Tuesday, August 25, 2020




Chased by a group of angry men. Saved by quite a hunk.

This is not the résumé Ginger Halloway ever imagined having. But thanks to a miracle pill, which makes her size 22 body instantly sexy, that’s what happened.

Yet, now Lance Franklin is showing interest in her, and she can’t figure out if he really likes her for her, or if it’s just because of a bizarre drug.

And her wild bunch of friends, The Misfits…well, they’re always getting her into some interesting situations.

So, yep, business as usual. Except for the guy. What the hell should she do about him?

As for Lance, he believes he’s lucky to have found Ginger. But can he convince her they should go for it?

With some new attention from the hottest guy she’s ever met, Ginger can’t help but wonder…is this all too good to be true?

(CONTENT WARNING: Watch for foul language, steamy scenes, and a pesky yet messy ability to choke on your dinner while laughing. If you’ve come expecting just a lighthearted, slapstick romance, you may not get that here. The author approaches sensitive topics in the best way she knows how. Just be prepared for all the feels to be deeper than usual for this genre – an emotional romantic comedy. No unruly cliffhangers, HEA guaranteed.)

Book Details:

Title: Chasing Ginger  

Author’s name: Marie Lavender

Genre: Steamy Romantic Comedy, Adult Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit, BBW/Curvy/Rubenesque Romance, Billionaire Romance

Series: The Misfits Series

Publish date: March 10, 2020

Print length: 441 pages


Things you need in order to write: quiet, paper or a notepad, a gel pen, and dark chocolate.
Things that hamper your writing: a lot of people talking or too much noise, stress, not knowing enough about the character’s environment or background.

Easiest thing about being a writer: being in the zone, when the muse is talking, or when the words are flowing through me.

Hardest thing about being a writer: waiting for anything to happen in the publishing process—it drives me crazy not being in control of the final product.

Things you love about where you live: my office is quiet enough to get something done.
Things that make you want to move: my neighbors are crazy.

Things you never want to run out of: gel pens.
Things you wish you’d never bought: non-fiction books that I’m afraid I will never read.

Words that describe you: creative.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: laser focus.

Favorite foods: chicken Oscar, or anything from The Cheesecake Factory.
Things that make you want to throw up: spinach, peppers and onions.

Favorite music: most songs by OneRepublic.
Music that makes your ears bleed: twangy country music.

Favorite beverage: Earl grey decaf tea.

Something that gives you a pickle face: lemon-flavored anything.

Favorite smell: chocolate.

Something that makes you hold your nose: canned asparagus

Something you wish you could do: play the piano.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: how to pump gas into a car.

Last best thing you ate: Blaze pizza.

Last thing you regret eating: Campbell’s Chicken and stars soup – but not because it’s bad. I had the stomach flu.

Things you’d walk a mile for: chocolate.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: spiders.

Things to say to an author: I love your book!

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Wow, your last book was . . . um, different.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Helen Keller, at least if she was still alive. Maybe Nora Roberts and J.R. Ward. We’d have some interesting topics to share between us, I’m sure.

People you’d cancel dinner on: social media trolls who’ve body-shamed me.

Favorite things to do: shopping or reading a book.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: cleaning the house.

Proudest moment: the moment I landed a traditional publishing contract in 2012! Woo hoo!
Most embarrassing moment: probably when I flubbed up the lyrics while singing a solo at my high school graduation.

The last thing you did for the first time: got on a TOP 5 Authors list on a website.

Something you’ll never do again: swim in a lake that doesn’t look all that clean.


Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 18 other books. Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 21 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. An avid blogger on the side, she writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She also contributed to several anthologies. Though Marie has standalone titles on the market, her current published series are The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series, The Misfits Series, and The Blood at First Sight Series, but she has many others planned. Her Victorian maritime romance series is returning, and the second editions of the trilogy will be released soon under her new publisher, Foundations Books.

Connect with Marie:
Website  |  iLoveRomance Blog  |  MarieLavendar Blog  |   BooksAndOtherThings Blog Facebook Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, August 18, 2020



To die, or not to die? Georgia B&B proprietor Nina Fleet turns amateur thespian to bring the curtain down on a Shakespearean actor's killer.

It's nothing short of inevitable that Cymbeline, GA, hosts an annual Shakespeare festival. But stage-struck Nina Fleet is about to learn that putting on an amateur theatrical production can be murder. Nina's anticipating showbiz glamour and glitz when a community Shakespearean troupe arrives for a two-week stay at her B&B. But the lights dim when she learns the company's director is her nemesis, struggling actor Harry Westcott--who still claims to be the rightful heir to Nina's elegant Queen Anne home.

Meanwhile, the troupe members are not content to leave the drama upon the stage. Accusations of infidelity and financial malfeasance make a shambles of rehearsals. And then, two days into the troupe's stay, the lead actor is found dead in Nina's formal Shakespeare garden. Natural causes...or murder most foul?

Nina uncovers evidence that something is indeed rotten in the town of Cymbeline. Too bad Harry is the only one who believes that she's not going completely off script. And exposing the truth isn't easy when the remaining troupe members say the show must go on...particularly when all of them seemingly had a motive for wanting their fellow actor to permanently exit stage right. Determined to keep the killer from making a curtain call, Nina and her trusty Australian Shepherd, Matilda, join forces with Harry to sleuth out the murder plot. Will they succeed before someone else shuffles off this mortal coil? Find out in Anna Gerard's delightful second Georgia B&B mystery.

Books Details:

Title: Peachy Scream

Author: Anna Gerard

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Georgia B&B Mystery, book 2

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (Aug 11, 2020)

Print length: 320 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could talk to someone (living), who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d like to talk to the Dalai Lama and ask him for some words of wisdom for our current times.

If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would like to talk to my mom and dad, who have both been gone for several years, and ask them how they are doing, and can they sometimes hear me talking to them. I would ask them about what happens after you die, except I’m pretty sure there’s a rule against their telling me.

If you could live in any time period which would it be?
I’d like to live in the American West sometime between 1870 and 1900. I love Texas/New Mexico/Arizona/Colorado, and the time period is close enough to modern times that I’d be able to fit in. Plus maybe I’d get to meet my great-grandparents. 

If you could time travel for an infinite period of time, where would you go?
I would go anywhere and everywhere to be a witness to the world’s major events since the time of Christ. I’d want to meet the Tudors and Shakespeare, hang with Jane Austin, hear Abraham Lincoln speak, witness Gettysburg, see the shootout at the OK Corral. And that barely scratches the surface.

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?

I took violin lessons in grade school—little talent, but lots of enthusiasm—and I think it would be fabulous to be Concertmistress of a major orchestra. 


5 things you need in order to write: 
    •    my laptop
    •    a diet Coke
    •    a cat
    •    internet access
    •    someone to cook supper when I’m on deadline

5 things you love about writing: 

    •    hearing from happy readers
    •    seeing my books on the bookstore shelf 
    •    getting a great review
    •    getting in the groove for the downhill slide that is the book’s final chapters
    •    writing THE END

5 favorite foods:  
    •    ice cream
    •    cheese 
    •    salads 
    •    stir fry
    •    Tex-Mex

5 favorite places you’ve been: 
    •    Marfa Texas
    •    Bimini Bahamas
    •    New Orleans Louisiana
    •    Tombstone Arizona
    •    Vienna Austria

5 favorite authors:  
  •    Barbara Michaels
    •    Mary Stewart
    •    Shakespeare 
    •    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  
    •    Sylvia Boorstein


What’s your all-time favorite movie?
Princess Bride.

What’s your favorite beverage? 
Diet Coke.

What’s your favorite ice cream? 
Publix’s Peppermint Stick.

What’s your favorite hobby or past-time?

What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?
Binge watch bad TV.

What’s your favorite candy bar? 
Peanut Patties.

What’s your favorite color? 

Yellow…no, red…no, black.

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

What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror?
I like them all but probably comedy first and then adventure.

What book are you currently working on?
My next Tarot Cats mystery, Magician’s Quarrel.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: The stuffed mushrooms my husband makes – based on the recipe for the mushrooms served at Longhorn Steakhouse.
Music: Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – you must hear their version of the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Movie: John Wick Chapter 3 (but you must watch Chapters 1 and 2 first).
Book: White Guilt by Shelby Steele.
TV: I’m currently hooked on Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel—a soap opera combined with survival—what’s not to love.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Last thing I binged on Amazon Prime was the first season of iZombie that I missed, so it’s been awhile.
Miscellaneous: YouTube episodes of Thrifty Business hosted by Jason T. Smith.


Peachy Scream by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard

Fool’s Moon by Diane A.S. Stuckart 


Diane A.S. Stuckart is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (writing as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her new Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with Fool’s Moon. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series written as Anna Gerard debuted in July 2019 with Peach Clobbered. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 2 in the series, Peachy Scream, will be on the shelves August 2020.

Connect with Diane:
Diane Stuckart Website  |  Georgia B&B Mysteries Website  |  Facebook  

Buy links:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 14, 2020




What do you do when you know you’re on a serial killer’s hit list?

Six women are dead, and Wren Addison is the next victim on the SMS Killer’s list—or so she’s been told after waking in a pool of blood with no memory of the events that have transpired.

Newly separated and struggling to start her life over after her husband’s infidelity, Wren tries to remember what happened to her, but nothing is adding up as more horrors unfold around her. With her life on a timer and the murderer taunting her, she realizes there is nothing typical about this serial killer.

Wren is pushed to the edge as she dances between knowing she's likely to die and fighting to be the first to survive. As the truth starts to emerge, she rises to the challenge and decides not to go down without a fight.

Someone is going to die, and she’s determined it won’t be her.

Book Details:

Title: Carnal Knowledge

Author: Rachael Tamayo

Genre: psychological thriller

Series: The Deadly Sins Series 

Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing (July 11, 2020)

Print length: 296 pages

On tour with: Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours



A few of your favorite things: family, good food, sunshine, movies in the dark with a blanket.
Things you need to throw out: clothes that don’t fit, toys kids don’t play with, and a towel with holes in it I keep washing. LOL.

Things you need in order to write: access to OneDrive and Microsoft Word. If the mood hits me, I can write anywhere.
Things that hamper your writing: figuring out what my characters will do in a given situation.

Things you love about writing: everything! Creating a world, telling an amazing story. Making someone say, “Wow what a story!”
Things you hate about writing: the fear of people hating what I write. To be a writer is to expose a part of yourself to the world. It’s always risky.

Easiest thing about being a writer: there isn’t much easy about being a writer. LOL. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: explaining that I have no idea where the ideas come from; they just come to me.

Things you love about where you live: mild winters! No snow, warm days. Sunshine, 30 minutes from the ocean. Texas hospitality. The way everyone helped one another during Hurricane Harvey.
Things that make you want to move: I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Things you never want to run out of: food, money, love, joy, smiles.
Things you wish you’d never bought: slime for my kids. LOL. 

Favorite foods: hamburgers, tacos, fajitas, ice cream, Dr Pepper.
Things that make you want to throw up: Brussels sprouts, cooked cabbage, rare steak.

Favorite music: I am pretty all over the place with music. Songs in my play list hit on every genre of music there is. I absolutely love “Hypnotic” by Notorious BIG though. I love music that makes me want to move.
Music that make your ears bleed: Death Metal.

Favorite beverage: Dr Pepper. 

Something that gives you a pickle face: Big Red.

Favorite smell: black cherry, pipe tobacco, leather.

Something that makes you hold your nose: my dogs when they come in from playing in outside when it's hot. Phew!

Something you’re really good at: cooking.

Something you’re really bad at: folding laundry.

Something you wish you could do: sing.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: can’t think of anything I would want to unlearn. At some point I think everything is useful in its own time.

Something you like to do: Sleep! 

Something you wish you’d never done: dropped out of college. I don’t as much regret it as kinda wonder what would have happened if I'd finished.

People you consider as heroes: those who stand up for what is right no matter what. Mothers, single fathers. 

People with a big L on their foreheads: People that think of nothing but how a situation impacts them and don’t care about anything else. 

Last best thing you ate: the pizza that gave me a headache. LOL 

Last thing you regret eating: the pizza I had recently—not realizing it had gluten in it—gave me a terrible gluten headache.

Things you’d walk a mile for: my family.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: flying cockroaches.

Things to say to an author: I got a book hangover from your book! 

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: You don’t make much doing that, do you?

Favorite places you’ve been: Hamilton Pool in Texas. 

Places you never want to go to again: A funeral for a loved one.

Things that make you happy:
seeing my kids happy.

Things that drive you crazy: seeing them sad because someone was mean to them.

Find the first book in this series here.


You really don’t know how you feel about some things until they happen to you. You can guess. You can pretend you’d be strong, that you’d stand on the rooftops and shout your indignation as you shake your fist to the skies, but those are only guesses. Hopes. What we think we know about ourselves. They say no one ever really knows anyone. I think it’d be a safe bet to say that we don’t really know ourselves either. You think you do. The “Oh, I’d never do that! Look at how she’s acting. If I were in her shoes….” but you don’t. No one does.

I said the same things to myself when I walked out on my husband, Ricky, months ago. Those thoughts went through my head as I closed the door behind me for what I told myself was the last time. I wouldn’t let myself cry as I said goodbye to him, only feeling the first tears fall when I heard the click behind me, the locking of the door to what used to be our home together. When he didn’t chase me and beg me to stay.

I wept in that moment, wondering how much pain a person could take.

Over the days that followed, it faded into something more akin to numbness as I found an apartment and got a new checking account. As I arranged to find movers to get my things while he was at work, all while thanking God that we had no children.

Now I find myself in that place once more, though for an altogether different reason. Something has happened to me, something that leaves my body sore and my head feeling as if I have a hangover. These are the moments that tell you who you really are, leaving you exposed to your own darkness.

I found that out about myself. No one ever imagines themselves in this position. You’re not prepared. No amount of self-defense can prepare you for the shock that is the next morning, waking up in a bloody mess, knowing you’ve been sexually assaulted.

I can’t even say it out loud. I won’t. I refuse to do it. It makes it real, and I don’t want it to be real. I want it to be some horrible nightmare that I can wake up from.

But it’s not.

It’s the middle of the night. I’m sitting on the floor of my shower, the water finally not running pink anymore. My face feels puffy from crying as I carefully wash the wounds, the soap burning. I wince and then stand up before the water turns cold. Sitting here won’t accomplish anything.

I look down at the mark on my left breast, swollen and purple. The definite outline of teeth, broken skin, tender to touch. It’s not the only place I’m hurting, but it’s the only one I can easily see. The only one I can’t really hide from. It’s a slap in the face, a calling card from someone I can’t remember. A face that won’t ever haunt my dreams.

So, what do I do now? It’s about 4:00 a.m. Do I call someone? The police? My friend Lily? My husband? Maybe Alex? Surely she would believe me.

I blink away tears, dipping my head back into the hot spray to wash the blood out of my hair.

No, I won’t tell anyone. It’s too embarrassing. Too humiliating. This big foreboding thing happened to me. What they warned us all about. My drink was tampered with, and someone hurt me. I broke the rules, and I got this for it.

I should have listened, I suppose.

I feel sick knowing what someone did to me while I was asleep. Or was I? Maybe I did fight and just can’t remember. I’d fight, surely. I wouldn’t just lie there and take it, right? The thought gives me some minimal sliver of peace, like passing through the eye of the hurricane—you know it’s not real, not the end, but you relish it just the same.

By the time I get out of the shower, I realize I haven’t really slept. My alarm will go off at seven for work so I can catch the bus and be on time for the morning meeting. I could get three hours of sleep before that, maybe.

I shut off the water, suddenly a bit afraid. Knowing someone was here gives me the creeps. Makes me wish I’d gotten that gun Ricky tried so hard to get me to agree to, the one I refused. I wouldn’t give in, fearing some horrible accident. He kept his locked up, and I never bothered to learn to shoot. He begged to teach me, tried to get me to hold his Glock to “get the feel of it.” Nope. Now I regret it.

In the months I’ve lived here, I haven’t been afraid to be on my own until now. Someone got to me. I’m without defense in my own home.


Excerpt from Carnal Knowledge by Rachael Tamayo.  Copyright 2020 by Rachael Tamayo. Reproduced with permission from Tangled Tree Publishing. All rights reserved.



 Rachael Tamayo is an international bestseller and award-winning author.  She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and their two small children. 

Connect with Rachel:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble


Friday, August 7, 2020



Zuleikha arrives in the US from Lahore, Pakistan, by marriage, having trained as a pianist without ever owning a real piano. Now she finally has one-a wedding present from her husband-but nevertheless finds it difficult to get used to her new role of a suburban middle-class housewife who has an abundance of time to play it.

Haunted by the imaginary worlds of the confiscated contraband books and movies that her father trafficked in to pay for her education and her dowry, and unable to reconcile them with the expectations of the real world of her present, she ends up as the central figure in a scandal that catapults her into the public eye and plays out in equal measures in the local news and in backroom deliberations, all fueled by winds of anti-Muslim hysteria.

The Black-Marketer's Daughter was a finalist for the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize, and praised by the jury as a "complicated and compelling story" of our times, with two key cornerstones of the novel being the unsympathetic voice with which Mallick, almost objectively, relays catastrophic and deeply emotional events, and the unsparing eye with which he illuminates the different angles and conflicting interests at work in a complex situation. The cumulative effects, while deliberately unsettling to readers, nevertheless keeps them glued to the pages out of sheer curiosity about what will happen next.

Book Details:

Author: Suman Mallick

Genre: literary fiction

Publisher: Atmosphere Press (October 13, 2020)

Print length: 166 pages


A few of your favorite things: my daughter, dog, family and friends. My books and cameras.
Things you need to throw out: old clothes. I have some that are frayed and over 20 years old, but I hate shopping and hence they remain in my closet (a friend’s wife gave me a new shirt for Christmas last year because apparently my clothes are a joke between her and her husband—enough said!).

Things you need in order to write: coffee if in the morning. Space to pace. Music when taking a break.
Things that hamper your writing: things that have happened in the last 30 minutes while I’m trying to work on this: my daughter asking me where she can find a box of tissue, if I want to try her jasmine tea, if she can borrow my coaster. I have limited time to write (a few blocks set aside each week) and used to be almost militant about protecting them. But over the years I’ve learned to accept that I’m not a full-time writer and will not be one until I retire (and probably not even then), and therefore distractions will be just a part of life. The trick is to embrace them and get over them instead of letting them rile me up, ruin my day, and kill the creative process.

Things you love about writing: I love playing with language, the sense of accomplishment that comes from making progress on a piece (despite the distractions) and completing it, the idea of having created something meaningful (to me at least) that cannot be taken away even if it’s never published.
Things you hate about writing: I am yet to find it.

Easiest thing about being a writer: absolutely nothing; if it was, I’d have probably lost interest in it a long time ago. As Thomas Mann said, a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people, and I’m not one to argue with that guy.

Hardest thing about being a writer: rejection emails, or worse—no replies, from a submission I had such high hopes for when submitting it. I’m sure all of us have experienced this. I think of it as learning how to die a little in a hundred days, and hope to practice it often enough so that when I come down with a deadly disease (hopefully at the end of a long, otherwise healthy life), I’ll not freak out and cause unnecessary drama, and instead deal with the process of actually dying as a rejection note from life.   

Things you love about where you live: proximity to my close friends and some family—it’s the only reason I came back after leaving for five years. But I do also appreciate the thriving multicultural scene here, starting with the DSO, and my work.
Things that make you want to move: the 100-degree days in between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Favorite foods: I love all cuisines but have been a practicing vegan for three years now with an occasional exception for seafood, so I’d say sushi.
Things that make you want to throw up: nothing unless it’s gone bad.

Favorite song: too many to count, but here’s one that cuts to the bone every time I listen to it, (which is often): Miles Davis’s take on Rodrigo’s "Concierto de Aranjuez" in the album Sketches of Spain.
Music that make your ears bleed: I’ve never gotten country music.

Favorite beverage: I’d like to answer this in 3rd person, if I may: he likes any drink that has his key and a drop of water in it.

Something that gives you a pickle face: almost anything too sweet.

Favorite smell: old Speyside scotch, fresh rain, a subtle perfume, saffron, jasmine, and believe it or not—fish, almost any fish that’s not rotten.

Something that makes you hold your nose: strong cologne or perfume and smell of cigarette smoke never fails to give me a headache, greasy food.

Something you’re really good at: too many to note, but I was raised to not brag about myself.

Something you’re really bad at: also too many, but shopping would be #1 on the list.

Something you wish you could do: play the piano like Glenn Gould or the flugelhorn like Miles Davis or the guitar like David Gilmour.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: swing a golf club.

People you consider as heroes: there are quite a few, but how about my daughter, who can write prize-winning poems like this, and somehow on her own has managed to be the exact replica of the person that her mom would tell me she was as a child, despite losing that mom at two? It’s enough to make me believe in the existence of miracles.

People with a big L on their foreheads: Nah! Let’s not ruin this perfectly fun interview by answering this one.

Things to say to an author: who do you read?

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: done any living lately?

Favorite places you’ve been: too many to count. The silent stillness and vast majesty of the Yukon Territories (where my daughter was conceived) and the Grand Canyon probably win over all else, with the Na Pali Coast Trail (Kalalau) being a close third.

Places you never want to go to again: Hong Kong, because I fear it’ll never again be what it was in the last century.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: sticking to only my dream living guests—from the writing world: John Maxwell Coetzee, Alice Munro, Karl Ove Knausgård, Jhumpa Lahiri, Tim Parks, Haruki Murakami, George Saunders; from the music world: Arvo Pärt, Roger Waters, Killer Mike, Gustavo Dudamel, Khatia Buniatishvili; from the acting world: Roberto Benigni, Tabu, Halle Berry, Laura Linney, Ricky Gervais; from the world at large: Barack Obama, Pankaj Mishra, Ray Dalio (despite the risk that this name will get me cancelled in some quarters), and the historian William Dalrymple. I just have a lot of questions for all these people, that’s all :) Lastly, my best friends would have to be at this party as well.

People you’d cancel dinner on: nobody. I’d put up with the most odious and vile character for a meal to see if I can find their humanity and learn something about their code of living.

Favorite things to do: spending time with my daughter, dog, friends, family, on two wheels, behind a lens, at the theater or symphony, on or near water, being out in the rain.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: shopping.

Things that make you happy: rain, cooking with my daughter.

Things that drive you crazy: IT problems (which always leads me to re-watch an episode of The IT Crowd), going to a mall, traffic.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I try not to lie, but I once told someone that I no longer loved her, when the truth was that I still did, but just could not live with her and was afraid that I’d stop loving her if we kept at it. The falsity of it has stayed with me after all these years.

A lie you wish you’d told: none since. I’d rather speak my truth even if it means losing someone forever, as I’d be comfortable knowing, were it to happen, that we are better off without each other. (It’s what Stephen Covey would call a “win-win or no deal” situation).

Best thing you’ve ever done: decided, at fifteen, to make it on my own or die trying, which inspired me to get into a great boarding school on full scholarship at sixteen, which, in turn, gave me the confidence to decide, at eighteen, to go to a backup university choice on a full-ride instead of a top one that would require me to take money from family. I’ve been able to live more or less on my own terms ever since, and deal with whatever has come my way.

Biggest mistake: too many to list, but my mistakes are the result of taking chances with my own life, and they’ve only ever really hurt me. I haven’t made one that required a serious apology or making reparations to someone else, and I hope to keep it that way.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up in one day in the 120-degree, trapping heat of July with two of my best friends (and very nearly dying from it)
Something you chickened out from doing: I don’t chicken out, and am not just saying that (unless you call backing out of an invitation to dinner in an enclosed space in the middle of a pandemic “chickening out.”) Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll agree.

The last thing you did for the first time: try to skateboard on my niece’s Ripster Caster Board on my surgically repaired ankle.

Something you’ll never do again: try skateboarding, or try another special brownie.


Suman Mallick's debut novel The Black-Marketer's Daughter was shortlisted for the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize, and praised by the jury as a "complicated and compelling story" of our times. It is scheduled to be released October 13, 2020 by Atmosphere Press.​
He makes his home in Texas with his beloved daughter and dog. His homes away from home are Calcutta, India, and Portland, Oregon.

Connect with Suman:
Website  |  Twitter Goodreads 

Buy the book:
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Tuesday, August 4, 2020



Virtue explores the vulnerability and randomness of human existence through the lives of Tom and Hannah Holder, each of whom are grappling with midlife crises. Tom's life unravels as he fends off attacks on his career, faces his estranged, cancer-stricken father and confronts a dark, hidden past. Hannah-sick of being a stay-at-home and fearing for her troubled teenagers-chooses to reclaim her life and rescue her children from an increasingly toxic situation. Will their marriage survive the most tumultuous year of their adult lives?

Book Details:

Title: Virtue

Author: John Moot

Genre: family life fiction

Publisher: Roads End Books LLC (August 4, 2020)

Print length: 180 pages


This is a story about reclaiming your life.

Not that anyone one stole mine. I just lost who I’d wanted to be. I became a cloistered, frustrated mom despite having little patience for those women. Do something with your life if you don’t like it, I’d think to myself, when I saw a miserable one.

And then I became that person.

It crept up on me somehow. I went to work right after college at a bank in Boston, in a management training program, and kept at it for five years while Tom was getting his doctorate. I was the breadwinner as he sunk deeper into debt. (His estranged father wouldn’t help with tuition.) We even bought a small condo.

Not bad. I wanted to be a professional—unlike my mother, who stayed at home and drove me crazy, hovering like a helicopter in an age before such a thing existed—but the job was just moving money around. Big deal.

So, when Tom got offered a tenure-track gig in Maine, I was on board with the move. I could take a break, focus on the children, raise them in a small, nurturing community, and he could launch his career.

I didn’t think far enough ahead though. I knew it would be a challenge later on to get back into the workforce, particularly in rural Maine, but the bricks and mortar model of employment was disappearing. It was the new millennium and people worked in their pajamas!

Not everyone though, it turns out. Moms with no current, marketable skills could just stay unemployed in their pajamas.

I began to rot inside. I resented Tom for his success, his network of colleagues, and the self-esteem that came with it. And I repeated history, becoming the helicopter mom I loathed as a kid. My mind was atrophying, and my soul was thinning.

Then Trump got elected. It shouldn’t have taken that to snap me out of my funk, but it did. Women started marching, getting involved, and getting elected. I couldn’t stay on the sidelines anymore, continue to let my mind and talent go to waste. Political activism wasn’t my thing—I’d been a lifelong Northeastern Republican until Trump, when I switched to Independent—but I wanted to do something that meant something.

Don’t laugh but I decided I wanted to take the LSAT. The law has power, and power can help people. Like using my motherly passion to help women keep custody of their kids and fight off abusers. I wasn’t out to save the world, but maybe my work could benefit the lives of a few people.

I nervously approached Tom in early 2017 about going back to school and moving back to Boston. I didn’t want him to think I was unhappy, even though I was, and I worried he’d resist, knowing that my idea would uproot our lives. He was supportive in words, but his distant, reticent eyes told a different story. He was confused, didn’t know what was happening. Probably thought he was losing the person he knew. Little did he know she was already gone.

But then he had an idea of his own—write a book—and we figured out how to meld the two. The book might give him a better chance to find a position back in Boston, and I could start planning the next phase of my life.

That’s where this story starts. I was cramming for the LSAT, which was in mid-September 2017, and was as excited as I was scared. I had no clue whether I had an aptitude for the law, whatever that meant. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself.

And then my plan slowly went off the rails.


John left his east coast law practice in 2017 and moved west to marry his longtime sweetheart, Lara Skidmore, but she was soon stricken with cancer and died. Her undying love and inspiration drove him to write Virtue and dedicate it to her. He lives on Lake Oswego, Oregon, with his two dogs and represents domestic violence victims pro bono.

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