Guest Post: Cara Putnam – LETHAL INTENT

Good day, book people! I hope you’re having a good bookish January so far and that your reading is on goal for the year. If you’re seeking something new to read, then I hope you’ll add Lethal Intent by Cara Putnam to your 2021 TBR list. This romantic legal thriller might be just what you’ve been looking for and didn’t know it. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Putnam for visiting with us today and sharing her insight into character versus plot. Please see what she has to say, follow the blog tour to read some great reviews for her latest release, Lethal Intent, and enter the tour-wide giveaway. But for now, sit back, relax, and let’s visit with Ms. Cara Putnam.

 

 

Character or Plot? Which comes first?

 

There is a perennial debate among authors. Which comes first the characters or the plot?

As an attorney, my answer is a classic it depends.

In some of my books, the character is what drives the creation of the story. I know I want to write a book with the Monuments Men. Or I want my next series to feature strong heroines who are all attorneys, but in different ways.

Other times, the spark of the idea is a story or headline that I’ve seen or read. An event that happened somewhere else and I twist it into a new what if: what if the mom didn’t really kill her daughters in front of her husband on her birthday? What if he really did it, but set her up to take the fall? This was the idea spark for Imperfect Justice.

With Lethal Intent, the key question for the hero Brandon Lancaster had been established in fore-shadowing in other books. He had started a group foster home for sibling groups, and it was in danger of folding. What I didn’t anticipate was that between the idea and writing the book, the federal law governing these types of homes changed… completely. This created a whole new level of complexity as I was writing because though the law had changed in 2018, the regulations for how it would be applied in the state of Virginia were still unfinalized as late as July 2020 – and the final version of the book was turned in during May.

This is where having a great network of writing friends can help. My friend Tricia Goyer connected me with a man who ran a similar home in Arkansas. You can imagine my relief when his approach to the law mirrored what I had reasoned was the only way Brandon could handle the conundrum.

Each book is a little different. And even when you think the characters are driving the plot, some times life intervenes and changes the balance as you’re writing. Which do you think is more important to a good novel?

 

 

Lethal Intent

by Cara Putman

January 11 – February 5, 2021 Tour

 

Synopsis:

 

LETHAL INTENT - CPutnamIf they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman.

Caroline Bragg’s life has never been better. She and Brandon Lancaster are taking their relationship to the next level, and she has a new dream job as legal counsel for Praecursoria—a research lab that is making waves with its cutting-edge genetic therapies. The company’s leukemia treatments even promise to save desperately sick kids—kids like eleven-year-old Bethany, a critically ill foster child at Brandon’s foster home.

When Caroline’s enthusiastic boss wants to enroll Bethany in experimental trials prematurely, Caroline objects, putting her at odds with her colleagues. They claim the only goal at Praecursoria is to save lives. But does someone have another agenda?

Brandon faces his own crisis. As laws governing foster homes shift, he’s on the brink of losing the group home he’s worked so hard to build. When Caroline learns he’s a Praecursoria investor, it becomes legally impossible to confide in him. Will the secrets she keeps become a wedge that separates them forever? And can she save Bethany from the very treatments designed to heal her?

This latest romantic legal thriller by bestseller Cara Putman shines a light on the shadowy world of scientific secrets and corporate vendettas—and the ethical dilemmas that plague the place where science and commerce meet.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0785233318 (ISBN13: 9780785233312)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Cara Putnam

Cara Putman is the author of more than twenty-five legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at sixteen, college at twenty, completed her law degree at twenty-seven, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

 

Visit Cara Putman:
CaraPutman.com
Goodreads: caraputman
BookBub: @CPutman
Instagram: caracputman
Twitter: @Cara_Putman
Facebook: Cara.Putman

 

 

Lethal Intent Tour Participants:

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


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Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Putman. There will be three (3) winners of one (1) physical copy of Lethal Intent by Cara Putman (US ONLY). The giveaway begins on January 11, 2021 and runs through February 7, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

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Guest Post: Cara Reinard – SWEET WATER

sweet-wate-by-cara-reinard-coverGood day, my bookish people and welcome to 2021! It’s a new day, a new year, and I’m starting off with a new blog company. Please bear with me as I learn how to use WordPress (recently transferred over from Blogger).

I’m incredibly pleased to be starting off the year with a visit by Cara Reinard, author of the newly released crime thriller Sweet Water. I hope you’ll help me welcome Ms. Reinard to The Book Diva’s Reads as she shares with us where her idea for this novel came from. Thank you, Ms. Reinard for stopping by and sharing with us today. The blog is yours.

Where did the idea for Sweet Water come from?

For me, plot ideas for stories come from everywhere and nowhere—an article read online, a conversation had with an interesting person, or something much more random; a moment where I’m rinsing shampoo out of my hair and suddenly a plot jumps into my head (why do life’s most profound thoughts happen in the shower??).

For Sweet Water, the idea started with a short story that I recently published in an anthology of short stories, poems and essays titled Into the Woods. The collection was published through a Mindful Writers group led by authors, Kathie Shoop and Larry Schardt. My story featured two college-aged kids who messed around with narcotics in a wooded area outside of Manhattan, but only one of them left the woods alive. It was a story that stuck with me long after the anthology was published.

Short story here: https://www.amazon.com/Into-Woods-Stories-Mindful-Writers-ebook/dp/B07CZMJQDY

I started thinking about affluent wooded areas closer to where I live in the Pittsburgh area that might be appropriate for a similar premise, and played around with a chapter or two basing the story in my favorite tree-lined suburb, Sewickley. Like a lot of writing projects, I started on a whim and before I knew it I had fifty or so pages and the start of a full-length novel that I really wanted to finish.

I’d also just read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. She does a beautiful job weaving her setting, Shaker Heights, Ohio, into her novel. I wanted to do something similar with my story. As I started writing Sweet Water the setting began to take on a life of its own, especially as I researched Sewickley and learned more about the executives who once owned estates there, most notably, B.F. Jones, a steel tycoon whose party home I used as inspiration for the residence of my main character. The home still stands today. I’m friends with the family of the previous owner, and have been inside the house which helped me create the immersive atmosphere I was striving for. Sewickley is the Native American translation for sweet water, and with all the water references in the book, it made for a perfect title as well.

sweet-wate-by-cara-reinard-cover

Sweet Water

by Cara Reinard

January 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

 

What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?

It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Convinced he’s innocent, Sarah and Martin agree to protect their son at any cost and not report the crime.

But there are things Sarah finds hard to reconcile: a cover-up by Martin’s family that’s so unnervingly cold-blooded. Finn’s lies to the authorities are too comfortable, too proficient, not to arouse her suspicions. Even the secrets of the old house she lives in seem to be connected to the incident. As each troubling event unfolds, Sarah must decide how far she’ll go to save her perfect life.

Sweet Water Reviews:

“An unsparing account of ‘rich people problems’ that goes on forever, like all the best nightmares.” —Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thriller, Crime Fiction
Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: January 1st 2021
Number of Pages: 364
ISBN: 1542024935 (ISBN13: 978-1542024938)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Cara Reinard

Cara Reinard is an author of women’s fiction and domestic. She currently lives north of Pittsburgh with her husband, two children, and Bernese mountain dog.

For more information, visit:
www.carareinard.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @CaraReinard
Twitter – @carareinard
Instagram – @carareinard
Facebook – Cara Reinard, Author

 

Tour Participants:

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Enter To Win!!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Reinard. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through February 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: A MURDER IS FOREVER by Rob Bates

A Murder is Forever

by Rob Bates

December 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021 Tour



Synopsis:

Max Rosen always said the diamond business isn’t about sorting the gems, it’s about sorting the people. His daughter Mimi is about to learn that some people, like some diamonds, can be seriously flawed.

After Mimi’s diamond-dealer cousin Yosef is murdered–seemingly for his $4 million pink diamond–Mimi finds herself in the middle of a massive conspiracy, where she doesn’t know who to trust, or what to believe. Now she must find out the truth about both the diamond and her cousin, before whoever killed Yosef, gets her.

“[A] sprightly debut …. Bates, who has more than 25 years as a journalist covering the diamond business, easily slips in loads of fascinating information on diamonds and Jewish culture without losing sight of the mystery plot. Readers will look forward to Mimi’s further adventures.” – Publishers Weekly


Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Camel Press
Publication Date: October 13th, 2020
Number of Pages: 281
ISBN: 1603812229 (ISBN13: 9781603812221)
Series: The Diamond District Mystery Series
Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

A MURDER IS FOREVER

By Rob Bates

 

CHAPTER ONE

As Mimi Rosen exited the subway and looked out on the Diamond District, she remembered the words of her therapist: “This won’t last forever.”

She sure hoped so. She had been working on Forty-Seventh Street for two months and was already pretty tired of it.

To outsiders, “The Diamond District” sounded glamorous, like a street awash in glitter. To Mimi, who had spent her life around New York, Forty-Seventh Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was a crowded, dirty eyesore of a block. The sidewalk was covered not with glitz, but with newspaper boxes, cigarettes, stacks of garbage bags, and, of course, lots of people.

Dozens of jewelry stores lined the street, all vying for attention, with red neon signs proclaiming “we buy gold” or “50 percent off.” Their windows boasted the requisite rows of glittery rings, and Mimi would sometimes see tourists ogling them, their eyes wide. She hated how the stores crammed so many gems in each display, until they all ran together like a mess of kids’ toys. For all its feints toward elegance, Forty-Seventh Street came off as the world’s sparkliest flea market.

Mimi knew the real action in the Diamond District was hidden from pedestrians, because it took place upstairs. There, in the nondescript grey and brown buildings that stood over the stores, billions in gems were bought, sold, traded, stored, cut, appraised, lost, found, and argued over. The upstairs wholesalers comprised the heart of the U.S. gem business; if someone bought a diamond anywhere in America, it had likely passed through Forty-Seventh Street.

Mimi’s father Max had spent his entire life as part of the small tight-knit diamond dealer community. It was a business based on who you knew—and even more, who you trusted. “This business isn’t about sorting the diamonds,” Max always said. “It’s about sorting the people.” Mimi would marvel how traders would seal million-dollar deals on handshakes, without a contract or lawyer in sight.

It helped that Forty-Seventh Street was comprised mostly of family businesses, owned by people from a narrow range of ethnic groups. Most—like Mimi’s father—were Orthodox, or religious, Jews. (“We’re the only people crazy enough to be in this industry,” as Max put it.) The Street was also home to a considerable contingent of Hasidic Jews, who were even more religious and identifiable by their black top hats and long flowing overcoats. Mimi once joked that Forty-Seventh Street was so diverse, it ran the gamut from Orthodox to ultra-Orthodox.

Now Mimi, while decidedly secular, was part of it all. Working for her father’s diamond company was not something she wanted to do, not something she ever dreamed she would do. Yet, here she was.

She had little choice. She had not worked full-time since being laid off from her editing job a year ago. She was already in debt from her divorce, which had cost more than her wedding, and netted little alimony. “That’s what happens when you divorce a lawyer,” said her shrink.

Six months after she lost her job, Mimi first asked her father for money. He happily lent it to her, though he added he wasn’t exactly Rockefeller. It was after her third request—accompanied, like the others, by heartfelt vows to pay him back—that he asked her to be the bookkeeper at his company. “I know you hate borrowing from me,” he told her. “This way, it isn’t charity. Besides, it’ll be nice having you around.”

Mimi protested she could barely keep track of her own finances. Her father reminded her that she got an A in accounting in high school. Which apparently qualified her to do the books at Max Rosen Diamond Company.

“We have new software, it makes it easy,” Max said. “Your mother, may she rest in peace, did it for years.”

Mimi put him off. She had a profession, and it wasn’t her mother’s.

Mimi was a journalist. She had worked at a newspaper for nine years, and a website for five. She was addicted to the thrill of the chase, the pump of adrenaline when she uncovered a hot story or piece of previously hidden info. There is no better sound to a reporter’s ears than someone sputtering, “How did you find that out?”

“It’s the perfect job for you,” her father once said. “You’re a professional nosy person.”

She loved journalism for a deeper reason, which she rarely admitted to her cynical reporter friends: She wanted to make a difference. As a girl, she was haunted by the stories they told in religious school, how Jews were killed in concentration camps while the world turned its head. Growing up, she devoured All the President’s Men and idolized pioneering female muckrakers like Nellie Bly.

Being a journalist was the only thing Mimi ever wanted to do, the only thing she knew how to do. She longed to do it again.

Which is why, she told her therapist, she would tell her father no.

Dr. Asner said she understood, in that soft melancholy coo common to all therapists. Then she crept forward on her chair.

“Maybe you should take your father up on this. He’s really throwing you a lifeline. You keep telling me how bad the editorial job market is.” She squinted and her glasses inched up her nose. “Sometimes people adjust their dreams. Put them on hold.”

Mimi felt the blood drain from her face. In her darker moments—and she had quite a few after her layoff—she had considered leaving journalism and doing something else, though she had no idea what that would be. Mimi always believed that giving up her lifelong passion would be tantamount to surrender.

Dr. Asner must have sensed her reaction, because she quickly backtracked.

“You can continue to look for a journalism job,” she said. “Who knows? Maybe working in the Diamond District will give you something to write about. Besides,”— here, her voice gained an edge—”you need the money.” That was driven home at the end of the forty-five minutes, when Dr. Asner announced that she couldn’t see Mimi for any more sessions, since Mimi hadn’t paid her for the last three.

By that point, Mimi didn’t know whether to argue, burst into tears, or wave a white flag and admit the world had won.

It was a cold February morning as Mimi walked down Forty-Seventh Street to her father’s office, following an hour-plus commute from New Jersey that included a car, a bus, and a subway. With her piercing hazel eyes, glossy brown hair, and closely set features, Mimi was frequently told she was pretty, though she never quite believed it. She had just gotten her hair cut short to commemorate her thirty-eighth birthday, hoping for a more “mature” look. She had always been self-conscious about her height; she was five foot four and tried to walk taller. She was wearing a navy dress that she’d snagged for a good price on eBay; it was professional enough to please her father, who wanted everyone to look nice in the office, without being so nice that she was wasting one of her few good outfits. She was bundled up with multiple layers and a heavy coat—to protect against the winter chill, as well as the madness around her.

Even though it was before 9 AM, Forty-Seventh Street was, as usual, packed, and Mimi gritted her teeth as she bobbed and weaved through the endless crowd. She sidestepped the store workers grabbing a smoke, covering her mouth so she wouldn’t get cancer. She swerved around the stern-looking guard unloading the armored car, with the gun conspicuously dangling from his belt. And she dodged the “hawker” trying to lure her into a jewelry store, who every day asked if she had gold to sell, even though every day she told him no.

Finally, Mimi reached her father’s building, 460 Fifth, the most popular address on “The Street.” After a few minutes standing and tapping her foot on the security line, she handed her driver’s license to the security guard and called out, “Rosen Diamonds.”

“Miss,” growled the guard with the oversized forehead who’d seen her three days a week for the past two months, “you should get a building ID. It’ll save you time in the morning.”

“It’s okay. I won’t be working here for long,” she chirped, though she wasn’t quite sure of that.

Next stop, the elevator bank. Mimi had an irrational fear of elevators; she was always worried she would die in one. She particularly hated these elevators, which were extremely narrow and perpetually packed. She envied those for whom a subway was their sole exposure to a cramped unpleasant space.

As the car rose, one occupant asked a Hasidic dealer how he was finding things.

“All you can do is put on your shoes. The rest is up to the man upstairs.”

Only in the diamond business. Mimi’s last job was thirty blocks away, yet in a different universe.

At each floor, dealers pushed and rushed like they were escaping a fire. When the elevator reached her floor, Mimi too elbowed her way to freedom.

As she walked to her father’s office, she marveled how the building, so fancy and impressive when she was a kid, had sunk into disrepair. The carpets were frayed, the paint was peeling, and the bathroom rarely contained more than one functioning toilet. If management properly maintained the building, they’d charge Midtown Manhattan rents, which small dealers like her father couldn’t afford. The neglect suited everyone.

She spied a new handwritten sign, “No large minyans, by order of the fire department.” Mimi produced a deep sigh. She had long ago left her religious background behind. Somehow, she was now working in a building where they warn against praying in the halls. She was going backward.

Perhaps the dealer in the elevator was right. You could only put on your shoes and do your best. She grabbed her pocketbook strap, threw her head back, and was just about at her father’s office when she heard the yelling.

“I’m so tired of waiting, Yosef! It’s not fair!”

Max’s receptionist, Channah, was arguing with her boyfriend, Yosef, a small-time, perpetually unsuccessfully diamond dealer. Making it more awkward: Yosef was Mimi’s cousin.

Channah and Yosef had dated for nearly eighteen months without getting married—an eternity in Channah’s community. Still, whenever Channah complained, Mimi remembered how her ex-husband only popped the question after three years and two ultimatums.

“Give me more time,” Yosef stuttered, as he tended to do when nervous. “I want to be successful in the business.”

“When’s that going to happen? The year three thousand?”

The argument shifted to Yiddish, which Mimi didn’t understand, though they were yelling so fiercely she didn’t need to. Finally, tall, skinny Yosef stormed out of the office, his black hat and suit set off by his red face. He was walking so fast he didn’t notice his cousin Mimi standing against the wall. Given the circumstances, she didn’t stop him to say hello. She watched his back grow smaller as he stomped and grunted down the hall.

Mimi gave Channah time to cool down. After a minute checking in vain for responses to her latest freelance pitch—editors weren’t even bothering to reject her anymore—she rang the doorbell. She flashed a half-smile at the security camera stationed over the door, and Channah buzzed her in. Mimi hopped into the “man trap,” the small square space between security doors that was a standard feature of diamond offices. She let the first door slam behind her, heard the second buzz, pulled the metal handle on the inner door, and said hello to Channah, perched at her standard spot at the reception desk.

Channah had long dark curly hair, which she constantly twirled; a round, expressive face, dotted with black freckles; and a voluptuous figure that even her modest religious clothing couldn’t hide.

“Did you hear us argue?” she asked Mimi.

“No,” she sputtered. “I mean—”

Channah smiled and pointed to the video monitor on her desk. “I could see you on the camera.” Her shoulders slouched. “It was the same stupid argument we always have. Even I’m bored by it.”

“Hang in there. We’ll talk at lunch.” Mimi and Channah shared a quick hug, and Mimi walked back to the office.

She was greeted by her father’s smile and a peck on the cheek. If anything made this job worthwhile, it was that grin. Plus the money.

“How are things this morning?”

“Baruch Hashem,” Max replied. Max said “thank God” all the time, even during his wife’s sickness, when he really didn’t seem all that thankful.

Sure enough, he added, “We’re having a crisis.”

Mimi almost rolled her eyes. It was always a crisis in the office. When Mimi was young, the family joke was that business was either “terrible” or “worse than terrible.”

Lately, her dad seemed more agitated than normal. As he spoke, he puttered in a circle and his hands clutched a pack of Tums. That usually didn’t come out until noon.

“I can’t find the two-carat pear shape.” He threw his arms up and his forehead exploded into a sea of worry lines. “It’s not here, it’s not there. It’s nowhere.”

Max Rosen was dressed, as usual, in a white button-down shirt and brown wool slacks, with a jeweler’s loupe dangling on a rope from his neck. His glasses sat off-kilter on his nose, and two shocks of white hair jutted from his skull like wings. When he was excited about something, like this missing diamond, the veins in his neck popped and the bobby-pinned yarmulke seemed to flap on his head.

Mimi stifled a laugh. That was the crisis? Diamonds always got lost in the office. As kids, Mimi and her two sisters used to come in on weekends and be paid one dollar for every stone they found on the floor. “They travel,” Max would say.

It was no surprise that things went missing in that vortex of an office. Every desk was submerged under a huge stack of books, magazines, and papers. The most pressing were placed on the seat near her father’s desk, what he called his “in-chair.”

When Mimi’s mother worked there, she kept a lid on the chaos. After her death, Max hired a few bookkeepers, none of whom lasted; two years later, the job had somehow fallen to Mimi.

Eventually, Channah found the two-carat pear shape, snug in its parcel papers, right next to the bathroom keys. The only logical explanation was that Max was examining it while on the toilet.

Max sheepishly returned to his desk. Mimi loved watching her father at work. She was fascinated by how he joked with friends, took grief from clients, and kept track of five things at once. It felt exotic and forbidden, like observing an animal in its natural habitat.

For the most part, they got along, which was no small thing. Over the years, there had been tense moments as he struggled to accept that she was no longer religious. Lately, he rarely brought the topic up, and she didn’t want him to. Her split from her non-Jewish ex probably helped.

On occasion, the old strains resurfaced, in subtle ways. Max’s desk was covered with photos—mostly of Mimi’s mom and her religious sisters and their religious broods. One time when Max was at lunch, Mimi tiptoed over to glance at them, and—not incidentally—check how many were of her. It made her feel silly, yet she couldn’t help herself. She was a professional nosy person.

She got her answer: out of about twenty photos, Mimi was in three, an old family photo and two pics from her sisters’ weddings. That was less than expected. She tried not to take it personally. She had no kids and her marriage was a bust. What was there to show off?

Mimi spent most of the morning deciphering her father’s books—a task made more difficult by his aging computer system, which regularly stalled and crashed. Her father’s “new” software was actually fifteen years old.

Sometimes she wished he gave her more substantial tasks to do. While her father would never say it, he didn’t consider the diamond industry a place for women, as it had always been male-dominated—even though, ironically, it catered mostly to females. That was fine with Mimi. She didn’t want to devote her life to a rock.

At 1 PM, Channah and Mimi headed for Kosher Gourmet, their usual lunch spot. Mimi always joked, “I don’t know if it’s kosher, but it’s not gourmet.”

In the two months Mimi had worked for her father, she and Channah had become fast friends, bonding over their shared love of mystery novels, crossword puzzles, and sarcastic senses of humor.

Channah was not Mimi’s typical friend. She was twenty-three and her parents were strictly religious, even more than Mimi’s. She commuted to Forty-Seventh Street every day on a charter bus from Borough Park, a frum enclave in Brooklyn. The Diamond District was her main exposure to the wider world. She reminded Mimi of her younger, more religious self, under her parents’ thrall yet curious what else was out there.

Mimi was not Channah’s typical friend either. During their lunches, Channah quizzed her on the taste of non-Kosher food (it didn’t taste any different, Mimi told her); sex (“When the time comes,” Mimi said, “you’ll figure it out”); and popular culture (“Can you explain,” Channah once asked, “why Kim Kardashian is famous?” Mimi just said no.) Today, as usual, they talked about Yosef. 

“I don’t get it.” Channah wrapped sesame noodles around her white plastic fork. “I love him. He loves me. Why not get married?”

Mimi took a sip from her Styrofoam cup filled with warm tap water. She preferred bottled water but couldn’t afford it. “Have you thought of giving Yosef an ultimatum? Tell him if he doesn’t marry you by a certain date, that’s it.”

“Yosef wouldn’t take that seriously.” Channah turned her eyes to her tray.

“Why not?”

“Cause I’ve done that already. Three times! I backed down every time.” Her fork toyed with her food. “I believe it is beshert that Yosef and I will end up together. I’ve thought so since I first met him at your father’s office, and he smiled at me. What choice do I have?” Her elbow nudged her tray across the table.

“I understand why he’s waiting. He wants to be a steady provider. That’s a good thing, right?”

Actually, Mimi found it sexist. She didn’t say that, because she found many things in Channah’s world sexist.

“He just needs to sell that pink,” Channah said, spearing a dark brown cube of chicken.

Mimi took a quick sip of water. “That pink” was an awkward subject.

One month ago, Yosef had bought a three-point-two carat pink diamond. It was the biggest purchase of his career, the kind of high-risk move that could make or break his business. Max was overjoyed. “Do you know how rare pink diamonds are?” he exclaimed. “And it’s a three-carater! Sounds like a great buy!”

That was, until Yosef proudly presented it to his uncle Max, who inspected it under his favorite lamp, muttered “very nice,” and quickly handed it back.

It was only after Yosef left that Max dismissed his nephew’s score as a strop, a dog of a diamond, the kind of unsellable item that gathered dust in a safe.

“It has so many pepper spots,” Max lamented. “The color’s not strong at all. No one will buy that thing.”

“Maybe he got it for a good price,” Mimi said.

“I’m sure whoever sold it to him said it was the bargain of the century. Anytime someone offers me a metziah, that’s a sign they can’t sell the stone. There’s a saying, ‘your metziah is my strop.'” His face sagged. “I wish he talked to me first. That stone is worthless. I don’t have the heart to tell him.”

When Channah brought up the big pink at lunch, Mimi didn’t want to dwell on the subject. “What’s happening with that?” she asked, as casually as possible.

“Didn’t you hear?” Channah jerked forward. “It got the highest grade possible on its USGR cert.”

“You’ll have to translate.” Mimi tuned out most diamond talk.

“Cert is short for certificate, meaning grading report. The USGR is the U.S. Academy for Gemological Research, the best lab in the industry.”

Mimi just stared.

“That stone’s worth four million dollars.”

That Mimi understood. “Wow.” A lot of money for a dog of a diamond.

“Four point one million, to be exact.” Channah laughed. “Don’t want to leave that point one out!” 

“I thought that stone was—”

“Ugly?” Channah chuckled. “Me too! I don’t understand how it got that grade. I guess it doesn’t matter. As your father says, ‘today the paper is worth more than the diamond.'” She slurped some diet soda.

“Is Yosef going to get four million dollars?”

“Who knows? He isn’t exactly an expert in selling such a stone. Your father convinced him to post it on one of the online trading networks. Someone called him about it yesterday.”

“That’s great!”

“Hopefully. If anyone could screw this up, Yosef could.” Channah’s mouth curled downward. “I keep checking my phone to see if there’s any news.” She flipped over her iPhone, saw nothing, and flipped it back. “The way I figure, if he sells that stone, he’ll have to marry me. Unless he comes up with some new excuse. He wouldn’t do that, right? Not after all this time. Would he?”

Mimi struggled to keep herself in check. She was dying to shake Channah and scream that if Yosef wasn’t giving her what she wanted, it was time to move on. She didn’t. Yosef was her cousin. Mimi was in no position to critique someone else’s love life. She always told people hers was “on hold.” It was basically non-existent.

Plus, she remembered how, weeks before her wedding, her friends warned her that her fiancé had a wandering eye. That just strengthened her resolve to marry him, even though in retrospect, they were right. “With situations like that,” her therapist said later, “I always recommend not to say anything. Just be a supportive friend.”

Mimi waited until Channah stopped speaking. She touched her hand. “I’m sure it will work out,” she said.

***

Excerpt from A Murder is Forever by Rob Bates. Copyright © 2020 by Rob Bates. Reproduced with permission from Rob Bates. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Rob Bates has written about the diamond industry for over 25 years. He is currently the news director of JCK, the leading publication in the jewelry industry, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary. He has won 12 editorial awards and been quoted as an industry authority in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and on National Public Radio. He is also a comedy writer and performer, whose work has appeared on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update segment, comedycentral.com, and McSweeneys. He has also written for Time Out New York, New York Newsday, and Fastcompany.com. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and son.


Catch Up With Rob Bates:


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! Click here to view A Murder Is Forever by Rob Bates tour participants. 

Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Rob Bates. There will be one (1) winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and there will be three (3) winners of one (1) Physical OR eBook (WINNER’s Choice!!) edition of A Murder Is Forever by Rob Bates (US and Canada ONLY). The giveaway begins on December 1, 2020 and runs through February 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

Click here to enter using the Rafflecopter form.


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Guest Post: Connie di Marco – THE MADNESS OF MERCURY

Monday greetings, book people. I’ve learned over the years that some authors base their characters on real people (often composites of family and friends), and others may simply read a news article about some event and think “hmm, that might make for a good story.” Connie di Marco is one of the few authors that created a character and then found out that her character bore a striking resemblance to a real person. Learn more about this and her book, The Madness of Mercury, as Ms. di Marco visits with us today. Thank you, Ms. di Marco, for joining us today and giving us some insight into your character. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

THE REAL ASK ZODIA by Connie di Marco


Julia Bonatti, my crime-solving astrological sleuth in the Zodiac Mysteries, writes an advice column, AskZodia, for her hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle. Julia’s column stretches reality quite a bit because how many big-city newspapers would have space for a ‘Dear Abby’ type of feature?  

Julia enjoys the work, but sometimes really struggles with some of the letters to Zodia. Some are sad, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain worrying. And Julia worries a lot about what she’s sending out into the universe in her column. Here’s one example:  

Dear Zodia ~
My birthday is September 13, 1974 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I’ve been married for 26 years. I’m very unhappy and confused. I care about my husband, he’s a good person, but to be honest, I’m bored. Bored with him and with married life. I’ve been thinking about telling him I want a divorce, but I’m really afraid what this will do to him. Please tell me what to do.
~ Growing Older

Dear Growing Older ~
Your sign off name says a lot. You’re afraid life is passing you by and soon it will be too late for adventure. What you’re not telling me, and I know because Neptune is opposing your Sun sign, and over the last year or so, opposed your Venus, is that you are attracted to someone else. Here’s the thing about Neptune transits: they can lend a great aura of mystery or fantasy. Much if not most of this is not real. Think very carefully about your choices because, in time, you may regret leaving your marriage.  
Wishing you well ~
~ Zodia

And here’s another:

Dear Zodia ~
I’m at my wit’s end. My mother’s new boyfriend is a complete creep.  He makes me very uncomfortable whenever he’s in our house. I don’t want to be alone with him, and so far I haven’t been, but I’m afraid to be in the same room with him when my mother’s not there. I’ve tried to talk to her about this, but she thinks I’m imagining things and trying to make her life difficult. I don’t know what to do. What should I do?  
My birthday is May 6, 2004 in Berkeley at 3:20 p.m.
~ Creeped Out

Dear Creeped Out ~
Trust your instincts, no matter what anyone says. Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world, predators, and some of them date women with young children for that very reason. By all means, speak out about your concerns. Your transits show a Pluto aspect to your Moon, this may indicate the difficulties between you and your mother right now, but no matter what astrology can tell you, always trust your instincts.
~ Zodia

But here’s the odd thing — I never ever wondered if there was a real AskZodia. I no longer live in San Francisco but manage to visit a few times a year, so I don’t often get to read the Chronicle. But one day at a street fair, I glanced at a newspaper and spotted the Chronicle’s Astro column. I was stunned! Why hadn’t I discovered this before? There is a REAL AskZodia! His name is Christopher Renstrom, not Julia Bonatti and he’s a famous astrologer, a real one, unlike Julia! 


I’d be willing to bet Christopher would have no problem responding to AskZodia questions. After all, he has a terrific new book out — The Cosmic Calendar: Using Astrology to Get in Sync with Your Best Life. So I’m sure he’d offer some great advice and solve all of these AskZodia problems.  

If you’d like some real-life astrology, check out Christopher’s website [http://rulingplanets.com], follow him on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/christopher.renstrom], and Twitter @rulingplanets [https://twitter.com/rulingplanets/]. You won’t regret it! 
 
And if you’d like to enjoy a good astrological murder mystery, don’t miss Julia’s first adventure in The Madness of Mercury!  



The Madness of Mercury

by Connie di Marco

December 1-31, 2020 Tour



Synopsis:


San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti’s life is turned upside down when she becomes a target of the Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. The Reverend, a recently-arrived cult preacher, is determined to drive sin from the city, but his gospel of love and compassion doesn’t extend to those he considers an “abomination unto the Lord.” Julia’s outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, has put her at the top of the Reverend’s list. While the powerful Mercury-ruled preacher woos local dignitaries, his Army of the Prophet will stop at nothing to silence not just Julia, but anyone who stands in his way.

Driven out of her apartment in the midst of a disastrous Mercury retrograde period, she takes shelter with a client who’s caring for two elderly aunts. One aunt appears stricken with dementia and the other has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. To add to the confusion, a young man claiming to be a long-lost nephew arrives. The longer he stays, the more dangerous things become. One aunt slides deeper into psychosis while the other disappears. Is this young man truly a member of the family? Can astrology confirm that? Julia’s not sure, but one thing she does know is that Mercury wasn’t merely the messenger of the gods – he was a trickster and a liar as well.

Book Details

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: October 9, 2020
Number of Pages: 268
ISBN: 0578752654 (ISBN13: 9780578752655)
Series: Zodiac Mystery #1
Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the series was re-released in October 2020.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime.


Catch Up With Connie di Marco:  ConniediMarco.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, and Facebook!



Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! Click here to view The Madness Of Mercury by Connie di Marco blog tour participants.

Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Connie di Marco. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on December 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

Click here to enter the giveaway.


Guest Post: Bluette Matthey – TWO MURDERS TOO MANY



Good day, my bookish peeps. It’s hard to believe that it’s the second Friday in December of 2020. This year has seemed to drag on and on and on since the pandemic began in late-February. One of the many things that I’ve actually enjoyed about this year, is learning more about the authors that write the books that have provided me with hours of reading pleasure throughout this year. Today I’m pleased to welcome a new-to-me author to the blog as a guest. Bluette Matthey is the author of the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series as well as the recently released mystery, Two Murders Too Many. Sit back, relax, and travel along with Ms. Matthey’s character Hardy Durkin as she describes her travels as an author. Thank you, Ms. Matthey, for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by today and share with us your experiences or life as an author. 

My Life as an Author by Bluette Matthey
or
Where In The World Is Hardy Durkin?



I’ve been hooked on mysteries since third grade and traveling at least as long. My dad was forever getting us up at two or three in the morning to start off on a trip to Florida, or Canada, or to head out West from our Ohio farm. So, I decided to merge my two passions and began writing the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series, international mysteries, with amateur sleuth Hardy Durkin as my hunky protagonist.  

Traveling inspires me to write. It feeds the part of me that wishes it had been born in a different century. The thrill and wonderment of discovering and exploring something totally new, experiencing something so beautiful that it astounds, or beholding a thing so ancient I marvel it still exists … all resonate and beckon, drawing me on.

Instead of the London-Paris-Rome circuit (all fantastic places), I chose to use less-known locales as settings for my mysteries. My books are heavily researched for authenticity, which includes a boots-on-the-ground approach, so I get to enjoy visiting all the places I write about. I’ve had some amazing experiences, eaten wonderful regional foods, met lovely people, and taken some pretty interesting treks.  

Hardy Durkin owns an outfitter business specializing in European treks.  He is also a crack marksman, trained in signals intelligence, who speaks four languages. I’ve duplicated some of his easier hikes (I’m not as fit as he is). I hiked into the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo (11th century) near Roccamorice, Abruzzo, Italy, aware I was the only human around for miles as I trekked through the Majella National Park. Animal scat along the trail reminded me there were bears, wolves, and other beasts present. I climbed to the top of Rocca Calascio, built in the 10th century by the Romans as a watchtower and the highest fortress in the Apennines. This was for my second book, Abruzzo Intrigue.

Dalmatian Traffick took me to the Balkans, where I visited Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania. I didn’t hike to the Ostrog Monastery, but took my life, literally, in my hands and drove there. Mostly one-lane, snaking up the mountain of Ostroška Greda with the mountain wall on one side and a drop-off that increased at an alarming rate on the other, and no guard rails, anywhere. Perhaps a row of rather insignificant rocks placed beside the road, or an occasional tree, but nothing substantial to keep you from plummeting over the edge into eternity. The guide books tell you to hire a taxi, but driving in Montenegro is almost a blood sport and I opted to control my own fate, so I drove slowly and steadfastly, praying that no cars would come from the other direction.


Walking the streets of Ajaccio, Corsica, one night while working on Corsican Justice, I was drawn into a small, unremarkable bar by polyphonic singing, the a cappella music whose harmonious chords express the heart of Corsican culture. Deeply moving, other-worldly, listening to the exquisite music was a time-travel journey for my soul that spanned ages, leaving an imprint I cherish.


Black Forest Reckoning took me to Baden-Baden, Germany, where I spent half a day in the Friedrichsbad Spa, Roman baths that are a monument to Old World pampering, followed by a meal to remember at Schneider’s Weinstube. That was before spending the night at Gasthaus Zum Lowen in Staufen, where Faustus met his end when the devil came to collect his due.


Exploring the traboules of Old Lyon, France, was part of stepping back in time with the Knights Templar in Engadine Aerie. I also was a guest at the annual Engadine Skimarathon, which features prominently in Engadine Aerie. Dangerous conditions at the time prevented me from hiking into the eternal ice of the Morteratsch Glacier.  


Hardy’s next adventure takes him to the Hérault region of the South of France in Homicide Hérault where he joins forces with his old friend Alain Clotiers, a Legionnaire from Corsica.


I invite you to discover where in the world is Hardy Durkin … he can be a tough guy to keep track of.


My newest release, Two Murders Too Many, is a break from my Hardy Durkin series and is an adaptation of true and terrible events that took place in the small Midwest town of Shannon. My father was a masterful storyteller, and Two Murders Too Many wraps itself around many of my father’s tales in this small town’s history. Even small towns have an underbelly of secrets and human darkness where potential monsters dwell. 


I have also developed a travel app for the South of France, Potty PochePotty Poche is a unique travel app for Provence and the Languedoc-Roussillon written in five languages and highlighting must-see destinations for the two regions. Potty Poche can be purchased on Apple Apps and Google.

See you out and about,
Bluette Matthey

Two Murders Too Many
by Bluette Matthey
December 1-31, 2020 Tour



Synopsis:

Barn burning in a sleepy farming community is a serious enough matter, but a grisly murder or two in a small midwest town is a showstopper. Throw in a serial blackmailer who has his claws in some of the town’s leading citizens and you have one big recipe for disaster.


Charlie Simmons, newly sworn in as Shannon’s policeman, takes on the challenge of investigating this cauldron of crimes in stride, untangling one thread after another from the fabric of the town of Shannon to find the simple truth.

Book Details:
Genre:
Mystery
Published by: Blue Shutter Publishing
Publication Date: October 21st, 2020
Number of Pages: 254
ISBN: 978-1-941611-16-6
Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Bluette Matthey is a product of the melting pot of America’s settlers, with her ancestry rooted in the Swiss, German, and English cultures. She is a keen reader of mysteries who loves to travel and explore, especially in Europe. Bluette currently lives in Béziers, France, with her husband and band of loving cats. Other books by Bluette Matthey include the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series: Corsican Justice, Abruzzo Intrigue, Black Forest Reckoning, Dalmatian Traffick, and Engadine Aerie.



Catch Up With Bluette Matthey On BluetteMatthey.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! Click here to view Two Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey blog tour participants. 

Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Bluette Matthey. There will be five (5) winners for this tour. Each winner will receive an eBook of Two Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey. The giveaway begins on December 1, 2020, and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited. Click here to enter.

Book Showcase: SLIGHTLY MURDEROUS INTENT by Lida Sideris


Slightly Murderous Intent
A Southern California Mystery
by Lida Sideris
December 7 – 18, 2020 Tour



Synopsis:

There’s a shooter on the loose who keeps missing his target. But that doesn’t stop him from trying again…and again. It’s up to Corrie Locke, rookie lawyer and spunky sleuth, to find the gunman before he hits his mark, Assistant Deputy D.A. James Zachary, Corrie’s hunky and complicated frenemy.


When Corrie is stuck with more questions than answers, she enlists a team with various strengths, from weapons to cooking skills, to help her find the shooter. Her computer whiz boyfriend Michael is onboard. So is former security guard Veera. Toss in an over-the-hill informant and a couple of feuding celebrity chefs and Corrie’s got her very own A-Team. Okay, maybe it’s more like a B-Team.


Can Team Corrie hunt down the shooter before he scores a bulls-eye?



Book Details:
Genre: Traditional Mystery with some Humor
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: October 20th, 2020
Number of Pages: 280
ISBN: 9781947915930
Series: A Southern California Mystery, #4 | Each can be read as a Stand-Alone book


Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:


The last of my patience dripped onto the concrete floor beneath my feet. My fists clenched, my jaw tightened and my stomach rumbled like the start of an avalanche. I’d officially reached the cracking point.

“Today was V-day for us. Victory with a big fat V.”

Los Angeles Senior Deputy District Attorney Bruce Beckman stood at the head of our table, arms raised high. The first two fingers of each hand formed a “V”. Meanwhile, everyone’s dinner sat in front of them. Everyone’s, that is, but mine. All I had was an empty plate and an empty stomach.

“Where’s our server?” I whispered. The beachside diner was packed. “Did they run out of food?”

Beckman dropped his pose and glared at me so fiercely, my cheeks glowed from the heat.

“Sorry,” I mumbled. What did he expect? His mac n’ cheese was half-eaten. I licked my lips.

“The case came close to swinging in the opposite direction,” Beckman continued. “We couldn’t have won today’s trial without this guy.” Beckman gestured toward the deputy D.A. sitting next to him.

I half stood and peered past the other diners.  No sign of our server. “Slacker,” I mumbled. I slammed my napkin down beside my plate.

“Have some of mine,” Michael whispered. “Please, Corrie.”

If anyone else had offered, I would’ve cleaned his plate in thirty seconds. But Michael was my oldest friend slash newest boyfriend, and I loved him dearly from his dark floppy hair to the Chuck Taylors on his feet. We sat in a crowded hipster restaurant in Santa Monica, a hop, skip, and a jump from the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Michael had barely touched his burger, waiting on my dinner with me. His stomach growled right alongside mine.

“Obviously, I picked the right man for the job,” Beckman said. “And gave him a few tips. Quite a few, actually.” He chuckled.

Weak laughter trickled around the table, followed by a groan. Did that come from me? Beckman shot me his signature scowl. I managed a shadow of an apology, and his attention returned to the man on his left.  My hunger pangs took a brief hike while I assessed the object of Beckman’s praise. Assistant Deputy D.A. James Zachary flashed a grin. He was a sight for sore eyes. Or any eyes, for that matter.

“Thanks to James,” Beckman continued, “defense counsel didn’t stand a chance.”

Cheers erupted. I clapped and wriggled around in my seat. My stomach rumblings grew even louder. That’s what happened when my last meal was breakfast.

“I’ll be back,” I whispered to Michael and shoved away my chair. We sat around a table of five. Three of us were members of the world’s oldest profession. The oldest after toolmakers, farmers, the military, and doctors. We were lawyers. I was the only lawyer unaffiliated with the D.A.’s office.

“Wait.” Michael took my hand.

Michael Parris wasn’t a lawyer, but he was the associate dean of the computer science department of a private tech college near downtown L.A.  Michael’s lips were moving but shouting voices, clanging dinner plates and background music swallowed up his next words.

“What?” I leaned in closer, sniffing a sweet combo of sandalwood and fresh laundry that made my empty insides tingle.

He wiped his mouth on a napkin and said, “Stay here. I’ll go to the kitchen. Help yourself to my burger while you wait. I promise I won’t return empty-handed.”

“No, you stay. I want to make sure they get my order right.” I touched his shoulder. “Be back soon.”

We locked stares and his hazel eyes softened. “Two minutes. If you’re not back, I’m coming after you.”

I’d insisted my table mates eat without me, figuring my meal was on its way…fifteen minutes ago. I aimed for the kitchen, wading sideways between packed tables when I bumped into our server. She tried to push past, but I blocked the way.

“I’m still waiting,” I told her.

“No, you’re not,” she said. “You got served.”

“Crispy chicken sandwich with spicy slaw and chili cheese fries, hold the onions. It’s not on our table.” I pointed my thumb over my shoulder.

“I brought all the orders out personally.”

“Not mine.”

“You wanna talk to the manager?”

“I demand to talk to the manager.”

She tipped her head and pitched it to one side. “Big Sam’s up front by the cashier.”

I moved out of her path, and she hustled past. I continued my sideways trek, filing between chairs and dodging scurrying servers. Nearly closing time and the place was still hopping. I slowed and looked back at the kitchen. Maybe I’d get somewhere if I talked to the cook. I was about to swivel around when I spotted a manager-type; a stocky guy with a shaved head and goatee, chatting up a group of wannabe diners near the bar.

I headed for him and waited behind the blonde hostess. The cash register drawer popped open with a ping. She plucked wads of bills from beneath the drawer and shoved them into a vinyl bank bag.

“Excuse me,” I said.

She jumped and turned to me, zipping up the bag and pushing it behind her. “Yeah?” Long bangs stabbed at her eyes.

I pitched my chin toward the stocky guy. “That the manager?”

“He owns the place. Big Sam Neely.” Her attention went back to the bag. She unzipped it and continued stuffing bills inside.

I navigated closer to Big Sam and leaned against a pillar, waiting for a chance to butt into the conversation. Meanwhile, a lanky dude in a dark gray hoodie and faded jeans edged his way inside. His clothes were baggy; his hood was up and over his head. Only his nose, mouth, and tinted shades were visible. Sunglasses at night weren’t unusual in L.A. I stared out at the room. A couple of diners wore shades. The guy in the hoodie flitted past me. He threw out his anchor near the hostess. My heartbeat quickened. The cash drawer still gaped open. I elbowed my way back toward him, half-expecting the guy’s hand to dart out and grab the bank bag, but he ignored the money. Instead, he eased forward and stared out toward the back of the diner. My gaze dropped to the lower left side of his jacket. The bottom edge had latched onto the large violin-shaped leaf of an ornamental ficus, exposing the top of his jeans. My heart hammered against my chest. The grip of a revolver stuck out of his pocket.

***

Excerpt from Slightly Murderous Intent by Lida Sideris. 

Copyright © 2020 by Lida Sideris. 
Reproduced with permission from Lida Sideris. All rights reserved.




Author Bio:

Lida Sideris’ first stint after law school was a newbie lawyer’s dream: working as an entertainment attorney for a movie studio…kind of like her heroine, Corrie Locke, except without the homicides. Lida was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship Award for her first book. She lives in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, rescue dogs, and a flock of uppity chickens. 




To learn more about Lida, please visit her at:
www.LidaSideris.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!





Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and giveaways!

Click here to view Slightly Murderous Intent by Lida Sideris Tour Participants.

Giveaway!!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Lida Sideris. There will be three (3) winners. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and One (1) winner will receive a copy of Slightly Murderous Intent by Lida Sideris (US only ~ choice of print or eBook). The giveaway begins on December 7, 2020, and runs through December 20, 2020. Void where prohibited.


Click here to enter.




Book Spotlight: A DEADLY EDITION by Victoria Gilbert


A Deadly Edition: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery

by Victoria Gilbert

About A Deadly Edition

Cozy Mystery

5th in Series

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books 

Release Date: December 8, 2020

Hardcover: 368 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1643854762

Kindle ASIN: B085N3KN7L


Purchase Links:  Amazon – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound

“‘Til death do us part’ could be closer than the bride realizes in Victoria Gilbert’s tantalizing fifth Blue Ridge Library mystery.”

The pursuit to acquire a rare illustrated book turns deadly, and on the eve of her upcoming wedding, library director Amy Webber is drawn into a web of treachery and betrayal that could derail her happy day–and maybe just claim her life.

Planning a wedding can be murder–sometimes literally. At a party celebrating their upcoming nuptials, Taylorsford, Virginia library director Amy Webber and her fiancé Richard Muir discover the body of art dealer Oscar Selvaggio–a bitter rival of their host, Kurt Kendrick.

Both had been in a heated battle to purchase a rare illustrated volume created by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, so suspicion immediately falls upon Kurt. Amy knows that Kurt has a closet-full of skeletons from his past–but she can’t believe he’s guilty of murder.

Amidst an avalanche of wedding preparations, Amy begins an investigation with the help of her aunt Lydia Talbot and the new mayor of Taylorsford, Sunshine “Sunny” Fields. Much to Lydia’s dismay, her boyfriend, art expert Hugh Chen, becomes convinced of Kurt’s guilt and launches an investigation of his own. As the case hits painfully close to home, the stakes become impossibly high–and the danger all too real.


About Victoria Gilbert

Raised in a historic small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.


Victoria writes the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, the Booklover’s B&B series, and the upcoming Hunter and Clewe traditional mystery series for Crooked Lane Books. She has also published fantasy with Snowy Wings Publishing.

A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel. She lives near Winston-Salem, NC with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

Author Links

Website (includes blog): http://victoriagilbertmysteries.com/

Blue Ridge Library Mystery series:

Booklover’s B&B series:

Giveaway

This is a tour-wide giveaway for one (1) print copy of A Deadly Edition by Victoria Gilbert. This giveaway is open to US residents only. If the Rafflecopter form isn’t displayed below, please click here to enter. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS


December 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 9 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
December 9 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
December 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
December 11 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
December 11 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
December 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
December 12 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 13 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?


Guest Post: Burt Weissbourd – INSIDE PASSAGE

Good day, my bookish peeps. There are many perks to have a book blog, other than free advance copies of books, including getting the opportunity to meet and host visits from new-to-me authors as well as authors I know. It always amazes me when these incredibly talented authors agree to visit my little blog. Today, I’m pleased to welcome a noted novelist, screenwriter, and producer. Please help me welcome Burt Weissbourd, author of Inside Passage, the first book of the Corey Logan trilogy, and more. Mr. Weissbourd discusses the difficulty in writing a credible yet compelling psychiatrist character in this series. I hope you’ll read what he has to say about this process, and perhaps follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and author. Thank you, Mr. Weissbourd for taking time away from your writing to visit with us today, I now turn the blog over to you.

Corey Logan was set up. She knows Nick Season’s terrible secret. Coming home from prison, all Corey wants is to be with her son. To get him back, she needs to make a good impression on the psychiatrist evaluating her. But Dr. Abe Stein doesn’t believe she was framed–until his well-heeled mother falls for the charming state attorney general candidate, Nick Season. 


As the dogs of war are unleashed, Corey and her son run for their lives–taking her boat up the Pacific Northwest’s remote Inside Passage. Inside Passage is the first in Weissbourd’s haunting, heart-stirring Corey Logan trilogy.

Writing a Psychiatrist For Inside Passage 

by Burt Weissbourd

One of the challenges in, and motivations for, writing Inside Passage was creating an original and compelling psychiatrist as a protagonist.


Early on, I made several decisions about Abe Stein, my protagonist:


Abe has worked very hard to be comfortable with who he is. He’s self-aware. He really doesn’t worry about what others think – about how he looks, how he thinks about things, what he does in his spare time.


Abe has an intense inner life. He may not have an easy time with practical tasks – he’s always having trouble lighting his pipe; he often tosses his spent match into the wastebasket only to find that it’s still burning and he’s started a fire – but he’s a master at navigating his way through psychological complexity. He gets what makes people tick and often thinks about people in unexpected, especially insightful ways.


Abe is often preoccupied and distracted. Because his inner life is so intense and interesting, Abe will often lose his focus as he follows a train of thought down some winding back road. The judge has taken away his driver’s license because he keeps getting distracted with some thought and sideswiping parked cars.

Abe focuses intently on his patients and genuinely believes that it’s on him to help them in real and meaningful ways. He’ll be sitting in his office staring at the ceiling apparently not listening to what his patient is saying. In fact, he’s turning over every word, doing everything in his power to get inside his patient’s skin, feel what he or she is feeling. He has remarkable empathic capacities.

So I paired this self-aware, inwardly oriented, not-at-all good at negotiating his way in the world, master of emotional complexity with a tough, self-reliant, not so self-aware, literally able to navigate on her own in wild country, extremely able-in–the-world woman, and as they fall in love, we find that there’s very little they can’t do together. 

I gave an early draft of Inside Passage to a psychiatrist friend and was touched and honored that she asked if she could give the passage about Abe’s personal experience in therapy to her patients.

The passage read, in part:

“At first, you work to understand why you feel what you feel. There’s lots of talking about that. Then there’s one failure after another. It’s discouraging. But you just keep after it. The fear is still there, and it’s real, but at some point, you’re ready to take a chance again, try a worrisome thing. And little by little you begin to do things you thought you could never do. There are lots of setbacks, but when that happens, you talk about what’s holding you back and how you could handle it differently, and eventually, you try it again… And then sometime later, you begin to see how you’ve grown stronger. It’s incremental change, baby steps, but the time comes when you know you can do hard things, even if you make mistakes…”   

  



Inside Passage

Book 1 of the Corey Logan Trilogy
by Burt Weissbourd

November 1-30, 2020 Tour


Synopsis:


Corey Logan was set up. She knows Nick Season’s terrible secret. Coming home from prison, all Corey wants is to be with her son. To get him back, she needs to make a good impression on the psychiatrist evaluating her. Dr. Abe Stein doesn’t believe she was framed — until his well-heeled mother falls for the charming state attorney general candidate, Nick Season. As the dogs of war are unleashed, Corey and her son run for their lives — taking her boat up the Pacific Northwest’s remote Inside Passage.


“A stunning, fast-paced thriller that took me on an intense ride and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire way through … If you love beautifully executed thrillers that will play with your mind as well as your heart, this is the book for you.” ~ Midwest Book Review

 


Inside Passage is the first in Weissbourd’s haunting, heart-stirring Corey Logan Trilogy.


Click here to find out more about the Corey Logan Trilogy.


Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller
Published by: Blue City Press
Publication Date: October 20th, 2020
Number of Pages: 290
ISBN: 1733438246 (ISBN13: 9781733438247)
Series: A Corey Logan Thriller, #1 || STAND ALONE MYSTERY
Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Burt Weissbourd is a novelist, screenwriter, and producer of feature films. He was born in 1949 and graduated cum laude from Yale University, with honors in psychology. During his student years, he volunteered at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and taught English to college students in Thailand. After he graduated, he wrote, directed, and produced educational films for Gilbert Altschul Productions. He began a finance program at the Northwestern University Graduate School of Business but left to start his own film production company in Los Angeles. He managed that company from 1977 until 1986, producing films including Ghost Story starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Patricia Neal, and Raggedy Man starring Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, which The New York Times called “a movie of sweet, low-keyed charm.” In 1987, he founded an investment business, which he still runs. Burt’s novels include the thrillers Danger in Plain Sight, The Corey Logan Trilogy (Inside Passage, Teaser and Minos), and In Velvet, a thriller set in Yellowstone National Park.



Catch Up With Burt Weissbourd:
BurtWeissbourd.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!


Tour Participants:

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


Click here to view the Inside Passage by Burt Weissbourd Participants.


Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Burt Weissbourd. There will be 5 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through December 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.


Click here to enter the giveaway.

Book Spotlight: THE GENTLEMAN AND THE THIEF by Sarah M. Eden



The Gentleman and the Thief, Dread Penny Society Book #2, by Sarah M. Eden
ISBN: 9781629727905 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781629739557 (ebook)
ASIN: B0872F3399  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08KFLFV6S   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication Date: November 3, 2020

A standalone novel in The Dread Penny Society set in 1865 London brimming with secrets, scandal, suspense, and romance.


From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he’s smitten. Even though he’s from a wealthy, established family and she isn’t, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.


Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father’s successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the “Phantom Fox.” She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.


When Hollis’s brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.


When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible audiobook  |  BookDepository  |  BookShop |  BookBub  |  Kobo eBook



Praise for the Book

“The real joy in Eden’s follow-up to The Lady and the Highwayman (2019) is the furthering of the overarching crime story and the work of the Dread Penny Society as Hollis and Ana pursue a chaste romance. Eden excels at exploring the realities of Victorian life and class differences. Once again, chapters of penny dreadfuls written by the characters are interspersed throughout, with Hollis’ story about a school for ghosts offering particular delight. Fans of Eden’s smart series will be thrilled and impatient for the next installment.”— Booklist, starred review

“Every time I thought my racing heart just couldn’t take the suspense anymore, I’d turn the page and smile.”— Bookconfessions

“Eden writes it well, so thoroughly researched that you’re transported and in Victoria England. Great suspense and romance.”— Leslie, Books and Socks Rock

“Undeniably clever, suspenseful, well-researched, and deftly written…”— Katie Jackson, RegencyProofreading.com

“Charming, suggestive, and featuring rich historical details, The Gentleman and the Thief has the elements of a gritty, juicy penny dreadful.”— Foreword Reviews




Meet The Author


Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2019’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, The Lady and the Highwayman, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library.



Connect to the author via her Website, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Blog Tour

Join the virtual online blog tour of The Gentleman and the Thief, Sarah M. Eden’s highly acclaimed second novel in The Dread Penny Society Series, November 2 through November 29, 2020. Forty popular blogs specializing in historical mystery/suspense, historical romance, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with exclusive excerpts, spotlights, or reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in London, England. 



Nov 02 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt) 
Nov 03 Getting Your Read On (Review)
Nov 03 Literary Time Out (Review)
Nov 03 Storybook Reviews (Review)
Nov 04 Heidi Reads (Review) 
Nov 05 Library of Clean Reads (Review) 
Nov 06 Relz Reviewz (Review) 
Nov 07 Probably at the Library (Spotlight)
Nov 08 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review) 
Nov 09 So Little Time… (Spotlight)
Nov 09 Captivated Reading (Review) 
Nov 10 Among the Reads (Review) 
Nov 10 Bookworm Lisa (Review) 
Nov 11 For Where Your Treasure Is (Spotlight)
Nov 12 Books, Teacups & Reviews (Spotlight)
Nov 12 Fiction Aficionado (Review) 
Nov 13 Randi Loves 2 Read (Spotlight)
Nov 14 The Book Diva’s Reads (Spotlight)
Nov 15 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)
Nov 16 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)
Nov 17 Book Bustle (Review) 
Nov 18 Jorie Loves a Story (Review)
Nov 18 An Historian About Town (Review) 
Nov 19 Lu’s Reviews (Review) 
Nov 20 Reading with Emily (Review)
Nov 20 Books and Socks Rock (Review)
Nov 21 Bringing Up Books (Review)
Nov 21 Bookish Rantings (Review) 
Nov 22 The Bibliophile Files (Review)
Nov 23 Impressions in Ink (Review)
Nov 23 A Bookish Way of Life (Review) 
Nov 24 Bookfoolery (Review)
Nov 24 Wishful Endings (Excerpt)
Nov 25 Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Review) 
Nov 25 Joy of Reading (Review) 
Nov 26 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
Nov 27 Fire and Ice (Review)
Nov 27 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
Nov 28 Impressions in Ink (Review)
Nov 29 Laura’s Reviews (Review)

This spotlight and blog tour brought to you by Austenprose

Guest Post: Sage Webb – Author of THE VENTURI EFFECT

Welcome to November, book people! I don’t know about you, but it seems as if it has been about a decade since the last November. Fortunately, we have books to take us away from reality, even if it is just for a little while. Do you enjoy being an armchair adventurer with your reading? If so, you’re going to love today’s guest. Please help me welcome the acclaimed Sage Webb as she discusses her bucket list and armchair bookish adventures. I hope you’ll add The Venturi Effect to your TBR list and follow along with the tour. Thank you, Ms. Webb, for taking time away from your writing and traveling to visit with us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.


Bookish Adventures and Bucket Lists

by Sage Webb

When I pick up a new book, I’m looking for an adventure of sorts. Sometimes I want to take a classic armchair adventure: perhaps paddle a kayak around Madagascar (that’s on my TBR shelf right now). Or maybe I’m looking for a more human adventure at that moment: a dive into fallibility, if you will (I do love me some The Sun Also Rises). But it’s definitely a feeling of adventure—in some form—I’m seeking when I pick up my next read. 


When I write, I hope to give my readers a dash of adventure, too. In my new legal thriller The Venturi Effect, that adventure takes the form of a stormy sailing passage to St. Kitts as a burned-out criminal-defense attorney tries to find evidence to support her client/old flame, who has found himself caught up in criminal charges and a courtroom battle. 


But what about “real” adventures? For me, I try not to leave things on my “bucket list” too long. If there’s an experience I want to have, I try to make it happen. I don’t always succeed, and my interest in an endeavor may fade before I get there. But generally, I try to keep moving through the items that make it onto the list. One trip, however, has lingered on my bucket list for a while. It involves more time and financial resources and logistical planning than many other things I’ve done, so it may remain in bucket-list status a little longer yet, but in the near future I want very much to complete what is called the Great Loop, a 6,000-mile waterway journey from Galveston, along the Gulf Coast, around Florida, up the East Coast, through the Erie Canal, into and through the Great Lakes, to Chicago, and ultimately down the Mississippi and proximate river systems to New Orleans and back to Galveston. Oh, and I want to do it alone . . . on a jetski. It’ll take a few months, a lot of sun protection, and some time away from paying gigs, but I have to make it happen. It has just worked its way too deep into my heart and demands to be done. 

 

On the book front, I’ve read numerous Great Loop guides and accounts, and I’ve collected and reviewed a number of works on long-distance jetskiing. I’ve got much of the gear already, since I live on a sailboat and spend a lot of time on the water, and I’m familiar with boating on the Gulf Coast, in Florida, and on the Great Lakes. My husband says he’ll support me, though he wants no part of spending close to three months on a jetski. 


Will I write about it if I do it? Definitely. Writing helps me distill things, so no matter what, if I do it, this adventure will end up in my journal, on my blog, and in long notes back to my friends and family. Beyond that, well, I think it would end up in a book somewhere along the way, too.



The Venturi Effect
by Sage Webb
on Tour November 1 – December 31, 2020




Synopsis:

After fleeing the crush of a partnership at a large Chicago criminal-defense firm and the humiliation of a professional breakdown, Devlin Winters just wants to be left alone with a couple sundowners on the deck of her dilapidated mahogany trawler on Galveston Bay. But when an old flame shows up on the boardwalk with a mysterious little boy in tow and an indictment on his heels, fate has other plans, and Devlin finds herself thrust onto a sailboat bound for St. Kitts and staring down her demons in the courtroom, as she squares off against an obsessed prosecutor with a secret of his own.



Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Stoneman House Press, LLC
Publication Date: November 15th, 2020
Number of Pages: 329
ISBN: 9781733737944 (Ebook: 9781733737951)
Links:  Amazon | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Sage Webb practiced criminal defense for over a decade before turning to fiction. She is the author of two novels and the recipient of numerous literary awards in the U.S. and the U.K., including second place in the Hackney Literary Awards. Her short stories have appeared in Texas anthologies and literary reviews. In 2020, Michigan’s Mackinac State Historic Parks named her an artist in residence. She belongs to International Thriller Writers and PEN America, and lives with her husband, a ship’s cat, and a boat dog on a sailboat in Galveston Bay. 


You can find Sage at:
www.sagewebb.com, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook!

Tour Participants:

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


Click here to view The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb Tour Participants.

Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sage Webb. There will be Fourteen (14) winners for this tour. Seven (7) winners will each receive a $15 Amazon.com Gift Card and Seven (7) winners will each receive a physical copy of The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb (US addresses only). The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.