Guest Author: Howard Michael Gould – PAY OR PLAY

Pay or Play by Howard Michael Gould Banner

Good day, book people. I hope the beginning of 2022 has been good to you all and that you’ve been able to get some reading time in over the holiday season. As a reader, I’m always fascinated by the paths taken by authors. How did they begin writing? How did they develop their characters? What sparked their creativity? I’m pleased to welcome the incredibly accomplished and multi-award winning writer, Howard Michael Gould to the blog. Mr. Gould will be providing us a glimpse into his character, Waldo, in what might loosely be termed his “finding Waldo” moments. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share with us, follow along with the blog tour, and put Pay or Play, the latest Waldo addition on your TBR list. Without further adieu I give you Mr. Howard Michael Gould.

Waldo: from Screen to Page and Back
by Howard Michael Gould

It’s hard to become a crime novelist by accident, but that’s kind of what happened to me. And I’m glad as hell that it did.

I moved to Hollywood in my 20s and worked in television comedy for a decade, then movies for a decade, then in my third decade did a little of both. Twenty-five years in, several producers in a row suddenly had the idea to hire me to write one crime comedy or another—a movie here, a pilot there—and I was surprised how much I enjoyed the blend.

I particularly liked the idea of doing a private eye TV series with some laughs, like Moonlighting or Monk. But because my TV credits were in comedy rather than drama, I’d need a unique pitch, so I found myself looking for a “high concept” idea—some angle or character gimmick that would make mine, unlike any other detective, though not goofy or corny, and sustainable enough to hold my own interest for several seasons.

Around that time, my daughter showed me a video called The Story of Stuff, about how society is burning through the planet’s resources in service of a planned consumerism which is simultaneously making us miserable. I was mesmerized. Out of this came my series lead, Charlie Waldo.

Waldo lives in a different kind of misery, punishing himself for a fatal mistake during his otherwise stellar LAPD career. In response, he’s vowed never to cause harm to anyone or anything again, not even the planet. So he’s moved to a tiny cabin in the woods on a mountain outside of Los Angeles, where he lives as a hermit, a pathological environmentalist, and even a minimalist—with a strict vow never to own more than One Hundred Things.

In my original network pitch, his ex-girlfriend Lorena, a PI herself, tracks him down three years into his isolation and lures him into helping her on a case, triggering a partnership between once and future lovers with clashing approaches to life: he the ascetic, she the up-from-poverty materialist who’d never give up her Mercedes or her D&G stilettos.

I pitched it to a top TV producer, who loved it, and we took it to a couple of networks. At one, the executives actually applauded at the end of the pitch—this had never happened in my whole career—but called three days later to pass because their network did policemen, not private eyes. So I put poor Waldo on the sad pile with dozens of other abandoned nifty ideas. That’s life in Hollywood, where—unless you’re a writer for hire who goes from series to series, helping other writers execute their ideas (a plenty noble path, but not for me, temperamentally)—lots and lots of your best stuff goes to waste.

About a year and a half later, I got an intriguing email from my favorite movie producer. This was during the post-2008 financial crash, with Hollywood in a tailspin and forced to reinvent itself. The producer had a new venture with two partners and some independent funding, and the trio wanted to hire me to write an indie movie. They expressed particular interest in my writing some sort of detective movie with comedy if I happened to have an idea lying around.

I pulled Waldo off the dead pile.

Since I’d conceived him as a case-of-the-week detective, I now had to come up with a movie-sized story, and landed on a sensational Hollywood murder: a larger-than-life, British-born thespian named Alastair Pinch, a belligerent alcoholic, may or may not have killed his wife in their locked mansion during a blackout drunk. A second great role. And setting it in L.A., which I knew so well, would set eco-maniacal Waldo in contrast with the most materialistic town in the world.

It turned out to be the hardest script I’d ever written—subject for another essay—but when I was done, the producer thought it was the best I’d ever written. Instantly, it seemed, Owen Wilson wanted to play Waldo, and a hot indie director came aboard, too, a very smart guy in love with the project. I started doing some rewrites to accommodate their ideas, standard for the business.

(Meanwhile, I’d gotten a new sitcom on the air, my primary job for the next three years. The Waldo rewriting would be early-morning and weekend work.)

Once I got the script where the director wanted it, the actor’s agent got cold feet: people weren’t really making detective movies anymore—big studios were only interested in bigger movies, and indie financers were only interested in smaller, less commercial movies—i.e., awards-bait—and the agent didn’t want a project with Owen attached to seek financing and possibly fail. Goodbye, Owen. Oh, and goodbye director, too.

Next, the producers attached a more famous director, and we wasted a year or two rewriting to make him happy before he decided that what he really wanted was to chase bigger money jobs.

Then Jim Carrey wanted to do it. We had a delightful meeting. He had ideas. I did more rewrites.

Somewhere in this period, my sitcom concluded its run, affording me the time and financial freedom to try something more ambitious and creatively gratifying. Meanwhile, through all the rewrites, I’d fallen in love with Waldo and hated the idea that he’d end up back on that dead projects pile. Which is when it hit me: maybe Owen Wilson’s agent was right, maybe there weren’t a lot of detective movies anymore…but there sure were a lot of detective novels. What if I got back the rights, and tried to reverse-adapt my Waldo screenplay into a book?

Of course, I’d never written fiction as an adult and had no reason to think I’d be any good at it.

But write it I did. And damned if getting it published wasn’t the first thing that ever came easily. I wrote a sequel, and that sold, too. And now a third, called Pay or Play.

To my great surprise, I’ve found the career shift very satisfying. The writing itself is painful and difficult, and I take longer on each book than most authors I meet in the category (subject for yet another essay), but unlike Hollywood—where the goal is to attract the interest of someone who’ll attract the interest of someone more important, who’ll attract the interest of someone more important, who’ll actually attract someone with money to say they want to make your project, while each of those someones has creative input and you hope that you can hang on and make all the someones happy while still steering something you’re proud of to a screen—now the only goal is to write a book I’m proud of.♦

 

P.S.: The movie finally got made, too. It’s called Last Looks, same as the first book in the series. Charlie Hunnam—exactly the right actor, in the end—plays the eco-maniacal, ascetic detective, and Mel Gibson plays the belligerent alcoholic star. They’re both brilliant, and it’s coming out in a couple of weeks. I hope you’ll look for it.♦♦

Pay or Play

by Howard Michael Gould

January 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Pay or Play by Howard Michael Gould

Blackmail, sexual harassment, murder . . .
and a missing dog: eccentric, eco-obsessed LA private eye Charlie Waldo is on the case in this quirky, fast-paced mystery.

Paying a harsh self-imposed penance for a terrible misstep on a case, former LAPD superstar detective Charlie Waldo lives a life of punishing minimalism deep within the woods, making a near religion of his commitment to owning no more than One Hundred Things.

At least, he’s trying to. His PI girlfriend Lorena keeps drawing him back to civilization – even though every time he compromises on his principles, something goes wrong.

And unfortunately for Waldo, all roads lead straight back to LA. When old adversary Don Q strongarms him into investigating the seemingly mundane death of a vagrant, Lorena agrees he can work under her PI license on one condition: he help with a high-maintenance celebrity client, wildly popular courtroom TV star Judge Ida Mudge, whose new mega-deal makes her a perfect target for blackmail.

Reopening the coldest of cases, a decades-old fraternity death, Waldo begins to wonder if the judge is, in fact, a murderer – and if he’ll stay alive long enough to find out.

Pay or Play is the third in the Charlie Waldo series, following Last Looks and Below the Line. Last Looks was turned into a major motion picture, starring Charlie Hunnam as the offbeat private investigator.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Private Detective
Published by: Severn House Publishers Limited
Publication Date: December 7th 2021
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 0727850857 (ISBN13: 9780727850850)
Series: Charlie Waldo, #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Howard Michael Gould

Howard Michael Gould graduated from Amherst College and spent five years working on Madison Avenue, winning three Clios and numerous other awards.

In television, he was executive producer and head writer of CYBILL when it won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, and held the same positions on THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW and INSTANT MOM. Other TV credits include FM and HOME IMPROVEMENT. He wrote and directed the feature film THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, Andie MacDowell and Jenna Elfman. Other feature credits include MR. 3000 and SHREK THE THIRD.

His play DIVA premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and La Jolla Playhouse, and was subsequently published by Samuel French and performed around the country.

He is the author of three mystery novels featuring the minimalist detective Charlie Waldo: LAST LOOKS (2018) and BELOW THE LINE (2019), both nominated for Shamus Awards by the Private Eye Writers of America, and PAY OR PLAY (2021). The feature film version of LAST LOOKS, starring Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson and directed by Tim Kirkby, will premiere February, 2022; Gould also wrote the screenplay.

Catch Up With Howard Michael Gould:
HowardMichaelGould.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram – @howardmichaelgould
Twitter – @HowardMGould
Facebook – @HowardMGould

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=305367

Join In:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Howard Michael Gould. See the widget or click here for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

 

https://kingsumo.com/js/embed.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: PJ Peterson – PICKLED PINK IN PARIS

Pickled Pink in Paris by PJ Peterson Banner

Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you’re all having a wonderful month of December so far. Have you ever wondered about all of the careers held by the authors we read? I know authors that are former (and current) teachers, librarians, lawyers, doctors, law enforcement officers, military personnel, actors, athletes, etc. Thankfully, these highly creative souls also provide us with hours of reading pleasure by crafting such wonderful stories. I’m pleased to welcome P.J. Peterson, a former internist and author of Pickled Pink in Paris, a Julia Fairchild Mystery, to the blog today. Ms. Peterson will be discussing using her medical knowledge and expertise in her writings. Please help me welcome the accomplished, P.J. Peterson. Thank you, Dr. Peterson for joining and sharing with us today, the blog is all yours.

"Guest Post" with books divider

Readers, especially my friends, have asked if I write from my experiences or do I make everything up in my head. The answer is that I do both. In each of my first four Julia Fairchild books (Number four will be published in December 2021, I hope), a number of the adventures are true to life, although modified to fit the pretend situation.

Some things that are true: I won a limbo contest years ago, am a certified scuba diver, have been on a half-dozen tap/jazz dance cruises, and am a (retired) Internal Medicine specialist. I have never been in a helicopter or an underwater cave with blind fish, or captured a bad guy, although I’ve helped the police a couple of times when someone tried to pass a forged narcotic prescription.

I have been to all the locations in my books which helps to be able to use all the senses when describing a setting. The one exception is that I didn’t get to visit Paris until after I finished writing Pickled Pink in Paris because my trip was cancelled three times. I had to use Rick Steves’ travel guide and maps to make sense of Julia’s adventure there. I relied on online resources as well for detail. Most of my writing otherwise arises from my creative imagination, although often there is a smidgen of truth lurking beneath the surface.

Because of my training as a physician, I like to insert something related to the practice of medicine in each of my stories. My heroine, Julia Fairchild, is a young internist, and is loosely based on a much younger version of myself, although I portray her as much braver than I think I am. It makes sense to me to have her use her astute diagnostic skills as she solves the puzzle in front of her. I told my patients regularly that a physician is a detective who uses patients’ symptoms and physical findings to identify the diagnosis. Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a British physician, as many of us know.

When I am writing a scene that is purely fiction (in the truest sense of the word), I picture myself in the setting that I’ve created and imagine what I would be seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, and touching. For the catacombs scene in Pickled Pink in Paris, for example, I imagined what it might be like to be in complete darkness, in an unfamiliar place, cold, and very frightened that I wouldn’t be found before I became a pile of bones.

I write dialogue by talking aloud as I write to make it as realistic as possible. In high school debate my specialties were extemporaneous and impromptu speaking. That background of learning to speak off-the-cuff is helpful when making up conversations.

When my readers read one of my Julia Fairchild mysteries, I hope they feel as though they are right there with my characters, experiencing the moment, and immersed in the story. Then I will have done my job as an author.

PJ Peterson

Pickled Pink in Paris

by PJ Peterson

December 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Pickled Pink in Paris by PJ Peterson

A major business deal is disrupted by murder.

But a young physician has the key to the case…

A dying man’s last word whispered in her ear: “…mushroom…”

When medical internist Julia Fairchild receives an invitation to Paris from her long-distance beau, Josh, she packs a bag, grabs her sister Carly, and jets off for the City of Lights. But once they arrive, death and suspicion take the place of champagne and escargot. Josh’s business partner is dying in the hospital, and the gendarmes are convinced Josh is behind it.

Naturally curious and driven to seek justice, Julia jumps at the chance to clear Josh’s name – but he doesn’t seem interested in proving his innocence. Is he hiding something? Will Julia uncover the true murderer and salvage what’s left of her Paris vacation, or is she next on the killer’s hit list?

If you love Louise Penny, Laura Child, and Sue Grafton, you’ll enjoy reading this fun-filled cozy mystery! Find out why fans say “It’s a must read!” Don’t wait…

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Finngirl, LLC
Publication Date: August 5th 2021
Number of Pages: 246
ISBN: 1733567518 (ISBN-13: 978-1733567510)
ASIN: B09C2P8KQG (Kindle edition)
Series: Julia Fairchild Mysteries, Book 3
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Goodreads

Author Bio:

PJ Peterson

PJ is a retired internist who enjoyed the diagnostic part of practicing medicine as well as creating long-lasting relationships with her patients. As a child she wanted to be a doctor so she could “help people.” She now volunteers at the local Free Medical Clinic to satisfy that need to help.

She loved to read from a young age and read all the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books she could find. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she wrote anything longer than short stories for English classes and term papers in others. Writing mysteries only makes sense given her early exposure to that genre. Sprinkling in a little medical mystique makes it all the more fun.

Catch Up With PJ Peterson:
www.PJPetersonAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @mizdrpj1
Facebook – PJ Peterson

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=304944

Join In:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for PJ Peterson. There will be TWO US Winners. ONE winner will receive (1) $25 Amazon.com Gift Card and ONE winner will receive one (1) physical copy of Pickled Pink in Paris by PJ Peterson. [U.S. Only] The giveaway runs December 1 through January 2, 2022. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: John Nardizzi – THE BURDEN OF INNOCENCE

The Burden of Innocence by John Nardizzi Banner

Good day, book people. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy participating in reading challenges every year. Some years I actually meet most of the goals from various challenges, but, more often than not, my reading challenge fizzles out sometime in February or March. I usually meet the total number of books I want to read for the year and that’s it. If you’re a mystery or crime fiction reader, then I hope you’ll enjoy today’s visitor. Please help me welcome John Nardizzi, author of The Burden of Innocence, as he shares some of his crime fiction recommendations. Perhaps one or two of these titles might help you meet your reading challenge goal for the year. Thank you, Mr. Nardizzi for joining us today and sharing with us, the blog is all yours.

Voices of Crime – Top 4
by John Nardizzi

I started out in the detective business in San Francisco, a city with a rich history of both real and fictitious detectives. I partied in the same building where Dashiell Hammett lived. But I did not know that my childhood literary fascination with the genre would lead to working in the industry—and also writing crime novels.

The question I get most often from readers: What are the books that most closely resemble the actual tone and feel of real investigations? Contrary to most people’s understanding, PI work has not gone completely high tech, limited to database research. Yes, that is part of the job (and a fun part of it too). Modern investigations still revolve around the most important thing in a trial: witnesses. PIs talk to strangers about difficult things. And those witnesses provide color and tone for the case—all their flaws and imperfections exposed.

So for me, great crime novels speak in the voice of not just the detective, but the witnesses and criminals. Here are my four “must-read” books for any fan of the genre:

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Set in Italy, Patricia Highsmith’s beautiful prose contrasts with the spare, calculating mind of Tom Ripley. A low-level con man, Ripley sees an opportunity to subsume himself in the identity of his rich friend Dickie Greenleaf, leading to murder and betrayal. Story plays out amid beautiful beaches and seaside apartments in Italy, lavish meals and endless glasses of red wine. No one puts you into the delusional, paranoid mind of a criminal better than Highsmith. Great insights: “This is what I like, sitting at a table and watching people go by. It does something to your outlook on life. The Anglo-Saxons make a great mistake not staring at people from a sidewalk table.”

Tijuana Straits by Kem Nunn

Sometimes called the creator of “surf noir”, Nunn tells the story of apathetic, strung-out old surfer Sam Fahey, who comes across a Mexican woman named Magdalena fleeing a pack of wild dogs in the waste lands at the border. She is working to uncover environmental crimes committed by factory owners. Sam finds some compassion and helps Magdalena, who is fleeing the murderous Armando. Amid the grasslands of the Tijuana River Valley, Sam and Magdalena tangle with drug traffickers, bandits, and refugees from the maquiladora factories burning through cheap labor at the border. Dark stuff redeemed by some fine writing.

The Grifters by Jim Thompson

Author Jim Thompson grew up in Oklahoma Territory and worked later at a honky-tonk hotel in Texas where he took odd jobs procuring all kinds of vices for the guests during Prohibition. This later led to Thompson’s prolific output of crime fiction and screenplays, but none better than his take on a group of grifters operating in Los Angeles in the 1950s. The book opens with Roy Dillon, a young con artist who gets caught in a scam and takes a bat to the belly for it—leading to his long-gone mother, veteran con Lilly Dillon, coming back to nurse him back to life. He resents her, but she’s a lot tougher than he is. And Lilly doesn’t much care for his girlfriend, so we know how that will end. Lilly always gets the last word: “Grift’s like anything else Roy, you either go up or down. Usually down, sooner or later.”

The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley

Hard-boiled PI C.W. Sughrue rambles all over the west, solving two mysteries at once: tracking down a girl who went missing in San Francisco while also searching for a complex mess of a writer, Abraham Trahearne. The writer is lost in a boozy haze of wartime regrets and mixed blessings of fame; he is also the centerpiece—like a big baby—of a strange domestic triad of ex-wife, current wife, and mother, all living on his Montana ranch. Part road trip, part buddy novel, part mystery, part black widow revenge, Crumley writes like few others. And he seemed to have a blast writing the women characters as they lead the men around the ring like blind horses–just too good of a view back into the 1970s to be ignored. Be prepared—the rude poetry of the book is so saturated in booze and western machismo that you might stumble just touching the pages—as PI Sughrue opines: “I try to stay two drinks ahead of reality and three behind a drunk.” Words to live by.

John Nardizzi
www.johnnardizzi.com

The Burden of Innocence

by John Nardizzi

December 6, 2021 – January 31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Burden of Innocence by John Nardizzi

Private investigators Ray Infantino and Tania Kong take on the case of Sam Langford, framed for a murder committed by a crime boss at the height of his powers.

But a decade later, Boston has changed. The old ethnic tribes have weakened. As the PIs range across the city, witnesses remember the past in dangerous ways. The gangsters know that, in the new Boston, vulnerable witnesses they manipulated years ago are shaky. Old bones will not stay buried forever.

As the gang sabotages the investigation, will Ray and Tania solve the case in time to save an innocent man?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Crime Noir
Published by: Weathertop Media Co.
Publication Date: December 5, 2021
Number of Pages: 290
ISBN: 978-1-7376876-0-3
Series: PI Ray Infantino Series, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

Author Bio:

John Nardizzi

John Nardizzi is writer and investigator. His work on innocence cases led to the exoneration Gary Cifizzari and James Watson, as well as million dollar settlements for clients Dennis Maher and the estate of Kenneth Waters, whose story was featured in the film Conviction.

His crime novels won praise for crackling dialogue and pithy observations of detective work. He speaks and writes about investigations in numerous settings, including World Association of Detectives, Lawyers Weekly, Pursuit Magazine and PI Magazine. Prior to his PI career, he failed to hold any restaurant job for longer than a week. He lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

Catch Up With John Nardizzi:
JohnNardizzi.com
Goodreads
BookBub — @johnf4
Twitter — @AuthorPI
Facebook — @rayinfantino1

Want to start an InstaParty? Join us at #JohnNardizzi!

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=305117

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: Robert Douglass – THE LITTLE TOWN OF SUMMERVILLE

 

Good day, book people and welcome to December! Am I the only one having a hard time accepting that we’re in the last month of 2021?! Have you ever wanted to be a writer? I used to work with my ex-husband translating documents (he translated, I edited) from Arabic-to-English back in the 1990s and early 2000s. We also worked with an Arab publishing company re-writing several novellas. Let me tell you, good writing is hard work and I don’t know if I can say if what we produced was good writing or not. We kept receiving requests for writing, translation, and editing, so I guess we were doing something right. As a result of that work, I’m in awe of anyone that craft a readable and believable story from scratch. I’m pleased to introduce a new-to-me author, Robert Douglass. Mr. Douglass’s debut work is the cozy mystery The Little Town of Summerville. He has graciously consented to visit today and share his thoughts on learning from a favorite author. Thank you, Mr. Douglass for sharing with us, the blog is now all yours.

Capturing The Style of My Favorite Author

Using the term ‘my favorite author’ is a bit deceiving, as it’s hard to pick just one, but one author that always astounds me is Mario Puzo. Among other works, he wrote The Godfather back in the 60s. The book is divided into three sections and the first section, in my opinion, is top tier gold standard for writing.

I am currently writing a cozy mystery series. It is light, cute, very family friendly and ‘The Godfather’ is the complete opposite. So, how on Earth could I possibly find the writing style of Mario Puzo of any benefit to me? Well, Puzo has tremendous ability to show the struggles and injustice of the world at such a personal level that the reader becomes concerned for the characters and can relate to their problems. Perhaps Puzo is playing on the arrogance of the reader, that he can understand the depth of irony that is unfolding in front to him and so the reader believes he fully understands the situation and wants the character to prevail. I am guilty of such arrogance as it is intoxicating to follow the story line of this new world I have entered.

There are many characters that show these qualities but I’ll only touch on a couple of them. The first character is Amerigo Bonasera. The reader encounters him early in the story during a court appearance and then at an Italian wedding. The wedding is a colorful and rich story world setting with members of the family and friends, lots of food and wine, music from the band and lots of dancing. Amerigo follows the Italian tradition of being allowed to talk to the father of the bride on the wedding day. It’s not a man he usually gets to talk to as he now has a meeting with the Godfather. The reader had seen Amerigo in court and how the crooked judge handled him and is reminded of the injustice as he relays the details. The Godfather explains he will handle the situation and the reader secretly rejoices for justice to be served yet is a bit bewildered as he knows this is very illegal activity. The great writing of Puzo has emotionally hooked him.

The second character is Captain McCluskey, the policeman. The reader has already seen the crooked judge and as Puzo shows McCluskey scene after scene the reader realizes he is a crooked cop. At first the reader dislikes him but through Puzo’s skillful writing as the scenes continue, he starts to wonder if the poor policeman got tricked and pushed into his dishonest ways and starts to feel sorry for him. Eventually the reader catches himself and says, ‘Wait a minute, he’s a crooked cop! He brought all these problems on himself!’ Can I write as skillful as Puzo? No, but I’m sure going to try! Long live the characters!

Robert Douglass
R. T. Douglass

The Little Town of Summerville

A Dog Named Chubby

by Robert Douglass

December 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Little Town of Summerville by Robert Douglass

Jack Wellington moves from the big city to make a new start. He jumps at the opportunity to become a detective in Summerville.

A peculiar case is assigned to him as artwork has been stolen and a dog is missing. Fellow detective Charlie Finch, a man adorned with decades of service, uncovers clues with Jack. They become intrigued by the words and actions of a neighborhood boy and wonder how much he might know.

Clues are followed but it’s the kids in the neighborhood who provide the most relevant clues. As the detectives get closer to them with their questions, the pressure of the kids struggle unfolds.

Kids, dogs, thieves, and a detective who meets a gal named Sally in the little town of Summerville.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Amazon
Publication Date: November 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 200
ISBN: 9798677929410 (paperback)
ASIN: B09KS12LMY (Kindle edition)
Series: The Little Town of Summerville, 1
Purchase Links #Commission Earned: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Robert Douglass

Robert has an AAS in Microsoft Networking Technology from Glendale Community College and is a Microsoft Certified Professional.

He likes reading, writing, and exploring natural wonders. His favorite pastime is telling tall stories around the campfire.

Catch Up With Robert Douglass:
RTDouglass.com
Twitter – @RTDouglassLit
Facebook – @RTDouglassAuthor

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and more!

Click here to view The Little Town of Summerville Tour Hosts.

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: V.M. Burns – KILLER WORDS

Good day, my bookish peeps. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you’ve probably noticed that I adore hosting guest authors, especially authors writing in my favorite fiction genres (all of them). I feel that we get to know authors a bit better when they stop by and share with us and we also gain insight into their writings. It is always an incredible pleasure and honor for me to host these visits. Today, I’m very excited to welcome V.M. Burns, author of the “Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series,” including the latest release Killer Words (great title!). Ms. Burns will be discussing what she feels is the beauty found within cozy series. I’m going to grab a cup of chai (in my favorite bookish mug, of course), and will be kicking back to enjoy what Ms. Burns has to share. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well, follow the blog tour to learn more about this book, author, and series, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway. Thank you, Ms. Burns for joining us today. The blog is now all yours.

The Beauty of a Cozy Series

One of the things I love most about cozy mysteries, is that they’re almost always presented in a series. Reading the next book in a series is like spending time with an old friend. Many genres don’t lend themselves to continuation in the same way that cozies do, but wouldn’t it be great if they did? Honestly, I can’t believe I’m the only person who would like to see what happens next in Pride & Prejudice to Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia after they get married. And, what about Mary and Kitty? Do they get married and find their happily ever after? If Jane Austen wrote cozy mysteries, we might know the answer to those questions. Killer Words is the 7th book in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series, and I’ve been pondering what’s so special about a series and why are cozy mysteries the perfect genre for series?

There’s no universal definition of cozy mysteries. However, there are some characteristics that most (if not all) have in common. Cozies are mysteries that feature an amateur sleuth and don’t have explicit sex or violence, and only minor (if any) swearing. That’s the part that almost everyone agrees on. Now, here are some elements that cozy lovers like to debate. The sleuth is often (although not always) a female. Cozies often take place in small towns or a contained environment, and cozies are often themed. There are exceptions to every rule, and I could rattle off at least ten mysteries that I would classify as a cozy that don’t check all of the boxes. But I would argue that one element that makes cozies perfect for a series is that they tend to be character driven. Readers pick up Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot books because we want to spend time with those characters. Christie’s plots were always great, too. But it was Miss Jane Marple with her knitting and village parallels to people from St. Mary Mead that I found endearing. Or the Belgium private investigator with his egg-shaped head, patent leather shoes, and elaborate moustaches that kept me wanting to find out what new mysteries he would use his “little grey cells” to unravel.

Horror and Thrillers are best suited for standalone books. Readers expect serial killers, terrorist, and bad guys to be dispatched in one way or the other at the end of the book. Romance readers expect a ‘happy ever after.’ However, it’s not uncommon to find romance trilogies with spinoffs of secondary characters. However, it’s rare to find a romance series where the same characters are the focus in multiple books.

Readers often ask if a series can be read out of order or if you should always start with the first book in the series. I’ve rarely found a cozy mystery that I couldn’t enjoy regardless of where the book falls in the series. Just keep in mind, characters in cozies aren’t stagnate. Unlike young adult books like Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, the characters in cozy mysteries grow and evolve over time. If you want to follow the progression and see their evolution, then you should start at the beginning. Could you start Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone series in the middle and still enjoy it? Yes. But you’ll really appreciate the books more if you start with A is for Alibi and work your way through the alphabet. You’ll enjoy watching as Kinsey changes over time. And yes, I know Kinsey Milhone is a P.I. and the series isn’t a cozy. Remember, there are exceptions to every rule.

Killer Words is the 7th book in the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Readers who’ve followed Samantha Washington from the beginning, The Plot is Murder, will have the satisfaction of seeing Sam realize another of her dreams. Readers new to the series will meet Sam, her grandmother, Nana Jo, and the girls from the retirement village and will also get the satisfaction of seeing Sam realize her dream. Whether you’re new to the series or returning to spend time with old friends, give a cozy mystery series a try.

Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

About Killer Words


Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)

Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – North Harbor, Michigan
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington Cozies (November 30, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496728971 (paperback)
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 9781496728975 (paperback)
ISBN  : 9781496728982 (eBook)
ASIN  : ‎ B08Y65TD1X (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #Commission Earned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Apple Books | Barnes and Noble | Books-A-Million | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | Google Play Books | !ndigo | Kobo eBook

Bookstore owner and mystery writer Samantha Washington comes to the aid of the cop who once arrested her own grandmother . . .

 

Sam and Nana Jo are back in sleepy North Harbor, Michigan, where Sam is eagerly awaiting the publication of her first book. In search of more immediate excitement, Nana Jo hits the casino with her fellow Shady Acres Retirement Village gal pals—but they get more than they bargained for when they witness Detective Bradley Pitt decking mayoral candidate John Cloverton.

 

As Sam well knows, mystery novels are full of brilliant detectives, genius sleuths, and hero cops. Detective Bradley Pitt—aka “Stinky Pitt”—is another story. In the past, the dull-witted detective has mistakenly accused members of Sam’s family for crimes they didn’t commit. Now, it’s his turn: when Cloverton turns up dead, he’s arrested. With his predilection for polyester, Pitt has been wanted by the fashion police for years, but Nana Jo knows her former elementary school math student would never commit murder—it doesn’t add up. Somebody’s framed the flatfoot to take a fall, and Sam and Nana Jo must step in to restore the reputation and good name of Detective Pitt.

 

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International, is on the national board for Sisters in Crime. She currently resides in the warmer area of the U.S. with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at http://www.vmburns.com

Author Links

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/v-m-burns
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/burnsvm
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vmburnsbooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vmburns
Website: vmburns.com

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 29 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

November 30 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

December 1 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 2 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

December 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 3 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 7 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 8 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 9 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

December 9 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

December 10 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

December 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 12 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

Tour-wide Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway by author V.M. Burns via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. This giveaway is for five (5) Amazon gift cards valued at $20.00 USD each. Winners will be notified by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours at the end of the giveaway period. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Guest Post: Steven C. Harms – THE COUNSEL OF THE CUNNING

The Counsel of the Cunning

by Steven C. Harms

November 8 – December 3, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Good day, book people. For those of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! One of the many things I’m grateful for are the amazing characters developed by authors. Where would a good story be without good characters (and an amazing talent for crafting readable and believable storylines)? Like many of you, I have beloved characters from classic literature as well as contemporary fiction. However, I never really gave any thought to an author having a favorite character in anything they craft. I’m incredibly pleased that Steven C. Harms, author of The Counsel of the Cunning is willing to stop by and discuss just that, his favorite character in his writings. Sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s learn which character Mr. Harms likes best. I hope you’ll stick around to follow the blog tour and learn more about this book and author. Thank you, Mr. Harms for joining us today. I’ll now be turning the blog over to you.

My Favorite Character in the Viceroy series

When I created detective Roger Viceroy, one of my major influences was Jack Reacher from Lee Child’s amazing series. I fashioned Viceroy’s character somewhat in that mold, but I wanted and needed him to be different. I landed on the back story and the environment in which Viceroy operates the differentiator.

Whereas Jack Reacher embodies a free-wheeling vigilante, random happenstance plot involvements, and a homeless vagabond to a degree, Viceroy by comparison was placed into a structured environment as head of a special detective unit. But the differences didn’t end there. The most obvious one you’ll find as you read the series, is the support team. While Reacher was a loner who primarily worked solo, Viceroy has a team of two behind him as they work the crime investigations as a three-part team. I believed a series where the reader not only falls for the protagonist (in my case Roger Viceroy), but also bonds with two other support members was appealing.

I came up with two characters – Regina Cortez and Trevor “Silk” Moreland. I drew Regina’s physical appearance and demeanor from a former assistant I had in a previous job. She was someone I had the utmost respect for as she brought professionalism to work every day during our eight years together. It was that loyalty and dedication that resonated with me and ended up being Regina’s style as well.

But it’s the second character that I want to focus on – Silk, a former high school athletic star who went onto a decade’s work as a top-flight detective for the Milwaukee PD. Silk is part of Viceroy’s detective unit by the time the first book, Give Place to Wrath, opens. He grew up on Milwaukee’s streets, standing 6’5″ with a wit and a well-timed irreverent attitude that seem to work well. Silk is, by far, the character that gets the most response from readers. They love him and want to see more of him in future books.

As I developed the character, it was Silk’s irreverential trait that opened a door, allowing me to write his dialogue with some humor and flare, and his interactions and reactions with a much wider berth, while also providing me the freedom to use him for plot moments that worked better than Viceroy or Regina.

Silk seems to resonate with readers in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I think it’s his dry, yet pinpoint humor he invokes at just the right moments combined with his dedication to being “a monster for details,” as Viceroy describes him. He’s completely sold out to being a detective and is passionate about finding clues or angles that others may have missed. Silk knows that being a detective is his life’s calling and the chapters he’s in just seem to have a more energetic bounce to them.

I’m confident Viceroy and Regina provide plenty of likability as well, but Silk stealthily beats them to being the reader’s favorite of the three. Who am I to argue? ♦


 

The Counsel of the Cunning

by Steven C. Harms

November 8 – December 3, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

Roger Viceroy faces a return to the FBI and a life he vacated long ago, until a knock on his front door announces the presence of billionaire and former U.S. Senator, Jürgen Sandt.

The past has come back to rear its ugly head. Sandt stands on his threshold for a reason: a decade prior the senator’s only son disappeared into the jungles of Guatemala, and Sandt has come to convince Viceroy that further investigation is now necessary. A package left mysteriously outside the family estate, opens the door to the possibility that his son is still very much alive.

Viceroy and his team agree to take on the hunt. Their search steers them from the back streets of Milwaukee to the stealthy corridors of Washington, D.C.—an eerie trek that will ultimately lead to an ancient site that supposedly doesn’t exist.

As Viceroy closes in on the truth, a parallel plot emerges. Not only could it point to the reason behind the cryptic disappearance of Bertram Sandt, but it could also launch a deadly battle that will put millions of lives at stake. On pure instinct, Viceroy knows nothing is adding up. Somehow, somewhere they missed a clue, and if it’s not discovered soon…it may be too late.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: November 9th 2021
Number of Pages: 268
ISBN: 9780578933795 (paperback)
ASIN: B0973PH3H8 (Kindle version)
Series: Roger Viceroy Series, #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Steven C. Harms

Steven C. Harms is a professional sports, sponsorship, broadcast sales, and digital media executive with a career spanning over thirty years across the NBA, NFL, and MLB. He’s dealt with Fortune 500 companies, major consumer brands, professional athletes, and multi-platform integrated sports partnerships and media advertising campaigns. He’s an accomplished playwright having written and produced a wildly successful theatrical production which led him to tackle his debut novel, Give Place to Wrath, released November 9, 2021 from Suspense Publishing. Harms is a native of Wisconsin, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. He now resides in the greater Milwaukee area as a sponsorship executive.

Catch Up With Steven C. Harms:
StevenCHarms.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @StevenCHarms
Instagram – @stevencharms
Twitter – @steven_c_harms
Facebook – @authorstevencharms

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=304647

Enter to Win:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Steven C. Harms. There will be THREE (3) winners for this tour. Each of the THREE (3) winners will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card (US Only). The giveaway runs November 8 through December 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: C. Matthew Smith – TWENTYMILE

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith Banner

Good day book people. I hope you’re reading to head into the weekend with plenty of reading choices. If you’re looking for some ideas and are into police procedurals or thrillers, then I may have the perfect book for you. Please help me welcome, C. Matthew Smith, author of Twentymile. This exciting new book takes us into the Investigative Services Branch (ISB) of the National Park Service (yes, it’s a thing). So sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s learn a bit more about the ISB and its role in Twentymile. Thank you, Mr. Smith for joining us today and giving us a glimpse into this little known law enforcement branch.

Introducing the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch to the World of Fiction
By C. Matthew Smith

In 2018, I was writing down the first pages in what eventually would grow into my debut novel, Twentymile. I had a germ of an idea: a Good Guy on the run from Bad Guys in a challenging outdoor environment. I vaguely knew I wanted the story to deal with themes of land use and ownership (among others), and I gravitated toward setting the novel on what we term “public land”–a national or state park or wilderness area. In the early going, I toyed with a number of scenarios, including a wildlife biologist who encounters poachers after endangered species. Or a park ranger coming upon some similarly unsavory characters.

And then, in October 2018, Outside Magazine published an article entitled “The F.B.I. of the National Park Service.” In it, I learned of a little-known department within the NPS apparatus called the Investigative Services Branch. This small group of law enforcement agents investigates the most serious crimes committed on NPS land–everything from homicides to sexual assault to theft of antiquities. Strangely, while this felt to me like fertile ground for fiction, my research found no prior novels featuring the ISB.

It was a lightning bolt. I read and re-read the article several times. After some brief research, I sent an e-mail to a public inquiries address for the ISB and, to my surprise, received a very kind reply from Christopher Smith (no relation), the ISB’s Special Agent in Charge of Operations. Yes, he’d be willing to talk. Since then, SACO Smith has been generous with his time, speaking with me on multiple occasions. He’s rightly proud of the work his plucky organization does, and he took pains to ensure I understood the realities of working as an ISB special agent.

What I learned from him provided me with the makings of a compelling protagonist. Consider the following: There are just under three-dozen special agents, spread over several regions, responsible for more than eighty million acres from Hawaii to the U.S. Virgin Islands. As a consequence, ISB special agents typically work cases solo, not with a partner, marshaling what assistance they can from local law enforcement resources. They’re frequently on the road, living out of their SUVs and motels. They process crime scenes deep in the wilderness when necessary and investigate a wide variety of offenses, from financial crimes to murder. They are independent, tough-minded jacks of all trades who spend the majority of their time with only themselves.

What kind of individual chooses this life?

There could be many answers, of course. But for Tsula Walker, the protagonist of Twentymile, I settled on the following: She’s flinty, steady in demeanor, and capable of protecting herself. A woman confident in her own analytical skills and professional judgment. And someone who, for reasons I won’t spoil here, is predisposed to extended periods alone. That, I decided, is a main character I’d follow anywhere.

I hope you, dear reader, will follow her, too. She’s on one hell of a journey.

Having written the first novel featuring the ISB, I feel a certain pressure to “get it right.” To capture its essence. The needs of fiction may sometimes require taking liberties with certain details, but thanks to my research and the willingness of ISB leadership to answer my many questions, I hope Tsula accurately embodies the spirit of this spunky group of law enforcement professionals. ♦

Twentymile

by C. Matthew Smith

November 15 – December 10, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith

When wildlife biologist Alex Lowe is found dead inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it looks on the surface like a suicide. But Tsula Walker, Special Agent with the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, isn’t so sure.

Tsula’s investigation will lead her deep into the park and face-to-face with a group of lethal men on a mission to reclaim a historic homestead. The encounter will irretrievably alter the lives of all involved and leave Tsula fighting for survival – not only from those who would do her harm, but from a looming winter storm that could prove just as deadly.

A finely crafted literary thriller, Twentymile delivers a propulsive story of long-held grievances, new hopes, and the contentious history of the land at its heart.

Praise for Twentymile:

“[A] striking debut . . . a highly enjoyable read suited best to those who like their thrillers to simmer for awhile before erupting in a blizzard of action and unpredictability . . .” Kashif Hussain, Best Thriller Books.

“C. Matthew Smith’s original, intelligent novel delivers unforgettable characters and an irresistible, page-turning pace while grappling with deeply fascinating issues of land and heritage and what and who is native…Twentymile is an accomplished first novel from a talented and fully-formed writer.” James A. McLaughlin, Edgar Award-winning author of Bearskin

Twentymile is packed with everything I love: A strong, female character; a wilderness setting; gripping storytelling; masterful writing. Smith captures powerfully and deeply the effects of the past and what we do to one another and ourselves for the sake of ownership and possession, for what we wrongfully and rightfully believe is ours. I loved every word. A beautiful and brutal and extraordinary debut.” Diane Les Becquets, bestselling author of Breaking Wild and The Last Woman in the Forest

Book Details:

Genre: Procedural, Thriller
Published by: Latah Books
Publication Date: November 19, 2021
Number of Pages: 325
ISBN: 9781736012765 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781736012772 (eBook)
ASIN: B09GRLTYDG (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Goodreads | Kobo eBook | Latah Books

 

Author Bio:

C. Matthew Smith

C. Matthew Smith is an attorney and writer whose short stories have appeared in and are forthcoming from numerous outlets, including Mystery Tribune, Mystery Weekly, Close to the Bone, and Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir Vol. 3 (Down & Out Books). He’s a member of Sisters in Crime and the Atlanta Writers Club.

Catch Up With C. Matthew Smith:
www.cmattsmithwrites.com
Twitter – @cmattwrite
Facebook

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=303247

Join In to WIN:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for C. Matthew Smith. There will be TWO winners. ONE (1) winner will receive (1) $25 Amazon.com Gift Card and ONE (1) winner will receive one (1) signed physical copy of Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith. The giveaway runs November 15 through December 12, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: Clark Rich Burbidge – STARPASSAGE: BOOK FOUR – CYBER PLAGUE

Good day, my fellow book lovers. Did you know that November 15th-19th is “National Young Readers Week?” I try to keep up with all things bookish, but this was new for me. As many of us turns our minds towards gift purchasing and giving for the next few months, what could be better than gifting books? (In my mind, the only thing better than books are gift cards to bookstores. But that’s me.) If you have a young reader in your household or life, I hope you’ll consider gifting them the entire StarPassage series by Clark Rich Burbidge, including the most recent addition StarPassage: Book Four – Cyber Plague. I’m honored to welcome Mr. Burbidge, author of this award winning series, to the blog. He’ll be providing us with a look “behind-the-scenes” of this series. I hope you will enjoy what he has to say, add these books to your holiday buying list, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Thank you, Mr. Burbidge for sharing with us today, the blog is now all yours.

A Glimpse Behind The Scenes

Writing fantasy, and within that historical fiction, requires numerous parallel lines of research. This was by far my most complex book yet. It was necessary not to just continue the science and mythology of time travel I have created but also flip it on its head when suddenly you are pulled into the future. The technology must be well thought through without dwelling on it. Concepts like pathogens, AI advancement, trans-human tech, societal breakdowns and how they might evolve and/or be repaired, computer virus damage and how to effectively deal with it, personal stories all add to the challenge. One of the passages I am most proud of is the trip to the St. George Sanctuary, especially their meetings with the mayor and the town meeting. Having attended many of these small-town events, I found it really fun to put the flow of them into my writing. I initially thought the book could be over after the experiences at the lab but there was more in me that needed to get out. The futures of Dr. Powell and some of the other characters needed to be examined and, of course, where did the stars come from. I really like the scene in the Oval office, especially at the end after the travelers leave.

I have inserted characters from my own life into these books. Martie always has reminded me of my youngest sister and, of course, that may make me like Tim. My father came home with PTSD from Korea, and it was a twenty-year battle with his demons. I am so proud of him, but the scenes played out early in the first book are ones I know a lot about. Some of the bad guys are people that have mistreated me or my family over the years. I did not assign their traits, only their names, and I guess it’s a bit passive aggressive, but their story didn’t end well for any of them. Donny in particular had to die twice. I tried to slip most of my grandchildren’s names into the books, some subtly and others more prominently. One of our sons has two daughters who are not twins but share the traits and names of Callie and Courtney. Books last forever, and long after I am gone, a simple choice of a name will bind me to them over time and space.

And last, the title went through several iterations, but I decided to keep it simple, the words Cyber and Plague pull certain visceral emotions out of people nowadays.

StarPassage: Book Four – Cyber Plague by Clark Rich Burbidge
ISBN: 9781632695789 (hardcover)
Publisher: Deep River Books LLC
Release Date: October 28, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Middle-Grade/Young Adult Fiction | Paranormal Thriller

In Book One, teenagers Tim and Martie are desperate to end their parents’ downward spiral. Then an ancient Christmas ornament reveals its secrets, sending the siblings across the centuries on a search for hope. But Tim and Martie aren’t the only ones hunting through time. They’re being watched by dark figures-Trackers doomed to haunt history. These Trackers believe the teens’ ornament is their key to freedom, and they will do whatever it takes to steal it.

In Book Two, Bobby and Mike are struggling after a tragic accident rocked their family. With the help of the Carson family, they go on a dangerous adventure to solve riddles, save lives, escape the stronger, faster Trackers, and experience some of the most dreadful and exciting moments in history.

In Book Three, Mike longs to help a struggling new patient who may hold dangerous secrets. An evil Tracker has escaped to the present, bringing with him plans to end the world. Our growing band of travelers work together to resist the powerful Trackers at every turn while trying to solve the relic’s riddles and guard against the ever-growing risk of betrayal.

Now the Gold Medal winning saga continues with Book Four. Contemporary twin sisters are thrust into a compelling adventure with a mysterious warrior from the past who holds secrets even he does not understand. In the most dangerous adventure yet, our unlikely heroes are thrust into a dangerous and uncertain future where humanity is on the verge of extinction. Pulled from the pages of our modern world, a dangerous cyber plague, societal breakdown, and the relentless Trackers must be overcome to preserve the future. Our inexperienced new travelers must learn quickly to survive while overcoming a series of impossibly complicated and interwoven threats.

 

Meet the Author

Author Clark R. BurbidgeClark Burbidge was born and raised in the high mountain valleys of the Rockies. He earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BS from the University of Utah. Clark and his wife, Leah, live near Salt Lake City, Utah, where they enjoy their blended family of ten children and nine grandchildren.

Clark’s award-winning works include the StarPassage series, Giants in the Land trilogy, the acclaimed Christmas book, A Piece of Silver: A Story of Christ and a nonfiction work, Living in the Family Blender: 10 Principles of a Successful Blended Family.

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

Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) print copy of StarPassage: Book Four – Cyber Plague by Clark Rich Burbidge via The Book Diva’s Reads. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM ET on 11/23/2021 and the winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 11/24/2021. Giveaway is limited to US residents ONLY. Any entry received with a non-US address will be disqualified. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

If you’re unable to enter via the above link, click here to enter.

This virtual book tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Guest Post: Carmen Amato – CLIFF DIVER

Good day, book people. Authors come to the craft of writing via so many different career paths: practicing and retired lawyers/judges, practicing and retired teachers/professors, practicing and retired law enforcement officers, practicing and retired military, as well as practicing and retired intelligence officers/analysts. It’s truly fascinating to discover how an author arrives at their writing career and then see if the genres they write in align with their former careers. I’m incredibly pleased to welcome former CIA professional turned author, Carmen Amato. Ms. Amato will be providing us some background information for the first book in her Detective Emilia Cruz Mystery series, Cliff Diver. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share, be like me and add this series to your ever-growing TBR list, and follow along the blog tour to learn more about this book and author. Thank you, Ms. Amato, for taking the time to join us today, we look forward to learning more about Detective Emilia Cruz and Cliff Diver.

Could You Be a Cliff Diver?
By Carmen Amato

Picture this.

You’re standing on a flat rock on top of a cliff taller than a five-story building. The cliff wall arches outward, creating a killer curve of jagged rock before dissolving into the churning Pacific Ocean. Far below, waves froth around the base of the cliff. Nearby pinnacles of rock rise from the ocean like brown stalagmites.

These soaring monoliths have been positioned by nature to create a sheltered pool of deep green water along the rocky shore.

The place is called La Quebrada. It’s a stunning spot on the western side of Acapulco, Mexico, where tourists flock to see the famous cliff divers soar into the ocean.

If you dive off the flat rock, you must do so with enough power to soar over the curved wall of the cliff and enough control to hit the sheltered pool.

Anything less and you’ll tumble against the rocks on your way down or smash into the pointed stalagmites at the bottom.

Either way, you’re dead.

Detective Emilia Cruz isn’t a cliff diver, but she feels like one as she investigates the murder of her own lieutenant. Emilia is the first female police detective in Acapulco, Mexico, which is not only an iconic tourist destination but a top contender for the most homicides per capita in the Western Hemisphere.

The first book in the series (8 books and counting) is called Cliff Diver because Emilia not only has to climb up to that small rocky ledge—figuratively, of course—but she must dive into the most important and terrifying case of her career.

With a combination of skills, luck, and daring, Emilia uncovers the lieutenant’s creepy sexual past as well as his role in a kidnapping double-cross and counterfeit money scheme. The revelations are as dangerous as they are sordid.

Reputations are threatened. No one wants the news to be made public. Acapulco’s ambitious mayor makes an offer Emilia is not expected to refuse. The powerful police union is as dangerous as any jagged rock. A fellow police detective could be her prime suspect.

Hotel manager, Kurt Rucker, has some helpful advice for Emilia but the heat between them is too hot to handle.

As Emilia hurtles over the face of the cliff, will she hit the rocks or the water? Either way, she’s in the for the shock of her life.

So are you.

Grab your copy of Cliff Diver and find out!

Cliff Diver

by Carmen Amato

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato

Acapulco’s first female police detective dives into an ocean of secrets, lies, and murder when she investigates her own lieutenant’s death.

In this explosive start to the award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco, Emilia beat the odds to become the resort city’s first female police detective. But she’s living in a pressure cooker. Other detectives are scheming to push her out and the police department is riddled with corruption and drug cartel influence.

When the lieutenant is murdered, Emilia is assigned to lead the investigation. Soon the man’s sordid sex life, money laundering, and involvement in a kidnapping double-cross combine to create an ugly mess no one wants exposed. The high profile murder case could wreck Emilia’s career. When another detective–Emilia’s worst enemy in the squad room–emerges as the prime suspect, keeping her job might be the least of her worries.

Readers who love international mystery series crime fighters including Armand Gamache, Harry Hole, Guido Brunetti, and the Department Q series will also love Detective Emilia Cruz’s complex plots, pulse-pounding suspense, and exotic location. Perfect for lovers of detective fiction by Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, and Peter May, as well as Don Winslow’s Mexican cartel and border thrillers.

“Consistently exciting”
Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderful crime mystery”
— MysterySequels.com

Poison Cup award, Outstanding Series 2019 and 2020
— CrimeMasters of America

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: September 23rd 2021
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781482308044 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780985325626 (ebook)
ISBN: 9798200460922 (audiobook on CD)
ISBN: 9781541472990 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B00B76XSUK (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B071DSVHZG (Audible audiobook)
Series: Detective Emilia Cruz Series, #1
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | AudiobooksNow.com | BookDepository.com | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Carmen Amato

Carmen Amato turns lessons from a 30-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency into crime fiction loaded with intrigue and deception.

Her award-winning Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series pits the first female police detective in Acapulco against Mexico’s drug cartels, government corruption, and social inequality. Described as “A thrilling series” by National Public Radio, the Detective Emilia Cruz series was awarded the Poison Cup for Outstanding Series from CrimeMasters of America in both 2019 and 2020 and has been optioned for television.

Originally from upstate New York, Carmen was educated there as well as in Virginia and Paris, France, while experiences in Mexico and Central America ignited her writing career.

Her family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. The perpetrator, her great-grandfather, eluded a state-wide manhunt after killing two people–one of whom was his wife. He was never brought to justice. Carmen is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

Grab a free copy of the Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library at CarmenAmato.net.

You’ll see why Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp wrote: “For pure entertainment and a gripping story likely resulting in nail biting, read Carmen Amato’s addictive prose. She knows this territory like a jaguar!”

Catch Up With Carmen Amato:
CarmenAmato.net
Goodreads
BookBub – @CarmenAmato
Instagram – @authorcarmenamato
Twitter – @carmenconnects
Facebook – @authorcarmenamato

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Click here to view Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato Tour Hosts

Enter to Win:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carmen Amato. There will be 1 winner of one (1) gift box of 5 best-selling mystery/thriller books by various authors hand-selected by Carmen Amato, plus a signed copy of the latest book in the Detective Emilia Cruz series, AND a $20 Amazon.com gift card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs November 1 through December 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

If unable to use the Rafflecopter link above, click here to enter.

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: Elizabeth Goddard – DEADLY TARGET

DEADLY TARGET by Elizabeth Goddard

Good morning, book people. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend and were able to get some reading in. I don’t know about you, but I’m very inquisitive about authors, their habits, and their ability to craft believable and readable stories. Yes, it is partially talent, but I think it goes beyond talent. Authors have to be imaginative and have an innate ability to craft a story that the reader can follow and then end the story with a successful completion of their goals, i.e., a HEA if writing romance, pointing out whodunit in a mystery, etc. Obviously, there’s a lot more involved in crafting a story and today I’m pleased to welcome the award-winning Elizabeth Goddard, author of the recently released Deadly Target, book two in the Rocky Mountain Courage series. Ms. Goddard is going to be sharing her insight into the use of fear in writing. Thank you, Ms. Goddard, for taking the time to stop by today and share with us. Book people, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s all enjoy what she has to say. (Psst…might I suggest you grab a copy of Deadly Target to read, as well as follow this blog tour to learn more about this author and book.)

The Strategic Use of Fear
by Elizabeth Goddard

In recent years, I’ve come to realize that I’ve always been this way. Okay, let me back up. I’ve always had a natural propensity to approach every situation with worry or fear or whatever you want to call it. For example, when I lived alone in my early twenties, the first thing I did when I walked into my apartment was to check every closet and every room. I even glanced under the bed. I’m not kidding. You might think I have issues, and maybe you’re right. But that’s just one example of the way my mind works. I’m always thinking ahead to what bad thing could possibly happen in every situation. Now . . . don’t laugh, but honestly, I think this tendency started when I learned how to play Chess as a kid. Think about it. Every move you make, you have to be strategic. You have to think ahead and try to project what could possibly happen. What could go wrong. Once you move, another piece on the chessboard could move against you and kill you in three moves or less.

I’m not saying that this is a healthy way to live, but I’ve been able to rein in my fearful mind and use it to my advantage in my stories. You might have guessed by now that suspense stories come naturally to me. Now when I’m walking down a long dark hospital hallway that’s under construction (this really happened) and my mind thinks of the peril I might be in, I know what to do next—put the experience in a novel! But seriously, when creating the fear-factors and the dangerous elements in my stories I have a lot of fun when I make a nice long list of everything that could go wrong and then put my characters in dangerous situations. I want them to be strategic (remember Chess) and fight their way out of the danger and, yes, overcome their fears—just like I’ve learned to do. Now I simply divert my overactive imagination into my suspense novels and everyone lives happily-ever-after. ♦

Deadly Target

by Elizabeth Goddard

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

Criminal psychologist Erin Larson’s dreams of a successful career come to a screeching halt when she nearly loses her own life in a boating accident on Puget Sound and then learns that her mother tried to commit suicide. She leaves her job as a criminal psychologist to care for her mother in Montana. At least she is able to produce her podcast, which focuses on solving missing persons cold cases.

Nathan Campbell’s father was investigating such a case when he was shot, and now Nathan needs to enlist Erin’s help to solve the case. She’s good at what she does. The only problem? She’s his ex.

As the two dig deeper, it becomes clear that they, too, are being targeted–and that the answers to their questions are buried deep within the past Erin struggles to explain and longs to forget.

The race is on for the truth in this gripping and complex tale of suspense, intrigue, and murder from USA Today bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Revell
Publication Date: November 2nd 2021
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0800737997 (ISBN13: 9780800737993)
Series: Rocky Mountain Courage #2 || This is a Stand-Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | ChristianBook.com | IndieBound.Org

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Present Danger and the Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold over one million copies. She is a Carol 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 Elizabeth Goddard, visit her website at:
www.ElizabethGoddard.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @ElizabethGoddard
Instagram – @elizabethgoddardauthor
Twitter – @bethgoddard
Facebook – @ElizabethGoddardAuthor

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=303321

GIVEAWAY:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Goddard and Revell. There will be ONE (1) winner for this tour. The winner will receive ONE (1) physical copy of both Present Danger and Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard. This giveaway is open only to residents in the US or Canada. The giveaway runs November 1 through December 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours