Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CHARACTER GUEST POST BY DAVID BURNSWORTH'S BLU CARRAWAY




ABOUT THE BOOK

Lowcountry Private Investigator Blu Carraway needs a new client. He’s broke and the tax man is coming for his little slice of paradise. But not everyone appreciates his skills. Some call him a loose cannon. Others say he’s a liability. All the ex-Desert Storm Ranger knows is his phone hasn’t rung in quite a while. Of course, that could be because it was cut off due to delinquent payments.

Lucky for him, a client does show up at his doorstep—a distraught mother with a wayward son. She’s rich and her boy’s in danger. Sounds like just the case for Blu. Except nothing about the case is as it seems. The jigsaw pieces—a ransom note, a beat-up minivan, dead strippers, and a missing briefcase filled with money and cocaine—do not make a complete puzzle. The first real case for Blu Carraway Investigations in three years goes off the rails.

 And that’s the way he prefers it to be.





GUEST POST BY DAVID BURNSWORTH'S BLU CARRAWAY



Blu Carraway, Charleston County, South Carolina

Running a business isn’t easy. Especially in these litigious days. A successful business means there’s extra fundage to cover mistakes. One that struggles has a harder time. Everything you do has to pay off because you don’t have anything to gamble with.


Private Investigation, in my experience, is the cliché “feast or famine.” I was in a huge drought when my author picked up the story for
In It For the Money. One could make an inference from the title that I was definitely in it for the money. I needed cash. It had been three years since I had any kind of job that paid anything real.

It wasn’t always this way. It’s called feast or famine for a reason. In the feast times, the business had a downtown Charleston office and two surveillance vehicles. My business partner, Mick Crome, and I had more work than we could do. I had to subcontract some of it out.

I was at a real low point at the beginning of the first book about me. My downtown office was gone. So were my extra cars. I was down to a desk in my living room with a phone that had been disconnected and I didn’t even know it. Talk about a sorry state for an operative.

My favorite jobs aren’t even investigations. They’re private security. Anticipating when and where someone could attack is what I like best. But, I’ll take most any respectable work these days. It’s better to keep the lights on by earning money as a private investigator than working day labor. Ask me how I know.

Reputation only goes so far, especially for one like mine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the town leper. It’s just that not everyone needs the work I’m known for. I already talked about private security. But it’s more than that. Once, I took a job pro bono to help a woman get out of an abusive marriage. He’s no longer with us and she’s now my best source at the DMV.

My business partner left town with half the money from the last big job we did three years ago. I don’t blame him. He’s not one of those that’s good at responsibility. I’ve got a daughter and a small island with some scraggly horses to take care of. So, yes, I’m IN IT FOR THE MONEY.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. He is the author of both the Brack Pelton and the Blu Carraway Mystery Series. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.




Connect with David:

Webpage  |  Facebook  |  Twitter GoodReads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble


Sunday, October 15, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH JO-ANN RECCOPPA'S COLLEEN CARUSO




ABOUT THE BOOK

Has our Jersey Girl finally bitten off more than she can chew? 

Crime reporter Colleen Caruso has an appetite for romance . . . and trouble. When someone tries to poison Ken Rhodes (her handsome boss and boyfriend), Colleen vows to hunt down the culprit and serve them up to the police. She's whisked away into the scrumptious world of restaurants and gourmet food as she tangles with four culinary divas from Ken's past. 

Trouble is, Colleen doesn't know when to turn down the heat.





ABOUT COLLEEN CARUSO

Colleen Caruso is a mom of two dreading an upcoming birthday. She’s a reporter for a local newspaper, Town Crier, a job she sort of stumbled into. Her main man is also her boss – but she’s a reluctant lover (an ugly divorce will do that to a gal). She lives in a small, quaint New Jersey shore community and is surrounded by good friends and a pushy family. Colleen rarely goes looking for trouble. She doesn’t have to. Somehow trouble always seems to find her.


INTERVIEW WITH COLLEEN CARUSO


Colleen, how did you first meet Jo-Ann?

I first became acquainted with Jo-Ann many years ago while she was working on a book called Community Service. The book never did pan out, but I certainly did! She used a beach town as the setting for that story, and because the Jersey Girl mysteries take place in Tranquil Harbor, New Jersey, I was sort of recycled into the series.


What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

Time off during the summer is the perfect opportunity to stretch out on a towel near the water and wait for the sun to make me tan.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
I would rewrite my lousy ex-husband and delete him from the picture, though without him I wouldn’t have my two beautiful, sometimes caustic kids, so I guess that’s not such a great idea.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I love them. That’s not to say I’d like to kill them off at times. But love is love.

Do have any secret aspirations that Jo-Ann doesn’t know about?
I can’t give that kind of information away. Jo-Ann reads everything, and she already knows way too much about me!


If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d spend most of the day in front of a slot machine with a gin and tonic in my hand, then go out and eat a dinner big enough to put me into a coma.



What are you most afraid of?
I’m afraid one day I’ll fall into a comfort zone and my life will be boring. Every day of my life is hectic, crazy, and as my mother keeps reminding me, it’s never normal. The older I get, the more I fear normal.



What’s the best trait your author has given you?
Jo-Ann made me resilient. I always bounce back, scathed but functional. I don’t give up and never have.

What’s the worst? 
Small boobs!

What do you like best about James O'Reilly?
I absolutely love Officer James O’Reilly. He always turns up and offers inside information whenever I hit a road block. I don’t even mind that he treats me like a senile great-grandmother most of the time. Least? I have to switch characters to tell you what I like least about someone. That would have to be my smart-ass sister! Kate is showy and inexplicably lucky. She appears so delicate and feminine that guys can’t do enough for her. But I’m not jealous or anything. Oh, no! Not me!


What’s your author’s worst habit?

When this chick hits a glitch while she’s writing, she switches from working on the manuscript to playing computer games! I mean, what’s up with that? Is she kidding?



How do you feel about your life right now? 
Life is chugging along and going great at the moment. If I could change anything, I’d like to be the top reporter at my newspaper, the Town Crier – not number two. Coming in second isn’t in my nature, though for some odd reason it happens fairly often.


What aspect of Jo-Ann’s writing style do you like best?

I like the way my creator sees humor in everything I do, even if I don’t consider my day-to-day life to be particularly humorous.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?
I want Sofia Vergara to be me, but she’d have to practice her Jersey accent.


Describe the town where you live.

Tranquil Harbor is a mostly quiet shore community. There’s a lovely little beach for sunning and swimming. Our summers revolve around the weather. The town isn’t garish like some of the shore towns further south, with rides, games, food stands and a ton of tourists. We’re small and mostly close-knit. We all know each other’s business. We’re polite, well behaved, but there’s always something sinister brewing just below the surface of our ordinary, day-to-day lives.


What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?
Not being a stand-out sets me apart from the many women in my genre. I’m not devastatingly gorgeous. My figure isn’t perfect. My mothering skills need some work. My reporter instincts are a bit off at times. I’m every woman!


If you could be “adopted” by another writer, who would you choose?

Susan Isaacs maybe. I’ve read her work and I think she would truly understand me.

Will you encourage Jo-Ann to write a sequel?

I’ll do my best. My life is an ongoing slapstick comedy/disaster, and everyone needs a good laugh.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa is the creator of the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series, which includes New Math is Murder, Hide Nor Hair, and the latest installment, Another Man’s Poison, released in August, 2017. Reccoppa has worked for many years as a newspaper stringer, writing everything from serious medical pieces to restaurant reviews. Her short stories have appeared in several genre magazines, in addition to a mystery, which appeared in the Barnes & Noble Crafty Cat Crimes anthology.

Connect with Jo-Ann:                          Buy the book:

Website  |  Goodreads                       Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble  




Saturday, October 14, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: ALLISON BROOK




ABOUT THE BOOK

Carrie Singleton forgoes her purple hair and Goth attire to become head of programs and events at the Clover Ridge Library. She finds herself embroiled in solving a cold case and a new murder with the occasional help of the library’s sixty-something ghost amid family squabbles, romance and discovering her place in life.











LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH ALLISON BROOK


A few of your favorite things:
Books, clothes, lipsticks.
Things you need to throw out:
Clothes I no longer wear, books I’ve read, papers I think I might need.


Things you need in order to write:
My computer, my outline, my mind.
Things that hamper your writing:
My cat needing to be fed,
email, I need to look something up, email
.

Things you love about writing:
When it flows, when I had a new idea that perfectly suits the plot.
Things you hate about writing:
When I’m stumped about something, there’s always so much that needs to be done regarding promotion.

Hardest thing about being a writer:
Resolving a plot problem, getting all that PR done.

Easiest thing about being a writer:
Getting into a scene and the words simply flow; hearing or reading that someone loved reading your book.


Things you love about where you live:
I love my house, having friends close by, lots of trips and activities if I want to partake.
Things that make you want to move:
A woman in my HOA is suing the board and causing everyone aggravation, a neighbor I dislike.


Things you never want to run out of:
Good books, good TV shows and movies, good conversation with friends.
Things you wish you’d never bought:
A few pair of pants that are a bit too snug
.

Words that describe you:
Friendly, funny, interesting.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t:
Impatient, can come on strong.

Favorite foods:
Pasta, cheese, duck, fish, lobster.
Things that make you want to throw up:
Burned food, hearing upsetting stories about people, about animals being mistreated, medical details while I’m eating.

Favorite music or song:
Cassical, old show tunes, folk music.
Music that make your ears bleed:
Hard rock.

Favorite beverage:
Wine.
Something that gives you a pickle face:
Pickles, but I still like them.

Favorite smell:

Freshly cut grass
.
Something that makes you hold your nose:
When fertilizer’s put down on the lawn.

Something you’re really good at:
Writing, knitting, speaking Spanish
.
Something you’re really bad at:
Understanding stocks and bonds
.

Something you wish you could do:

Ride a horse.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do:
Drive a shift car.

Something you like to do:
Travel in foreign countries
.
Something you wish you’d never done:
Gone to an event just to be nice
.



Last best thing you ate:
Lobster crepe.

Last thing you regret eating:
Polluted fish that gave me hives.

Things you’d walk a mile for:
Gelato, clothes shopping.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room:
Snakes, snarling dogs.

Things you always put in your books:

Touch of romance
.
Things you never put in your books:
Physical abuse.

Things to say to an author:
I loved your book. When is the sequel coming out?

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
Your sleuth is boring. I figured out the murderer on page sixty.

Favorite places you’ve been:
Cote d’Azur, English countryside.

Places you never want to go to again:
Scotland.

Favorite genre:
Mystery, women’s fiction
.
Books you would ban:
Books filled with abuse against women and children.

Things that make you happy:
Seeing my grandkids, eating dinner out with my significant other, watching a good movie.
Things that drive you crazy:
A slowdown in traffic because people are rubbernecking; people who talk too loud in restaurants or during a movie.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR


A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson is the author of mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She writes the Twin Lakes Mystery series and the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery series. Death Overdue, written as Allison Brook, is the first in her Haunted Library Mystery series. Library Journal has given the book a star review and named it a Pick of the Month. Blackstone has recorded an audiobook version of Death Overdue. Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her novels take place.




Connect with Allison:

Website  |  Facebook  | 
Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Audio  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: FRAN LEWIS



ABOUT THE BOOK

To the memory of Ruth Swerdloff, whose journey you are about to take.

Many people fall into routines that require them to do the same thing, the same way, everyday. They get up, go to work and perform the same job, read the same types of books—never changing anything. When they are forced to vary from their routines, some people often find it difficult, or virtually impossible. People, not just seniors, who take part in different activities each day give their minds a chance to workout, which may reduce their risk of developing dementia. This book is dedicated to all those whose memories are precious, whose lives have been drastically changed, and whose families I hope after reading this book will understand the huge undertaking and commitment they are making when they decide to become a caregiver. In my heart and soul, I hope someday a cure or a preventive will be found for Alzheimer’s disease. I dedicate this book to my mom, Ruth Swerdloff, who gave me the courage to be the person I am today, and taught me the true meanings of courage and survival.




INTERVIEW WITH FRAN LEWIS


Fran, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?


I have always loved to write even before becoming an author. But, professionally it took a dare from my sister to write my first book when I retired from my job with the New York City Public School System when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Someone had to care for her full time. My sister dared to become a couch potato or review a book. I reviewed a cookbook, and I don’t know one knob of a stove from another. The review was filled with humor, fun quotes, and much more. The author is still laughing and made sure it was read all over the Internet. My sister dared to write a book, and I chose to write about our antics growing up in the South Bronx creating my Bertha Series with the first book titled My Name is Bertha. I have not stopped writing, reviewing ever since. I even created a magazine, MJ Magazine in my sister’s memory and would welcome more contributors.

What inspired you to write this book?

When my mom realized that she had a memory problem, we started to record memories that would help keep her mind active. I used these journal entries to write this book hoping that it will help others who decide to become a caregiver to understand what they are going to have to endure, what it entails, and the fact that you as the caregiver are keeping someone close to you alive and in a familiar environment. I wrote this to honor my mom and all that she did for me growing up.

What do you hope readers will get from this book?

I hope that readers will understand why there has to be a more concerted effort to find the real cause of the illness and money for research. I hope that when they read this book they will avail themselves of the resources that I have included and feel free to email me with their questions.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

I made a promise to my mom never to put her in a nursing facility, and after visiting over twenty, I realize that I made the right decision based on what I saw.


Do you have another job outside of writing?

When my mom was diagnosed in 2003 with Alzheimer’s, I retired from my position as reading and writing staff developer and dean of discipline. If I did not retire I hoped to use my Principal’s license to be an administrator.

How would you describe your book in a tweet?


Resourceful, true story, straightforward, and informative.

Why did you decide to write this book?

To bring this issue to light, and hope that when people read my book or buy it I can donate to Alzheimer’s.


What will others learn from reading your book?

The stages of the illness. The resources available and how to deal with  the many changing behaviors and the tips for bathing, feeding, understanding behavior changes, and more.

Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I just write what comes to me and hope it makes sense.

Did you have any say in your cover art?


I created the cover myself. I searched for the right picture frame from the 1940’s, and the picture on the cover is my mom’s high school graduation picture, and she loved roses.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

The family photos.

What song would you pick to go with your book?


My mom and dad loved “Till The End Of Time.”


Who are your favorite authors?

Jon Land, Tess Gerritsen, Robert Dugoni, Alan Topol and  Carter Wilson.


What are your favorite books a) as a child b) as a teenager c) as an adult?


As a child I loved reading the classics which I did in the third grade: the original Little Women, Dr. Jekeyll and Mr. Hyde, Alice In Wonderland, the Prince and the Pauper and Treasure Island.
As a teen I loved Nancy Drew, mysteries, A tale of two cities and Shakespeare. 

As an adult and a book reviewer just about everything but erotica. I love mystery/thrillers, memoirs, historical fiction, fiction, history, true crime and true life non-fiction.


Which author would you most like to invite to dinner, and what would you fix him or her?

Since I don’t cook it would definitely be take out from the local Italian restaurant, and since I never invite anyone without asking them their preferences I would let them decide. I would invite, if he were still alive, Edgar Allan Poe or one that is alive, my favorite Jon Land.


What book are you currently reading and in what format?

I only read paperback or hardcover, and I am reading five books at this time: The House of Spies, Proof of Life, Paradise Valley, Close to Me which is not out yet and The Cuban Affair.

Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?

I work at all times of the day or night whenever the inspiration comes to write a book or a review or create my magazine.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I write or shall I say I type on my computer or on my favorite recliner. 


If you could only keep one book, what would it be?

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Your last meal would be . . .
Pizza.


Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore? 


A library so that I can share my stories, read from my own books, and help young children choose books that will make them want to read.


You won the lottery. What’s the first thing you would buy?

That’s a tough question. I guess I would not buy anything, but I would pay off what I owe the dentist, and if it is in the millions help some of my family members that are struggling. But, for me maybe a new computer.

Would you rather be stranded on a deserted island or the North Pole?

The North Pole.


You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?

Shopping definitely, going to the city and visiting the amazing places in Manhattan. 
Dinner at the Capital Grille, a show, or a museum.


Where would your dream office be?


One filled with the latest technology and the most updated computer system

Where’s home for you?


Upper Westchester.


Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

We just moved here, and it’s odd that I am from the Bronx and I always hold doors and greet people that I meet. Here they do not. I love living somewhere where I can get up in the morning and walk to the bakery and get my morning cappuccino. 
One fact: the area is beautiful and the great part is the Sanitation Department is fantastic making the snow go away in the winter after a storm.


What do you do when you get writer’s block?


I walk and get some air and watch a program that just makes me smile and then I get back to work.


Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow? 


Music: Opera.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

My father always told me and my mom: “I will love you always till the end of time.”
“Smiling doesn’t cost and being polite if free.”- Fran Lewis

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Charlatans: Robin Cook; Dark Light Dawn: Jon Land; Fabrizio Boccardi and A Face to Die for: Andrea Kane.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Walking, shopping, talk with friends and family.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 


Right where I am.

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Israel where I have family.

What are you working on now?

The next faces behind the stones book five.



EXCERPT FROM A DAUGHTER’S PROMISE


Part One


Reading has always been the way for me to escape to other worlds, learn about many different places, and expand my knowledge of so many subjects. With a notepad in hand and several pens at the ready, I begin reading the many books that authors send me each day. Detailing the plot, the characters, and taking notes throughout, I create a perfect analysis of the book.

Remembering what my mom had told me, to always look for that special message in the book and create that first paragraph to stimulate reader interest, I begin my review. Perfection: that’s what she always told me. Each piece of writing, each assignment had to be done to the standards set by my teachers and professors, and then pass the highest test, mom’s. I remember coming out of school one night, and she stuck her hand out waiting to see what I’d gotten on my midterm in one of my graduate courses in administration. I still smile when I remember what happened. I left out one question and got a 98, and I told mom what I did wrong and the right answer. But, the professor was so frustrated with most of the other students that she had to revamp the scores by adding ten points to everyone’s test scores just to have more students pass, so mom was satisfied with my 108. And, of course, on the final I did get 100 and an A in the class, because it was what was expected of me by myself, and of course, mom.

Till this day I still create my reviews, my schedule for my radio show, and anything else that I decide to venture into, like the MJ magazine in memory of my sister Marcia Joyce, with the understanding that my work has to stand up to the highest standards. The articles, reviews, stories, and issues that are published should be equal to those of any credible magazine on the newsstands.

So, mom, it’s been five years and it seems like yesterday. I hope I will continue to make you proud of me. You taught me well. Yes, I never leave the house without looking my best. You were my mom, mymentor, and my best friend. You will always be here for me in spirit.

Today you would have celebrated your 89th birthday with a special red rose and your favorite chocolate cake. Your blue eyes and your great smile would light up the room, and of course the presents we would give you would make you proud. You taught us never to give up on our dreams, nor settle for less than we want in our lives. You made sure that you listened when we felt down and needed a guiding hand to rise back up. You never faltered and never passed judgment. You were our mother, our guide, and our best friend. Rules were made and enforced, but never with an iron hand. Explanations were given for your requests, and we all followed suit and showed you the respect you deserved.

When you became ill we all rallied together as a family to make sure you remained at home and received great help. We were truly blessed to have Joyce, Joan, Laurel, Pat, Tessa, Loretta, and Getty to take such good care of you and, of course, someone we all miss and loved, Veronica Collins, your case manager, who made sure that you were safe and protected by the best aides in the world from Partners in Care. So, mom, happy birthday, and let the sun shine tomorrow so we know that you are still watching over us and protecting Marcia, who is with you now. We miss your wisdom, your guidance, the huge grey mobile that you drove anywhere you were needed, as the taxi driver for your friends, and the orange mobile that my reading students loved when you picked me up or drove me to school. I made a promise and vowed that I would do everything in my power to care for you, keep your mind and body active, and never even consider the one thing so many others do, placing you in a nursing home.

The circle of life begins on the day you are born and ends when you close your eyes for the last time and take your last precious breath.

Ruth Swerdloff started her life on November 22, 1927, and became a part of a loving, nurturing family that would remain intact for the first two years of her life until the loss of her mother, when things would change. But, Ruth was special from the start, and although facing her first obstacle at the age of two, losing a parent, she somehow learned to accept the change with the help of her sister, Tova, and three brothers, Kenny, Irving, and Harry. This is her story. This is where her circle of life begins.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fran Lewis worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who's Who of America's Teachers and Who's Who of America's Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children's books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer's disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The title of her new Alzheimer’s book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey; Ruth’s story and Sharp as a Tack and Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Fran is the author of 13 titles and completed by 14th titled A Daughter’s Promise.
She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school's newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites.

Special dedication to Stacy Modlin for reading my book, giving me positive feedback, and re-editing it. You are the best, and I will always hold you dear as one of my favorite and closest cousins in the world. –Fran

Connect with Fran:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 
  
Buy the book:
Amazon

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON CAROLYN ARNOLD



ABOUT THE BOOK

Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.

But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.

As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.





EXCERPT FROM HALLOWEEN IS MURDER



FROM CHAPTER 2:

SHOCKING TURN OF EVENTS


IT WAS NEARING SIX O’CLOCK in the evening, and Sean and Sara were home in their media room on a large sectional couch, getting ready to watch their spotlight on the evening news with some friends and colleagues. They’d left the haunted house in the hands of some capable employees, who would be posted there until closing at eight.

Jimmy Voigt, their former sergeant when they worked for the Albany PD, also worked for them at the PI firm. He was on the couch next to his girlfriend, Meredith, for the viewing. Sara had told Sean more than once that it was a match made in heaven. He was pretty sure he’d rolled his eyes every time. Not because he didn’t believe in love—he was married to his soul mate—but he just found it hard to picture his former boss whispering sweet nothings to a lady love.

Helen was seated at the other end of the sectional, and Mia was on the floor at her feet, still dressed up as a princess. She really was a good kid—as far as kids went anyway. And it’s not that Sean had anything against children, but for now, he and Sara had decided they weren’t going to have any. And honestly, it was probably for the best, as they traveled a lot and solving crimes didn’t leave much free time.

“I’m going to be on TV.” Mia’s face lit up as she grinned. “I can’t wait!” She seemed more excited about this than she had been at the announcement that pizza was for dinner. Mia stared at the muted television. “That lady was so pretty.”

By “that lady,” Sean assumed she meant Chloe Parsons. Sean had to agree that based on appearances and initial impressions, she was good-looking. But he didn’t understand why she took such issue with Susannah when she didn’t want to talk.

Mia turned to Sara and flashed another smile. “You looked great, too.”

“Thank you.” Sara returned the smile and swept her long brown hair over her left shoulder. “Did you have fun today?”

“Oh yeah. My favorite part was the mummy.”

“That didn’t scare you?” Sara laced her voice with concern but couldn’t hide the underlying amusement.

Mia’s expression faded, and her eyes enlarged. She nodded. “I was, but I like to be scared. And I love mummies!” She bounded to her feet and jumped onto her mother’s lap. Helen let out a whoosh of air but quickly recovered.

“It’s the other kind of mummy, though, sweetheart.” Helen ran a hand over her daughter’s silky hair.

“Oh, it’s almost time,” Meredith said, obviously getting swept up in Mia’s enthusiasm.
Sean looked at the digital clock on the cable box: 5:59.

“It’s on!” Jimmy said, sitting up straighter.

Sean turned up the sound and sank back into the couch, putting an arm around his wife.
Mia wriggled on her mother’s lap.

“Come on, honey, back on the floor.” Helen’s voice strained with the desperation of her plea.
Sean smiled, not because of the woman’s discomfort but because he loved seeing how excited Mia was.

“My costume was the best. They have to show me!” The little girl’s eyes were wide and fixed on the screen.

“You are a beautiful little princess,” Sean said.

Mia glared at him. “I’m not little.” She held up both hands, fingers splaying as she counted them off. “I’m six.”

“My apologies,” he said with a slight bow of his head.

Sara laced her fingers with his, and he met her gaze, which said, You’re aren’t the best with kids . . .

Message received.

“Shh.” This came from Jimmy, and when Sean turned to look at him, he shrugged. “You want to hear it, don’t you?”

Sean increased the volume a bit more.

“We have some somber news this evening,” a chic reporter announced from the news desk. Based on the set of her mouth and the sad look in her eyes, she wasn’t reading from a script. “Your Source has just received word that one of our own has died.”

Sara tapped her fingers on the back of his, leaned in, and whispered, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

He didn’t look over at her, but his wife had this way of sensing things. He wouldn’t label her clairvoyant, but she certainly had strong intuition.

“Tonight, we say good-bye to”—the reporter, while she kept her tone modulated, was clearly battling with her emotions—“Chloe Parsons.”

The news was a sledgehammer to his chest, knocking the wind out of him.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.


Connect with Carolyn:
Website  |  
Facebook  Twitter

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble



Monday, October 9, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH BARBARA EARLY'S LIZ MCCALL





ABOUT THE BOOK

Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, New York, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now a local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.



What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.



The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.






ABOUT LIZ MCCALL

Managing a small-town shop wasn’t Liz McCall’s initial dream, but she’s come to love working with her father and her sister-in-law selling toys at Well Played, their vintage and antique toyshop in East Aurora, New York, even if the dolls freak her out a little bit, especially the old ceramic ones, with the cracked faces and those cold, lifeless eyes. But she loves the game nights she hosts at the shop. If only she didn’t have to spend half of her time chasing down her father, who’s reluctant to give up his former career as the town’s chief of police.


INTERVIEW WITH LIZ MCCALL


Liz, how did you first meet Barbara?

I first met Barbara Early when she was wandering around East Aurora. She thought the town was the “perfect cozy town,” (whatever that means!), and was looking for something she called a “hook.” I guess she was very excited to learn that the town was often called Toy Town, because of its long history of toy manufacturing. Fisher-Price is still here. That sent her right from the Chamber of Commerce to the toyshop. She was even more excited when she realized we sold vintage toys, because they inspire such a sense of nostalgia among so many. See, not many people collect toys, but almost everyone of a . . . certain age . . . has owned what would now be a vintage toy collection. She spent hours scrounging around the shop and asking questions.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
I, for one, would rather not stumble over dead bodies. If I could change anything, I’d take out the killers and the victims and let everyone live happily ever after. I doubt the author would continue to write about us then!

I might also take out the part where she writes how badly I was fangirling sci-fi icon Lexi Wolf. I can’t say that part wasn’t true, but . . .


Do have any secret aspirations Barbara doesn’t know about?
I’m not sure Dad even knows this, but at one point I briefly considered becoming a cop, like my father. The work he did interests me, but the danger, long hours, and what it did to my family eventually dissuaded me. I can’t say I have any regrets. Well, at least not many.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
I’d be playing board games. I’m a self-proclaimed board game junkie, and I love all types. I shouldn’t say this, since we sell mostly old games, but I’m quite fond of some of the new cooperative games like Pandemic, and some of the complex German games.

What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?
The worst thing that ever happened to me was when my father was shot in the line of duty. He almost died! Even then, doctors weren’t sure if he’d have lasting brain damage. Fortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case—even though he seems to have selective amnesia that acts up only when it suits him. Like when he “forgets” he’s not still a cop.
I learned then that I wanted to be there to protect my father. I’m learning now, that I can’t always do that. But that’s going to take some time.



Tell us about your best friend.
Besides my father, I’d have to say my sister-in-law Cathy is my best friend. She’s just a tad flightly, but I guess that’s because she’s a writer, an aspiring poet specifically, but she’s also working on a novel inspired by something that happened in our shop last year. (See Death of a Toy Soldier.) She’s an awful cook, but she’s great for my brother Parker.

What are you most afraid of?
If we’re talking the grand scheme of things, losing my father. Mother passed years back. She and I weren’t all that close. This might sound ungracious, but my mother was only close to her bottle, and family life was tough for a lot of years. But Dad is my rock, and I can’t imagine losing him. So when he goes out and puts himself in harm’s way . . .

If we’re talking phobias, there’s that whole doll thing. But Cathy runs the doll room so I don’t have to do much with them, except maybe cash one out, every now and then.



How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
I’m happy with my life. If I could use any help at all, it would probably be in the romance department. It seems the powers that be are really stingy when they send men into my life. And when they finally do, they come two at a time. Ugh. But I’ve seen bad relationships, and I’m in no hurry to advance a relationship until I know for sure. How does anyone know for sure?

Describe the town where you live.

East Aurora is real town, well, technically a village, in what is known as the snowbelt, South of Buffalo, New York, so it’s gorgeous, especially at Christmastime. Main Street is everything you’d want a small-town Main Street to be, with a brick road (shhh…it’s fake!), small mom-and pop shops with bright awnings, and restaurants with outdoor seating areas spilling onto the sidewalks. There’s a huge, quirky five-and-dime that tourists come from all over to see. Like I said, it’s often called Toy Town, but it also is known as the home of the arts and crafts movement, and Millard Fillmore once lived there. Oh, and some of the ghost hunters think he’s still there."

What's an average day in your life like?

On an average day in my life—at least when there are no dead bodies involved—I’d check in on the shop first. I put in a lot of hours there. But when Cathy or Dad or Miles are working, I might hit a few estate sales or garage sales, depending on the time of year, to find new inventory for the store. Many evenings, we host game nights, and we have a lot of regulars who join us for that.

Will you encourage Barbara to write a sequel?
Murder on the Toy Town Express is actually the second in the series, after Death of a Toy Soldier, and there’s at least one more planned for next year. Although that’s probably going to mean someone else is going to die . . .


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).

Connect with Barbara:

Website
   |   Blog   |  Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble



Saturday, October 7, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: KATHLEEN ERNST




ABOUT THE BOOK

Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin's Cornish immigrants and mining history while on temporary assignment at Pendarvis, a historic site in charming Mineral Point. But when her boyfriend, police officer Roelke McKenna, discovers long-buried human remains in the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage, Chloe reluctantly agrees to mine the historical record for answers.

She soon finds herself in the center of a heated and deadly controversy that threatens to close Pendarvis. While struggling to help the historic site, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present . . . before a killer comes to bury her.






LOVE OR HATE INTERVIEW WITH KATHLEEN ERNST



A few of your favorite things: 
I have a lot of mementos from writing-related research trips, anything from a print of an old building to a rock picked up at an historic site. They’re fun to have on my desk when I’m writing, and when the relevant manuscript is completed they bring back happy memories.
Things you need to throw out: 
I’m always behind on filing. I need to go through stacks of paper on my desk, and bulging file folders in my cabinets, with a recycle bag at hand.


Things you need in order to write: 
Uninterrupted time to think, a notebook, index cards, laptop, feline companion, research materials.
Things that hamper your writing: 
Laundry that needs doing, feline companion demanding food, a ringing phone, the need to spend the majority of my time on the business end of things instead of the actual writing
.

Things you love about writing: 

I love shining a bit of light on people that might otherwise be largely forgotten.  I write about history, and usually focus on everyday people.  When I worked in the museum world it was frustrating to find, for example, a wonderful artifact—but not know who owned or made or used the object.  My fiction lets me explore the lives of people who left no written records behind.
Things you hate about writing:
I really don’t hate anything about actual writing! I have bad days like anyone else, but getting stuck is part of the creative process. What I do hate? Certain aspects of the writing business. The industry can be tough to navigate.

Hardest thing about being a writer: 
I spend more time on the business end of being a writer than I do actually writing.

Easiest thing about being a writer: 
Many of the things I love to do, like reading and exploring wonderful historic sites and museums, are part of my job.  How cool is that?


Things you love about where you live: 
I live just outside Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is a wonderful university town, with lots of good restaurants and arts organizations. I also love the fact that in ten minutes I can be out in the country, enjoying the state’s beautiful natural resources.
Things that make you want to move: 
Increasing traffic, urban sprawl.


Things you never want to run out of: 
Popcorn, peanut butter, fresh fruit (or bags of frozen fruit in the freezer); printer cartridges, notebooks, beguiling books piled on my nightstand. Oh, and cat food. Running out of cat food would be bad.
Things you wish you’d never bought: 
When I was younger I collected antiques.  I’ve reached an age when I’m trying to find a good home for many of them.


Favorite foods: 
For a few weeks a year, my local fruit market carries the most delicious peaches ever grown.  The market is closing, and I’m mourning its demise.
Things that make you want to throw up: 
I’m not a big fan of cooked peas. Peapods are great, and I like split pea soup as long as it’s vegetarian. Cooked peas—especially canned peas—not so much.

Favorite music or song: 
Unlike many authors, I like to listen to music while I write. If possible, I find music that reflects the time or place or cultural group that I’m writing about.
Music that make your ears bleed: 
I’m not sure anything strikes me quite that harshly! I’ll admit that much of the new pop music is not my thing. (Is “pop music” even a phrase anymore?)

Favorite beverage:
The first pumpkin spice latte of the fall. Autumn is my favorite season!

Something that gives you a pickle face:
Beer. Atypical for a Wisconsin resident.

Favorite smell: 
Wood smoke in the fall. Anything baking that includes cinnamon is a close second.

Something that makes you hold your nose: 
Driving past huge industrial farms.

Something you’re really good at:
I once won a blue ribbon in a cross-cut saw competition. I’m a pretty good baker, especially with historic recipes.

Something you’re really bad at: 
Oh, so many to choose from. I can’t parallel park in tight spaces. I also can’t balance a checkbook. Math and I do not get along.


People you consider as heroes: 
Anyone who stirs themselves to actively work for social justice.

People with a big L on their foreheads: 
Anyone who is unkind to other people or the planet.



Last best thing you ate: 
A fresh peach. It was luscious.

Last thing you regret eating: 
I’m actually pretty thoughtful about my diet, so nothing comes to mind.

Things you’d walk a mile for: 
A gorgeous view of the natural world.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: 
Dense crowds, too-loud music.

Things you always put in your books: 
Enough sensory details to provide readers with (I hope) a strong sense of place.

Things you never put in your books: 
Graphic sex or violence.

Things to say to an author: 
I love it when readers tell me they stayed up way too late reading one of my books. I’m humbled and grateful when someone says that a Chloe mystery helped them through chemo or grief or some other challenging time.  

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book:
“You just keep cranking them out, don’t you!”  It’s said with good intentions, but suggests some rote process, which does not well describe what goes into creating a novel! 

Favorite places you’ve been: 
Norway, Switzerland, Scotland, Alaska
.
Places you never want to go to again: 
I’m not keen on driving through big cities.

Things that make you happy: 
Spending time with family and friends, petting my cat, gardening, hiking, learning about heritage crafts or foodways. I love to dabble in new things, and if I’m working on a book that features ethnic/historic foodways or folk-art, I want to give them a try.

Things that drive you crazy: 
Unkindness—to people, to the planet.

Best thing you’ve ever done: 
Marry my husband.

Biggest mistake: 
Not speaking truth to power. 

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: 
The year I graduated from college, way back in 1981, a friend and I went backpacking on the Appalachian Trail for two months. It was an amazing experience.

Something you chickened out from doing:
In theory I want to jump out of a plane. However, so far I have not found the courage to do so.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen Ernst is a former museum curator who remains passionate about history! In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

Connect with Kathleen:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook 

Buy the book:
Indiebound  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Books-A-Million  |  Amazon