Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby


Family is where life begins.

And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.

She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

EXCERPT

Predictability is key in having an uncomplicated birth, I realise.

Joslyn, a young and tall American lady at the antenatal classes, even tried to use an ancient Japanese fortune-telling device – omikuji to predict the correct birth date for her child. I checked it on the internet and omikuji is basically a paper strip with a prophecy written on it and can be found at shrines and temples throughout Japan.

Only Joslyn wasn’t in Japan, but in England and we don’t have many shrines and temples around. So she made do with a free omikuji generator online. She got “uncertain bad luck”, “uncertain good luck” and “middle bad luck” and was quite hysterical for the rest of her pregnancy. I don’t think she scheduled a Caesarean either.

‘Giacomo, could you give us a hand with the wine? I want to pick some good Prosecco. You stay in the car, darling,’ Mum chirps towards me as she hurries out. ‘We won’t be a mo.’

‘I’ll come with you,’ I cry after her. I don’t fancy spending the next half an hour alone in the car. Mum’s “moments” can be anywhere up to an hour at a time.

I open the car door and put my foot out. I step right into a puddle which soaks my boot with German efficiency.

‘Great.’ I groan.

I turn in my seat and try to get out of the car avoiding the puddle with my other foot. Hopefully, it’ll be warm inside Marks & Spencer’s so my boot will dry out fast. I manage to step over the wet patch and slide out of the seat when a Braxton Hicks hits me so hard I double over in pain. I close my eyes, breathe and pant for a few seconds. Hot sweat flushes down my body and soaks me all the way down to my, already wet, feet.  This contraction is particularly strong. It makes me grip my stomach, huddle my shoulders and shiver against the strong December wind.

I really wish I was at home, in bed, and not in a supermarket car park braving the wind. “I’m pregnant and in pain!” I want to shout after Mum who’s just disappearing through the supermarket’s sliding doors. Next to her is Michael, who is still tapping on his phone and not looking where he’s going.

‘You all right, love?’ I hear a man’s voice from close proximity. I look up. It’s the man I saw this morning collecting donations by the M&S front door. The one with the Rudolf jumper and Santa hat. He’s looking at me with an open interest.

‘I’m fine, thanks.’ I straighten up and brush my hair back. ‘It’s Braxton Hicks,’ I explain. ‘It’s not the real thing.’

The man doesn’t look convinced. He shakes his green donation bucket, making it rattle thoughtfully.

‘Braxton Hicks, uh?’ he says. ‘It’s doesn’t look like Braxton Hicks to me.’

I glare at him, irate. Why does everyone around me think they are childbirth experts? Mum, Michael, now this man in a ridiculous reindeer jumper with a donation bucket.

‘I’ve just been to the hospital,’ I inform him, ‘where I was thoroughly examined,’ “by a nurse with a uterus” I almost add but stop myself. ‘They assured me these are Braxton Hicks’.

‘Right,’ the man doesn’t waver. ‘Who did you say examined you?’

Honestly! Why does this man think I have time for chit-chat when I’m in so much pain?

I lean back against the car for support. I feel quite faint all of a sudden.

‘I can’t remember,’ I tell him breathlessly. ‘And does it really matter anyway?’

The man shakes his donation bucket again.

‘I think they might have got it wrong.’

‘Maybe.’ I force myself to nod politely. ‘What makes you say that?’

‘That wet patch on the front of your jeans is a pretty big telltale,’ he says, eying my legs.

I look down.


‘Oh, my God!’ I squeal. ‘My waters broke!’

PURCHASE AT AMAZON!


Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT - she's written it all!

She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe - London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.

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AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY ONE PAIR OF PROSECCO FUNNY SOCKS. 
ENTER BELOW!




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Monday, November 20, 2017

Musing Monday - November 20


Musing Monday is hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker It is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK'S RANDOM QUESTION:   Do you like or dislike series books?


Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone! I hope your preparations are going well. Mine are very slow. Trying not to work, but I am working like a dog. House still isn't clean for me to host on Thursday and I can't even think about baking.

Enough of that stress. Let's talk books. If you visited lately you'll see I've been blogging more thanks to a little break in the real estate business. Not much of a break, but I'll take it. Be sure to read my review of When the Bishop Needs an Alibi by Vannetta Chapman. Love, love, love this series.

Speaking of series, I do like them. That said, I hate when life gets hectic and I can't keep up with a series. I've missed books by Karen White, Kathi Macias, Marilyn Meredith, C. W. Gortner and more that write books I absolutely adore. Even harder is when I come into a series in the middle and have to back track. That never seems to work out. That's why I've been so vigilant about Charlotte Hubbard's books. I know if I miss any one in a series I'll regret it and never catch up.

How about you? Do you prefer stand alone novels or series? Is there a series you're still trying to catch up on?

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.




Interview with Marguerite Ashton, Author of Her Final Watch



When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe. 

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I’m a writer when life permits.

My husband and I enjoy the U-W Marching band, trivia and golf while we restore our 1911 craftsman home. 

Where did you grow up?

Colorado – home of the Rocky Mountains. It’s the one thing I miss.
I lived there for twenty-nine years before moving to Wisconsin for a fresh start, meeting my husband, combining and starting our new family.  I am a stay at home mom this time around with five kids. 

What is your fondest childhood memory?

My fondest memory would be when my parents took me fishing for the first time. I was so excited to catch a fish. But when my fishing pole moved in my hand, I screamed for Mom, threw the pole down and started running. The second time we went, things went a lot smoother!

When did you begin writing?

Nine years ago, I decided to take my writing seriously and do all that I could to hone my craft while creating stories that hopefully would one day find an audience who enjoyed my characters and their world. So, in 2012, I decided to hire a writing mentor and attend writers’ conferences.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

During the week and Saturday, I write for seven hours during the day. Then at night. About a month ago, I decided to not work too much on Sundays.

What is this book about?


My heroine, Detective Lily Blanchette faces life choices that test the boundaries of her loyalty to her father, Collin who gained the respect of a local mob boss. Now, that connection has been passed on to Lily. She’s really in a tough spot as she works to solve a crime that points to the boss's son while weighing the personal decision about the baby she has always wanted. But the father of her child belongs to her husband who she killed two weeks ago in self-defense.

This gives Lily the determination to uncover the truth for all involved, learning an important lesson along the way.                                  
Who is your biggest supporter?

My family. My writing schedule was something that everyone had to get adjusted to. That took a while. But now it’s all about teamwork.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

For the last five years, I’ve worked with my writing mentor and editor, Ami.

Who is your favorite author?

David Baldacci. My favorite book is Absolute Power.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I’m still looking for my dream agent. Until then, I’ll keep on writing.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

A bumpy one. My road to here has been full of personal plot twists. Some lessons were hard, others I should have seen coming.

I encourage all new authors to research everything.  I mean everything. From parts of your book, to the places you market it, the publisher, the agents, and all aspects of what comes into your business.

Hard work and attention to the little details makes a big difference.  I’m still learning each day.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Research. Research. Research.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

They can purchase Her Final Watch on Amazon as an ebook. Soon, my novel will be available in print and audio.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

We’re still working on the book trailer for Her Final Watch. But readers can take a look at my “Thank You,” trailer made just for my readers. They can find it on my Youtube channel, Criminal Lines Book Club.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Finding readers to share Lily’s world as she works a murder case and balances family.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Keep writing.

What is up next for you?

As we speak, I’m working on the next book in the series and putting together three new shows for the Crime Writers Panel.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for hosting me on your blog!


Book Review: When the Bishop Needs an Alibi

Bishop Henry Lapp, Emma Fisher, and more familiar faces return in When the Bishop Needs an Alibi, the second book in Vannetta Chapman's Amish Bishop Mystery series.

Henry and Emma find themselves in the middle of another mystery when he discovers the body of a young woman while visiting the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge to witness the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado.

When Henry quickly becomes the primary murder suspect, it seems like God is calling him to use his special talent to help in the investigation. He realizes his involvement in discovering the truth could put those he cares about in the path of a dangerous killer who will stop at nothing to make sure Henry is framed for murder.

As much as I enjoyed the first book in this series, What the Bishop Saw, I loved this one more. Faith, friendship, and courage blend together to create an engaging story that pulls you in immediately. It's wonderful to watch Henry and Emma's relationship evolve in the second novel. In addition, the strong ties that bind this community together add a meaningful dynamic to the story. Chapman continues to fascinate me with her ability to weave an amazing story that keeps you riveted and also touches your heart.

I can't wait for Who the Bishop Knows, which is due out this spring. I highly recommend this series to lovers of Amish fiction and cozy mysteries.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736966498
ISBN-13: 978-0736966498

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Spotlight: The Rehabilitation of Master Dillon by P. Nelson


The Rehabilitation of Master Dillon is another prequel novella to my debut novel Take My Hand. It would probably be beneficial to read Take My Hand first, but honestly, I think you can enjoy it as a stand alone.

Master Dillon is the resident porn star of the cage and at one time was the most famous Dom in the industry. Unfortunately, accusations of abuse by his former full time submissive and fellow adult performer threaten to ruin his career. More than this, Dillon is deeply affected by the idea he might have been abusing his former sub during their Dom/sub relationship and goes through a crisis of conscious.

Luckily for Master Dillon, his friends at The Cage, the most exclusive BDSM club in Vancouver, are more than willing to get Dillon back into his leather pants and spanking subs asses. The newly hired shrink of The Cage, Calla Jones guides Master Dillon through the steps he needs to get his confidence as a dominant partner back.

He is well on his way to recovery when his former submissive and accuser comes back into his life and threatens to take everything from Dillon once and for all.

The Rehabilitation of Master Dillon is available at Amazon.

EXCERPT



“Donnie, what do you think would have happened if you’d made contact with an actual person?” Dillon stood staring at one of the men he was supposed to be training to use a three-foot whip.
            “I don’t know,” Donnie said sheepishly as he looked between the mannequin he was practicing on and Dillon. Shaking his head and trying to gain control of his temper, Dillon stalked forward and put one arm around the shoulders of the training mannequin.
            “Let me explain it to you because you obviously didn’t read the material I sent home with you last week.” Dillon’s throat was tight as he did his best not to yell at his student. “You would have fucking opened up her skin.” He enunciated each word for impact. Donnie flinched. “Your poor sub would have needed stitches to sew her flesh back together. Is that what you want to do to some poor sub who has placed her trust in you?”
            “No, Master Dillon,” the other man replied immediately. He appeared to be remorseful, but Dillon was not in the mood to ease the other man’s fears.
            “Are you sure? Because we’ve been meeting for the past four weeks, and every time it comes to a demonstration, you’re sloppy and ill-prepared.” Dillon stepped away from the mannequin and pointed a finger at Donnie. “I wouldn’t let you near my worst enemy’s sister. As it is, I think the mannequin has taken enough of your abuse. If you don’t start taking this seriously, don’t bother coming back next week.”
            “You’re going to kick me out of the class?” Donnie looked shocked. “Come on, Master Dillon, you can’t kick me out. My girlfriend really wants this.”
            Dillon’s jaw clenched tight for a second before he barked out, “What did we discuss here on the first day, Paul?”
            “We had to discuss the reasons why we were here and whether or not they were the right reasons,” Paul, one of Dillon’s best students automatically replied. Donnie’s shoulders slumped, and Dillon sighed. It wasn’t this guy’s fault. The recent popularity of alternative lifestyles, not to mention a hugely successful book series, had made kink cool. Unfortunately, not everyone who wanted to be a Dom could actually get there. The door to the room where he was holding his evening BDSM training class opened, and a familiar woman stepped inside. He ignored the newcomer and focused on Donnie.
            “Donnie, everyone has been where you are right now.” He tried to make his voice seem sympathetic and soothing. “But the fact of the matter is that if you don’t take this training seriously, there’s no way in hell I’m going to sign you off to play with a real, living, breathing person. You’re going to have to make a decision as to whether BDSM is for you regardless of your girlfriend’s feelings.”
            “But she’ll dump me if you kick me out of this class.” Donnie’s shoulders slumped, and Dillon’s empathy button clicked on. “Listen, man, she has to understand that maybe being a Dom isn’t for you. Why don’t you talk to Miss Jones about other options in the BDSM world.” Dillon was not about to outright suggest that Donnie was a sub and should let his girlfriend tie him up and beat his ass. After all, they were in the middle of a group of dudes, and that was Calla’s job.
            “We can discuss this with your girlfriend at the next couples meeting, Donnie,” Calla Jones spoke from where she stood by the door. Dillon glanced in her direction with a look of relief. The psychologist for The Cage, the most exclusive BDSM club in Vancouver merely nodded in return.
            “All right, gentlemen.” Dillon focused on everyone else in the class. “We’re done for the evening. Keep practicing with your single tails. I want to see some marked improvement and read the chapters on flogging and blood circulation for next week. See you then.” Dillon spoke to a couple of men with questions as he packed up his black kit bag.
            “It looked like you were having fun.” Calla approached once all the men left the room.
            “You have to do something about Donnie. He’s not a Dom,” Dillon said to Calla. “Why in hell did you let him into this class?”
            “He wanted to try.” Calla shrugged a shoulder. “I told him he was more on the submissive side, but he really wanted to give the whole Dom experience thing a go. As I said in the beginning, I will bow to your experience on the matter. If you say Donnie is out, I will talk to him about joining the male submissive class.”
            “Fine. I don’t want him here. He doesn’t do the work, and he could really hurt someone,” Dillon said before bending down to start taking apart the stand for the mannequin. “For that matter, I don’t think training junior Doms is really my thing.”
            “Really? From where I was standing I thought you were doing a great job,” Calla voice sounded as if she were smiling.
            “What’s the point anyway, none of these guys will be playing at The Cage,” Dillon grumbled.
            “We’re doing community outreach, remember. Teaching responsible and safe practices in the BDSM community so people don’t get hurt. Just think of all the subs’ asses you saved tonight.” Calla beamed down at Dillon as he looked up.
            “That’s ten swats for swearing, sub,” he growled at her.
            “I’m not your training sub anymore,” Calla pointed out.
             “Nope, but I’m still going to spank your ass if you get lippy,” Dillon’s smile was genuine as he took in the look of horror on Calla’s face when she realised he was serious. “Besides, are you going to play with any of the big bad Doms who are slobbering to get their hands on that backside of yours?” he asked even though he knew the answer.
            “I’m not ready.” Calla’s voice had grown tight, and Dillon turned his attention back to dismantling the stand. “Besides, I’m here to talk with you.”
            “Our session isn’t until Thursday,” Dillon replied absently. He had been seeing Calla as a shrink for a month or so now. She was helping him get past his issues with an ex-sub who accused him of abuse in the Dom/sub relationship.
            “I realise that,” Calla responded and moved out of the way as Dillon stood up and held the mannequin under one arm and the stand in the other hand. “But you’ve made such good progress over the last few weeks, I think it’s time you took your first steps towards being an actual Dom again.”
            “Like having sex?” Dillon said with a hopeful voice. “When I agreed to not to have sex until you thought I was ready, I had no idea it would take so long to be ready. I mean, I haven’t had such a long dry spell since I was….” He thought about it for a minute. “Well, never actually. I’m a porn star, and before I was a porn star, I liked to have lots of sex.”
            Calla smiled broadly at him, and her response made Dillon feel good. He was slowly learning to joke around again. “Yes, I think you’re ready to get back out there and have sex.”
            A mixture of trepidation and excitement went through Dillon at the prospect of having a submissive under his care. Working her body for his pleasure and hers. He placed a false smile on his face. “Great, I can’t wait to tie up some poor sub and spank her ass.”
            “That’s going to have to wait.” Calla’s expression grew serious.
            “What do you mean? You said I could get back into the saddle again?” Dillon’s eyes narrowed on her face. “Don’t tease me, woman.”
            “Yeah, I said you could have sex again, Dillon. Vanilla sex.” Calla went over to where he had left his kit bag and winter jacket and picked them up. “I’ll help you to your car.” She walked to the door. Dillon was still dumbstruck as he followed her movements, his mind spinning over all the possibilities of this calamity. Calla opened the door and held it.
            “I can’t.” Dillon finally said before shaking himself out of his stupor.
            “You were rather excited by the prospect a moment ago,” Calla pointed out.
            Dillon readjusted the mannequin under his arm and walked towards the door. “I was excited about the prospect of having normal sex with a woman or two. Not to, you know, go missionary on some chick.” He stepped into the corridor of the community centre, and he watched as Calla flicked the lights off. She turned and handed him his jacket. He carefully balanced the mannequin against the wall and laid the stand on the ground before he shrugged into the warm garment quickly before picking up the mannequin and stand again.
            “No bondage, no spankings.” Calla let the door fall shut behind her. “Anything else is up for negotiation with whoever takes your fancy. There’s more to vanilla than just the missionary position.”
            “But that’s the point.” Dillon felt his panic rising at the thought of just having sex with some woman. “There’s no contract, there’s no negotiation. How the hell am I supposed to know what she likes and doesn’t like?”
            Calla laughed as they walked past the reception desk of the community centre and a woman waved them off. “You’re going to have to do what all the rest of the men in the world do.”
            “But they’re idiots,” Dillon announced as the fresh night air hit him. It was full winter in Vancouver, and he could see frost already blanketed the ground. He stopped at the trunk of his Benz and fumbled around in the pocket of his jeans for his key fob. “Where the hell am I going to find someone to have vanilla sex with me? I haven’t even had vanilla sex since way before I started doing scenes on film.”
            “I’m sure there are innumerable women who would be willing to have vanilla sex with you, Dillon.” Calla’s tone was less reassuring and more exasperated. “Just use that famous charm on some poor girl, and I’m sure you’ll be into her pants in no time.”
            Dillon finally pulled the fob out and pressed the button for the trunk to open. “Women have certain expectations when they fuck me, Calla.” Dillon wrestled the mannequin into the trunk of his car and was thankful it was only a torso. “They want the whole Master Dillon experience, not some vanilla rip-off.” He reached over and plucked his kit bag out of Calla’s hands and set it in the trunk before shutting it.
            “That’s exactly why you need to have some vanilla sex. Just once. You need to go back to the beginning and remember what you loved about fucking in the first place.” Calla stood with her shoulders up around her ears to keep warm, and puffs of white cloud came out of her mouth as she spoke.
            “Twenty smacks,” Dillon said automatically. He thought over everything she said. Maybe she had a point. Besides, the thought of doing a scene at the moment still gave him cold sweats. “I’ll walk you to your car.” They were silent as they crossed the parking lot, and Calla unlocked the door to her car.
            Dillon wanted to tell her she was crazy, and he still had loads of misgivings about trying to find a girl who would have vanilla sex with him, but Calla had really helped him during the past few weeks. She helped him even though he knew she was still hurting over his friend’s rejection of her submission. She was a great lady, and he owed it to her to see her therapy through.
            “Yeah, ok, I’ll do it vanilla.” Dillon said as he heard her door lock disengage, and he opened her car door for her. “Assuming I can find someone to go missionary with me.”
            Calla smiled and hugged him tightly. “You don’t have to go into details. I just want to know you did it.” She got into her seat. “I’ll see you at the club tomorrow night?”
            “Yeah, I’ll be there with my vanilla on.” Dillon joked before shutting the door. He waited until Calla had started her car and driven out of the lot before he went over to his own vehicle. He got behind the wheel, locked the doors, and took his phone out of his jacket pocket. He held his breath as he looked at the screen. Eight text messages, one from his agent who was beyond eager to have him back working again and seven from Tiffany Moretz, aka. Holly Go Lightly, the architect of his current nightmare. Dillon threw the phone onto the passenger seat and started the car’s engine. He needed to get back to his loft in Yaletown, have a drink, and think about who the hell he was going to have some vanilla sex with.



P Nelson has just started her journey in Erotic Romance this year with her debut novel Take My hand. The Rehabilitation of Master Dillon is a prequel novel to Take My Hand focusing on the character of Master Dillon. Nelson calls Vancouver her hometown and is married with one young daughter. At 6.00 pm most days she can be found with a G&T in one hand and either her daughter or a good book in the other.

Connect with her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pnelsonwrites.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Interview: Jennifer Chase, Author of Dead Cold

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I’m a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. I hold a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of my curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from my own experience with a violent sociopath, providing me with a deep personal investment in every story I write. In addition, I hold certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling, and I’m an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

I live in California with my husband and dogs working on my next thriller.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up along the California coast.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest childhood memories of writing was when I was four years old. I wrote tiny script lines for all of my stuffed animals. I loved writing throughout the school years and continued as an adult writing screenplays, local newspaper articles, and copyrighting.

Do you write during the day, at night or, whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I have a regimented writing day. I generally divide my day in half. The first half of the day, I spend with personal chores and errands, along with responding to emails and working on book promotions. The second half of the day is dedicated to writing. I generally write 2,000 to 2,500 words a day. There are days when I write into the evenings or spend moments jotting down new ideas and crime scene scenarios.

What is this book about?


Dead Cold is a crime thriller featuring Emily Stone, a vigilante detective who hunts down serial killers, child abductors, and some of the most violent criminals. She accomplishes this by conducting her own in-depth investigation that is then sent to the police anonymously. In Dead Cold, a serial killer terrorizes a small California community by leaving frozen body parts in public places for police to piece together in order to find the killer. 

What inspired you to write it?

I was writing screenplays and outlining another script, Compulsion, which eventually turned into my first published novel. This story (and the entire Emily Stone Series) was inspired from my experience with a violent sociopath that threatened my life for more than two years. So many incidents happened to me that it really sounded more like a movie than my life. I wanted a different kind of crime fighting character and eventually Emily Stone was created. You will just have to guess which scenes in the books were based on my own experience. 

Who is your biggest supporter?

Without question, my biggest supporter is my husband.

Who is your favorite author?

This is a tough question because there are so many wonderful authors. If I had to choose one author at this point in time, it would be Jeffrey Deaver.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

You can purchase Dead Cold, An Emily Stone Thriller at Amazon.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

Dead Cold book trailer: https://youtu.be/Sj6sC4vYRgk

Emily Stone Thriller Series Short Film: https://youtu.be/OCbpk4jwtZY

What is up next for you?

I have several projects in the works. There will be a new release from my other forensic mystery series, Scene of the Crime, coming out before the end of the year. An Emily Stone Novella, A Case of Vengeance, will be released at the beginning of 2018 along with the next Emily Stone Thriller, Dark Lies, in spring of 2018.

Is there anything you would like to add?

If you’ve been looking for a new crime thriller series with an original heroine, then I have a series for you. I love hearing from readers, please feel free to connect with me on social media.

Thank you so much for the interview opportunity.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review: Writing for Bliss by Diana Raab

I've been a fan of Diana Raab's writing since 2010 when I reviewed Healing with Words for her virtual book tour. Her work then, like her work now, is emotional; it's deep and touches the soul.

Writing for Bliss is for those interested in journaling and writing a memoir. Raab believes, as I do, that journaling has a positive impact on your health. In Writing for Bliss she provides techniques, tips, and prompts for writers at any stage of their career. The reader is encouraged to write in an effort to bring about change, to heal, and transform their lives. Drawing on personal experiences brings much meaning to an author's work, which Raab has experienced first hand.

Broken down into seven steps, Writing for Bliss takes you from beginning to end: getting started, finding your form, and sharing your work, with all the steps in between. There is an appendix with additional prompts and a substantial list of recommended reading materials listed by topic.

I'll be sharing this book with my writing group and at the local writers conference I attend. If memoir writing is in your future, Writing for Bliss should be a on your list of books to read.


Publisher: Loving Healing Press (September 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615993231
ISBN-13: 978-1615993239

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cover Reveal: Circumvent by S. K. Derban




Title:
CIRCUMVENT

Author: S.K. Derban

Publisher: Touchpoint Press

Genre: Mystery



Imagine living in a quaint, beach front cottage on the Hawaiian island of Maui. You have an amazing job, combined with the pleasure of working from home. Lunch breaks become a daily picnic on the sand. Dessert is always included because of your marriage to a famous pastry chef. Life could not be any better. Or so it seems... When French born, Nikki Sabine Moueix travels to Hawaii for a special
work assignment, her job of writing an article about a famous Swiss pastry chef generates more than a magazine piece. They fall in love, get married, and Nikki becomes Mrs. Ruggiero Delémont.

When another assignment calls for Nikki to spend three weeks in France, Ruggiero’s schedule prevents him from joining her. She travels alone, advancing straight into danger. After a threatening confrontation, Nikki wakes up in a French hospital with no knowledge of her past. When she fails to check in, Ruggiero panics and pushes for an immediate investigation. But as he closes in, Nikki’s new found friend moves her to another city. It becomes a game of hide and seek with Nikki as the prize.

CIRCUMVENT allows readers to form a bond with Nikki as they yearn for her to remember. They will cheer for Ruggiero and his relentless determination to locate his beloved wife. This is a story about two people who never lose their faith in God, and find amazing friends to help them along the
way.  





When the plane leveled at a cruising altitude, Nikki reclined her seat back and reopened her novel. Her seat mate appeared to be napping, and Peter Safin was busy preparing his work area. Nikki’s curiosity flourished when she realized her reclining position provided a clear view of his laptop screen. But, as his fingers danced along the keyboard nothing on the illuminated display made sense. She was reading a combination of letters and numbers that appeared to be some sort of code. Maybe he’s a spy, Nikki amused herself in thought. A Russian spy. No, wait! Her mind raced. Maybe he’s a mole, or even a double agent.

Nikki almost laughed aloud as she refocused on the book within her hands. It was the latest spy novel, written by one of her favorite authors. Maybe I should switch to romance.





Born in the United States, S.K. Derban moved to London within the first three months, and remained in England until the age of five. Her mother was involved with the London Royal Ballet Company, and a great fan of the arts. Even after returning to the United States, S.K. Derban’s life was filled with a love of the theatre and a passion for British murder mysteries. 

Her personal travel and missionary adventures also help to transport readers virtually across the globe. S.K. Derban has smuggled Bibles into China, and has been to Israel on seven missionary trips. When writing, she relies on all aspects of her life, from a strong faith in the Lord, to her unique combination of professional experience. The many personal adventures of S.K. Derban are readily apparent as they shine through into her characters. Circumvent is the third mystery novel for writer S.K. Derban.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Guest Blogger: Robert Parker, Author of A Wanted Man


Title: A WANTED MAN
Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 307
Genre: Crime Thriller
It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady. 

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place. 

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in London.

But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages. Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.

ORDER YOUR COPY:


Amazon


Writing from your gut
by Robert Parker

You need to have guts to be a writer, even right from the start. When you first sit down to write a story, it can be quite daunting. There are millions of books out there, telling you exactly how you should do it, ranging from how you should lay things out, to what pens you should be using, to what word processor is the best. You end up with a bucket-full of decisions to make before you even get to the actual important bit – the story.

But then comes more decisions, more and more books about what story decisions to make, what structures your story should adhere to, what direction your character needs to go. You can be so bogged down in the whole fear of the thing that you can forget the sheer joy of what you are doing. You are creating. You are making something. You are letting your mind build something that only you can decide how it will end.

But how can you make the right decisions and just enjoy the moment? Well, chances are, you’ve already got a fair idea.

Every single day we inhale fiction of some kind, whether it be in the books we love so dearly, the TV shows we binge on Netflix, or even that daft little story behind Candy Crush Saga. And the end result of this is, whether we like it or not, that we get a sort of schooling in drama, in terms of what works and what doesn’t. We develop an ear for it, just through immersing ourselves in it.

So, when you sit down to write your story, just go for it. Don’t be bound by formula or fear of doing something different. Write what feels right to you, and more often than not, if it feels right it usually is right.

I used to get so hung up on whether my characters and situations were too hokey, too contrived, too silly. I used to worry about making decisions for my characters, and whether their dialogue was corny. But then I learned to trust my gut and see what came out at the other end.

When I sit to write, I have the barest skeleton of where I’m going, but absolutely no roadmap. I set up a scenario, and usually have an idea for a scene I want to get to – but no initial thought of how to bridge the two. Then I start writing, let the words flow and the characters develop, and before long the story is making decisions for me, the characters are deciding what they should be doing organically, and you’re away. So much of the time, if you write from your heart and gut, I’m convinced that:

1) you will have a great time.
2) you will write something that in some sense works.

The important thing is to do it. Just let the shackles go, trust your instincts, write your story and go for it.

Forget fear.

Once you’ve got those words on the page, those chapters all done, nobody can take that from you. You did it! Chances are, it won’t be perfect - but you’ve still got your story. You can change things any time you like, but what you can’t change is a story that doesn’t exist. You can’t polish something that just plain isn’t there. But you do have something you can work with. 

It’s OK to have a detailed plan, but’s also OK to not have one, and it’s OK to wing it. But whatever way you approach it, just go for it. Write, have fun, enjoy the sheer happiness of creating something and be proud of what you’ve achieved when you’ve written it. And when you look back at what you did, I bet you sit there and say ‘you know, some of this ain’t half bad’. And that’s a start. You can work with that.

Trust yourself. Deep down, even though you might not feel it, you’ve got a fair idea of what you’re doing. Those guts you showed to write in the first place? Listen to them.



Robert Parker is a new exciting voice, a married father of two, who lives in a village close to ManchesterUK. He has both a law degree and a degree in film and media production, and has worked in numerous employment positions, ranging from solicitor’s agent (essentially a courtroom gun for hire), to a van driver, to a warehouse order picker, to a commercial video director. He currently writes full time, while also making time to encourage new young readers and authors through readings and workshops at local schools and bookstores. In his spare time he adores pretty much all sport, boxing regularly for charity, loves fiction across all mediums, and his glass is always half full.


WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Musing Monday - Nov 6


Musing Monday is hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker It is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK'S RANDOM QUESTION:   What do you think of ghostwriters?

What a whirlwind of a week it has been: sold a house, listed a house and will be listing another one today, two birthdays, and even cleaned the house a bit. Need to get ready before Thanksgiving is here--which reminds me, I need to order Christmas cards.

In my reading world, I finished this one. Look for my review this week.

Writing for Bliss is most fundamentally about reflection, truth, and freedom. With techniques and prompts for both the seasoned and novice writer, it will lead you to tap into your creativity through storytelling and poetry, examine how life-changing experiences can inspire writing, pursue self-examination and self-discovery through the written word, and, understand how published writers have been transformed by writing.

I am currently reading....



Amish bishop Henry Lapp eagerly awaits the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. But his visit to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge reveals more than just a miracle of God's creation. Hidden among the bulrushes and cattails is the deceased body of a young woman.

As the local authorities attempt to unravel the mystery, Henry feels God's calling to use his extraordinary talent to aid in the investigation. His ability to draw from memory in photographic detail could help solve this puzzling case.

Henry's closest friend, Emma Fisher, has always urged him to embrace his gift. As their relationship deepens, Henry realizes his involvement could put him and those he loves in the direct path of a killer, one who is willing to do anything to cover up a brutal crime, including framing the bishop.

When the Bishop Needs an Alibi is a compelling story of faith, friendship, and finding courage only God can provide.

As for this week's question, my answer is that I don't mind ghostwriting. I am a ghostwriter. Honestly, some people have great ideas and simply can't get them down on paper in a marketable way. Why shouldn't they hire the services of someone who can? It's the same thing as a musical artist using a songwriter. It's not always easy to remove your personal style when writing for someone else, but after a few drafts you can mold it the right way.

How was your week? Read any good books?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

I Cry Uncle



Just imagine that woman pictured above is me yanking out my hair. This year I was determined to whittle away at my huge TBR pile. I set myself up for success by making sure all my books were logged in my spreadsheet. I entered a few reading challenges to keep me focused. In anticipation of moving my office to the first floor of our house--something else still not done--I boxed up all the books by genre to make the ones I wanted to read first easier to find.

Then life happened. My real estate business went into high gear this year. Definitely a positive. My father-in-law fell again and I've been more involved in decision making and his care. One of my kids has had trouble at school. We bought a dog--silly us. Like I needed something else to take care of. I'm fairly organized, but lately I just want to run away screaming when the phone rings.

As much as I love my job, I am looking forward to the lull that the holidays should bring. I think I'll hide in my office with no computer and read.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Guest Post & Giveaway: Monsterland by Michael Okon


We're thrilled to host Michael Okon's MONSTERLAND Blog Tour today! Leave a comment below to enter the book giveaway!



Title:
MONSTERLAND

Author: Michael Okon

Publisher: Wordfire Press

Pages: 232

Genre: Monsters

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

The last couple years of high school have not been fun for Wyatt Baldwin. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An on-going debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can rock out with vampires at Vampire
Village, be chased by actual werewolves on the Werewolf River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon



My All-time Favorite Monster is…

My all-time favorite monster is…is…is I actually have no idea. Choosing a favorite monster is like choosing children, you simply can’t do it. When the spark of my book Monsterland came to me, I called my brother immediately and told him, “I’m going to write a story about a theme park with zombies.” He replied with a quick, “No.” He said, “You have to tell a story about a theme park with werewolves, vampires, AND zombies.” I started writing that night.

What I learned about writing books, specifically about monsters, is not limiting yourself to one type of monster to scare the audience. Werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Having the three most globally recognized monsters in the world, all on display at a massive theme park. What could possibly go wrong?

How would the story have turned out if I would have chosen one monster? I honestly don’t know. What would happen if Led Zeppelin only released one song on an album? The results probably would have been disastrous.

As of now, Monsterland 2 is scheduled for a May 26, 2018 release. I have three, actually four monsters in that one, with other monsters being alluded too. As for Monsterland 3, which I just started, there are three monsters named just in the first three chapters alone. What happens after that? Well, there are going to be more. Many more monsters in this interesting universe I’m creating.

But…if I had to choose one monster, just one superior monster to terrorize us lowly citizens, I would choose The Invisible Man. I’m incorporating The Invisible Man in an upcoming Monsterland novel. I say this because watching the original classic with Claude Rains…well…I was terrified. A zombie? Just shoot it. A vampire? Shine a light. A werewolf? They come out once a month and will fall with one little measly silver bullet.

But The Invisible Man is scary. A madman you cannot see. I’ve seen every classic horror movie, Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Blob, but nothing stayed with me like The Invisible Man. I guess that falls in line with ghosts, but again, a ghost can’t touch you. Right? Only The Invisible Man can. I believe when a monster cannot be seen, well, that’s the scariest type of monster I can think. It’s a primal thing, a monster always lurking and watching, and you have absolutely no idea.

Well, Jaws is really scary too. And Pennywise the clown is too. And Leatherface from…oh, nevermind. I can’t choose a favorite.



Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can  remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.



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GIVEAWAY


Michael Okon is giving away 2
autographed copies of MONSTERLAND!

Terms & Conditions:
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    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a copy.
  • This
    giveaway ends midnight December
    29.
  • Winner will
    be contacted via email on December 30.
  • Winner has
    48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

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