs that rise out of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The culture there has its roots in Greek, Roman, Moorish, and even Norman tradition. I can find a lot of mystery in that beauty and ancient civilization that I’d like to write about. In fact, one of my early short stories was called, “A Return to Amalfi.” I’d love to expand it into a book. 



Ands



5 favorite possessions:
•   my typewriter that I've had since I was 14 years old. 
•    my antique books
•    my Kayak
•    my 18-year-old car
and
•     my electronics. I love technology.
 
5 things you need in order to write: 
•  food! When I write, I split my time between my computer and the refrigerator.  
•   music - I keep Pandora on all day.
•   books - when I have writers block, the best way to clear my head is to read.
•    Google Home and the internet - I'm constantly doing research and asking it questions. It's like having a research assistant.
and
•   my writer's group—they are invaluable. They are with me from the time I have the germ of an idea until the finished manuscript.  

5 things you love about writing:
•    I love to write dialogue. Speech patterns fascinate me.
•    I love writing action scenes. My characters do things that I can only wish to do.
•    I love to write about crime not because I like crime but because I want my protagonist to solve crime and bring balance to the world.
•    I love the fact that writing is a solitary act.
and
•    Yet, I love the fact that writing is a community effort. The mystery writing community is one of the most generous groups of people on earth.    

5 things you love about where you live:
•    the change of seasons, I live in New England.
•    the history of our town which was settled in 1639.
•    the educational opportunities—I live near Yale, Wesleyan University, and several other colleges.
•    the water. I live not far from Long Island Sound. My wife and I walk by the shore every day.
and
•     the food. There are tons of restaurants near here, but best of all we have New Haven Style Pizza.

5 favorite places you’ve been: 
•   Key West—My wife is an artist and of course, I write. We have many writer and artist friends who live there.
•    Savannah—It is a town I love because its antebellum architecture and cobblestoned squares escaped the redevelopment craze of the 1960s that destroyed the character of so many cities. But you know, no matter how beautiful a place is there is always a dark side. I hope I captured a bit of both in the book.
•   LA—my daughter is a TV producer, and we visit often.
•    Italy—it's a tossup between the art and culture of Florence and the beauty of Amalfi.
and
•    New York City—we live only 90 miles away, and I spend as much time there as possible.   

5 favorite books: 
•    The Old Man and the Sea
•    The Great Gatsby I read Old Man and the Sea and Gatsby once a year
•    Murder on the Orient Express
•    The Maltese Falcon

and
•   The Godfather    

5 favorite authors: 
•    Sue Grafton
•    Walter Mosley
•    Hank Phillippi Ryan
•    Lee Child
and
•    Hallie Ephron 

Whats


Q: What’s your all-time favorite memory?
A: The birth of my children, a girl and a boy. My wife, Annette, did all of the work, but I was there for moral support. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. My daughter now has a girl of her own, and my son has two sons.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite movie?
A: It’s A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies. George Bailey is the perfect hero and Mr. Potter is the perfect villain. The only flaw I can find in the movie is that Mr. Potter did not pay for his crime of keeping George’s money when he found it. But when you think about it, many authors, including Agatha Christie, have allowed the criminal to go unpunished except for the burden of knowing they are guilty. Good prevails in the end, so I think that makes up for that flaw.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite author?
A: I can’t pick one. I’d have to narrow it down to Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Hemingway. I’m always revisiting Huck Finn, The Great Gatsby, and The Old Man and the Sea.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite city?
A: I love New York City and Los Angeles, but my absolute favorite city is Florence Italy. There is so much history, and art, and fabulous food to be had there.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite library?
A: Blackstone Library in Branford, Connecticut was my childhood library. Here is a picture of it and another of the inside of its magnificent dome, which my grandfather helped restore. I think you can see why it’s still the library I use the most.

Q: What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
A: That I’m considered by some to be an expert in privacy. It’s totally an accidental label. When I was a Yale-New Haven Teacher Fellow I wrote a paper titled “Privacy in the Age of Video Surveillance This Is Not Your Father's Candid Camera.” Somehow it go picked up by the media and I’ve been quoted in newspapers and court cases all over the world. I really think it’s kind of funny.


Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
A: I don’t really have a pet peeve. I’m not saying I’m a saint. Plenty of things irritate me but I try to figure out where the “offender” is coming from. An example would be tailgating. Not the kind that involves food. I’m all for that. But I just don’t get driving on another car’s bumper. When it happens though, I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. Maybe they are late for work, or have to pick up their kid, or worse. I figure whatever it is, the person is already stressed so I try not to add to it. I just get out of the way and don’t let it ruin my day.

Q: What’s the most beautiful sound you’ve heard?
A: Once we went to Paris to celebrate my wife’s birthday. Sainte-Chapelle was high on Annette’s list of things to see because she heard it was like being inside a jewel box. I surprised her with tickets to a Mozart concert there. The light coming through those stained glass windows was amazing and the music was so beautiful that you would have thought that you were at the gates of heaven. 

Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
A: We love Key West and have several writer and artist friends who live there. It can suit any mood that strikes you from the excitement of Duval Street to the restfulness of Fort Taylor. The restaurants are fantastic second only to those of Grand Case in St. Martin.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: Be nice to those you meet on the way up because you’ll meet them again on the way down, has always been a favorite. Some people attribute it to Sinatra, but think it’s been said by many people including Walter Winchell, and Ralph Kramden. It’s a truism that you can probably find somewhere on a wall in the forum, but the point is always be nice no matter what you’re really thinking.

Q: What’s your favorite social media site?
A: For all of its faults, I think that Facebook is a wonderful thing. I’ve reconnected with many lost friends and made many new friends through Facebook.
I’ve had a Twitter account since the site was started, but I just can’t get into keeping my messages short. The same with Instagram, I have the account but hardly ever use it. And Pinterest, I just don’t get the point. I know I’m in the minority on that one. I think it just boils down to the fact that I don’t really have a lot of time to spend on social media, so I put all of the time I have into really connecting with people on Facebook.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: My favorite color has always been blue. Then when our first grandson became old enough to identify his colors he declared blue to be his favorite color. When I told him it was mine too he said it couldn’t be because it was his favorite. So now I guess I’m without a favorite color. What am I supposed to do, fight with a toddler?


Q: What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
A: I used to be totally lost if I forgot my wallet at home. Now I’d say I couldn’t be without my cell phone. Everything I need is in that little device including my “money.” If I realize that I forgot my phone, I turn around and go back and go back for it.


Q: What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
A: Pictures of my grandkids. I like to be reminded of them when I’m working. They call me Grandude and when they come around I stop everything, including writing, to play with them.

Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
A: I wish I knew that you have to be a little aggressive in the publishing business. If you don’t take the initiative to get the ball rolling you may stay unpublished for a long time. And once you do get published there is still a lot of work to do. There are plenty of people who are willing to help you, especially in the Mystery Writing Community, but you have to make the first move.


Q: What do you collect?
A: I collect old books. There’s something about the sweet musky, almost vanilla, smell of old books that I like. I like to imagine who read those books before me. This picture shows a small part of my collection. They range in publication date from 1851-1959. Two of my favorites in this pictue are P. T. Barnum’s autobiography (1873) and Tom Swift and his Airship (1910).



Q: What smells remind you of your childhood?
A: I know this will sound weird, but the smell of a pig farm is a childhood memory. After WWII my grandfather and my father built a track of suburban homes in the Branford, CT. It was farm country and there was a pig farm that I had to pass as I walked to school. On the way home, I’d stop by “the nursery” to look at the baby pigs. The smell was odiferous to say the least. But I loved it!






ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Ang Pompano has been writing mystery for more than twenty years. His mystery novel, When It's Time For Leaving will be published in October 2019 by Encircle Publications. His short stories have been published in many award-winning anthologies. His most recent, “Diet of Death” appears in the 2019 Malice Domestic Anthology, Parnell Hall Presents Malice Domestic: Murder Most Edible. In addition, he has written many academic pieces including one on teaching detective fiction. A member of Mystery Writers of America, he is a past recipient of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America Scholarship for a novel in progress. He has been on the New England Crime Bake Planning Committee for fourteen years and is a long-time board member of Sisters in Crime New England. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Annette, an artist, and his two rescue dogs, Quincy and Dexter.



Connect with Ang:

Website
 Facebook  |  Twitter

Buy the book:
Amazon paperback  |  Amazon Kindle (pre-order)  |  Barnes & Noble (pre-order)  |  Encircle Publications





Saturday, October 5, 2019

FEATURED AUTHOR: NANCY LYNN JARVIS




ABOUT THE BOOK



At thirty-four, Santa Cruz County Law Librarian Pat Pirard is living her perfect life. She has a job she loves, she’s just purchased her dream car, and she is almost over being dumped by her long term boyfriend. But her thirty-fifth birthday marks the end of life as she knows it, and Pat has to reinvent herself. As a birthday present, Pat’s best friend enrolls her in a glass flower making class. She learns a lot in the class, but she never expects her final lesson will be all about murder.


Book Details:

Title: The Glass House

Author: Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Genre: cozy mystery


Series: A planned PIP Inc. series, book 1


Publisher: Good Read Mysteries (July 2019)


Print length: 260 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours







IFs ANDs OR WHATs INTERVIEW WITH NANCY LYNN JARVIS


Ifs



Q: If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: I’d like to speak to Queen Elizabeth I and ask her how she felt about her father.

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: I have worked for a newspaper, been the sole librarian in a small library (where my oldest son took his first steps) been the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz, and was a Realtor for almost twenty-five years. I loved all those jobs, but if money was no object, I would look for shipwrecks.

Q: If you’ve done community service, what was it?
A: I volunteer for a local group called Grey Bears. I live in an agricultural area of the Monterey Bay and there are lots of crops that are still fine, but might not survive shipping well. Local stores and farms donate leftovers and twice a week they are bagged and distributed to over 4500 seniors. Grey Bears also does recycling and has stores full of interesting donations. What impresses me most about the organization is how efficiently it runs with only one hired person and dozens of volunteers.

Q: If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be one before and one below you?
A: I was once. My first book, The Death Contingency, was number four between James Patterson and Sue Grafton. Worked for me.

 
Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
A: I’d like to have coffee with Amy Tan. I heard her say as a child she made up stories about people she saw waiting in lines, eating in restaurants, riding the bus, etc. I did too, but didn’t tell anyone because I thought that was weird. I’d like to talk to her about her experiences.


Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
A: Right where I live. I have commanding views over Monterey Bay from 1600 feet above the water. Lights around the Bay are amazing at night. Sunrises are breathtaking, sunsets, not bad, and storms coming in across the ocean and Bay are something out of Greek mythology.





Ands



5 things you need in order to write:
    •    coffee or tea in my mug
    •    a laptop
    •    no phone calls
    •    an internet connection for some of the bizarre research I do
and
    •    often a talk radio show. There’s something about tuning out the talk that helps me focus.

5 things you love about writing:
    •    the wonderful other writers you meet in person or online
    •    speaking about my books to book clubs and others
    •    doing research about things like body decomposition
    •    reading my stories to a group called Well Connected
and
    •    just getting lost in the stories.


5 things you always put in your books: 
    •    a Shakespeare reference
    •    at least one body by the end of the second chapter
    •    at least one quirky character
    •    a pet reference
and
    •    a just ending.

5 favorite places you’ve been:

In no particular order:
    •    Victoria
    •    British Columbia
    •    Bath and York, England
    •    Carcassonne, France
and
    •    Chichén Itzȧ, Mexico

5 living people you’d like to invite to dinner: 
    •    Hillary Clinton
    •    Elizabeth Warren
    •    Michelle Obama
    •    Meryl Streep
and
    •    Beyoncé. I’d also have to invite friends, Vicki and Pat, because they would never forgive me if I assembled such a group and didn’t invite them.


Whats


Q: What’s your all-time favorite place?
A: A redwood forest.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite memory?
A: Having a drink at the bar at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the third date with my husband and realizing I was already in love with him.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite library?
A: Porter Memorial Library in Soquel, California.


Q: What’s your favorite time of day?
A: Dawn. It’s beautiful and full of promise.

Q: What’s your favorite ice cream?
A: Rocky Road.

Q: What do you collect?
A: Santas. I have fifty-three of them at last count.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” —Eleanor Roosevelt.

Q: What’s your favorite candy bar?
A: Three Musketeers.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Red.

Q: What drives you crazy?
A: Politics.


Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
A: Most worries you have don’t matter at all.


Q: What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror?
A: Drama, preferably British mysteries.


Q: What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: Korean food.
Music: The Beatles are still the best.
Movie: Star Wars is still my favorite.
Book: Lostart Street.
Audiobook: I’ve only listened to one: 1776. I am about to start recording my books, however.
TV: PBS
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Just finished season four of Queer Eye.
Miscellaneous: Write that book. It will change your life.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After earning a BA in behavioral science, Nancy worked for the San Jose Mercury News, as a librarian, and as business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz before becoming a Realtor. She let her license lapse after falling in love with writing.

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years, a philosophy she applies to her writing, as well. She’s written seven Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries and “Mags and the AARP Gang” about a group of octogenarian bank robbers. She has edited “Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes” and “Santa Cruz Weird,” a short story anthology. She’s even written “The Truth About Hosting Airbnb” based on her hosting experiences.

The Glass House, the first book in a planned PIP Inc. series, introduces Pat Pirard who turns to private investigation after she’s downsized from her law librarian job.

Nancy is a member of Santa Cruz Women of Mystery, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America.


Connect with Nancy:
Amazon page
  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |   Linkedin 

Buy the book:
Amazon