Book Showcase: WE’RE ALL LYING by Marie Still

We’re All Lying by Marie Still
ISBN: 9781990253317 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781990253591 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781666629781 (Digital Audiobook
ASIN: B0BQP9HZCQ (Audible Audiobook)
ASIN: B0BD61MMWB (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 332
Publisher: Rising Action Publishing Co.
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Genre: Fiction | Psychological Thriller | Mystery Thriller

How far would you go to keep what’s yours?

Someone is hunting Cass.

Cass lives an enviable life: a successful career, two great kids, and a handsome husband. Then an email from her husband’s mistress, Emma, brings the façade of perfection crumbling around her, setting off a chain of events where buried secrets come back to haunt her.

A taunting email turns into stalking and escalates into much worse. Ethan and Cass try to move on, then Emma disappears.

No longer considered a victim, Cass finds herself the prime suspect and center of the investigation. Her dark secrets—including ones she didn’t know existed—threaten to destroy everything they’ve worked for.

A fast-paced psychological thriller with jaw-dropping twists, the novel examines buried family secrets and how desperation can lead to fatal mistakes when We’re All Lying.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | B&N Audiobook | | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook

Read an Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Present – Cass

Emma has run away, perhaps into the arms of another married man. Or maybe she’s floating beneath the glassy waters of the Everglades, slowly spinning in an eternal death waltz with the seagrass. Is her willowy body bloated, her porcelain skin gray and mottled? Has her shiny black hair now knotted around the roots of the cypress trees?

For some reason, the police officer who has rudely interrupted my evening is sitting in the living room in our temporary rental asking me to help find her—the woman who slept with my husband and ruined my life.

“Mrs. Mitchell?” Officer Daley says.

“Cass,” I say. “Haven’t we known each other long enough to lose the formalities? Call me Cass.”

My eyes shift from Officer Daley to Ethan, my once faithful and adoring husband. At least, the man I believed to be those things. I’m not so sure anymore. Our entire life may be a lie. He’s sitting here with me now, and she’s—well, who knows where she is, but is he really here? All of him? I squeeze my phone, a substitute for his neck.

Emma’s disappearance isn’t news. Hell, I was the one who tipped off the police in the first place. I want her found more than anyone. We deserve justice for what she’s done. However, Officer Daley showing up at the house unannounced tonight is a surprise, and I don’t like surprises.

This isn’t the first time we’ve sat with him, but on this night, it’s different. A weird energy crackles in the room. He’s asking me questions he already has the answers to. He should be out there instead, hunting her down. Doing whatever it takes to arrest her.

I inspect his movements, overanalyze every shift of his body and each twitch on his face. The belt around his waist holding his pistol, handcuffs, and other items looks foreign on him—too big and clunky for his tall, skinny frame. He fiddles with his belt, unable to find a comfortable position in the armchair, then clears his throat.

“There have been recent developments. I need to ensure we haven’t missed anything that will help us find Emma.”

I shudder when he looks at me. It’s like acrylic nails are scraping down my spine. He hasn’t learned how to hide his intentions and feelings behind a stony expression yet, like a more seasoned police officer would. Or like I do. It may be a skill he’ll never hone. This ability to morph and mold oneself into whichever persona is needed takes years of experience. When you grew up like I did, clawing your way out of the trailer park, swimming through a sea of syringes and shit, you become adept at these things. You know which occasions require which masks. You can become someone else, the person you want to be, rather than the person you are.

“Cass, you’re pale. Are you okay? Can I get you a drink?” Ethan’s blue eyes swim with concern as his eyebrows meet at the bridge of his nose. I wish I could smack the worried look off his handsome face. Yes, my mouth is dry, and my throat feels coated in sandpaper, but I don’t need my husband pointing out how bad I look in a police officer’s presence. He wasn’t always this stupid. Or maybe he has been, and I didn’t hate him enough to notice.

“I’m fine. But why don’t you get all of us some ice water?” I turn my head, unable to stand looking at him a second longer. He stands and walks to the kitchen.

My reflection stares back at me from the television hanging on the wall. I’m wearing navy blue leggings and an oversized knit sweater despite Florida’s scorching heat simmering outside. With my blonde hair framing my makeup-free face, I look like an innocent forty-year-old mom; the best look for this occasion. “Powerful advertising executive” may elicit the wrong assumptions. And right now, I don’t need any incorrect conjecture from our unwelcome visitor.

Emma has a mom, a distraught mom most likely. My daughter’s face flashes in my mind. I can’t imagine what the not knowing must be like. If Aubrey ever disappeared—no, I can’t think like that.

I shake my head and turn my attention back to Officer Daley. “What developments? You’ve been working my case for months now with zero progress.” I emphasize ‘my’ to remind him who the first victim was. Victim, the word is being thrown around so flippantly. Emma has probably run away, too afraid to face the consequences of her crimes. Of course, she did, she’s a child—much like my man-child of a husband who couldn’t keep it in his pants. His lack of self-control has left a wake of victims. His wife, his daughter, his son, and even Emma if I dig deep enough, past my anger, and really think about it.

“Let’s try starting from the beginning. Even the smallest detail may help. I know you want her found, too,” Officer Daley replies. He’s trying to establish trust, to come across as empathetic. He doesn’t realize the spaces surrounding his words are so revealing. I can’t trust him. Not anymore. Once again, I’ve put my trust in the hands of the wrong man.

Ethan rejoins us with my water, which I ignore. I sigh and glance from Daley to Ethan and back again. What a group we make. The cheating husband, the trustworthy police officer, who may not be so trustworthy after all, and me, the scorned wife with secrets of her own.

“You know about Emma and Ethan. And what Emma did to us. I’m trying to move on with my life, put her and all of it behind me. Is all this necessary?” I wish he’d fold shut the stupid little notebook his pen is hovering over, apologize for interrupting our evening, and leave. Aubrey’s face returns. I hate myself for the guilt souring my stomach, almost as much as I hate Ethan.

“I know this is hard—” he starts.

“No,” I interrupt him, leaning forward to meet his stare. “With all due respect, none of you knows how hard this is.” I wave my hand dramatically between them. How could they even pretend to know? No one knows what hell my life has been because of the affair and Emma’s persistent stalking.

After an awkward pause, he continues, “We simply want to find Emma. Her family is worried.”

“Then you should ask my dumbass husband where she is,” I say.

“Huh?” Ethan asks.

Oh shit, did I say that out loud?

I spin my wedding band around my finger to keep my thoughts from tumbling from my mouth. Ethan reaches for my hand. Now he wants to play the part of the caring husband. I pick up my glass and wrap both hands around it. He has the audacity to appear hurt. Does he not understand the gravity of our current situation? Officer Daley jots something down in his notebook. Fucking Ethan, always getting me in trouble. His myopic view that the world revolves around his need for affection and admiration got us into this mess, and now I‘ll have to get us out of it.

“Fine,” I relent, knowing if I don’t give Daley something, he’ll sit here staring at me all night with that notebook of his. “Am I correct in assuming that when you find her, she’ll be prosecuted?”

“Yes, your case is still open and active. If it’s proven she was involved, we’ll move forward with charges.”

If. When did her guilt come into question? I let my vision blur, then tell my story. At least the parts I’m willing to share.

We’re all liars, after all.

Excerpt from We’re All Lying by Marie Still.
Copyright © 2023 by Marie Still.
Published with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Author Marie Still photo: picture of a young, brunette, curly-haired white woman sitting on a light-colored accent chair, wearing denim pants and a dark olive green long-sleeve topMARIE STILL grew up obsessed with words and the dark and complex characters authors bring to life with them. Now she creates her own while living in Tampa with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a very grumpy hedgehog. Her debut novel, We’re All Lying will be released on March 14, 2023, from Rising Action Publishing. Beverly Bonnefinche is Dead and My Darlings will follow in late 2023 and 2024, respectively. She also writes under Kristen Seeley. Find out more about Marie at

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | TikTok | Twitter | Website


WE'RE ALL LYING by Marie Still book cover featuring a disjointed picture of a white female with the title superimposed over her face

This is a giveaway for one (1) print Advance Review Copy (ARC) copy of We’re All Lying by Marie Still. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. All entries by non-US residents will be voided. To enter use the Rafflecopter link below or click here.

This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 03/09/2023 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 03/15/2023. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 03/16/2023. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: ON THE SLY by Wendy L. Koenig

ON THE SLY by Wendy L Koenig book cover featuring a profile view along the right side of the cover of a white female with dark brown hair, superimposed over her face is a view of the St. Louis Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River; the left side of the cover features the title in all capsOn the Sly by Wendy L. Koenig
ISBN: 9798370385704 (Paperback)
ASIN: B09RWQXBQ7 (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 295
Release Date: February 20, 2023
Genre: Fiction | Amateur Sleuths | Mystery

Sylvia Wilson, a bar owner in St. Louis, Missouri, arrives at work to discover the body of an ex-police officer in her locked bar. The police focus on her as their primary suspect, so she decides to launch her own investigation into the dead man and his accomplices. But when the killer sends her clear messages that she and her loved ones are on his radar, she knows it’s just a matter of time before someone ends up dead.Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Amazon | Amazon Kindle

Read an Excerpt:

I moved to the front again, checking shadows before dodging into them. Reaching the door, I leaned into it, listening. Silent as a ball of cotton. The key slid smoothly into the lock and turned. I eased open the door. Watched and listened for any movement or noise. Nothing. I slipped my arm in and turned on my lights. The alarm was already off.

Mayhem erupted from my backyard as my dogs snarled and threw themselves at the sliding glass door with angsted fervor. I hadn’t let them out there. Maybe Aaron had stopped by. But the dogs were clearly upset, and they wouldn’t be if it had been my brother who’d visited.

Even if there was a noise, I wouldn’t hear it over the violent ruckus. I sidled into the room. Nothing but my blue furniture and beige carpet. Through the glass door, I saw Ruffles was foaming and standing stock still. When he moved, it was with the stiff-legged, high-toed, movements of a mechanical being. His upper lip was curled completely over his nose and the resulting sound came through the glass like an outboard motor. I’d never seen him so livid, and I honestly wondered how he could breathe like that.

Satan was throwing herself at the door again and again, as if she were a small missile that would weaken and eventually punch through the glass. I could picture the trauma her body experienced every time she made contact. If I didn’t do something fast, she would be covered in bruises, maybe even broken bones.

Something had upset them so much that even my presence didn’t calm them. Moving quickly through my home, I cleared all the rooms; no one was hidden anywhere. Then, I put the safety back on the gun, set it down, and went to focus on my poor dogs. I pulled out the rod I kept in the track. That’s when I noticed the dark brown handprint on the sliding door.

Unless I missed my guess, that was dried blood.

I pulled my cellphone and dialed Eccheli. It took him a long time to answer, and he didn’t sound too happy, but his sleep-cracked voice got animated the moment I explained what had happened.

He said, “Don’t touch anything. We’ll be right there.”

“My dogs might be injured. I need to go out there and check them.” Satan had calmed a little, but she still paced the window in agitation. Ruffles was standing stock still, growling.

He hesitated. “Do you have kitchen gloves?”

“I have painter’s gloves.” Actually, I didn’t. But I did have some of the gloves the police left behind at the bar. Close enough.

“Perfect. Go out to them, don’t let them in. We’ll get there right away.” He disconnected.

I probably was working my way back up Johnson’s ‘person of interest’ list with this middle of the night phone call. Nothing to be done about it.

When he’d said they’d get there right away, he wasn’t kidding. I’d managed to find my gloves, put them on, and had only been outside a few minutes. I was sitting in the soaked grass, trying to calm a frantic Satan so I could inspect her for injuries when my cellphone vibrated against my thigh.

Eccheli asked, “We good to come in?”

“Yeah, we’re out back.”

The minute the front door opened, Satan became all claws and teeth and twisted out of my arms. She threw herself at the glass door, ballistic missile at work again. As for Ruffles, I was used to his snarls, but the intensity of the one he gave at that moment scared me.

I watched Eccheli and Johnson as they entered my house. Saw how he noticed my Colt Python on the counter, pointed it out to Johnson, and how she nodded and pocketed it. I certainly hoped she was going to give that back; it had cost me a pretty penny.

As the two detectives cleared the house, again, flashing lights of an arriving squad car ricocheted off the back fence of the yard. I would probably be as popular in my neighborhood as a scorpion. At least there was no siren.

Mr. and Mrs. Detective returned to the front room. Eccheli leaned close to the glass, studying the handprint. Johnson stared out the glass at me and pointed at the door handle. When I shook my head, she pulled out her phone and called me. “How are the dogs?”

I shouted over the violence of growls and barks. “Ruffles has no injuries, but I can’t get Satan to hold still to check her!”

“Want me to call animal control to tranq her?”

I hesitated. I didn’t want to do that to my dogs, but I didn’t foresee Satan letting me check her any time soon and that bloody handprint scared me. I nodded to the woman staring out at me, feeling somehow like a traitor.

Excerpt from On the Sly by Wendy L. Koenig.
Copyright © 2023 by Wendy L. Koenig.
Published with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Wendy L. Koenig author photo: headshot of a redhaired white female wearing rimless eyeglasses and a turtle-neck sweater
Author Wendy L. Koenig

Wendy Koenig is a published author living in New Brunswick, Canada. Her first piece to be printed was a short children’s fiction, Jet’s Stormy Adventure, serialized in The Illinois Horse Network. She attended the University of Iowa, honing her craft in their famed summer workshops and writing programs. Since that time, she has published and co-authored numerous books and has won several international awards.

Connect with the author via: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website


This is a giveaway for one (1) signed print copy of On the Sly by Wendy Koenig & a pair of sunglasses, courtesy of Wendy Koenig via Author Marketing Experts. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. All entries by non-US/Canadian residents will be voided. To enter use the Rafflecopter link below or click here.

This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 03/08/2023 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 03/14/2023. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 03/15/2023. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: ANATOMY OF A MEET CUTE by Addie Woolridge

ANATOMY OF A MEET CUTE by Addie Woolridge cover featuring an illustration of a Black female doctor wearing green scrubs with crossed arms and an Asian male doctor wearing a lab coat with an outstretched handAnatomy of a Meet Cute by Addie Woolridge
ISBN: 9781662504570 (Trade Paperback)
ISBN: 9798400105005 (Audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B0BLZPXN6S (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B0B68899C8 (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 331
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Multicultural Romance | Romantic Comedy

Sparks fly when an ob-gyn butts heads with a doctor at her new hospital in this delightfully charming romance about bad timing, good friends, and fresh starts.

The last thing I ever expected was to insult a colleague before I even started a new job.

But here I am, already on thin ice after I mistook a fellow doctor for a patient on a bad drug trip. Oops.

No matter how handsome or infuriatingly aloof he is, Grant Gao isn’t going to spoil my fresh start. Instead, I’m going to keep myself (maybe too) busy with my roommates, work, and passion: starting a new program to improve pregnancy care in the community.

But getting the hospital bigwigs on board with my idea is proving to be more difficult than I anticipated, and I may be forced to swallow my pride and ask Grant for help.

But will working with Grant bring us closer, or will I be crushed under my ever-growing list of responsibilities?

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes and Noble | B&N Audiobook on CD | | Downpour Audiobook

Book Excerpt:

Chapter One

“If there is a doctor or a nurse on board, will you please ring the call button?”

The soothing voice of the flight attendant glided across Sam’s consciousness, jolting her out of her early-flight stupor. Pushing her sleep mask to the top of her head, she sat upright in her chair, stretching to her full height so she could look around the plane. No one else was ringing the call button. Shit.

Taking a deep breath, she raised a shaky hand and pressed the dreaded button above her seat. Nervous energy coursed through her as she tried to recall what her professors and any doctor she had ever encountered said about medical emergencies and aviation. She’d been warned that this could happen to her one day. Sam had just thought she’d have a lot more actual doctoring under her belt when it did.

“Ma’am, are you a medical professional?” the flight attendant asked, his voice low and calm, as if someone weren’t somewhere on the plane experiencing a trauma.

“I’m an ob-gyn. Will that work?”

The flight attendant’s flinch was almost imperceptible. “I think it’ll have to. Would you come with me, please?”

Sam tried not to let the fear creeping through her skin make its way to her face as she mumbled apologies to her seatmates, both of whom smiled at her in the vaguely uninterested but encouraging way that only a plane full of Los Angelenos making their way to the freezing wasteland that was San Francisco could. This was probably an average Tuesday to the Hollywood set.

Snatching her sleep mask off her head, she looked at the flight attendant, who began to walk down the aisle. “Can you tell me anything about the individual?”

“We have a gentleman in first class, wearing dark sunglasses, who started behaving strangely just after departure. He keeps trying to take off his clothes, saying he is melting, then saying he needs help. We’re about twenty minutes to San Francisco; the captain has already called ahead, so medical attention will be waiting for him at the gate. We just need to make sure we can get him there in one piece.”

“Right,” Sam said, taking a deep breath. What she really wanted to say was oh shit. The flight attendant’s description wasn’t much for her to go on, but it would have to be enough, since she’d decided to take her Hippocratic oath seriously.

“Excuse me,” a passenger said, stopping the flight attendant as they neared the front of the plane. The attendant motioned for Sam to continue as he leaned in to listen to the passenger’s request.

Pushing aside the thin curtain that separated the economy cabin from first class, Sam spotted the man almost immediately. Even as he wrestled with his jacket, it was impossible not to notice how good looking he was. He was probably four years older than her. His fine face twisted as he fussed with a zipper, the tawny color of his East Asian features slightly flushed from exertion, the muscles in his sculpted shoulders flexing as he shook his arm free from one sleeve.

Pursing her lips, Sam reminded herself that this was someone in need. Ogling was wasting valuable seconds that might save his life. Filling her lungs with air, Sam bent down next to the man, gently setting a hand on his arm. Twisting around in his seat, the man snatched a pair of designer headphones off his head and lifted his Wayfarer sunglasses to look down at her. “Can I help you?”

Sam fought the urge to squirm and reminded herself that the flight attendants had put out this call because the individual in need was acting strangely. “Hi. I’m just here to check on you. The flight attendants thought you may need some medical attention?”

“Excuse me?”

Sam shifted uncomfortably under the intensity of his gaze. His eyes were just-woke-up puffy but not bloodshot. She registered this as a good sign, trying to ignore the fact that his eyes were so dark they seemed more black than brown. That information wasn’t, strictly speaking, medically relevant.

“How are you feeling?” Sam asked, cursing her hair puffs. Of course, this man didn’t recognize her as a doctor. She was wearing pigtails, not scrubs, and thanks to God and a sprinkling of melanin, people often mistook her for younger than thirty-two.

“I’m fine. I work in medicine. Why would I need a doctor?”

Sam took a deep breath, giving the man a once-over. If she had to guess, he was on a bad trip. The question was, What had he taken? Fake Ambien? Maybe a party drug?

“I see. Did you, by chance, consume anything before you boarded the plane? You’re not in trouble.”

“No. You’re mistaken. I’m not in need of medical—”

“He took something right when we boarded. I saw it,” the elderly man next to him chimed in, causing the man’s head to whip around. Not helpful. She was trying to establish trust with the patient, which she couldn’t do if the older man was going to tattle on Mr. Sexy Ambien.

Rolling his eyes, the man said, “It was Advil. I have a headache.”

Doing her best to look sympathetic, Sam nodded. “It is possible to have an unusual reaction to—”

“What reaction do you think I’m having?” the man asked, squinting at her, wrinkling the fine smattering of freckles across his nose.

“You were—”

“Oh, no,” the flight attendant said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Doctor, the—”

“I’m dying!”

Sam’s head jerked up just in time to catch a blond man with a bun scratching at the sleeve of his blazer and jerking around in his seat two rows up.

“Oh. The attendant said a man in sunglasses needed help.” The heat in her body kicked up a notch, and no amount of additional poolside tan was going to save her from the visible humiliation flooding her face. “And you thought it was me?” Mr. Sexy Not Ambien looked incredulous.

“Well, you were struggling with your—”

“It’s here,” Man Bun whispered to the terrified-looking woman across from him.

Taking a deep breath, Sam stood abruptly as Mr. Sexy Not Ambien leaned into the aisle to get a good look at the guy, then looked up at her as if she were less useful than a box of weasels. Whatever—the good-looking dude could be offended. Right now she had an actual patient. Giving the man a curt wave, she said, “My apologies.”

Taking two quick strides toward Man Bun, who had started buckling and unbuckling his belt, Sam dredged up her very best calming voice, again, and said, “Hello, how are you feeling?”

The man looked up at her wildly, pushing his mirrored aviator sunglasses onto the top of his head. “Do you see it?”

“Can you tell me what you’re seeing?” Sam asked, hoping to get a sense of what the man was experiencing so she could start calming him down.

“My face is pixelated. My whole body is.” He had the nerve to look at her as if she were completely stupid for not seeing it. And Sam did feel a little stupid. Hallucinations could be caused by anything, and she was no closer to soothing the man than she had been when she was talking to Mr. Sexy Not Ambien.

Excerpt from Anatomy of a Meet Cute by Addie Woolridge.
Copyright © 2023 by Addie Woolridge.
Published with permission from Montlake, an imprint of Amazon Publishing.
All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Addie Woolridge author photo - copyright Natasha Beale 2020; smiling Black female with wavy brown shoulder-length hair, wearing a dark blazer and crossed arms standing in front of a dark brick wall with shrubbery in front of the wall
Addie Woolridge – copyright Natasha Beale 2020

Born and raised just outside Seattle, Washington, Addie Woolridge has spent her life cultivating the experiences that make her characters so richly developed, relatable, and real. Though her love for knowledge, diversity, and different cultures has honed her writing, Woolridge is also a classically trained opera singer with a degree in music from the University of Southern California, and she holds a master’s degree in public administration from Indiana University. When she isn’t writing or singing, Woolridge can be found in her Northern California home, baking, training for her sixth race in the Seven Continents Marathon Challenge, or taking advantage of the region’s signature beverage—a good glass of wine. To learn more about her books, upcoming releases, and other news, visit

Connect with the author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website
This book showcase and excerpt brought to you by Blankenship PR


Guest Post: Laura Childs – LEMON CURD KILLER

Good day, book people. Do you find yourself reading books that are set in real cities or towns and reminiscing about the locations mentioned? If I’m reading a book set in Toronto Canada, Atlanta GA, Boston MA, Savannah GA, or Charleston WV and SC, I count the number of places I’ve been to and try to picture the action and setting in my head. I’ve got to admit, I even do this for cities I only have a passing acquaintance with like San Francisco CA, Detroit MI, New York NY, Washington DC, etc. I don’t know why, but reading descriptions of places I’ve been to and can vividly picture just brings something extra to the story. I’m pleased to welcome back to the blog, Laura Childs, author of Lemon Curd Killer, the latest release in one of my favorite series, the Tea Shop Mysteries. Ms. Childs will be sharing with us her thoughts on using location as a character. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share, add Lemon Curd Killer to your TBR list, follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and author, and don’t forget to enter the tour giveaway. Thank you, Ms. Childs, for taking time away from your writing to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Location as Character
by Laura Childs

When I first began writing my Tea Shop Mysteries, one of the things I immediately realized was that location can actually serve as its own unique character. Let me explain. Setting my Tea Shop Mysteries in Charleston, South Carolina gave me a lot to work with. First off, it’s an old city established way before the Revolutionary War. So that in itself means historic buildings, twisty narrow lanes, a lovely Historic District, and a genteel Southern pace. Really, the perfect setting for a Tea Shop Mystery.

Then, describing key elements such as the secretive Gateway Walk, the haunted St. Philips Cemetery, or the narrow and very private Stolls Alley ratchets up the suspense and helps my readers visualize where my characters exist in the story.

Setting can also elicit an emotional response. When I describe the Indigo Tea Shop using such terms as Rembrandt lighting, a quasi-British setting with a touch of country French, or pegged heart pine floors covered in faded Aubusson rugs, my readers tell me they can feel the relaxing and restorative nature of the setting.

Location as a character also adds greatly to the plot. It gives readers context on place, mood, and environment. This can be as simple as describing the fog rolling in off the Atlantic Ocean and giving Charleston’s antique streetlights a warm hazy glow. Or it could be more intricate, such as describing a wild chase down Gateway Walk where my protagonist rushes through the Governor Aiken Gates, hurries past the Gibbes Museum of Art, then dodges around statuary, stands of palmettos, and pattering fountains, finally ending up in a moss-shrouded cemetery complete with tilting tombstones right behind a centuries-old church.

Location also connects story elements. Dialogue is great for expressing conflict and other emotions, while plot is critical too. But when you feel as if you can actually see and touch something, when you can walk in my characters’ footsteps down a cobblestone alley and smell the fragrant magnolias, that’s the point where everything gets pulled together and a book becomes so much more real.

Thank you so much for reading this. And if you’re at all intrigued, my brand new Tea Shop Mystery, Lemon Curd Killer, has just been released. ♦

Lemon Curd Killer (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About Lemon Curd Killer

Lemon Curd Killer (A Tea Shop Mystery)

High tea and high fashion turn deadly in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

Tea shop entrepreneur Theodosia Browning has been tapped to host a fancy Limón Tea in a genuine lemon orchard as a rousing kickoff to Charleston Fashion Week. But as fairy lights twinkle and the scent of lemon wafts among the tea tables, the deadly murder of a fashion designer puts the squeeze on things.

As the lemon curd begins to sour, the murdered woman’s daughter begs Theodosia to help find the killer. Tea events and fashion shows must go on, however, which puts Theodosia and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, right in the thick of squabbling business partners, crazed clothing designers, irate film producers, drug deals, and a disastrous Tea Trolley Tour.


Cozy Mystery
25th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Berkley (March 7, 2023)
Hardcover: ‎ 320 pages
ISBN10: ‎ 0593200926
ISBN13: ‎ 9780593200926 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9780593200933 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781705082508 (Digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0BP9Y5L9Z (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: ‎ B0B3HQFB3N (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | B&N Audiobook | | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | PenguinRandomHouse 

About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links: Website | Facebook


March 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 6 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
March 7 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
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March 8 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
March 9 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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March 17 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
March 18 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

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Book Showcase: COLD-BLOODED LIAR by Karen Rose

Cold-Blooded Liar, San Diego Case Files #1, by Karen Rose
ISBN: 9780593548868 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9780593548851 (eBook)
ISBN: 9780593675410 (Digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0B5YJS1SY (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B0B45BSKBJ (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 464
Release Date: February 28, 2023
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Fiction | Romantic Suspense | Suspense & Thriller | Crime Mysteries

Sam Reeves is a kindhearted psychologist who treats court-ordered clients. After one of his patients—a pathological liar—starts revealing plausible new details from a long-unsolved serial murder case, he’s compelled to report anonymously to the SDPD tip line, though his attempts to respect patient confidentiality land him facedown and cuffed by the aggressive (and cute) Detective McKittrick.

San Diego homicide detective Kit McKittrick loves the water. She lives on a boat, and when she’s not solving crimes with the SDPD, she’s assisting her foster sister with her charter fishing business, scuba diving, or playing with her poodle. But there’s nothing that intrigues Kit more than a cold case, so when an anonymous caller leads her on the path of a wanted killer, she’s determined to end the decade-long manhunt.

Sam is soon released but goes home with both a newfound distaste for the SDPD and a resolve—not unlike Kit’s—to uncover the truth. Kit and Sam repeatedly butt heads in their separate investigations but are forced to work together to find one of the deadliest serial killers the city has faced in a decade.

Book Excerpt:

Longview Park, San Diego, California

Monday, April 4, 5:30 p.m.

Kit pulled the handkerchief across her nose and mouth as she watched the two CSU techs meticulously uncovering what was, indeed, a grave. Based on the odor, the body had been there awhile.

They’d arrived at the mystery caller’s coordinates to find that the ground had settled somewhat, creating a slight depression that measured five and a half by two and a half feet.

Ground-penetrating radar had shown a body.

The victim had been small.

Kit slipped her hand into her pocket, finding the little cat-bird figurine. Stroking it with her thumb. Please don’t be a child.

“I hope it’s not a kid,” Baz murmured, echoing her thoughts.

All homicides were difficult. Even drug dealers murdered on the street had been loved by someone. Were missed by someone.

But the child homicides were a completely different level of hell.

She looked away from the grave to where Sergeant Ryland, the CSU leader, was making a plaster cast of the only footprint they’d found in the area. It was a man’s shoe, size eleven.

“You got anything for us, Ryland?” she called.

“I just might.”

She and Baz walked from the grave site to where someone had stepped off the asphalt path, leaving the single footprint in the strip of ground between the path and the field of grass.

Ryland finished pouring the plaster over the footprint, smoothed it out, then set the timer on his phone. “Thirty minutes for the plaster to set. Come see the photos I took of the print while I wait.” He retrieved his camera and beckoned them closer. “There was lettering on the sole of the shoe-likely a brand name. I can’t quite make it out in the photo, but I’m hoping to get detail from the plaster cast.”

“So it’ll be seventy-two hours or so,” Baz said and Ryland nodded.

Kit leaned closer to the screen. “Can you zoom in on it?”

Ryland did, handing the camera to Kit. “I can make out what looks like a Y at the end of the brand name, but-“

“Sperry,” Kit said. “Sorry to interrupt, Sergeant. I recognize the logo. They’re Sperry Top-Siders.” She gave him back his camera. “My sister runs a charter fishing business and sometimes I first mate for her on my days off. A lot of her customers wear them.”

Ryland studied the photo. “You could be right.”

She was, Kit was certain. “Trouble is, that’s a popular shoe. I’ve even got a pair.”

“So do I,” Baz said. “Tracking those will be nearly impossible.”

Kit shrugged. “But when we find the guy who owns these shoes, we can put him at the scene. Any way to get a weight estimate on the wearer?”

Ryland shook his head. “Ground’s too hard. Barely enough sinkage to get the plaster cast. I’ll let you know when I have something definite.”

“Detectives?” one of the techs at the grave called, his tone urgent. “Something over here you need to see.”

“Thank you, Sergeant,” Kit said, then approached the grave alongside Baz, schooling her expression. If it was a child’s grave, she would maintain her professionalism. She’d let herself react later, when she was alone.

“Victim’s a postpubescent female,” the tech said when they were graveside. “The ME will be able to give you a better age than I can, but I’m guessing somewhere between fourteen and eighteen.”

Feeling Baz’s eyes on her, Kit reassured him with a quick glance. She was fine.

He always worried about her reaction when the victim was the same age that Wren had been when she’d been murdered, but after four years as a homicide detective, Kit had seen far too many victims who’d been Wren’s age. It never got easier.

She hoped that it never would.

Excerpt from Cold-Blooded Liar by Karen Rose.
Copyright © 2023 by Karen Rose.
Published with permission from Berkley.
All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Author Karen Rose headshot photograph: smiling white woman wearing a black top, brown shoulder-length hair
Author Karen Rose


Karen Rose is the award-winning, #1 international bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels, including the bestselling Baltimore and Cincinnati series. She has been translated into twenty-three languages, and her books have placed on the New York Times, the Sunday Times (UK), and Germany’s der Spiegel bestseller lists.

Connect with the author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website 
This book showcase and excerpt brought to you by Berkley Books


Guest Post: Marlie Parker Wasserman – PATH OF PERIL

Good day, book people. I never realized how dedicated some of us are to fiction or nonfiction reading. I personally enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction. However, I’ve noticed that I’ve become quite partial to fictional stories about real people. Skilled authors craft stories featuring historical figures and events in a fictionalized story. Please help me welcome Marlie Parker Wasserman, author of one such fictionalized story about a historical figure, Path of Peril. Ms. Wasserman is joining us today and discussing using Teddy Roosevelt as a character in her book. Grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s learn a bit more about Ms. Wasserman’s Teddy Roosevelt and Path of Peril. Thank you, Ms. Wasserman, for stopping by and sharing with us today.

Teddy Roosevelt, Yes, and Women Too
by Marlie Parker Wasserman

When I learned that the very first trip abroad by a sitting president was Teddy Roosevelt’s trip to the Panama Canal in 1906, I knew I had my topic. A fascinating president, a country most readers knew little about, and the prospect of imagined murder and mayhem—what more could I ask for? After a few months of research, I realized I had a major problem to solve before I could start to write. All the historic characters I spun my plot around were men.

The list of men went on and on. I would write about President Roosevelt, rushing from one site along the Canal to another, ignoring dangers. An unknown historic character, TR’s mild-mannered assistant secretary, would keep track of the official schedule and observe rampant inequalities. Three courageous secret service agents would protect the President from assassins.

In contrast, my previous novel told the story of a woman, the first woman executed in the electric chair, and most of my readers were women. Frankly, for marketing purposes, I needed women. But I also knew that women were hidden in the history of the Canal. Fortunately, in the last decade, historians have begun to unearth their tales. Digging deeper, I found what I needed.

My finished book starts off with men but quickly moves to the stories of women. The best known is Edith Roosevelt, TR’s second wife. Newspaper accounts report that she accompanied him on the trip to Panama, wearing the long white gown and white bonnet favored by wealthy women visiting the tropics. In the picture below, we see her standing on the back of a train, wearing a veil.

Sepia-toned photograph of old train, with several people in light-colored, early 20th-century clothing standing on the rear platform of the train.

I decided to imagine Edith’s thoughts during the four-day trip, as she sensed increasing dangers for her husband. She would be keenly aware that only five years before, the previous president, McKinley, had been assassinated. Edith had a counterpart on the trip. Maria Amador was Panama’s First Lady. The two sat together at dinners and crossed paths at receptions. What did Maria think about lovely, proper Edith? Did Maria know about assassins lurking in her country?

These first ladies were two of thousands of women who traveled to Panama. Many younger women came from Barbados and Jamaica to fill jobs as maids, cooks, fruit peddlers, and laundresses. Nurses and teachers came from the States. In the picture below, we see a group of newly trained teachers.

Black and white photograph of several young woman, wearing light-colored, early 20th-century clothing, sitting on a lawn with an old-fashioned school house in the background.

What we might call middle-class women accompanied their husbands—the engineers and officials responsible for digging the Canal. In addition, a small number of women were sex workers, either in well-appointed or squalid establishments. I enjoyed creating women in each of these categories, making sure that they drove some of the action.

The tale of the first presidential trip abroad does indeed center around men, but women stood all around that center, sustaining it and critiquing it. ♦

Path of Peril

by Marlie Parker Wasserman

February 27 – March 24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


Path of Peril by Marlie Parker Wasserman

Would the assassins plotting to kill Theodore Roosevelt on his visit to the Panama Canal succeed?

Until this trip, no president while in office had ever traveled abroad. White House secretary Maurice Latta, thrilled to accompany the President, could not anticipate the adventures and dangers ahead. Latta befriends watchful secret service agents, ambitious journalists, and anxious First Lady Edith Roosevelt on their hot and humid trip, where he observes a country teeming with inequalities and abounding in opportunities. Along the way he learns about his own strengths—what he never imagined he could do, and what he discovers he can’t do.

Theodore Roosevelt did visit Panama in 1906, accompanied by White House staffer Maurice Latta. Interweaving the stories of real-life characters with fictional ones, Path of Peril imagines what the newspapers feared to report and what historians never discovered about Roosevelt’s risky trip.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Crime Fiction
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: January 17, 2023
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781685122409 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781685122416 (eBook)
ASIN: B0BSXWCQ1F (Kindle edition)
Series: This is a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Praise for Path of Peril:

“Nothing better than settling down with a good, crisp, detail-rich assassination thriller. Someone is after Theodore Roosevelt, and author Marlie Wasserman tightens the screws, ratchets the tension, and twists the plot again and again. Read it.”

William Martin, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Lincoln Letter and December ’41


“A feast of characters, scenery, and history, Wasserman sets the table for a tremendous read. Path of Peril is a privileged walk with TR, his wife, his staff, and dozens of characters struggling to create one of the “greatest engineering feats of the century.”

Chris Keefer, author of No Comfort for the Undertaker, a Carrie Lisbon Mystery


Path of Peril is enjoyable and engaging and places the reader at the center of a fast, explosive, and intriguing plot—making this new book one that should not be missed.”

Mel Ayton, author of Plotting to Kill the President


“Wasserman’s Path of Peril gives readers an exciting leap back in time… Buy this book—you’ll love it!”

Michael Conniff, historian of Panama

Author Bio:

Marlie Parker Wasserman

Marlie Parker Wasserman continues to write historical crime fiction. Her first book, The Murderess Must Die, was published in 2021. After spending many years in New Jersey, she now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society.

Catch Up With Marlie Parker Wasserman:
Instagram – @marliepwasserman
Twitter – @MarlieWasserman

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Book Spotlight: VERONIQUE’S JOURNEY by Patti Flinn

VERONIQUE'S JOURNEY by Patti Flinn cover featuring a close-up headshot of a young Black woman wearing an orangish-yellow headwrap in front of an dark orange background with a small picture of a horse and carriage on a dirt road on the bottom of the coverVéronique’s Journey by Patti Flinn
ISBN: 9798986060019 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9798986060002 (eBook)
ASIN: B0B8FRDLRP (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 72
Release Date: September 1, 2022
Publisher: Gilded Orange Books
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Novella

In 18th-century France, the choices for a young black woman of modest means are slim.

Véronique Clair loves her parents and their small home in the countryside of Burgundy but dreams of using her talent for sewing and embroidery to make her own way, without having to rely on a man.

When Véronique’s well-meaning parents find her a suitor of elevated station their happiness turns into her despair. Véronique must make the difficult choice between agreeing to an arranged marriage–with its promise of elevated status in society–or embark upon an unpredictable journey across France and into a world she’s never known.

…for a young woman of honor, only the heart can guide the way.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | | Kobo eBook

Meet the Author

Patti Flinn author headshot; close-up photograph of a smiling Black woman with brown shoulder-length hair.Patti Flinn is an author and novelist from central Ohio who loves food, books, cool jazz, and … food.

Under the pen name, Ava Bleu—proponent of extraordinary love—Patti released The Diva of Peddler’s Creek (winner of Romance Writer’s ink Best Comedy) and Glorious Sunset (finalist, Phyllis Wheatley Award for Fiction). She later penned a different kind of love story with The Ivyhurst Series, delving into relationships among couples and neighbors in a town slowly being gentrified.

In September 2022 she released Véronique’s Journey, the story of a young woman of African descent in 18th-century France. The novella is a parallel introduction to an upcoming full-length series based on a French historical figure, expected to roll out in 2023.

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Twitter | Website



Book Showcase: IN COMMON by Norma Watkins

IN COMMON by Norma Watkins book cover featuring a darkly shadowed profile photograph of white woman with her neck elongated; the author's name, NORMA WATKINS, is in all capital white letters at the top of the cover, the title IN COMMON is in capital red letters at the bottom center of the cover.In Common: A Novel of Love and Sacrifice by Norma Watkins
ISBN: 9781684339235 (Paperback)
ASIN: B09V1NNLSZ (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 593
Release Date: April 14, 2022
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: Fiction | Family Life

In Common, a first novel from award-winning memoirist Norma Watkins (The Last Resort, That Woman from Mississippi), is a story of the sacrifices women make for the love of an inaccessible man.

Lillian Creekmore grows up at her family’s popular rural spa. She successfully runs an entire hotel, yet longs for a husband. Then she meets Will Hughes.

Velma Vernon accepts life on a small, struggling farm until a boy she barely tolerates proposes marriage. To accept means duplicating her parents’ hard life. Alone, she leaves for the city and triumphs, not as a wife, but by being the best at her job. Velma is content until the most beautiful man she has ever seen walks into her office.

This moving and darkly humorous novel follows the intertwined lives of women willing to surrender everything to a man more in love with success than any female.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook |

Book Excerpt:

On Christmas morning in 1933, Lillian Creekmore woke filled with anticipation. Twenty-four years old, dark-eyed and quick moving, she wore her hair bobbed and possessed a petite, small-bosomed body, perfect for the flapper fashions she could not afford.

Dressing hurriedly in the cold room, she brushed her teeth and hair, and ran downstairs. The family hotel had closed for the winter, but the oldest wing, the Warm Part (though the wheezing furnace never made it so), rang with the voices of everyone Lillian loved.

“Christmas Gift,” she called to her sister Maude. If you were the first to say it, you got the good luck. “Christmas Gift” to her sister Ernestine and sister-in-law Faye. “Christmas Gift” to Knox, Ernestine’s sweet husband. You could not be depressed, even during a Depression with the people you cared for close around. “Christmas Gift,” Lillian yelled to her brothers James and Leland.

“Christmas Gift, Angie,” they yelled back. Angie was her nickname, shortened from Aunt Jemima, the pancake mix. As a child, she loved pancakes so much, James and Leland gave her the name off the box.

Lillian had a reason to be excited: her brothers had hinted at a surprise. From the secretive looks she’d seen passing between them, she’d become convinced they’d found her a car. She couldn’t imagine how, but James and Leland were shrewd, maybe shrewd enough to pull off a miracle in the middle of these dark years.

Lillian was the baby, the youngest of five Creekmores, and people had been telling her how darling she was since she could remember. The boys at Ole Miss (where she would have stayed longer if a plummeting economy hadn’t dried up the family finances) certainly thought so. It was harder to stay darling when you were poor and stuck in the middle of nowhere. She needed a way out, and maybe today she would get it.

She opened the swinging door to the kitchen. “Christmas Gift,” to Lena, bent over the pink-hot wood stove. To Lena’s son Johnny and his wife Flora May. To Ellis and Preston, the waiters. When the hotel closed for the season, the servants were sent home, but everyone returned for Christmas Day.

In the dining room around the big table, the family sat down to the traditional broiled quail and grits breakfast. Since quitting college four years before, Lillian had helped her brothers and sisters operate Creekmore Hotel and Spa. Most of their guests were older people taking the mineral water cure (a cure that promised to ward off everything from asthma to warts). Nobody with the slightest romantic possibility. Lillian knew how to charm the ladies and harmlessly flirt with their husbands, but as the years went by, she felt her chances slipping. She wasn’t young anymore. She could still pass for young, but on February 11, she would turn twenty-five, and she didn’t fool herself: twenty-five was practically middle-aged when you weren’t married.

Ellis handed around a basket of hot biscuits. Lillian split one and buttered it. Maude passed her the dish of homemade plum jelly.

Their father died when Lillian was three. He had the brains for business, everyone said so, and the hotel thrived. With him gone, their mother took over. Just after Lillian turned sixteen, a doctor in New Orleans botched a simple appendectomy and her mother died on the operating table. The five siblings had been left to keep the place going. Creekmore was a seasonal hotel and needed to make enough money from May through Labor Day to carry them through the other eight months. They’d done it, and with enough left over to send Lillian to college, until the Crash.

Knox lifted his coffee cup in a toast. “Here’s to us. We may not be celebrating next year if Hitler stays in power.”

A murmur from the men, talk of the last war and worries about the next.
Ernestine tapped her water glass. “Adolf Hitler is a failed house painter. A country with Germany’s deep culture will soon come to its senses. Let us not spoil Christmas.” She paused, looking around the table. “The Lord will provide.”

Lillian smiled into her cup: the implication being, if the Lord didn’t, Ernestine would.

People told Lillian she had been blessed with a sunny disposition, but behind a cheerful exterior, she fretted. If she didn’t find a husband soon, she would be stuck here, eleven miles from the nearest town of Canton, and thirty-five miles from the capital city of Jackson. She would grow too old to marry, working to keep this crumbling enterprise going. She wanted her chance and she wasn’t asking for much: a decent man to love, a house of her own, and, please God, not to worry about money every single minute.

Ernestine was going on about the Lord again, how grateful they should be for His help in making it through another year.

Nibbling around a tiny quail leg, Lillian returned to her thoughts. She needed a way out, especially during the long, gray winters with the hotel closed. That meant some kind of independent transportation. She didn’t care how old it was or how beat up, as long as it got her to Jackson for weekends with her former sorority sisters and single men. The friends fortunate enough to graduate had gotten engaged during their senior year, married soon after, and were already having babies.

Summers at the hotel were bearable. Lillian didn’t mind hard work, and keeping the place running took all five of them. From May to September, with the sixty-six rooms filled, she ran from the moment her feet touched the floor in the morning until she dropped into bed at night, too tired to brush her teeth. Summers kept her so busy, she didn’t have time to worry about the future, and there was always the possibility a handsome son might arrive to fetch his mother.

At the hotel, the price of a room included three hearty meals. During the height of summer, the dining room filled twice at lunch and dinner. Extra money came from shipping five-gallon jugs of Creekmore’s famous (and evil-tasting) water all over the country. Additional cash was earned discreetly from a two-story building behind the Annex, where Leland oversaw cockfights in a pit downstairs, while James ran roulette, poker, and blackjack tables above.

Set ups were sold at the Fishes’ Club, the “nightclub” at the far end of the Annex. Prohibition had ended in the rest of the country, but Mississippi chose to remain dry. People brought their own liquor and, if they didn’t, a bootleg bottle could be arranged.

In a pasture behind the kitchen, Alan tended a large vegetable garden. Up the hill in the barn, they kept cows for milk, chickens for eggs, and pigs for sausage, bacon, and smoked hams. With all this, the five of them managed to pay the help who did the planting, cooking and serving, while keeping the place in fairly good repair.

Lillian looked around at the plates piled with tiny bird bones. Today felt fun, but come January, with the rooms empty except for family and one or two servants, she might as well be a monk. Her oldest sister Maude told her not to worry. Look at her at thirty-one, perfectly content without a husband. Lillian did not feel reassured. Maude was a saint, everyone said so, and saints were happy with whatever scraps fell off God’s plate. Lillian wanted life to be a feast and if she ever figured a way out of here, she intended to find a place at the table.

Breakfast over, the family gathered around the fireplace in the big parlor to open gifts. Lillian tried to act nonchalant. She praised the satin slip from Ernestine and the red beret crocheted by Maude. She smiled as Leland and James tried on scarves she’d knitted them in Ole Miss’s colors, cardinal and navy. Faye’s son, followed by Ernestine’s, ran in and out of the room, conducting aerial battles with the small tin airplanes Lillian had given them.

Lillian held off opening the lumpy package from her brothers until there were no more presents. Affecting a modest disinterest, she untied the red string and ripped off the white paper.

Out tumbled an envelope and the radiator cap from some kind of car. She’d seen a cap like this one, with a red-line thermometer that told you if the engine over-heated. This was from her car.

“I can’t believe it.” She leapt to her feet, dumping the wrappings on the floor, threw her arms first around Leland, then James. “You are the best brothers in the entire world. Where’s the rest of it?” She slammed out the front door, looking up and down the graveled parking area. James and Faye’s beat-up Chevrolet Coupe stood alone.

“Okay, you two,” Lillian said. “Where’d you hide it? Is it in the carport?” She ran past them, headed through the dining room.

James called her name, puffing along behind. At thirty-two, he was getting fat. She did not stop to listen.

“Wait,” Leland said.

She dashed through the kitchen and out the side door, racing along the frigid open porch and down the stairs by the family’s summer quarters. Her brothers tried to catch up, but Lillian was thin and faster. The low open carport held the hotel’s one and only vehicle, the battered 1925 Packard used for hauling guests and supplies. Lillian stood confused. “Where is it?”

“This was Leland’s idea.” James bent, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath.

“Where’s the rest of my car?”

“We knew how bad you wanted one, so we—” James trailed off. “You didn’t open the envelope.” Leland handed it to her.

Lillian tore it open and found a twenty-dollar bill inside. Stabbed by disappointment, she flung the money and the radiator cap into the dirt.

“The radiator cap was sort of a guarantee.” Leland said, “and the money is our first installment. That’s all we could afford this year.”

Seeing her brothers’ forlorn faces, Lillian laughed through her tears. “I hate you both.”

“Please don’t be mad,” Leland said. “We thought you’d get a kick out of it.”

The red birthmark on her forehead must be showing. It blazed forth when she got angry. “Only you two would treat me this bad.”

James tried to hug her. “We’ll get you a car, you know we will, as soon as we find the money.” He picked up the radiator cap and the twenty-dollar bill.

“When things get better,” Leland said.

Lillian shook her head. “I’m not ready to forgive you.”

James handed her the money. “Put this away and we’ll add to it.” They looked like hound dogs, wet-eyed, begging for reassurance.

She could not stay mad. Forgiveness was one of her best qualities. Walking back toward the hotel, she linked arms with them. “Let me see if I have this straight. I’m getting this car one piece at a time.” She poked Leland in the ribs. “A chunk each Christmas. By the time I have the whole thing, I’ll be so old you’ll have to wheel me to the driver’s seat.”

James pulled her closer. “You’re our baby sister and we’ll always take care of you.”

She knew they would, which almost made up for being an orphan with no hope of escape.

After a late afternoon dinner of turkey and dressing, ambrosia and coconut cake, Lillian went upstairs to her room. Christmas had been splendid, but she’d had enough. She kicked off her shoes and crawled under the quilt in her clothes. This might not be the life she dreamed of, but it was not a bad life. How many girls had older brothers like James and Leland, and a sister as good as Maude? She might have no money or prospects, but she was rich with love.

A soft knock on the door. “It’s me—Faye.”

Lillian sat up. She loved James’s wife. Faye was like a blood sister, only better because she wasn’t.

Faye crawled under the covers next to Lillian and took a hammered metal flask out of her purse.

“This is why I adore you,” Lillian said. “You’re the only woman I know with a flask.”

“Men shouldn’t have all the fun.”

Faye was six years older, tall to Lillian’s short, and languorous compared with Lillian’s energy. James married her when she was sixteen, so Faye had never finished high school, much less college. She gave birth to one baby, declared the experience horrible, and told James not to plan on more. They named him James Junior, but everyone called the child Jimbo, after Jumbo the elephant. He weighed nine pounds at birth, and at twelve was twice as large as Ernestine’s Knox III.

Lillian loved Faye for being pretty and lazy, and not caring what Ernestine or anyone else thought. James adored her. He called her “baby” and treated her like a precious, breakable object.

“Have a swig.” Faye held out the flask.

The whiskey went down hot and Lillian shivered. She didn’t really enjoy the taste of straight bourbon, but she loved the way it made her feel. “I’m going to be stuck at this hotel for the rest of my life.”

“The boys would have given you a car if they could.”

Lillian took another swallow. “I know.”

“And you’re not stuck. You’re too cute to get stuck anywhere. If this were Ernestine we were talking about—” She poked Lillian and they laughed.

Ernestine was the most proper member of the Creekmore family. She knew the right way to do everything, and didn’t mind correcting your manners or your grammar. It felt good to laugh at her.

“Ernestine’s already got a husband,” Lillian said, “even if he is short and nearly bald.”

“You are going to meet someone so wonderful.” Faye stretched her long legs under the covers. “I can feel it in my bones. All you’ve got to do is keep your eyes open and recognize good fortune when he shows up.”

“What about love?”

“You know what I say.”

“It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one.” “Easier.” Faye tapped a cigarette out of her pack of Pall Malls and offered Lillian one. Her lighter clicked and they sat back on the pillows, inhaling with satisfaction.

“But you love James and he’s not rich.” Lillian made a smoke ring and watched it rise toward the ceiling.

“Not yet, but he has prospects. I could see that in him, even at sixteen. You know he’s been buying and selling cotton?”

Lillian got out of bed to fetch an ashtray. “I know he’s spending more time in Canton than here at the hotel. Makes Ernestine furious.” “He’s good at brokering cotton. It takes a knack and James has it. If this pans out, he’ll be more help to you than working here. There’s good money in cotton.” Faye ground out her half-smoked cigarette.

“That dinner knocked me out. I’m going to my room for a nap.”

The door closed behind her. Lillian took a final puff, made sure both cigarettes were out, and set the ashtray on the floor. Faye thought she had a chance, which felt comforting. Comforting under a comforter. She closed her eyes. Nice to hear wood crackling in the corner fire place. This was her favorite room. Out there somewhere, a wonderful man waited. Behind her closed lids, Lillian tried to picture what he might be doing as they traveled toward each other in time.

Excerpt from In Common by Norma Watkins.
Copyright © 2022 by Norma Watkins.
Published with permission.
All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Author Norma Watkins photograph: smiling older white woman with short silvery-platinum colored hair, wearing black eyeglasses and a dark top with both hands cupping her face.Raised in the South during the civil rights struggles, Norma Watkins is the author of In Common and two memoirs: The Last Resort, Taking the Mississippi Cure (2011), which won a gold medal for best nonfiction published in the South by an independent press; and That Woman from Mississippi (2017). She lives in northern California with her woodworker husband and three cats.


Connect with the author: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Website

Blog Tour Participants

February 13: The Muffin – Author Interview
February 15: Michelle Cornish – Food Feature
February 18: A Story Book World – Guest Author Post
February 20: Lisa Buske – Guest Author Post
February 22: Author Anthony Avina’s Blog – Review
February 24: Fiona Ingram’s Author Blog – Guest Post
February 25: The Book Diva’s Reads – Excerpt
February 27: Mindy McGinnis’s Blog – Guest Post
February 28: Seaside Book Nook – Spotlight and Excerpt
March 1: The Mommies Reviews – Review
March 2: The Frugalista Mom – Guest Post
March 4: World of My Imagination – Guest Post
March 5: A Wonderful World of Words – Special Feature
March 6: Life According to Jamie – Review
March 8: Author Anthony Avina’s Blog – Guest Post
March 9: The Knotty Needle – Review
March 10: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews Blog – Author Interview
March 11: Reading In the Wildwood – Review
March 12: Jill Sheets’s Blog – Author Interview

This book showcase and excerpt brought to you by WOW! Women On Writing 


Book Showcase: IT’S ONE OF US by J.T. Ellison

IT'S ONE OF US by J.T. Ellison book cover featuring light blue washed bricks (possible walkway/street) with green moss growing between the bricks and blades of grass at the bottom right and left edge of cover; title is in all caps down the cover in yellow lettering, the author's name is at the bottom center in white letteringIt’s One of Us by J.T. Ellison
ISBN: 9780778311768 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9780369706560 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781488218095 (Digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0B3JSH47Y (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09ZLGLKH9 (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 400
Release Date: February 21, 2023
Publisher: MIRA Books
Genre: Fiction | Suspense | Psychological Thriller

Everybody lies. Even the ones you think you know best of all . . .

Olivia Bender designs exquisite home interiors that satisfy the most demanding clients. But her own deepest desire can’t be fulfilled by marble counters or the perfect rug. She desperately wants to be a mother. Fertility treatments and IVF keep failing. And just when she feels she’s at her lowest point, the police deliver shocking news to Olivia and her husband, Park.

DNA results show that the prime suspect in a murder investigation is Park’s son. Olivia is relieved, knowing this is a mistake. Despite their desire, the Benders don’t have any children. Then comes the confession. Many years ago, Park donated sperm to a clinic. He has no idea how many times it was sold—or how many children he has sired.

As the murder investigation goes deeper, more terrible truths come to light. With every revelation, Olivia must face the unthinkable. The man she married has fathered a killer. But can she hold that against him when she keeps such dark secrets of her own?

This twisting, emotionally layered thriller explores the lies we tell to keep a marriage together—or break each other apart . . .

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | B&N Audiobook | | Books-A-Million | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook

Book Excerpt:


There is blood again.

Olivia forces away the threatening tears. She will not collapse. She will not cry. She will stand up, square her shoulders and flush the toilet, whispering small words of benediction toward the life that was, that wasn’t, that could have been.

She will not linger; she will not acknowledge the sudden sense of emptiness consuming her body. She will not give this moment more than it deserves. It’s happened before, too many times now. It will happen again, her mind unhelpfully provides.

There is relief in this pain, some sort of primitive biological response to help ease her heavy heart. Olivia has never lied to herself about her feelings about having a child. She wants this, she’s sure of it. Wants the experience, wants to be able to speak the same language as her sisters in the fertility arts, her friends who’ve already birthed their own. And she loves the idea of being pregnant. Loves the feelings of that early flush of success—the soreness and tingling in her breasts, the spotty nausea, the excitement, the fatigue. Loves remembering that moment when she realized she was pregnant the first time.

She’d known even before she took the test. She could feel the life growing inside her. Feel the quickening pulse. A secret she held in her heart, managing several hours with just the two of them, alone in their nascent lives. Every room of the house looked new, fresh, dangerous. Sharp corners and glass coffee tables, no, no, those would have to be tempered, replaced. The sun glancing off the breakfast table—too bright here, the spot on the opposite side would be best for a high chair. The cat, snoozing in the window seat—how was she going to take an interloper? The plans. The plans.

After a carefully arranged lunch, fresh fruit and no soft cheeses, she’d driven to the bookstore for a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, accepted the sweet congratulations of the bookseller—think, a complete stranger knew more than her family, her husband. She tied the plastic stick with its beautiful double pink lines inside two elaborate bows—one pink, one blue—and gave it to Park after an elegant dinner.

The look on his face—pride and fear and terror and joy, all mingled with desire—when he realized what she was saying. He’d been struck dumb, could only grin ear to ear and pat her leg for the first twenty minutes.

So much joy between them. So much possibility.

Olivia replayed that moment, over and over, every time she got pregnant. It helped chase away the furrowing, the angles and planes of Park’s forehead, cheek, chin, as they collapsed into sorrow when she’d miscarried the first time. And the next. And the next. Every time she lost their children, it was the same, all played out on Park’s handsome face: exaltation, fear, sorrow. Pity.

No, the being pregnant part was idyllic for her, albeit terribly brief. It’s only that she doesn’t know how she feels about what happens ten months hence, and the lifetime that follows. The stranger that comes into being. But that’s normal—at least, that’s what everyone tells her. All women feel nervous about what comes next. Her ambivalence isn’t what’s killing her babies. She can’t help but feel it’s her fault for not being certain to her marrow what she wants. That God is punishing her for being cavalier.

Of course, this internal conversation is moot. There is blood. Again.

She hastily makes her repairs—the materials are never far away. If she stashed the pads and tampons away in the hall cabinet, it would be bad luck. Too optimistic.

Not like they’re having any luck anyway. Six pregnancies. Six miscarriages. IUIs and IVF. Needles and hormones and pain, so much pain. More than anyone should have to bear.

With a momentary glance at the crime scene in the toilet, she depresses the handle.

“Goodbye,” she whispers. “I’m so sorry.”

Olivia brushes her teeth, then pulls a comb through her glossy, prenatal-enriched locks, rehearsing the breakfast conversation she must now have.

How does she tell Park she’s failed, yet again, to hold the tiny life inside her?

Downstairs, it is now just another morning, no different from any over the past several years. Just the two of them, getting ready for the day.

The television is on in the kitchen, tuned to the local morning show. Park whistles as he whisks eggs in a bright red bowl. Park’s breakfasts are legendary. Savory omelets, buckwheat blueberry pancakes, veggie frittatas, yogurts and homemade granola—you name it, he makes it. Olivia handles dinner. If she cooks three nights out of seven, she considers that a success. They eat like kings in the morning and paupers at night, and they love it.

She pauses at the door, watching him bustle around. He is already dressed for work, jeans and a button-down, black lace-up brogues. His “office” is in the backyard, in a shed Olivia converted for his use. A former—reformed—English professor on a semipermanent sabbatical, Park has launched a second career ghostwriting psychological thrillers. He claims to love the anonymity of it, that he can work so close to home, and the money is good. Enough. Not obscene, but enough. They’ve been able to afford four rounds of IUI and two in vitros so far. And as he says, writing is the perfect career for a man who wants to be a stay-at-home dad. There’s no reason for him to go back to teaching. Not now.

A pang in her heart, echoed by a sharp cramp in her stomach. They are throwing everything away. She is throwing everything away. This round of IVF, she only produced a few retrievable eggs, and this was their last embryo.

My God, she’s gotten clinical. She’s gotten cold. Babies. Not embryos. There are no more frozen babies. Which means she’ll have to do it all again, the weeks-long scientific process of creating a child: the suppression drugs, the early morning blood tests, the shots, the trigger, the surgery, the implantation. The rage and fear and pain. Again.

The money. It costs so, so much.

She has frozen at the edge of the kitchen, thoughts roiling, and Park senses her there, turns with a wide smile. The whisk clicks against the bowl in time with her heartbeat.

“How are my darlings feeling this morning? Mama and bebe hungry?”

She is saved from blurting out the truth—mama no more, bebe is dead—by the ringing of the doorbell.

Park frowns. “Who is here so early? Watch the eggs, will you?”

Even chickens can do what she cannot.

It’s infuriating. House cats escape into the woods and sixty days later purge themselves of tiny blind beings. Insects, birds, rats, rabbits, deer, reproduce without thought or hindrance.

Nearly four million women a year—a year!—manage to give birth.

But not her.

She’s not depressed, really, she’s not. She’s come to terms with this. It happens. Today will be a bad day, tomorrow will be better. They will try again. It will all be okay.

Mechanically, Olivia moves to the stove, accepts the wooden spatula. Park disappears toward the foyer, shoulders broad and waist nearly as trim as the day she met him. She will never get over his handsomeness, his winning personality. Everyone loves Park. How could you not? He is perfect. He is everything Olivia is not.

The television is blaring a breaking news alert, and she turns her attention to it, grateful for something, anything, to focus on beside the intransigent nature of her womb and the fear her husband will abandon her. The anchor is new, from Mississippi, with a voice soft as honey. Tupelo? No, Oxford, Olivia remembers; Park took her to a quaint bookstore there on the square one summer, long ago.

“Sad news this morning, as it has been confirmed the body found in Davidson County earlier this week belongs to young mother Beverly Cooke. Cooke has been missing for three months, after she was last seen going for a hike at Radnor Lake. Her car was found in the parking lot, with her purse and phone inside. Metro Nashville Police spokesperson Vanda Priory tells Channel Four Metro is working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Forensic Medical to determine her cause of death. The Cooke family released a statement a few minutes ago. ‘Thank you to everyone who has helped bring Beverly home. We will have more information on her burial soon. We ask for privacy during this difficult time.’ Metro now turns their attention to identifying a suspect. In this morning’s briefing, Homicide Detective William Osley stated that Metro has a lead and will be pursuing it vigorously. Next up, time to break into the cedar closet, it’s finally sweater weather!”

Olivia sighs in regret. That poor woman. Like everyone in Nashville, Olivia has followed the case religiously. To have a young mother—the kind of woman she’s so desperate to mold herself into— disappear into thin air from a safe, regularly traveled, popular spot, one Olivia herself hikes on occasion, has been terrifying. She knows Beverly Cooke, too, albeit peripherally. They were in a book club together a few years ago. Beverly was fun. Loud. Drank white wine in the kitchen of the house and gossiped about the neighbors. Never read the book.

Olivia stopped going after a few meetings. It was right before she’d started her first official fertility treatments, had two miscarriages behind her, was hopped up on Clomid and aspirin, and all anyone could do was talk babies. Beverly had just weaned her first and was drunk for the first time in two years. She alternated between complaining and cooing about the trials and joys of motherhood. Olivia couldn’t take it, this flagrant flaunting of the woman’s success. She stood stock still in the clubhouse kitchen, fingers clenching a glass of Chardonnay, envisioning the myriad ways she could murder Beverly. Cracking the glass on the counter’s edge and swiping it across Beverly’s pale stalk of a neck seemed the most expedient.

Honestly, she wanted to murder them all, the sycophantic breeders who took their ability to procreate for granted. They had no idea what she was going through. How she was tearing apart inside, month after month. How she felt the embryos detach and knew it was over. How Park’s face went from joy to disdain every time.

Some people wear their scars on the outside.

Some hide them deep, and never let anyone in to see them.

Olivia is still staring at the screen, which is blaring a commercial for car insurance, processing, remembering, fists balled so tightly she can feel her nails cutting the skin, when she hears her husband calling her name.

“Olivia?” His voice is pitched higher than normal, as if he’s excited, or scared.

Park enters the kitchen from the hall between the dining room and the butler’s pantry.

“Honey, they found Beverly—” she starts. But her words die in her throat when she sees two strangers, a man and a woman, standing behind him, people she knows immediately are police officers just by their wary bearing and shifting eyes that take in the whole room in a moment, then settle on her appraisingly.

“I know,” Park says, coming to her side, shutting off the gas. She’s burned the eggs; a sulfurous stench emanates from the gold-encrusted pan. He takes the spatula from her carefully. “It’s been on the news all morning. Liv, these detectives need to talk to us.”


The man—stocky, slick smoky-lensed gold glasses, perfectly worn-in cowboy boots and a leather jacket over a button-down—takes a small step forward and removes his sunglasses. His eyes are the deepest espresso and hold something indefinable, between pity and accusation. It’s as if he knows what she is thinking, knows her uncharitable thoughts toward poor dead Beverly.

“Detective Osley, ma’am. My partner, Detective Moore. We’ve been working Beverly Cooke’s case. I understand you knew her? Our condolences for your loss.”

Olivia cuts her eyes at Park. What the hell has he been saying to them?

“I don’t know her. Didn’t. Not well. We were in a book club together, years ago. I don’t know what happened to her. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.”

“Oh, we understand. That’s not why we’re here.” Osley glances at his partner. The woman is taller than he is, graceful in the way of ex–ballet dancers even in her street clothes, with a long, supple neck, hooded green eyes devoid of makeup and blond hair twisted into a thick no-nonsense bun worn low, brushing the collar of her shirt.

“Why are you here, exactly?” Olivia asks.

Park frowns at her tone. She’s come across too sharp, but my God, what she’s already handled this morning would break a lesser woman.

“It’s about our suspect in the Cooke case. Can we sit down?”

Olivia reigns in her self-loathing fury and turns on the charm. The consummate hostess act always works. Park has taught her that. “Oh, of course. Can I get you some coffee? Tea? We were making breakfast. Can we offer you some eggs, or a muffin? I have a fresh pan here—”

“No, ma’am, we’re fine,” Moore demurs. “Let’s sit down and have a chat.”

Olivia has a moment of sheer freak-out. Was it Park? Had he killed Beverly Cooke? Was that why they wanted to talk, because he was a suspect? If he was a suspect, would the police sit down with them casually in the kitchen? Wouldn’t they want something more official? Take him to the station? Did they need to call a lawyer? Her mind was going fifty thousand miles an hour, and Park was already convicted and in prison, and she was so alone in the big house, so lonely, before she reached a hand to pull out the chair.

She needs to knock off the true crime podcasts. Her husband is not a murderer. He is incapable of that kind of deceit.

Isn’t he?

Sometimes she wonders.

“Nice kitchen,” Osley says.

“Thank you.”

Olivia loves her kitchen. It is the model for all her signature looks. Airy, open, white cabinets with iron pulls, leathered white marble counters. A black granite–topped island just the right size for chopping and serving, light spilling in from the big bay window. A white oak French country table with elegant cane-backed chairs. It was the heart of her home, the heart of her life with Park.

Now, though, it is simply the site of his greatest betrayal. Forevermore, from this morning—with the burned eggs and the somber police and Park’s face whiter than bone—until the end of her tenure here, and even then, in remembrance, she would look at this precious place with fury and sadness for what could have been. The ghosts of the life they were supposed to have clung to her, suckled her spirit like a babe at her breast never would. Everywhere she looked were echoes of the shadow existence she was supposed to be living. Here, a frazzled mother, smiling despite her fatigue at the children she’d created. There, a loving father, always ready to lend a hand tossing a ball or helping with homework. And look, a trio of towheaded boys and a soft blonde princess girl, the teasing and laughter of their mealtimes. How the table would seem to grow smaller as the boys got older and took up more space. The girlfriends came, the boyfriends. The emptiness when it was just the two of them again, the children grown with their own lives, the table bursting at holidays only. The grandchildren, happiness and racket, the noise and the joy creeping out from the woodwork again.

She is alone. She will always be alone. She will not have this life. She will not have this dream.

Park made it so.

As the detectives continue to speak, softly, without rancor, and her world splinters, Olivia hardens, compresses, shrinks. She watches her husband and holds on to one small thought.

I have the power to destroy you, too. Dear God, give me the chance.

Excerpt from It’s One of Us by J.T. Ellison.
Copyright © 2023 by J.T. Ellison.
Published with permission from MIRA Books.
All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Author JT Ellison: photo of a smiling white woman with long blonde hair, wearing brown eyeglasses, a beige, rolled-neck sweater and a pearl necklace, seated on a beige sofa.
Author J.T. Ellison – photo credit: Kidtee Hello Photography

J.T. Ellison is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award-winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville’s premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Connect with the author: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website


This book showcase and excerpt brought to you by MIRA Books


Guest Post: Elizabeth Goddard – COLD LIGHT OF DAY

Cold Light of Day

by Elizabeth Goddard

February 20 – March 17, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Hello, my fellow book lovers. For those of you in the US, I hope you’re staying safe, warm, and dry during this recent cold front creeping across our country. Do you give a lot of thought to the setting of the books that you read? Some stories cry out for a big city setting, whether it’s a fictional or real city. Other stories are perfect in a small-town setting. Some readers consider the setting as vital as the characters and the action. Many authors seem to intuitively understand the importance of setting for their stories. Elizabeth Goddard, the author of Cold Light of Day and more, understands this concept. Ms. Goddard joins us today and discusses the impact of setting as a “force of nature” in her writings. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say and add Cold Light of Day to your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Goddard, for taking the time to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Force of Nature
by Elizabeth Goddard

Who doesn’t love a great view? Whether you’re looking out your living room window at a beautiful sunset or pulling over your car to take in a magnificent vista that lets you see for miles, the beauty of nature catches your attention. That’s why setting has always been an important starting point for my novels. In fact, setting is truly my inspiration for writing almost every story I’ve penned (Or typed out on a keyboard!). Once I’m inspired by a stunning location, then I discover the plot and the characters.

The best novels include strong multi-dimensional characters that we can’t forget. Their vitality and personality often drive the story as we cheer them on. We might refer to them as a “force of nature.” But nature itself can become a character in a story. A great location can be not only the backdrop for suspense and adventure, but, like the recent Publishers Weekly review of Cold Light of Day mentions, “The Alaskan wilderness is a character all its own.”

Years ago, I wrote a series set in Southeast Alaska and I loved those books so much, that I had been considering returning for another series. While researching for my book Deadly Target (Rocky Mountain Courage book 2) I came across a podcast about people missing in Alaska, and I knew that I wanted to write a series about the same. Cold Light of Day, (Missing in Alaska book 1), was born. I created the fictional town of Shadow Gap situated in a beautiful fjord, and I’ve tried to take advantage of all the amazing scenery and wildlife my setting could offer along the way—cold water diving and whale watching for example. I’ve also used the setting to put my characters in dangerous situations—over and over. Cold Light of Day is a mixture of romance, suspense, and adventure. Man versus man and man versus nature. That’s how I prefer to write my stories. As a reader, I also look for books with a strong interesting backdrop that can become a force of nature in the story. ♦


Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard

Police Chief Autumn Long is fighting to keep her job in the quiet Alaska town of Shadow Gap when an unexpected string of criminal activity leaves her with a wounded officer, unexplained murders, and even an attack on her own father. Despite her mistrust of outsiders, she turns to Grier Brenner, a newcomer who seems to have the skills and training Autumn needs to face this threat to her community.

Grier is in Alaska for the same reason so many others are—to disappear—when Chief Long enlists his help. He emerges from the shadows and proves his mettle, but his presence in her life could be a deadly trap for them both. If his secret is exposed, all will be lost. And he’s not sure even Autumn could save him.

As the stakes rise and the dangers increase, Autumn and Grier must rely on each other to extinguish the deadly threats.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Revell
Publication Date: February 7, 2023
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN13: 9780800742041 (Paperback)
ISBN10: 0800742044 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781493439775 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781705083918 (Digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0BP9CQZPM (Audible Audiobook)
ASIN: B0B6Q6PXBQ (Kindle edition)
Series: Missing in Alaska, 1
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | B&N Audiobook | | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Goodreads | Baker Book House

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than 50 novels, including Cold Light of Day and the Rocky Mountain Courage and Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold nearly 1.5 million copies. She is a Carol Award and Reader’s Choice Award winner and a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry. For more information about her books, visit her website at

Catch Up With Elizabeth Goddard:
BookBub – @ElizabethGoddard
Instagram – @elizabethgoddardauthor
Twitter – @bethgoddard
Facebook – @ElizabethGoddardAuthor

Tour Participants:

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