One of BookRiot’s Best Upcoming Cozy Mysteries for the Second Half of 2021!
When murder follows Mimi Lee to her romantic island getaway, she puts on her best sleuthing hat with her sassy cat in tow in this adventurous cozy mystery by Jennifer J. Chow.
Mimi Lee just found an extra perk to being a pet groomer at Hollywoof (other than cuddling animals all day long, that is). Pixie St. James, one of Mimi’s clients and the investor behind Hollywoof, has offered her and her boyfriend, Josh, a getaway at her vacation home, nestled on beautiful Catalina Island. With the island just outside of Los Angeles but still far enough from the hustle and bustle, Mimi, Josh, and their cat Marshmallow (who, of course, wouldn’t be caught dead in a dingy pet hotel) are excited for their relaxing stay.
That is, until Pixie’s last renter, Davis D. Argo, turns up dead. Mimi and Josh’s romantic getaway immediately turns into an enormous buzzkill, especially when Pixie asks Mimi for help. The police suspect Pixie, and Mimi knows a thing or two about wrongful allegations. Mimi figures it couldn’t hurt to snoop a little since she’s already there, and soon discovers that a valuable item is missing. Except Pixie isn’t the only one in the neighborhood who has been robbed. There is something strange happening on the island, and Mimi won’t stop until she finds out what it is.
About Jennifer J. Chow
Jennifer J. Chow is the Lefty Award-nominated author of the Sassy Cat Mysteries. The first in the series, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue, was selected as an Overdrive Recommended Read, a PopSugar’s Best Summer Beach Read, and one of BuzzFeed’s Top 5 Books by AAPI authors. She’s active in Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Color. Connect with Jennifer online at www.jenniferjchow.com.
Enter to win a print copy of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue and Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. There will be one (1) winner selected at the end of the giveaway period. Giveaway limited to US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
City of Time and Magic, Found Things #4, by Paula Brackston ISBN: 9781250260697 (hardcover) ISBN: 9781250260703 (ebook) ISBN: 9781250818874 (digital audiobook) ASIN: B08TZ38281 (Audible audiobook) ASIN: B08R2HCFLR (Kindle edition) Publication date: November 23, 2020 Publisher:St. Martin’s Press Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction | Fantasy | Time-Travel
Xanthe meets Brackston’s most famous heroine, Elizabeth Hawksmith from The Witch’s Daughter, in this crossover story with all the “historical detail, village charm, and twisty plotting” of the Found Things series (Publishers Weekly).
City of Time and Magic sees Xanthe face her greatest challenges yet. She must choose from three treasures that sing to her; a beautiful writing slope, a mourning brooch of heartbreaking detail, and a gorgeous gem-set hat pin. All call her, but the wrong one could take her on a mission other than that which she must address first, and the stakes could not be higher. While her earlier mission to Regency England had been a success, the journey home resulted in Liam being taken from her, spirited away to another time and place. Xanthe must follow the treasure that will take her to him if he is not to be lost forever.
Xanthe is certain that Mistress Flyte has Liam and determined to find them both. But when she discovers Lydia Flyte has been tracking the actions of the Visionary Society, a group of ruthless and unscrupulous Spinners who have been selling their talents to a club of wealthy clients, Xanthe realizes her work as a Spinner must come before her personal wishes. The Visionary Society is highly dangerous and directly opposed to the creed of the Spinners. Their actions could have disastrous consequences as they alter the authentic order of things and change the future. Xanthe knows she must take on the Society. It will require the skills of all her friends, old and new, to attempt such a thing, and not all of them will survive the confrontation that follows.
Xanthe Westlake no longer only has Harley to rely upon when finding lost things that sing to her. She has confided her talents to step through time to her mother, Flora, and her boyfriend, Liam. The third book of this series, The Garden of Promises and Lies ended with Xanthe traveling back in time with Liam. Unfortunately, Liam was snatched from her when they attempted to return to their own time. Now Xanthe, Harley, and Flora are eager to find something that not only sings to Xanthe but will take her back to the right time to rescue Liam. Xanthe’s past travels haven’t been without danger, especially in the form Benedict Fairfax, another time spinner. But this time she has to deal with dangers that not affect those of that time period, but her loved ones as well. Is Liam safe? Where is he? How is he? What dangers, if any, are awaiting Xanthe back in time? And what would motivate another time spinner to snatch Liam in an effort to obtain Xanthe’s attention?
If you’ve been following me for any time now, you know beyond any reasonable doubt that I re-read the previous books in this series—Little Shop of Found Things, Secrets of the Chocolate House, and The Garden of Promises and Lies—to re-familiarize myself (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it), before reading City of Time and Magic. Just as the third book in this series was a bit different from the first two, this book reintroduces us to Elizabeth (Hawksmith) Balmoral, originally introduced in The Witch’s Daughter, as well as Mistress Lydia Flyte, Erasmus Balmoral — a time stepper, former lover to Lydia Flyte and now married to Elizabeth Hawksmith, Dougal Harley — publican, neighbor to Flora and Xanthe, and Xanthe’s “advisor.” We’re also introduced to a host of other characters that play major and minor roles within the story, including more time spinners. This particular chapter of Xanthe’s ongoing saga, she must not only right a wrong from the past, but she also to choose the side of the righteous spinners. Her choice will have repercussions on her friends and acquaintances from the past as well as her contemporary loved ones. Does she have to battle evil again, well you’ll need to read the book to find out for yourself!
Reading City of Time and Magic took me a bit longer than normal, not because I found in uninteresting but because of a variety of family trials (elderly parental health issues and a death in the family). I was simply unable to focus my attention on reading for a few days because of these situations. However, once I began to re-read this book, I was enraptured and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. I enjoyed the interaction between Liam and Mistress Flyte, Liam and the Balmorals, as well as Harley with everyone else. Yes, Harley gets to travel back in time to assist Xanthe. Xanthe, Liam, and Harley make quite the team in this story and although I can’t tell you more about what happens, I sincerely hope that they will have more adventures in the future, especially with Elizabeth Hawksmith Balmoral! Can you tell I enjoyed this story? City of Time and Magic has hints of romance, intrigue, magic, betrayal, and more. I can’t say that this is the best book in the Found Series because I love them all. I can say that if you’ve read any of the previous books in this series then you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of City of Time and Magic to read. This author provides the reader with fascinating glimpses of the past and usage of past items when compared to contemporary times. The juxtaposition of the timelines is just one of the many things that make this series so enjoyable, at least to this reader. If you enjoy historical fiction, contemporary fiction, bits of fantasy, or just plain good writing, then I encourage you to read this series, consider it a gift to yourself for the holiday season! Something tells me I’ll be getting all four books for my 87-y.o. mother to read.
Hello, Rest of My Life by Rick Lenz ISBN: 9780984844265 (paperback) ISBN: 9780984844289 (eBook) ASIN: B09CVBZ1W7 (Kindle edition) Publisher: Chromodroid Press Release Date: September 21, 2021 Genre: Fiction | Time Travel | Fantasy
A TIMELESS LOVE STORY
When Danny Maytree, an ambitious young 1970s film actor, met Samantha on a blind date and fell in love, he decided he no longer cared about Tinseltown stardom. He still acted sometimes, but he became a writer too.
Now married and in their seventies, they find a dog whose faded tag has the name “Tali” and a Beverly Hills phone prefix from fifty years earlier.
Writing a time travel novel in 2021, Danny gets a call from a mysterious, velvet-voiced acting agent. He has a meeting tomorrow in Beverly Hills. Tali, in one of their singular “conversations,” questions Danny’s motives.
Now, Danny is in Beverly Hills-not at the meeting, but in the elegant home where he lived in 1974, forty-seven years ago. He is twenty-seven again, bewildered, but with a second chance at his Hollywood dream.
He doesn’t want it, because Sam is not in this world.
Unhappy in his new “now,” he realizes his journey back to “Kansas” hinges on the magic of film. A sharkish agent helps him navigate Hollywood’s rocky shoals. A worldly-wise teen and a New Age fortune-teller offer spiritual advice. And a sexy wicked witch throws a monkey wrench in his path.
“…Readers of time travel stories are in for a special treat, because Hello, Rest of My Life isn’t your usual saga of becoming stuck in the past and searching for the way home. Its special blend of philosophical and moral dilemmas, flavored with humor and a heavy dash of romance, sets it apart from other, more singular accounts. The events give readers plenty of thought-provoking moments as Danny reaches for truths in the past, that he never allowed himself to consider in his former life with Sam.” — Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“…his prose approaches poetry on nearly every page … So we now know that Rick Lenz can likely enter any realm of storytelling and succeed.” — San Francisco Review of Books
“Hello, Rest of My Life is an emotionally gutting, beautifully written, passionate story of second chances with a twisty time-travel plot that will blow your mind while mending your heart.” — USA Today best-selling author, Pamela Crane
Meet The Author
Rick Lenz is a graduate of the University of Michigan, past member of the Actor’s Studio, and active member in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is a veteran Broadway, television and film actor who first came to national attention when he repeated his Broadway role in Cactus Flower, in the film version—opposite Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau. He went on to appear in a long list of television series and movies, and to act opposite many of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars—Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason, Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne (in Wayne’s final film, The Shootist), and many more. He is also a playwright and author (The award-winning The Alexandrite and more recently, Impersonators Anonymous). His memoir, North of Hollywood has recently been published in its second edition. You can find out more about him and his journey to becoming a writer on his website https://www.RickLenz.com.
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. ♦
by C. Matthew Smith
November 15 – December 10, 2021 Tour
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
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.
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.
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.
Clark 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.
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.
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
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!
by Carmen Amato
November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour
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
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!”
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.
Unrelenting psychological suspense with a wicked twist …
Mona Ellison is living a dream life. A successful husband, loving son, beautiful home, an amazing group of friends… you could say that everything is perfect.
Until it isn’t.
When her son becomes entangled with the wrong crowd, ditches college plans, and runs away from home for a life of partying, Mona is upset, but boys will be boys, right? He’ll be back as soon as his money runs dry. At least that’s what she tells her friends.
Only she suspects something different.
Then the police knock on Mona’s door. A young girl has turned up dead, and her missing son is the prime suspect.
Determined to reunite with her son and prove his innocence, Mona embarks on a search that puts her on a twisty trail of social media clues and a rollercoaster ride of lies and betrayal until she lands on a truth that changes her perception of everything. Now, the only thing Mona knows is that she can’t trust anyone…not even herself.
Genre: Psychological Suspense Published by: Seventh Street Books Publication Date: 05/17/2022 Number of Pages: 240 ISBN: 1645060403
Susan Furlong is the author of several mysteries including the acclaimed Bone Gap Travellers series, and Shattered Justice, a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. She also contributes, under a pen name, to the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea series. Her eleventh novel, What They Don’t Know, will release in May 2022. She resides in Illinois with her husband and children.
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Furlong. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway runs November 16 through November 21, 2021. Void where prohibited.
Styled for Murder, The Bad Hair Mysteries #17, by Nancy J. Cohen ISBN: 9781952886225 (paperback) ISBN: 9781952886218 (ebook) ASIN: B09DYN9YG6 (Kindle edition) Release Date: November 16, 2021 Publisher: Orange Grove Press Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Cozy Mystery
A dead body in her mother’s bathroom during a home remodel leads hairstylist Marla Vail to flush out the clues and nail the killer.
When hairstylist and savvy sleuth, Marla Vail, gets a frantic call from her mother that there’s a dead body in her shower, Marla realizes this wasn’t part of the home renovation plans. The victim turns out to be the project manager, who had an untrustworthy reputation in town. Disgruntled customers, unpaid suppliers, and the design company’s staff are among the suspects. Which one of them wanted the foreman to pipe down about their shady dealings?
Meanwhile, the lead investigator sets his sights on Marla’s stepfather, Reed, who’s keeping secrets from his family. Reed has a past connection to the victim and won’t come clean about what he knows. As Marla drills deeper, she’s showered with suspicions, but nobody’s willing to leak any information. She needs to hammer down the prospects, or time will drain away and the murderer will strike again.
To flush out the culprit, Marla taps into her pipeline of resources. Can she assemble the clues and demolish the alibis to nail a killer? Or has someone designed the perfect murder? Recipes Included!
“May I ask how long it’ll take to clear this area? My mother will want to get into the bedroom as soon as possible. As for the bathroom, it’s been a loss ever since construction started. This job has had a number of delays and now things will be totally held up.”
The detective zeroed in on her words with eagle-like sharpness. “Have there been issues with how the remodel is going so far?”
Marla cringed inwardly at her inadvertent slip. She would blame her ever-present fatigue, but she seemed to have perked up ever since she’d stepped into Ma’s house. Why was that? Because there might be another crime to solve? What did that say about her, with a baby at home and a salon to run?
“You’ll have to talk to my mother about their project,” she told the detective. “Ma knows the details more than me.”
He stepped closer and stared her down. She caught a whiff of garlic from his breakfast. “The people we’re closest to are often the ones with the most to hide.”
“What does that mean?” Marla asked in a sugary tone, refusing to react to his bait.
“Jack Laredo had not arrived yet when your mother unlocked the bathroom door this morning. From all indications, the man must have died between the time your mom left the house and when Lenny Brooks arrived. This means only one person was home alone with him, and that would be your stepfather.”
Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Her books have won numerous awards, including the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is past president of Florida Romance Writers and Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter. When not busy writing, she enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising and visiting Disney World.