Wednesday, December 30, 2020




Six years after his Flight of the Fox ordeal that dubbed him the American Prometheus, humble math professor Sam Teagarden becomes embroiled in another mission involving decoding a secret document provoking tragic reactions around the world. Unearthed in northern Israel, the ancient parchment is called the Q Document, for the German word quelle, meaning: source. Biblical scholars believe it may be the original source for the two Gospels: Matthew and Luke. If decoded, it could shed light on the creation of the world's most widely observed religious faith.

This time, instead of trying to kill him, the FBI formally taps Teagarden to assist – and help stop – a contagion of mass suicides among religious zealots. Each cult-like group is motivated by fear of what may, or may not, be revealed if the document is decoded and published.  His mission is supposed to last two days on foreign soil. When the plan goes awry, Teagarden is forced to work alone, without the promised protection from the FBI and CIA.
The journey takes him from New York to Israel, across the Mediterranean Sea to Rome, and finally Berlin. As he tries to decipher the two-thousand-year-old enigmatic parchment, he must outsmart two fanatical and equally dangerous groups: one entrenched in religious faith, the other rooted in fervent atheism. He learns that one group wants him dead, while the other wants him alive – until their goals reverse midstream.
Will he become another casualty caught up in the controversy caused by fear of the Q Document? Or, if he survives the gauntlet of extreme violence, will he be blamed for conveying news to the world that millions will not want to hear?

Book Details:
Title: Madness of the Q
Author: Gray Basnight
Genre: thriller
Series: Sam Teagarden Thriller, book 2
Publisher and publish date: Down & Out Books, December 14, 2020
Print length: 345 Pages


The Writer’s Life: Outside Looking In & Inside Looking Out

From the outside, the writerly life would appear quite boring. Imagine watching someone at a desk, fingers on keyboard, butt in chair, 4-6 hours a day, 6 days a week. That’s it. That’s really the only rule for writing.  If the aspiring writer doesn’t spend large chunks of time writing on a daily basis, then it will remain an aspiration only. 

In between the work of writing, my writer’s life is a regular pursuit of family, friends, food, and recreation. COVID has changed the scenario because there’s less time for all that, and therefore, less distraction. I realize that for some writers, the COVID restrictions diminish productivity because they need social interaction as creative motivation – but for me, it equals more writing time and increased productivity. 
Having said that, while the writers’ life is generally very internal and solitary, I wouldn’t call it lonely, and I wouldn’t say I’m alone. From the inside looking out, there are endless ideas, characters, and plots knocking around my consciousness. They talk to me, and I talk to them. They tell me their stories and sometimes take me places I don’t expect.  Sometimes they stop midstream and force me to figure out where they and the story will go next. That happens because I am mostly a seat-of-the-pants-er, which means I don’t work from outlines. I’ve tried and just can’t do it. The risk of not outlining is great loss of time caused by diving into some rabbit hole that you don’t know is wasted time until you realize—uh-oh, that was wasted time. 
On the other hand, the benefit of not outlining poses a greater chance for discovery, a more intensely burning fire, and creative newness. As Picasso said, to create, you must “close your eyes and sing.” Personally, I believe non-outliners can be better singers.
It’s also worth noting that writers are watchers, listeners and readers. Curiosity is a creative spark that involves expanding the mind. On the reading front, I tend to read and re-read from my list of favorite novels. This list started to accumulate once I graduated from comic books around age 11. Another point of inspiration for me comes from history. For Flight of the Fox, the spark was a “what if” idea involving discovery of a diary kept by Clyde Anderson Tolson, who was J. Edgar Hoover’s lover and lifetime partner.  That led to the genesis of my everyman math professor Sam Teagarden.

A far more ancient point in history became the launching point for Sam’s return in my current thriller Madness of the Q. I was listening to a Great Courses audio lecture about the New Testament when the real professor mentioned a theorized source for two Gospels called the Q Document. That was a lightning bolt that engendered another “what if” scenario. What if the Q Document were discovered in our time? And off I went to find out through a fictional lens.
Finally, in sharing thoughts about the writing life, I can’t say enough about the writer’s need for readers – including interacting and hearing from readers. During COVID, it’s a little more challenging with few in-person events. But it can still be done via virtual events, online reviews, and social media. Here’s where I give thanks to libraries and indie bookstores that have stepped up and are playing a very timely and vital role in hosting both established and emerging authors.
Long story short, to see what a writer does, don’t look. But do read the book because that’s where you’ll see the act of someone who had some fun by playing God, inventing a world, filling it with people, and making things happen to each of them.    


Gray Basnight was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, where he spent his childhood and teen years on two much-loved activities: reading and participating in theatre productions. After studying English and theatre at a small college in North Carolina and George Washington University in Washington, DC, Gray moved to New York City where, after experiencing the actor's struggle, he began working in local radio. Almost 30 years later, he was laid off as a radio reporter at the height of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Though he'd been writing fiction all along, he decided to turn that life-altering event into an opportunity to pursue a second (or third) life.  His first novel, The Cop with the Pink Pistol, was published to rave reviews in 2012.  His Civil War historical novel Shadows in the Fire was released in 2015. Flight of the Fox, a political thriller, appeared 2018, and its sequel, Madness of the Q followed in mid-December 2020.

Connect with Gray:
Website Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Down & Out Books

Tuesday, December 22, 2020




Love is complicated, messy, and sometimes painful but oh so worth it. A heartbreaking journey through love, friendship, family, and fame. Music brought them together, addiction tore them apart, loyalty saved them. It was always Jack and Mia, everyone else was just collateral damage.

Jack O’Donnell’s life was teetering on the edge. Forced, as a teenager, to make a decision that would change his life forever, he left his hometown to pursue a music career with collaborator Mia Stone. Living in a van by the beach was not the glamorous Los Angeles lifestyle they had envisioned but sparked the most creative time of their lives. Making it big was all they ever wanted but when it happened, friendships were tested, hearts were broken, and lives were changed forever.

Erin Langford is a seasoned journalist tasked with writing a feature on Jack O’Donnell. Being at the right place at the right moment puts Erin in a unique position to get the story, but at what cost? Having preconceived notions about Jack’s rock star image, she learns there is more to a story than just the headlines. The two embark on a journey through Jack’s past where he recounts the rise and fall of his band Mogo and the irreplaceable bond between himself and collaborator Mia Stone. The feature she thought she was going to write, turns into so much more.

Blood and Bone is an evocative story told in alternating time periods, from the early ‘90s to the present day about deep bonds between flawed people whose only outlet of self-expression is through their music.

Book Details

Title: Blood and Bone

Author: Paula Dombrowiak

Genre: women’s fiction/romance

Publisher: Paula Dombrowiak (October 30, 2020)

Print length: 324 pages


A few of your favorite things: chocolate, music, animals and books.
Things you need to throw out: a stack of papers that needs to be shredded.

Things you need in order to write: silence, comfy chair, and comfy pair of leggings.
Things that hamper your writing: interruptions such as kids and the lure of social media.

Things you love about writing: creating a story that someone will connect with.
Things you hate about writing: the first start of transferring the story from my head to the blank page. It’s so difficult to get that first bit down, but once I do it gets easier.

Easiest thing about being a writer: you can do it from anywhere, home, a coffee shop, on vacation, etc.

Hardest thing about being a writer: editing, especially removing a scene that you love but just doesn’t fit into the story anymore.

Things you love about where you live: the weather, especially in the winter is very nice.
Things that make you want to move: I wish we had all four seasons because I miss that.

Things you never want to run out of: veggies because they are my life force.
Things you wish you’d never bought: potato chips because let’s face it, I could do without them.

Words that describe you: impatient, sweet, honest, loyal.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: introvert, shy, corpulent.

Favorite foods: cheese and bread.
Things that make you want to throw up: sushi, meat.

Favorite music or song: Alternative Rock.
Music that make your ears bleed: Rap.

Favorite beverage: it’s a toss-up between a Hot Dirty Chai Tea Latte with Almond Milk and an Iced Mexican Mocha with Almond Milk.

Something that gives you a pickle face: very dry wine.

Favorite smell: vanilla.

Something that makes you hold your nose: dog farts.

Something you’re really good at: keeping in touch with friends.

Something you’re really bad at: giving advice.

Something you wish you could do: play the guitar.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: ballet.

Something you like to do: going to wineries with my friends, whether it’s local or a trip.

Something you wish you’d never done: gotten married, ha ha, well, true but I remedied that.

Last best thing you ate: deep dish pizza.
Last thing you regret eating: Christmas tree snack cake.

Things you’d walk a mile for: caffeinated beverage.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: my cat’s licking their butts.

Things you always put in your books: a musical element.

Things you never put in your books: cheesy pop culture references.

Things to say to an author: Can I take a picture with you? Can you sign my book? I really enjoyed your latest book.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Did you really do the things you wrote about in your book?

Favorite places you’ve been: Portland, Oregon; San Diego, California.

Places you never want to go to again: Peter Piper Pizza.

Favorite things to do: relax at home and watch TV, take road trips, read a good book.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: public speaking.

Things that make you happy: snuggles from my kids, kisses from my dog, a glass of wine with my besties.

Things that drive you crazy: slow drivers and when my pets lick themselves in front of me.

Proudest moment: graduating college.
Most embarrassing moment:
going up on stage to collect an award but realizing it wasn’t my name they called.

Best thing you’ve ever done: had my kids although I said I never wanted kids just because I didn’t want to go through childbirth, I’m a scaredy cat that way, but so glad I did.

Biggest mistake: selling a house I owned to an investor who kind of screwed me.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: going on The Eagle roller coaster at Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

Something you chickened out from doing: zip lining.

The last thing you did for the first time: hiking in Oak Creek Canyon, in Sedona, Arizona.

Something you’ll never do again: go on a scary roller coaster.


Paula Dombrowiak grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois but currently lives in Arizona. She is the author of Blood and Bone, her first adult romance novel which combines her love of music and imperfect relationships. Paula is a lifelong music junkie, whose wardrobe consists of band T-shirts and leggings which are perpetually covered in pet hair. Music is what inspires her storytelling.

Connect with Paula:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Friday, December 18, 2020




When Hayden was a child, she lost her cat. Adults told her the cat ran away, but she knew the truth. The mirror had taken her.

She knew because the mirror had given her a glimpse of an alternate world and had nearly pulled her in, so she was certain the cat had suffered that fate.

Twenty years later Hayden discovers the secret of the mirror when she is thrust into it. She learns of a world she never knew existed, and a family she never knew she had.

But danger brought her here, and it followed her. Now, Hayden is on a mission to remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical, meaningful new life in this enchanted world.

Book Details:
Title: Falling into Magic
Author: Elizabeth Pantley
Genre: cozy mystery
Series: Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series, book 1
Published: November 12, 2020
Print length: 299 pages


A Day in My Life

As a mom of four kids my life used to be filled with mothering, and writing was wedged into corners wherever I found them, usually surrounded by Legos and picture books. Now that my youngest is in college, my days are a bit more flexible! Here’s what a typical day looks like for me now.

5:00-6:00 AM
 I wake up every morning without an alarm, excited about what awaits in the day ahead. My husband jokes that I skip to work every morning! You know what they say, if you love with you do you never have to work a day in your life? That’s me!

6:00-8:00 AM 
My office is at home, so I have a super short commute – down a flight of stairs. First thing I do is open my email and get far too excited about notes from bloggers, readers, and the companies doing the formatting or editing on my books. You’d never guess that I’ve had thirteen published books since every single one is like my firstborn child!

8:00-10:00 AM
 Workout and self-care time! Just like Hayden, the protagonist in Falling into Magic, I’ve transformed my physical fitness over the past year. I used to always be “too busy” to exercise, but I have found that time on my treadmill. lifting weights and doing a bit of yoga makes me happier and more productive. I follow that up with a steamy shower and then a gigantic bowl of protein oatmeal with fruit, and a mug of tea (extra cream and sugar, just like Hayden.)

10:00 AM to ???
 Playtime! By that I mean time to write! If I’m working on a manuscript my writing time could go on until bedtime, with a few breaks for tea, food and family. Not because I have any strict deadline, but because once I’m in the story my mind swirls with it. If I’m not typing, then I’m thinking about it and making notes on my phone, or pestering my family for their opinions on a certain scene. The characters and places become so real to me that they actually help to tell their own story.

6:00 PM
 Husband home from work, so time to take him for a walk. We enjoy strolling our neighborhood and catching up on the day. He then listens to my stories about all the great bloggers and readers I connected with that day, and what fascinating steps have been taken on my book. And he’s a great listener, luckily, because sometimes my chatter keeps going on right through dinner.

8:00 PM
 Wind-down time. Grab a cup of tea, a bowl of popcorn and read . . .  cozy mysteries, of course!



I woke up to twelve pounds of fluffy, grey feline sitting on my chest. Two intense blue cat eyes were barely an inch from my nose and Sassy’s warm, steady breath was in my face. There’s no telling how long my Himalayan had been there staring at me and waiting for her Person to wake up and serve breakfast, but it must have been a while. The tone of her meow was snappish. I reached up to pet the softest pair of ears in town and enjoyed the warm rumble of her purr. Forgiven for the moment, it seems.

Let’s see, today was Wednesday? Working at home had plenty of advantages but knowing the day of the week wasn’t one of them. That meant that my piece about green therapy was due in two days, and Luna and I needed to review the schedule for the next issue. “Okay you furry Himalayan battleship. Get off Mama so I can get out of bed and make some tea.”

Meow! “Yes, I hear you Snookums. I’ll feed you, too, not to worry. Since you’re nothing but fur and bones.” I tickled the spot on her back that made her do a little belly jiggle. I chuckled. My cat loved her meals, and she was not at risk of starvation.

I tamed my wild brown waves into a ponytail, slipped on my running clothes, fed Sassy, then grabbed my earbuds. I was so proud of myself. My daily run had become a habit that affected not just my body but my mind, as well. The ancient Greeks knew what they were talking about when they said healthy in body, healthy in mind. It worked for me, anyway. I’m not, and never will be a skinny carrot-eating runway model, but I have an abundance of energy for life, and I feel great in my skin. I think that’s what those old Greek guys meant. Ah, see what I mean? Running clears my head and apparently makes me a happy philosopher.

Excerpt from by Falling into Magic. Copyright © 2018 by Elizabeth Pantley. All rights reserved.


Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives near Seattle and is the mother of four and nana to one. She’s excited to present her first work of fiction.

Connect with Elizabeth:
Website  |  Blog  |  
Facebook |   
Instagram  |  Pinterest 

Buy the book:

Monday, December 14, 2020




Barn burning in a sleepy farming community is a serious enough matter, but a grisly murder or two in a small midwest town is a showstopper. Throw in a serial blackmailer who has his claws in some of the town’s leading citizens and you have one big recipe for disaster. Charlie Simmons, newly sworn in as Shannon’s policeman, takes on the challenge of investigating this cauldron of crimes in stride, untangling one thread after another from the fabric of the town of Shannon to find the simple truth.

Book Details:

Title: Two Murders Too Many

Author: Bluette Matthey

Genre: mystery

Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing (October 21, 2020)

Print length: 215 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours



A few of your favorite things: raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . . the gentleness of living in the South of France, fresh croissants, strong black tea . . .
Things you need to throw out: just thinking about it all depresses me . . . what if I have to move it again? Still, as soon as I toss something out it seems I need it the following week.

Things you need in order to write: my books start with a trip to a place that provides an interesting setting, pictures of said place, and quiet time to brood on the plot and characters.
Things that hamper your writing: stress is a big obstacle to writing, as well as nagging minutiae that distract.

Things you love about writing: I love being a part of the process that results in the birth of a book with all its characters. I also enjoy sharing things I discover with my readers, like the history and background I bring to my books.
Things you hate about writing: proofreading a book 20 times and STILL finding a typo!

Things you love about where you live: Beziers, France is the second oldest city in France and a treasure trove of historical sites, fifteen minutes from the Mediterranean, and has loads of places to walk and explore.
Things that make you want to move: I really detest the (inhuman) bullfights that take place here.

Things you never want to run out of: cat litter; Taylor’s of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold Black Tea; Vitamin D3 K2.
Things you wish you’d never bought: snowshoes; classical guitar; 5-pound box of See’s Chocolates.

Favorite foods: a great hamburger or steak frites!
Things that make you want to throw up: Kimchi.

Favorite music: I love the French chanteurs and chanteuses, notably Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour.
Music that make your ears bleed: punk rock, hip hop.

Favorite beverage: pure water.

Something that gives you a pickle face: cheap wine.

Favorite smell: the lavender fields of Provence.

Something that makes you hold your nose: Kimchi.

Something you’re really good at: creating (books, films, food . . .)

Something you’re really bad at: slow, methodical analysis.

Last best thing you ate: a passionflower-and-coconut confection from a patisserie up the street.

Last thing you regret eating: take-out pizza.

Things you always put in your books: a role for a cat, no matter how small.

Things you never put in your books: steamy sex scenes.

Favorite places you’ve been: perched villages in Provence; Florence, Italy; Abruzzo, Italy; all of Switzerland.

Places you never want to go to again: Atlanta, Georgia.

Favorite things to do: snorkel, travel to new places, enjoy time with my family.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: fly anywhere in economy.

Things that make you happy: a road trip to someplace new.

Things that drive you crazy: having to clean up after adults.

Best thing you’ve ever done: raised three wonderful sons!

Biggest mistake: sometimes I wonder if we really make mistakes. We do things (sometimes dumb things) that we regret but, ultimately, these mistakes are woven into who we are.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: I hiked into the remote Hermitage of San Bartolomeo near Roccamorice, Abruzzo, Italy, aware I was the only human around for miles as I trekked through the Majella National Park. Animal scat along the trail reminded me there were bears, wolves, and other beasts present.

Something you chickened out from doing: trying out for cheerleader in high school.

The last thing you did for the first time: rode an electric scooter around Paris.

Something you’ll never do again: hot air balloon ride . . . hated the crash landing!


Blanche Gruman sprawled on the park bench in front of the Presbyterian Church Monday enjoying the afternoon sun, her long, tanned legs stretched out on the sidewalk in front of the bench. She looked serene, with her face turned sunward, eyes protected by aviator sunglasses. Her blonde hair was almost white, bleached by the sun, and she wore it long and loose.

“Afternoon, Blanche,” Charlie said as he made his way toward town hall.

Blanche turned her head to see who had spoken. “Well, hey, Charlie!” she replied. She quickly sat up, pulling her bare legs primly under the edge of the bench. It was a lady-like move; just what you would expect from Blanche. A broad smile, showing perfect pearl-white teeth lit up her face.

Blanche Gruman owned and operated a successful hair salon in town. For Shannon, it was an exclusive salon. Blanche was an excellent cutter and stylist, and her flamboyant but tasteful sense of style attracted the cream of Shannon’s women to her salon, as well as some of the more prominent men. She had expanded her business over the course of a decade, hiring additional staff, but she was the queen bee, and closely guarded her select clientele.

Blanche had never married, though she’d had a fairly constant parade of suitors. Rumor had it that when someone had once asked her why she had never married she had flippantly replied, “Why marry one man when I can make so many happy?” Whether or not this was true, it was generally agreed that Blanche had a less traditional approach to relationships with men than her female contemporaries, and it was speculated that many of her female devotees who religiously came to Blanche for hair treatment did so as a means of keeping an eye on her latest paramour, primarily to make sure it wasn’t a wayfaring husband.

“You look mighty pleased with yourself,” Charlie said. He stood in front of her, blocking the sun from her eyes. She removed her sunglasses, hooking one of the templates on the V-neck of a snug knit top that accented her generous curves.

“It’s a great day to celebrate life,” she told him, “and that’s just what I’m doing.” Clearly, she was enjoying herself.

Charlie changed the subject. “You hear about what happened to Otto Hilty the other night?”

His question soured Blanche’s mood noticeably. Her voice took on a hard edge when she responded. “That SOB …” she began. “I don’t truck with what happened to Otto,” she said, “but I’ll not shed any tears for him.” She put her sunglasses on and stood, facing Charlie. “Like I said … it’s a great day to celebrate.” She walked off leaving Charlie standing, literally, with his mouth agape.


Excerpt from Two Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey.  Copyright 2020 by Bluette Matthey. Reproduced with permission from Bluette Matthey. All rights reserved.


Bluette Matthey grew up in a small Midwestern town, reading mysteries and being frightened to death as a child watching Alfred Hitchcock on Friday nights.  The result: Two Murders Too Many, Bluette’s latest mystery.

Bluette Matthey loves to travel as well as she likes a good mystery. She combines her two passions in her Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery Series, with her protagonist, trekker Hardy Durkin, taking readers to Corsica, Dalmatia, Abruzzo, Italy, The Black Forest, Germany, and the Swiss Engadine Valley. As always, Hardy is never far from a murder or two and invariably finds the key to resolving the crimes.

Matthey has a boots-on-the-ground approach to her writing and insists on visiting (and often hiking) each locale featured in her books, focusing on the region’s history, culture, and food as backdrop for her mysteries. Her treks mimic less strenuous versions than those of her protagonist, Hardy.

Bluette has also written the narrative for and developed a travel app for the South of France, Potty Poche. The app is written in five languages, focuses on must-see destinations in Provence and the Languedoc-Roussillon areas of Southern France, and serves as a public toilet navigator for the locations visited on the app, as well.

Bluette lives in Béziers in the South of France with her husband and two demanding cats. Béziers is France’s second oldest city, with history dating back to 500 BC, and the setting of Bluette’s next Hardy Durkin mystery, Homicide Hérault.

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

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, December 8, 2020




What would you do if you had a revolutionary resource to help you become a successful leader, reach your goals, make your life better and propel you to become all that you are meant to be? Sounds impossible? Well, it’s not! In the “impossible” is the “possible.” And if you want the possibility of becoming successful, U. S. Army Retired Colonel, George Milton’s book, Failure Is Not The Problem, It’s The Beginning Of Your Success is a must read. Most leadership books discuss how to achieve success only, but in life we all fail sometimes. If you want to succeed you must walk through the doorway of this life changing resource, failure. In his amazing book he addresses the challenge of adversity and how failure can motivate you, focus you, and change your life for the better. His inspiring story of growth from a difficult youth to a distinguished career Army combat officer, he shares that it was only possible because he changed his attitude. Not only does he reveal personal triumphs and defeats, he demonstrates in12 easy to follow steps, how you can transform your mindset from negative to positive regarding failure and in the process become successful.

Book Details

Title: Failure Is Not the Problem, It’s the Beginning Of Your Success
Author: George Milton

Genre: self-help

Publisher: Marissa F. Cohen (March 7, 2020)

Print length: 150 pages



Things you need in order to write:
a quiet place.
Things that hamper your writing: writers block and too much noise. 

Things you love about writing: it allows me to share what I’ve learn over many years.
Things you hate about writing:
I sometimes think writing has to be perfect.

Easiest thing about being a writer: coming up with ideas to write about.

Hardest thing about being a writer: trying to get all the details on paper. 

Things you love about where you live: the ability to get to the beach within an hour.
Things that make you want to move: I want to live in Cali.

Things you never want to run out of: love for people.
Things you wish you’d never bought: a fake diamond ring off a street vendor. 

Words that describe you: kind, generous, loving, trustworthy, gentle, motivated, energized.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: too direct.

Favorite foods: Korean foods.
Things that make you want to throw up: watermelon.  

Favorite music: classical.
Music that make your ears bleed: heavy metal.

Favorite smell: lavender.

Something that makes you hold your nose: skunk.

Something you’re really good at: motivating people.

Something you’re really bad at: forgiving myself or being too hard on myself. 

Something you wish you could do: play the piano.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: giving up on playing the piano.

Last best thing you ate: Korean food.
Last thing you regret eating: a rotten tomato off the vine from the garden.

Things you’d walk a mile for: TRUE LOVE!
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: rude people.

Things you always put in your books: all topics regarding failure but, in a positive way.

Things you never put in your books: things that would hurt someone’s feelings intentionally.

Favorite things to do: read, workout, swim, dance, talk, teach, mentor, train on leadership.

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

Things that make you happy: motivational speaking, coaching, mentoring, talking to people. 

Things that drive you crazy: rudeness.

Proudest moment: as a single dad, raising three amazing kids.
Most embarrassing moment: a girlfriend threw a cup of ice water in my face in front of several of my friends as they all laughed.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: becoming an Army paratrooper. 

Something you chickened out from doing: drinking spit from a cup that others spat in to pledge a fraternity.


George Milton is the CEO of Failure Is Not The Problem, LLC, a consulting company that specializes in leadership development and training, life coaching, and motivational speaking. He is a United States Army Retired, Colonel who has over 30 years of experience as an internationally known Communicator, Coach, Mentor, Trainer Intuitive Counselor, Teacher, Inspirational Speaker, TV Co-Host and Author. George connects with people of all ages on all levels. He is a former University Assistant Professor who has extensive experience working with the federal government but also has a tremendous background in working within city government and community organizations. In his role as a Senior Staff Officer at European Command in Stuttgart, Germany he routinely briefed and spoke with Ambassadors. He has experience speaking to and training foreign government officials and delivering oration to foreign public entities. As the Division Chief of the Civil Partnership Division, at European Command, he led on an annual basis, a group of staff members to Oxford University, in Oxford, England on a two week trip to study and learn how to properly” Partner” with civilian agencies in support of military organizations.

George Milton’s straight-from-the-heart, passion and high-energy, motivates audiences to step beyond their limitations and into their greatness in many ways. Over the past decade, George has used his role from keynote speaker to Master Trainer, creating the kind of workshop learning experience that got him committed to personal-and-professional development. His charisma, warmth and humor have transformed ordinary people into extraordinary achievers by using his own life, and his in-depth study of others’ challenges, to build an understanding of what works, what doesn’t work, and why.

He is a Certified Trainer in Success Principles, successfully completing the competency examination, and adoption of the Canfield Code of Ethics.

Connect with George:

Website  |  Facebook

Buy the book:

Friday, December 4, 2020




Death is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning’s A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Echo Valley, Colorado, is a place where the natural beauty of a stunning river valley meets a budding hipster urbanity. But when an internet stalker is revealed to be a cold-blooded killer in real life the peaceful community is rocked to its core.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: the suicide of Tye Horton, the designer of a cutting-edge video game. But Detective Jo Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Quinn Kirkwood, who reported the death. When Quinn reveals an internet stalker is terrorizing her, Jo is skeptical. Doubts aside, she delves into the claim and uncovers a link that ties Quinn to a small group of beta-testers who had worked with Horton. When a second member of the group dies in a car accident, Jo’s investigation leads her to the father of a young man who had killed himself a year earlier. But there’s more to this case than a suicide, and as Jo unearths the layers, a more sinister pattern begins to emerge–one driven by desperation, shame, and a single-minded drive for revenge.

As Jo closes in, she edges ever closer to the shattering truth–and a deadly showdown that will put her to the ultimate test.

Book Details:

Title: Shadow Ridge

Author: M.E. Browning

Genre: mystery

Series: A Jo Wyatt Mystery

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (October 6, 2020)

Print length: 296 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: my wedding ring, Celtic harp, tea and book collections.
Things you need to throw out: Marie Kondo’s book. 

Things you need in order to write: tea, a mechanical pencil, a narrow-ruled notebook, computer, and Scrivener software.
Things that hamper your writing: social media. 

Things you love about writing: I can do it anywhere and make as many revisions as I want.
Things you hate about writing: when I can’t find the right word.

Things you never want to run out of: patience and tea.
Things you wish you’d never bought: a bread machine.

Favorite foods: sushi, chicken pot pie, French Onion Soup, fruitcake, baklava.
Things that make you want to throw up: mushrooms and blue cheese.

Favorite music: Celtic, classical, film soundtracks, anything by Alice in Chains.
Music that make your ears bleed: brass bands.

Favorite beverage: tea or a French 75 cocktail.

Something that gives you a pickle face: apple cider vinegar.

Favorite smell: all the mingled scents of Thanksgiving dinner.

Something that makes you hold your nose: the science experiment I recently found in the back of my refrigerator.

Something you’re really good at: scuba diving.
Something you’re really bad at: tennis.

Something you like to do: cycle.
Something you wish you’d never done: crash my road bike.

People you consider as heroes: people who go out of their way to be kind to someone else
People with a big L on their foreheads: bullies.

Last best thing you ate: lobster bisque.

Last thing you regret eating: an overcooked steak.

Things you’d walk a mile for: just about anything, I love to walk.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: spiders.

Things you always put in your books: determined women, difficult decisions, devious deeds.

Things you never put in your books: real events or people.

Favorite places you’ve been: Quebec City, Canada; Durham, England; Garden of the Gods, Colorado; Bloody Bay Wall, Little Cayman; any place with a hiking trail.

Places you never want to go to again: jail.

Things that make you happy: hiking, good books, better friends, sounds of nature.

Things that drive you crazy: traffic, long lines, loud icemakers that drop cubes in the middle of the night.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: landed on and been catapulted off an aircraft carrier.

Something you chickened out from doing: skydiving.

The last thing you did for the first time: had an essay published in Mystery Scene Magazine.

Something you’ll never do again: talk myself out of trying something new.


Chapter One

Detective Jo Wyatt stood at the edge of the doorway of the converted garage and scanned the scene for threats. She’d have the chance to absorb the details later, but even at a glance, it was obvious the occupant of the chair in front of the flickering television wouldn’t benefit from her first-aid training. The stains on the ceiling from the gun blast confirmed that.

Officer Cameron Finch stood on the other side of the sorry concrete slab that served as an entrance. “Ready?”

The only place hidden from view was the bathroom, and the chance of someone hiding there was infinitesimal, but someone always won the lottery. Today wasn’t the day to test the odds. Not when she was dressed for court and without her vest.

She pushed the door open wider. Her eyes and handgun moved in tandem as she swept the room.

A mattress on the floor served as a bed. Stacks of clothes took the place of a real closet. A dorm-sized fridge with a hot plate on top of it made up the kitchen.

Jo avoided the well-worn paths in the carpet and silently approached the bathroom. Its door stood slightly ajar, creating enough space for her to peer through the crack. Never lowering her gun, she used her foot to widen the gap.

No intruder. Just a water-spotted shower stall and a stained toilet with the seat up. A stick propped open the narrow ventilation window above the shower. Too small for even the tiniest child, but an open invitation to heat-seeking raccoons.

“Bathroom’s clear.” She holstered her gun. The cut of her wool blazer fell forward and did its best to hide the bulge of her Glock, but an observant person could tell she was armed. One of the drawbacks of having a waist.

She picked her way across the main room, staying close to the walls to avoid trampling any evidence. A flame licked the edges of the television screen—one of those mood DVDs of a fireplace but devoid of sound. It filled the space with an eerie flicker that did little to lighten the gathering dusk.

Sidestepping a cat bowl filled with water, she stopped in front of the body and pulled a set of latex gloves from her trouser pocket.

“Really?” Cameron asked.

Jo snapped them into place, then pressed two fingers against the victim’s neck in a futile search for a pulse—a completely unnecessary act that became an issue only if a defense attorney wanted to make an officer look like an idiot on the stand for not checking.

The dead man reclined in a high-backed gray chair that appeared to have built-in speakers. In the vee of his legs, a Remington 870 shotgun rested against his right thigh, the stock’s butt buried in the dirty shag carpet. On the far side, a toppled bottle of whiskey and a tumbler sat on a metal TV tray next to a long-stemmed pipe.

“Who called it in?” Jo asked.

“Quinn Kirkwood. I told her to stay in her car until we figured out what was going on.”

Jo retraced her steps to the threshold, seeking a respite from the stench of death.

A petite woman stood at the edge of the driveway, pointedly looking away from the door. “Is he okay?”

So much for staying in the car. “Let’s talk over here.” Not giving the other woman the opportunity to resist, Jo grabbed her elbow and guided her to the illuminated porch of the main house, where the overhang would protect them from the softly falling snow.

“He’s inside, isn’t he?” Quinn pulled the drawstring of her sweat shirt until the hood puckered around her neck. “He’s dead.” It should have been a question, but wasn’t. Jo’s radar pinged.

“I’m sorry.” Jo brushed errant flakes from a dilapidated wicker chair and moved it forward for her. “Is there someone I can call for you?”

She shook her head.

“How well did you know—”

“Tye. His name is—was—Tye Horton.” Quinn played with the tab of her hood string, picking at the plastic that kept the ends from fraying.

Jo remained quiet, digesting the younger woman’s unease. She was all angles: sharp shoulders, high cheekbones, blunt-cut dark hair, and canted eyes that looked blue in the open but faded to grey here in the shadows.

A pile of snow slid from a bowed cottonwood branch and landed with a dull plop. The silence broken, Quinn continued to fill it. “We have a couple classes together up at the college. He missed class. I came over to see why.”

“Does he often cut class?”

“He didn’t cut class,” she said sharply. “He missed it.” She pulled out her cellphone. “The project was due today. I should tell the others.”

What would she tell them? She hadn’t asked any questions. The pinging in Jo's head grew louder. “Did you go inside before the officer got here?” She looked at the woman’s shoes. Converse high-tops. Distinctive tread.

Quinn launched out of her seat, sending it crashing into the porch rail. “I called you guys, remember?”

“It’s a simple yes or no.”

The smaller woman advanced and Jo fought the impulse to shove her back. “No, Officer—”

“Detective Wyatt.”

The top of Quinn’s head barely reached Jo’s chin. “Tye and I were classmates with a project due, Detective. I called him, he didn’t answer. I texted him, he didn’t respond. He didn’t show up for the game last night, which meant something was wrong. He never missed a game.”

Football. Last night Jo had pulled on her uniform and worked an overtime shift at the Sunday night game. Despite the plunging temperatures, the small college stadium had been filled to capacity.

“Did you check on him afterward?” Jo asked.

“No.” Color brightened Quinn’s pale cheeks. “By the time the game ended, it was too late. After he missed class today, I came straight over. Called the police. Here we are. Now, can I go?”

“Was Tye having any problems lately?”


“With school? Friends?”

“I shared a class with him.”

Another dodge. “You knew he wasn’t at the game.”

“I figured he was finishing up his end of the project. Are we done? I’ve got class tonight.”

“I need to see your identification before you leave.”

“Un-fucking-believable.” Quinn jammed her hand into her jacket pocket and removed an old-fashioned leather coin purse. Pinching the top, she drew out her driver’s license and practically threw it at Jo.

“I’m sure you understand. Whenever there is a death, we have to treat it as a crime until we determine otherwise.”

The air left Quinn in a huff of frost. “I’m sorry. I’m just…” She dipped her face but not before Jo saw the glint of tears. “I’m just going to miss him. He was nice. I don’t have a lot of friends in Echo Valley.”

“Were the two of you dating?”

The sharpness returned to her features. “Not my type.”

“Do you know if he was in a relationship?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Would you know?”

Cameron joined the women on the porch and extended his hand to Quinn. “I’m Sergeant Finch.”

Jo sucked in her breath, and covered it with a cough. The promotional memo hadn’t been posted even a day yet.

“I’m sorry about your friend,” Cameron added.

Quinn crossed her arms, whether for warmth or for comfort, Jo couldn’t tell. “Your badge says Officer. Aren’t sergeants supposed to have stripes or something?”

“It’s official next week.”

“So. Really just an officer.”

Jo bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. Served him right for acting like an ass.

“I wouldn’t say just.” Cameron hooked his thumb in his gun belt.

“Of course you wouldn’t.” Quinn drew a deep breath and let it out as if she feared it might be her last. “What happened?” she finally asked.

Jo spoke before Cameron could answer. “That’s what we’re here to find out.” She opened her notebook.

Quinn sized up the two officers like a child trying to decide which parent to ask, and settled on Cameron. “Will you get me the laptop that’s inside? It’s got our school project on it.”

“I’m sorry,” Jo answered. “But until we process the scene, everything needs to stay put.”

Quinn sought confirmation from Cameron. “Really?”

Jo shot him a look she hoped conveyed the slow torturous death he’d suffer if he contradicted her and compromised the scene.

Cameron placed his hand on Quinn’s forearm. “I’m certain it won’t take long and I’ll personally deliver it to you as soon as I can.”

“Thanks.” She shook off his hand and addressed Jo. “Am I free to go?”

Prickly thing. Jo handed Quinn’s license back to her. “I’m truly sorry about your friend. May I call you later if I have any questions?”

Cameron stepped closer, all earnestness and concern. “It would be very helpful to the investigation when she realizes she forgot to ask you something.”

The coin purse snapped shut. “Sure. Whatever.”

“Thank you,” Jo said, then added, “Be careful.”

Quinn jerked. “What?”

The wind had picked up, and waves of snow blew across the walkway. Jo pointed toward the street. “The temperature drops any lower and it’ll start to ice up. Be careful. The roads are going to be slick.”

Quinn bobbed her head. Hunched against the cold, she climbed into her bright yellow Mini Cooper.

Snow had collected on the bumper and Jo noted the plate. She’d seen the car around town, its brilliant color and tiny chassis a contrast to the trucks and four-wheel-drive SUVs most locals drove.

The car crunched down the driveway. Jo returned to the task at hand, ignoring Cameron as he followed her.

Two buildings—the main residence and the converted garage—stood at the center of the property. The driveway dumped out onto an alley and the hum of downtown carried across the crisp air. Dogs barked. Cars slowed and accelerated at the nearby stop sign, their engines straining and tires chewing into the slushed snow. A sagging chain-link fence ringed the property, pushed and pulled by a scraggly hedge.

Built in the days when a garage housed only a car and not the detritus of life, the building was barely larger than a tack room. A small walkway separated the dwellings. She followed the path around the exterior of the garage.

Eaves kept snow off the paint-glued windowsill on the far side of the outbuilding. Rambling rosebushes in need of pruning stretched skeletal fingers along the wall. Jo swept the bony branches aside. A thorn snagged the shoulder of her blazer.

She studied the ground. Snow both helped and hindered officers. In foot pursuits, it revealed a suspect’s path. But the more time separated an incident from its investigation, the more it hid tracks. Destroyed clues. This latest snow had started in the early hours of the morning, gently erasing the valley’s grime and secrets and creating a clean slate. Tye could have been dead for hours. The snow told her nothing.

As she stood again at the door, not even the cold at her back could erase the smell of blood. The last of the evening’s light battled its way through the dirty window, failing to brighten the dark scene in front of her.

She tried not to let the body distract her from cataloging the room. Echo Valley didn’t have violent deaths often. In her twelve years on the department, she’d investigated only two homicides, one as an officer, the second as a detective. Fatal crashes, hunting accidents, Darwin Award-worthy stupidity, sure, but murder? That was the leap year of crimes and only happened once every four years or so.

Cameron joined her on the threshold and they stood shoulder to shoulder. He had a shock of thick brown hair that begged to be touched, and eyes that said he’d let you. “Why so quiet, Jo-elle?”

The use of her nickname surprised her. Only two people had ever called her that and Cameron hadn’t used it in a long time. “I don’t want to miss anything.”

“What’s to miss? Guy blew his brains out.”

“It’s rarely that simple.”

“Not everything needs to be complicated.” He laughed. The boyishness of it had always charmed her with its enthusiasm. Now it simply sounded dismissive. Perhaps it always had been, but she’d been too in love to notice. “Hey, you got plans tonight?” He tried to sound innocent. She had learned that voice.

“Other than this? I don’t see as that’s any of your business.”

“Of course it’s my business. You’re still my wife.” He stared into the distance as he said it. A splinter of sun pierced the dark clouds and bled across his unguarded expression.


Jo stood as if on ice, afraid to move lest she lose her balance.

He seemed to wake up, and after a deep breath, he surveyed the room. “The landlord is going to be looking for a new tenant. You should give him your name. It’s got to be better than living with your old man.”

Fissures formed beneath her and it took her two blinks before she recovered her footing.

“I need to get my camera. I’ll be right back.”

She left him at the door. The December chill wormed through her wool dress slacks as she trudged the half block to her car. She drew breath after breath of the searing chill deep into her lungs to replace the hurt, the anger, the self-recriminations that burned her. She sat in the passenger seat and picked up the radio mic. She wasn’t ready to face Cameron. Not yet.

To buy herself some time, she ran a local warrant check on Quinn. Something wasn’t quite right about the woman. A warrant might explain things.

Dispatch confirmed Quinn’s address, but had nothing to add.

Jo grabbed her camera bag and crime scene kit and schlepped back to the scene, prioritizing her actions as she went. She’d need to snag another detective. Interrupt a judge’s dinner to get a search warrant. Swab the victim’s hands for gunshot residue. Try to confirm his identification. Hopefully, the person in the front house would return soon so Jo could start collecting background on the deceased. Take overview photos of the exterior first. Inside there’d be lights. Then evidence. Identify it. Bag it. Book it.

She reached the door before she ticked through all the tasks. Cameron was circling the chair.

Jo stopped on the threshold, stunned.

“No wonder they didn’t promote you.” Cameron peered into the exposed cranium. “If you can’t tell this is a suicide, you got no business being a cop—let alone a detective.”

“Get out.”

“We’re not home, sweetie. You can’t order me out here.”

“Actually, I can. Detective, remember? This is my scene and you’re contaminating it.”

He laughed. “Sergeant outranks detective.”

“I think it’s already been established that you’re not sporting stripes.”

“Yet. Couple more days.”

Three. Three days until he started wearing the stripes that should have been hers. Three days until he outranked her. Three. Damn. Days. “And until then, Officer Finch.” With exaggerated care, she took out her notebook and started writing.

“What are you doing?”

“Making a note of the path you’ve taken. Try to retrace your steps. I’d hate to have to say how badly you mucked things up.” She paused for effect. “You getting promoted and all.”

“You’re such a bitch.”

“Is that how you talk to your wife?”

He picked up the overturned bottle on the TV tray. “Johnnie Walker Gold.” He sniffed the premium Scotch whisky. “And here I would have pegged him for a Jack fan, at best.” Cameron tipped the bottle back into place and retraced his steps.

The latex gloves did nothing to warm her fingers, and Jo shoved her hands in her pockets. Had he changed or had she? “When did you become such an ass?”

“When’d we get married?” He shouldered past her, swinging his keys around his finger. Outside, the streetlamps flickered to life. “I’ll leave you to it. Even you can see it’s a slam dunk.”

She didn’t want to agree with him. “It’s only a suicide when the coroner says so.”

“Oh, Jo-elle.”

There was that laugh again, and she hated herself for warming to him.

“You’ve got to learn to choose your battles.”


Excerpt from Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning.  Copyright 2020 by M.E. Browning. Reproduced with permission from M.E. Browning. All rights reserved.



 M.E. Browning served twenty-two years in law enforcement and retired as a captain
 before turning to a life of crime fiction. Writing as Micki Browning, she penned the
 Agatha-nominated and award-winning Mer Cavallo mysteries, and her short stories and 
 nonfiction have appeared in anthologies, mystery and diving magazines, and textbooks. 
 As M.E. Browning, she recently began a new series of Jo Wyatt mysteries with Shadow
 Ridge (October 2020).  
 Micki is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and 
 Sisters in Crime—where she served as a former president of the Guppy Chapter. A
 professional divemaster, she resides in Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array
 of scuba equipment she uses for “research.” 

 Connect with the author:

 Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads BookBub

 Buy the book:

 Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, December 2, 2020




After two heartbreaking losses, Luna wants adventure. Something and somewhere very different from the affluent, sheltered home in California and Hawaii where she grew up. An adventure in which she can also make some difference. She travels to a foreign place where she gets more than she bargained for.

Lucien, a worldly, well-traveled young architect, finds a stranger’s journal at a café. He has qualms and pangs of guilt about reading it. But they don’t stop him. His decision to go on reading changes his life.

Months later, they meet at a bookstore where Luna works and which Lucien frequents. Fascinated by his stories and his adventurous spirit, Luna volunteers for the Peace Corps. Assigned to Cambodia, she lives with a family whose parents are survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide forty years earlier. What she goes through in a rural rice-growing village defies anything she could have imagined. Will she leave this world unscathed?

An epistolary tale of courage, love and loss, and the bonds that bring diverse people together.

Book Details:

Title: The Shade Under the Mango Tree 

Author: Evy Journey
Genre: contemporary fiction 
Publisher: Sojourner Books (November 2, 2020)
Print length : 330 pages
On tour with: Pump Up Your Book


A few of your favorite things: Paris, French films, a view of San Francisco Bay, Sushi, crisp skin on roast pork, tandoori lamb, black rice pudding, macarons, steamed crabs, great bread.

Things you need to throw out: old clothes I haven’t used in ten years.

Things you need in order to write: quiet place, my laptop computer, a big glass of iced orange-flavored sparkling water, and imagination and motivation. 

Things that hamper your writing: fatigue, interesting conversations from the living area drifting into my writing space.

Things you love about writing: engaging with words, crafting a character, building a fictional life.
Things you hate about writing: agonizing over the most fitting descriptions.

Easiest thing about being a writer: writing.

Hardest thing about being a writer: promoting and marketing.

Things you love about where you live: I see SF Bay from my window; the gourmet ghetto is close by so good food is within easy reach; the multiculturality of the area; echoes of academia from a couple or so miles away.

Things that make you want to move: the chance to live in Paris.

Words that describe you: hard-working, loving, thoughtful, introspective, multicultural and multilingual, lover of art.

Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: obsessive-compulsive, skeptical, ill at ease with strangers.

Favorite foods: sushi, crisp skin on roast pork, tandoori lamb, black rice pudding, macarons, steamed crabs, great bread.

Things that make you want to throw up: chili grasshoppers.

Favorite song: Krystian Zimmerman’s rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2.

Music that make your ears bleed: anything too loud.

Favorite smell: the scent of a Fragrant Cloud rose.

Something that makes you hold your nose: totten fish.

Something you’re really good at: procrastinating.

Something you’re really bad at: enduring grief.

Things you always put in your books: epigraphs (in almost all).

Things you never put in your books: dedication.

Favorite places you’ve been: Paris, Paris, and Florence.

Places you never want to go to again: nowhere—there was always something to like in places I’ve visited.

Favorite books: All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Books you would ban: none, though I haven’t read everything. I choose what I read carefully.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: jump into the Pacific Ocean from a small boat before I could learn to swim.

Something you chickened out from doing: ride on the back of a camel on the hot North African desert.


Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who, wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.
She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.

Connect with Evy:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Book trailer

Buy the book:



Between Two Worlds ( A series with three standalone books)